Hello, Dr. Nick!: Deep "Lost" Analysis – Still Smokeyin'

Dave’s not here!

By Nick Gorini
 
In a break from form, I feel the need to start off this post by issuing this week’s Stupid Award to yours truly. Why? Well, I spent last week telling everyone and their brother that ‘The Last Recruit,’ this week’s episode of ‘Lost’, was going to possible be an absolute bloodbath of Eli Roth-like proportions.
 
My Intel and my Spidey Sense were WAY off.
 
Consider this my formal mea culpa: For getting caught up in being the first with the gossip scoop, for paying more attention to what the internets were saying (I mean, they never lie, right?) and less to the pulse of the story, for not being diligent in my fact-checking, and for being gullible, I have won this week’s Stupid Award!
 
Was I confused, living in an alternate timeline? Was I manipulated and swayed by the Smoke Monster? Did Jacob steer me in this misguided direction to teach me a larger lesson? Was it because the episode cryptically appeared on the date of 4/20, Man?
 
I bring up 4/20 for a couple of reasons: The Losties crashed on a tropical island, looking much like Hawaii. Tropical islands (like Hawaii) are typically known for growing certain types of plants that have a known, enthusiastic following. Let’s put it this way – I imagine Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson might even have vacation homes near Hydra Station (hydroponics is a popular topic of discussion with this subculture).
 
With this information in mind, I ask you, why the hell didn’t Jacob try having a toke with Smokey? His name is Smokey, after all. Why didn’t Smokey try growing some weed in a quiet, fern-covered patch of his back yard, next to the chicken coop? While I don’t believe in any chemical cure-all (this is Lost – resolution has to come from within), can you imagine how different our storyline would be if Smokey had the occasional, well, smoke?
 
For all his troubles and eternal enslavement, all Jacob offered Smokey was half a carafe of table wine (back in Alpert’s episode). I’d be pissed, too. Give me something a little stronger. Of course, you don’t have to be Catholic to know that what Jacob offered Smokey wasn’t really wine; it was something much stronger. Smokey knew that, too, which is why he smashed that sacrament and faith into shards littering the hallowed ground.
 
Perhaps that’s what Jacob wanted for Smokey. To not ply himself with narcotic, to not be complacent and trapped. After all, ‘It only ends once. Everything before that is progress.’ Maybe Jacob wants this escalation, maybe Jacob needs this chaos to help save Smokey. To help save his soul. To help Smokey embrace his destiny. Wonder what that could be?…
 
By the way, have I mentioned that I still haven’t stopped thinking about ‘Ab Aeterno’?
 
This week’s Aye, Caramba! moments…and more….after the jump:


Locke and Ben in the ambulance on the way to the ER. Locke is awake, alert and remembers his penning wedding to Peg Bundy, er, Helen. He’s still in there, folks.

Sun recognizing Locke on the way into the hospital. But maybe she remembered Terry O’Quinn from ‘The Stepfather’. He was real creepy in that one, too.

In what seemed a weak stretch, Kate threatens overly-flirtatious Sawyer with the knowledge that he went to Australia for nebulous reasons. Didn’t buy that logic, but I did believe her when she said she didn’t kill anyone. Wonder what the real story is.

Of course Miles and Sawyer are the cops to catch Sayid. Nice touch, tripping Sayid with a garden hose to capture him. However, the real Sayid would’ve been able to snap Sawyer’s neck like a matchstick.

Desmond ‘bumping’ into Claire and getting her to a lawyer’s office (“Hi, Ilana! Glad to see you in one piece!). Question: Did Desmond know that Claire and Jack were going to meet at that moment, or was that an event that Desmond had no previous knowledge of, but once it happened, got affirmation that his puzzle pieces are coming together?

The brief exchange between Nadia and Sayid set the stage nicely for one of the best scenes of the evening: Sayid and Desmond at the well. Can Desmond’s reminder of love redeem our favorite undead assassin? Well, if Ben can suddenly be a good guy, why not?
Ohhh! Ohhh! Zoe has missiles now!! WOW!! Somebody please kill off Zoe now. Bland acting, tepid character, bad lines… What’s not to hate?

I like that the show handled the two separate Claire/Jack meetings with some strange, unresolved awkwardness. If the show had tried to handle either situation with some cheesy score in the background, and smiles, it would’ve been too fake, too unearned. Jack’s shock at the law office, and Claire’s barely contained bitterness on the island were the right notes to play.

The baby is fine! The baby is fine! Yes, it would’ve been really brave of the creators to go way dark, have Jin and Sun’s baby not survive the shooting. But that might have been just too heavy. Not only that, but I don’t think it would’ve worked for what the show is trying to tell us. Lost isn’t about punishing innocents/innocence. Everyone other than Walt arrived on that island with some intense inner baggage – even that smug dog, Vincent (wonder if his flashback would’ve revealed a life spent peeing on carpets, terrorizing neighbor cats and NOT fetching balls).

We knew Jack and Locke would meet on an operating table, but it was a nice touch to have it via a mirror reflecting Locke’s face at (or into) Jack’s consciousness.

