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Some People Are Not Meant to Be Together: The Great Divide on "Lost"

"A wise man once said that war is coming to this island. I think it just got here." - The Man in Black

One of the central relationships on Lost since the very beginning of the series has been the often turbulent (and sometimes tender) marriage between Sun and Jin.

It's no surprise then that the duo--linked by bonds of affection and fate--would be the focus of this week's episode, one that offers another facet of their relationship to explore. A what-if, in the Lost-X world, that dives into an examination of what might have been had Sun and Jin made different choices.

This week's episode of Lost ("The Package"), written by Paul Zbyszewski and Graham Roland and directed by Paul Edwards, offered one of the strongest "sideways" installments to date, focusing on the very different circumstances in which Sun and Jin find themselves in the Lost-X timeline... while, back on the island, the duo attempts to reunite themselves but are once again thwarted by circumstances beyond their control.

So what did I think about this week's episode of Lost? Grab yourself a fancy watch, don't stand too close to the pylons, take a sip of cocoa, and let's discuss "The Package."

I've been connected to Sun and Jin for quite some time, which might be why this week's episode resonated with me. The ups and downs of the marriage, both before they crashed on the island and afterwards, have offered the series a tenderness and emotional complexity by having a marriage to explore (and one that's not as seemingly idyllic as Bernard and Rose's). I thought perhaps the star-crossed spouses would be reunited in this week's episode but it clearly was not meant to be as third parties continue to intervene to keep these two apart. (In fact, the on-island versions of Sun and Jin haven't been together in nearly two seasons and have spent years apart in the timeline of the series.)

The Man in Black this week admitted that, just like Ilana, he too is unaware of whether the Kwon on the cave wall and the lighthouse refers to Jin or Sun and therefore which one of them is actually the candidate. I've maintained for quite some time that it isn't either of them specifically, but rather both: that these two comprise a single unit of being. It's vital that these two are reunited but also extremely dangerous as well. It's why forces beyond their control continue to separate them by barriers made from time and space. And it's why Sun wasn't send back in time to the 1970s with the other members of the Oceanic Six.

So who would keep them apart? Jacob. Given that the Man in Black knows where Sun is and wants to bring her back with him to unite his matching set of Kwons, he's clearly not the influence that's working hard to keep them apart from one another. Which would leave the obvious answer then as Jacob. If we believe the Man in Black's working theory: that he needs as many of the candidates as possible to travel with him in order to tip the scale to black and escape, then he needs both Jin AND Sun. Which means that there's a good reason Jacob has for keeping them separated; his efforts have been to keep the cork firmly in the mouth of the bottle and the Man in Black imprisoned on the island. Bringing Jin and Sun together means that another candidate would be up for grabs. Hmmm... (And the Man in Black also states what I wrote last week: he can't just glide across the ocean, otherwise he would have done so ages ago.)

Sun, meanwhile, flees The Man in Black when he appears in her garden (nice callback to the early days of Lost, by the way) and is struck on the head in the process. Her injury causes aphasia where she cannot speak English but is able to both understand and (later) write it. It's an interesting reversal of the first season of Lost where Sun could understand English but refused to speak it for fear that someone would learn that she was fluent in English, a secret she kept from her husband. (And, interestingly, neither Jin nor Sun can speak English in the Lost-X timeline. Which makes sense as the reason Sun learned the language was so that she could run away from her husband.) Her explanation for why she ran: she didn't trust him. (Smart Sun.)

Good to see that Richard has returned to the path of the righteous and, as Jacob had told Ilana, knows what to do next. He wants them to make their way to the Hydra Island, the site of the Ajira plane crash because he knows just what is coming next. But Sun doesn't want to go. She's the stubborn tomato in the garden, the one who escapes death and destruction and clings to life. She's not budging: she didn't come back to the island to save the world, she came to find her husband. But maybe those two things can never be. Maybe in saving the world, she'll have to sacrifice her marriage...

