LOST 6.4: Tie Again, Dude
- Thursday, February 25, 2010
"I am God. I have called you to live right and well. I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations, To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.... (Isaiah 42:6-7, The Message).
"Yes, you know what he wants; you know right from wrong because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who are lost in darkness without God. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge and truth. Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself?" (Romans 2:18-21, NLT).
There is a reason several churches and Christian artists cling to images of the Lighthouse in their name, mission, purpose, and imagery. The beacon on the hill, pointing the way of truth to those lost or unsure, is a powerful metaphor. It can call some people in, or warn others away. Those who would claim the light of truth, however, carry a burden, one the Apostle Paul lays upon his Jewish (i.e. children of Jacob) brethren in the quote from Romans above. You don't get to claim without experiencing, knowing, and understanding. Such things tend to be achieved through the pain of living and communing, not just setting up shop as the lonely lighthouse keeper. This is one irony the metaphor makes upon itself.
The lighthouse from which this episode takes its title it not much different. Not only does it look like something straight out of the computer game Myst (something you've heard me harp on before) with all its gears and the puzzle of the names of so many candidates (have there been 360 of them in total, the same number of degrees in a circle? Any coincidence that our sum-of-the-numbers 108, the coordinate Hurley is supposed to enter, goes into 360 3.333333 times for an endless recurrence of the sacred triune number three?), but it would seem it has the power to call people in (Hurley's appointed task), and to freak people out. Poor Jack. That had to be spooky. Still ticked at you for breaking the mirrors instead of spying out more houses, though.
Now that we've seen a literal lighthouse on LOST, it's something of a wonder to me we've never seen one before (just as it is to Jack, who asks Hurley how they missed it), as obvious an archetype it is in stories about those who are lost.
Let's also do a quick comparison and contrast between the Lighthouse scene in this episode and the Ladder scene from the previous episode:
Lighthouse: On a cliffside overlooking the sea, goes up.
Ladder: On a cliffside overlooking the sea, goes down.
Lighthouse: Light, open-air.
Ladder: Dark cave, enclosed, in the earth.
Lighthouse: Symbols of truth, light, reflection, finding one's way.
Ladder: Symbols of balance, imbalance, justice (the scales), learning one's way.
Lighthouse: Names of the candidates, most scratched out, our Losties corresponding to their same numbers.
Ladder: Names of the candidates, most scratched out, our Losties corresponding to their same numbers.
Lighthouse: Jack, led there by new Man-of-Faith Hurley, contemplates next step, learns how important he is.
Ladder: Sawyer, led there by former Man-of-Faith "Locke," clings to the answers he's given, not caring if he's being deceived or used.
So here's my first question - is Jacob SO obsessed with his candidates and this group of them that he scrawls their names in several places? We've been led to believe he wrote the names in the caves, as well as in the lighthouse. From here, it looks like overkill. I'm not sure the cave and the names there are Jacob's. We've known him to live in and occupy man-made structures (statue, cabin, lighthouse, perhaps Temple as well). It's Smokey who we know dwells subterraneously. I suspect MIB has used the cave as his own base, his own headquarters from which to track and cross off the names of Jacob's candidates as he defeates them in their little game. Jack sees the names same as Sawyer did last episode. But here, Jacob lets him take it all in after Jack got angry, where before, MIB bottled Sawyer's anger, used it, and led him straight into what he wanted him to do...
Loved seeing number 108! Hurley's instructions are to rotate the lighthouse mirrors to 108 (the sum of the numbers). This is supposedly to help someone find the island (Hurley even suspects this is the kind of lighthouse that guides, rather than warns). But we never find 108 because Jack notices what happens at 23 - he sees his childhood house in the mirror. Jack tells Hurley it's "my house - the house I grew up in," but... is it his house? Is it not his father's house (by the way, another biblical phrase)? And with the name Shephard - as I discussed last week - perhaps having been written on the cave wall before the other names were written on the ceiling, was it perhaps not Christian who was a candidate long before Jack?
