Friday, May 09, 2008

Lost, "Cabin Fever": Break me off a piece of that Apollo bar

Spoilers for "Lost" coming up just as soon as I chop down the same tree three times...

Sorry I didn't get this post up last night, but two factors came into play. First, I was exhausted and struggling to keep my eyes open by 11:05. Second, I felt I needed to sleep on the episode to make up my mind about it and figure out why "Cabin Fever" left me feeling oddly unsatisfied.

On paper, I should have loved an episode where almost all of the island scenes feature the trio of Locke, Ben and Hurley, where we finally got back to the freighter, and where the flashbacks were so rich with details about the island's mythology. And yet it left me a little cold, and as I was drifting off to sleep, I started to figure out why.

First, while we find out a lot of things in the flashbacks (more on those revelations below), those scenes functioned primarily on the level of filling in the blanks, rather than telling any kind of emotional story about Locke. The best flashback/flashforward stories provide both emotion and information and build to a climax; this was just a chronological accounting of all the ways the island affected John's life well before he came to it.

Second, while I love any opportunity to watch Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson play off each other, with some Jorge Garcia thrown in as a bonus, very little happened for a very long time in the present-day island scenes. They can't find the cabin, Locke has a dream (without needing to do a sweat lodge this time), they wander around some more, and they eventually find it. The last few minutes had some important material -- Ben finally admits that Locke has usurped his place as the island's protector, Locke has that disturbing encounter with Christian and Claire and is told he has to move the island -- but very little of consequence, plot or character-wise, happened until then.

Finally, the number of characters, and the number of separate locations where they're hanging out, is starting to disrupt each story's momentum a little. It's been three episodes -- and nearly two months, thanks to the strike -- since we've been on the freighter, and so I had to spend a lot of the early scenes there refreshing my memory about people's loyalties, what they knew, etc. Even in the early days of "Lost," the cast was so big that characters and storylines would frequently shift between background and foreground, but the show was less plot-driven in those days.

Still, with all those caveats, "Cabin Fever" had a number of great moments, and enough food for thought to make a meal.

Start with the surprise(*) return of Nestor Carbonell as the ageless Richard Alpert, hovering outside Locke's hospital room while he was still a preemie, and with the appearance of Matthew Abaddon as the man who puts the walkabout idea in Locke's head. In both cases, the first glimpse of their faces in unexpected places/times was chilling. (Alpert moreso than Abaddon, both because Carbonell had been gone so long due to being on "Cane," and because Reddick's voice is so distinctive that any "Wire" fan could tell it was him before the camera panned up to his face.) We know that Richard is on the side of the Others/Hostiles/anti-Dharma forces, and we've assumed that Abaddon is working for Widmore, but the idea that both were trying to get Locke to the island long before he actually went is a mind-bender.

((*) At least, it was a surprise to me, since I didn't read the episode description on my DVR -- which listed Carbonell by name -- nor did I pay attention to the guest star credits, where I assume both Carbonell and Lance Reddick were mentioned.)

Locke's survival as an extreme preemie in the late '50s (Buddy Holly's "Everyday," playing in the first scene, was recorded in 1957) shows, just as the misfires of Keamy's gun did, that the island has the ability to keep alive the people that it needs, even if they're not on the island -- or, in the case of Baby Locke, even if they haven't been to the island yet. Locke's been right all along: being on the island is his destiny, and it always has been. The teacher/guidance counselor who wants Teen Locke to go to the Mittelos science camp (which I'm guessing isn't really in Portland) becomes yet another person who we've seen telling Locke what he can't do, and again that person turns out to be wrong. Locke is a superhero of sorts -- or, depending on the island's nature and whether you think Ben or Widmore is the good guy -- a supervillain. He has powers (the fast healing, the visions, the general bad-assery), and he has a mission. All he needs is a cool logo on one of those blank t-shirts he wears. (Maybe he could be known as Geronimo Jackson, whose sticker we saw inside Teen Locke's locker.)

So here's the question: when Richard gives Kid Locke the list of objects and tells him he already owns one of them, is he implying some kind of divine island birthright, or is there some kind of time-travel loop involved? A lot of people who studied the screen captures of Jacob from his first appearance suggested his profile looked an awful lot like Terry O'Quinn's, and speculated that John is one day going to become Jacob (and then maybe Jingleheimer and Schmidt); was Richard's test another clue for that theory? And what object was Kid Locke supposed to pick? The Mystery Tales comic, whose story about a "hidden land" suggests the island? The vial of the same dirt/sand/ash that rings the area around Jacob's cabin? The Book of Laws? (Whose laws?) And if this is all a time-travel thing, then is Richard actually immortal, or does he just bounce around to different eras? And when Christian tells Locke that he needs to move the island, do they mean in time or in space?

