Another Tuesday night, another stop on the Great LOST Farewell Nostalgia Tour. Season Six is turning out to be like a trip back to the old neighborhood. Before it all ends, we’re getting one more chance to see all the faces and places we remember. Look! There’s the big bully who terrified all the locals.
Oh, and over there! The garden where Sun used to grow healing herbs, until she got conked over the head by Charlie so Sawyer could steal the guns.
Yay! Bpo Bpo lives!
And OMG! Whaddayaknow! There’s that super kewl brainwashing room from all those years ago! Room 23!
The purpose of which was …
I’ve got to admit LOST is losing me. Here we are just past the halfway point of the grand finale season, a perfectly legitimate point at which to stop and take stock. So where are we? What has this season been all about? Where is it headed? Where are we going now that we’re close enough for the end to be in sight? I don’t know about you, but I’m totally lost when it comes to trying to figure out LOST.
I’ll start with something fairly basic – the unmistakable pattern that has emerged, where each character’s centric is framed as an homage to centrics past. This week it was KwonBack Time. For the last time.
In the Season One KwonBacks, …In Translation and House of the Rising Sun, Jin insisted that Sun’s father acknowledge him openly, that they marry, even if that meant he had to work for the sturgeon faced Mr. Paik.
Other circles and loops were closed as we took our weekly trip down Memory Lane.
In …And Found, a Season Two KwonBack, Locke enters Sun’s garden while she’s working and asks her, “Bad day?”
In The Package, Locke’s doppelganger, The Smoke Monster, approaches Sun the identical way and asks the same question.
In Glass Ballerina, Sun shoots Colleen in the stomach, killing her.
In The Package, Sun is the one who takes the gut shot.
It wasn’t only Kwon memories that got reprised. Sawyer and Kate drank imaginary cocoa under the watchful green eye of Widmore’s spies –
– a dimly lit shoutout to the imaginary peanut butter that once sustained Charlie and Claire during hard times.
Jack was acting very Season One doctorlike, calmly traipsing around with his backpack full of helpful life lessons.
And having Desmond and Sayid meet up again at the submarine dock,
while obviously under very changed circumstances,
couldn’t help but remind me of the last time Desmond ended up one of Widmore’s boats.
Like other Kwon centrics, this episode was slight, delicate, concise. There’s a kind of origami feeling to all the Kwonbacks.
Sun was first introduced to us as the Korean wife who secretly knew how to speak English. In this episode, that talent left her. Apparently it got knocked out of her head by the tree trunk she ran into.
While Sun was forgetting how to speak English, we were watching OtherSun, who apparently never learned it.
Mikhail Bakunin was back in this episode, looking decidedly less grizzled with two working eyes and a nice suit on.
Uh, except no. Original Jin didn’t shoot original Mikhail. So even though Mikhail would always lose his eye, the way he lost his eye could be different in differing realities.
Of course the most important interdimensional interface, the only one that really matters, is this one.
Original Jin had been diagnosed as infertile, making it something of a miracle when Sun conceived a child on the Island. OtherJin’s swimmers, on the other hand, do not seem to have ever had any such problems.
Since we’re all tripping down Memory Lane these days, this reminds me of one of the first reviews I ever did.
Super!Sperm! turned out to be one of the great blind alley wild goose chases for those of us who once regarded every kooky LOST plotline as an ingenious mystery to be solved. In the past, I could joke that maybe this was how the mystery would be solved.
When Sun conceived on the Island, it was feared the child was in jeopardy, since one of the Island’s misogynistic properties was that it killed young mothers dead for the crime of having a working uterus. In this episode, we saw that OtherSun and her baby were similarly endangered.
One of the things I’m beginning to do with LOST is try and define it in terms of what it is not. Since I really have no frakking clue what it might actually be about these days, I’m trying to use the process of elimination to whittle down the possiblities.
As we were told long ago, it’s not about Purgatory.
I know there’s still some science fiction fans hanging onto hope for some pseudo-scientific pseudo-explanation for the shenanigans of the Island. For years many have suspected that the freaky magnetic properties of the Island are the reason that Widmore has prized it and sought to possess it. It’s interesting that scientists at MIT have recently discovered that magnets can distort our ability to make moral evaluations. Maybe that’s what’s at the heart of our story … but I really don’t think so. At this point, I’d say it’s a fiction that any of LOST’s mysteries will ever be explained by anything remotely resembling science.
I don’t think it’s a Christian allegory either, despite the enthusiastic certainty some fans have that it’s all devolving down to some clearcut Calvinist demarcation of good vs. evil. I don’t see that happening. Jacob’s willingness to drag civilians into his family feud is too evil for me to ever consider him good. And there is nothing in the OtherLOST storyline that looks to me like either reward or punishment. I don’t think the story is going there, though it’s certainly putting on a fine show of pretending.
It’s not a Buddhist allegory either.
LOST has always been a confusing story, but nothing really has befuddled me as much as trying to piece together the reason behind this season’s sudden lurch into an alternate reality. Yes, I know we’re not supposed to call it an alternate reality. We were told that it isn’t alternate or less real than the reality of the six year storyline we were striving so mightily to comprehend.