Amid all of the warring entities and metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, some of the most beautiful moments on the series have been the small ones: those tiny character interactions that don't necessarily advance the plot but speak volumes about the journey that these characters are on. This week's episode featured one of the best ones so far this season as Jack offered Sun a notebook and pen so she would be able to communicate with him. It was a thoughtful and tender moment that spoke of the bond between them and the level of trust that they've each earned with one another, a small moment that touched me for numerous reasons.

It was fantastic to see Jack in the role of caretaker once more: no longer a suicidal addict terrified that he had lost control of his life, but rather a leader, a healer, and... a believer. In fact, Jack's words to Sun and his Zen-like calm reminded me of the early John Locke. Could it be that this man of science has now finally become a man of faith? The way in which he offered himself and his friendship to Sun wasn't the typical Jack we've seen in recent seasons. And I'll admit that I got a little teary when he extended his hand to Sun (as he promised to find Jin and get them both on the plane) and she took it. Might Jack be stepping into the role he was destined for before our very eyes?

Kate. Unfortunately, Kate doesn't quite realize the full extent of the danger she is currently in. She might be living in the camp of the Man in Black but she's not loyal to him and he knows this all too well and likely that she and Sawyer are plotting against him. But the Man in Black needs Kate, even though she isn't a candidate. While her name was crossed off the wall, she's a means to an end: a way to lure the other candidates to the plane so that the Man in Black can use them to escape. Once he's able to get them, Kate loses all value to him... and he's quite willing to allow Claire to kill her at that point. (Uh-oh.) I'm glad that Claire wasn't genuine in her sudden reconciliation with Kate; she still seethes with anger toward the woman who raised Aaron and, while she's all smiles and hugs for now, she's got a knife with Kate's name on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still puzzling just why Kate lost her candidacy while the others did not. Was it because she raised Aaron? Or is it because she can't fundamentally change? Can't put her past damage behind her? Can't stop running? There's got to be an explanation of just what "crime" she committed that invalidated her place at the metaphorical round table but I'm intrigued by the fact that Team Darlton are withholding this from us for the time being. I think it could hold the answer to the entire candidacy process, in fact.

Sayid. Speaking of which, I'd be extremely surprised if Sayid's name hadn't been crossed off that list yet. After all, he died and was infected with the darkness. Now he's become a shell of a man, an emotionless husk whose sole purpose seems to be death and destruction. While many doubted Dogen's need to murder Sayid, I would say that it appears pretty clear now: he's definitely infected and once the darkness reaches his heart, he'll remain that way forever. The Man in Black claims that it's better for Sayid this way, however. But why? Because he has no connection to the other castaways? Because with no joy, pain, or happiness, he's more willing to follow the Man in Black into utter darkness?

Sayid might have physically died from a result of the gunshot wound and the drowning and come back to life but his soul died in the process. Yet his situation seems to be different from Claire's, despite Dogen claiming that she too was infected. Claire seems consumed by emotion: rage, anger, a thirst for vengeance. Sayid doesn't feel anything. Is it just a stop on the way to that place of darkness? Or are there levels of infection? Curious.

Lost-X Sun and Jin. In the alternate timeline, we saw a Sun and Jin who were together and yet weren't quite in the same situation they were in when we met them at the start of Season One. First, the two aren't married here, which is a significant change (and one mentioned by me back when "LA X" aired) of status quo for the Korean couple. Yet they would appear to be happy here; there's a playfulness to Sun that we haven't seen in the mainstream reality as well as a calmness to Jin as well. It was nice to see the two engage in some sensual behavior and not be at each other's throats. While the other Sun was seeking to run away from Jin, she has engineered a scenario in which they can run away together.

But it's not to be: her father has learned of her affair with Jin and wants to put a stop to it. This trip isn't a business trip: Mr. Paik has sent Jin to what he believes will be his death at the hands of Keamy, entrusting a brick of cash to Jin as payment for his own murder. (Which, I thought, was a very nice twist indeed.) What he didn't foresee was customs agents seizing the cash and therefore keeping Jin alive along enough to escape. (Another ironic complication: that Sun's secret bank account was closed, leaving her unable to pay Keamy's fee.) As Keamy puts it succinctly: "Some people are not meant to be together."