Also, do the same people who so thoroughly analyzed the meaning of Faraday's rocket experiment want to figure out how it correlates to the freighter's doctor being killed several days after his corpse washed up on the beach? It's been at least three days since the events of "The Shape of Things to Come" (when the corpse washed up), if that helps your calculations at all.

As for the other events on the freighter, I'm assuming Keamy has some kind of dead man's switch strapped to his arm; when he warned the captain against killing him, he implied that everyone else would die along with him. I liked the moment where Lapidus complained to Michael about not revealing his true identity as an 815 survivor, as well as Desmond's refusal to ever set foot on that island again (he was there a lot longer than Sayid and company), but virtually everything that happened in those scenes was setting up things for the season's final few episodes.

Some other random thoughts:
  • Hurley sharing his candy bar with unlikely/unwanted ally Ben was a priceless bit of silent comedy. Emerson and Garcia both had a number of funny moments in this episode -- "Destiny, John? Is a fickle bitch?" being another highlight -- but the range of emotions playing over each man's face in that exchange was wonderful.
  • For all the meta humor this season about how no one ever answers a question, we actually did get an answer to Hurley's query about why someone would build a cabin in the jungle: Horace Goodspeed (last seen in the Ben origin story episode "The Man Behind the Curtain") wanted a getaway spot for himself and his wife. (And I still doubt we've seen the last of either Horace or Mrs. Goodspeed; the producers cast Doug Hutchison and Samantha Mathis in those roles for a reason.)
  • The "Lost" score, while always wonderful, has been fairly consistent in its themes over the years, but there were a few spots last night that sounded different from anything I remember hearing before. The first was the slasher movie-style sting right after the "What happened to them?" / "He did." exchange at the mass grave; the second was the '60s James Bond-style adventure theme playing as Sayid took the raft back towards the island.
  • I liked Kid Locke's drawing of Smokey killing someone; even back then, John had certain psychic powers.
  • Yet another in a long series of "Lost" shout-outs to "Star Wars": the merc killed by Smokey was named Mayhew; Peter Mayhew played Chewbacca.
  • What exactly has Christian done to Claire to put her in that creepy, blissed-out state?
  • What do you suppose the miracle was that Abaddon experienced? And if we're entertaining the idea that one character, through time-travel, could turn out to be another one, do we want to consider the possibility that Abaddon is really Taller Grown-Up Walt?
What did everybody else think?

66 comments:

Mrglass said...

I found that episode boring and predictable, verging on self-parody at times.

Is there any element of SF or Fantasy that hasn't been recycled in Lost yet? Teleportation, time travel, reincarnation, speaking with the dead, propheties, ghosts... What's left for the next two seasons, aliens and vampires?

Dave said...

Loved it.

Especially liked the silent scene between Hurley and Ben sharing the candy bar. Not only the looks on their faces, but the distinct difference in the way that they both carry themselves; Ben upright and straight, Hurley kind of slouched and relaxed...it just worked for some reason.

Anonymous said...

How about when Locke asked Christian/Claire where Aaron was and Christian said he's where he's supposed to be... On the island? With Sawyer?

kshen said...

according to the onion, the test richard gives babylocke is the same test they give to prospective dalai lamas.

DeVille said...

Some info gleaned from AV Club recap and comments:

•The test Richard gave Kid Locke is the same test given to prospective Dalai Lamas.

•Richard and Abaddon both want Locke on the island, true, but Richard is clear that the knife doesn't belong to Locke, while Abaddon's feeding him fantasies about walkabouts and surviving with only a knife.

•The music playing during Sayid's boat ride was the "adventure theme" that they usually only break out for finales.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dalai Lama, eh? That would put reincarnation on the table in addition to (or instead of) time travel.

Also, with this mention of the Lama, I'm now contractually obligated to insert a link to the greatest moment of Bill Murray's career.

renton said...

When I first saw Richard, from a distance, I thought we were getting a visit from Don Draper.

And when Lance Reddick said something about his walkabout and turning into something completely different, I thought "yeah. You used to be good po-lice."

OK episode. Maybe it's because there's so much other stuff on Thursdays than I can't get into it.

Craig said...

