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One Cannot See Well Except With the Heart: The Little Prince on "Lost"

Whoa. I knew he would be back... but I didn't think it would be this quickly.

I'm speaking of course of this week's episode of Lost ("The Little Prince"), written by Brian K. Vaughan and Melinda Hsu Taylor, which featured the return of a VERY familiar face, along with a certain face that wasn't quite familiar but belonged to a pivotal character nonetheless.

While it lacked the whiplash-inducing plot twists of last week's episode ("Jughead"), this was another solid episode that advanced the ongoing story of the Oceanic Six, revealed some answers to some nagging mysteries this season, and raised the stakes for the castaways currently shifting through time. All this and nosebleeds, possible connections to the past, and carpet vans with cool anagrams. (It wouldn't be Lost, otherwise, now would it?)

Without further ado, let's discuss "The Little Prince."

Jin. Everyone is bound to be talking about the reappearance of the much-missed Jin, who managed to survive the explosion aboard the Kahana at the end of Season Four and has been drifting through time (and the ocean) unconscious on a door from the wreckage. As soon as we saw a body being pulled in from the ocean, I began to hope that it was actually Jin, especially as we were deliberately not shown his face. And sure enough it was Jin who managed to survive the explosion aboard the freighter. How? Likely the same way that Michael survived several suicide and murder attempts: because the island has a purpose for Jin and he is not destined to die yet.

Which makes Sun's rage-fueled vendetta against Ben all the more tragic for the lengths she's going as her husband isn't dead, just stuck on the cursed island. Given the number of main cast members that have gotten killed on the series to date, I'm glad that Jin isn't just another fatality figure but obviously has real purpose in Damon and Carlton's endgame plans. And that makes me very happy indeed. Still who sent the package to Sun? Widmore, perhaps?

Rousseau. Likewise, I'm thrilled that we'll get to see the backstory of Danielle Rousseau unfold, even though the adult Rousseau is pushing daisies with Karl in the future. As soon as the shipwrecked crew began speaking in French, I knew we'd finally get to meet the young Danielle Rousseau and sure enough we do. Even more surprising: her version of what happened to her when she arrived on the island seems to check out. Yep, she's very pregnant, there's Montand and Robert, and the numbers are playing over and over on the radio tower's frequency. Which makes me very worried then for Jin and the others as Rousseau claimed that her team became infected with The Sickness soon after they shipwrecked on the island. And now that she's crossed paths with Jin (and likely Locke and the others), it definitely seems like their Sickness is the same thing that's affecting Charlotte. Could they start jumping through time with the castaways?

The Sickness. Speaking of poor Charlotte, it seems she's not the only one who is coming down with the hemorrhaging that seems to follow their time jumps with alarmingly greater frequency. Both Miles and Juliet seem affected by the jumps and are beginning to have nosebleeds, the first symptom. There is an direct relationship between exposure to the island and severity of symptoms. We know that Juliet has been on the island for several years and Charlotte was born there, so the Sickness seems to more strongly affect those who have been exposed to the island. If that's the case, however, I'm not sure then how/why the French crew would then be affected, unless they are Others or previously had exposure to the island. And, as we know, Danielle Rousseau is not an Other, which could explain why she was unaffected by The Sickness. Hmmm...

Miles. Preternaturally gifted Miles, however, IS affected as much as Juliet. Which means that he's spent time on the island, even if he doesn't recall it. The simple explanation is then that, like Charlotte, he was born on the island and spent part of his childhood there. We know very little about Miles, his background, or his parentage. The obvious answer is that he was the small child we saw in "Because You Left" with Marvin Candle. Which would likely make Candle Miles' father... and which would definitely make Miles a far more pivotal character than he's been so far as well as explain the source of his ability. It would be very interesting indeed if Miles was the offspring of Candle, especially as we know that Faraday will cross paths with him at some point in the future (as seen, again, in "Because You Left").

Paradox. One troubling thing, however: the fact that Jin meets a young Danielle Rousseau. When he meets Crazy French Lady, she doesn't know who he is and certainly hasn't seen him before, so hasn't Jin altered the past by interacting with her? The only explanation I can give as to why it doesn't affect the timeline is that Rousseau is dead in the future. Unlike the Faraday/Desmond conversation, it didn't produce a realized "memory" in Rousseau's consciousness in the future, because she doesn't have a consciousness there: she's dead. Thoughts?

