Hello, Dr. Nick! – Nick Gorini Visits "The LIghthouse," Smashes the Hell Out of It

Ever wonder where Nick gets his insights into “Lost”? And no, he’s not telling you where it is.

By NICK GORINI

Hello, folks! Once again, I have successfully procrastinated in bringing you my recap of this week’s Lost episode, ‘The Lighthouse.’
 
Why the delay? I’ve been spending too much time starting at myself in the mirror with the sound of running water in the background. You know, like all the characters on our show (Jack, in particular, seems to do this an awful lot).
 
Before I begin, two real-life Lost-related incidents to share with you:

1.   Earlier this week I was watching that Michael Bay masterpiece known as ‘Con Air’, or as I call it, Crap. I mean, rarely do you get a pop-culture moment with so many talented people (Cage, Malkovich, Cusack, Rhames, Buscemi, etc.) dumpster-diving for dollars in one dingy flick.
 
Anyhow, there’s a scene where the convict-plane pilot, played by Frederic Lehne, is booted from the cockpit. Frederic Lehne plays Kate’s caustic pursuer, Marshall Mars, on Lost. Well, when he steps out of the driver’s seat, who steps in? A swarthy convict by the name of Swamp Thing, played by the great character actor M.C. Gainey… Who was Mr. Friendly, original face of ‘The Others’ on Lost! One Lost character gets replaced by another Lost character in a movie over ten years old. Whoa!!!
 
2.   If that wasn’t enough, I took my family for a fun weekend hike around Sauvie Island. On the far Eastern tip, away from the farms, corn mazes and bike lanes, there’s a three-mile dirt trail that is the only island path leading to… A lighthouse! Knowing what was coming up on Tuesday night, and (while looking at the map) realizing that in all the times I’d gone to this island I NEVER knew it had a lighthouse, I had to check it out. Maybe it would give me wisdom or insight into this week’s episode and what was to come. Or maybe it was just a beautiful, sunny winter day in the Great Northwest.
 
 
THE ‘SIDE’ TIMELINE AND THE ORIGINAL TIMELINE – SIDE BY SIDE!:
 
(If you’re curious why I’ve now combined the two, it’s because there aren’t two timelines! Ha! Read more about it at the end of the post.)
 
Jack wakes up in his nice, antiseptic apartment (hey, this other Jack doesn’t sit on his dirty apartment floor drinking whiskey and dreaming about frequent flier miles!), and stares all deja-vu-like at his reflection while water runs out the sink (see?). He sees his appendix surgery scar (you know, when he wanted to operate on his damn self until Juliet and Kate tricked him?). He has NO memory of any surgery, even after a quick phone call to his mom (welcome back, Veronica Hamel! Loved you in ‘Hill Street Blues’) reveals that he had it removed when he was a boy. Oh yeah, your dad wanted to do it, but the hospital wouldn’t let him. Just like your old island self, Jack! A chip off the old whiskey barrel..
 
Jack gets ready and we briefly see the same exer-cycle that Desmond had in the hatch. In fact, I believe this cycle has shown up at least three times this season. I believe the cycle officially has a SAG card now.

Follow the jump for a wide array of mind-bending revelations. . .
 
Jack listens to some Stevie Ray Vaughn in his beaten-up brown truck (the Iggy Pop tune Sawyer listened to last week made sense. Not sure what the Stevie Ray connection might be, other than that Stevie Ray is awesome) and pulls up to a school to pick up his pre-teen son, David. Um, did I just say Jack has a son? Whoa!
 
BIG SIDE NOTE: Now, some of the Internet Chatter complained about this twist, but I thought it was PERFECT. What better way for the universe to force Jack to deal with his daddy issues. Damn you, Internet Chatter! You are so wrong, and get so worked up about the dumbest things and don’t put trust in the storyteller. For this, Internet Chatter, you are getting this week’s Stupid Award. For anyone keeping tally, I give a Stupid Award each week, because as much as I love this show, somebody does something stupid in order to propel the story forward. But this week, the storytelling was so awesome, so fitting, that complaining about is was just stupid. This means the winners so far, in order, are: Kate, Claire, Locke and Internet Chatter. At the end of the season, I will give final numbers and perhaps an award, a stupid award, of some kind.
 
