Thursday, March 26, 2009
LOST 032: Que Jarrah, Jarrah, Whatever Will Be, Will Be
Ouch. When faced with that classic question of Philosophy 101 classes everywhere, "if you could travel back in time, would you kill Hitler as a still-innocent baby?", Sayid's answer is, "Uh, hell to the YES with hot sauce on top, but I'd rather shoot Hitler in the chest when he's an abused twelve-year-old, please." (Now my follow-up question is, "would you still kill Baby Hitler if the only way to kill him was to club him to death using Baby Gandhi?" remains unanswered, by Sayid at least.)
No theories. No analytic exercises. Merely a moment of silence. Sayid just broke the space/time continuum.
Now that we're past that, here's some theories and analytic exercises . . .
L O S T
Big Question 1
Holy crap on a bun! Ben just got shot right in his chesticle! So he can't do those Ben things that he's done so well for three and a half seasons! Doesn't that change everything?
Answer 1: Li'l Ben isn't dead, and he won't die from this. He is only mostly dead, which is still partly alive. This is far and away the most likely scenario -- remember, Faraday has already set up the idea that you can't change anything, so if you do something, it aleady happened anyway. Also, we have seen people recover from worse. Examples include Jin, who is immune to explosions and the actor playing him getting a DUI, both of which have (up to this point) been lethal, and John Locke, who is one exit wound away from the complete set.
Answer 2: Yep. Everything's changed. Time has been altered. Nothing means anything. I have no idea what happens next. Ice cream will taste like fish. Nickelback will be good. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together . . . mass hysteria.
Big Question 2
So now what? What are these 2007 islanders doing back on the island? What was the big honking deal anyway? They didn't stop the time shifts. They certainly haven't saved anybody. There don't seem to be any friends in dire need of saving. The arrow attack took out the last of the redshirts. So what happens now?
Answer 1: I have no idea.
Answer 2: I have no idea.
Answer 3: Well, here's one idea. The sixers have to come back because they have to come back. They were on the island in 1977. They always were. In the timeline in which they and everybody has always lived, the one that we've been watching, which started for us with the Oceanic crash, that timeline has included these people. They belong there right now. Sayid needed to be there so he could shoot Ben, which has always happened just as we saw it. The Ben we know and love, the one we first saw dangling in a net, who in his very first episode was captured by Rousseau and tortured by Sayid . . . that guy remembered being twelve, and he remembered Sayid, and he remembered bringing him sandwiches, and he remembered being shot. That is the level of information that Ben has been working with from the beginning. He knows these people well, and he knows what they have done, for good and for ill, to himself and to others. This might explain why and how Ben can be so cold. It might explain some of his treatment of these characters.
So it's not a case of the sixers going back to save anybody, or to change something that happened. They are going back to preserve what already happened.
As to what happens next? For the first time in a long time, I don't have a clue where this story might be going, and I love it. There are so many directions that this can spin out now. I think the final stretch starts to take shape as of right now. Until now, we've been watching the pieces fall into place to get to this moment, and we've been experiencing bits of the story all across a very fractured timeline. In a very real way, we have been like Ben and Richard and other characters who knew the 2007 people back in the 70s and earlier, waiting for the future to arrive. However, what it has meant practically for us as viewers is that there have been a great number of things that we know will happen in the future (because we've seen those future scenes in earlier episodes), and we've been enjoying watching the show catch up to those future actions and show us how we got there, and now, after years of waiting for things we know are coming, we've come to a wide open place where we don't know what is coming, at all. If you think about it, every episode we've seen from the beginning has served to set up this scenario, and now we get to watch the payoff.
It's completely silly to make predictions, so here are a few:
1) A major character will die this season. This is necessary simply to up the stakes. I'm on the record as guessing that it is Sawyer, though my pre-season premonition was Sayid. The latter is looking far more likely these days, but you just know how Lost likes to pull out the rug.
2) We'll understand a whole lot more about the nature of the Others and Richard and the relationship between them and the Dharma Initiative before the season is over. This is pretty much a necessary aspect to any completion of the larger Lost story. It just makes sense to me that this would be laid out before the climactic final season of the show.