The Sun and Jin plot collides with that of Lost-X Sayid, who shoots Keamy and his men and gives Jin the means to free himself from the freezer. Keamy has survived Sayid's gunshot but Jin attacks Mikhail (more on him in a bit) in an effort to take him and Sun out of danger. A brutal fight follows in which multiple shots are fired and Mikhail is seemingly killed. But Sun appears to have been shot in the abdomen and she tearfully tells Jin that she is pregnant. Hmmm, might we see Sun and Jin meet up with Jack at the hospital very soon?

Lost-X Mikhail. Then there's the matter of the two-eyed Mikhail. I thought it interesting when we meet polygot Mikhail, here an associate of Keamy's who is able to talk to Sun in Korean, that he had both of his eyes, an important distinction from the mainstream Mikhail back on the island. But during the fight with Jin, Mikhail is shot right in the eye, bringing the two Mikhails more into line. While it's a small detail, it's a pretty momentous moment for the Lost-X timeline: we're seeing evidence of course-correction here as the universe attempts to push itself back into line. Just as the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 continue to cross paths with increasingly frequency, this too is a manifestation of that occurrence as the timeline attempts to reshape itself into the proper position.

I still maintain that this timeline isn't the epilogue of the series but something different altogether, a parallel world that affects the mainstream one and vice-versa. As I stated a few week back, I think that these castaways will have to "go back" to the island and raise it from the ocean floor. There needs to be a cork, after all, and the island has to exist not just in the mainstream reality but all of them, a space-time anchor that's consistent across the multiverse.

The Looking-Glass. Interesting too that Sun would notice something in her reflection in the mirror. It's the third time--after Jack and Sawyer--that one of the Lost-X castaways experienced a moment of frisson upon gazing at themselves in the mirror: a sense that something was wrong or troubling. Are we seeing more indications that these characters are becoming increasingly aware that their world is not right, that their surroundings feel off? If we think of Juliet's seeming awareness of multiple realities and Desmond as well, can it be that each of the castaways--or the candidates at least--will become aware of the other streams of time? Very intriguing. (And I still maintain that each of the mirrors here is connected to the looking-glass in the lighthouse which Jack smashed.)

Charles Widmore. While some viewers have wondered whether Charles Widmore was on the side of the Man in Black (despite his efforts to convince Sawyer that he wanted to kill him), this week's episode would appear to eradicate all possibility of that being true. Widmore is definitely on the side of the island. He wants to destroy the Man in Black or at least keep him contained and his plan involves locating the electromagnetic pockets on the island. (Wouldn't you know it? I brought that up in my write-up of last week's episode!) Which is why he needs Jin. Widmore is acutely aware of the fact that Jin traveled back in time and spend time with the Dharma Initiative and he wants geophysicist Zoe to have Jin show her where these pockets of electromagnetic energy are. Loved that Zoe and Widmore were keeping Jin locked up in Room 23, where the Dharma Initiative was studying subliminal messaging. (I'm loving the little details and callbacks that this season is offering, but I can assume that the Others changed over the message itself, given that it spoke of Jacob.)

Meanwhile, Widmore squares off with the Man in Black along the sonar fence line. He doesn't know the entity's name but is aware of his existence from myth, ghost stories, and noises in the jungle. (In other words: he knows he's the smoke monster.) Widmore has taken precautions against the Man in Black being able to come onto the Hydra Island and interfere with his own plan. But the Man in Black isn't there to kill anyone (at least not yet.) He wants Jin and demands that Widmore return Jin to him. But Widmore's no fool and he's not giving up his best chance and locating the electromagnetic pockets on the island. He lies and says that he has no idea what the Man in Black is talking about. And right there is the start of the war between Widmore and the Man in Black.

Just how did Jacob's Nemesis know that Widmore told Locke that a war was coming to the island? Does he have access to Locke's memories as well as his physicality? Widmore had prophesied that war was about to come to the island but there's no other way that the Man in Black could have known about that... unless he was able to watch that scene play out somehow. Hmmm...

