Saturday, March 22, 2008

S4Ep8 - I Was Happy to "Meet Kevin Johnson"

Hello my dear friends -

We've arrived at the end of the first run of Season Four episodes, and I, for one, think the show left us much to ponder as we head into a five-week hiatus. But others could not disagree with me more; it's been quite a while since I have seen an episode provoke such a wide spectrum of reactions. One of my friends emailed me that this episode was her favorite of the season. Another said that it "sucked." And many viewers were completely indifferent about the mini-finale.

I can't put my finger on why I am in the camp that liked "Meet Kevin Johnson," but I will admit that it was a pretty strange episode. It didn't have the feel of a normal installment of Lost. Maybe that's why I found it so interesting; it was just... different. It didn't hurt that the "previously on Lost" scenes included one of Michael's trademark "WAAAALLLLLLLT!"s. I got a good laugh out of that.

This episode doled out information left and right, so there is a lot to discuss. The order of this post will be: Island events, flashbacks, freighter events and then a podcast debrief.


The hour began with a meeting in the barracks; Locke inexplicably had a change of heart, and decided to parade Miles in front of everyone so that they could hear what he had to say. While the meeting only lasted for approximately two minutes (?), the most important thing that came out of it was that Miles didn't refute Ben's claims that the freighter team intended to kill everyone on the Island after they captured Ben. Michael's flashbacks later corroborated that assertion. So while Ben may not be the most innocent guy in the world, we know that many of the Freighties have bad intentions.

But most of the Lostaways weren't keen on taking Ben at his word... especially after they heard that Traitor Michael was his mole on the ship.

Further, Sawyer still believed that Locke was withholding information from everyone else. He confronted The Bald One about the $3.2 million deal that Miles tried to make with Ben (which I can only assume Kate told him about). Locke's response was that he never took that supposed agreement seriously... "As I didn't see a bank on the Island, I didn't think it was worth mentioning."

I actually think Locke's being straight on this one. While I fully admit that he's been acting shady this season, the fact that he gave Ben $1 in jest a few episodes ago supports the idea that Locke thought Miles' deal was so preposterous that it couldn't possibly be serious. The only thing that has been bugging me, however, is that in "The Economist," Locke caught Sayid just as Sayid was coming out of Ben's secret room (the door to the secret room was still open, I just re-watched that scene). You know, the room with all the passports and money in it. So shouldn't Locke have taken a look in that room for himself? Anyone who saw the contents of Ben's desk drawers would not have a hard time believing that Ben could get his hands on some serious dough. All I can figure is that after Locke took Sayid prisoner and then let him leave with Charlotte, he didn't go back to check out the hidden closet.

OR... maybe Locke is fooling everyone. We never saw what exactly went down when Sayid negotiated leaving Othersville with Charlotte. What did Sayid give to Locke in return? Locke may know much more than he's letting on, and perhaps feigning disbelief at Ben's access to cash (as well as letting Ben go free) is part of his master plan.

However, if Locke really is still naive enough to not understand Ben's level of power on the Island, Miles might have remedied that by reminding him that Ben seemed to be pretty good at getting what he wanted (which included pound cake). Considering what happened at the end of the episode, I think Miles' comments were pretty darn prophetic.


So what did happen at the very end of the episode? Ben convinced Alex, Karl and Rousseau to take off for the Temple, where the rest of the Others have been hiding for a while. He said that the Temple was "not for" the Lostaways. He convinced Alex that, because she is his daughter, the freighter crew would try to use her against him if she were caught at the barracks.

So the three head out, and just as Karl confesses his gut feeling that Ben may be playing them, he gets shot by an unseen attacker. An attacker who is so skilled that he/she can shoot only one hole in a water bottle! Them's some mad skillz!

Rousseau proclaims Karl to be dead, and then gets shot herself. The episode ends with Alex taking her chances, raising her arms to the sky and shouting, "Wait, wait, don't! I'm Ben's daughter! I'm his daughter!"

Many questions arose from these scenes:

1) Are Karl and Rousseau really dead?

The consensus on the boards is that Karl is dead but Rousseau is not. No one seems to have any proof for either assertion, though. That being said, I tend to agree; the previews said that "someone will die," and Karl seems to have been the unlucky character. Rousseau got hit in pretty much the same spot as did Karl, but I find it hard to believe that her time on the show is over. So I hold out hope that her love for her daughter will end up giving her the strength to recover. Or maybe the Island will magically heal her.

2) Is Alex really Ben's daughter?

Many people picked up on the fact that this time, when Ben called Alex his daughter, Rousseau didn't object like she had back at the radio tower. I personally believe that we can chalk that up to the fact that Rousseau simply agreed with Ben's overall plan. It doesn't matter who Alex's birth parents are--all that matters is that Ben raised Alex and cares about her, and so an enemy of Ben will try to exploit that relationship. Ben knows it, and Rousseau knows it. So they both agree that Alex needs to get away from Ben and to a safer area.

However, those who think that Alex could be Ben and Rousseau's daughter (meaning that Rousseau lied about her back-story and was at one point an Other and involved with Ben) have at least one point that I agree with: Rousseau seemed to know that she was walking into a trap as she left the barracks. Not only did she not object to Ben calling Alex his daughter, she also shot him a quick look of understanding when he said that Rousseau should go to the Temple because she would provide protection. Since he just got done saying that the Temple was not for the Lostaways, he wouldn't think that it was a safe haven for Rousseau, either. But that wouldn't matter if he knew she was never going to make it there.

