Friday, March 21, 2008

LOST 015: A Boy Named Suicide


Let's try something a little different. Ten quotes that shaped an episode:

10. "I'm sorry." Michael's intended last words echo Jack's on the bridge during the cold open for the Season 3 finale. They also echo my words to my wife when I forget to empty the dishwasher in the morning. Regardless, it seems that our off-island fellows are finding life not worth the living. Michael's suicide attempt is fueled by horrible guilt. Get the feeling Jack's is fueled by horrible guilt, too? Well, that and a gallon of Scotch. This is Jackoholic we're talking about.

In further news, Michael told Walt that he killed two ladies! Shot 'em right in the belly, ayep, ayuh. Apparently Walt isn't too cool with that, and Grandma isn't too cool with his non-dead-with-no-story self. Personally, I think Michael's mama's being a little harsh, don't you? This is her son back from the certain dead. Unless she got his sweet bike with ramp included and doesn't want to give it back, or something. But Michael got all the way back to New York! Wow! Ben didn't steer him wrong . . . or did he?

9. "I want a gun, with bullets." Way to go Lost writers, bringing back Jin's watch after all these years! In further news, New York pawn shop owners clearly don't give a partridge in a pear tree. Gun? Bullets? Need it in a hurry? Sure! Guy probably just needs some quick target practi . . . oh he's killing himself in an alley.

8. "Your mission is to kill everyone on board." OK, Michael, let me break this down for you. You're suicidal with guilt over the two people you killed when on a mission from Ben (well, the Others via Ben, but we know by now that Ben was captured on purpose for sure, so you get the drift). The solution is obviously . . . go on a mission from Ben! To kill people! LOTS MORE PEOPLE!

Michael? You're a donkey.

What is interesting about this is that Michael is essentially doing this to save the people on the island, so you can kind of see the motivation in terms of making it right with the people he betrayed, but it never really got across that way. I don't know what they could have done to get this right.

What's really interesting about this is that, even though a lot of people on the boat have died, Michael hasn't killed any of them.

What's really, really interesting on an ironic level is that this is the exact same deal -- work with Ben, kill Widmore-ites, save the island-friends -- that we know Sayid will eventually take. Of course, we also know that Sayid has pushed Michael all-in for working with Ben. Guess it's safe to say he's going to regret that move.

7. "You can now consider yourself one of the good guys." All this underscores what is turning into THE question of the season so far (OK, besides "under what circumstances do the O6 get off the island?"), to wit:

Who sunk Oceanfake 815? Widmore or Ben? Ben or Widmore?

This episode really wasn't about 'What happened to Michael?' At the heart of this hour of TV is this question: Who IS the good guy? And how is that defined?

Sayid we must assume has had second thoughts about Ben in the future, which must mean that he has more than ample reason to suspect Widmore is behind the eeeeevil.

So, score one for Ben.

6. "What does it look like we're doing? Shootin' stuff." Second-funniest line of the night comes from the poor man's Matthew Lillard + steroids. I think his name is Kearny.

Anyway, they have a whole lot of ordinance, which lends credence to the whole "Widmore's group is going to kill everybody on the island" thing that Big Gay Tom is laying down.

Score another for Ben.

5. "I do what I need to to win, but I won't kill innocent people. That's the difference between me and him." Yes, Ben. You don't kill innocent people. Except for your daughter's boyfriend, Hot Karl. And maybe Rousseau. And Goodwin. And Locke, remember when you tried to kill Locke? Oh and you forced Locke to kill his dad. And you killed your own dad. And oh yeah you've killed EVERYBODY ON THE ISLAND AT LEAST ONCE.

We've already seen that you aren't so much into 'love' as 'ownership,' so your ministrations fall somewhat on deaf ears, old sport, old chap, old sock, old bean.

Let's play dictionary, Ben. I would like you to define 'innocent'.

Score one for Widmore.

4. "Don't do it, Michael!" There's Libby! Hey, Libby, how's death? Anyway, Libby was accompanied by a little sound I like to call "Smokemonster in B flat." I don't know what that means, but buddy it was there, and I am here to report the happenings.

Anyway, Libby did NOT seem to want Michael to set off the bomb. Which was not really a bomb but more of a Wile E. Coyote prank. Intended to convince Michaeld that Ben was a good guy. So more of a credibililty scam bomb.

And, one assumes, Libby didn't want him to fall for it.

Score another one for Widmore.

3."Since a week ago you had a gun to his head, and today he's in there eating pound cake, I'd say he's a guy who gets what he wants." Funniest line of the week from the funniest guy all season so far. Miles, we need to spin you off. But seriously, I'm starting to think that Ben is a Jedi or something. He gets Michael to work for him . . . again. He gets Locke to set him free . . . again, and after shooting him in the friggin' kidney-gap.

