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Cabin Fever, Labor Pains, and Suicide: Just Another Day on "Lost"

I'll be honest: I am glad that Damon, Carlton, and Co. didn't break this season of Lost with last night's episode. Perhaps it would have had more resonance had we not known for what seems like forever about the return of Michael (Harold Perrineau) but since we did (and have been anticipating his appearance in every week's installment, thanks to his name in the credits), it sort of took the wind out of the sails a bit.

That said, this week's episode of Lost ("Ji Yeon") was still a pleasurable excursion, especially as it confirmed the identity of another member of the vaunted Oceanic Six (which Yunjin Kim herself hinted to me when we spoke last year), possibly revealed the lengths to which this mysterious band of survivors will protect their cover stories, and gave us a clue as to what the hell is going on aboard the freighter. All that, some nifty juxtaposition of flashbacks and flash-forwards, and an easter egg in the form of Nikki's TV guest appearance on "Exposé"? Brillo.

Sun and Jin. I knew that Sun would be one of the Oceanic Six and I liked the way that the producers juggled her flash-forwards with Jin's flashbacks. Call me slightly dense but I did wonder throughout why Jin looked a little too similar to his pre-crash self and why he was quite so angry. But then this week's writers--Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis--gave us some red herrings: the frantic phone calls, Jin's pleas that he was on his way, the purchase of the panda destined for the maternity ward, and the destruction of his cell phone, all of which contributed to the false effect of a flash-forward.

Which made Sun's desperate cries for her husband (and her insistence that she keep her wedding ring on) during her tricky labor even more compelling and heartbreaking. I had a sinking suspicion that only one member of this couple would make it off the island and figured that Jin would do everything in his power to secure a spot on the rescue vehicle (or however the Six made it off) for his pregnant wife, carrying around a timebomb in the form of their baby daughter Ji Yeon (which, BTW, means "heavenly patience" in Hangul). While time on the island may have separated many couples, it has strangely brought these two closer together and their scenes in this week's episode were as touching as they were gripping. Jin finally accepts responsibility for his behavior in Korea and how his withholding affection may have pushed Sun into the arms of another. The fact that he cooked her dinner after learning of her affair is in sharp contrast to the man who once demanded she button up her sweater in the pilot episode.

I don't think Jin is dead. I think he's back on the island (which is why his grave marker lists the date of the crash as the day he died) and his gravesite is part of Oceanic Six's elaborate ruse. Which begs the question: why did Sun leave without her husband and under what circumstances? And why was Hurley the only one to visit the new mother in Korea?

Karma. The notion of karma has long been at the heart of this series and it was enlightening to see the characters have a discussion about the principal. In a beautifully understated scene, Bernard simplifies the concept of karma to Jin (whose understanding of English is now coming along thanks to Sun and, funnily enough, Sawyer): do good things and good things happen to you. Do bad things (like Locke murdering Naomi) and bad things will follow. To me, it was especially interesting the way that Bernard referred to Locke as a "murderer"; it really seems like there is an unrepairable rift between the two camps of survivors now. But Bernard left one important element of philosophical karma out of his discussion with Jin: namely that "the effects of all deeds actively create past, present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain and joy it brings to them and others... In religions that incorporate reincarnation, karma extends through one's present life and all past and future lives as well." Which does explain quite a lot of the flashbacks and flash-forwards that have peppered the series thus far.

Juliet. I get that Juliet wanted to help Sun and she is technically, as a pregnant woman, under her care but I could not believe that the battered Juliet resorted to betraying Sun's trust by revealing her affair with Jae. And while I love Juliet, she definitely deserved that slap across the face from Sun and I was secretly hoping Sun would return the favor and actually punch her. Did Juliet's reveal to Jin have the desired effect? Sure, it kept them on this side of the island with Jack's group and under Juliet's watchful eye and may have healed the final impediment between Sun and Jin, but it was Sun's right to tell her husband about the affair and not Juliet. In fact, furthering the notion of karma, Sun should have been the one to come clean rather than continue to conceal this from him.

Regina. In a bit of irony, the oft-heard-but-never-seen Regina (Zoe Bell) is FINALLY introduced on-screen in this week's episode... only to kill herself in her second on-camera scene. I knew something was about to happen when Lapidus noticed that the book she was reading was upside-down but I had no idea that she was about to wrap herself in chains and jump off the freighter in the freakiest display of cabin fever ever. Sayonara, Regina. We hardly knew ye. I assume the suicides also explain what happened to the ship's cook. (As for the book Regina was reading, it was Jules Verne's "Survivors of the Chancellor.")

Question: what was the noise coming from elsewhere on the Kahana? And is it a clue to the crew's suffering or something else altogether?

Kevin Johnson. Meanwhile, Sayid came face to face with Michael this week (at last!) and feigned ignorance of the freighter's janitor (?). We can assume that it was Michael who left the door open for Sayid and Desmond to escape the medical bay and who left the note warning them not to trust the ship's captain. Which is an interesting dilemma for Sayid and Desmond and one that the audience is sucked into as well, an age-old literary question about unreliable narrators. If Michael is Ben's man on the boat, then he's clearly working for Ben. The facts around why he's working for him are unimportant (though clearly he's doing so under duress, most likely because Ben still has Walt); therefore, everything he says and does are in service to Ben and to protect his son. If Michael tells them not to trust Captain Gault, is it (A) Michael telling them this because Gault is a liar or (B) because Ben wants them to THINK that Gault is a liar? Curious.

Captain Gault. The Captain of the Kahana (which means "turning point" in Hawaiian) is a little bit of an intense man but he's also seemingly very forthcoming about his mission. He claims that he works for Charles Widmore (a fact that stuns Desmond) and reveals that they are there to find Benjamin Linus. They know all about the fact that the Oceanic Flight 815 that was recovered from the bottom of the Sunda Trench was a fake; Widmore spent considerable means to acquire the plane's alleged black box recorder and points the finger of staging such an elaborate hoax (complete with 324 corpses) squarely at Ben.