The Package. Besides for his sonar fence and his island maps, Widmore has brought something else to the island as well. I always feel vindicated when I'm exactly right about something on the series, particularly when the naysayers tell me that I'm wrong. Yes, it was Desmond inside the sub's locked compartment, as I had predicted a few weeks back. He's the package that Widmore orders Zoey to have brought to the infirmary.

They're keeping him heavily sedated and I can't help but wonder just what Widmore wants from poor old Des, last seen recovering in the hospital after Ben shot him at the start of Season Five. Desmond, after all, has seen multiple timelines himself and has been the focus of course-correction at the hands of Eloise Hawking. Is his gift of multiple levels of awareness the reason why Widmore needs him on the island? Or is it the fact that he had once activated the fail-safe within the Swan Station and therefore was irradiated with massive levels of electromagnetism? Is Widmore looking to repeat the process again?

Or is he looking to use this energy to bridge the gap between the two realities and bring them back into a single file? After all, Eloise Hawking was or is a compere of Charles Widmore and she--as seen in "Flashes Before Your Eyes"--was aware of multiple timelines before. Could it be these two are working together to fix the divide between the mainstream reality and the Lost-X one? To bridge the gap and strengthen the island once more? Hmmm...

What did you think of this week's episode? Love Miles' bacon comment about Hurley? Agree with the above theories? Disagree? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Next week on Lost ("Happily Ever After"), Desmond wakes up to discover he's back on the island.


Bella Spruce said…
This was a very satisfying episode. Jin and Sun have had some of the most heart-wrenching storylines and I love their relationship both on and off the island. And, Desmond's back! Hurray! The scene where he was staring at Sayid in the water was priceless. Poor Des.
Jared said…
Great review! One thought: I don't think Widmore was lying when he said he didn't have Jin. As far as he knew, Jin was with the others on the main island since he wasn't supposed to be taken for another three days.

Also: did anyone else think that Keamy said something about "the island" to Jin in the fridge? I swore I heard him say that.
rockauteur said…
One thing you left out was that Widmore's crew, when they raided The Man In Black's camp, were all wearing gas makes, a nice call-back to season two stories of Desmond and Kelvin in their bio-hazard gear. Can the gas masks keep out infection or is that a ruse to scare people?

Great episode. Did Keamy live? Happy to see Desmond back. Tired of Sayid. They should just kill him off already. He looked super scary when the drugged Desmond saw him underneath the pier. Maybe they have to drug Desmond so he won't time travel.

Interesting theory about Widmore working with Eloise to course-correct and protect the island. That makes sense actually. Wonder if she's on the sub as well, lurking about, or still hanging out at the Dharma station in Los Angeles. Am still thinking Widmore has some nefarious purposes though, given his war with Ben, his exile off the island, and his evil ways back in the past. Only time will tell... And we'll soon see that Widmore/Ben reunion...

Great theory about Jacob keeping Jin and Sun apart too.
frank1569 said…
Yet another excellent recap!

Widmore says if Smokey gets off the Island, all of this will cease to exists. Not die, but cease to exist.

As in, the timeline would vanish?

In the Bible, evil rules for 2K years, then Jesus returns and good then reigns. IOW, evil is ALREADY loose in the world - Jacob - and now it's Smokey's turn. That's why he keeps promising 'good' things for all who follow him - because once he 'wins,' it'll all be good again.

Now maybe the LAX timeline is the Smokey-good timeline - Sawyer's a good cop, Jack's a good dad and doc, Hurley's the luckiest man alive, etc... and maybe the Island is sunk - like a cork in a bottle that keeps bad Jacob in 'hell'...

Widmore on the side of good? He sunk a plane and filled it with a couple hundred dead people, not to mention his litany of other evil deeds, like sending Blackwater to murder everyone on the Island...

