Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lighthouse At The End Of The Tunnel

Every episode is a countdown now. Still, Lost continues to slowly reveal its secrets at best. "The Lighthouse" was somewhere in quality between the last two episodes. It majored in Jack and minored in Claire--just as I called it--yet I think the MVP goes to Hurley.

But before I get into that, I just want to mention I watched ABC's rebroadcast of last week's episode with pop-up notes. You sometimes learn new stuff. For instance, I had no idea the woman who interviewed Locke for a job before Rose showed up was the same woman Hurley's dad paid to give fake psychic advice.

We start with happy photos of Jack's life, just as we had some of Locke's last week. We're in Jack's pad. Very nice. He looks in a mirror, just like Locke did this season, and Kate, and...hey, Jack already did this, too. He sees a scar. Could it be the scar Juliet gave him while removing his appendix (which didn't seem to be there when he looked in the mirror in his previous trip to the mainland--presumably an error on the production side)? Last time he saw a scar in the airplane mirror--will he have new wounds every time?

Lost in thought, he snaps out of it when his mom (Hill Street Blues' Veronica Hamel) calls. He asks her about his appendix being removed. In the altaworld, he had it out when he was a kid, though he doesn't quite remember. Odd. The Incident changed a lot. But is he being reminded of the island world, or is he just confused?

He's gotta go somewhere in a rush. To pick up his teenage son! How long ago was he married? So anyway, it's not just the appendix that's changed.

Back at the Temple, Jack looks at his reflection in the water. Can't help himself. Dogen comes up and Jack admits Jin, Sawyer and Kate probably aren't returning. In fact, Dogen worries Jack'll leave. Dogen takes these Candidates leaving pretty well, seems to me, considering how serious it seemed at first.

Jack seems a bit calmer and more open. I'm not sure what to make of this Jack. In season 1 he was the Leader, no question. He tried to make things right, even if it only meant things got more screwed up. He succeeded in getting the Oceanic 6 off the island (with many casualties along the way) but went nuts on the mainland and had to return. He came back and seemed uncertain till Faraday gave him the plan for The Incident. Since that didn't work (as far as he knows) he's now adrift.

Miles and Hurley play tic tac toe, and it's Miles' fifteen seconds onscreen--but Ken Leung gets paid just the same. Hurley goes to the Temple Spa looking for food and runs into ghost Jacob. I wished Miles were there so Hurley could show him his dead-talking technique.

Jacob has another task for him. (As we learned in The Sixth Sense, you don't want to talk to dead people or they'll do nothing but ask for favors.) Jacob says someone's coming to the island and Hurley needs to help.

Back at Jack's home, he and his son, David, don't get along. Just another sullen teen of divorced parents suffering through his weekend with Dad? Jack mentions Alice In Wonderland. All books have meaning on Lost, but this is the touchstone, with episodes even entitled "White Rabbit" (which this episode refers to) and "Through The Looking Glass." Jack has to go help his mom find the missing will. So he gets his kid once a month and decides to leave him alone.

At the Temple, Sayid wonders why the Others stare. Jack actually tells him what's going on--Sayid already knows he's got an infection, now Jack admits they wanted to poison him. I guess we now know why Jack had to administer the pill--Sayid is a Candidate, and Others don't kill candidates (directly). I don't think Miles is a candidate so he better keep quiet.

We cut to the jungle, where Claire is helping out Jin. But this is infected, claimed, wild-woman Claire. She gets him out of the bear trap, but when he tries to stand up he he passes out.

Hurley is following Jacob's lengthy instructions (written on his arm), sneaking around the Temple looking for a way out. This is the kind of temple that has tons of secret passages. Dogen finds him and orders him into the courtyard. (Have they been assigned rooms yet? Are there rooms in the Temple?) Jacob appears and gives him backbone. Jacob tells him to tell Dogen he's a Candidate and can do what he wants. Dogen is surprised, but he's stuck, and mutters in Japanese. (I've been told he says "You're lucky that I have to protect you. Otherwise I'd have cut your head off.") BTW, based on Richard last week, I assume Dogen only knows Candidates are very special and can't be messed with--he doesn't really know what they're candidates for.

