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In the Circle of Trust: Miles Chats with the Living and the Dead on "Lost"

Lost has never been one for pun-based episode titles, so I was more than a little intrigued to see just what this week's episode ("Some Like It Hoth"), written by Melinda Hsu Taylor and Greggory Nations, would actually be about.

To my delight, the title conflated Hurley's obsession with Star Wars (and specifically writing the script for The Empire Strikes Back) with the classic screwball comedy Some Like It Hot... as we delved into the backstory of Miles Straume, learning about his parentage and his supernatural abilities.

Plus, we seemingly uncovered some truths about the Swan Station, Sawyer's plan began to crack, and we learned about a potential new faction in the battle for the island. And a certain character, much missed from the last few episodes, turned up with what will likely be some rather interesting revelations.

So what did I think of this week's episode of Lost? Put on your Dharma jumpsuit, crank up some Miles Davis (or country music if, like Pierre Chang, that's your thing), and let's discuss "Some Like It Hoth."

While this week's installment didn't focus on Ben or Locke (or what's going on in the future), we did get some rather interesting tidbits about future developments vis-a-vis Miles' flashback sequence. (More on that in a bit.) But what I loved most about this week's episode was the matter-of-fact manner with which Miles seemed to handle everything. Coming face to face with Pierre Chang, Miles knows that Chang is his father (seeing his mother get in line behind him a few years earlier was a clincher) but he barely acknowledges this revelation on his cool exterior. I guess when you grow up communicating with the dead, coming face to face with your dead Dharma Initiative orientation film-producing father after being flung into the distant past is rather small potatoes in comparison.

Miles. We first see Miles as a little boy as his mother Lara attempts to sign a lease for an apartment (one with--ahem!--the numbers 316 on the microwave display), after they had been ditched by Pierre and likely dumped on the mainland. (Me, I'm more of the mind that Pierre saved their lives by forcing them to leave the island, unaware that he'd end up right back there, much like Charlotte Staples Lewis did.) Miles ends up drawn to apartment number four (double ahem!) and finds the key under a statue of a bunny with the number eight inside its ear (triple ahem!). Inside, he finds a corpse of a man who had a heart attack who continues to speak to him long after he's dead. It seems to be the first time Miles' nascent abilities kicked in. We've known for some time that Miles' abilities were real, even if he himself often conned people out of their money by telling them what they needed to hear.

It's his ability--used to con Howard Gray, a grieving father (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris) out of some cash--that leads him to the attentions of Charles Widmore, who is putting together an expedition to a certain island. Miles is contacted by Naomi Dorrit (Marsha Thomasson), who says that her employer believes his gifts will come in handy as they try to hunt down Benjamin Linus... It's an interesting approach as the island IS heavily populated with the dead, many of whom were murdered by Ben himself. But I can't help but wonder if Widmore knew about Miles' own connection to the island. After all, it's hardly a coincidence that both Miles and Charlotte--not to mention Daniel Faraday--were all children of people who once lived on the island. Very interesting.

It's interesting that Miles does return Gray's money before he sets out on the expedition. Miles, it seems, is definitely motivated by money above all else but the real impetus behind is actions is his own anger at his father for abandoning him. By telling Gray the truth--that he didn't talk to his dead son--Miles is getting the opportunity to punish his own father, to tell his own father that he should have told his son that he loved him when he was alive. Miles' mother doesn't want him tracking down his dead father to get some answers but she doesn't know that he'll end up in the very place he died. Or that the duo will come face to face. And yet what Miles sees on the island doesn't quite add up to the picture that Lara paints of her late husband: spying on Pierre through an open window, we see him reading Baby Miles a book (with a polar bear on the cover, no less) and he kisses him gently as he passes him to Lara. Does this look like a hard man who would throw over his wife and child when things got rough? Or like someone who would willingly sacrifice his family's feelings towards him in order to protect their very lives? Call me crazy, but I think it's the latter.

Naomi. How fantastic was it to see Thomasson turn up again as the silky Naomi Dorrit? I thought the scene where she brought Miles to the restaurant kitchen was absolutely fantastic, particularly given that it was an "audition" of sorts. There, Miles is able to communicate with the dead man Felix, who was meant to be bringing photos of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane to Charles Widmore. Hmmm. That little tip-off seems engineered to put suspicion back onto Charles Widmore for setting up the fake crash of Oceanic Flight 815... which makes me believe all the more that he had absolutely nothing to do with that.

After all, just how did Felix die? Why was he killed bringing said purchase order to Widmore? If anything, it seems as though Felix died trying to bring this information to Widmore because Widmore was investigating the crash himself. The documents prove that (A) the crash was faked because someone bought an old plane and retrofitted it to look like an Oceanic flight and (B) the bodies aboard the plane that were discovered in the ocean were in fact corpses that were dug up from graves and planted there. So if Widmore wasn't behind the crash then who was? Hmm...

