Hello, Dr. Nick! – Nick Gorini's latest pre-episode "Lost" post. . . and this one is amazing.

By NICK GORINI
 
Now that we’ve had nearly a week to sit with our Kate-centric episode, it’s time to gear up for what will be a more revelatory-what-the-heck-is-going-on episode, titled, ‘The Substitute.’ Although all episodes of this show are a must-see (minus a few that spent way too much time in bear cages), this week’s will be especially important. More on that in a minute. First:
 
A FEW SCRAPS I MISSED:

In the first episode, I initially failed to notice Desmond’s wedding ring in his little 30-second plane ride. Well, remember that he threw Penny’s engagement ring in the water way back when that nice/sinister Old-Lady Faraday told him his love was doomed and he couldn’t change fate. Now we have a married Desmond, presumably to Penny. And an episode later, we have a broken Sawyer tossing his Juliet’s engagement ring in the water. Coincidence? Well, of course not.

Also in that first episode, I didn’t notice Sayid’s new passport: Iranian. Not sure how relevant this is… Yet.

Last week, Sawyer tossed that ring from the submarine dock. The submarine dock? Wasn’t that blown up by Locke awhile ago? Well, looks like it’s been rebuilt. And I imagine we’ll be seeing the submarine again, too. Could that be a piece of the timeline convergence puzzle?

Just as Kate was meant to be part of Claire and Aaron’s lives, so too was Ethan. And for all the bad stuff Ethan did  back in Season One, I think we can speculate that Ethan was meant to save Aaron’s life – in both timelines.

To restate, Jacob wanted Sayid or whatever is possessing Sayid to get beyond the Temple’s protective barriers. So all so far is going according to plan. But here’s the catch: remember how unsurprised Dogen was that Jack didn’t give Sayid the poison pill? Well that was part of the plan. What wasn’t part of the plan was Jack popping the pill in his mouth. Further proof that Jack is the new variable.
In a recent interview, show producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof wanted to reassert that the main question they want all of us to ask: ‘Is humanity essentially good or essentially evil?’ Yes, this is stating the obvious, but it’s a good compass for us viewer’s to hold onto when we get too caught up in all the side stuff that occurs.

Peter’s last post astutely mentions that the ‘infection’ that some characters appear to be succumbing to is really a metaphor for the Original Sin. As you will see in upcoming episodes, this infection can come in various forms. More on how this relates to the next episode in a little bit.

In another recent interview, Michael Emerson, who plays Ben, had what was probably the best quote about this final season’s story-telling conceit: In regards to the two timelines, “The dimensions of time and space are… Porous.”

In a weekend conversation with a friend, he stated that he dearly loved the show, but was surprised that the impending game is becoming so blatantly Biblical. I agree, although I am finding as many parallels if not more in another Christian writer’s primary work: C.S. Lewis and his ‘Chronicals of Narnia.’ I skimmed through my beaten, beloved books and found Jack, Kate, Locke, Jacob, Esau and even Ben in lots of of characters. It was a fun exercise, and made me look forward to reading them with my seven-year-old.

How does he do it? No one knows. . .Follow the jump for even more. . .


DOGEN IT, I THINK I KNOW YOU:
 
Dogen is the calm badass running the temple. So who is this guy? Almost every character’s name means something, and he is no exception. He’s named after Dogen Zenji, a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher who was around in the 1200’s. Just a cursory look at his history has so many ‘Lost’ parallels, it proves that the show researchers do their homework:

Dogen’s most revered Buddhist writing was a book called Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma. Dharma, people! Dharma!

Dogen’s mother may have died when he was seven. We know this show loves to give characters with dead or absent mommies. Locke, Sawyer, Ben, all lost their mothers at a young age. And to a lesser extent, you have characters like Kate and Jack, who have complex, complicated relationships with distant mothers or mother figures.

Dogen was a searcher, and pushed past the original doctrines and Buddhist teachings to find deeper meanings and answers. What he found wasn’t always to his liking. In particular, he questioned the idea that you could truly ‘Find Enlightenment’. Perhaps it existed in us all along, and what was the true necessity of engaging in spiritual practice? This concept was tied to the idea of “Original Enlightenment”, the idea that nature already gave us this knowledge. Fate vs. Free Will, anyone?

At some point he became disillusioned with the politics tied to his faith and left Japan to study in China. Further frustrated with not finding satisfying answers, he even refused something called “Dharma Transmission” from a teacher. So, reluctant student, searching for answers. Locke and Jack, anyone?
 
It only gets deeper from there. If you’re curious, Google the guy. There are many more parallels to be drawn. The question with this show is, where do you draw the line? I’m going to watch Dogen a little more now, but won’t draw any conclusions about his true significance yet.
 
I used to think Abbadon (remember him?) was going to become a key character in the show’s mythology, given the religious significance of who Abbadon was and how cryptic all his Locke visits were. Then he was quickly gunned down against the trunk of a car after a day of driving Locke around like Miss Daisy.
 
THE SUBSTITUTE, OR ‘WAR! WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?’

Next week’s episode is called ‘The Substitute’ and will focus on Locke. We’re going to see what alternate-timeline Locke is up to, and needless to say, his life still mostly sucks. However, as I alluded last week, some unlikely faces may be popping up in his timeline.
In the original timeline, we’re going to see The Man In Black-as Locke pull the same recruiting spiel on Sawyer that Ben pulled on Locke (Parallels! Parallels!).

We’re also going to see Alpert come to from his bonk on the head and warn Sun, Lapidus and the others that this is a very bad man who will kill all of them.

I was hoping that the ‘War’ everyone had been talking about all these years was going to be of the more symbolic type, taking place inside each character as they wrestle with those darned inner demons. But nope! This show likes to spell it out, so we have the Fake Locke, infected Sayid, infected Claire and what looks to me like a successful job interview with Sawyer to join the dark side.
 
How will all this play out? Stay tuned…
 
Thanks for reading and watching
 
Nick Gorini