Kshen beat me to mentioning the Dalai Lama test. There's a similar scene in Martin Scorsese's Kundun.

lungfish said...

I thought that the camera flashed to Richard sort of frowning when young Locke passed over the Book of Laws to pick up the knife.

The whole morse code message portending the Doc's death was weird too. My head hurts trying to figure out the ramifications of that.

Also, I'm pretty sure I've heard the music that played when Sayid boarded the raft before.

memphish said...

The music with Sayid from the boat is "Hollywood and Vines" from Season 1. It was first used when Sayid led the group in part 2 of the Pilot to high ground to use the transceiver. I refer to it as "trekking" music because that's when it usually recurs. It was very prominent in the trek to the radio tower in "Through the Looking Glass."

Tony said...

I think the Dali Lama test lends a lot of credence to the "Locke Is Jacob" theory. They're showing a parallel between reincarnation and time-travel.

Indeed said...

I'm going to have to assume that there are other readers of this post that were die-hard Wire watchers too...(including, obviously you Alan). Locke's teacher (as a teenager) told him he's not a superhero, and then later Daniels, I mean Abaddon, told Locke that his survival of an eight-storey fall was a miracle. Did anyone else immediately think of Omar's "superhero" survival after his jump off several stories? I know I'm stretching here...but still, I felt a reference to the Wire.

Anonymous said...

I was sad when Locke asked Christian, "How do I save the island?"

He could have asked "How do I save the people on the island?" But that is not Locke's priority. That is not the mission he believes he is on.

His prioritizing the island itself over his friends is not new and is consistent with his past actions (See Boone and Hurley.) But it still made me sad when he phrased the question that way.

Also, the Lost Audio Podcast mentioned this week would have some Budhism. I guess that was the Dalai Lama thing.

Anonymous said...

In response to the last comment, I just listened to the podcast and Lindelof/Cuse confirmed that the Dalai Lama selection process is what is given to young Locke.

tahltales said...

I wish I could take credit for this theory, but it goes to a coworker of mine:

Claire did not actually survive the explosion in Othertown, and that Jacob/the island kept her body alive so that Jacob-as-Christian could get to her and bring her to the cabin (for whatever reason). I like it because it explains when Miles was so wary of her last week (he can sense her un-dead-ness).

Jim said...

Re: the test. In Bertolucci's "Little Buddah", wasn't there a similar test given to the child? Now I gotta add that one to my Netflix queue. Damn!

It seemed to me that Alpert was cool with Kid Locke's choices up until the knife. Which, if I'm reading this correctly, I don't get. I mean, Locke, knife- duh. Dude hangs onto his blade like a talisman. So why the flip-out? Why did Alpert hightail it outta there, he had to know about the knife if this time travel notion has any substance.

Jim said...

Tahltales, give your co-worker some knuckles. I like that theory. I admit to getting a chill when we saw claire in that rocker. And her blissed out expression. works for me.

TC said...

The "Claire is dead" theory (with extensive elaboration) was posted yesterday on ew.com.

Also, Alan, I think you're wrong about the timeline w/r/t the doc's death. Just before Keamy offs him, the other soldier guy tells the doc that the radio message "this morning" was the one about doc washing up on shore. Unless you're saying that the freighter is now three days behind the island, in which case, I'm dumb.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, Alan, I think you're wrong about the timeline w/r/t the doc's death. Just before Keamy offs him, the other soldier guy tells the doc that the radio message "this morning" was the one about doc washing up on shore. Unless you're saying that the freighter is now three days behind the island, in which case, I'm dumb.

The doctor washed up on the beach two episodes ago, and several more days have passed in island time since then. We haven't been to the freighter since "Meet Kevin Johnson," so there's no way of knowing how much time passed there.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Glad I'm not the only one to have had a moment of thinking Richard Alpert was Don Draper. Then that made me think about what Lost is like in the parallel universe where Jon Hamm is playing Jack...

Brandon said...

I can't have been the only one that saw a bit of a double-whammy homage to Twin Peaks with the cabin scene -- Ben and Hurley as Truman and Andy sitting outside the sycamore trees as Cooper enters the Black Lodge for the first time, and Christian and Claire as Laura and the LMFAP.

I'm pretty sure that's why Claire's overly-placid demeanor gave me minor goosebumps. Tahltales's co-worker's theory is one that's been floated on other Lost sites as well, and seems to hold the most water when looked at through that same Twin Peaks prism -- that Christian and Claire now occupy the same between-worlds universe that the Lodgers did.

That First Andrew said...