Ajira. This episode marked the first in-series reference to the mysterious India-based Ajira Airways (who sponsored our box lunches back at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour), seen via a branded water bottle that Juliet recognizes at the destroyed camp. Given that the scene in which the castaways discover the paddle boats and the Ajira water bottle takes place sometime in the future, can we assume that either another plane has crashed and survivors washed up on the beach (and taken over their camp)? Or that Ajira--which means "island" in Hindi--is somehow a means to travel to the island directly? The Ajira website promises $87 adventure routes, where passengers will be taken to secret and random locations for an adventure. Could that destination be the island itself? Are people being ferried there for a specific purpose? And were those same people the ones firing at the castaways? Curious.

The shaft of light. Loved that Locke knew exactly when they had traveled to (all the way back to Season One, in fact) and that he knew what was happening right then: he had pounded on the hatch's door after Boone's death until the light came on and shot up into the heavens. At the time, he thought it was a sign but it was just Desmond looking to see what was going on outside. When Sawyer asks Locke why he didn't go back there and tell himself not to do the things he did, Locke says that he wouldn't do that: those experiences, doubts, and tragedies shaped who he is today. Likewise, Sawyer finds himself paralyzed when he comes upon Kate assisting Claire's labor in the jungle. He's so close that he can reach out and touch Kate but he can't bring himself to. Thankfully, he doesn't or he would screw up the entire space-time continuum. (Still the sense of desperation and longing as he tells Juliet what he saw was heartbreaking.)

The Little Prince. On the most surface level, the episode's title can refer to Aaron, who seems to be the source of a lot of conflict between the castaways. However, the title also refers to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 1943 novel "Le Petit Prince," significant in the story for several reasons. First off, Locke discovers the wreckage of the French's crew's ship and turns over a canister with the word "Besixdouze" on it. "Besixdouze," likely the vessel's name, can literally be translated to "B612" in English. What's B612? Well, that's the name of the asteroid that the hero of Saint-
Exupéry's novel lives on.

Even more significant: in the novel, after the Prince arrives on Earth, he is dying of thirst in the desert. Approaching death, he bids farewell to the narrator
and tells him that, while it may look as though he has died, he's not dead but his body was too heavy to carry back to his planet. If that's not a direct reference to the dead John Locke/Jeremy Bentham, I don't know what is. We know that Locke had to die in order to bring the Oceanic Six back to the island but Ben knows that Locke isn't truly dead. In fact, it's likely that he'll come back to life once his body is returned to the island. Hmmm, rather like Christian Shephard, in fact.

The Van. Likewise, the carpet cleaning van where Locke's body was stored (before it was transferred to Jill the Butcher for safe keeping) had the name Canton-Rainier Carpet Cleaning on the side. Canton-Rainier is, of course, a simple anagram for Reincarnation. But will Locke be reincarnated? Or resurrected? That remains to be seen but I credit Team Darlton for yet another clever anagram pointing the way to some essential clues.

Ben. Loved the reveal that Ben was behind Agostini & Norton's harassment of poor Kate about Aaron's parentage and that Claire's mother didn't know about Aaron's existence. I knew that Ben was stirring things up to make Kate run and put her in orbit of Jack and the others from the start (and I'm glad that it wasn't Sun behind it, after all) and I thought it was a fantastic reveal to have Ben say so matter-of-factly that Norton was his lawyer.

Also perfect: that Kate realizes all of it within seconds of seeing Ben. Thought Evangeline Lilly did a brilliant job of segueing from shock to anger to terror within a few frames. To Ben, they are all pawns in his game and he'll push them wherever he needs to on the board. Next up: springing Hurley from prison in order to reunite the Six. But I can't help but wonder: why send those goons after Sayid not once, but twice? Did Ben want to incapacitate him long enough to get the others together? Did he know that Sayid was going to double-cross him because of the "dirty linen" between them? But why send them after Kate next? Odd. Or is the person orchestrating these attacks the same one who sent Sun the gun? Could Widmore be stepping up his offensive against Ben? Discuss.

Best line of the evening: "Thank you, Lord! I take that back!" - Sawyer (Tied with: "Time travel's a bitch," also from Sawyer)

Next week on Lost ("This Place is Death"), Locke attempts to stop the castaways' violent jumps through time by returning to the Orchid Station; Ben's plan to reunite the Oceanic Six and bring them back to the island hits a bit of a snag in the form of Sun.


