Tuesday, March 9

Lost: Season 6, Episode 7 Discussion

Insta-Reaction: Mario Van Peebles should direct EVERY episode of Lost. "Dr. Linus" was a terrific episode, as all Lost's Ben-centric episodes arguably are.

The biggest question I have now, walking away from tonight: Have Jack and the other candidates been made effectively immortal through Jacob's touch? Jack's had appendicits, Sayid was shot and killed, and Sawyer almost died in Season 2. Is it just that they can't die by their own hand? And does this mean that Michael was touched by Jacob at some point as well, given his supernatural inability to die in Season 4?

Favorite moment: the confrontation between Ben and Ilana. "I'll have you" might be one of my favorite lines in the series.

The column for this episode will be up on Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, let me know what you thought!

30 comments:

  1. Insta-reaction-reaction to your question: if an h-bomb couldn't do it, I am not sure a stick of dynamite had a chance.

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  2. To elaborate: If Jacob's touch renders you ageless/immortal, and Jacob's touched the candidates, then that implies they've been "immune" from (self-inflicted) harm all along. Is this why Michael couldn't kill himself?

    And yet, Jack almost dies from Appendacitis....

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  3. I wonder if only those who are in Jacob's camp ultimately get redemption in the flash sideways. We've seen Jack, Hurley, Ben, and Locke all have some level of redemption or working through their issues, while Sayid is still a killer and Kate is still on the run. In some ways this might reflect an aspect of reincarnation and in essence the workings of karma. Just something I was thinking about.

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  4. Morse,

    That's a very interesting question. I was wondering the same myself, if Jacob's touch was somehow related to Jack's inability to successfully jump off the bridge (interrupted by an accident at the last moment). It was right around that time Tom told Michael that the Island wouldn't let him die until it was done with him.

    Yet as far as we know, Jacob didn't touch Michael. And it was Christian, He-Who-Is-Probably-Smokey, who "released" Michael from his inability to die at the end of season 4: "You can go now, Michael."

    Great episode. I was glad to see Ben made the right decision in both aspects of the story.

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  5. And did anyone else chuckle when Flash-sideways Locke was goading Ben into gunning for "Jacob", in this case, the principal? Nice parallel.

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  6. I guess Ben doesn't consider a hermit life style an option (living like 70s Rose and Bernard or Rousseau (if Rousseau was not infected)). Is this a personal preference (he likes amenities, as Flocke pointed out on hydra), or because he knows he has to take a side for the "war"?

    Shame we did not get to see Rousseau, the double shift working mom. Curious if Rousseau and child were ever on the island.

    Interesting parallel of Ben uncovering an illicit affair to claim power at a high school to his role in banishing Widmore. The resolution of last night's episode suggests that Widmore could technically "win" the island, just like the principal "won"/kept the principal-position.

    Based solely on the parallels between h-bombs and not-detonating dynamite, I am leaning towards jughead having not detonated and the pocket of energy being solely responsible for their time shift.

    Thematically, I don't quite understand Lost's judgments on its characters... Ben Linus murdered his share of people, just like Sayid. Why does the story, at this pivotal point when choosing sides, have one murderer "go evil" and another "stay good"? At this point in the story, I am left to think that murder and other arguably bad acts have nothing at all to do with joining Team Flocke; after all, Claire never did anything bad (not that I can remember, peanut butter hoarding notwithstanding).

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  7. Hey, all!

    "I wonder if only those who are in Jacob's camp ultimately get redemption in the flash sideways. We've seen Jack, Hurley, Ben, and Locke all have some level of redemption or working through their issues, while Sayid is still a killer and Kate is still on the run. In some ways this might reflect an aspect of reincarnation and in essence the workings of karma."

    That's an interesting point, Aaron. I think that the flashsideways are absolutely supposed to suggest concepts of reincarnation and karma, but I'm not sure that choosing a side on the Island cements your 'fate' in the Off-Island universe. If anything, I suspect that the Off-Island universe isn't so much a "reward" as it is a "second chance." So characters can still make poor choices or smart choices. That's pure, unadulturated speculation, though.