I was thuroughly satisfied by this episode, Flashbacks included. It deepened the mythology of the island, and it makes it virtually impossible to chalk up anything we have seen to chance. Is it possible that everything leading up to the plane crash was to get John Locke on that island?

I loved watching Locke fight against his destiny, especially knowing what we know has happened. Do you think the island chose Ben to fill the role in the meantime?

Here is a question: Richard is a hostile/Other, in league with Ben. Abbaddon, for all appearances, works for Widmore. Yet both men want to push John Locke onto that island. Could he be the key player for either side?

It is fairly obvious that the pilot dropped that pack in order for the Lostaways to avoid the mercenaries, but since Jack doesn't know about what happened at the Barracks, he is going to walk them right into it. Or is the pilot hoping to leave the Mercs behind and take some Lostaways off in the chopper?

A great episode that worked in virtually everyone (sorry, Sawyer and Miles) and is sending us hurtling towards the season finale...

This might have been the most satisfying season they have done yet.

Susan said...

Count me among those who thinks Claire is dead. I like the "Claire died in the explosion theory."

Anonymous, thanks for your comment about Locke's question - you put your finger on something that was bothering me as well. When Christian said that Locke really had only one question he wanted to or should be asking, I was also thinking it would be, "People are coming here to kill us. How do I save them?" The question he asked was so appropriate to Locke, but made me sad. It also made me realize that Jack is the one who would ask about saving the people, not Locke.

Anonymous said...

Who and where are Locke's parents??? Is it possible that the "original" Sawyer wasn't his father and just happened to have a kidney match??? And what about his Mom?? Anyone else remember if she was called Emily from the earlier episodes??

And how exactly does the island track these "special children"?? Is that what Ben was, which was why his Dad was offered a job on the Island???

Clevelle said...

Ah, "between worlds".

Is LOST really just another level of THE DARK TOWER? If so, I can dig it.

First, we have the "drawing of the three" with young Locke, a strange smoke monster that in King's universe would be considered "thinnies", people who are dead that appear to be alive (walk-ins, twinners, etc.),

Ka like a wheel...

Jim said...

And thanks to an anagram server, Mittelos becomes Lost Time.

Alanna said...

Finally, the way the number of characters, and the number of separate locations where they're hanging out, is starting to disrupt each story's momentum a little.

Agreed. I've been a fan since the pilot, though I don't keep close enough track of all the characters and plotlines. But I was very annoyed last night by nearly five full minutes spent on a scene at the freighter -- with characters I either don't/barely know or just don't care about. Yes, I understand it's necessary for plot purposes, but I'm starting to think that Lost is a show in which 90% of the characters exist solely to serve the plot... and my TV preference is almost entirely the other way around.

Tom said...

Mittelos is the same outfit that recruited Juliet, right?

Dave Sandell said...

I don't understand how people can't love this episode and then demand answers all the time. My biggest fear is that when we get to the final three or four episodes, we're going to get answers in monologue form or other non-narrative means, and I think this episode teased out a lot of answers in a really organic way.

I loved it and am looking forward to the three hour finale. I hope they give us enough to tie up all of this season's loose ends and I'm anticipating (with varying levels of excitement and disappointment) a BSG-like three year jump which will bring Walt back into the fold and catch us up to all the flash-forwards (a newspaper article Jack was reading put us in 2007 for that particular flash-forward).

Anonymous said...

What exactly has Christian done to Claire to put her in that creepy, blissed-out state?
Heh. In my best McCoy voice (which okay is not good at all): She's dead, Jim.

I was a little confused about that young girls at the beginning

Anonymous said...

I agree that the characters have served the plot this season, and to some extent since season two. It runs counter to the show Damon & Carlton claim they're trying to make (character and relationship-focused first and mythology second). However, I don't think they've done anything out of character to do so (ala season five of the Wire) and for all the complaining about tap-dancing, much of which was spent developing characters (with varying degrees of success), seems like everyone wanted the plot moved forward - including Alan.

Something about cake and eating it too...

Narrim said...

Clevelle said...

Is LOST really just another level of THE DARK TOWER? If so, I can dig it.

First, we have the "drawing of the three" with young Locke, a strange smoke monster that in King's universe would be considered "thinnies", people who are dead that appear to be alive (walk-ins, twinners, etc.)


Can't forget the Nozz-A-La Cola sticker on the side of Henry Gale's balloon!

Two things:

- The track playing when Sayid goes rafting has been used usually in the finales when people go for a trek. I swear it played at least four separate times in "Through the Looking Glass" alone whenever we cut to the Lostaways just walking to the radio tower.