For the record, I still think that Alex is Rousseau's daughter and that her father is NOT Ben. At the very least, there's no way Rousseau isn't Alex's birth mother--they look too much alike; that was some crazy casting that they pulled off. It couldn't be all for naught.

The debate about Alex's birth parents is another reason why I think Danielle is still alive--there are just too many questions about her past that would be very interesting to reveal over the rest of the series. I guess that they could do that in flashback form, but for whatever reason, I think Rousseau will rise again. And when she does, she's going to be even crazier and more pissed off than she was before! And that will rock.

3) Did Ben orchestrate the ambush?

I can't help but think that Ben knew exactly what was going to happen to Karl and Rousseau when he sent them off with Alex to the Temple. He never liked Karl, so getting him out of the way would ensure for the time being that Alex wouldn't get pregnant and die. Getting Rousseau out of the way would pretty much force Alex to view Ben as her only parent once again. Only if she never found out he was behind the ambush, that is.

Think about it--who else could've shot those two but the Others? Miles is still tied up, Frank may have left on the helicopter again, but we know he's not going to kill anyone, and we saw Daniel and Charlotte at the Island Breakfast Bar in the last episode. I don't think Jack's going to let them out of his sight ever again, after what just went down at The Tempest. Karl and Rousseau have always helped the Lostaways, so the 815ers certainly weren't responsible for the attack. Who does that leave? The Others.

The silent shots seemed right up the Others' alley. Let's not forget how good they are at sneaking around in the jungle and carrying out quiet ambushes. If I had seen an arrow or dart sticking out of Karl or Rousseau, I would be even more positive that the Others' were behind everything, because I could just imagine one of them in their dirty khakis and bare feet, blowing poisonous darts out of freakin' straws or something like that. This attack also reminded me of how the Others' captured Jack, Sawyer, Kate and Hurley at the end of Season Two. Remember that awful scene where they were all running up the hill and darts just started taking all of them down? Yeah, I'm more confident now that the Others' just killed one of their own--on Ben's orders. (Just to be clear, though, no arrow or dart could be seen sticking out of Karl or Rousseau. They were both hit on the right side of their chests with what seems to have been bullets.)

In the Others' eyes, Karl is now considered "bad" because he forewarned the Lostaways about the Others' plan to steal the pregnant women from the beach. That led to several Others getting blown up. So they'd have no problem taking him down. And Rousseau was the mastermind of that plan, so she's expendable in their opinion, too. OK, now I've totally convinced myself--it was definitely the Others who ambushed Karl, Rousseau and Alex.

I sincerely hope that it doesn't turn out to be another group on the Island that we haven't met yet! That would be really lame.

On to Michael's flashbacks...


In the first flashback, we see Michael in deep despair--writing out a suicide note and then trying to kill himself by crashing his car into a huge shipping crate (with Mama Cass (who also sang Desmond's "Make Your Own Kind of Music") crooning "It's Getting Better" on the radio). At this point, I thought it was a flash-forward.

Michael's plan doesn't work, and we next see him in the hospital, where Dead Libby makes an appearance and scares the bejeezus out of him. Then the real nurse enters the room, and asks if she should contact Walt. Michael looks confused, but then she explains that Walt was who the suicide note was written to. The nurse is told not to contact Walt.

At this point, I was still convinced that these scenes were in the future, as Libby couldn't have appeared to Michael before he had been on the Island.

Some people thought that the guy lying next to Michael in the hospital looked familiar--they believe he might be Alvar Hanso. I think that's a stretch, but if you'd like to see a comparison of screen shots, click here.

In the next flashback, Michael visits his mother's house. Christmas decorations are up, and his mother mentions that Michael and Walt had been gone for two months with no explanation, so we could assume with some certainty that Michael's scenes are shortly after Thanksgiving--late November or early December 2004.

Michael's mom goes on to say that she thinks it's really sketchy that she can't call him or Walt by their real names, and that she is concerned about Walt not wanting to speak to his father, on top of him waking up screaming in the middle of the night. She refuses to let him see "his boy," but he does catch a glimpse of Walt in the upstairs window. It was definitely Island-Age Walt (not College Freshman Walt who visited Locke), so I think that's one more nail in the coffin for the Time Moves Differently on the Island Theory. Anyway, Walt walks away from the window with nary a smile for his dear ol' dad, which leaves Michael even more distraught and intent on offing himself.


Next, Michael trades Jin's watch for a gun and bullets at a pawn shop. He creeps into a dark alley to try and kill himself once again, but is interrupted by none other than... Zeke! I was cheering when he showed up in his bad-ass black trench coat and slicked-back hair. No awesome mustache like in Juliet's latest flashback, but you can't win 'em all.

Perhaps one of the reasons I liked this episode is because Zeke finally put into words what, up until this point, only Locke had been crazy enough to suggest: the Island has some sort of control over the Lostaways. And I think that is the coolest thing ever.