That leaves us with a Many Worlds concept of infinitely diverging realities.
But now we see that on LOST, the realities are starting to converge. Mikhail’s lost eye, Sun’s lost English, the baby who may be lost … all these things seem to be echoing between the two realities.
What is OtherLOST trying to tell us? The timespace for OtherLOST is 2004, while LOST Is taking place in 2007. Time travel has not stopped after all. If 2007 LOST is converging with 2004 OtherLOST, does that mean that a new past is being written? If consciousness is now skipping across time and space and theoretical multidimensionalities, then it’s not really a Schrodinger’s cat situation any longer. It’s not like the cat is both alive and dead until we make a final deciding measurement. It’s more like the cat itself is ping ponging through quantum states, interfering in the mechanics of its own hypothetical dilemma. I’m starting to get the real sense that the reason they’ve referenced Alice in Wonderland so often on this show is they want us to just shut up and bathe in the pure nonsense of it.
Some have theorized that OtherLOST represents the final reality. That this time in the past will become the one true reality once the characters in the present resolve all their issues on the Island of Mystery.
then this one does not. Or vice versa.
It would mean that people who died on the Island could be alive again, at least for a little while.
It also means that some characters that now exist, no longer do.
One fun fact about this episode is that it’s the first since the Season Three finale where all the credited cast members made an appearance. The Powers That Be even found some facetime for the annoying new character they decided in their infinite wisdom to spring on us in this final season.
Ben and Ilana traded some choice snark, which was fun, but redemption seems to have worked its magic on Ben and made him kind of … boring.
Ilana seems to have quite the crush on Richard.
If only he could manage to forget dead Isabella.
Claire is still seething. She’s realizing that even if she were to see Aaron again, she’d be a stranger to him. A batshit crazy stranger, at that.
But her friend, Mr. Monster, assures her that she’ll still have a chance to punish Kate. He tells her “Whatever happens, happens”, a telling change of verb tense that seems to give Crazy Claire carte blanche to murder Kate once his mission is accomplished.
Kate appeared in this episode, but aside from drinking imaginary cocoa and staring impassively into the fire, she was just a placeholder.
Sawyer’s plan to walk The Monster into Widmore’s trap didn’t turn out as planned, so the elaborate set up in Recon seems to have fizzled out already.
Jack, on the other hand, has become a zealot, a true believer, a faithful apostle of the Gospel of Jacob.
Jin finds himself captured in both realities.
At first I thought OtherKeamy seemed like a markedly less evil version, but then I realized that he was probably only sparing Jin long enough to get his paycheck.
Since I have no idea where the storytellers are taking us with their parallel coexisting reality storyline that is bleeding into and out of their original storyline, I think I’ll revisit a storyline of considerably longer standing – the Great Almost War of LOST Island.
The one that has been almost about to happen for going on three years now. It’s not that they have always been at war. It’s more like they have always been talking about how they’re going to be at war. Like any day now.
In The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, Widmore told John Locke that a war was coming to the Island. The Monster again had one of those deja vu moments where he experienced the memories of the dead man he was impersonating, and he repeated Widmore’s line to Sawyer.
The NotLocke Monster and Widmore had a face down on the beach, separated by the pylons that Widmore erected to keep the Smokey One at bay. In Recon some questioned whether the Monster could have gone to Hydra Island and killed the survivors of Ajira Flight 316. We know that he can travel back and forth to the Island in his man form, so I assumed he did just that and then converted to Killer Smoke once he was there. But it’s an interesting point. Perhaps the Island has been such an effective prison for the Smoke Monster precisely because he can not travel over water. Now that he’s inhabiting a human organism all he needs is a seaworthy vessel.
The Great Monstro-Widmore War can’t happen yet because that would be the end of the story. In the meantime, I guess we can still try to understand why it is that Widmore wants so badly to kill poor old Monster. Was this what Widmore was always doing on the Island? Was he Jacob’s General, and if so, why was Ben allowed to kick him out? It seems pretty obvious that Widmore is here to lead the final charge for Jacob in the battle against the Monster.
I am become Death, the destroyer of Worlds. – Bhagavad Gita
Maybe we’re headed for a showdown where the Monster wins and wipes out this reality, but since OtherLOST is a reality already in progress, all of their consciousnesses can just hop skip and jump over there and go on as if nothing happened. Or maybe the Monster will be defeated and that will be how the Island sinks to the bottom of the ocean … but everyone’s consciousness will still get to hop skip and jump over to OtherLOST. Maybe that’s why they zapped this other reality into the storyline at the last minute, to give our Losties a lifeboat after the Titanic of this hopelessly muddled storyline finally sinks into oblivion.
And so at the midpoint of this last ever season of LOST, I’m not giving myself very high marks for figuring anything out. I can think of lots of things LOST is not – it’s not much of a science fiction, it’s not a monomyth, it’s not holding together as any kind of philosophical allegory. It seems like maybe it could be entitled Six Numbers in Search of Characters in Search of a Plot that Might Tie Them Together.
Your guess is as good as mine.