With the Lighthouse reveal, the mirror/reflection/Looking Glass theme of LOST finally has a raison d'etre. Has it been from the "other side of the looking glass" that Jacob looked upon his candidates throughout their lives? Earlier in the episode, Jack is looking in a mirror when he checks out his appendectomy scar. He clarifies the details with his mother but as we already are aware, it's the details, the small things, that are different in this timeline (what some other LOST bloggers are referring to as the "sideverse"). Jack doesn't quite remember, or has a different recollection than she does (Jack was 7-8 years old, Christian wanted to do the procedure after Jack collapsed at school).
Jack also stares at his reflection in the courtyard pond at the Temple, just another reflected image setting us up for the big reveal. Is the suggestion that perhaps this is when Jacob/God sees us? When we truly see ourselves?
GAMEPLAY / BLACK-AND-WHITE
"Everything is an option."
When Dogen says these words to Jack, we're again reminded of the bigness of the free will theme, the explore-and-figure-out-the-rules-as-you-go motif (see yet again Myst), and even of Paul's words that "all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable." On a personal level, it reminded me of a Sunday School lesson once where our teacher convinced a bunch of us teenage boys that "you never do anything you don't want to do." Boy has that concept had relevance to my studies of this show. The game may have rules and the interplay may be costly, but at heart, everything still must be decided on a personal level. Ben knew this, MIB knows this, the Serpent in the Garden knew this. When Hurley - prompted by Jacob, says, "I'm a candidate - I can do what I want," it's clear that free will not being impeded is even more of a big deal with candidates (see also letting Sawyer leave, Jack's convo with Dogen, Sayid needing to choose to take the pill).
I'm so glad they gave Miles something to do in this episode -- play a game of Jungle Tic-tac-toe with Hurley. One wonders why it was even worth the trouble of creating wreaths for Os and crossed leaves for Xs, as anyone above five who plays tic-tac-toe (or noughts-and-crosses as our British friends like to call it) knows you can force a tie in the game any time you like if you're paying a modicum of attention. Hurley and Miles even have the following interplay: "Tie again, dude. Shocker." From the perspective of viewing LOST as a game, it's another metaphor that speaks to a current state of stalemate; nobody's won or lost yet. But that would appear to be changing soon...
Speaking of tie games in tic-tac-toe, we used to refer to those as "cat's game"s. Did someone say cats? And games?
David was reading a very nice copy of the anotated Alice in Wonderland. Jack used to read it to Aaron, but in this timeline he used to read it to David as a child. Kitty and Snowdrop were David's fave characters, the ones he was most concerned about. They were cats. One was black, one was white. We can infer one has ties to the red queen, and another to the white queen. It's no accident that white rabbits, looking glasses, and chromatic-colored kitty cats have been so prevalent in LOST. In a show ripe with literary references, Lewis Carroll's stories reign above nearly all others. In Alice, critics have long noticed a life-as-chess theme, one which LOST also uses if not explicitly, then just a little bit differently in more of a life-as-backgammon way.
Black-and-white: Nearly all of the decor in Jack's house, including his clock; piano keys.
AN IMPROMPTU FANTASY?
Speaking of piano, David's notes are of Chopin's "Fantaisie-Impromptu." Check out these lines from Wikipedia about the piece:
"It ends off in an ambiguous fantasy-like ending, in a quiet and mysterious way, where the left hand replays the first few notes of the moderato section theme, while the right hand continues playing sixteenth notes (semiquavers). The piece resolves and gently ends on a C-sharp major rolled chord." Is this how we can expect LOST to conclude as well?
Great shot of the piano as David plays and Jack takes it all in - the black and the white in unified harmony are played upon by the will of the individual - not vice versa - and from there we travel inward to the heart, where the music happens and the process is much deeper and intricate and beyond just the mechanics of the player.
FATHERS AND SONS
The episode opens on photographs of Jack with his parents together, and with his father just the two of them. Fathers have always been an important theme in LOST, and it turns out that sons are becoming one, too. Jack's son's name is David, another biblical/patriarchal name, one that represents a literal shepherd from the pages of Scripture. We've now encountered references to the story of Abraham (twice), an Isaac (the Australian faith healer), a Jacob, a Benjamin, and a David... on down to more New Testament names like Christian, John, and James.