3) We'll see Claire again. Yeah, I went back and checked out that shot of . . . someone . . . over Sun's shoulder. I presume that it was either Claire or a technical glitch. If the former, then we are in for . . .
4) A long overdue explanation (or, more likely, a series of provocative hints) regarding the spirit activity on the island. Another major element that we'll need to understand for any satisfactory conclusion to the story. At the back of this question, I think, lies the question of Jacob. What he is, who he is (psst! Locke!).
5) We'll see Walt again: Some sunny day.
6) Juliet is right. Her Dharma life with Sawyer is D-U-N done. It is simply unsustainable to have so many people on-island who have little to no interest in full-time Dharma life, especially with Sayid totally off the reservation. The choice is coming soon for Miles and Juliet and Sawyer -- do they betray their old friends to preserve their new life, or do they go on the run through the jungle in search of smoke monsters and time machines and ageless ghost people? If you are wondering which way it will go, just ask yourself which would make the better story.
By the way, here's something that has bothered me since the "LaFleur" episode: Why would Sawyer and Juliet not join the so-called "Hostiles"? Sawyer clearly intrigued him. Juliet knows Richard; from what we have seen, she is in his group. He recruited her, for crying out loud! Honestly. Is there any compelling reason that she and Sawyer wouldn't be able to talk their way into the "hostile" camp, in which at least one of them would know at least a few of the people, instead of the one where they have to live a lie every single hour of the day, to say nothing of the one that they know is due for a gassy purge and a big ol' death pit? At first I figured that our guys were in cahoots with Richard and just undercover in Dharma, but the dialogue has made it clear that that isn't the case.
This may become clear when we understand more about Richard and his group. But for now it is simply baffling.
Anyway, my guess is that Rose and Bernard and probably Daniel are now with Richard's group. Sayid may be heading that way now.
Random Thoughts and Quibbles on the Episode
* In the big "How Do You Solve A Problem Like A Hostile?" vote, where was Pierre Chang? Isn't he a big shooter in Dharma? I mean, the "shoot Sayid" star council doesn't include him? He's not brought in on all this? We may get an explanation some day, but right now I say a rare case of sloppy storytelling.
* Did somebody say Ann Arbor? Is this whole thing being run out of Ann Arbor??? Ridiculous. If they controlled time, they'd have stopped Webber from calling time-out. I need closure on this.
* Damn, LaFleur. I've heard of giving in to peer pressure, but that was ridiculous. Is this how it is in the U.S. Senate also? At least you partially redeemed your spineless vote by trying to let Sayid escape.
* Was Sayid planning to kill Ben all along? If so, why not snap his neck immediately? We know the guy is capable. See: the chicken. See also: that Other that he killed with his crazy-legs.
* I was getting serious Eko vibes from the opening scene, where Sayid kills to spare his brother. Let's say the Sayid death pool just gained value.
* What on earth did Ben do that convinced Sayid that he was being used and abused? I hope it wasn't that (I think) Ukrainian scene where Ben gives him the "good soldier, mission accomplished" dustoff. I don't have a problem with Sayid thinking that Ben is bad sauce, that's a fairly valid statement (though genocide seems a bridge too far -- I'd pick "mass murder" for the win, Pat), I just want to see the moment when he realizes, and understand why he realizes it so strongly. A visit from Charles Widmore, perhaps? One which convinced Sayid that Widmore was not behind any of the badness, or at least not much of it? If this is the end of it . . . well, then, I must say, "weak, Lost writers. Weak." Hopefully there is something more.
* Still, I find it interesting that Sayid still did go and kill the guy who was staking out Hurley, just like Ben wanted. Better safe than sorry? Easily impressionable? I don't know, but my wife did enjoy seeing Sayid in a toolbelt.
* Oldham is creepy. Still, he's not torturer, as far as I can see. That said, the scene where Sayid starts spewing the unbelievable truth was seventeen shades of awesome. Props again to Naveen Andrews, who along with Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn have provided the most consistent acting excellence (though Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway certainly have stepped up their game in recent years).
* Three years we had no burning buses. You all are here for one day . . . "
L O S T