ZEKE: I got some bad news for you, amigo. You can't kill yourself. The Island won't let you!
MICHAEL: (Panting) What'd you say?
ZEKE: No matter how bad you want to, no matter how many different ways you try, it won't happen.
(ZEKE hands the revolver back to Michael.)
ZEKE: Give it a shot if you don't believe me. You got more work to do, Mike. When you figure that out, I'm in the penthouse at the Hotel Earle.

Side note: "The Hotel Earle" is most likely a shout-out to the Coen brothers' movie Barton Fink, in which the Hotel Earle represents Hell. Or, it could be that one of the writers is a huge Bob Dylan fan--he was known to stay at this hotel in New York (now renamed The Washington Square Hotel).

Also of interest: how Zeke said that Michael had more "work to do." This is what Taller Ghost Walt said to Locke at the Skeleton Pit, and it's the same sentence Zombie Dad said to Vincent in "So It Begins" (a Lost Missing Piece)--referring to Jack.

But back to Michael... he takes the gun from Mr. Friendly and does indeed try to use it. Although it's loaded, it won't discharge bullets either time the trigger is pulled. Zeke, it seems, was right.

If the Island has some sort of power over the Lostaways, it would actually fit into the theory I made up on the fly last week about the Island summoning the 815ers to come help save it against "the bad guys." Way back in Season One I had another related theory that sprung up during "All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues": that one of the Island's curious powers was that it essentially allowed people to "will" things into happening--from Walt willing the rain to stop so they could search for Vincent to Jack willing Charlie back to life after he was hung up in the tree by Ethan.

In light of this latest episode, now I can't help but wonder if, rather than the Lostaways unknowingly being in control of what they wished/willed to occur, the Island was. That would explain a much wider range of mysteries: how Locke can walk, how Rose's cancer was cured, how Charlie's guitar appeared out of nowhere, how Charlie could swim, how the Dharma Van's engine could run... the list goes on and on. Obviously, I use the word "explain" very loosely in the previous sentence, but I don't think it's worth trying to actually figure out how the Island can exert influence over the 815ers just yet. It seems that perhaps the Island knows that its chosen 815ers need to be at "full strength" in order to be able to carry out the mission it has for them (which they are not aware of yet). Now that Zeke specifically said that the Island would prevent Michael from dying, we can rest assured that this phenomenon will be explored further over the rest of the series.


Sufficiently spooked after the gun wouldn't fire and after seeing the news report about the Flight 815 wreckage, Michael visits Zeke and his, uh, caterer friend, to understand what in the heck is going on. Mr. Friendly spills a lot of information in a short amount of time:

- Some of the Others can come and go between the Island and the mainland.
My guess would be that only the people Ben trusts the most are allowed to leave. At first I thought it meant that only a certain group that had "special powers" could make the journey, but now I believe it's pretty straightforward. Ben figured out the right bearing at which boats and submarines can leave and return to the Island, but he only lets a chosen few do so in order to carry out his plans.

- Widmore staged the crash. He dug up bodies from a cemetery in Thailand, purchased a plane and had it hauled out to the ocean.
Hmmm, OK, so maybe Widmore did stage the crash. I'm not 100% sold on this, though. Ben's people could've done all of those same things and then just changed the documents so that Michael would believe he was doing the right thing. I still think there is some sort of third party involved in all of this (and "the economist" belongs to that third group), but that could still be the case even if it was Widmore who was behind the fake Oceanic crash.

Because I strive to report all major theories out there, I feel inclined to mention that there are many people who believe that the original Oceanic 815 did in fact crash and everyone on it died, and that the plane that crashed on the Island was another instance of that plane that went into a wormhole and entered a parallel dimension. Meaning that no one staged the crash, because it's real. Those of you who have been reading my posts for a long time may remember that at one point, I was a big proponent of the MPU theory (MPU stands for Multiple Parallel Universe, duh!) until the producers essentially shot it down on the 9/21/07 podcast (and again in recent podcasts) by saying that there is only one timeline and that there will not be "multiple futures." In addition to their comments, I think that the writers are going out of their way now to make it clear that the 815 wreckage was staged--it's just now a matter of who staged it.

If there were any possibility that there are two parallel universes, one in which Flight 815 actually did crash at the bottom of the ocean and one in which the Lostaways survived on the Island, we would've gotten other major hints by now. The series only has forty episodes left, and I just don't think they're going to take that extremely confusing path. If they did, it would have to mean that all of the people coming and going from the Island were also crossing over into another dimension. There are enough mysteries they have to resolve already, don't you think? I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool if the plane went into a wormhole, because it would. I just think it's clear that the series is not going in that direction. But I'm telling you about this theory because I think there's a 4.815162342% chance that it still might prove to be correct. They definitely have provided many suspicious "clues" across the series to date that would support this idea.

- Michael can only redeem himself if he accepts Ben's mission
We've long known that "redemption" is a major theme in the series. Now Zeke came right out and hit us on the head with it:

MICHAEL: You want me to go undercover? Why the hell would I go back to work for you people?
ZEKE: Because if Widmore finds the Island, it's goodnight for everybody on it. He'll kill them all without thinking twice. You wanna redeem yourself for what you did? This is your only chance. You can save all their lives.

Combine the above with Zeke's earlier statement about the Island not letting Michael kill himself, and you've got mucho evidence for a strong force that wants the Lostaways to make peace in their lives above everything else. Especially when making peace in their lives will directly help save the Island from intruders.