Back to our great story: We see Jack looking at his reflection AGAIN in some pond water, rippling his reflection. Calm Dogen comes to speak to him, and lets him know that even it seems to be a hostage situation (Jack: ‘was leaving here even an option?’ Dogen: ‘There are ALWAYS options.’), Jack is in control of his fate. Meanwhile the underutlized Miles, and Hurley are playing Tic-Tac-Toe until Jacob pops up and tells Hurley it’s time to grab pencil, write some junk down, and get to work, okay? Someone’s coming to the island, and it’s your job to help them find it, Hurley!
 
Back in normalville, we get some quick brushstrokes to show that Jack has the same warm relationship with his son that he had with his dad. Jack awkwardly tries to bond with David over ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (yes, another literary reference, but other than some stuff about Though the Looking Glass, don’t worry about it), but David shuts him down with a ‘we see each other once a month. Let’s just.. Get through it.’. Ouch! Jack’s mom calls, frantic about Christian’s missing will, and Jack’s gotta cut his emasculation short because…
 
Island Sayid comes to talk to Jack, and Jack, continuing the trend showing a different leadership style than his first go, tells Sayid everything (‘they wanted you to eat some poison’).
 
We flash to Krazy Klaire as she frees Jin from a bear trap, and before Jin collapses, we learn that she has no idea that she’s been jungle-bound for three years.
 
Back to Hurley, who’s wandering in a dark cave with lots of Bic ink on his inner arm. Dogen confronts Hurley, and we get some great Hurley AND Jacob lines (I like that we’re starting to see Jacob has a sense of humor). Jacob instructs Hurley to brag about being a “Candidate”, and rather than give him a baby to kiss, Dogen just gets all pissed off and leaves. Jacob also gets Hurley to grab Jack who reluctantly goes traipsing along only after getting some bait (“Jacob wanted me to tell you that you have what it takes.”).
 
Jack thinks, “Hey – my dad used to say that, too! Only, he said something like, “You DON’T have what it takes.” I bet this Jacob cat knows where my dad is, and much like five years ago, I am going to go looking for my dad. But before, it was my dad’s ghost I was chasing through the forest. Now it’s Hurley. Whatever.” And they’re off!
 
Back to Jin waking up in Krazy Klaire’s tent, where she’s surrounded by Rousseau’s dynamite and raising a beautiful baby deer skull. She drags back my favorite Red Shirt Other, Justin – hey, he’s alive! Probably not for long…  Justin’s wounded and gets tied up, because Krazy Klaire’s about ready to go all Mel Gibson “GIVE ME BACK MY SON!” on poor Justin. When she leaves to prep for some emergency Jin surgery, Justin lets Jin know that this bloodthirsty blonde mop is going to kill them both if they don’t leave.
 
Jack and Hurley are wandering through the forest and of course, randomly bump into Kate. I mean, it’s a real, fricking small island, I guess. She reiterates she’s looking for Claire, and Jack warns her about Dogen’s cryptic infection message. But Kate’s going one way, and Jack and Hurley are going another.
 
Meanwhile, happier Jack is at his mom’s, refusing
a scotch (good for you, Jack) keeping his mother calm, and looking for a will. In more shadows of ‘Jack-is-his-dad-now’, his mom explains that David’s scared of him. Jack’s mystified as to why, much like Christian probably was mystified about Jack. Before they can get into a real discussion, the will is found, and Jack’s mom quickly finds a new name in there: illegitimate daughter Krazy Klaire, I mean Claire Littleton.
 
Back to Jin, who resists untying Justin, who’s looking legitimately scared to be there. She comes back with a big axe and mentions her dad and her “friend” (who we all know is Smokey) telling her that the temple folk have Aaron. She’s going to get Justin to talk. Or turn him into kindling. Probably kindling.
 
Back to island Jack and Hurley, who have happened upon the old water source – you know, where Adam and Eve are. They step on an old inhaler of Shannon’s and Hurley wonders aloud, on behalf of all viewers, one of the oldest show mysteries: Whose skeletons are these? Are they us from another time travel event? (If you like to bet, bet that ultimately, these skeletons are Bernard and Rose. Everyone online seems to think so). (PAC chimes in, uninvited and to Nick’s obvious annoyance – Oh, yes. Bernard and Rose = white and black, respectively,,,)
 
Hurley also starts questioning Jack about what went wrong in his off-island time. Jack talks about his failures with Kate, his failures trying to raise Aaron, etc. Hurley says he always thought Jack would make a great dad – Jack strongly disagrees. Jack also admits to Hurley that he originally found this water source when he was chasing his dad’s ghost and found his dad’s empty coffin. Which he smashed to pieces (much like the smashing he does to the lighthouse later).
 