But can we trust him? If what Michael says is true, then Gault is a liar; Ben wasn't behind the faked crash wreckage and isn't the villain in this situation. But (as shown above) we can't really trust Michael either, so Gault COULD be telling the truth. Still, how did Widmore know to look for the island so close to its actual location (was it because of the Black Rock diaries?) and why doesn't he care about rescuing the survivors of the crash since he knows it was faked?

It's enough to drive a sane person as mad as Regina or the other crew members of the Kahana. As for the island sickness that is driving them insane, was this what Rousseau's crew faced? Was this the sickness she spoke of and is it related to the time travel that Desmond is experiencing? And why haven't the castaways succumbed to this mysterious illness that seems to emanate from the island itself? Discuss.

Next week on Lost ("Meet Kevin Johnson"), Ben convinces Alex to flee Locke's camp when he learns of an imminent attack, Sayid confronts Michael aboard the Kahana, and we learn just what "Kevin Johnson" has been up to since we last saw him at the end of Season Two. It's the last episode before hiatus and I cannot wait!

Comments

rockauteur said…
I hope next week's episode is more Michael flashback fun!!! (well recent flashbacks)...

I knew Jin was not a member of the Oceanic 6 as soon as I saw him... Was an obvious attempt by producers to make you think he got off the island but I immediately knew that was a flashback to Sun's flash forward.

Good episode though... Hope to find out some more truth soon... Desmond didn't look too surprised about Charles Widmore owning the boat... Especially since its not Penny's boat! And again, how does Charles know that Desmond is on the island? I suppose the same reason Penny does.
Anonymous said…
Ok, maybe I misheard something, but....

I could have sworn that a few weeks ago the ABC promo department said, "Next week, we will learn the identity of one more of the oceanice 6" and the next week was the ep where we learn Kate has Aaron. That made 5 (Kate, JAck, Sayid, Hurley, Aaron), and while Aaron was technically island-born, he WAS on Oceanic 815, and there was no other survivor in that ep.

Cut to last week - I could swear they said, "Next week we will reveal the final member of the Oceanic 6." So, when it was clear that Sun was pregnant, thus in a flash-forward, I kinda figured Jin didn't make it, and figured she was calling his name in some pain-induced hysteria.

So, while it took away some of the suspense/reveal, I was still so sad and moved at the end, and this marked, I think, my first Lost tear-up.

While the reveal of Michael couldn't have been less surprising, I did like that it wasn't Michael (at least by name). At first I thought they'd done something to him, and he truly didn't know he was Michael, but then that look he gave Sayid - no doubt that he just gave a fake name....

I totally missed Expose - when was that?
Jace Lacob said…
Ally,

Expose was playing on the television in Sun's bedroom during the opening scene (it was dubbed in Hangul).

As for the identities of the Oceanic Six, I think the producers are being intentionally misleading. It's either Aaron (though he wasn't technically on the manifest) or Ben, who has assumed someone else's identity... As for the other two who "died" after the crash, I think Jin was supposed to be one of them in order to explain Sun's pregnancy.
Anonymous said…
I think Jin is dead (the Lost DUI curse) because why would Hurley and Sun bother going to the grave if they know he's alive? I still say Michael is in the casket, but is he #6 or did he get off the island as Kevin Johnson?
Anonymous said…
Personally I think Jin may have been the one of the six that was in the casket and if he is not one of the six I think he would still be one of the people Jack referenced as being "alive" after the crash but dead when they were rescued.
I really, really wish I hadn't known that Michael was coming back as it would have made that scene completely crazy (in a good Lost kind of way). I also don't like the whole "someone will die!" promo for next week. Why take all the fun out of it? Still a great episode, though.
The CineManiac said…
Loved the episode. I figured out it was a flash-back and a Flash-forward, but not as soon as a lot of people.
I agree with you Jace, I don't think Jin is dead, it really bothered me that his date of death was the date of the plane crash (Which means he's not one of the 2 who survived but died on the island!) But I couldn't figure out why they'd go to his gravesite if he wasn't really dead.
Until I read the line about how far they'd go to cover up the truth, and I think it's just that. She's spending time there to make it look real, and talking to him because she truly does miss him, but she knows he's still alive on that damned island!
Harleypeyton said…
They've used the trick twice and the third time will be one too many, ie having a character speak seemingly nonsensical dialogue in the service of a twist. First Jack talking about his father as if he was alive in the first flashfoward, and now the Jin fakeout during the birth scene. It's a lazy trick that will look like one if they keep repeating it.
Anonymous said…
I just wanted to say that I have read several blogs recapping this episode, and, once again, this one is the best. Good job! Thank you for actually understanding what is going on in this episode. :) I also think that Jin is probably alive on the island. Sun didn't say anything at Jin's gravesite that indicated that he had to be dead. She said "I miss you" several times, which led me to believe that maybe he is alive; that and the fact that the gravestone had his death marked as the day of the crash. I think they showed that close-up on purpose. :)
I do think that Aaron is one of the Oceanic Six now, yeah. Since they said the last of them would be revealed tonight, and only Sun can be one of them, I assume that means that Aaron was number 5. I was hoping that wasn't the case, but I can see how the six people who come into the public eye after an incident like the Oceanic crash could be dubbed "The Oceanic Six" by the public/media. They probably aren't thinking of it in terms of "who was on the manifest?" They are just thinking "there are six people." One just happens to be a baby. :)
The question now is: are Jin and Claire alive on the island? I think Jin's chances are better than Claire's...

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