Conventional Thinking

Huzzah for new Lost episodes! Welcome to another year full of fun-filled, bullet-point-riddled recaps at Jeff-Fischer.net! Let’s not waste anymore time with pleasantries and move on to some analyses. First, let me cap off my “Find 815” alternate-reality game (ARG) coverage by saying Sam Thomas and the crew of the salvage vessel he was on don’t find what they’re looking for (the Black Rock). Instead, they find–wouldn’t you know it?–the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815, which leads to the news report we saw last season on The Flame station TV’s (manned by everyone’s favorite one-eyed Other, Mikhail).

815
Image from an underwater ROV camera of 815’s tail

Well, we already knew about that news report and the discovery of 815’s wreckage, so what’s so new about this? Considering all the facets of the ARG, it seems to confirm that the found wreckage is part of an elaborate conspiracy designed to get people to stop looking for 815. The Maxwell Group, which sent the eventual coordinates of the 815’s wreckage to Sam via coded email, turned out to be a subsidiary of Widmore Industries (Penny’s dad’s organization). Seeing as how Mr. Widmore ain’t exactly a paragon of virtue, my bet is he’s part of the upper ranks of the conspiracy to halt all efforts to find 815. So, we have a very nice warm-up for this season’s premiere. Which I should probably get to now, lest readers start falling asleep at the prospects of deep investigation of an online Internet game. If you want more details, check out the game at http://www.find815.com/ or read a summary here. I’ll end with my feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Sam Thomas and his nemesis, Oscar Talbot.

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Tonight’s episode then, “The Beginning of the End.” It was pretty lean in terms of plot, but there’s plenty to dissect as always. One of the major themes seemed to be defying conventions–the conventions the show has set for itself in its previous three seasons. It began with the very first shot of the season: a pile of squash. No close-up of an eye opening this time! This can only mean squash has an all-important bearing on the show, one that will be revealed slowly but steadily, capped by the revelation that THE ISLAND IS MADE OF SENTIENT SQUASH!

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Back to conventions. The show’s main conceit, flashbacks of our castaways, was turned on its head in the season three finale, with the revelation that the events on the mainland were taking place in future and thus were “flash-forwards” from present day on the island. The premiere, and episodes from here on out, will likely use the same structure, though I think they did a bit of jumping backward in time tonight. I think the flash-forwards took place before the flash-forwards in last year’s finale, based mainly on Jack’s visit with Hurley in the Santa Rosa mental hospital. Jack, despite his apparent drinking problems (gotta love a screwdriver before heading off to work in the morning), seems relatively upbeat and content with his decision to have left the island. This is a stark contrast to the utter, suicidal despair he exhibited last season (while bearded, I might add, something he told Hurley he was thinking about doing).

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The most interesting aspect of his conversation with Hurley was the allusion to the two of them (and perhaps the rest of the “Oceanic Six” that returned from the island) keeping some sort of secret, and that secret is probably the fact that there are still Oceanic survivors on the island. If I extrapolate, as I’m wont to do, maybe Jack revealed that secret to someone he shouldn’t have, and that resulted in some bad news for some of his fellow castaways (including the resident of that coffin from last season’s finale, possibly). Hurley doesn’t seem to regard Jack in a very positive light during their encounter, further emphasizing Jack’s shift from infallible leader to misguided misanthrope who would’ve killed Locke had that revolver been loaded.

Jack Fires

And now, instead of the ultimate momentum of the show being the escape from the island, we’re now headed in the direction of wanting very much to get back there. Conventions, conventions, conventions; changing all the time.

My conventions, however, have not changed. On with the bullet points.

Quick Hits

  • Naomi’s got one resilient spine, to walk away from being (literally) stabbed in the back by the people she was (claiming to) help. I have next to no doubt that she’s part of a group whose aims are much more nefarious than rescuing the castaways, but it’s nice to know she cares about family. Her dying words to George Wentkowski (sp?) were to tell her sister she loved her. Back when we first met Naomi, I made reference to the biblical origins of the name, and the fact that she was the mother of Ruth (which also happens to be the name of the woman Desmond left standing at the altar).

    Naomi

    Now, based solely on appearances, I don’t think Ruth and Naomi are related, but minor details like that have never stopped me from giving credence to wild speculation.