Bram. Which brings us to Bram (Brad William Henke), who orchestrates the kidnapping of Miles Straume (as he eats a fish taco) from the street, just before he's set to leave with Widmore's crew for the island. Bram--who is on the island with Ilana in the present day and was aboard Ajira Flight 316--asks Miles the very same question that Ilana asked Frank Lapidus last week: "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" As I discussed last week, it's a coded message, a riddle much like Desmond's "What did one snowman say to the other?" that's designed to display allegiance to a particular cause. A password.

We now know that Bram and Ilana don't work for Widmore as they specifically try to convince Miles not to go to the island or work for Widmore (though they won't pay him the $3.2 million he demands as recompense) and, as Bram and Ilana don't appear to recognize Benjamin Linus on the plane or on the island, they don't work for Ben's people either. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that we have a third party interested in the island. Ones who are aware of the Oceanic Six and that they plan to return to the island on Ajira... and hitch a ride along with them. Which means that they either have access to The Lamp Post's data or have their own way of determining an event window for passage to the island. Or they were tipped off by someone (Eloise Hawking?) about the Oceanic Six's journey.

It's this group, I believe, who caused the faked crash of Oceanic Flight 815. While the blame has been planted on Widmore, I think we'll come to see that Widmore wasn't behind the crash and has a genuine interest in protecting the island, given his assistance of Locke. So who are these people? Are they worshippers of Anubis, the island's personal deity? An ancient Egyptian sect? A death cult? Or do they work for someone else with a vested interest in the island, one who has been involved in much of the island's history: Alvar Hanso? We haven't heard much about the Hanso Foundation in recent years but their support of the Dharma Initiative over the years would point to a long-term plan for the island. I dare say that Hanso is the type of man who would plot an endgame for the island, even after Benjamin Linus took out the Dharma Initiative. So could they be the New Dharma Initiative, working for Hanso, looking to reclaim the island from the Others? After all, someone has been making Dharma supply drops on the island after all of these years (Kelvin Inman was still there, after all)... and from the way that Bram and his cohorts were shooting at the castaways in the boat (it's got to be them) they are aiming to kill everyone on the island.

Sawyer. If anyone is going to undo the lie that Sawyer concocted for himself and the other castaways, it's going to be Roger Linus. He's clearly suspicious of Kate and wary of her interest in Ben12, donating blood and appearing on the scene at the very second that Roger realizes that Ben is missing. No one in the Dharma Initiative seems too concerned that Ben has disappeared, seemingly kidnapped from the infirmary, but the evidence is right there in the VCR deck as Miles never actually followed through on his promise to erase the security tapes. Which puts Sawyer in a rather tight spot when Phil turns up with said tape and the knowledge that Sawyer and Kate were behind the abduction. Which means that the gig is up... until Sawyer knocks Phil out and instructs Juliet to get some rope. I'm not sure how much longer they can keep this ruse going, given that people will wonder just where Phil got to and wonder if there's any relevance to Ben's disappearance as well. Which is just as good that Faraday has turned up at just the right moment as they need an exit strategy from 1977 fast.

The numbers. Interesting that the numbers played such a prominent role in this week's episode, appearing everywhere from inside the ears of bunny statues to apartment doors... and on the hatch itself. Hurley and Miles arrive at the secret location of The Swan to see a worker apply the serial number to the hatch door. (This is after they bring the body of a workman--whose fillings were ripped through his brain by The Swan's electromagnetic properties--to Pierre Chang at the Orchid.) It would seem then that the numbers themselves relate not to the island as a whole but to The Swan specifically and to the electromagnetic properties therein.

Hurley. I loved Hurley this week and his continued ability to get in the way of every possible situation, awkwardly asking Pierre if he and Miles would like to get together for a beer, pointing out the similarity between Miles' name and Pierre's son's name, and forcing his lunch coolers into the Dharma van containing the corpse. Interesting that these two would be so pushed together, given their abilities to communicate with the dead (though Miles is skeptical of Hurley's claims), shared abandonment by their fathers, and the way in which both get a second chance to come face to face with their dads. Loved that Hurley is writing the script for The Empire Strikes Back in 1977 and that he makes the conclusion that, if Luke and Vader, would have just talked out their differences, Luke would never have lost his hand (much like Pierre will later lose his arm) and many, many deaths could have been avoided. One can't help but wonder if Hurley is trying to persuade Miles to warn Pierre about The Purge... but there's no way to avoid that fate and change the past. (Even Pierre Chang acknowledges this in the video message shared at Comic-Con 2008, in which he says the Dharma Initiative must be "reconstituted" and that there might be a way to "change the past.") Unless, of course, that is what causes the Incident itself to occur. Hmmm...