Back to happier Jack, who comes back from Mom’s with a pizza for David, only David isn’t there. Jack rushes over to his ex-wife’s house (his old house, because he found the hidden key under the rabbit!) and goes looking for David, who isn’t there, either. What he does find is his son’s room, full of life and things about his son that he realizes he never took the time to see. It dawns on him that he desperately wants to be part of his son’s life. He listens to David’s answering machine and hears his own broken voice calling from Australia when he was there to pick up his dad’s body. The next message is about David’s audition, which he’s currently at. Jack rushes off to catch up with him.
 
Side note, part deux: First off, Matthew Fox is a great actor. With no dialogue, we watched him encounter his failures, his shame and his needs in a few brief moments in one room. Awesome. Second, we all want to know who the mom is, right? I’m basing this on absolutely nothing, and haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but in this alternate series of events, couldn’t it turn out to be… Juliet?
 
Back to island Jack, where Hurley reminds how cool all this “Old school” stuff is, just the two them, going somewhere unknown, doing something dangerous. Hurley says he came back because Jacob told him to, while Jack says he came back because, “I was broken, and I was dumb enough to think the island would fix me.” Boom, because of that catharsis, the lighthouse appears. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they found it, right? No. If Jack hadn’t said that, or felt that, they would’ve kept on walking. It only appeared because Jack was finally ready to see it.
 
Back to Krazy Klaire, who’s ready to kill Justin for taking Aaron until Jin tells her the truth: Kate took Aaron off the island. She’s been taking care of him. Let this seemingly nice man Justin go! Well, she ain’t havin’ it, being all infected, see? The axe swings and we say, “TIMBER!” as another red shirt comes crashing down. Expect to see a lot more of these dudes die in the next two weeks.
 
A quick shot of Jack and Hurley busting into the lighthouse, which quickly shoots to…
 
Happier Jack walking past a sign for David’s audition that says “Candidates Welcome.” Jack beams with genuine pride and love for his son while David plays a beautiful piece by Chopin. Did it sound familiar to you? It may have because IT WAS THE SAME PIECE FARADAY PLAYED FOR HIS MOM!!! WHOA!!
 
A young boy asks Jack about his son, and the boy’s father begins speaking to Jack – it’s Dogen!! Double-Whoa!!! Dogen says that children are too young for this kind of pressure (wise), and also tells Jack that his son has a “Gift”. Is this the same “Gift” that Michael was told Walt had? Hmm. Or maybe the gift is that there’s still someone under the age of forty that can read sheet music. Either way, when Dogen asks Jack how long his son has been playing, Jack says, “I don’t know.” On the one hand, we want to say that’s because of the split Jack situation. But the show’s toying with us. Jack said that because he’s been a distant dad.
 
Back at the lighthouse, where Hurley gives Jack some coordinates with which to turn the reflective mirrors. There are numbers and names scrawled along the wheel for each point along its axis, and most of the names are crossed out. Much like the cave last week!
 
As Jack turns the wheel, we see strange reflections in the mirrors (this lighthouse is for looking inward, and not outward, okay?). First image Jack sees, not that he’d know it, is the temple where Jin and Sun got married. It’s where Jacob ‘touched’ them. The next image Jack sees is the church steps where a young Sawyer met Jacob, clutched revenge letter in hand. Jack finds his number, 23, and turns to it, despite Hurley’s objections.
 
Jack sees his childhood home and quickly gets enraged. He demands that Hurley bring Jacob to him this instant – how long has he been watching me? In frustration (for more on why he’s really frustrated, read more below) at himself, not liking this reflection, he smashes the mirrors, just like his dad’s coffin. Anger, with potential future catharsis, ensues.
 
Back to happier Jack, who gently confronts his secretive son. David says he didn’t want to disappoint his intense dad, and Jack, reaching perhaps with his father’s help, goes beyond what he was capable of before, and tells David, “When I was your age, my dad told me I didn’t have what it takes. And I always carried that. You will never fail in my eyes. I will always love you and just want to be part of your life.” Well, what kid doesn’t want to hear that from their dad at some point? Good job, Jack! If you noticed, what was also key here, is that Jack didn’t speak with anger and resentment about his father (like he did in the past). Within his speech to his son, you heard a man who understood his dead dad, forgave him, and loved him.
 