Jacob reminds Hurley he has to bring Jack along. Jacob and his lists, will it never end? But how to convince Jack? Jacob gives him advice. He just tells Jack "You have what it takes"--the opposite of what Jack's disapproving dad says. That's enough. Jack now has to meet this Jacob dude and find out what's going on. But now we know how to get a rise out of Jack. It's like saying "you can't do that" to Locke, or "you're a chicken" to Marty McFly in a Back To The Future sequel.

So Hurley says follow me, we'll meet Jacob. Sure, why not? Just like Unlocke told Sun last season let's meet Jacob and you'll find Jin. But Jacob works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.

Jin wakes up in Claire's hut. Okay, I'll buy that. Claire is about five feet tall and weighs about 90 pounds, but now that she's Rousseaued up, she could lug a full grown man across the island. Anyway, this is reminiscent of Sayid in Rousseau's place in the first season, since so much this year reminds you of the first season.

He looks around the joint, and it's clear Claire is another Miss Havisham, this time mad about the baby. (Did a dingo eat it?) Claire brings in the Other she shot but didn't kill. And Claire is scary. She wants to know where the Others in the Temple are hiding her son. We (and Jin) know the son is off the island, but Claire isn't in the mood to be reasoned with. The Other warns she'll kill them both. She's been claimed. Maybe he's right. But Jin is an old pal, she wouldn't do that.

Jack and Hurley have escaped. They run into Kate. Small island, isn't it. Jack invites her to come with them. This may be the first time in recorded Lost history that Kate is invited to go with the gang instead of secretly coming along, but she turns him down. She wants to find Claire. She should have stuck with Jin two weeks ago.

In the Altaworld, Jack (who now doesn't seem to drink) helps mom find dad's will. They talk about David, who, like everyone in the show, has daddy issues. Mom finds the will and asks "who's Claire Littleton?" She's in the wrong timeline, since in the other Jack could tell her. Little does he know in this world she was the cute, blonde pregnant girl on his flight. He did see her get hijacked by Kate, but that's no help.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle, Claire is sterilizing the instruments with which she'll sew up Jin. Good for her. Jin still sorta trusts her, but the tied-up Other has no such illusions. She stitches Jin up and I guess the island will have to do the rest--or has the healing stopped since Jacob died? Claire explains how she's been on the run for three years (a little like Robin William's lost years in Jumanji). She accuses the Other of lying about her kid, since her dad and her "friend" told her otherwise. She wants to be sure Jin is still her friend. Always agree with the crazy lady.

We see an ad for FlashForward. Their exciting news--there'll be another blackout. Excellent, more of the same.

Hurley is surprised to know Kate and Jack didn't make it as a couple. He thinks Jack would have made a great dad, but Jack doesn't think he would. Is this some sense of the alt-timeline?

Back on the island, the boys step on an inhaler. Shades of Shannon! I knew we'd finally get answers from season 1. Jack and Hurley have stumbled onto The Cave. That brings back memories. One of the biggest issues of season 1 was whether they should live in the cave or on the beach. It was practically an existential crisis. Seems so pointless now.

They contemplate Adam and Eve. Good to know the the show hasn't forgotten about them. They could still be anyone, as Hurley notes, since with time travel, it could be people alive today.

The new, open Jack admits he found the cave chasing his dad. It was here he found the coffin, but no one inside. (He calls his dad a ghost. Shouldn't he know better by now? Anyway, good to see no one's moved anything in three years.) Presumably Smokey took over the corpse, though we now know Smokey can create duplicate bodies if need be.

Back at Jack's place, itinerant dad comes home with pizza, but David is gone. He calls his son's phone (while we see the lovely view from his pad) and leaves a mesasge. He decides to drive to his ex-wife's place. (Why not call there first?) For a second, I wondered if we were going to meet Julie Bowen and be in the middle of an episode of Modern Family, but she's out of town. (Will we meet his altawife at all this season? Is it someone different? Is it someone we know?)

No one's home. He finds the housekey (under a stone rabbit!) and goes in, apparently not fearing being shot for a burglar. He goes up to David's room and noses around. Turns out his son's is a Chopin fiend. (Didn't young Faraday like Chopin, too? They played the same piece, in fact.) Some happy photos and he plays the answering machine--his son is at tryouts for a conservatory. I thought Jack said he'd be gone an hour, but David must figure he'll be out all night. He's also saved a call from his dad when he was in Sydney, saying he loves him. Ah, sweet.