David is gifted at piano, and afraid to fail in his father's eyes. Did anyone have a sentimental Faraday moment when seeing another prodigy born to parents of a more scientific bent play virtuoso piano? Jack's mother opens his eyes a bit to how sons have fear of the father, a little bit of which can be a healthy thing, but too much and the child become unsure of himself, doesn't realize he "has what it takes." Jack never wants his son to feel the way he did. In his eyes, his son CAN NOT fail. Unconditional love is spoken and meant. "I just wanna be a part of your life." God to us?
New-815 Jack makes a pretty good dad... with some openness to learning, communicating, and making an effort. Meanwhile, Island Jack has come to terms with the fact that he'd "be a terrible dad," and tells Hurley so.
Why did Jack Shephard hack up his father's coffin? Because Christian wasn't in it. One last disappearing act was more than he could take. There's no closure for Jack on any front. Not directly anyway. Sad for a guy who "needs it to be over."
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
Los Angeles 2004 Sideverse
"Welcome All Candidates!" -- the sign at the audition for the conservatory
Jack's dad's coffin might have been checked through Berlin. It would appear to be two days post-flight, as David's audition was on Friday the 24th (September 24 was indeed a Friday in 2004).
Jack has a son! I'm placing David at around 15 years old (can't drive yet, but definitely well into his teen years), meaning he would have been born around 1987-ish?
Is David from a failed marriage, or an out-of-wedlock tryst from a very young Jack? I'd place Jack at about 23 and in medical school around the time David was born? Unclear who the mom is. Might it be Sarah, even though Jack obviously would have had to meet her much earlier and under much different circumstances than our original timeline? I believe so (it's either her or someone mind-blowing; why else make a point of not revealing her identity unless it truly makes no difference). I think Jack and Sarah had a destinty to marry and divorce, and that played itself out in both timelines. Doesn't make me feel any better regarding what I speculated about Locke and Helen's chances for marital bliss last week, though... I do believe Jack was once married to David's mom due to knowing where the key is at her house, and from what we learn from David about how Jack used to just sit around listening to him play piano. Makes it seem like there was a time they were a happy family under one roof.
David wears a Dodger hat in photos taken with his Dad but later Jack assumes/knows he is a Red Sox fan, like his father and his father before him. I read this as an instance of a son looking for his dad's approval. He probably would pull for the local team (Dodgers) on his own, but adopted his dad's team either to bond or be approved of.
I'll have to go back yet again and confirm, but did David's mom live in a house with the address of 23 (Jack's special number)? I could see the 2 and the 3 but couldn't tell if there was more to it than that... If so, is this a sign that perhaps it is his destiny to live in that house again someday?
When Jack listens to David's voice mails, a poster above him, in black and white, shows the letters MAN. Jack listens to his own voice talk about needing to hear hear his son's voice. Can't help thinking of biblical phrasing about Man and Son of Man.
Jack meets Dogen, who also has a musically-talented son, who recognizes how good David is. This is the third straight episode an Other has shown up in LA, each with what can be assumed are progressively further-back ties to the island - first Ethan, then Ben, then Dogen. How and when did they leave the island? Were they ever summoned there at all in this wacky sideverse?
Odd... Jack "doesn't know" how long his son has been playing piano. Is part of Jack's consciousness still stuck in his island-self? Like what was going with the appendectomy question? (Note: this bit of info did answer why it was that Jack got sick with appendicitis on the island - he HAD to because of course correction). Similarly, his sister Claire seems to be fuzzy on some of the details of her own situation back on the island as well...
"Why would he make it easy on us now?" -- Jack to his mom, about his dad's hidden will. Also a question we can ask theologically, or about our most-excellent-but-evil producers.
Claire Littleton is named in Jack's father's will - a will he didn't even leave with his lawyers. Does the name ring a bell for Jack at all?
Timeline similarities and differences
- Same - They went ahead with Christians funeral/memorial despite no body - same as the first time; Christian still fathered Claire and apparently told no one about it, not even his lawyers; Jack's (quite possibly) divorced.
- Different - Jack has a son; Jack's not a stress-drinker in this new timeline; Jack's appendectomy occurred when he was around 8 years old; even though it was evidently still a challenge being Christian Shephard's son, Jack does not seem burdened by the same daddy issues as when we first met him.