"Look, leave this camp with a safety perimiter fence."
"Because there are dangerous people all over the place."
"OK. But I don't trust you at ALL."
"Just trust me."
"All right."

Wow, so there goes Karl "Ow ow ow my chest it hurts me." Nice to know ya. Also . . . maybe . . . Rousseau. But I wouldn't count on it. She went down, but she went down ambiguously, unlike Karl who we saw . . .


Ahem. Excuse me. Anyway, Karl's quite dead. So who do we have out there? I think I would be amazed if it were not the rest of the Others, and if this whole deal were not a pre-arranged ambush.

However, it may be Kearny and Co., shooting stuff. After all, Frank left on a mission last episode. He may have been ferrying the Triggerhappy Triplets back to the island for open season.

We'll have to call this one a push for now. But let's give Ben half a point for being seventeen steps ahead of everybody, always.

2. "The Temple isn't for them. It's only for us." I'd love to see this temple, and whatever is in it. Between this and Jacob, Ben is definitely showing signs of being a Jim Jones-level cult leader. Just replace Kool-Aide with gas and you get the idea. The difference is that there are really mystical and mysterious happenings with this island. It would seem that Ben has good reason for being somewhat ooooOOOOOoooooo about his dealings with it. It makes me think that Ben and Widmore are enacting the "Man of Science/Man of Faith" dicotomy, with Locke and Jack's dance in Season 2 being the precurser.

And of course neither Locke nor Jack is truly evil, or truly good. Both are acting out of what they think are the best motives. Locke doesn't want to hurt anybody, but he sure enough will kill a fool if a fool needs killing. Jack wants nothing to do with the mystery, but his good motives and his hero complex make him a crippled soul.

Perhaps Ben and Locke and Jack and Widmore are mirror twins of one another. Of course, Ben and Widmore are smart and resourceful, and Jack and Locke are each as dumb as a half-a-sack of hammers, but there are other parallels. Perhaps between Ben and Widmore we don't have good guys or bad guys, but merely two misguided sides of a twisted coin.

Man of Science . . . Dharma. Widmore.

Man of Faith . . . Others/Mittelos. Linus.

Another push.

And . . . interesting, no?

1. "You can't kill yourself, Michael. The island won't let you." Now THAT is interesting. Cracks the egg open and fries it up a bit.

And it's not just Big Gay Tom saying that either, because we actually see Michael pull the trigger. Click.

The island won't let Michael die.

Or Jack, who just couldn't jump off that bridge.

It wouldn't let Locke die, lying in a hole full of corpses with a nice big exit wound.

Who else won't it let die? Jack's dad? Libby? Rousseau? Tom? Charlie? Boone? Eko? Shannon? Any of them?

. . . whisper whisper whisper . . .

Hurley says that he thinks the island wants them back.

Locke believes that the island is alive. So does Ben, and Ben knows the island pretty well.

The island can heal you.

The island exists outside of time.

The island can reach you wherever you go.

The island is alive.

I have said for awhile that the question isn't where is the island, but WHEN is the island. I think the great big question just changed.

WHAT is the island?



Mike Maloney said...

I always felt like Kearny was a combination of Matthew Lillard:

and professional wrestler Test:

Although, really, that's pretty much the same thing as a roided up Lillard.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Great writeup as always, Goat.

It is truly redonkulous to suggest that Michael's proposal for dealing with his extreme suicide-inducing guilt over killing two people at Ben's request is to take another mission for Ben, this time to kill an entire boatload of people that he does not know from Adam. It makes no sense. And the thing that gets me is, they didnt have to make Michael all contrite and suicidal. If they had just made him bloodlusting or something because Walt was killed, I could have easily accepted that he would go to the boat and kick some A. This way though, it is just silly.

Here's a question: so what has Michael been doing on the boat, since killing everyone is obviously not the answer? Is he planning to kill everyone still?

Looks like we wait another month now for the rest of the answers.

And I feel ya on Rousseau btw. Hopefully they haven't killed her yet, she is a good character that I think most people like staying on the show. Unlike Shannon or Boone who were abject wastes of space all along.

And do you think Miles' offer to let Ben go for 3 million bucks was real or what? I wish I could understand where that all came from. I'm still thinking / hoping it was some kind of code or something.

Buddy Dank said...

I think that since it was soooo ridiculous to have Michael just agree to do all this that they will later reveal he is also in some weird comes and goes time paradox. And now that he can't kill himself he sees this as his only option. But I'm grasping here.

It also felt like Ben sent the 3 off to an ambush from the Others for their betrayal. The Others are gonna start kicking some ass!

D said...

I assume that Karl and Rousseau were done in by Ben's people. Those mercenaries didn't seem like the silent weapon type. I think beyond showing Michael that the mercenaries are here to wipe out the island the use of extremely loud gunfire in that scene on the boat points me more to Ben's guys.