He's Back! Dr. Nick gets all analytico-reducto with "Lost"'s 'The Package.'

Look at the package on that guy…

By Nick Gorini

Hello there. Many apologies for not posting last week in regards to the epic ‘Ab Aeterno’, which according to internet chatter, has already become one of the most beloved Lost episodes all time.
 
I did have my reasons for not posting: Spring Break, travel, willfully ignoring things like television, email, phones, and the like. But I must confess: I’m still trying to figure out the Alpert episode! I’ve watched it twice, and I fear I may be over-analyzing myself into a perplexed, Doc Jensen-like Rubicon.
 
So much has been written about the damn thing, that in order to just fill-up that gaping hole in my heart, I will just post a few vexing thoughts about it before I move on to talking about Kwon’s Package…
 
In regards to ‘Ab Aeterno’:

1.   As we expected, it is tragedy that drove Alpert to the island. It’s what has driven all of our major characters. But the man who purchased Alpert as a ship’s slave was working for a man named Hanso. The Hanso family eventually went on to create the Dharma Initiative. Does this mean that the Hanso’s have always been knowledgeable about the island and it’s powers? Was Alpert purchased specifically for that intent?

2.   Alpert’s back-story? Powerful, tragic, and engrossing. I’m also intrigued and trying to understand why he wasn’t offered absolution from the priest in prison. Penance takes time, he was told, and he didn’t have that. Was this an example of a cruel priest perhaps symbolizing the cruelty of the power players on the island? Was it that Alpert didn’t seem so sincere in his guilt, much like Eko was? Or did the priest know where Alpert was ultimately headed? I don’t know…

3.   Some people think Alpert was talking to his wife’s ghost, while others think even the sincere moments were held with Smokey as an apparition. Why did she wait until Alpert called out to Smokey to show up? When the scene cut to Smokey in the distance, why did he look unsurprised at the moment? I don’t know…

4.   Richard the prisoner was really into Luke 4:1-27. But what is the purpose? Alpert wasn’t on a 40-day fast in the desert, and he doesn’t seem to have a demon inside him needing to be cast out. So, folks, why is this passage important?

5.   Smokey? Exactly as I expected him to be. Jacob? That threw me for a loop. Seeing him beat the living daylights out of Alpert shocked me – this isn’t the way we’ve been watching him behave before (or since, if we’re talking linearly timeline on the show). And the fact that it’s ALPERT’S suggestion to become consigliore instead of the other way around? Also odd. This Jacob doubts. This Jacob uses physical force. This Jacob doesn’t seem to operate with the bigger picture in mind. And this Jacob gloats. All of these things… I’m still trying to figure out what it means.

6.   And on that note: “Bring back my wife!” Can’t do that. “Give me absolution!” Can’t do that, either. “Give me immortality!” Oh! Yeah, I can do THAT! Folks, what does this mean? I don’t know…

7.   [Imagined scene from the writer’s room]: Well crap, we still gotta explain the damn slave ship and that freaking four-toed statue! HEY! I know – let’s just crash ‘em into each other! Yeah! HA HA! It’s like we’re telling the audience to stop asking about this stupid crap and focus on the characters, or something!

8.   Lastly, I give myself the delayed Stupid Award from last week, because I didn’t post anything, and because I still can’t figure this freakin’ episode out…
 
ENOUGH! Onto The Package…just hit the jump….
 
WHAT WILL SOON NOT BE CALLED A SIDEWAYS TIMELINE BY ANYONE OR ANYTHING WATCHING THE SHOW
 
Rather than give a blow-by-blow account, let’s just touch on the highlights, shall we?
 
Our ‘other’ Jin and Sun don’t speak English (my bad – when we last saw them at the airport, I was convinced Sun wasn’t speaking English because she WANTED Jin to get busted). Also, while Jin works for Mr. Paik, he’s not married to Sun. They are kicking boots, however. In not so secret.
 
Odd that Sun seems so much more self-assured, and openly self-indulgent, in this timeline. And this Jin is still a bit of an ass, but not as mean as Jin originally was before the island redeemed him. Also odd that this time around, running away from Mean Old Man Paik was news to him. And, odd that Sun got her moment of reflection in a mirror (like Jack, Locke, Ben, Kate, etc.) but I didn’t notice Jin getting one, unless I missed something.
 
Sun’s Dad (like nearly all dads on this show) is still a Big-time jerk – in fact, he’s such a jerk that he has Jin personally deliver the $25,000 smackers to pay (the awesome villain) Keamy to kill him! As mean as it is to have someone killed, this is even meaner. Wow.
 
And Omar’s there again, too. No wait! It’s Patchy! Awesome. I missed the old, died-4-5-times-before-he-really-died-Patchy. Well, he died again (along with Keamy and Omar) but not before he got to speak Korean, and not before he got his eye shot out (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”).

What other awesomeness did we get in this timeline? Oh man, I loved that cruel, conflicted speech Keamy gave a clueless Jin in the walk-in cooler. When Jin mistakenly thanked Keamy for his “kindness”, Keamy seemed sad and excited about what he was about to do. Almost like he was playing some sort of evil role that he wasn’t entirely buying into. It was great.
 
Hat tip to Doc Jensen at EW this week, for explaining a most-awesome juxtaposition: While Keamy is messing with Jin’s mind in the enclosed walk-in cooler in one timeline, Jin’s tied up in Dharma psychological torture Room 23 in the other. Doc reminds us that the last time we saw Room 23 was when Karl was being tortured in it – tortured by Ben for dating his daughter Alex! So, Paik = Ben, Jin = Karl, and Sun = Alex. Jensen also reminds us – who killed Karl and Alex? Keamy and Omar!! WHOA!!!!!
 
Well, we already know what happens next. We also see Sayid reluctantly hand Jin a box cutter to free himself. Gee, thanks for saving me, I guess.. Honestly, for a second, I thought Sayid was going to shoot Jin. This new Soul-less Sayid creeps me out, man. Thankfully he takes off.
 
Before this side of events ends, we have to have a tragic cliffhanger, one that will force the involvement of yet another character (like say, a surgeon). So, sadly, we see a pregnant Sun getting shot in the stomach, with Jin frantically carrying her to the hospital.
 
For what it’s worth, I have to say that I always liked the Jin/Sun storyline. The love story seems genuine, the passion real, and the growth and redemption well earned. While I don’t consider myself THAT much of a softie, I’ll be a little pissed if these two don’t get to live happily ever after in some capacity.
 
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR STILL ON THE ISLAND BUT NOT FOR LONG FOLK:
 
Some great stuff happened on this side of the storyline, too. Opening with some night goggle vision was intriguing, for sure. Smokey’s cryptic statements to Sayid’s lack of feeling (“That may be for the best”) and to Claire’s remaining streaks of bloodlust and jealousy (when it comes to killing Kate – once she’s gathered all the other candidates I can have killed, “Whatever happens, happens.” ß A former quote from Faraday, which I know is only going to feed fodder for Doc Jensen’s crazy-ass ‘Faraday is Smokey’ theory) were great examples of Smokey’s power plays.
 
Smokey