Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let's get LOST! (Episode 6:4 The Substitute)

If you haven't seen this week's episode of LOST yet...
Don't say you weren't warned. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk LOST!

First of all, let's discuss the title of this show for a minute: "The Substitute". That's a nice little play on meaning. In the flash-sideways, Locke is a substitute teacher. However, in the original timeline he is a substitute physical form, for Smokey/Nemesis to inhabit. Nice.

Did you see Illana collecting up Jacob's ashes? You will remember what I suggested in my previous post, about the protective ash they put on the ground being Jacob's ashes, and that maybe he's a phoenix type entity that dies and is reborn over and over again in some kind of ritual. Her collecting up the ashes, plus if that little boy in the jungle is Jacob reborn (He certainly looked and acted a lot like him.) both make me think my theory might be right.

Also, how wild was it that we saw the world from Smokey's point of view, via Raimi Vision? (Just as a point of interest, Raimi vision is only used to represent the most unspeakable evil... Is this one more hint as to what side the Nemesis is on?) But before I get ahead of myself on the whole evil vs. good thing, let me quickly recap my three moments from the show.

I thought this was the most shocking moment of the night:

Ben: "He was a much better man than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him."
tied with
Richard Freaking Out
tied with
The numbers (4 8 15 16 23 42) are Jacob's numbers.

I don't know about you, but I was shocked when Ben stepped up to say something at Locke's graveside. It was wildly inappropriate, but at the same time it was like watching the Grinch's heart grow... Ben didn't have to say those things, and he didn't have to admit amongst mixed company that he killed Locke. Do you think he was really sorry, and honestly meant the things he said? I'd like to think so, but Ben has ALWAYS had an ulterior motive for all his actions. I'd like to think he's a changed man ever since Alex was killed and it seems like that might be the case. Don't get me wrong though; I still don't have much sympathy for him, and I still think he's one of the most evil twisted masterminds ever to appear on TV. And let's not forget he might have admitted to this murder, but the little weasel coped to a lie when Illana asked him what happened to Jacob, and he said the Nemesis killed him. (Then again, I might not be so quick to admit to a crying girl with a gun that I was the one who murdered her master. It's all about picking the right time, I suppose...)

Now let's talk about Richard. Anytime we've ever seen Richard, no matter what's been going on, he's been calm, cool, collected and in charge, completely nonplussed by whatever is going on around him. So to see him freaking out and being a spazzy mess was shocking and very disconcerting to me as a viewer. His intensity and panic, when he was trying to convince Sawyer to ditch the Nemesis and run, really scared me.

Finally, let's talk about Hurley's numbers. We know they've been lottery numbers, airline seat numbers, hatch numbers, and part of the Valenzetti Equation. But now I feel like we've been shown the final meaning of these mystical numbers. They are part of Jacob's plan or magic, if you will. (If you want to get your super-LOST-fan freak on, just check out this Lostpedia entry where some dutiful (i.e. obsessed) fan freezeframed all the shots of the cave wall and cataloged all the names they could read.) In reference to these numbers and names, the Nemesis told Sawyer that he and the others were candidates. Candidates for what? (More on that later.) I wonder if we'll ever get a full explanation of why Jacob used those particular numbers with each name?

I thought this was the most heartbreaking moment of the night:

Helen: "Miracles do exist, John. And the only thing in this life I ever waited on, was to find you."

In the original timeline, Helen is dead. Or at least, that's what Abbadon told Locke. In the flash-sideways timeline, not only is she alive, but her and Locke are planning a wedding together. In some ways, this alternate timeline is like the happy ending these characters never received. It's especially poignant to watch these scenes with Locke, knowing that the Locke from the original timeline was broken, sad, alone and now dead. As it stands now, it seems like there's more hope for happiness and redemption in the alternate reality than in the original timeline. (Even Hurley is a successful, confident, happy, lucky guy in the alternate reality.)

On a side note, Helen suggests to Locke that they just have a shotgun wedding in Las Vegas with her parents and his dad. In the original timeline, Locke's dad is the one who pushed him out of the window and paralyzed him. So apparently in this flash-sideways timeline, something else paralyzed Locke, otherwise I would imagine he wouldn't be on good speaking terms with his dad.

And finally, here's the funny moment of the night:

Lapidus: "This is the strangest damn funeral I've ever been to."

Well said, Captain Lapidus! Leave it to Hurley and Lapidus to always say whatever is on the audience's mind!

A few parting thoughts...

Questions about the Purpose/End Game - The Nemesis's explanation to Sawyer about this island end game was that he and the other "candidates" could 1. do nothing and possibly get their name crossed out (i.e. dead/killed?), 2. take over and become the new Jacob and protect the island or 3. leave. Well, I'm not buying any of that. I think the Nemesis is telling his twisted version of the island story to win Sawyer over. The Nemesis also said that Jacob is protecting the island. Well, I think Jacob isn't protecting the island, I think he's protecting the rest of the world from Nemesis and his evil. I think the island is the Nemesis' prison and that's why he's so anxious to break free and wreck his evil ways all over the world.