  • As I’m writing this, the Oceanic Airlines ad we were promised during the 84 commercials for Eli Stone came on, and interspersed among the drivel spouted by the hot Oceanic flight attendants was a glimpse of none other than Sam Thomas from the “Find 815” ARG! I just tried getting to flyoceanicair.com and find815.com but both sites look to be taking a pounding and are timing out. Try again later, because it looks like that online game ain’t over yet. (update: they’re back up and I don’t see any new content, so this looks like an attempt to get everyone who hasn’t gone through the game yet to try it out. Go for it!)
  • As I guessed last season, we haven’t seen the last of Charlie Pace, whether dead, alive, or somewhere in between. Hurley has a propensity to imagine companions (remember Dave?), but this seemed a little different. I liken the encounter to the one Locke had with Walt in last year’s finale, who urged him to suck it up and climb out of that pit despite the bullet wound in his gut. Walt has displayed his supernatural abilities in the past, manifested mainly in his ability to make birds fly into walls and windows (refer to one of the Missing Pieces episodes, “Room 23,” and the flashback in which he’s doing his homework in front of his mom and stepdad when a bird flies into the window).

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    So, the question is, were Charlie and Walt figments of Hurley’s and Locke’s imaginations? Nah, can’t be. I’m opting for some sort of astral projection from Walt or maybe the island. I’m not sure I’d be convinced that the Charlie and Walt we saw were another of the many forms the black smoke monster (Cerberus) could be taking on, so let’s go with the projection theory for now. I’m envisioning Walt sitting in a dark room somewhere, projecting his consciousness wherever he feels he can do the most good for the island…whilst his father repeatedly yells, “WAAAAALT!! WAAAH!! WAAAAALLLLLT!!!”

  • Speaking of astral projections and supernatural abilities, we again visit the engimatic Jacob’s magical mystery shack, which is apparently mobile. Real or imagined, Hurley takes a look inside and sees someone sitting in a rocking chair. It certainly ain’t the Jacob that Locke saw last season, with long hair and a beard. The individual sitting in the chair was none other than Christian Shepherd, Jack’s dad. Or at least someone or something that looks exactly like him.

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    In the final Missing Pieces episode (refer to my last blog post), we see Jack’s believed-to-be-dead dad urging Vincent the dog to go “wake Jack up” because “he has work to do.” Was it Jack’s Dad? Was it an astral projection? Ole’ Smokey? All of the above? I’m thinking back to Mr. Eko’s first encounter with the black smoke, during which we move through the interior of the monster and see it cataloguing/scanning Eko’s memories. It could’ve done the same with any other castaway and then transfigured itself to appear as someone else (like Eko’s brother, Yemi) or could perhaps be projecting a likeness of someone to our castaways.

    Hurley is scared off by someone jumping in front of the man in the chair, whose eye looks very much like the eye we saw a close-up of when Locke dropped by the cabin last season with Ben. That, I’m guessing, was Jacob:

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  • Interesting that Locke appeared at about the same time Hurley saw the shack.
  • Was it really necessary to show Hurley in slow motion as he “sprinted” to do a cannonball, and follow it up with a shot of his ass crack?

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    I vote no. (This is the kind of in-depth, cutting-edge analysis you can get only on Jeff-Fischer.net!)

  • Who are the “Oceanic Six,” whom Hurley so stridently claims to be a part of? Well, the three castaways we definitely HAVE seen back on the mainland are Jack, Hurley and Kate. If I had to venture a guess at the other three, it’d be Sayid, Sawyer, and…..I’m stuck for a third. Maybe Desmond, despite his not having been on 815, because I think he’d very much like to see Penny again. There is the matter, however, of that coffin from last season and its occupant. One of the Six? Based on the juxtaposition of Jack’s showdown with Locke in this episode, and the tearful reaction he has in front of the coffin, I’m leaning toward Locke at this point, which would make him #6. Jack’s sadness at the poorly-attended wake would jibe with his utter regret at having not listened to Locke in tonight’s episode. The obvious question would then be, why in the world would Locke, of all people, have left the island?
  • The first of two new characters is introduced when one “Matthew Abaddon” comes to visit Hurley at the hospital (the second being the character played by Jeremy Davies in the episode’s last scene). Fans of the greatest show in the history of television (The Wire) will recognize the actor as the stoic police commander Cedric Daniels, but here he plays a lawyer for Oceanic Airlines. Or at least that’s what he claims to be. His demeanor with Hurley would suggest otherwise.

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    In fact, the word “Abaddon” refers to a “place of destruction”, or the “realm of the dead.” Ominous enough for you? Fitting that he asks Hurley if “they’re still alive,” undoubtedly referring to the Oceanic passengers who didn’t make it back. This tells me two things: the island can’t be found by conventional (there’s that word again) means, and not everyone is buying the story the Oceanic Six are selling.