Back to the lighthouse, where Jack sits looking at the sea while a recently arrived Jacob gets chided by Hurley for being so cryptic and obtuse. When Jacob lets Hurley know that the plan was for Jack to smash everything in the first place, Hurley gives Jacob a little what’s what. But Jacob explains two things: one, you can’t reach everyone the same way, and two, I had to get you and Jack out of the temple, because some BAD stuff is about to go down. Hurley wants to go back to help his friends, but Jacob’s having none of it. If your friends at the temple are going to fight Smokey, they’ll be doing without Jack and Hurley. Good luck, guys..
 
One last flash to Krazy Klaire who now looks like she wants to kill Jin for the hell of it. In a pre-emptive bid to save his own ass, he tells Claire that he lied – Aaron’s at the temple, and he can take her. That’s when Smokey pops into the tent and Krazy Klaire corrects Jin. “That’s not John, that’s my friend…”
 
NUMBERS, SCHMUMBERS! OKAY, SO WHO’S COMING? WHAT’S HAPPENING? AND WHY THERE ARE NOT REALLY TWO TIMELINES!
 
· NUMBERS! Hurley told Jack to turn the Lighthouse dial
to the number 108. Yes, we all know that Jacob meant for Jack to turn it to his number (23) and smash the hell out of everything. But here’s some numbers for you to chew on: Hurley’s numbers equal 108 (4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42). And this episode was the 108th episode of Lost. Whoa!!!! Does it mean anything? Probably Nooo!!!! Still cool, though.
 
· NUMBERS? Seriously, though, a couple other notes about the lighthouse numbers: Benjamin Linus was number 117, and yes, he was crossed out. Kate was number 51 – still not crossed out! But why wasn’t Kate one of Hurley’s numbers? Could it be that Kate has a different, even more mysterious role in Jacob’s plans than our other heroes?
 
· MIRROR, MIRROR! What Jack went through this episode is an almost exact mirror of Jack’s first season episode titled ‘White Rabbit’. Is this a gimmick? No way, man! If you want to get a read on what next week’s episode is going to be like, re-watch or read up on Sayid’s first season episode(s). You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll know about next week beforehand. Seriously…
 
· I’M GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN! Speaking of next week’s episode, it’s called ‘Sundown’. Should we take it literal, as in Jin’s Sun goes down for the count? I hope not… Show producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof said that this episode, in addition to being about Sayid, is a bit of an homage to ‘High Noon’. The temple serves as the dusty town that evil gunslinger Smokey envelopes, giving everyone there “Until sundown” to get out of damned temple-town before he tears it to pieces. We shall also see Sayid and Dogen finally confront each other.
 
· GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? So who is coming to the island? Did Jacob simply mean it was Jack coming to the island, and having to get a good cathartic look at himself to do so? Is it our perhaps still powerful Widmore? Is it our good man Faraday? Maybe even another Desmond appearance (“We miss ya. Come back to us, Brotha.”).
 
· DOC’S THE MAN! AND WHY THERE AREN’T TWO TIMELINES!!! Once again, Doc Jensen from Entertainment Weekly had an exhaustive take on the whole thing, but one of his insights I found so piercing was that the lighthouse wasn’t for looking out – it was there specifically for looking in. It made me think that when we are going through our most difficult times, when we aren’t our best selves and we’ve lost our way, like we always do, in that rocky sea inside, being able to look at yourself, LOOK! Don’t look away, no matter what it is you see. Stop and look at yourself honestly and nakedly. It may hurt, and you may want to smash that mirror, but this is the only way to heal, and maybe move forward.
 
Jack wasn’t angry about being spied upon. He was angry because he looked in that mirror and saw his childhood home. He saw that JACOB SAW Jack’s been locked in that space in his life for so long. He was still that stressed little boy scared of the man whose approval he so desperately sought. He smashed those mirrors because he recognized all the fear and anger he’d held onto – all the growth-stunting turned into false bravado. He raged at himself for not letting go. And just as he did that, the other Jack was able to move past viewing himself as a “broken” son and finally begin the journey of being a dad.
 
Jack’s been reborn, folks. And in light of this (pun intended, and not), I can safely say that these timelines aren’t serving as a comparison. The emotional catharsis taking place in one is directly influencing the other. We aren’t watching two Jacks – it’s still one soul, temporarily split apart, for whatever greater purpose is out there. Now, is that not cool storytelling, or what?
 
The other cool fringe benefit to this? I’m telling you, I just don’t believe Locke is all dead yet. Because half of Locke is in a wheelchair, learning to live the life he has, and being in love with Helen, he is influencing Smokey in ways that Smokey doesn’t yet understand.
 