Back on the island, Jack and Hurley are walking around. Great, I think, just like the old days of season 1. And damned if Hurley doesn't say the exact same thing (though he calls it "old school," not season 1).

They compare notes on why they came back. Hurley was told to by Jacob. That was good enough. Jack says he was broken, and mistakenly thought the Island could fix him. Is he still moping about the failure of The Incident, just like Sawyer? Get moving boy, it's the final season.

They get to the spot--and there's the big damn titular lighthouse. Presumably not even that far from the beach where they first made camp. Last week I said the island still has some surprises, like a hole in a wall with the names, but this is something else. Didn't they circumnavigate this place? How could everyone miss it? Which, thank goodness, Jack asks. Hurley guesses they never looked for it. This is Jacob, after all. If his cabin can come and go, why not his lighthouse? (By the way, the Seven Wonders of the World include a lighthouse, a large statue and a temple. Hmm. Does this mean they'll soon stumble upon a pyramid?)

Claire interrogates the Other. She's been captured and tortured by them. The Other said she was picking them off so what could they do. (Why not kill her?) She's been branded by them. Was this being marked, like Juliet? Were they giving her the same test Sayid got?

Jin can't take it any more and says Kate took Aaron. Claire isn't sure what to think, but she knows enough to sink her axe into the Other rather than let him go. This has quite an effect on Jin (not to mention the Other).

Jack and Hurley break into the lighthouse and climb to the top, just like Leo's doing in theatres in Shutter Island.

AltaJack catches up to his son's tryout. (He's a "candidate" too.) The kid is good. Makes a father proud. If only the kid had told him. A nearby parent says we pressure our kids too much. The parent is Dogen! (This is a recital--why isn't it Lennon?) He's still got a heavy Japanese accent in this world.

The lighthouse has 360 degrees of settings and three mirrors that swing around. Hurley has to set it to 108 degrees. 108, the ultimate Lost number. Who could it be for? Or is it just a ploy Jacob's using to get Jack and Hurley to do what he wants?

All those number correspond to candidates, just like the cave names. So that's where the numbers come from (he writes for the tenth time). As the mirrors swing around, Jack sees something. Screw 108, set it back to 23--hey, that's Shephard! (I'm sure there are websites with screen captures showing all the names available, just like last week at the cave.)

So we're playing mirror roulette, and 23 is the number. Now Jack looks at the mirror yet again and sees the house he grew up in. Jack figures (correctly?) Jacob's been watching the candidates all along. He demands to see Jacob, but Jacob is not a man you summon. So Jack, taking a page out of Locke's book, destroys the mirrors. He's been like this ever since The Incident. I don't know, the mirrors seemed pretty special to me--I'd have played around with them a bit more first. At least see if Hurley has a number to look at.

We get a commercial for V, where the hot alien greets us and shares in our enthusiasm for Lost. Can they do that? Especially when the lead in the show is played by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Jack meets his son outside the hall and tells him how great he was. Whereas Christian didn't think Jack had what it takes, Jack's been too intense in his support. Generals always fight the last war. Jack makes it clear he's always on his son's side, no matter what. He can never fail (no matter how badly he sucks, I guess).

Outside the lighthouse, Jack is sitting on a cliff, thinking about life. Or maybe Tommy--smash the mirror! Not far away, Jacob appears to Hurley. You can never get a Jacob when you need one.

He tells Hurley he has schmutz on his forehead, and it's not even Ash Wednesday. It's the ink from his arm. In a rather clear explanation, which was either a sign that this season is different, or that the writers couldn't figure out how else to say it (and Darlton wrote this one), Jacob notes (and I think we sort of got this anyway) that, despite what Hurley believes, they didn't fail in their mission. The guy (if there is indeed a guy) who's meant to come to the island will figure out how. (If nothing else, Jacob is good at getting people to the island. I wonder if Jacob was behind Libby having a boat so Desmond would find his way?) Meanwhile, Jack is now thinking about what Jacob wants him to think about (which is ironic since Jack smashed the mirror because he was mad this guy was micromanaging his life--sounds to me like Smockey has a great potential recruit). Jacob notes he can tell Hugo stuff directly (except for this plan), but not Jack. Oh, by the way, now that you're out, stay away from the Temple, there's trouble going down. (I guess all those Others who serve him can suck it. Jacob never seems to mind people dying as part of his plan.)

