Wednesday, October 14

Live Together, Die Alone (S2, ep. 23)

The Rewatch column for "Live Together, Die Alone" has been marooned on for your reading pleasure.

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  1. and there was great rejoicing!

    I never liked season 2. I'm still burned by how it was originally aired - filled with 2 or 3 week long breaks and many many unanswered questions. Upon rewatch it was interesting to see it as a whole and how alot of it is still relavent to where we are in season 5. The themes you mention are right on too (relapse and "going down the rabbit hole"), but it's still my least favorite season. Season 3 on the other hand finally felt like the characters said "enough is enough" and started (attempting) to take control of their fate. I appreciated this more and can't wait to see you tackle these episodes. Keep up the good work!

  2. Great column, I'm the guy who can't manage the CHUD comment system. So I'm posting here to comment on Charlie's apparent obliviousness after the Hatch explodes.

    In Season Three there are several possible hints that perhaps the reason Locke, Desmond and Eko survived the blast was that they were transported out of the hatch during the flash and potentially transported forward a few days. From memory, I think when John returns Charlie accused him of being missing for three days whereas Locke just woke up and returned back. Whether this was related to the release of energy, or a benevolent or malevolent force, is unclear. But it follows that Charlie could have been skipped forward slightly or even skipped back and and transported. There is no specific evidence of this, but it seems possible given other transportations.

  3. I have two potential answers to the questions posed in this recap.

    Regarding Desmond being dishonorably discharged for cowardice: I wonder if this could be related to Season 4 where due to his need to talk to Faraday he left his squad to travel to Oxford. Clearly he was exhibiting irrational behavior to his superior, and if he went AWOL then that could be why he was discharged.

    My other thoughts concern why the Swan would be left alone. I assume the purge only occurred because Jacob authorized it. I dont believe Widmore would have the authority to initiate genocide without the big man's ok. If the few remaining Dharma people were locked away then they were of no consequence to Jacob, so he chose to let them be.

    Ben though would have motivation to see that station destroyed. If younger Ben, was returned to the Initiative post incident, then its reasonable to guess that he arrived when the Swan was priority 1 for Dharma. I can imagine him wanting nothing more than to see that symbol of the initiative blown sky high if that was the focus of the group he hated when he was forced to leave the group he desperately wanted be a part of. If Jacob never gave special orders for the station to be protected, the Ben would have little concern with the consequences of the Swan's destruction.

  4. Great thoughts, all of you.

    Kels, I appreciate the kind words, and I hope the Season 3 columns are entertaining and informative for you.

    Anon, I REALLY dig that theory. I'll be watching with that in the back of my mind.

    Edward, your reasoning on Desmond's desertion seems sound, and I like the idea that Lost would tangentially answer that small question without head-first addressing it. I'm not sure I completely understand your Swan reasoning, but I really appreciate the effort to explain it to me, since I'm admittedly bewildered by the whole situation.


  5. Thanks, same ANON guy here. I'll create a Miles Reyes ID next time i post, but i profess to being a blog posting newbie and didn't succeed the first time. I'd rather take the time to post now than figure that out.

    So: I have thought more about the time travel/flash out of the hatch idea and I think this is also wrapped up with Desmond's missing clothes. a few things we know about time travel on the show:

    1) clothing and items in possession of people move with them forward and back on the island.

    2) All people in the Hatch had their clothes and possessions on them still with them or nearby, save Desmond.

    3) Desmond's consciousness traveled back in time - off-island. In fact, Minkowski and other Freighter victims aside, Desmond is the only person who has time traveled via consciousness (timeline travel?) and traveled off the island or out of the island's perimeter.

    4) When Ben traveled off island and forward through time via the Orchid Station i Season 4, he remained clothed. (will come back to this)

    5) The meta comment by the producers in Season 5 commentary, that this is not necessarily the first time time travel has appeared in the show, just the first time it is confirmed/blatant. This could be a reference to Ben in Season 4, but seems open for more.

    6) Faraday stated Desmond was wonderfully uniquely special and that the rules of time travel don't apply to him.

    7) Desmond spent three years venting and living next to a giant pocket of electromagnetic energy.

    1) if a flash in time/space happened to any of the people in the hatch + Charlie, then it likely happened to all three in the hatch + maybe Charlie.

    2) All people who were in the Hatch survived uninjured and "wholly intact" except Desmond's flashes. (further assumption that Eko's injuries all came from the polar bear or were remaining from the dynamite blast.)

    3) Nothing bound the three (maybe four) hatch people together through rime. Given Desmond's experience, all three in the Hatch did not necessarily have the exact same experience being transported/traveled out of it. Thus Locke could move forward 3 days, Eko 2, Desmond back some-odd years and then returning to the island one day after the blast for example. Charlie could have been sent forward 3 hours.

    (but not a single unifying conclusion that i can nail).

    1) Desmond time traveled off the island into his past self and then time-traveled back. But his material possessions didn't make it back to the present (or even back into the past for that matter). If a casual observer saw him on the island, they may have even seen his clothes and things simply disappear if he returns the second after he left.

    2) The flashes were a result of Desmond's mind and body reintegrating into its set place in time during chronological events of season 3. In Season 4, after the chopper flew off the bearing, these flashes got much worse and he had to find his constant. The minute he spoke to Penny from the freighter, he had no more flashes (except the delayed memory of Faraday early in Season 5 which I can't explain yet).

    1) Is time travel the only way off without following a bearing (in a sub or chopper for example)?

    2) When Tom returned from meeting Michael in New York in Season 4 was it before or after the sub was destroyed? DId Tom time travel back and arrive naked on the island, but we didn't see this? How about Richard when he returned from filming Juliet's nephew in the park?