It's something Jack actually tells Hurley on-island, but he admits, "I spent my whole life carrying 'I don't have what it takes' around with me." New-815 Jack was indeed told the same thing, but at some point, he left it behind. Locke, last week, got rid of carrying 'Don't tell me what I can't do' around with him. What old albatross did Kate give up the week before? In any case, third straight week in this final season we could leave a central character in new-815 2004 and feel pretty okay about them from here on out.
Jack & Hugo on the Island
"I hope you find what you're looking for."
When Kate says this line to Jack, it not only made my heart sink a bit, but also took me back to the good ol' song from U2 off the Joshua Tree album. Jack's still on a quest, Kate recognizes, but... she's not. At least, not one for meaning or purpose. She's got a much more tangible and focused job - find Claire. She wants to find Claire even more when she learns "something happened to her," and the Others don't know exactly where she is. Like Sawyer, Kate has no intentions of going back to the Temple. She also apparently better choose her words carefully when she crosses Claire's path...
Eventually, I believe Kate is going to join Sawyer and Locke. Perhaps Sayid as well.
What was Jacob doing to the water in the pool when Hurley sees him (he actually gives directions to a kitchen!)? Felt like he was witnessing after-effects of his own death, like being sad the pool was now discolored.
Jacob tells Hugo, "Someone is coming to the island. I need you to help them find it." Is this true, or did he just want Jack to find the lighthouse? If so, he would be a manipulator, or perhaps, as the pop-ups from the previous episode suggested, he is just a "nudger," who gives folks a push and then lets people choose to find their way, kinda like how Gandalf refers to his role in getting Bilbo out his door in the LotR/The Hobbit. If someone or some group is indeed coming to the island, who might it be?
Sayid knew Jack was hiding something from him, sees how the Others are looking at him. Jack comes clean about the poison and that they wanted Jack to kill him. Even tells him this happened to someone else. But we don't know if Jack tells Sayid it was Claire. I assume he did.
Hugo scopes out various heiroglyphs inside the temple, seeming to settle on one that looks a lot like an ourobouros - a symbol we've seen before on LOST.
Dogen stops him; Jacob conveniently tells Hurley what both Dogen and Jack will need to hear to make them believers. Does this make Hurley a prophet? Does it make Jacob a god... a holy ghost... or a poltergeist?
Can't get a good read on Jacob's facial expressions, tone, etc. here, but I stick with the fact that Hurley is trusting him as my muse. I do like his smile when asked if he has any ideas on how to get Jack to go with Hurley.
According to Hurley, Jacob is, "Kind of dead. Turns up whenever he wants, like Obi-Wan Kenobi." Another fitting Star Wars allusion, considering the Anakin vibe I got from Sawyer last week. For me, this is the best way to get a fix on what is going on with Jacob right now.
Yet another Jacob Quest begins (total deja vu to the days of Locke and Ben!) when Jack says, "Well then let's go see Jacob." Woo-hoo!
Shannon's inhaler! We got a revisit to the caves! Hurley voices what we've expected since Season One - the Adam & Eve skeletons are somehow 815 Survivors. Even they way they were laid gave me a total Bernard-and-Rose vibe...
Jack's reason for coming back: he was broken. And thought the place could "fix" (his favorite word) him. But we should know from Locke that broken people are not necessarily healed there unless they choose it. It's not involuntary. Even Jesus asked people if they WANTED to be healed.
Hurley;s reason for coming back: Because Jacob told him he was supposed to. Seriously? That's it? Here's our new man of faith. Has he been all along? Do we have all the motives now? Sun wanted to find Jin, Kate wanted to find Claire, Jack wanted to find himself/get fixed, Hurley wanted to obey something he sensed was special/supernatural. Sayid came against his will, and Ben... what was Ben's motive in getting back to the island? He sure hasn't been in control of much since he got there, and surely his skills could have helped him amass a Widmore-esque bit of success in the real world, so... was it just to prove that he could?
Old Jack comes back for a minute to smash some mirrors. He doesn't like this Santa Claus "sees you when you're sleeping" Jacob. He'd like some answers, not "just kinda showing up when he feels like," as Hurley says happens.
