Off the Reservation

First, a quick word from the show’s creative leaders in light of the recent end of the writer’s strike:

Damon [Lindelof] and I are going to try to make five more episodes before the end of May, which is ambitious. But we’ve found ourselves in a situation where we had eight episodes of story planned, and we’re going to try to fit that into five hours of the show. Even though it’s going to be very hard to execute, we felt like any less would be doing a disservice to the story we had planned. We really want to give the fans the best possible experience and ending… to Season 4.
[executive producer Carlton Cuse]

Good news. Now, let’s talk about science!

“In 1836 Michael Faraday observed that the charge on a charged conductor resided only on its exterior and had no influence on anything enclosed within it. To demonstrate this fact he built a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from an electrostatic generator to strike the outside of the room. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls.” [Wikipedia]

There’s some more good food-for-thought on that Wiki page, but my obvious implication is that the island is a form of such a Faraday cage, evidenced by its resistance to outside forms of intrusion, electrical and otherwise. But, as is made clear by the presence of our castaways, the Others, and the rest of our islanders, there is a way through that cage and onto the island. If Lost’s version of Faraday is right, there may only be one way through: the bearing the chopper took to penetrate whatever shields the island from the outside world. He’s very particular about telling Lapidus to stick to the bearing they came in on, making sure to add an ominous, “no matter what happens.”

faraday

I mentioned the potential for time to be a navigable dimension in last week’s recap, and time certainly seems to be under some manipulation here, in light of the results of Daniel’s experiment in which a payload-carrying rocket is fired from the freighter offshore and toward the beacon he sets up. Only, it doesn’t reach him when it should. His partner back on the boat, Regina, has instruments that are telling her the payload reaches Faraday’s beacon well in advance of when it actually smacks into the dirt at Daniel’s feet. 31 minutes later than Regina’s estimation, to be exact.

stopwatch

I’ve killed too many braincells over the years to allow me to extrapolate this much further, but you get the idea: time ain’t flowin’ right, and that jibes with the whole Faraday Cage theory. This island is truly…off the reservation. (crowd erupts in rapturous cheers)

Quick Hits

  • At question for most of the episode is who exactly is directing Sayid, who’s apparently found work as a contract killer in his life after the island. I guess life as a member of the “Oceanic Six” isn’t synonymous with free plane tickets and a comfortable retirement. Though you can fit in a round of golf now and then.

    sayid golf course

    As we find out, his boss is the great (and terrible) Ben Linus himself, who’s composed a list of targets for Mr. Jarrah to take out (echoing the idea of the list of castaways to be kidnapped that Ben claimed Jacob dictated to him way back in season two). He starts with a “Mr. Avellino,” who seems amiable enough up until he finds out Sayid is a member of the Oceanic Six. His discomfort at that point makes it clear that the Oceanic Six have a less-than-sterling reputation, and/or he knew one of the Six was going around the globe killing specific targets.

    avellino

    So how significant is Avellino, then, since he found his way onto Sayid’s list of targets? Well, since we find out Ben’s the guy giving the orders, one could assume that whoever is on his list seeks to exploit the island in some way. That line of thinking could then link Avellino with the conspirators that created the fake wreckage of Flight 815 and contracted the Naomi-led team of misfits to find Ben and the island. I’m sure Matthew Abbadon and whoever his boss is are on that list.

  • In the first episode of the season, Naomi’s dying words to George Minkowski on the other end of the sat-phone were to “tell [her] sister [she] loves her.” Miles intimated that the phrase she uttered was the team’s code for something going wrong, but my propensity to take nothing at face value makes me wonder if she does actually have a sister back home. Who is “R.G.”?

    bracelet

    I speculated on the Biblical nature of Naomi’s name, and that reference’s relation to Ruth, her daughter in my recap for the premiere. So, why not assume the ‘R’ in “R.G.” stands for Ruth. Who’s with me?

  • Based on Mr. Avellino’s comments before his untimely demise, the golf course he and Sayid are playing on are as exclusive as it gets. Both of them allude to how much the privacy (they’re the only two on the course, it seems) costs. That makes it evident Sayid’s boss, Ben, has an abundance of financial means at his disposal. Financial means that were likely in place long before our castaways ever crashed on the island.
  • Next on Ben’s list after Avellino is “Elsa,” a fetching German chica Sayid meets at a cafe in Berlin. Though, if we’re being accurate, the real target is Elsa’s boss, an economist who comes to Germany maybe “once or twice a year,” at which time she serves as his personal shopper. Nice work if you can get it. By episode’s end, we find out Elsa is more than meets the eye, but isn’t quite Sayid’s match in the killing department.

    Elsa

    She also seems fully aware of her boss’s true nature: an economist he’s not. My gut reaction is that her boss is Charles Widmore, Penny Widmore’s father and head of the oft-referenced Widmore Corporation. More evidence in favor of Ben’s list containing the conspirators who seek to exploit the island.

  • Did Ben find time for a veterinary degree when not making lists of people he’d like dead?

    vet office

    It doesn’t look like a just a mere front for his wetworks operations, either, as is evident when he puts his medical skills to work mending that bullet wound of Sayid’s. I guess Ben can operate on himself now if he ever develops another tumor.