    3) Assuming Faraday was accurate, was Desmond "uniquely special" from birth? or because he was in the Swan station for 3 years? Or because a random unplanned or anticipated occurrence had happened to him and strung him around the timeline exposing him to moments of free will? Which came first? the "Special" or the "Timeline" Travel?

    4) Do the parallels between Desmond in Season 2 and Juliet in Season 5 releasing the energy mean she'll experience a similar chance to remake a key past decision?

  6. sorry for the typos...

  7. Wow, Miles. That's some great analysis there. Thanks for detailing your thoughts for all of us! I look forward to re-reading it following work.

  8. My comment is a lot more mundane, but I just finished my own rewatch of this episode, and I can't help but notice (again) that Desmond sure takes a long time to get from his memory of returning to the hatch late to find the whole place going bonkers to informing Locke that "hey, maybe it's not fake." I mean, I know he spent most of the episode drunk, but still, you'd think as soon as Locke brought up the possibility of it all being a fake, that Desmond would immediately chime in about this experience.

    Aside from dramatic tension, can we think of a convincing argument for this lag?

  9. Greg,

    I can't. I think we have to chalk that one up to dramatic tension - that and the curious/infuriating habit of Lost's characters to withhold information from each other because the writers of the show need them to do so.

    To be honest, I didn't catch the lag that you point out until you mentioned it, but my own example of this - of the characters choosing not to impart information that, by all rights, they should want to impart - comes later on, in Season 5, where by any measure Juliet should have shared all of what she knows about the Others and the functional Dharma Initiative of the 70's with the castaways.

    She's in a relationship with Sawyer/Ford/LeFleur at that point, and has zero (stated) reasons for withholding anything from him, and thus from us, but we learn nothing from her.

    And that sorta pisses me off.

  10. Morse,

    Thanks, I think I just needed someone to agree with me.

  11. Mr. Morse,

    I knew that I would be re-watching Lost before season 6 aired, but I had no idea how much better the experience would be with your comments. This blog that you have created should be required reading for any Lost fan. I have a few comments, but they might be premature, as I am only half-way through season 3 (watching and reading your blog at the same time) A few comments:

    Lostpedia mentions that in this episode, Locke tells Eko that "We're only puppets, puppets on strings. As long as we push it, we'll never be free." This is a possible reference to Watchmen (but Watchmen is alluding to another source...). I can't remember if you have specifically pointed out the common themes that are present in both Lost and Watchmen. The Producers/creators have sited Watchmen as a source of inspiration (remember the smiley face balloon?)

    Watchmen is a great work of art and it alludes to many of the philosophers and novels that you have already mentioned, so the common ties to Watchmen may not be as obvious. Just wondered if there was any other obvious nods/allusions.

    Also, you made references to Mike Patton and Faith No More which is amazing. So, keep up the great and extensive work!

  12. Morse,

    I agree with Christopher that your rewatch has had a large influence in my own understanding of the show. I have accused Lost in the past of being very haphazard and slapdash with its references, seeming to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the show in an effort to seem symbolic. Reading your interpretations has really altered my thinking, and I now see the larger connections behind many of the references. Or at least, I hope your interpretations are correct, as they are well thought-out and intelligent.

    As we head into the final season of the rewatch and then the final season of the show, I just wanted to offer an early thanks for doing all this work. You've enhanced the enjoyment for all of us.

  13. Chris,

    Thanks a lot - that's a huge compliment, and I'm glad that this blog has been useful/entertaining/informative for you on your rewatch.

    As for "Watchmen," I have mentioned it a few times, but mostly in the context of S4 (which it looks like you haven't gotten to yet). The Smiley-face balloon is a potential connection that I hadn't made - thanks for pointing it out!

    Re my Patton reference: "King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime" was the soundtrack for the writing of that particular column.


    Much appreciated, sir. Thank YOU for reading and commenting. Without the feedback I get from folks like yourself this wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

    For the both of you:

    I'm considering collecting all these musings (plus the season 6 stuff) into book form, probably self-published (If there's enough interest from folks, that is). What do you think? Would you pay a few bucks for a book with all of the blog material, plus new material?

  14. Mr. Morse,

    As for collecting these musings in a book format, I had already planned on writing to you about that. Absolutely.

    In one of your posts (perhaps in one of the TMIs) you said that you are "no academic". I'm happy to inform you that is complete B.S. Your writings on Lost may not be the most comprehensive or most detailed, but you have managed to explore so many of the big themes with a clear understanding of the literature and philosophy that Lost is referencing. I found your blog through CHUD (the ONLY movie site worth reading) so I might be slightly biased. However, when I saw how detailed your column was on Chud, I knew that I had to invest the time to read your blog.

    Like I said, I know Lost has so many devoted fans and it is the type of show that creates a mythology worth musing over, discussing, and analyzing to death. There are so many sites out there trying to figure every detail out, but you are really getting to the core ideas of what Lost is saying on a bigger level. This is Academic with a capital 'A'. We all love Lost for the characters and the mystery and the time travel and the acting and the great production, but your writings read like great film analysis. The concept of Lost lends itself to look at the Big Questions, and that's what makes it such a great work of art. As you have said already, maybe none of your predictions are correct. Maybe the writers of Lost did not mean for any of the connections that you are making. Maybe season 6 will turn Lost into something completely different. But it doesn't matter. The ideas are there, and the observations you have made so far are sound and credible and extremely intellectual (not to mention the fact that your voice and humor are original and very entertaining). PLEASE put this blog into book form. Any form. Sell it on Chud. I would absolutely purchase your writings and tell any Lost fan to read it as THE companion piece to the show.

    Thanks again for all the great work.

  15. I wonder, had Kelvin turned the fail safe key, would the result have been the same? Would he and Desmond survive as Eko, Desmond, and Locke did?