- Thinking about the motivations of the Captain (maybe I'm watching too many Charmed reruns every morning after Angel reruns, but I swear he looks just like Leo), the relative... goodness of the Freighter Four, and Minkowski not being that bad a guy... I'm beginning to think... Abaddon is actually a good guy as well. Naomi's team is meant to save the islanders, to protect them. Their "primary objective" is to keep everyone alive, and part of that is by NOT rescuing them. Sure, a good deal of that is capturing Ben, but that's all in the game, yo.

Or maybe I'm too forgiving and trusting of Daniels.

Robin said...

I found the episode pretty satisfying, especially after thinking about it a little. I didn't like all of the freighter scenes (I just wish they'd kill Keamy and get it over with), but I thought it was necessary setup for whatever is coming up in the finale.

I absolutely, 100% think Claire is dead. I also like the theory that she died in the explosion. I think she is a manifestation of the island in the same way Christian is. No way she's happy to be in that cabin otherwise.

My boyfriend theorized last night that Alpert is somehow moving through time and that, having met Locke on the island, he has gone back in time to test him. The ashes in the vial were Locke's own ashes, after he had died and become Jacob. Perhaps choosing the knife proved that he simply wasn't ready to be who Alpert needed him to be. Could Alpert be trying to somehow change history by going back and getting Locke to join Mittelos? Perhaps he thought that if he could get Locke, then he wouldn't have to deal with Ben?

cpennylane said...

I recognized the test right away, but instead of asking the child which one he is drawn to, or just waiting, Richard asked young locke "which one of these is already yours"? Which I found to be really odd and possibly telling. We had the knife, which we see later on the island, the compass, which was later on the island, the comic book, which belonged to hugo/walt on the island, a book of laws which I'm sure will come into play later, and sand (presumably from the island).

What I can't seem to figure out though, is why Locke didn't recognize Alpert when they met on the Island.

J said...

Liked this one plenty. Even if it hadn't done more to flesh out the mythology, the candy bar scene made the whole thing worth it.

Whoever's responsible for putting the best network comedy series back-to-back with the best network drama should be dipped in gold. It really shows up the nights when all four majors are running reality programming against each other.

Mo Ryan said...

The test Alpert gave young Locke is not limited to Dalai Lamas, though it is used for them too. For all Tibetan Buddhist tulkus, or enlightened masters, the same test is used. When a child is found that appears to be the next incarnation of a tulku who has died, the monks of that lineage do the same thing that Alpert seemed to do -- put a bunch of objects in front of the kid and see if he can pick out the ones that belonged to the previous incarnation of the tulku.

I really enjoyed the episode. I knew on an intellectual level that they weren't tossing out that much red meat, plot/reveal-wise, but any time you have Alpert, Abbadon, Keamy and lots of other goodness in an episode -- I'm down with it. Normally I get annoyed by somewhat useless flashbacks but these ones were studded with enough info/easter eggs to make them interesting.

Not a game-changer (that seems to be coming, though). Just lots of scenes and moments I loved, especially the last one. And call me crazy but I kind of like the badass Keamy.

Mo Ryan said...

I also had that Draper flash when we first spotted Alpert at the hospital.

Nice line about the po-lice, renton!

jim treacher said...

For the other comics nerds out there, Locke's flashbacks seemed like a John Byrne retcon. That is not a compliment.

How come Locke didn't remember Alpert when they met again on the island? You'd think the guy would have made an impression.

So a while back Ben showed Locke who's really in charge of the island, and it was Jacob, and it didn't explain anything. Now they go back to Jacob, and of course he isn't there but Jack's dead dad is, and it doesn't explain anything. I realize this show is just a big shell game, but I prefer when it's done with more skill. I mean, they were supposed to be compressing the story to fit into 2 or 3 fewer episodes, right? And yet this seemed stretched out. I was so annoyed by the end, I couldn't even enjoy Ben and Hurley's little bonding moment.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember anyone I met for less than five minutes when I was young Locke's age. Do you guys?

Also, in the Lost mythology, there's no changing time. If we see something happen on screen, it can't be changed (this doesn't include visions/dreams like Desmond, but does include all of the flash forwards, etc). So that should at least color our conversation about Richard and time travel and Abbadon.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, in the Lost mythology, there's no changing time. If we see something happen on screen, it can't be changed (this doesn't include visions/dreams like Desmond, but does include all of the flash forwards, etc). So that should at least color our conversation about Richard and time travel and Abbadon.