  • When Locke finds the magic powder boundary but no Jacob-shack to go with it, Ben surmises he came there looking for direction. Despite Locke’s outward display of taking charge and making decisions, he’s still as lost as he ever was, ever searching for signs and wonders that will tell him what to do to serve the island. Jacob, it seems, was away on business when Locke came calling. It probably takes Jacob a lot of time to wheel that shack of his all over the island by himself.

    powder

    We still don’t know the purpose of that boundary yet; and it doesn’t seem to be the barrier I had first assumed it was last season. We don’t know how far it extends, but if last week’s appearance is any indication, Jacob’s shack isn’t held in place by that small boundary of magic powder (nor by any law of physics, it seems).

  • This probably doesn’t need to be spelled out, but a more common theme is undoubtedly going to be the idea that the 815 survivors really don’t have any reason to go back to the mainland. Their flashbacks are full of all kinds of miserable events that left most of them broken and alone. They likely would’ve stayed that way had mysterious forces not intervened and brought them all together on that fateful voyage. Once on the island, they engaged in what would be a natural reaction for most everyone: the desire to be rescued; to get off the island and back “home.” But what they’re starting to realize (both on the island and off, as Suicidal Jack made apparent in last year’s finale) is they’ve found a real home on the island–a place that’s restored meaning, purpose, and a sense of belonging to their once-shattered lives.
  • Our up-to-date Oceanic Six tally, for those not paying attention: Jack, Hurley, Kate (?), Sayid. Two to go. Claire and Aaron? Jin and Sun? Walt and Michael?
  • I wonder what’s become of Sayid’s lost love, Nadia.
  • Why did Lapidus tell Daniel to get off the phone if George Minkowski came on? Why is it okay that he talks to Regina, but not George? It wasn’t in a threatening manner, either, it felt like Frank was trying to protect Daniel.
  • Is it good or bad that Jack’s become the least interesting character on the show? Throw Kate in there as well.
  • The name on Ben’s passport, which Sayid found in Ben’s hidden emporium of mainland attire, is “Dean Moriarty.”

    passport

    Dean Moriarty is one of the protagonists in Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road. Dean grew up in Colorado with a hobo/bum for a father for whom he searches on many occasions. Dean’s fanatic personality races from journey to journey and pulls other people along. His various fixations include drugs, women, intellectualism and finally, his father and family life. [Wikipedia]

    A wholly appropriate alias.

  • A nice, but obvious, foreshadow comes about halfway through the episode when Sayid says, “the day I trust [Ben] is the day I sell my soul.” His resigned despair while Ben gives him orders at episode’s end indicates he did just that.

    stopwatch

    What will be the event that allows Ben to recruit Sayid; when he “thinks with his heart instead of his gun?” Does this involve Michael? Jack? Had Sayid killed one of his friends, would everyone be much better off now?

Other Stuff from Other Sites

  • “Some elaboration, if I may: In my recap of ”Confirmed Dead” last week, I speculated that the C.S. Lewis reference was a nod to Prince Caspian and was meant to hint that Charlotte had been to the Island before.” [EW]

    Charlotte did seem awfully pleased to be on the island last week, didn’t she? Add that to her apparent expectations of finding a Dharma collar worn by a polar bear in the middle of a Tunisian desert, and it’s safe to assume she has more than working knowledge of the island.

  • In the same EW post above, author Doc Jensen outlines an intriguing theory about “Maxwell’s Demon,” “a hypothetical molecule possessing unique knowledge and power. Its function is to organize large groups of other molecules into separate, smaller groups in order to produce useful energy and predictable outcomes instead of chaos and entropy.” Thoughts of the first online Lost game and Valenzetti equations and the Dharma Initiative fill my head. I may elaborate more on that in subsequent posts, but check Jensen’s thoughts on the topic here.
  • Naomi and Elsa being deceased isn’t the only thing the two share in common; they both have similar taste in wrist attire.

    good

See ya next week, ladies and gentlemen. Things are getting….”gooood.”

good
(Michael Emerson is terrific.)

Updated: February 15, 2008 — 12:38 am

3 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Ok, just a few things I’ll throw out there.
    1. I still think Sun and Jin will go back…
    2. for the same reason that Kate will go back. Getting pregnant on the island leads to death…but returning to the “mainland” results in a healthy born child and mother…..ie, Kate, too, will become pregnant with Sawyer’s child and they will both agree that she needs to “return”…and Sawyer will stay for more than just altruistic reasons. I’m sure that he will have another purpose (no doubt connected with some other manipulations of Ben).
    3. Aaron and Claire will remain to repopulate the island, as she got pregnant off the island and “all is well”.
    4. Magnets have become increasingly common to treat medical issues…copper bracelets are worn, too, to help with different medical problems. So, if you are correct about the Farraday thing, and I think that you are, the island, with it’s “magnetic” characteristics lend themselves then, to the “magnetic force” having healing powers, and perhaps, “eternal life”….And, the bracelets are a link to that magnetic force, on or off the island, which is why they are worn by these two women, and perhaps many more….also could have a bearing on the pregnancy thing, too, I suppose, down the line.
    4. I think Sayid sells himself out to Ben for his connection with Nadia. We know that she is still alive and lives in “suburbia”, and also, that Charlie saved her once upon a time. In his hope to see her again, or more probably, to save her life, he agrees to whatever killing and calling Ben has in store for him.

  2. Regardless of how this all turns out, a sure fire last episode ratings hullabaloo would include 3 of the Oceanic six as none other than Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond and a grizzly Dennis Haskins.

  3. I will revise my “six”..due to it looking like those that go back have to do so in order to leave someone behind…so, Sun will return, and Jin will have to stay….haven’t picked my number six then….unless perhaps Bernard? but that is doubtful due to his secondary main character status.

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