Anonymous said…
I don't think Jin will create a paradox because he hasn't really interacted with Rousseau that much yet and there could be another time flash before he does, taking him with it.
Anonymous said…
Thrilled to see Jin back! I'm really glad they didn't kill him off as this is actually more interesting.

Regarding Sayid, I think it was Ben that sent the men after him because I think he knew the only way to get Sayid in the mix was basically to drug him. Otherwise, I'm sure he would have nothing to do with Ben and the others. And I think that Kate's address was planted in the guy's pocket to get Jack to call Kate and connect with her. Ben is the master of manipulation so I think he is behind all of it.
My favorite Sawyer line of the evening was "Time travel's a bitch." Classic.
Sam said…
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm drawing a blank... how do we KNOW Charlotte was born on the island? I thought it was just a likely answer for a lot of the mysteries surrounding her.
Jace Lacob said…

In "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3" Charlotte says that she's in no rush to get to the freighter as she's looking for where she was born. She's also visibly upset while Miles reveals that she was desperate to get back to the island.
Sam said…
Thanks, that's what I thought. It hasn't been explicitly stated, but pretty much has to be true.
Anonymous said…
In regards to Jin talking to Rousseau and messing up the time-space continuum --- wouldn't Locke & Co. talking to Widmore and Richard the week before also mess up the time/space continuum?
rockauteur said…
Another great episode! Jace, I'm glad you pointed out your mistake from a previous post where you thought Dr. Marvin Candle's baby was white... It was clearly an Asian baby, and definitely makes sense that Miles could be his kid, but doesn't know it.

Loved the Jin reveal. Hope he won't mess up the time continium, since he doesn't know about the time jump. Poor Jin, first a language barrier, now a time/space confusion barrier. I hope we get to see more of the story of the French crew before they time jump again, along with perhaps them getting The Sickness, which clearly is the same thing affecting everyone. Maybe Jin was always meant to time jump in order to get them wrapped up into the whole thing. How much has Rosseau interacted with Jin in previous seasons? I can't remember, but its a good theory that since Rosseau is dead in the future, that perhaps Jin won't mess up the timeline.

Who was shooting at them on the boat? I have a few theories... It's actually them shooting at themselves, from a different timeline... it could be the Oceanic 6 returning the the island (perhaps using Ajira Airways - btw, Juliet knew who they were very quickly)... or another group of survivors. Maybe there's another "event" that brings another plane down there?

I also think widmore sent the people after sayid, not Ben. Since Ben was going to the hospital to get Sayid, it wouldn't make sense that he would need to kidnap him.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the background on The Little Princess. Most illuminating.

I agree with your theory about Rousseau. Since she's dead there is no paradox to be broken.

As to the poster pointing out Richard and Widmore as possible paradoxes - since they are of the island ie Others it can be surmised the same rules do not apply to them.

Solid episode. Nicely paced and tightly written. And the characters answered questions, if not right away, shortly thereafter.

And Ben continues to own the most mundane lines. "He's my lawyer."

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Sawyer seeing Kate and Claire in the jungle is easily one of my favorite moments, if only because it was a pitch-perfect example of an emotionally-laden character-based moment that is possible ONLY in a genre series.

Still today some people dismiss genre as a storytelling ghetto, as if science fiction or fantasy elements inherently mean that characters can't be real and their emotionality inauthentic because somehow genre undermines those things.

But here we had a brilliant, brilliant character storytelling moment that was only possible because this is a genre show. Really good stuff.
Anonymous said…
I don’t think Rousseau’s group will start jumping through time with the Lost gang. They weren’t on the island (well, at least not alive) when it moved and started time skipping, and no one else the Lost gang has encountered in the past has joined them in the time jumping. So I don’t think the sickness that claimed Rousseau’s group was the time-jumping sickness. I have a vague recollection that Rousseau once said she killed one or more of her sick teammates, but I can’t remember why – did they become aggressive? Or was she just putting them out of their misery?