I believe Cuse and Lindelof have said (maybe in one of their interviews with Jeff Jensen at EW) that Desmond did change the past during his travels in "The Constant," and that they might at some point re-visit some Desmond/Penny interactions that took place between that episode and his arrival on the island to show how different they are.

So it is possible to alter the timeline, at least a little, under the show's rules.

J said...

I believe Cuse and Lindelof have said (maybe in one of their interviews with Jeff Jensen at EW) that Desmond did change the past during his travels in "The Constant," and that they might at some point re-visit some Desmond/Penny interactions that took place between that episode and his arrival on the island to show how different they are.

Ugh. A Bobby's shower-sized can of worms to open in terms of the series. If they do that ep, it will either have to be the most brilliantly contructed and clearly communicated hour of television, like, ever... or it will be a near-total series-ending disaster.

Bob said...

Renton: I thought the same exact thing! I guess it's too much to ask to have a Mad Men/Lost crossover ep.

Mike said...

Apropos of nothing, I thought Nestor looked a lot like Norman Bates in this episode lol.

Also, anytime there's a scene in or near the cabin, my heart starts pounding.

The depth of this show, and the thought of all that is still to come this season, and the next couple of seasons has me giddy.

Rachel said...

I also had that Draper flash when we first spotted Alpert at the hospital.

I had the exact same reaction. I must be longing for some new Mad Men!

The more I read about this episode today, the more I realize I need to watch it again.

jim treacher said...

I don't remember anyone I met for less than five minutes when I was young Locke's age.

If I grew up white in the '60s, I'd probably remember a strikingly handsome Cuban fellow in a suit being allowed into the house through the front door. Especially if he then plopped a bunch of random objects in front of me and asked me which one I already owned. Especially-especially if one of them was a knife. That might stand out in my memory, but maybe I've led a sheltered life.

Eric said...


If I grew up white in the '60s, I'd probably remember a strikingly handsome Cuban fellow in a suit being allowed into the house through the front door. Especially


You might remember the incident, but would you remember the facial features?

Can you call to mind a good enough recollection of your 1st grade teacher to recognize her now?

Andrew said...

and for all the complaining about tap-dancing, much of which was spent developing characters (with varying degrees of success), seems like everyone wanted the plot moved forward - including Alan.

The problem with "Cabin Fever" is that while it didn't move the plot much, it didn't really address character at all. The best flashbacks help to show how past experiences shaped the character and how it influences the character's actions in the present. These retconned history with Abbingdon and Richard popping up in Locke's past-- which is all plot, not character. It's not to say that this episode didn't explore the characters, but that it was heavy on moving pieces into place for the finale, and ultimately light on plot and light on character. It's not a bad episode and I suspect that it will play much better on DVD in sequence with the following episodes.

Andrew said...

And to echo some of the other commenters--while the episode left me generally meh, I also thought that Don Draper showed up in the hospital. And I dug the scene with Hurley and Ben sharing the Apollo Bar.

jim treacher said...

Can you call to mind a good enough recollection of your 1st grade teacher to recognize her now?

If she looked exactly the same today as she did then? Absolutely.

Bobman said...

I think you're in the minority on that one, Jim. I've seen photographs of teachers from early grade school and they only look vaguely if at all familiar to me. And these are people that essentially shaped my early years, not people I met for scant minutes.

Some people have very good memories from their early years but I would say the vast majority of us, even in events that stick out, don't remember nearly as many details as we would like.

Undercover Asian Man said...

Something tells me that this episode is a good taste of what the 'reveals' of Lost will feel like in the future - namely, that one feels like he should be more excited about learning new answers, but strangely is just sort of neutral upon learning them. That is how I felt at least about the Cabin, Claire, Locke, "moving the Island", Richard and Abbadon, Jacob, the dead Doctor, Horace, and just about everything this episode presented.

The best analogy I can think of is a beautiful woman in a bikini. Sometimes keeping the bikini ON is so much more alluring and seductive than actually having her take it off . You expect the nudity to be the thing you desire, but having it happen and seeing the result is strangely a disappointment compared to what you pictured in your mind's eye. That is what I expect will happen to Lost.

As for those who then argue the "you can't have your cake and eat it too" counter to my disappointment, I say that a good, well thought out story that did not raise expectations ridiculously high by 'cheating' (showing shocking imagery that meant nothing or plot twists that have no logical explanation and never would [pile of pneumatic tubes, anyone?]) allows one to have the cake and enjoy eating it. The upcoming disappointment is NOT "inherent" in a story of this type, but a byproduct of allowing random things to happen for the sole purpose of titillating an audience, with no service to a true story.