Jin, really smart now, tells Claire Aaron's at the Temple. Riiiight. He'll even help her get back. She notes she'd kill Kate if Kate had taken Aaron away. Hmm, I hope Kate finds that out before she spills the beans.

Then in comes Claire's "friend." As everyone expected, it's Evilocke. Jin seems a bit more surprised than Sawyer was last week at the appearance of John Locke. At least Claire knows it's not John. You think she'd also figure that other guy isn't her father.

Looks like we'll have fun next week.


A few observations.

This episode featured some odd couple--twosomes we haven't seen together that much. Jack and Hurley had their excellent adventure, and then Jin and Claire spent some time in the hut. Quick as you can, name your five favorite Jin and Claire scenes.

Jacob warns Hurley that he can't return to the Temple. But I thought it was safe there, with all that ash. So who's left at the Temple that we care about? Well, Sayid, of course, but he's already claimed, so I don't know if he matters. (Was it my imagination, or has his Iraqi accent turned a bit more British since he took the bath. Is Naveen tired of keeping it up after five seasons?) He seemed like a nice enough guy, but look at Claire. Rousseau had no trouble shooting old compatriots who had the sickness.

Then there's Miles, who's had very little to do this season except say a smart line or two every episode. I'm sure he'll get his moment. Hey, if Blackie slaughters the Temple, he'll have a lot of people to talk to.

One prediction I made about the final season has turned out completely wrong. I thought we'd have nothing but action, but all the flash-sideways, so similar to season one, have plenty of character development and quiet moments.

Speaking of the flash-sideways, still no major breakthrough in their connection to the action on the island. But we're beginning to see a pattern, and it's about redemption. Kate is a bad girl who does a good deed for Claire, and receives kindness back. Locke gives up his impossible dream of walking again, and lets go of his anger. Jack, with unresolved daddy issues, works out the problems with his own son. (And Hurley is certainly over his fear of success.)

Presumably similar things will happen with con man Sawyer, torturer Sayid and the quarreling Kwons. And maybe all these candidates are making themselves whole again, so they'll be able to return to or merge with the island and deal with the war going on. Just like Jacob planned? They're coming.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the Seven Wonders. The Orchid is like the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon, so there's only a few to go.

1:21 AM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an idea. Hurley sees people from the altaworld. Charlie and so on. The only person who's figured out how to move back and forth is Jacob, which is why he can be killed yet seen by Hurley on the island. Soon, Kate, Jack, Locke and others will figure out how to do what Jacob does and their altaworld version can come to the island.

9:28 AM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the flash-sideways are actually all that will be left after the war. The war will destroy the island, it will sink below the ocean, and the sideways world will be the real one, with happy endings for the characters.

10:08 AM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Claire weren't busy on other things, she might have complimented Jin on his excellent English.

1:53 PM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Could it be the scar Juliet gave him while removing his appendix (which didn't seem to be there when he looked in the mirror in his previous trip to the mainland--presumably an error on the production side)?

The appendix seems very significant. My first question is, did the Reset-Jack really have his appendix removed when he was "seven or eight"? If the answer is no, then his mother's memory is messed up; if the answer is yes, then his memory is messed up. The latter is sort of odd, because even if we suppose that Reset-Jack is having hazy memories due to the two timelines, why would a missing appendix confuse him? It's gone in both timelines!

My second question is: in what year was Jack born? He was already a successful surgeon when he operated on his wife-to-be Sarah in 2001. If the appendix was removed when he was "seven or eight", was that before or after July 1977? Because, as I have argued before, I very much think that the two timelines split apart in July 1977 when the Incident occurred. But if Jack had his appendix out before that date in the Reset Timeline, that would be impossible... unless he was born with two.

2:03 PM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

LA Guy asked: (Have they been assigned rooms yet? Are there rooms in the Temple?)

This annoys me about the later seasons of Lost. In seasons one and two, there was a huge focus on how these folks would survive on the island. Starvation, dehydration, sunburn -- these were all real issues. And then, sometime in Seasons Three or Four*, everyone became a superhero that never needed food or drink or rest.

And now, Kate just wanders off into the jungle on her own. Lucky this is season six, where characters don't need food or sleep.

