flashback

first of all — great episode. i feel like all of charlotte’s ramblings could comprise a whole new season of lost, at least material for a rich storyline. yet, it appears we must say goodbye to the island’s fiesty redheaded anthropologist. who called it that she was going to kick the bucket when she kept giving too much of her story away. rip ginger, rip.

but more on that demain. right now what’s on my mind about this episode is how it referenced earlier occurances on the show. lost has become extremely self-referential lately, as we are seeing not only reworkings of old scenes (as i will discuss below) but also seeing scenes we have already seen before but from a different angle. sawyer’s whole act of watching kate help claire give birth to aaron imitates the act of us watching the show. sawyer is going through the same process we are, an observer of events, but necessarily removed. uncanny, that.

but what really struck me here were the scenes in locke’s journey that are now replaying themselves.

–first, the scene with the beechcraft in “because you left.” locke watches the plane crash into the canopy. the first time locke encountered the plane, he was with boone. boone was the one to climb up the trees and into the plane and, subsequently, dies. when the first flash occurs, locke replays the scene, but this time casts himself as the one who climbs toward the plane.

— in this episode “this place is death,” the scene where locke is hanging from the rope in the well struck me as extremely similar to when locke was being lowered into the hatch. both holes are dark and impossible to see the end of. both become portals of destiny for locke, of course. but what i found striking here were the fact that both of these wormholes were huge points of departure and discovery. the first time, the hatch was opened and the dharma initiative was first discovered. (remember what a shock that was then?)

now, locke falls down a well and discovers christian shepherd and a frozen (and broken?) wheel/smoke machine/laser light show which will transport him off the island. he falls through the hole and into an entirely different time and space.

like alice, locke falls down a rabbit hole and emerges into an entire new world.

[a few thoughts on the christian shepherd moment: he didn’t admit exactly that he was jacob, but he did say to locke, “you came to visit me.” technically, he came to visit jacob and saw christian there. it is also interesting that while like a vision in that he cannot touch locke (help him up) he can communicate things to him that locke doesn’t already know. locke has no idea this manvision is jack’s father. this has me extremely perplexed as christian arrived on the island in a body bag… yet i am a firm believer that though a body may appear in a coffin, forever dead it may not stay ;)]

— a third echo that i found really important in this episode was when our old friend montand (he lost his arm!) got dragged into the temple by the smoke monster! THE TEMPLE! THE SMOKE MONSTER! IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO ME! [although how the castaways never saw the temple the entire time they were on the island beats me.] the whole visual of montand being dragged into a hole and the others trying to pull him back reminded me of when, wayyy back in season 1 (which is where this episode seems to want us to go, as if the lost powers that be are ticking off mysteries chronologically) when the same thing happened to locke.

locke thinks the monster will do him no harm, as he has an encounter with the smoke weeks earlier and “looks into[its] eye” and sees “beautiful” things. but this time it is not so friendly and attempts to drag him down a hole. locke tells jack, “it’s all right” and to let him go, but kate throws some dynomite down the hole and that’s all folks.

this doesn't look weird or anything...

this doesn't look weird or anything...

why draw a parallel between these two events? well, when the monster was successful, those who encountered it in the depths come back changed. the “sickness” that rousseau referred to seems to be real; her compadres come back as creepy island pod people. what would have happened if locke had the same fate? what made him so sure that the monster was indeed benevolent? what was that beautiful thing that convinced locke that the island was so worth protecting in the first place?

this episode proves that the smoke monster is much more important than a simple security system or dharma experiment gone wrong. the fact that it has had significant psychological impact on those who are captured by it is a huuuuge reveal and i’ll be waiting on pins and needles to see where this trail leads.

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