Also, I forgot to mention it last episode, but surely I wasn't the only one surprised and disappointed that the Keamy army SURVIVED the smoke monster relatively intact. They made it seem like such a horrific encounter that there couldn't possibly be any survivors, only to have all but one emerge perfectly fine. Another Lost "sizzle without Steak" moment.

Mo Ryan said...

I definitely agree with that -- I thought Smokey roasted the entire mercenary army, or at least offed most of it. It was weird that they seemed to survive intact, except for one guy. Why would we regard Smokey as scary going forward?

In any case, I think this ep was like the previous Ben-centric one for some folks. I didn't really go nuts about it, I was left somewhat cold by it. This one, however, I dug.

Lost is like a restaurant with a prix fixe menu. Some days you're going to love what they serve - it's going to suit your taste exactly - other days, it's okay but not quite your thing. (And then some days the cooks are just on crack.)

Anyone want to talk about Locke as a potential superhero (or not) vs Omar as a potential superhero (or not)?

The Wire seemed to be saying that budding superheros will always be cut down by fate.

Is Lost saying that Locke was appointed as an island superhero by fate? Or that he can make himself one?

Pretentiousness alert: Maybe this is the difference between the Greek tragedy of The Wire and the fantasy story of Lost -- that Locke could actually end up being an appointed hero with a special destiny.

In fantasy narratives, that's allowed. In tragedies, the "hero" usually has to pay a huge price.

I'll shut up now.

dave said...

How are we defining plot movement?

They found the cabin, Locke interacted with Christian Shepherd, Locke reconnects with his 'destiny', Abbadon & Alpert have interests in Locke being on the island, Claire is with her dad in the moving cabin, the boat people are coming back, so is Sayid, they're moving the island, Kevin Johnson is outed, Lipidus drops the phone so they can track him (or stay away maybe). It took awhile to find the cabin, but taking awhile has been this show's calling card since episode three.

Honestly, I sometimes don't understand what people want from this show. They moved pieces into place. How is that not advancing the plot? We're acting as if that's the most boring thing they could do. I feel like we want the first chapter and the last chapter and anything else is considered subpar.

Maybe they've set the bar too high, and the bikini analogy has a lot of merit, but if we can recognize that shouldn't we enjoy more questions? I'm frustrated, sorry.

jim treacher said...

I think you're in the minority on that one, Jim.

So if you met your 1st grade teacher and she hadn't aged a day, you wouldn't recognize her? Alright. It's not often that I'm told I'm more perceptive than most, so I guess I'll take it as a compliment.

P.S. I'm coming around to your way of thinking, UAM. I don't mind being jerked around as long as it's entertaining. When the seams start to show, I get annoyed.

P.P.S. If this gets posted like 5 times, it's because the word verification thing isn't working.

the2scoops said...

Can you call to mind a good enough recollection of your 1st grade teacher to recognize her now?

Better yet, could you recall the face of a substitute teacher who was in your 1st grade class for one day?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I could go either way on the memory/recognition thing. On the one hand, it was a five-minute encounter from 40 years ago. On the other, if I was John Locke, raised in a series of foster homes by disapproving foster parents, and a man once appeared who promised to take me away from all that because I was special -- and who then went back on his word after a very strange but memorable game -- I suspect I would remember the event, if not the face of the man in it. Locke didn't need to immediately identify Richard when they met, but he could have paused to look at him a second time, I suppose.

Here's a question, for anyone with the season three DVD set and time on their hands: is there anything unusual in terms of Richard's behavior in the first episode where their paths cross? (I'm thinking it was "The Brig.")

Anonymous said...

Re: The Items Locke was asked about. The cover of the comic showed a city skyline and its reflection in the water. Wasn't there a promotional picture of the show that had a similar graphic? I seem to remembering seeing the word "Lost" and a reflected skyline.

Also, I was hoping we would see the back side of the compass. I thought it may have been the compass that plays an itregal part in the Lost video game.

Undercover Asian Man said...

Alan Sepinwall: "Here's a question, for anyone with the season three DVD set and time on their hands: is there anything unusual in terms of Richard's behavior in the first episode where their paths cross? (I'm thinking it was "The Brig.")"