  • It was spelled out clearly in the show, but the cop interrogating Hurley was Ana Lucia’s old partner.

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  • I think maybe, just maybe, ABC wants us to watch Eli Stone. I’m not sure; hopefully they’ll show another commercial to give me a better idea of what to expect.
  • Don’t sleep on Ben. You can see the hamster working overtime on the wheel inside his head.

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Other Stuff from Other Sites

  • That Camaro Hurley was tearing down the highway with at episode’s open is the car he and his father worked on when Hurley was a kid. [EW]
  • As in the season 3 finale with “NOT PENNYS BOAT” scrawled on Charlie’s hand, there’s another when Hurley sees Charlie approach the glass in the interrogation room: THEY NEED YOU. [Sledgeweb]

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    “They” being those still on the island, methinks.

That’s all for this week, folks. One down, only seven to go, thanks to this blasted writer’s strike.

Updated: February 1, 2008 — 12:41 am

7 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. How could I forget Michael and Walt?!

    Oceanic Six:
    Jack
    Kate
    Hurley
    Sawyer
    Michael
    Walt

    Then again, Michael and Walt could be in hiding, as they’d have a hard time explaining how they got back before the the other four did…assuming Michael and Walt did make it back.

    I still like the idea that Locke came back better.

  2. Claire has to be one of the Oceanic Six, since Desmond saw her getting on a helicopter in his vision. I don’t know if Aaron would count as one of the six or not…

    So that would be Jack, Hurley, Kate, Claire…(possibly Aaron, if they’re counting him)

    Something tells me that Michael and Walt are going to be back on the island. Ben told them to sail to specific coordinates. That doesn’t mean he sent them home. Walt was really important to him, even if he did freak out everyone else…I think Ben sent them anywhere but civilization.

  3. My choice for the six are Kate, Hurley, Jack, Juliet (in the coffin?), Sun and Jin. I think that Sawyer definitely chooses to stay on the island, so that he can give Kate back to Jack as a generous gesture. Also, I think that the remaining survivors are going to be held hostage on the island, and that the returnees cannot “tell” the secret that they are alive, or the “new others”, now the new hostiles, (Penelope’s dad’s people/Naomi’s), will “kill” them. So, the “Oceanic Six”, have to keep their mouths shut, or their friends will “die”….and never get home. Always manipulations going on….with no doubt Ben having negotiated with the “new hostiles” (Penelope’s dad’s crew), to get what he wants….Jack and Juliet being allowed to leave the island, Ben getting to stay, and live. I am sure Ben has plenty more up his sleeve! (all the while of course saying it is “Jacob” that is telling him what to do…how convenient).

    As to whether Hurley and Jack “get along” in the flash forward, Hurley does state to Jack that he is sorry he went with Locke instead of going with Jack in last nights “showdown”, so I don’t know that Hurley dislikes Jack so much.

    I like the ideas that the smoke monster can read and replicate whomever or whatever he likes to do, whenever it sees fit to do so.

    Jacob? has to be the god like “head” of everything and therefore can miraculously become whomever he/she needs to be for whatever purpose he/she chooses whenever he/she chooses.

    As for the flash forwards last night, yes, I agree, we will see early flashforwards and then later flashforwards, just like we did with the flashbacks…and in keeping with the mirror episode issue, we should be seeing them in some sort of logical “order” as opposed to all mixed up?

    What is the painting that is shown on the wall of the cottage, and in Ben’s house in the Barracks? We have seen that now, a couple of times, and I can never make it out….is it like the picture of Jesus Christ that you see people hanging in their homes? It always looks like a dog or something, or a building?

  4. I don’t think it’s Juliet in the coffin because I think there would have been people attending the wake. Her sister, for example.

    Jacob, while it’s been insinuated that he’s the ultimate power on the island, seems to be a captive in his own shack. I base this on him asking Locke to “help meeeee” and that sand/magic powder/freshly ground pepper boundary that Ben and Locke crossed over. Perhaps that’s keeping Jacob within a set of borders.

  5. A correction to issue: with regard to the news report I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, it was not the same report that was played on The Flame TV’s. The report from those TV’s was from right after the plane crashed, and the wreckage had not yet been found.

    Thanks, davo!

  6. Reversed audio from the whispering outside Jacob’s shack:
    http://losteastereggs.blogspot.com/2008/02/whispers-near-jacobs-cabin.html

    The only word I can make out is “numbers.”

  7. i think the “stuff” around Jacob’s shack is gun powder

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