Remember the good ol' days of lines like, "Shephard wasn't even on Jacob's list"? Well, he was all along. Not being recruited/kidnapped for standard-old-Other duty doesn't mean one isn't wanted... We would do well to bear this in mind now that we know Kate isn't on the current "list." Doesn't mean she isn't important in the least. She could involve yet another level of importance, representing, among several possibilities: wisdom, love, pursuit, the lynchpin, the determining factor, the peacebringer, the restorer, just as her namesake Saint Catherine (Kate has always used Saint names as her many aliases) worked to restore the Great Western Schism and bring the Pope back to Rome from France. Also intrigues me that she is the patron saint of "fire prevention"...
"If you'd explained everything, then maybe Jack wouldn't have freaked out and smashed your mirror..." Hurley, to Jacob. It's a funny line, but I'm most intrigued by the "why do you have to have secrets, why can't you just tell us everyting in plain English, God" aspect of the statement.
We are told Jack could not have seen Jacob. But why not? Didn't Sawyer see Kid Jacob last week? Unless that wasn't really him... Here, Jacob wears white, as usual. Kid Jacob did not, though... more fodder for the "that kid wasn't really Jacob" crowd (which I remain apart from).
Island Hurley still believes in "bad luck" such as from broken mirrors, but even as a dead dude Jacob is just not worried about anything. He is at one with course correction, telling Hugo that, "I'm sure they'll find some other way" to get to the island, regarding those who are supposedly coming. It feels like there really is a group coming, Jacob just isn't too concerned about them. But as to his primary purpose, after Hurley rants at him Jacob sits back and grins at Hurley in a manner reminiscient of Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams about his roundabout plan. I half expected him to say, "Are you asking what's in it for me? I think you better stay, Ray." They could have just had Jack build a baseball field rather than climb the lighthouse as "the only way for Jack to understand how important he is."
"Jack is here because he has to do something. Can't be told what that is he's gotta find it himself." Notice how this is a complete foil of what happened with Flocke/Sawyer last week. It DID have to be James's choice, but he didn't find the path himself. Jack is being allowed to do so.
Ah, but Jacob had yet another purpose! Both Jack and Hugo had to be away from the Temple. Someone bad is coming. I notice Jacob doesn't care that Sayid is still there... why? Has he claimed Sayid? Or is Sayid beyond help?
Great Hurley Lines Worth Mentioning
- "I just lied to a Samurai!"
- "Mission Unaccomplished!"
Claire & Jin on the Island
"If there's one thing that'll kill ya around here it's infection."
I was right previously - Justin was just wounded, not killed by Claire's gunshots. Doesn't do him much good in the end though...
Where did Claire get the explosives? That dynamite looks way newer than the Black Rock stuff. Why have it out and exposed like that? Doing some demolition?
She's also got a stash of children's books, and a cradle (same but different from the one Locke made her; surely her "new friend" got it for her)
Nothing like a fake baby fashioned out of a boar skull and some fur!
Claire, who has suffered memory lapses before (see her return from "Maternity Leave"), doesn't seem to know how long she's been out there, instead turning Jin's question into an accusation of everyone having left her, and certainly doesn't seem to recollect having abandoned Aaron to run off with "her dad," something we can be pretty certain happened because Miles appears to have witnessed it back in Season Four.
Anyone having trouble buying Claire becoming this much of a baddy in just three years? Where'd she get things like bear traps, dynamite, skills (have yet to see if she has nunchuck skills or bowstaff skills)? It's one reason why even if Flocke hadn't shown up as "her friend" I would have assumed she'd been getting some training or influence from Smokey.
She wants to question Justin about where they have her baby. Seems convinced the Others have Aaron, and nothing else - especially not the truth - is going to help. Jin has to lie about lying! How is Claire sure the Others have her baby? "First my father told me, then my friend told me." Pretty sure this is the same entity. Christian was MIB (though I still think at other times he could have been Jacob)...
When Jin and Justin have the "I know her, no I know her"-off about Claire, which one is right? I get the feeling they are both wrong. Neither knows the whole story. I do think Justin knows she's going to kill him. Not so sure I agree that she's going to kill Jin, but that Justin just needs Jin's help to escape.
