The temptation after such an incredible and unique episode like “Ab Aeterno” is to feel disappointed or let down by the slower pace of episodes like this. As with ‘What Kate Does’ and ‘Recon’ it is important to remember what makes LOST so special; this has been an incredible journey. This show is an epic and sprawling piece of story telling and requires different pacing and emphasis at various times. It cannot be a mythological adrenalin shot every week (Red Bull adrenalin rush is what ’24’ exists for – and why it won’t ever be as good as LOST). For me this episode was in no way a let down – the pieces of the board are being moved around again and we were reminded once more that “a war is coming to this island”.
Let me say one thing now: The actors are BRINGING IT this season – Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim were on top form. We are only half the way through but this season deserves awards in the coming year…. on to the recap.
“The only way we can leave the island is if all the names that haven’t been crossed off go together”
Locke is all about the answers. He is just giving them out, left right and centre. He sits down with Jin to talk about the whole cave-candidate-thing and gives another reveal: that all the remaining Candidates need to leave with him. I took this to mean two things: The Candidates had to come with him OR they needed to be crossed off. And we know what happened to John Locke to be crossed off. It is kill or be killed.
It has been inferred that Locke himself cannot kill the Candidates but I suspect that is why he was so keen to have an emotionless-darkness-infested-ex-torturer-ex-assassin-killing-machine-Iraqi on his team. And then leaves him in charge of the camp. Will we see any of the old Sayid again? Will he get to feel happiness, anger or pain again? The picture is looking bleaker and bleaker for Sayid – and the ‘Apocalypse Now’ emergence from the water at the end did not help that impression. Well, black was always his favourite colour of vest anyway.
Jin & Sun episodes have always been more character studies than plot development or mythology. Whereas most of our Losties’ stories are about redemption – fixing their pasts; making use of the ‘Tabula Rasa’ – Jin & Sun’s tale has been about a different kind of redemption; the restoration and reunion of their marriage. But what did this episode tell us about their marriage? Well It doesn’t exist in the Sideways story. And their long awaited on-Island reunion? Postponed again. Their respective story arcs have been stunted since their separation when the Kahana was destroyed and Sun left the Island with the Oceanic Six. There is little more to their motivations than simple reunion. Neither of them have faced the truth that they are on the Island for a reason – and perhaps that very fact is what is preventing their reunion becoming a reality.
“I don’t want to hear about how this is our purpose or destiny”
In “The Package” we took stops at all the previous Kwon episodes – the buttons on Sun’s blouse from ‘House of the Rising Sun’; the language barriers of ‘…In Translation’; the tears in the garden from ‘…and Found’; the pregnancy reveal of ‘The Whole Truth’; the bullet in the stomach from ‘Glass Ballerina’ and finally the images from the camera reminding us of ‘Ji Yeon’. But this episode is set in a different framework – one of ‘recruits’ and ‘candidates’ and impending war. Sun refuses to talk to Jack about it. Jin refuses to talk Locke about it. Will their love defeat the Island’s purposes for them or will it be defeated in the throes of destiny fulfilled? This is the central question of this episode. In the Sideways they are not married but they are very much together yet events conspire to separate them; they stay in separate rooms; Jin hides in the bathroom; Sun gets taken to the bank and Jin to the restaurant; Jin gets free and Sun gets shot. Keamy tells us “Some people are just not meant to be together”. But Jack tells us “I guess that no-one told it it was supposed to die”. The season’s theme is brought clearly to us again – Keamy is telling Jin “You can let go now” – Jack is telling Sun – via a tomato – that “Nothing is irreversible”.
Again we saw a Sideways character look into a mirror and again we see, from that point on, their destiny is altered. Keamy’s knock at the door signaled the beginning of the end for Sun’s runaway dreams. The realities of the Island and Sideways are continuing to blur at the edges. The Kwon’s unfulfilled Island reunion filtering into their constant Sideways separation. Sun’s inability to speak English filtering into the Island story. There is currently great debate about how much this is occurring – and this week it has been fuelled by a fascinating question: Did Keamy mention the island?
“No. Of course not” I hear you cry. That is what I thought but playing back the scene in the fridge, it DEFINITELY sounds like he says: “Just in case you figure out what is going to happen to the Island”. As with anything on LOST many are crying out ‘CLUE!’ while others are sighing ‘Nah. Hurley Bird’. Us LOSTophiles will read something into nothing and everything into something. I hope he said ‘the Island’. That would be cool.
The big end-game development of this episode lied in the reveal that Widmore and Locke are most definitely enemies. And even though this appeared to be the first time they had been formally introduced their intentions towards each other are both nefarious. Does that make Widmore with Team Jacob? – I somehow think not – I can’t imagine Ben, Richard and Widmore teaming up in the finale to destroy the smoke monster. I still think Widmore’s intentions are selfish in nature – control of the island or to profit from the island – highlighted by the new mystery of why he has brought a geophysicist along with him to find more pockets of electromagnetism. When considering Widmore’s potential allegiances to Jacob it’s important to remember the fact that Bram & Co. were very keen for Miles to not go to the island with Widmore and to be on the ‘right side’ when the war comes along. We can safely say that Bram & Co. were there on the behest of Ilana and so tacitly, Jacob. We cancan infer that Widmore’s intentions are not entirely in harmony with Jacob’s.
A minor theme in this episode was the suspension of belief was- starting with the first words of the episode:
SAWYER: Want some cocoa?
KATE: Where’d you find cocoa?
SAWYER: I didn’t. Pretend.
These quick lines mirrored the whole Charlie/Claire/Peanut Butter flirtation of Season 1. We get the same game here but we are too far down the line – as are Sawyer and Kate – to waste half an episode pretending they have cocoa. Yet later on in the episode Miles questions whether we are meant to swallow the fact that Sun can’t speak English anymore. Perhaps this encouragement was simply to help us believe that Widmore managed to fit all those sonic-weapon-pylons on the sub.
And speaking of the sub…. we see the return of Desmond. Fan favourite – rule breaking – extra special Desmond . He is the eponymous ‘Package’ that is Widmore’s secret weapon to defeat Locke’s plans. One thing that caught my attention when he was revealed was that they mentioned how he needed to be unconscious for the trip to the Island. This was first highlighted by Juliet’s travel to the Island in ‘One of Us’ and was brought to our attention again in the incident when Sawyer, Juliet and Kate were on the sub. When Ethan describes the trip to Juliet he says “It can be kind of intense” and that has always stuck with me. Is it because the Island exists in a different reality or a parallel universe? Or is it because to travel to the Island your consciousness has to skip around à la Desmond in ‘The Constant’? I hope we get more insight into that.
This is the final season and deaths are guaranteed. Big, painful, emotional deaths. So far no one we care about has died (Dogen doesn’t count and Juliet pretty much died once already). So with every passing episode we are getting nearer to serious casualties and because of that I am seeing ominous signs everywhere: Miles not having any reason to be on the Island; Sayid’s soul vanishing; Claire eyeing up Kate. But we also got something that goes way beyond ominous: Sun has a bullet in her pregnant belly. Will she make it? Will the Sideways Ji-Yeon foetus make it? Are the Karmic forces of the universe paying back Sun for the bullet she put into Colleen’s belly? The fact that Colleen’s husband ‘Danny’ was name checked for the first time in 3 seasons does not bode well.
The return of Desmond also brings back a powerful reminder of how love has conquered the Island in the story before. Desmond’s love for Penny pulled him away from the Island’s grasp. Will love win again or will destiny trump all of our Losties’ purposes?
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