We’ve got rebirth. Now it’s almost time for some resurrection.
 
 
ONE MORE HINT FROM THE WIZARDS OF OUR OZ
 
In another recent interview/torture/tease, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof told us that we would learn specifically what the island truly is in mid-season episode (my take: likely to be the episode centered our ageless Maybelline man Alpert).
 
In a concerted effort to drive me even more nuts, they said that it’s a four-letter word that has no ‘A’ or ‘E’ in it. Well, it may not be Hell, but when I get clues like this, it sure feels like Hell to me.
 
Perusing the net, the dominating names/theories seem to be:
· Ship (oh man, I hope not. I don’t want Aliens to be thrown into the mix).
· Brig – like the brig of a ship. More intriguing, but still kinda lame.
· Gift
· Door (ah, now we’re getting a little more interesting)
· Tomb
· Lost – Yes, it’s possible that the island is what’s lost, and it’s using our players to find its’ way back home. But does that also make it a ship?…
· Cork, or Plug – now this I like. In the 6th Season Promotional Posters, there was all sorts of symbiology thrown at us, some of which has already appeared on the show (i.e. Hurley’s Ankh from the guitar case). One symbol that appeared in the poster that hasn’t (heh heh) ‘POPPED’ up yet is a champagne bottle with a shooting cork. Might the island need a new Jacob because it’s preventing something from leaking out? A Black Hole, another electro-magnetic explosion, demons from hell? Or is it the metaphor of the island, of redemption, hope and inner growth that is holding back the bad things inside of us?
 
Thanks again for reading, and watching.

"Lost" in Translation – Child is the Father to the Man

Mama said knock you out!

Talk about feeling lost: parents never really know what’s going on with, or what they’ve done to, their own kids until it’s too late to do anything about it. I just listened to a song by Okkervil River, “Savannah Smiles,” that captures the feeling. Tune is “Savannah Smiles,” the narrator a divorced dad contemplating what he’d just learned by (accidentally) reading a page of his teenaged daughter’s diary. In that moment he realizes he can’t reconcile the smiling photos he keeps on his wall with the feelings she records by hand.

“Is she someone I don’t know at all? Is she someone I betrayed?”

So back to “Lost,” and another haunting episode describing the emotional discord haunting its characters: the disconnections between parents and children; the terrors of a failed parent; the scars borne by lost and confused children. Particularly when they become parents themselves, and realize how their wounds now define the unhappy relationships they have formed with their own children.

“Just cannot believe, could do that to a child,” the song continues, far beyond the point where feelings trump words. “A child, a child.”

It’s easy to forget how crucial the emotional side of the saga has been; how easy it is to get so caught up in the action we barely notice how we keep coming back to these particular headwaters. It’s the one undertow that never, ever loses its grip.

“Lighthouse” was a Jack-centric episode, toggling between Island Jack in 2007 and alterna-Jack in Los Angeles, 2004. Island Jack, we recall, lives in a jungle of his father’s creation. We’ve always known how fraught/broken the relationship between Christian and Jack Shephard has been. It is Jack’s most primal experience: of loving and fearing his dad; the tangled strands of admiration and resentment; the love and the hatred; the need to be nurtured, and to destroy. Jack was bringing his (alcoholic) dad’s body home from Australia when he stepped onto Oceanic #815, and when the plane crashed the impact seemed to revive Christian’s soul: He kept reappearing, silently, only to lead Jack further into the depths of a literal/figurative jungle that presented far more questions than answers.

As the series continued it seemed that Christian had some connection to Jacob. He appeared in Jacob’s stead. He delivered (or claimed to deliver) Jacob’s instructions. But now that Jacob has stepped in himself, in both real and spectral forms, the connections between the Island’s Good Father and Jack’s bad daddy have grown murkier. Is there a reason why Christian and Jacob have never been seen together? And if the Man in Black has the power to animate the bodies of the dead, doesn’t it make sense that Jacob would, too? Has he been walking in Christian’s burial suit for all these years?

What seems clear now is that Jacob plays the role of Father of Fathers. From his perch on the Island – and in that groovy, previously-unseen lighthouse – he has been keeping track of his charges, monitoring their lives and stepping in when it seems they need a gentle push to keep them moving in the right direction.