    "Yet as far as we know, Jacob didn't touch Michael. And it was Christian, He-Who-Is-Probably-Smokey, who "released" Michael from his inability to die at the end of season 4: "You can go now, Michael."

    Greg,

    Yup. Which is interesting. Not sure what to make of Michael's story without more info. That said, Jack's failure to commit suicide, and the strange ways in which self-harm is circumvented on this show, suggest that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Jin/Sun, maybe Hurley (was he touched?), Sayid and Locke were/are incapable of dying (at their own hands) until they'd fullfilled their "function."

    And what does this say about Charlie and Desmond's visions regarding Charlie's death?

    "And did anyone else chuckle when Flash-sideways Locke was goading Ben into gunning for "Jacob", in this case, the principal?"

    Yup. This episode was full of moments like this. It'll be fun to tease them out.

    "Thematically, I don't quite understand Lost's judgments on its characters... Ben Linus murdered his share of people, just like Sayid. Why does the story, at this pivotal point when choosing sides, have one murderer "go evil" and another "stay good"?"

    Here's the thing, Erik - I don't think that Lost is judging these characters (except in the sense that they're deciding who will/won't join Smokey). It's more or less the characters and their choices that are responsible. Ben could have gone to Anti-Locke just as Sayid ends up choosing to do. Instead, he chooses to stay (and that echoes Sayid's maybe-ironic comment from last week: "I'd like to stay"). Then again, if Sayid is infected, did he have a choice?

    The fact that we're getting answers at last, that we're 9 episodes from the end, and yet remain pretty squarely in the dark about all of this (and so much more) further illustrates just how good these writers are.

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  8. did anyone else who reads this blog anticipate the dynamite to "surprise" explode just after jack and richard have left the black rock - and reveal an underground entrance like Morse theorized?

    or maybe the smoke settles and its the broken head of the statue...except it's Vincent!

    LOST

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  9. Yeah, I guess the "Black Rock is hiding the entrance that Anti-Locke needs" theory is dead in the water. Edward's (I think that's his name)theory that he wants to use the Ajira plane to leave, on the other hand, seems more plausible after last night.

    Some interesting stuff is making its way into the column this week. If you want to prep for it beforehand, I recommend reading up on Camus.

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  10. @ Erik: Rosseau came to the Island after the incident would have occurred, so no, in the Sideways reality probably not.

    @ Kelsey: YES! I was sitting on the edge of my seat hoping Morse got that one right. I guess we'll have to wait.

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  12. Finding your blog and musings on chud.com have enhanced my season 6 experience. Thank you M Morse!

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  13. Thank you, lionsaks, for reading and commenting!

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  14. I've enjoyed season 6 so far, but was disappointed by this episode. Ben as a teacher was cute, but ultimately not very compelling. Things are playing out in a very predictable way (we knew eventually they'd find out Ben killed Jacob and be mad). People are walking around the jungle from place to place but not much is happening, it takes Ben four scenes to dig his grave, and the big reveal of Widmore arriving at the island feels like no big deal compared to the smoke monster / Jacob battle.

    Also, I'm feeling a general lack of tension from not knowing what the larger stakes are, or knowing what the alt. universe is about. Seven episodes in, I think I should have more clues about those stakes and connections. Overall this season is playing out very slowly.

    I think the general reaction to this week's show was positive, so I may be in the minority here, but Ben episodes till now have been among my favorites, and this one really missed the mark for me.

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  15. Mario Van Peebles should NOT direct every episode. Compared to "Sundown" this was a lacklustre episode. Pretty mediocre direction and cinematography.

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  16. I could not disagree more, Anonymous. This episode was every bit as good as Sundown, in an entirely different way.