* Maybe this happened around the time that they found a van that had been rotting on a tropical island for two decades but only needed a push-start?

We (and Jin) know the son is off the island...

How does Jin know this? He lived in Dharmaville for three years; during this time, Sawyer would have told Jin that Aaron had been on the helicopter. In 1977, Kate and Jack and company showed up. After that, it was non-stop adventure, and the Incident happened only four days after Kate's arrival. During those four days Kate avoided the subject of Aaron like the plague, only finally confiding in Jack privately about Aaron. So all Jin knows is that Aaron was on the helicopter but didn't come back with his friends.

Last week I said the island still has some surprises, like a hole in a wall with the names, but this is something else. Didn't they circumnavigate this place?

No, they never did. In fact, this drove me crazy -- why did they assume they were on an island? Sayid tried walking around it but didn't get farther than the cable on the beach near Rousseau's. Later, he sailed in the other direction as far as the fake Others' camp and a dock. And then Ben sent Colleen and a few Others to steal the boat, because "if they can sail around the island, they could find us!"

We never saw anyone sail past the dock near New Otherton, nor past the Pala dock, and those points are not near each other. That means there's a lot of coast we never saw.

She's been branded by them. Was this being marked, like Juliet? Were they giving her the same test Sayid got?

I think so. It would be funny if the Others are confused about causation. "We found Claire near-dead and revived her in the pool. Then we burned her with a red-hot poker. Ever since then, she has been savage and hated us. From this, we realized that if a red hot poker leaves a mark on you, that must mean you are infected with a virus that causes you to hate us!"

2:26 PM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I'm sure there are websites with screen captures showing all the names available, just like last week at the cave.

Yes. The cave list and the lighthouse list match up in names and numbers (aside from three minor discrepancies that are probably production errors.) There's a huge table combining the two lists here.

2:33 PM, February 25, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Jack seemed to be in his mid-30s when the plane crashed, so I guess that means he was born around 1969 or 1970. This means his childhood appendix operation could have been before, during or after July 1977.

But his mind isn't clear on a lot of things. He generally has the memory of his alt-world, but occasionally he seems confused about issues that could come from the other timeline. He certainly is not yet aware, though, that there is another timeline--neither Jack is aware yet.

It makes sense the most basic questions were dealt with first--food, shelter. But I understand the dramatic reasons for dropping that as the plot picked up. It's even somewhat buyable, as not only do they find a lot of sources of food and shelter, but they learn the ways of the island. how to make camp, where to find food, how to dig graves quickly, how to make an endless supply of torches. And since the boars and the spiders moved away, they don't have to worry about them. There's no more need to show how they deal with these things than we need to see them urinate. In any case, if you exclude the three years that we saw very little of on the show, they actually haven't spent that much time on the island--things happen quick there.

I can buy people filled in Jin somewhere along the way, maybe all those unseen hours in the temple. I'm still more surprised that Sun knew Ben was to blame for Jin's supposed death.

Not only did they assume they were on an island, they didn't even go far enough to even notice Hydra Island. But as I said, they haven't been on the island that long, and they've been in constant fear for their lives over one thing or another. But it sure doesn't seem that the lighthouse wasn't that far from their beach.

2:49 PM, February 25, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Looking at all those names, it seems like quite a few of the people we've seen on the island are also on the list. Perhaps everyone we've seen.

Does Jacob only get 360 names and then the game is over?

2:56 PM, February 25, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Here's something that I was wondering about. Claire said she had been hanging out with "my father" and "my friend". Then EvilLocke shows up, and she (1) realizes that he is not really Locke and (2) recognizes him as her "friend".

Claire has apparently been "infected" for a long time (I suspect it was for most of the three years, maybe even before we saw her in the cabin). But the MIB has not looked like Locke until the Ajira flight landed, which is only a few days ago. Does that mean that she met her "friend" for the first time when he showed up as EvilLocke a few days ago? Or does that mean that the MIB has showed up in other forms, but when he does, she always recognizes who he really is?

If it's the latter, then this is a very important fact -- because it means that the Christian Shephard "ghost" is not actually the MIB in disguise! If he were, Claire would have known it, and she wouldn't have referred to her father and her friend as two people.

does that sound right?

7:15 PM, February 25, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It sounds possible, though relying on anything Claire says at this point is questionable.

7:37 PM, February 25, 2010  

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