Daniel Faraday. I've been going crazy wondering where Faraday has been the past few years so I was thrilled to see him emerge from the submarine on the island. It's not clear how Faraday went from being one of the worker drones building The Orchid (as seen in the season premiere) to being a trusted member of the inner circle, one who is given passage off the island... and spent time at Dharma HQ in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The fact that Faraday was in Ann Arbor--and likely spent time with Gerald and Karen DeGroot--is VERY intriguing. I have a feeling that he'll provide some major revelations when he's able to talk with the other castaways. And could hold the key to getting them back to their own time.

Next week on Lost ("Lost: The Story of the Oceanic 6"), discover what happened to the Oceanic 6 and the rest of the island survivors in the three years after Ben moved the island, how Locke leaving the island may have helped stop the time rifts, and what led to Locke's death off the island as ABC gives us a clip show designed to bring everyone--new viewers and old alike--up to speed. And in two weeks, it's time for a brand-new installment ("The Variable") marking Lost's 100th episode, in which Daniel Faraday, newly returned to the island, comes clean about what he knows about the island.

Comments

Timothy Zila said…
I think you have it backwards. The first scene of the show showered Faraday working in the Orchard and I don't think that's happened yet, when we saw the Orchard in this episode it didn't look built enough for that. We're still WORKING UP to that point, I think.
Jace Lacob said…
Timothy,

If I remember correctly, we saw Daniel in the caverns below The Orchid Station, near the donkey wheel room. Given that the Orchid's structural shell was seen in last night's episode, I think any work on the foundations would have been completed a while back. Or you could be right.

But I don't think that Faraday, having returned from Ann Arbor, would be forced to work as a construction drone, either. I still think that scene took place before this time period.

Anyone else got a feeling about the timeframe?
Timothy Zila said…
Jace,

That's true, I'm really not sure. It seems to make more logical sense that that already happened but I also get the feeling that we're moving toward that which would indicate it hasn't yet happened, I guess we'll just have to see.

I wouldn't put it beyond the writers to have some illogical things (such as Fariday working as a drone after returning from Ann Harbor), or there't the possibility that he's in some way "undercover" during the seasons' opening scene.
ted23 said…
Great write up as always, Jace! You've given us a lot to think about yet again.

I assumed Widmore was behind the fake crash until you gave us a bunch of reasons why he wasn't. I agree the new group was behind the faked crash. They might be new DI members recruited after that video Candle made (thanks for reminding me BTW about it) who are trying to get back to the island and reclaim it for themselves.

Can't believe we have to wait two weeks for a new ep!
Kat said…
Again, a very thoughtful recap by Jace. Your recaps really help me clarify in my mind what happened on last night episodes. I, like you, think that we have a third faction fighting for the Island but I did not think of the Hanso Foundation. Because of the password, I was thinking they were ancient keepers of the island but the Hanso Foundation makes more sense.

Thanks!
rockauteur said…
Jace - I agree with the other posters - we are working up to the timeline of Faraday being "the worker drone." To me, it would suggest, that he has gone down there undercover to check something out - namely, a trip to the donkey wheel to get the castaways back to the present.
Jace Lacob said…
Rockauteur,

There is that to consider. It is possible that Daniel does go undercover after he returns to the island... but how could he go undercover as a worker drone if Chang knows that he just returned from Ann Arbor? Unless Daniel is surprised to see Chang down there as he's typically not in the caverns. Hmmm...
I'm just happy that Faraday is back and it was great seeing Naomi again too!

And I'm glad we finally know Miles' backstory (or at least some of it) and what brought him to the island. I am also glad that the writers showcased Miles' ability in an interesting way and didn't subject us to talking corpses. I kept waiting for the guy in the body bag to sit up and start blabbing and was so thankful when that didn't happen!
James said…
I really hope that new third party after the island is some ancient group who knew about the island well before 'the others'. Besides we've seen so many references to statues that their coded message could refer to one of the statues that was on the island, whether it be the Egyptian God or the statue that belonged to the giant broken foot.
Chris daidone said…
i live about 4 hours from ann arbor, in shelby twp. MI


maybe Ill go to Dharma HQ and steal their secrets for you guys
Anonymous said…
I loved reading your blog, and definitely see that the island may be a representation or creation from Ancient Egyption times, which was shown that the DI was onto this theory, especially as they were studying the Egyptions on the classroom black board that Jack was erasing when Ben's father entered. Perhaps the people that obviously came to the island on the most recent flight are 'protectors' of the island, passed on from generations, kind of like the keepers of the gate. (ref: movies like The Mummy, National Treasure...) Maybe they found their way to set things straight as obviously things have gotten massively out of hand.
Unknown said…
Rockauteur and Jace,

I beleive you're right that he's undercover. He seems to hide his face from Chang when Chang visits the underground Orchid.

As far as what lies in the shadow of the statue, I believe, as I just commented on the last Lost Article, that Ben has borrowed something from Dharma with the code phrases.

Ben lies no matter where he is.
Ben would definately still lie if he stood in the shadow of the statue.
Unknown said…
Definitive... the chronological order in which the two scenes were aired is correct. Miles is younger in the season 5 premier then in the latest episodes.

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