    That said, art's subjective. And I'm not a director. And I genuinely enjoy hearing differing viewpoints. So I invite you to tell me how/in what ways the direction and cinematography were pretty mediocre. I'm listening.

    Alnyden,

    The general reaction may be positive, but that doesn't mean you're 'wrong' not to have enjoyed the episode. It's interesting - I'd argue that this season is progressing, momentum-wise in the same general fashion in which every other season has progressed.

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  17. I agree, Morse, at this late date it would be unrealistic to expect Lost to be anything other than the show it has always been. I'm also doing my best not to get too bent out of shape over which questions I MUST have answers to, because that way lies disappointment.

    The closest show I can draw parallels to is one that ended just a year ago, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. As the final season wound down and I had NO earthly idea how it was going to end, I repeated the mantra that as long as the ending felt true to the spirit of the series and the characters, I would not nitpick minutiae that weren't dealt with or didn't resolve as I expected. And I was not disappointed.

    Trying to do the same with Lost. And thanks again, because your recaps have largely made that possible, helping me to draw connections I'd missed on first (and even second) watching. So far I've been quite pleased with the season, and I have faith in the writers that they'll end it well.

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  18. I really enjoyed this episode. I agree this series is progressing at much the same speed as any other, but I think the weight of expectation many people have had going into this final chapter may have opened them up to disappointment at not getting their answers straight away. This is Lost, though, and I think we just have to have faith all will be revealed and do what we've always done: enjoy the ride.

    For me this episode was old-school in the best possible way: two character driven stories on and and off the island that mirror each other in theme, with a smattering of intriguing mythological clues dropped into the narrative.
    It's nice to see Ben get a shot at redemption too, and I hope he achieves it. He's been my favourite character for some time now.

    One thing I found interesting in this episode was Smokey's claim he was going to hydra island. Has he always been able to do this, or is this fallout from Jacob's (or even Dogen's) death? I'm pretty sure we've never seen or heard any evidence of him there before. The revelation that the candidates may not be able to die is interesting, and provides a nice little explanation for the ease with which they all continually dodged hails of gunfire in the last season.

    By the way has anyone else been listening to Jorge Garcia's Geronimo Jack's Beard podcasts? If you haven't been I'd recommend them. They're great fun and this week Michael Emmerson was a guest. It's nice to see they truly have just as little knowledge as the rest of us.

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  19. Dave, I assume Smokey has been on Hydra since Flocke has been there.

    I am confused -- did MVP direct the episode or not? (AICN v IMDB showdown!). Regardless, I thought last night's episode was better framed than most, so whoever directed it did a good job.

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  20. Mario Van Peebles was indeed the director. Suck it, IMDB!

    "I think the weight of expectation many people have had going into this final chapter may have opened them up to disappointment at not getting their answers straight away."

    I think you're right. It's not a problem I'm suffering from, obviously, but that makes sense.

    "One thing I found interesting in this episode was Smokey's claim he was going to hydra island. Has he always been able to do this, or is this fallout from Jacob's (or even Dogen's) death?"

    As Erik notes, Anti-Locke/Floke/UnLocke/Professor-Smokenfeffer was present on Hydra Island when the Ajira flight landed, so we know he's been there before.

    I haven't listened to Garcia's podcasts, but its not for lack of interest. I'll try and remember to download the new one this week. Thanks for the reminder!

    And thanks, ad infinitum, for reading/commenting.

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  21. Dammit, of course fake Locke was there last season. I'm a fool...

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  22. "So I invite you to tell me how/in what ways the direction and cinematography were pretty mediocre. I'm listening"

    Nothing about the episode, at least visually, stood out. It wasn't particularly well directed or well lit or composed. That's not to say it was poorly directed. My comment was really just a response to you saying "Mario Van Peebles should direct every episode of Lost". A better question, I think, is why do YOU think the episode was so inspiring to make such a statement?

