…And Found (S2 ep. 5)
Michael: “Is that why you threw us in the pit? ‘Cause you’re scared?”
Libby: “And we’ve got…trust issues.”
"...they drew near the Neverland; for after many moons they did reach it, and, what is more, they had been going pretty straight all the time, not perhaps so much owing to the guidance of Peter or Tink as because the Island was looking for them.”
- Peter Pan
We’re back with Sun and Jin, who, on re-watch, have spent a significant portion of this show being physically separated from each other. Sun’s on the beach with the 815ers, having now realized she’s lost her wedding ring. Jin’s on the other side of the Island, having just made a tentative peace with the tightly-wound, haunted remainder of the Tail Section. The Tailies have decided to take Michael, Jin and Sawyer back to ‘their people’ at the beach. But the Others have taken Mike's boy, dammit. He runs off into the jungle, and Jin and Eko follow after him.
--The detail of the tag on Jin’s tie is a great one. As is the way his interviewer sneeringly rips the tag off. That’s the kind of well-considered choice that makes this show emotionally intelligent. Jin puts up with a good deal of verbal abuse from his superior at the hotel where he’s been hired, but none of that abuse is as immediately effective as that simple gesture.
Jin’s Boss: “The Seoul Gateway is one of the finest hotels in the country…do not open the door for people like you.”
--Cindy the flight attendant, last seen helping Jack along on the path to eventual alcoholism during the 815 flight, is shown here as a part of the Tail group.
--Jack tells Sun that he lost his ring once too, and that he’d torn his house apart looking for it. He never told Sarah he’d lost the ring. He just went out and bought a new replacement. He ‘fixed’ the surface problem, but the underlying issue – true communication – was left ignored. That’s Jack all over.
--We’re formally introduced to Mr. Eko. We’ll eventually discover that he was once known as the man without a soul, but while that was once a truth, it’s no longer the case. He’s a testament to what’s informally known in recovery circles as “fake it til you make it” – a process of repeating certain habits so often that they cease to be habitual affectations and become an organic part of a person’s life. It’s clear from Eko’s eyes that this is a dangerous man – but it’s clear from his actions that this is also a penitent man.
--As I’ve previously suggested, Lost has an ongoing preoccupation with twins and duality. This preoccupation comes to the fore with the introduction of Eko and Ana Lucia, the arguable twins of Locke and Jack. Like Locke, Eko simply knows what plants will heal, how to track, how to make and wield weapons, and is naturally observant and intuitive. He is also stubbornly individualistic when it comes to himself, but protective of the group.
Similarly, Ana Lucia is a hard-headed pragmatist, as protective of the people around her as Jack. She’s the ostensible ‘leader’ of her group, despite the fact that people seem to naturally trust Eko’s instincts, in much the same dynamic as the one between Jack and Locke.
Hurley: “So…Seoul…Is that the good Korea or the bad Korea?”
--The puppy we saw Jin give Sun in S1 is named ‘popo,’ which apparently means ‘a kiss’ in Korean. I couldn’t help laughing at this. My mind immediately went to Broken Lizard’s good-naturedly shaggy comedy Beerfest and the brief Donald Sutherland cameo from that film. There are few things in life that make me laugh uncontrollably, but Donald Sutherland saying ‘Good night, popo’ and pulling his own plug is, for some reason, one of them.
--I like that Sun and Mr. Lee, her hotel heir suitor, have Bachelor degrees in ‘Art History’ and ‘Medieval Russian Literature’ – subjects that they must have known would be ultimately useless to them in the lives their parents have envisioned for them. It’s a small detail that’s nonetheless very telling.
--Michael goes running off into the jungle because they took his boy, and Jin and Eko go after him. Jin gets run over by one of the boars that Locke doesn’t want to hunt anymore, and tumbles into the bloody, impaled body of Goodwin. He points at it and asks Eko, “Others?” Eko nods. On re-watch, that question and that nod have two separate meanings.