I think it's safe to say that the Michael we grew so annoyed with on the Island is not the same Michael anymore. First off, he's not shouting "Waaaaalllllt" anymore. Secondly, in contrast to the cocky idiot he was on the Island, now he is a broken man, guilty and confused over the dismal turns his life has taken, and he's desperate to make things right. If he doesn't, Waaaalllllt will never talk to him again, and all that frickin' yelling will have been for nothing. So he agrees to become Kevin Johnson and kill everyone on the freighter.


Michael (as Kevin) heads to Fiji and we see him meet all of the Freighties: Minkowski before he started time-traveling, Naomi in her extremely low-riding jeans, and Miles. We learned that not only can Miles communicate with dead people, he can also tell when people who are alive are lying. Not sure why that hasn't come into play more on the Island... maybe he's keeping all of his abilities to himself for now (which would be smart, I guess).

Once the freighter sets sail, we see Michael meet Frank, and discover that Frank had no idea what the "science team" was going to do on the Island after he dropped them off. Additionally, we learn that he had somehow gotten in touch with Widmore and that Widmore "believes that 815 is still out there somewhere" and that the wreckage was faked, as does Frank. This scene inspired two thoughts: 1) When Frank called the Oceanic hotline and was transferred after he claimed that there was no way that the video on the news was of the real 815, I think that call is what eventually put him in touch with Widmore, and 2) Since we know that Widmore might have been the one to fake the crash (or at the very least thinks it was Ben who did so), I fear that Frank was brought on board in order to prevent him from telling his theory to the media (and to possibly get rid of him after he completed the helicopter runs). He is definitely one of the "innocent people" Benry referred to a bit later in the show.

Next, Michael opens his "care package" and, I have to tell you, I was so scared about what was going to be in that toolbox, I could barely look at the TV. I seriously thought that it was going to be reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where all those crazy spirits flew out of the Ark and everyone's faces melted off or exploded. I was positive that an unholy evil was in Michael's container, and that once it was unleashed, it would cause many on the ship to go insane. For a second, I thought that it might even be Smokey. Instead, it was just a fake bomb. But the scene was still pretty tense, despite its lack of ghostly horrors. (It also had the strange effect of making me even more excited for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... but I digress.)

The important thing to take away from this scene is that Michael honestly believed that he was going to blow up the entire ship, and yet he went through with pushing the button. So was Ben really just testing him? Did Ben actually put the little "Not Yet" flag in the toolbox? Or was the Island somehow holding Michael off? After all, we did hear the whispers and a line from the same Mama Cass song that was playing on the radio when Michael drove his car into the dumpster, and Dead Libby did appear again to Michael right before he attempted to detonate the device. Ben may have just been acting like he put the note there, when in reality he was aware that it was the Island that stopped Michael.

It seems pretty strange that Ben would go to all of the trouble of sending the huge crate to the freighter (which could've possibly put Michael at risk for being found out) to just have it be some sort of test. But... if we take things at face value and assume that the Faux Bomb was nothing more than an attempt by Ben to ensure that Michael was committed, then the purpose of this scene was to convince us (along with Michael) that Ben isn't a complete mad man. He doesn't want to kill anyone who is unaware that they're in the middle of a battle.

I think it's safe to say that Minkowski and Frank weren't/aren't aware that the freighter crew is meant to kill everyone they find on the Island, and it's pretty obvious that Naomi, Keamy, Omar and the captain were/are. From Miles' silence during the barracks meeting at the beginning of the episode, I would assume that he knows of the plan, too. He may only know about it because of his ability to read minds, however. Because it honestly doesn't seem to me that Charlotte and Daniel (well, definitely not Daniel) would be comfortable with playing a role in a massacre. They may have just been told to disarm the power station in order to make the Island safer (and prevent Ben from carrying out another gas attack). After capturing Ben, they may just think that the freighter is going to take off.

So instead of having Michael blow up the Kahana, Ben orders him to make a list of everyone on the freighter so he can make a decision about each of them. I thought I loved lists! I can't hold a candle to Ben--that man loves him some lists. After Michael passed Ben's test by attempting to detonate the Faux Bomb, Ben informed him that he is now officially on the "good guys" list.

And finally, let's wrap up what happened in this episode by covering the real-time freighter events.


When an alarm sounds, Desmond and Sayid run up to the main deck and watch the captain deliver a beat-down to yet another crew member who was trying to abandon ship. They learn that Michael will be in the engine room, so they go there and Sayid confronts him and demands an explanation for why he's on the ship. While the other Freightie who was with Michael went to the supply room for, oh, forty-five minutes or so, Michael whipped out a DVD player and showed Sayid all of his flashbacks.

Apparently the flashbacks weren't good enough for Sayid. After confirming that Michael was working for Benry, he marched "Kevin Johnson" into the captain's quarters and ratted him out. If you're anything like me, you were yelling, "Noooo! Sayid, don't!!! Why?!?!!? Whhhyyyyy???" And then a few minutes later, you might have realized the great irony of the scene. Michael was never going to be able to justify why he was working for Ben; Sayid hates Ben that much. But we all know that Sayid's going to end up working for Ben, too. Kind of embarrassing for He Of The Black Tank Top.