You can watch it for yourself (or someone else can) without the DVDs because ABC has the first 3 seasons online for free. The full Season 3 is here:

http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing?lid=ABCCOMGlobalMenu&lpos=FEP

Choose Season 3 in HD on the left. Sorry but rewatching past episodes just pisses me off from a writing standpoint so I can't do it for you.

UAM said...

Oh and as far as the memory thing goes, I don't find it unreasonable that Locke's or anyone else's brain wouldn't make the connection since Richard didn't age a day. A brain would have a disconnect and not imagine it possible that the person Locke encountered in the present could possibly be the same person from the past, without aging a day. It would seem more logical to the brain that it couldn't possibly be anyone from 40 years ago who still looks like a dude in his mid 30's.

Anthony Foglia said...

Taking things in the order Alan mentioned them...

Mittelos: Besides what's been mentioned, we now know they've existed roughly as long as the Dharma Initiative, if not longer. Blows apart my theory that the Others took over Dharma's off-island resources and renamed them Mittelos as part of Ben's coup.

The test: Irony or coincidence that the Buddhist reincarnation test is done by the group not named after a Buddhist concept?

As for the time discrepency and the dead doctor, not only did his body somehow travel back in time while floating back, it also had to reach the island before Sayid. The shortest past is not a straight-line.

@Anonymous wrote, Who and where are Locke's parents??? Is it possible that the "original" Sawyer wasn't his father and just happened to have a kidney match??? And what about his Mom?? Anyone else remember if she was called Emily from the earlier episodes??

Locke was a foster child. He didn't meet his parents until his father wanted his kidney. Locke's mother also appeared in that episode, and her name was stated then as well. (Lostpedia has a screencap of her admission certificate to the Santa Rosa medical institute.)

msdee said...

Hi,
Newbie to your blog.
I have the most whacked out theory ever and I am daring to post it because you and your readers seem to be an open minded group


Here goes

Richard is the Smoke Monster

While watching Cabin Fever I couldn't help but connect everything about and around Richard with Smokey

His Smokey eyes

His charcoal gray or black suits

His reaction to the Smoke Monster pic drawn by Locke

After the nurse reminds Mrs. locke that there is no smoking in the hospital , Richard appears at the window

The word choke is behind him on a flyer when he is standing by the window in the hospital

When he got angry at John's choice (the knife) I couldn't help but think that it was a sign to Smokey/Richard that John would destroy him.

When Smokey Richard first meets John on the island, He is by the sonar fence.

Ben summoned Smokey, ben has summoned Richard to do his bidding many times and Richard has complied

Which by the way always confused me.
Was Ben his superior or was Richard, Bens superior

Am I crazy!?

dez said...

I also thought Smokey had destroyed most of the mercernaries, and that Don Draper had shown up for Locke.

Is it possible that everything leading up to the plane crash was to get John Locke on that island?

Possibly, but what about all the other passengers? They're not all expendable...okay, so most of them are :-D

I loved this ep, especially all the holy flurking schnit-ness of the last few minutes. Poor Claire!

dez said...

And call me crazy but I kind of like the badass Keamy.

Part of me wants him out of the way already, and part of me wants him around, but only if he's mostly unclothed.

Jim said...

About illness: Locke walks, Rose is cancer free. But Linus develops a spinal tumor, and oh, yes, Jack suffers an attack of appendicitis. Inference?

Has the island judged Locke and Rose to be "good" people? Locke we've got figured. Rose often seems saintly, borderline magical negro saintly. Is the island saying it recognizes Linus as a dirtbag?

As for Jack, this one I can't figure yet. The Island has taken his father in a major way, and it now has Claire, his half-sister. It's interested in the Shepard clan for some reason. Is it Jack's determination to leave the island that brought on his illness? Bad things happen to him when he separates himself from the island's mojo. He realizes in the future that he should never have left.

Jeremy said...

"The best flashback/flashforward stories provide both emotion and information and build to a climax; this was just a chronological accounting of all the ways the island affected John's life well before he came to it."

Exactly. Recent episodes have had flimsy narrative structures in and of themselves, and seem merely to exist as checklists with the necessary story beats. Character development is minimal, and attempting to differentiate between the episodes is futile. I feel much more conscious of the writers shifting pieces into place for the big finales and sweeps episodes rather than servicing the plot or characters in an organic way.

I suppose I should be happy that we're getting answers at all, even if the ride there feels perfunctory.

Alex said...

Re. Claire: My wife suggests that Claire's appearance in the cabin means she's dead. I think she's probably right. Horace and Jack's dad are both dead, after all.