Jacob’s vision of a right direction, anyway, which opens up an interesting can of worms: For all his clear-eyed, seemingly warm-hearted affection for the Losties, has Jacob’s presence enriched their lives, or simply made them much, much worse?

Consider that alterna-Jack in L.A. – the Jack who never went to the island and seems untouched by Jacob’s presence – is actively breaking the cycles of dysfunction that “broke” him (as the other Jack tells Hurley on the island). So while his relationship with his own teenaged son (who didn’t even exist until now) bears the marks of his own disconnection from Christian, Jack is growing and changing on his own. He comes to terms with his own feelings for his dad, admits his failings as a father and these revelations lead him to reconnect with his own son.

We’ve seen this again and again in the alterna-Losties in Los Angeles: From Locke to Hurley and now to Jack, the bonds between fathers and sons seem far more functional than it is in their island alter-egos. And now that Jacob presents himself as a kind of father-in-general. . . . God the father. . . what are we to make of how screwed up the Jacob-influenced Losties are? Why are the Jacob-free characters so much more able to control, and find satisfaction, in their lives?

Back on Jacob’s island virtually every paternal/maternal relationship is a disaster. Most vivid case in point: Crazy jungle Claire and her insane pursuit for Aaron, who she saw last when she abandoned him on a log and wandered off into the jungle, presumably in the grip of the Man in Black, or some other wicked force. Now she’s basically Rousseau 2.0, wild-eyed and dangerous, stalking the jungle for a lost child. She has no idea where the kid is, but her free-wheeling desperation to reconnect has turned her psychotic. She’ll kill any and everyone she encounters, always in the name of her lost child, but actually because her maternal instincts have been subsumed, and poisoned, by the island’s darker forces.

So is the dark force the Man in Black, or is Jacob fostering the darkness too? Consider how he manipulates Hurley into leading Jack to the lighthouse, seemingly to help guide someone else to the island. Only, when Jack realizes that the lighthouse is actually Jacob’s monitoring station – that the mirrors are what have given Jacob the power to see into their lives – he smashes the whole works to smithereens. A fact Jacob takes with surprising aplomb. In fact, it was the plan all along:

“It’s the only way for him to understand how important he is,” Jacob tells Hurley. “Jack is here to do something. He can’t be told what it is, he has to find it himself.”

This is Jacob’s version of paternal guidance. Whether his lighthouse is leading him – and everyone else – to a safe harbor or onto the rocks still isn’t clear.

"Lost" in Translation: What Kate Did Doesn't Matter.

Turn your head and cough!

This episode, titled “What Kate Does,” features a serious thematic revelation: Sayid, we learn, has an infection. A really bad one. LIke, it’s going to kill him bad. Here’s the worse news: Everyone else has it, too. And not just the people on the screen.

He was killed, then resurrected, seemingly none the worse for the mortal wounds he sported just hours/minutes ago. Everything about him seems normal. He looks the same, acts the same, knows everyone and re-engages where he (briefly) left off.

But he’s infected. There is, Guru whotk tells him, a “darkness” growing within him. “and once it reaches his heart, everything he once was will be gone.”

This revelation comes late in the episode, but it hardly seems surprising. Because what we’re really talking about — what we’ve seen repeatedly during the episode, throughout the entire history/ies of “Lost” and our own lives — is original sin. The seeds of darkness that exist in the foundations of everyone’s consciousness, growing (or not) according to the quirks of character, experience and, more grandly, fate.

Which brings us to the most fundamental questions of existence: Are we free to create, and re-create, ourselves? Or are we merely enacting our part of a story long since written by larger hands?

And this takes us back to this hour of “Lost,” the second episode in the series’ final arc, in which we are to learn, finally, What It All Means. Ooh, delicious! Only here’s a prediction: The final answer will (or should) be that there aren’t any real answers. Because the deeper you travel into your own soul, the more shadowy and deceptive it all becomes.

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow. But let’s follow the jump first.

And if this season of alternate existences and timelines seems to be proving, no amount of running or hiding or even leaping planes of existence is going to change anyone’s essential nature.

When Kate gets in a tough spot, her first, all-but-undeniable impulse is to hit the road. To do a geographic, as our 12-stepping friends will say.

Sawyer, meanwhile, can’t escape the externalized self-loathing (his anti-social impulse; the hair-trigger temper and guilt) he’s felt since witnessing the murder/suicide of his parents.