Did anyone else think that the captain did NOT look surprised by Sayid's claims? He was sitting there like, "Tell me something I don't know."

Why did Sayid do what he did? I think one of three things is going on with Sayid:

1) He is already working for/with Ben.

Recall the last time Sayid saw Ben (with Locke in the game room):

SAYID: I agree that these people are liars and they’re certainly not here to rescue us. But if I return safely with Char-LOTTE, they’ll take me to their ship. It’s our best chance of finding out who they are and what they really want.
[LOCKE sets his glass on the floor and gets up, walking toward SAYID.]
LOCKE: Well, then, I can save you a lot of trouble, Sayid, because Ben says he’s got a spy on the boat.
[SAYID stands up and approaches BEN.]
BEN: It’s a secret.
SAYID: Forgive me, but the day I start trusting him is the day I would have sold my soul. Give me Char-LOTTE. Allow me to do things my way. Or war is coming, which we will both be powerless to stop.
LOCKE: Why would I give you Charlotte for nothing?
SAYID: Oh, I think you misunderstood me. I never expected you to give her to me for nothing. (smiles)

We can infer from this scene that, as I mentioned earlier in this post, the conversation above continued... we just didn't get to see it. I have a feeling that perhaps Sayid offered to become Ben's mole, but knew that the only way he could do that was if Ben gave him the name of the current mole, so that Sayid could "turn him in" to the captain. Ben may have even known that the captain was already on to Michael. It would then seem to the captain that Sayid was not only not in cahoots with his fellow 815er, but that he (like the captain and Widmore) also hated Ben. Ben is smart enough to know that Sayid would make a much better mole than would Michael. If Ben already got "the list" from Michael, then he may have no more use for him. Sayid, however, could keep up the charade and perhaps get even more information out of the captain and the rest of the crew.

If you think back to the previous episode, "Ji Yeon," when Sayid first met the captain and the captain just immediately spilled all that information about the fake 815 wreckage, the black box and Widmore's search, you could tell that Sayid was skeptical about how chatty Gault was. Recall this exchange with Doc Ray shortly thereafter:

RAY: So what do you think of the captain?
SAYID: He was surprisingly forthcoming.

That is Sayid-speak for "I'm onto him." In this scenario (Theory #1), Sayid takes over for Michael as the mole on the ship, but then his involvement with Ben ends for the time-being. It is not until he is back on the mainland and something bad happens (I personally think something is going to happen to Nadia) that he then begins to work for Ben "officially."

2) Sayid blew Michael's cover, which will lead to the Freighties coming to the Island, which will lead to bad things for the Lostaways, which will guilt Sayid into working for Ben to make up for it all.

This idea is pretty straightforward. Recall Ben's ominous line to Sayid when they were both being held captive in the game room in "The Economist," before Locke came in:

BEN: I lost a dollar, you know.
SAYID: How did you manage that?
BEN: I bet John that you wouldn’t be stupid enough to fall for your friend as bait.
SAYID: What do you know about friendship?

If Sayid really did jump the gun and turned Michael into the captain without thinking things through, then he will end up feeling responsible for whatever happens next. If the Freighties are able to carry out part or all of their plan on the Island, then Ben is going to remember what happened at the barracks: Sayid fell for his friends as "bait." Ben will therefore use the need to protect the rest of the Oceanic Six (in addition to anyone who may survive on the Island) as leverage over Sayid in order to get Sayid to work for him in the future. Here is some more proof from the final scene of "The Economist":

BEN: Why are you crying? Because it hurts? Or because you were stupid enough to care for her? These people don’t deserve our sympathies. Need I remind you what they did the last time you thought with your heart instead of your gun?
SAYID: You used that to recruit me into killing for you.
BEN: Do you want to protect your friends or not, Sayid?

Unfortunately, I think whatever Ben is talking about above has not yet transpired on screen. But the tactic Ben is using--guilt over lost friends--supports Theory #2. In this scenario, Sayid doesn't start working for Ben until after something bad happens that drives him to do so--either on the Island or back on the mainland.

3) Sayid is already working for/with Ben, so he turned Michael in on purpose in order to become the new mole and to gain Gault's trust. But the Freighties still get to the Island and wreak havoc, so Sayid continues to work for Ben to attempt to "make it right."

In this scenario, Sayid essentially started working for Ben in the game room, and never stops. Their alliance only grows stronger as time goes on.

This is the way I'm leaning right now.


MILES: We're here for him. (indicates Ben)
HURLEY: Um, we kind of, like, knew that forever ago.

MICHAEL: Why would I help the son of a bitch who kidnapped my son?
ZEKE: We gave him back to you in one piece, Mike. You're the one who lost him.

ARTURO: Is this the guy who hit you with the champagne bottle?

MILES chuckles.
LOCKE: Somethin' funny?
MILES: Linus will find a way to get it.
LOCKE: And how will he do that?
MILES: He wants to survive. And considering a week ago you had a gun to his head, and tonight he's eating pound cake... I'd say he's a guy who gets what he wants.

ZEKE: ...It's game time. Are you in or out?
MICHAEL: I'm in.


(As always, there are what could be considered mild spoilers in this section. The producers talk about what will or will not be covered over the rest of the season, and give general hints as to what may be going on with some aspects of the story. If you would rather be completely in the dark, skip to the next bold heading.)

