Some Light Reading

I won’t need seven pages and 2000 words to talk about this week’s episode, so file this Lost entry under the “light reading” category. Much of this episode was about developing the characters and their relationships with each other, Other and Castaway alike (that translates to, “there ain’t a ton of cool Easter eggs or ‘Answers’ to be found this week”).

The Others have repeatedly referred to themselves as “the good guys,” and if you’re going to buy into that assumption for the sake of hypothesizing, you’d have to assume that most of the castaways are thus “the bad guys.” The flashbacks have shown the less-than-noble sides of them, with increasing frequency. Last week, we saw Jack’s image sullied a bit when his actions are shown to have driven his father back to drinking and, eventually, his death. Sawyer’s murdered in cold blood, as has Kate. The rest of the castaways all have their misdeeds. This week, we get around to seeing Sun’s less than inspiring side.

Ben

From an early age, she has a penchant for manipulation, to often detrimental effect. Her unwillingness to accept blame for breaking the glass ballerina as a child and pinning it on the maid is analogous to her breaking her marital vows and essentially pinning it on her English tutor-cum-lover Jae. Except this time around, it wasn’t a glass curio smashed to pieces. The maid was out a few bucks after getting fired; Jae was out a life. I’m not entirely convinced Jae killed himself at this point, either, but I’ll stow that theory away for the time being. Regardless, Sun has blood on her hands because of her refusal to accept responsibility for her actions.

Jae

We continue to get glimpses into the motivations and interpersonal dynamics among the Others. It’s becoming readily apparent, with each new episode, that there are perceptible divisions among the Others. They all are working toward the same goal for the moment (I’ll get to that goal in a minute), but the bonds holding them together appear tenuous, at best. We’ve seen Juliet’s clear unhappiness last week; we catch another glimpse of Alex (Rousseau’s daughter) this week, seeking information from Kate about what surely is her significant other, Carl. I have a feeling Carl’s not having a good time at the moment, wherever he may be off to this week.

In terms of the larger picture and mythology of the show, some of Ben’s comments to Jack at the end of the show may hint at what the Others are trying to do, at least in terms of Jack. Ben discusses his wanting to change Jack’s perspective, the operative word being “change.” Is the point of this whole Island experiment to eliminate the baser emotions and instincts of human beings? To effectively eliminate that which is responsible for much of the conflict among the human race?

Ben

I spoke a bit about the meaning of the Dharma Initiative and their study of the Numbers in the last post before the season started. We found out the Numbers were the core factors in an equation that predicted the exact date of the human race’s extinction/end of the world. The Initiative (a failed one, according to Rachel Blake’s final video) sought to alter one or all of those core factors to prolong the existence of mankind through various means of experimentation on the island. If they truly failed, as we’ve been told, perhaps it is because they were too focused on the equation instead of the actual cause of the end of the world. Perhaps the cause is simply those facets of human nature which drive us to steal, to hurt, to murder, to war. If those negative facets could somehow be eliminated or changed enough, man might stick around a little longer. Here’s where Mr. Benjamin Linus’ comments about change become important.

As Ben put it to Jack, why WOULD they want to stay there on the island? What purpose are they serving by isolating themselves from the rest of the world? In the ashes of the original Dharma Initiative’s intentions, I think Ben realized that endlessly studying equations and experimenting with electromagnetism and psychology weren’t the ticket. Instead, it’s human behavior that he has to change if he wants to save mankind. If he and the Others are truly “the good guys,” it would seem their aims are nobler than we thought. Hiding away from the ills of general society would be a good way to try and change people on a case-by-case basis, Jack being one of said cases.

Of course, that doesn’t really explain why he’d leave one of his crew (Juliet) to die when Jack opened the station door last week, or why many of the Others seem to fear him. This may play into the factions of Others I spoke about earlier. Okay, my head is starting to hurt from all this wild speculation, so it’s time for some bullet points and then bed.

Quick Hits

  • Ben mentioned that he’d been on the island all his life. If my memory serves, the Dharma scientists were originally sent there sometime in the sixties. That wouldn’t seem to fit with Ben’s apparent middle age unless he just meant he was a kid when he came there, likely one of the scientists’ kids. Maybe Ben has assumed control of the children of those scientists, left on the island (to die?) in the wake of the failed Initiative.
  • If Ben’s goal is to change Jack for the better, what’s he up to with Kate and Sawyer?

    Ben

  • You could see the spark in Jack’s eyes when Ben turned on the Red Sox game, and the desperation when it was turned it off and Ben spoke of sending him home. Jack may be desperate enough to start going along with Ben’s plans for him. Change is comin’.

    Red Sox

    The World Series footage also served as notice that the Others are in direct contact with the rest of the world. If that’s true, who are they in contact? Dr. Thomas Mittelwerk, the apparently evil Hanso scientist? Alvar Hanso himself? Methinks it ain’t Desmond’s love Sarah Widmore, as she doesn’t seem to have any clue where the Island is (at least, not when last we saw her last year).

  • Nice to see a familiar face from HBO’s Deadwood in Paula Malcomson. I don’t think Colleen coming back to the Hydra with a potentially fatal bullet wound is going to endear Sun or their captives to the Others much.

    Ben

  • So it’s no longer assured that Sun’s baby belongs to Jin, but I still lean toward it being his because of the Island’s healing powers.
  • The only thing that really struck me about Ben’s last name was, perhaps a relation to Linux software creator Linus Torvalds. I know, I know, humor me for a minute here. “Linus’ Law says that all of our motivations fall into three basic categories. More important, progress is about going through those very same things as ‘phases’ in a process of evolution, a matter of passing from one category to the next. The categories, in order, are ‘survival’, ‘social life’, and ‘entertainment’.” This is such a reach that I must stop writing this nonsense immediately.

I hope you enjoyed that “light reading.” Maybe next week I’ll try editing this spew to something a bit more cogent.

Updated: October 11, 2006 — 11:42 pm

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