Nope - still sticking with my theory that Jacob is the wolf in sheep's clothing, the 'antiChrist' posing as savior...
Ron said…
The Man in Black does indeed have access to John Locke's memories. He told us what John was thinking the moment before he died when Ben strangled him.
Unknown said…
Loved how ABC kept the countdown for the return of "V" in the lower right corner for the entire episode, thus obscuring the stuff Sun was writing on the pad when talking to Jack.

Nice move!
Anonymous said…
Great review as always, although the constant references to how you were right and how you saw this coming could be cut back drastically.
Jace Lacob said…

If you mean twice when you say "constant references to [me] being right," um, sure.
Chris L said…
1 - Perhaps either Jin or Sun has to die in order for the other to be a candidate? I don't know, but if I were Jacob, I'd be keeping them apart because they would each need to make their own decision about the island without being blinded by the love they have for one another.

2 - frank1569, We have never, ever actually seen or heard Jacob do anything evil. Never. Meanwhile Smokey's killing people left and right. How can Jacob be the bad guy?
Perry K said…
Good episode. I hope next week we see how Widmore got a hold of Desmond.

I think something will happen with all the children, that we haven't seen for a while.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Widmore and Ben meet up again.
Jesse said…
rockauteur - Everyone is drugged on the sub ride to or from the Island. It's the Lost equivalent of being blindfolded on the way to an enemy's hideout."So we're going to drink our OJ and take our chances in the real world." - Sawyer, on the sub with Juliet.
Crystal said…
I really liked this episode. In addition to many of the reasons people already gave, it was funny! There were a lot of witty remarks (ie. Sawyers comment back to the Black Smoke not being able to float over the water--"that would just be ridiculous")

Great article, Jace, a lot to think about!
Miss Nicky said…
"Meanwhile, I'm still puzzling just why Kate lost her candidacy while the others did not. Was it because she raised Aaron? Or is it because she can't fundamentally change?"

I've been wondering what the omission meant about Kate, too - and that's two very interesting guesses. She definitely seems to have changed a good deal less than anyone else. But there her role in Aaron's life...that's got to go somewhere and mean something. Surely.

But I think you forgot another episode with a reflection - "What Kate Does". After Kate's freed from the handcuffs, she goes to the bathroom to change. She opens the stolen bag, finds a photo of a pregnant Claire and a stuffed whale, tht was like the one from "Something Nice Back Home". As she pauses, she stares into a mirror for a moment. It definitely gave a hint that she might be having a slight memory, or second thoughts and more than one kind of reflection.

So Sun was fourth. It might be my least favorite, but I've loved the use of metaphor a lot, from the first one with Jack.

And speaking of Jack, he might have been the most tender and likable he's ever been in the series. Yep, I need to watch it again. Wonderful review - thank you. That made this episode far more enjoyable for me.

And please... let the Desmomd episode be great, Bruthah...
Greg S. said…

I like your Smokey = Jesus theory, but could you remind me of which book and verse of the Bible describes where Jesus murdered a bunch of people because they refused to follow him?
Sierra Clause said…
I like your comments and theories; I've been a strong supporter of the parallel worlds/bleed through concept from the beginning of this season.

Sun getting shot in B-timeline makes me wonder if it will be her getting shot in the canoe as they travel to Hydra? Is she reunited with Jin on Hydra just as she dies/ I wonder....
gmr2048 said…
@greg s. It's been a few years since my church days, so forgive me if my memory is off...

In Christianity, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one being (the "One God"), right? And...well, there was that whole "Noah's flood" thing where God (aka Jesus, aka Holy Spirit) sent the flood waters which wiped out all of humanity because they were too evil (which we could interpret as meaning "not following Him/His teachings/His ways"). So the "good guy" wiping out a bunch of people (the innocent along with the guilty) isn't that far fetched.
Greg S. said…

Brilliant! I bow before your superior biblical scholarship!
Japan said…
I agree with Anonymous. Your write ups are usually great Jace, and I always read them, but this time all your bragging just took of focus from your theories. Perhaps you should learn about the virtue of being modest and how to downplay your accomplishments a little bit. I think everyone knows that you were right, no need to rub it in our faces like that.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

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