    Not only was Sundown a more exciting and satisfying episode (IMO) but it also looked great. Lost has been a bit spotty in the cinematography department lately, yet Sundown seemed to be a return to it's darker, grimmer, season 1 roots. Sayid emerging from the pool, like from some evil baptism, Claire's drawn face, looking up at Kate from a dark pit, Sayid and co walking amongst the temple ruins, and Locke surrounded by his new people waiting for them. To me, this is what I like about the show. "Dr Linus" didn't have any moments to rival those. I just didn't find the episode to be compelling. A bit too much "fan wankery" going on.

    "I think the weight of expectation many people have had going into this final chapter may have opened them up to disappointment at not getting their answers straight away"

    Personally I don't mind not getting answers as long as the episodes themselves are exciting and enjoyable. I'm torn on the flash sideways, though. Seeing Ben try to get Alex a letter of recommendation does not have me on the edge of my seat.

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  23. Damn, Lost suprised me yet again! I was expecting a Sawyer or Hurley episode and instead we got Dr. Linus (sounds like a Bond villian, fittig). I agree that the episode felt like a filler mythology-wise, but it was one the rare episodes where the off-island story was better than the on-island one. I was grinning the whole way through and both Linusses (Lini?) where incredibly played by Michael Emerson. Sidenote: I like how they introduced Arzt like a "look who's here"-gag only to have him play a larger role here. And it's pretty funny that he's a physics teacher. I also liked how Ben seems to live in harmony with his father. The oxygen-tank was pure irony though. God, I love this show.

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  24. "My comment was really just a response to you saying "Mario Van Peebles should direct every episode of Lost". A better question, I think, is why do YOU think the episode was so inspiring to make such a statement?"

    I'll be honest - it was a tongue-in-cheek pronouncement based on how much I enjoyed the episode, intended to be (semi)funny. I don't actually want Mr. Van Peebles to direct every episode.

    As for why I thought the episode was so inspiring - it was because this episode offered the characters, and us, some hope. Last week's episode, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was about as bleak as Lost has ever gotten. This week's episode offered something to counterbalance that darkness - and the grace shown to Ben on-Island, as well as the illustration of the choices that might help to make him something more than "just" an amoral sociopathic Colonel Kurtz-type, spoke to me personally. Ironically, given your comments, it felt like a "Season 1" episode to me.

    I'll get into this more in the column tomorrow. But I simply can't agree with your assessment (though it remains your assessment, and I respect it as such). Season 1's "darker, grimmer" roots? Did we watch the same Season 1? Because, on the whole, that remains Lost's most uplifting season. Ben's chance at atonement here echoes the second chances the castaways were given when they arrived on the Island, and that glimmer of hope is something I will always react to positively as a viewer, especially when it's sold as well as Emerson sold it last night.

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  25. I shouldn't have said "grimmer". I think ominous would have been a better word. And I stand by comment that the show was darker in season 1. Darker in mood and look at least. I remember not too long ago some channel was reshowing season 1, and so I decided to watch a bit of an episode (Pilot, I think). I don't normally re-watch Lost and I remember thinking that it was like watching a whole other show seeing those episodes again. Episodes like Solitary, Raised by Another, All The Best Cowboys....they all had a very atmospheric, cinematic look to them. So I usually react pretty positively when an episode reminds me of season 1. In terms of tone and mood (not bringing back Artz. Boy I'm hoping that character has an "accident" in the school's science lab).

    Sometimes the island and the jungle would look deep and lush. But lately the islands colours (and the show itself) looks a bit muted. In season one, the atmosphere was crucial in setting up the island as a mysterious place. It had a presence. I kind of feel like that's something we're not seeing much of anymore. There was a time when the island felt more like an entity than a place.

    But I think different episodes will appeal to different types of Lost fans. Some fans prefer character driven episodes, some more plot driven episodes, and I think I'm the latter.