--Sun’s suitor is an ass:
“I really like you, Sun. And I’d like us to keep seeing each other. Hey! By the way, in six months I’m going back to the States to marry an American girl I met in college. What? What’s wrong? Oh, you didn’t think that I was taking you, or any of this, seriously, did you?” (paraphrased, just slightly)
--In what was, at the time, one of the most electrifying moments of the show for me, Jin and Eko hide in the brush as the bare feet and mud-caked pants/legs of a group of Others pass by without a sound. The sight of a dirty, well-loved teddy bear swinging from the waist of what appears to be a child Other is one of those iconic images – something simultaneously surreal and spooky.
It’s that brief image that got me thinking about a classic children’s story and how it, like the Narnia books (see: The Lamp Post Station) may have been consciously referenced by this show in a number of ways throughout the seasons to come.
“The boys on the Island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two. Let us pretend to lie here among the sugar-cane and watch them as they steal by in single file, each with his hand on his dagger….observe how they pass over fallen twigs without making the slightest noise.”
The image of a battered teddy bear calls to mind the Lost Boys, Peter Pan’s group of child adventurers/cannon fodder.
They, like the Others, live on a magical Island in a state of nature (in Barrie’s novel the Boys wear bear skins). They, like the Others, are winnowed out and/or sent away, either dying to protect the Island or banished for 'growing up' and letting 'adult' concerns, like Widmore's desire for a child, take over. They, like the Others, have a tempermental, unpredictable leader (see: Ben/Peter) that is hated and pursued by a vicious man who resents what ‘the boy’ has taken from him (Hook,/Widmore):
“In dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of Charles II…”
Widmore's representatives reside off of the Island on a threatening ship, just as Hook does. The Lost Boys have no mothers, and the subject of them is forbidden (see: the fertility issue). Note that six Others pass by Jin and Eko, the same number as cited in Barrie's book. Pan never grows up, never grows old or sick (see: Richard Alpert, Jacob), and is continually welcoming new arrivals to the Island, either in the form of more Lost Boys (who are taken to Neverland when they’ve been abandoned), or in the form of Wendy, Michael and John, who are lured to the Island (see: Flight 815).
Neverland, like the Island, is near-impossible to find. As illustrated by the quote above, it is sentient in some way. It changes based upon the desires of its denizens. It is patrolled by a monstrous beast that makes a mechanical ticking sound when it appears (see: the Monster/the Croc). In other words, there are quite a few parallels to be made.
Do I think that Lost’s end game will reveal that we’ve been watching a revisionist Peter Pan this entire time? Of course not. But the parallels are still interesting to draw, and fun to tease out. One of Lost’s strengths is the way in which it invites these kinds of comparisons and digressions, in how it invites its audience to seek out these sorts of potential references. It’s a literate show, in that it consistently and organically evokes a surprising number of other fictional worlds.
Great Sawyer Line (to Ana Lucia): “You married? No? Funny, you seem suited for it.”
--It’s when Sun chooses honesty with Kate, and lets go of the ring, saying ‘it’s just a thing,’ that she finds it again. Once more the theme of letting go is reinforced – accepting that ‘things’ are temporary.
Michael: “Walllt! WAAAALLLT! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLT!”
-Kate’s attraction to Sawyer is admitted for the first time in this episode, when she laments the fact that she didn’t get to say goodbye. Oh, Kate. Don’t you worry. You’ll be screwing in a bear cage soon enough.
Michael: “They took him! Right out of my hands. Right. Out. Of my hands!”
We get it, Michael. We really, really, really get it. Please stop.
--The episode ends with Sun and Jin both walking away from the same hotel, unknown to one another. Jin has just quit, because as much as his past might shame him personally, he doesn’t seem willing to accept the raw snobbery of his new job. Sun has just excused herself from the humiliating position of being a hotel heir’s beard. Both of them found the strength to walk away from a different form of servitude – and it’s in that act of letting go that they find one another.