Jack’s compulsion for super-human status — the impulse to heal the sick, to save everyone in sight, to be the hero no matter what — plays out in his surgical practice at home. On the island it compels him to be an action hero. Trouble is he knows he’s only a mortal, just like everyone else. His decisions are far from infallible. He takes wild risk and other people suffer and die.

Claire, who shares Jack’s distant/screwed-up dad, both yearns for connection (to her son; to her friends; to anyone) but ends up wandering wild-eyed in the jungle. As the temple guru tells Jack, she’s already fallen to the same “infection” that will inevitably claim Sayid.

Back to Sayid, then. The guru and Lennon perform “tests” to see how profound his infection has become, and they amount entirely to the same tortures he once performed as a Republican Guard in Iraq. “Why are you doing this!?” he wails, as if he didn’t know. And maybe that’s exactly what reveals how far gone he is: That the blood on his own hands has seeped so deep into his own soul that he no longer remembers how it got there, or even realizes that it exists.

Also significant: the alt-timeline/off-island appearance of creepy villain Ethan Rom as a white-coated, seemingly sweet natured Dr. Goodspeed, who now tends to Claire’s false labor with warmth and kindness. Only why does this feel so unsettling? Are we responding to what we THINK we know about Ethan based on his Island self? Or does his essential creepiness flourish no matter where he is?

Ultimately all these scenes about parents and children, fundamental health and sickness, the balance of light and dark and how difficult it can be to tell the difference, boils down to the foundations of existence:  Where we came from, who made us, and how we can (or can’t) will ourselves into becoming something else.

They called the episode “What Kate Does.” And maybe what this means is that whatever Kate does can’t really make a difference. No matter how fast and far she runs, when she arrives she’s still going to be Kate.

Hello, Dr. Nick!: Pre-episode "Lost" Wisdom – What We Don't Know

By NICK GORINI

WHAT DON’T YOU KNOW AND WHEN WILL YOU KNOW IT?

I’ve visited several places on the web, I’ve talked friends who are fellow Lost fans, and I’ve looked into Miss Cleo’s crystal ball, all in an effort to better understand where we’re at.

 

What I realized: a lot of people, me included, drew assumptions about what we saw last week. Those assumptions aren’t necessarily justified. In fact, in some cases, it would be wise to think twice about what we think we know.

 

In addition to the questions added to the pile in last weeks’ post, here’s a list I’d like to call, ‘What we don’t know.’


Oh, but first you gotta follow the jump. . .

 

  • We don’t know that the bomb went off. In fact, after re-watching the episode, there may be more evidence to support the idea that it did NOT go boom. There’s compelling hints that it was an act of faith on everyone’s part that caused the time jump and the new alternate universe we’re watching.
  • We don’t know that New-Timeline Jack is the only person suffering from déjà vu. We’ve only seen that initially, he appears to be the only one on the plane with this strange sixth sense. There could be others.
  • We don’t know that Desmond is still “The Variable”. Given what’s taken place, there’s reason to think that Jack may be the official ‘Variable’ that can alter timelines and outcomes. Of course, it may be that every character is a variable, given free will and human nature. We now see that in this alternate timeline Locke and Jack appear to have switched respective philosophical sides.
  • We don’t know that the body of Jack’s dad is really missing. It could’ve been taken or hidden by Charles Widmore. Same thing goes for Locke’s knives.
  • We don’t know that the Temple and its’ people are ‘The Others’ we’ve watched over the last few years. If they are ‘The Others’, why was their leader speaking what sounded like Korean instead of Latin? And he seems to have Jin’s lovely temperament. Are these guys connected?
  • We don’t know that the pool really resurrects people. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this last week, but this pool is probably where young Ben was taken by Alpert to heal after being shot by Sayid. I also seem to remember Alpert solemnly telling Kate and Sawyer, after agreeing to take the dying boy off their hands, ‘He will never be the same.’ What did that mean then, and what does it mean now?
  • We don’t know if the new timeline also created an alternate Jacob, alternate Man In Black, or even an alternate Smokey.
  • Initially, I thought it was clear that the show was telling us that The Man In Black has always been Smokey. Now I’m not so sure. We’ve seen Smokey judge and spare some people, judge and smash others, and sometimes simply squash people outright. There hasn’t been a consistent pattern to Smokey’s behavior over the five-plus years of the show. Is it that out of the realm of possibility to consider that both Jacob and The Man In Black have appeared as Smokey at some point? I have a theory about why Smokey judged Eko and gave him a pass, only to come back later and make what Peter calls, “Eko bits”. I’m waiting on posting my theory until I have some evidence to support it.