So Smokey pretended to be Christian (MOST of the time – see bullet point below for some continuity issues with that statement). Oddly, I felt that Smokey was about 95% honest with Jack in their fireside chat. Right up until the end about all of the candidates needing to go back. He’s just rounding them up to make an easier kill. I also liked that look Jack had when Smokey was speaking ill of Locke – I swear Jack wanted to slap him.

Pay attention alert! As a side note, have you noticed how virulent Smokey’s hatred is whenever he speaks of Locke now? These little speeches sound an awful lot like someone beating up on themselves. It sounds more like self-disgust and shame to me.

Sawyer has some good moments this week, and momentarily, he grabbed pole position when he rounded up most of the troops to stage a coup. And he knew that Kate would force his hand in bringing Claire along.

Desmond at the well, waiting to baptize Sayid and make him a born-again loverboy. I really liked that Desmond’s approach wasn’t to refute anything Smokey promised Sayid. “What will you tell her.” Yet another great Desmond Hume scene. And no, Sayid didn’t shoot him. But did he simply walk away, or does Desmond have to wait for Lassie to come back with help?

It seems obvious that Smokey wanted Sawyer and crew to get on the boat and make it over to Widmore island. In fact, Smokey seemed awfully happy to have Jack to himself.

And don’t worry, Jack. I don’t think you really killed Juliet. After all, you two seem to have raised a fine young boy.

We finally get Jin and Sun’s reunion! The only bummer is that what should’ve been a pretty significant show moment, was overshadowed by the necessity to end on a cliffhanger and propel the plot. That was a shame.
 
A little trivia from a trivial mind:

Smokey really didn’t know why Sun lost her voice. That is an important point to remember.

There’s certain evidence here that Smokey has no idea about the alternate timeline. This is also extremely important (“Here come da Resurrection!”)

To a certain extent, I think as an audience,
we’ve assumed that we know as much as Desmond, but that definitely isn’t the case. Desmond knows a little more; probably not the whole enchilada, but more than we do.

Speaking of Desmond, his sailboat sure seems to be in pretty good shape after all this time. And stocked with canned goods?
Those silly writers are still messing around with those numbers! I got this bit of trivia from Lostpedia: “The first flash was John Locke’s (candidate #4); the third flash was Saywer’s (candidate #15), the fourth flash was Sayid’s (candidate #16), the fifth flash was Jack’s (candidate #23) and the last flashback was Jin and Sun’s (candidate(s) #42.” What are we counting up to, guys?

Someone tell me why Sawyer, who has used Star Wars references in his insults throughout the show, didn’t know who the hell Anakin Skywalker was? Crikey, he even used a Burt Reynold’s reference to insult Lapidus – he obviously knows his pop-culture.

This might have been a “Blooper”, but I think it was intentional: Jack and Locke’s fireside conversation was at night. But when they walked back, it was in daylight. Long conversation, or clunky symbolism?

Claire and Desmond’s elevator number? 15.

This episode had more character juxtapositions than any previous episode. You had Jack taking orders from Sawyer, Widmore conning Sawyer, Jack’s son David giving Jack the pre-surgery pep-talk and affection Christian never gave him, helpful sideways Ben not knowing much about Locke, Smokey calling Locke a “sucker” juxtaposed with Ben calling Locke a “Believer” in a previous episode, Zoe giving Smokey a sundown deadline (just like Smokey did at the Temple), Jack saving Locke’s life at the ER vs. Smokey saving Jack’s life on the beach, Locke greeting Jack with “Nice day for a swim” – which is what Sawyer said to Juliet in the same situation, and lastly, that great boat scene with Jack and Sawyer. Jack being Locke, Sawyer being Jack, then Jack being Sawyer by jumping off the boat (like Sawyer jumping out of the chopper).

Peter mentioned this in his post – who impersonated Christian Shepherd off-island? Smokey claimed to have impersonated Christian, but Jack saw him off-island. Was it Jacob? Was it Smokey? Or by golly, was it actually Christian?
 
What’s on the road. A head?

I mentioned this last week, but at least one more KEY character from the past will be showing up soon. Someone who was a regular cast member. Someone “Special”.

There are still some unexplored places on this island. We will see some of these places before we’re through.
As speculated, we will soon be getting Smokey’s back story. Perhaps we’ll meet his mom, of whom he speaks quite fondly. I wonder what family photo day was like?

 “Comb your hair! Sit up straight, mister! You made a mess of those pants when you got all smoke-monstery! Stop killing the photographer! I can’t take you anywhere, young man! Why can’t you be more like your brother Jacob?”

I’m also keeping this bullet point from last week and using it again, because I think some people aren’t quite catching it: I encourage you, no, I implore you, to watch Locke and Smokey over the next two episodes. Why? Terry O’Quinn’s giving us all sorts of clues in his performance, but we’ve got to pay attention.

I ask you: Are you prepared for an ending that may not meet your needs? One that may not give you all the answers to the petty island mysteries? Or more interestingly, are you rooting for a dark, emotionally complicated ending, or hoping for a resolved, happier one? Something to think about.
 
Thanks for reading and watching!