The podcast began with Lindelof and Cuse promising to reveal the code name for the Season Four finale at the end of the session. The previous three code names were: The Bagel, The Challah, and The Rattlesnake in the Mailbox.

They went out of their way to say that the code name is not for the final scene of Season Four; it's for a scene before the very end that is most significant. They reiterated that the final scene of this year's finale is NOT a jaw-dropper.

The funniest part of the podcast was that a fire alarm went off while they were talking and they needed to evacuate!

Once they returned, it was entirely a fan question and answer format. I did my best to summarize the questions and their respective responses:

Q. Who are the Oceanic Six?
A. We, on a past podcast, said that you would know who the Oceanic Six were by the end of the seventh episode. This morning, we debated about listing them out for you on today's podcast because we are loath to disseminate information that is critical to the show on a forum that is outside of the show. But we're in a catch-22, because what we didn't anticipate was that people would not be clear as to who the O6 were by now, because they always think we're up to shenanigans. We are not up to any shenanigans, you've seen Jin's gravestone, you've seen all of the Oceanic Six on screen, you should be able to deduce who they are, but yes, there is a scene in a future episode where you see all of The Six together, and it will be confirmed for you. We wanted everyone to go into the seventh episode thinking that they were seeing flash-forwards of both Sun and Jin, so that it wasn't until the very end of the episode that it's revealed that Jin is dead, and that his date of death is listed as the date of the crash, so at that point you would realize that his scenes were flashbacks. ABC did confirm the six members of the Oceanic Six at the trailer of the end of the eighth episode, however, which they ran by us first.

Q. Is Tom gay?
A. Yes. We have long hinted that there was a gay character on the show, and back in Season Three when he said that Kate was "not his type," that was a hint.

Q. Minkowski and Desmond have experienced side effects from the Island. Why didn't Desmond experience them before when he took off on the sailboat? Why aren't others experiencing them? I hope you have a coherent explanation for all of this. [e: If you remember, when Locke took over pressing the button in the Swan, Desmond busted out of the hatch and left on a boat... only to show up again later (drunk) because the boat just went in circles]
A. We think we have a coherent explanation, not all of which we can detail here just yet. But there is a difference between whether or not you are inside or outside the realm of the Island. When Desmond left before, he was just going in circles, so he probably wasn't outside the realm of the Island. And remember when Ben told Michael how to leave, he told him a very specific bearing to stay on. Faraday told Frank not to stray from a very specific bearing as well. It's basically like when space shuttles leave and enter the Earth's atmosphere, they have to do so at a very specific angle, otherwise they will burn up. Also, remember that Desmond did experience intense electromagnetic radiation when he turned the fail-safe key, which may make him susceptible to effects that others may not be susceptible to. These side effects may not be that different from "the sickness" that has been mentioned before on this show...

Q. Are we ever going to see what's happened to the hatch after Desmond turned the fail-safe key? Are we going to see how Desmond, Locke and Eko ended up outside of the hatch? Are we going to see a purple sky again?
A. We are not going to go back and replay any more details about the Swan hatch imploding. The characters were blown out somehow. Yes, we will have another electromagnetic event on the show, which causes the sky to turn purple.

Q. Will you comment on the significance of the visions on the show? Are they all the monster, are they apparitions, are they actual animals, or just in the characters' heads?
Ben's mother: Apparition
Wild boar (from an early Sawyer episode): Animal
Spider that paralyzed Nikki: Monster
Bird that cries "Hurley": No comment
Dave: Imagination and apparition
Yemi: Monster
Patchy's cat named Nadia (like Sayid's Nadia): Animal and coincidence
Walt: The character of Walt is a person. When Walt appears to other characters, that could be an apparition and/or the monster.
Kate's horse: Undead [e: he also listed Christian Shephard and Yemi as "undead," despite what he said about Yemi above]

Q. Is Aaron in danger now that he is being raised by Kate? In "Raised by Another," the psychic told Claire that she must be the one to raise Aaron or something bad would happen. Now that Kate is raising him, is he in danger, and are others around him in danger? Does Jack perhaps know this and that is why he doesn't want to see him?
A. Yes, Aaron is in danger. The psychic did say that in Season One, but we did see the psychic again in Season Two, where he claimed to be nothing more than a scam artist (to Eko). So it depends on what you believe... if you believe he really did have a vision about the baby, then yes, Aaron is in danger. If you believe he was just a scam artist, then Aaron is perfectly fine. I said Aaron was in danger at the outset because Kate is a known murderer who blows up houses and the men in her life... well, she has a bad track record, so if I were Aaron, as soon as I could walk I would get away from her.

Q. Is Charlotte a cultural anthropologist (what Ben said her degree was in) or an archaeologist (since we saw her at the dig site)? Will we ever see a flashback about the Black Rock or the four-toed statue?
A. You will learn more about the Black Rock and the four-toed statue, but not necessarily in a flashback. Charlotte's degree is in cultural anthropology, but she's a closet archaeologist. The fact that Charlotte is a cultural anthropologist has meaning... those people study ancient civilizations. Ancient civilizations.

And finally...
Q. What is the code name for the Season Four finale?
A. The Frozen Donkey Wheel. Seriously.