 

One thing I do expect is a reappearance of Jack’s line from the end of the pilot episode: “If we can’t live together… Then we’ll die alone.”

 

Before I go, I want to take a moment to mention another local yokel who does good round-up of post-episode Lost chatter. It’s the Oregonian’s own DeAnn Welker, and you can find her online athttp://connect.oregonlive.com/user/dwelker/index.html.

 

Thanks for reading!

"Lost in Translation": Season Premiere – Neither Here Nor There, But Sorta Both

Guess who’s coming to dinner! Now, guess who else is coming!

“I’m sorry you had to see me like that.”

Ah, it’s Locke, with his Colonel Kurtz head, his crinkle-eyed smile, his jungle-stained summer-wear. And now, his unsettling ability to become a (THE) smoke monster, complete with deadly coal-black smoke legs that can blast everyone and anything in sight into smithereens.

Who isn’t Locke at all, of course, but some other being entirely. Jacob’s evil brother? His rival? His Esau? Something has subsumed Locke — who is, to be fair, dead — and now it’s unclear who or why and who’s on his side, and what his side (his goal?) IS, exactly.

Welcome to the new, and final, season of “Lost.” And we’ll get to that in a moment, but not before we admit that this is not an unfamiliar story. No, it’s the essential story of mankind (womynkind, too), all of us splayed between the contradictary natures within our own divided souls. It’s hard to get truly lost these days, what with Mapquest and handheld GPS devices. Until you look inside yourself, of course, at which point the (moral) compass spins crazily and true north vanishes altogether. Gaze within and you’re thousands of miles away from any rescue party. No man is an island, John Donne said. If only because those internal islands are so full of monsters and spirits and unsettling memories and whispering voices that sometimes you want them to vanish altogether. Either that, or go back in time so you can un-do all the mistakes you made along the way.

For all you fans out there obsessing over the “Lost” mythology (including part of me, of course) let’s just put that down for a moment and realize that it’s THIS other story — the internal one; the psychological one; the overgrown wilds of the psyche one — that resides most closely to the heart of the series.

The rest of it, the wildly-imagined and crazy-baffling stuff, is the grooviest window dressing in the history of popular American entertainment. It’s the submarine; the Oceanic flight; the portal in the desert. But where you’re headed, really, is deep, deep inside.

Still, the storytelling/question-answering went on at warp speed, too. To wit:

1. Juliet-in-1977 did indeed set off the nuke-u-lar bomb intended to blow up the island’s gravitational core and thus make it impossible for Oceanic 815 to crash in 2004.

2. Which is why our next view of the gang on the original plane shows them clean, scrubbed and entirely airborne to L.A.. And yet still lost in the depths of their own pre-existing mistakes and anxieties. Also, they’re drawn together for reasons they don’t comprehend, though it appears that Jack (whose neck is still stained with Sayid-from-1977’s blood) feels some kind of connection. And is puzzled by it.

3. But guess what, the bomb only kind of worked. Or maybe it worked in an altogether unexpected way, because the islanders who were on the island at the time are ALSO still on the island. Though now it’s unclear WHEN they’re there, because all the island threads seem to be converging, no matter what year they were taking place in before.

4. The Locke who emerged from his own coffin last year is definitely not Locke. In fact, he’s NotLocke, who appears to be the black-shirted brother/twin/rival to the fair-skinned, white-shirted Jacob, who is/was the personifcation of the Island’s purest spirit, right up until NotLocke maneuevered Ben into stabbing Jacob in the heart and shoving him into a fire.

5. At least one Dharma skeleton wants you to know that it’s time to refresh your reading of Soren Kierkegaard.

So more struggles and more conflicts. Only now they seem even deeper and more irreconcilable than ever. Consider how the latest group of Others are pinned down in some kind of ancient temple, complete with hieroglyphics and magical springs and what seems to be the very heart of their faith/existence. Whose very existence, at this moment, is up for grabs.

Everything in sight is at odds with everything else: the divided souls (and now dueling existences) of the Oceanic Losties; the literally divergent bodies and souls; the endless, seemingly fruitless quest for some rock-solid logic and reason.

No answers, but hints everywhere. (the real) Locke in LAX, hearing that his new friend Dr. Jack, is trying to locate his father’s body: “How could they know where he is? They didn’t lose your father, they just lost his body.”

Or maybe this is the quote of the week, from the just-resurrected Sayid; “Oh my God. What happened?”