Questions about the Nemesis - Why is he now "stuck in Locke's body" as Illana said? Why doesn't he have his own form, but has to use someone else's? He said he was once a man. What is he now? In the cave, the Nemesis picked up the white rock from the scales and threw it away. Is this another sign he's the evil guy? Why is the Nemesis recruiting people? What does he need them for?

Questions about Jacob - Is the little blond boy Jacob reborn? What did he mean when he told the Nemesis, "There are rules. You can't kill him." Why couldn't Richard see the little blond boy, but Sawyer could? Why did Jacob bring people to the island? The Nemesis explained it this way: "At some point in your life he came to you when you were vulnerable or miserable, he came to you, manipulated you, pulled your strings like you were a puppet and as a result the choices you thought you made were never really choices, he was pushing you, pushing you to the Island." I disagree with the manipulation/puppet part. I think that's the Nemesis's twist on it. He said they never really had a choice. But right before Ben stabbed Jacob, and with Hurley in the cab, Jacob said they had a choice.

In regards to the "vulnerable moment", let's just say for a minute, that Jacob is good, like God. Well, doesn't God reach into our lives and cause the most transformation in us when we are at our weakest point? It's when we realize we need Him the most. It's when we are called above our circumstance to lean on Him, to turn away from evil and to good. In fact, didn't Jacob tell little Kate to "be good"? I think he said something similar to little Sawyer, and how he shouldn't let hate take over his heart.

I know several of you think the good/evil lines are blurred too much on this show, to the point that no one is either all good or all evil, which I would agree with, when it comes to the humans. But I think I'm picking up on some definite lines the writers are laying down, that are showing us the final "truth" to their story, and their take on the good vs. evil argument, which is headed up by the Nemesis (evil) and Jacob (good).
Sorry for the long length of this post. Each show of this season has been a rollercoaster of non-stop shocks, revelations, action and plot development. It makes it difficult to sum up in 200 words or less. Let the discussion begin! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite moments were, or what your theory is on the whole debate of good vs. evil on the show.


Laurie B said...

We shared most of the same shocking and funny moments. I too was so surprised to hear the nice things Ben said about Locke at his funeral. I really think Ben's entire world is turned upside down and he is just reacting now. He's walking around like Richard is now. Richard seems to be losing it. His speech has changed and he's panicked. Davina, you're right about his demeanor changing. Is his very life based on Jacobs?

I found Locke to be completely pathetic in the beginning of the episode. Things just kept getting worse and worse for him ending with him on the grass when the sprinklers came on. It was hard for me to watch. Even though in the original timeline his boss was a jerk, it was a little hard to blame him for firing Locke after finding out he lied about his business trip.

It is possible that Jin is the candidate and not Sun because, as far as we know, all the other candidates are men. Although I realize he touched both of them at the wedding. We'll see.

I want to know who Ilana and Bram and the rest of that group are. Jacob told Nemesis "They're coming!" This seemed to worry him a little. Ilana may be alone now that her companions are all dead. She's a very special person to Jacob. Someone the Others don't seem to know. I'm looking forward to seeing how they react when she shows up at the Temple.

I caught Helen saying they could have the wedding with her parents and Locke's Dad but didn't think about how that implied his Dad didn't paralyze Locke. Hmmmm.

Shawn White said...

Laurie, you asked this about Richard, "Is his very life based on Jacobs?"

I think Richard actually said that it was last season. When asked why he was so young, he said it was because of Jacob - so there is some link there.

Laurie B said...

Shawn, I know Ben was changed by the water, which I assume is how he was healed from his gunshot wound, but it doesn't keep him young or else he wouldn't have aged. Richard on the other hand doesn't seem to age at all. I think Jacob's magic is different for them.

Why do you suppose the healing water makes them forget what happened to them?

hyacinthinemoon said...

This alternate reality is a lot more complicated then I first thought. Ben is a teacher and never the master mind of the Others? This time line seems to go back a lot father then the plane NOT crashing on the island. Hurley thought he was the most unlucky man alive, cursed before the crash, but in the alternate reality he is the "luckiest guy" and really confident.

Judith said...

Thanks for all the good analysis. Gives us all lots to think about.

D.L. White said...

Here's an interesting item that FishBuscuitLand noticed...

Mirrors have always been referenced on the show, especially with one title "Through the Looking Glass". Alice walked through a looking glass to get to an alternate world.

Mirrors have already been important in this season. In the Kate-centric episode, she spends a long moment contemplating herself in the mirror at the mechanic shop. In the Locke-centric episode, he takes a long stare into the mirror in the bathroom. Both of these moments happen in the Flash-sideways reality.

The reflection in a mirror is an illusion. It doesn't show us the truth, it shows us a phantom reversal of what we believe to be true.

So what's the conclusion we are to make about the flash-sideways reality??? Hmmmm...