[e: from what I've seen on the boards the general consensus of the meaning of TFDW is: "A donkey wheel is a means of powering something, using a donkey (beast of burden) as motive power. So freezing it would stop it in its tracks." I personally think this means that either all theories are going to be blown out of the water by whatever happens in the finale, or... a more literal interpretation could be that whatever is powering the Island is going to be shut down and all hell will break loose.]

The moderator ended by mentioning that the name of the ninth episode is: "The Shape of Things to Come."


We now have a five-week break until Lost returns on April 24th (an hour later: 10 PM EST). There will be another podcast with the producers on April 18th, and a few days or so afterward I will do a post that will include the podcast debrief, in addition to a discussion of the bevy of theories and ideas that have arisen over the course of the season so far. I would expect that this post will be up around April 20th or 21st.

In the meantime, be sure to check in to According to e, where I will try my best to post daily on week days, and sometimes even on weekends. My review of Xanadu on Broadway is up, and in a few weeks I will be taking another vacation, from which I will be sure to post embarrassing photos of myself (hint: it will involve pirates... again).

If you don't want to read my musings about anything other than Lost, then I will see you back here in a month!
- e

Monday, March 17, 2008

S4Ep7 - "Ji Yeon": Not Exactly a Bundle of Joy

Hello my dear friends –

I begin this write-up in St. Maarten, listening to the sound of waves and the rustling of palm trees from my hotel room’s balcony. (I have to rub it in—I’ll be back in cold temperatures soon enough, OK?)

I was very happy to have watched “Ji Yeon” with my friend Miss M and her sister, RK, because some of their comments during the show prevented me from becoming extremely confused. For example, Miss M just so happened to have been born in 1976, which was a “year of the dragon.” She explained that any given animal sign in the Chinese zodiac (which is also followed in Jin and Sun’s homeland of Korea) repeats only once every twelve years. That knowledge clued us in about mid-way through the episode (when the store owner mentioned that it was “the year of the dragon”) that Jin’s flashes must be taking place in either the year 2000 or the year 2012. We guessed incorrectly; until the very end of the episode, the three of us assumed that Jin’s scenes were in the year 2012 and that he was buying the panda for his second or perhaps even third child with Sun. We thought the big twist would be that it wasn’t the Island baby that was being born, but rather another one of their children… meaning that the scenes would have to be taking place significantly far into the future. Alas, at the end of “Ji Yeon” it became clear that while we saw a flash-forward for Sun, Jin’s scenes were flashbacks to the year 2000.

Because I know there is a lot of confusion about this episode, I just want to reiterate what was going on in the flash scenes so that we’re all on the same page, before I get into the meat of my post:

- Jin’s scenes took place in the year 2000, when he was newly married to Sun and working for her mob-boss-like father (Mr. Paik). He bought the panda for the grandson of the Ambassador to China, with whom Mr. Paik wanted to conduct business.
- Sun’s scenes were probably 5 or so months from the present time on the Island (based on Juliet’s claim that mothers will die on the Island in their 2nd trimester), so they were probably in mid-2005.

Now let’s get into it. I will tackle the freighter events first, then the stuff that went down on the Island, then the flashes, and will wrap up with a podcast debrief and a few other Lost-related extras. I even have a fan picture of Karl! Or, "Kaarrrrlll," as Benry might say.


The episode kicked off with Keamy warning Frank not to be late. Late to what? I assumed that the captain was going to hold some kind of debrief with the crew regarding what they were going to do about Sayid and Desmond, and Keamy was trying to ensure that Frank didn't lose track of time while deciding what new palm tree shirt to wear and made it to the meeting on time. Later, however, we found out that Frank had left with the helicopter to “run an errand,” so that’s probably what Keamy had been referring to—he wanted Frank to get going. I’m sure they just had Frank run out to the nearest Walgreens to pick up some Diet Cokes and Cheetos, don’t you think?

Seriously, though, where did Frank go? And was he lying to Sayid about the phone no longer working? I guess we’ll find out whether he made another trip back to the Island soon enough, but I’m not so sure that’s where he went, even though the doctor claimed that there was “nowhere else to land.” Yes, Jack, Kate, Aaron, Sun and Hurley still need to get rescued and the helicopter and freighter currently seem to be the most obvious means of escape, but I’ve always wondered whether the rest of The Six end up leaving the Island some other way. Since we know that Sayid ends up working for Ben in the future, maybe the others leave the Island via different means than did Sayid, and that’s what allows Ben to get to Sayid and strike some sort of deal with him. Especially now that we know that Ben also has Michael working for him on the freighter, and Sayid is now with Michael.

Or, Frank could in fact be headed to the Island to pick up the next round of Lostaways and/or some of his original team. Many people think that the Oceanic Six weren’t “chosen” but were simply the first group that left the Island, and that Frank said he would keep coming back until everyone who wanted to leave had been rescued, but then something happened that prevented him from doing so. Which still wouldn’t explain why people from both Locke and Jack’s groups make up The Six, or why Jin would allow himself to be separated from Sun after saying “Wherever Sun go, I go,” but it’s still a plausible theory. More theories about the Oceanic Six later in this post…


Before Frank took off, he paid a visit to Sayid and Desmond and brought them some canned lima beans. Lima beans are on my list of most hated foods, so I don’t blame the guys for being pretty offended. Some people wonder if Frank thinks that poisoned/tampered-with food on the freighter is what is making people go crazy, so that’s why he brought Sayid and Des a safer choice of sustenance. I think it’s clear that what’s affecting people’s sanity is the ship’s proximity to the Island, so we shouldn’t read into Frank’s choice of food for the captives too much. Since lima beans are so nasty, no one else on the ship was going to complain if the rest of the supply goes missing! That's why Frank took them.