Is Claire working in the clearing that used to be the cabin's foundation? She sharpens her axe, boils some surgical tools...
Well, we know how Dogen knows about Claire. She did undergo the same "torture/diagnosis" as Sayid did, got the same brand (which she interpreted as such, much as I was tempted to do at first). Justin said they captured her because she was picking off their people (probably at Smokey's bidding). She remembers being stuck with needles (was this her original Ethan kidnapping?) and tortured. Jin seems to break through to Claire a bit with the truth about Kate and Aaron, but she can't understand why Kate "took" her son. Apparently she has NO memory of having abandoned him.
Justin gets the axe from Claire despite not having anything to do with it. Jin realizes he has to make her realize he and Justin were both lying, because Claire is giving Jin one HECK of a stink-eye before he realizes he has to tell her, "You are right. The Others have your baby. I saw Aaron at the temple." Claire admits that's good, because she would kill Kate if Kate was raising Aaron. Is this because she's insane, or is she actually remembering the stern warning not to let Aaron be raised by another, and having failed in this, would like to take some vengeance?
Jin: Who is your friend?
Claire: My friend. You're still my friend, aren't you, Jin?... That's not John. THIS is my friend. [Big smiley-smile Cheshire-cat grins all around... creepy.]
"Sometimes you can just hop in the back of someone's cab and tell them what to do. Other times, you have to let 'em look out at the ocean for a while." In some ways, this was the line of the episode. Faith-into-action comes easier for some people than others. We all might say that depending on the situation and circumstances, sometimes we're a little bit Hurley, sometimes we're a little bit Jack...
Things Learned from Pop-Up LOST
Each week we look at what the production team did and did not want us to clue into from the previous episode by what they purposefully type onto the screen in the re-run...
When Smokey is traveling across the island, the subtitles refer to him as, "the BLACK smoke monster." The extra adjective "black" caught my eyes there... you mean as opposed to the WHITE one? They could have economized words and typed in "the smoke monster," but they didn't. This fact gives some creedence to theorists who believe Jacob can appear in a Smokey form too, perhaps a more lighter-colored one. This would help explain apparitions that appeared when we know Smokey was otherwise occupied (like Christian appearing to Sun & Lapidus at the barracks when Flocke was still on Hydra Island with Ben), as well as giving support to those who believe the time Locke encountered the Monster and later described it as "looking into the eye of this island, and what I saw was beautiful," that it was a manifestation of Jacob and not MIB.
Bram and Ilana's group are confirmed as, "Jacob's bodyguards." Which begs the question of why Jacob needed and recruited bodyguards, particularly such ineffective ones. But it does also state that another of their jobs is to protect the candidates.
Richard is confirmed as an "advisor" who serves as a go-between for Jacob and the Others (we pretty much knew this anyway).
"A candidate is someone nominated to replace Jacob as protector of the island." Why replace? Is Jacob not eternal? Did he know he would die? If Jacob were the island's "protector," why did he intentionally bring people to it?
"Cheating" is referenced when they choose to bring up the time Locke used that word about Ben moving into the barracks, something Flocke would again point out later to Ben. Cheating is of course an unspirited violation of the rules, on purpose, to get ahead. And reminds us again that there is a game afoot.
They took the time to confirm the Iggy & the Stooges song "Search and Destroy," which to me was a big clue when Flocke is walking in to the lyrics, ""the one who's searching's searching to destroy." Tells me what I need to know (at least until these clowns pull a twist ending on me, which I still sense coming).
the most important question in the world: "why are you on this [island]. don't mistake how for why.
They make specific mentions of how Sun left Ji Yeon back home, something I think we've been destined to see play out eventually. I've long envisioned a scenario where a grown Aaron and Ji Yeon (connected in an odd way ever since the phone conversation Sun had with her daughter from the Marina about how she had found a "new friend" named Aaron for her) find the island... One conceived off-island but born on it, the other conceived on-island but born off it... just seems to fit. Very yin and yang...
What they notably didn't speak to: Kate's name being left off the candidate lists on the cave walls. That's being left for a much bigger reveal, certainly.
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