The Jin-Rousseau theory is very interesting. Would the same then be true regarding Locke’s encounter with Ethan? Both Rousseau and Ethan are dead in the present. I don’t think I get all the rules about the time travel. When Sawyer was beating on the hatch’s back door to get food from Desmond, Faraday told him it wouldn’t work. You can’t change the past (so you can’t kill Hitler). If it didn’t happen then it “can’t” happen. Did he really mean it “shouldn’t” happen? But then Faraday went ahead and talked to Desmond, because Desmond is special. So did Sawyer really not talk to Kate because since it didn’t happen, it couldn’t happen? Because Kate’s not “special” like Desmond? Locke has spoken with Richard, but Richard is also obviously special, because time seems to have no effect on him (hope that’s explained at some point). Thinking about all this makes *my* nose bleed. ;o)

Speaking of special. Quite a few special people. Desmond is special, with hatch-blowing time-traveling abilities. Locke is special, with island-healing, Jacob-hearing powers – supposedly the successor to Ben. Aaron is supposedly special, and *must* (according to the psychic) be raised by Claire (who is now MIA). So will Locke, Claire (who perhaps died in the house explosion?), and throw in Christian Shepard for that matter, only be able to live now on the island? Walt was supposedly special, which is why the Others took him. Will Walt’s specialness ever be explained?
Unknown said…
Could the people shooting at Juliette and co. actually be themselves shooting at them five minutes before? This makes perfect sense in my head I just can't seem to put it into words thoroughly.
Jace Lacob said…
Lily, I find that somewhat troublesome. Also, Juliet seemingly hit one of the shooters and none of our castaways seemed to be shot...
Anonymous said…
I still don't get why the time travel thing acts the way it does. Ben turns the wheel, and the island disappears. But it didn't actually disappear, it just moved to a different time. But it turns out that the island isn't actually moving in time, it's the people on the island who are moving. So does that mean that the Oceanic 6 themselves moved through time when the island disappeared? Did they somehow move to a moment when the island didn't exist? And why are some people moving through time, but others not? The Losties all moved, including Daniel on the raft. And now we find out that Jin is also moving through time with the Losties, while floating on a door in the ocean. The Others all seem to be staying in their own time, except for Juliet who is moving with the Losties. And Rose and Bernard were moving with the rest of the group, but have now been MIA for two episodes.

As for the space/time continuum, no one (other than Daniel with Desmond) has broken or changed anything yet. Locke spoke to Alpert in the past, but Alpert first told Locke that that would happen in the future. Alpert also contacted Locke several times during his childhood because Locke told him to. So Locke didn't break the space/time continuum, he fulfilled it! It makes me wonder if Locke remembered Alpert's visits as a child like Alpert remembered Locke when he arrived on the island. Also, I would not at all be surprised if Jin actually plays a part in fulfilling the story that Rousseau later tells Sayid in season 1. Right now I really wish I hadn't loaned out my DVDs, because I want to rewatch that episode!
UPennBen said…
I agree with anonymous. If Locke had not given Alpert the compass, then he would have changed the past because Alpert would never have found him as a child. Of course, as we learned from Ms. Hawking, time has a way of fixing itself, so somehow Alpert would have found young Locke anyway.

The problem with all of our attempts to understand paradoxes in Lost is that we're ignoring the fact that's what is important is the future, not the past. You can fool with the past all you want, but you're never going to change the end result. The means will be different, but the ends are always the same.

Michael tried to kill himself over and over, and it just didn't take because it wasn't his time. Even if you consider that he's never time jumped, he's still attempting to change the future with every suicidal tendency. Just because Jin talks to Rousseau doesn't mean that that's not the necessary cause to effect everything that comes after. Locke didn't die from getting shot where his kidney should have been because he can't die until he's Jeremy Bentham.

These are the rules. Although Ben insists that Widmore changed the rules with Alex, we don't know for sure that Alex wasn't meant to die then; we just accept it on Ben's (often unreliable) word.

I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the reason Desmond or the Others are special is because they have a constant. For the Others, the island is the constant, where they were born before the as yet unknown effects of Jughead, and where they will remain forevermore. For Desmond, it's Penny. I'm still trying to work out the Faraday/Desmond constant because the Desmond in the hatch hasn't found his constant yet, but Faraday's finding Desmond there creates Faraday's constant and implants the memory in Desmond. At the same time, hatch Desmond has met Faraday in the past, which is why Faraday is able to speak to him. In the future, they will be constants, so they're not necessarily changing anything by talking.

I think those that are anchored by their constants can't time jump (or, perhaps, they jump with their constant, thus the Others not realizing they are jumping since they and the island are both moving as one). Now that Faraday has found past Desmond in the hatch, I'm not quite sure why he continues to jump, but I imagine it's because that particular Desmond hasn't yet traveled back in time to meet Faraday at Oxford. The constant must be two-sided to stop the time jumping, and Faraday won't stop jumping until he is reunited with 2008 Desmond who now knows that Faraday needs him to be a constant.

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