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  26. I think that it is interesting to see a decent majority of Lost fans frustrated at the pace of this season. I, personally, have loved this season. For me, it's right up there with the first season. I'll admit to being frustrated with the show around the middle of season two, but I attribute that to my misunderstanding of what the show was trying to be. The moment that changed the way I viewed the show was when I was listening to an interview with Darlton and they said that one of the primary influences on the show was Stephen King's The Stand. I'll explain why this helped me below the spoiler alert.

    *Spoilers for the book ahead*

    So the book starts off with a man made plague decimating basically 99% of the worlds population. It follows the survivors of the plague as they band together. Over the course of the book, more mystical things start to happen and it eventually turns into an epic good vs. evil battle with the survivors in the middle and forced to choose sides. There are themes of choice, karma, redemption, and sacrifice. And the book ends with the literal Hand of God coming down to set off a nuclear bomb.

    *End Book Spoilers*

    Once I learned that the creators were thematically tying Lost back to The Stand, it really let me appreciate the show for what it was, instead of me trying to place my demands on what I thought they were trying to make. Because of this, I still have an immense amount of faith in how this show will end, and this season has progressed quite quickly for me. Especially considering that we didn't even see Jacob or the MiB until the season 5 finale, the writers have had things hurtling quite quickly with characters choosing sides when you think of things like that. Since nearly every character that we care about has chosen sides, I predict that there will be fewer pieces moving into place over the next 2 episodes and we'll start to see the battle lines being drawn.

    All this being said, my two favorite moments of the episode was seeing Jack fully embrace himself as a leader, man of science, and man of faith. After the anger of season 4 and the apathy of season 5, it is so refreshing to see that my faith in Jack as my favorite character is being rewarded by him truly becoming a character to root for with his confidence and leadership of season 6. My other favorite moment was seeing Ben be honest for the first time and actually apologize and repent for what he had done, and then be rewarded for that by Ilana's forgiveness and offering redemption. It was one of the most powerful moments I have ever witnessed on this show, and that's saying a hell of a lot.

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  27. Oh, and an actual question for everyone: Jacob, Flocke, and now Ilana have all mentioned that there are 6 candidates left. All three know that Locke is dead. This should imply that there are now only 5 candidates as Locke was represented by the #4 and is now dead. The only numbers for the candidates (that we know of) are 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42... so can anyone explain why everyone still thinks that there are 6 candidates?

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  28. I could be mistaken, but I think I remember seeing a screenshot of the lighthouse wheel with a number for kate (Austin). Maybe her? (plz no.)

    Also, did anyone watch the recap episode beforehand? They basically just came out and said that all apparitions of people from the castaways past have been the smoke monster/man in black - citing Christian, Ben's mom, eko's brother, and Hurely's Dave as examples.

    I was pretty stunned. I dont know the legitimacy of those popups, but that's a pretty big confirmation if it's true, and it goes far and away to show the Monster's ability to manipulate people on the island over a long period of time (Ben)

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  29. Hi Kelsey,
    I didn't see that episode, but there have been inaccuracies, assumptions listed as fact in the "enhanced" episodes before. The pop-ups aren't written by the show's writing staff, but by someone at ABC. So although this may be accurate, it is also possible that this person is missing some of the nuances. As far as the show is concerned, it has not confirmed that Christian is the MIB though it has implied it.

    The thing that makes me doubt that all apparitions of dead people, people from the past are the MIB are Hurley's ghosts. He's seen Charlie, Libby, Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko and now Jacob. If the MIB is stuck on the island, it would seem very difficult for him to appear to Hurley in LA (or to Jack in LA for that matter as Christian).

    That said, Damon and Carlton said a few years ago that Yemi (Eko's brother) was the Smoke Monster.

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  30. ya i think its pretty clear that hurely sees the real deal, otherwise this season's Jacob antics would make no sense at all. I too hope they address it within the show proper. When i read the pop-up my first reaction was "wow...you'd think that would be important enough to actually explain in the show.."

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