The most important part of that scene didn’t have anything to do with food, though. It had to do with Regina, who was reading a book upside-down. What was the novel, you may wonder? It was Survivors of the Chancellor by Jules Verne, which is about peeps on a grounded ship—some of whom go nuts. How apropos.

Especially considering Regina’s next (and last) scene, where she jumps overboard after weighing herself down with heavy chains. Desmond and Sayid, who have been let out of their room by this point, are alarmed that no one else is trying to help poor Regina. However, they soon meet the captain, who explains that several members of the crew have developed “a heightened case of cabin fever.” After learning what happened to Minkowski, Brandon (the other guy who left the ship with Minkowski and died) and Regina, and then seeing the blood stain on the wall of Desmond and Sayid’s new room (which was obviously from someone shooting themselves Radzinsky-style in the head), I think it’s fair to proclaim that a good percentage of people on the freighter are stark raving mad. But the question is, why?

The captain said that he thought it was because of the proximity to the Island, but that he couldn’t change locations because someone had been tampering with the ship’s engines. But when Doctor Ray takes Des and Sayid to their new quarters and Sayid questions why Ray would say that the room is in the “quiet area” of the ship even though the ship isn’t moving, Ray’s response was, “Well, if you say so.” This has led people to wonder whether or not the ship is somehow moving… not physically—but through time—and it’s causing people to go insane.

You could tell that the writers were trying to make it clear that three days had passed both on and off the Island since the helicopter crew left. Sayid mentioned three days, and so did Sun. But that still doesn’t account for the “perception” of time moving differently while on the Island, or Daniel’s experiment with the clocks, or whatever it is that tripped Desmond’s time-traveling experience. So, as I said in my last write-up, there may be some sort of “time-warp moat” around the Island that would explain all of the above, in addition to being the cause of the freighter crew’s strife. Perhaps the ship is too close to this force field of sorts (I KNEW they’d get another force field into the show one way or another--hooray!), and it’s having an effect on certain people.

I don’t know how to explain why not everyone would be affected, though. For all we know, Regina and whoever committed suicide in the Roach Room might have both been time-traveling in their minds, and that’s what drove them mad. Then we could assume that those specific people had been exposed to radiation or electromagnetism, whereas others on the ship haven’t been and are therefore safe. But if Regina and the others just went crazy and weren’t time-traveling, I’m not sure why everyone else onboard isn’t experiencing the same thing. Or maybe some people just take longer to be affected. This also sounds like it could be “the sickness” of which Rousseau spoke, doesn’t it?


Can we even trust Captain Gault’s guess as to why people are going psycho in the first place? He may know much more about what’s happening then he’s letting on. Let’s not forget that Sayid and Desmond received a note (which we can now assume was from “Kevin Johnson” (aka Michael)) that read, “Don’t trust the captain.” On top of that, everyone else on the ship seems intimidated or straight-up afraid of this guy. I can see why—he definitely has a James Bond (Daniel Craig version) vibe about him. I was digging the captain. On a related note, the general consensus is that if we are meant to read anything into the captain’s last name, then we should assume he was purposefully given the same name as the “morally ambiguous captain-for-hire” in William Hope Hodgson’s collection of seafaring stories which were published in 1917. This is one of those times when I personally don’t think a character’s name means anything, though. And for those of you who will argue that the captain is named after John Galt from my favorite book of all time, Atlas Shrugged, I say: Silence! There’s no way. Not buying it. Sorry.

The captain claims to be working for Charles Widmore, which corroborates what Ben told Locke in the previous episode. The split-second frame of Desmond’s face when he heard the name “Widmore” during that scene was hilarious.

Polaroid picture of Penny: $2
Crappy blue shirt with no buttons = $40
Bottle of MacCutcheon’s whiskey: $20,000
A capture of your facial expression when learning the freighter is Daddy Widmore’s: Priceless

(Yes, I know Des wouldn't be using USD--but work with me, OK?)

The captain then goes on to show Des and Sayid what he says is Flight 815’s black box, and then repeats what Naomi told Charlie: the plane was found at the bottom of the ocean with all 324 bodies aboard. Naturally, he believes the only person who could pull off a stunt like that is… Benjamin Linus.

And that was the last we saw of the captain in this episode.

So what to make of all of this? I personally do not believe that Ben is behind the faux 815 wreckage. Yes, we now know that Ben has access to a ton of money, and to a network of people off of the Island who carry out orders for him. And yes, he does want to protect the Island at all costs, and supplying the media with a fake crash site might dissuade a few explorers from looking any further. But it wouldn’t keep a group who already knew about the existence of the Island from continuing to look for it. Plus, the only dead bodies we’ve seen near Ben were the skeletons in the Skeleton Pit from the Dharma purge. They didn’t exactly look like the drowned crash victims we saw in the news video at the beginning of the season. Further, we saw the moment when the plane crashed from the Othersville point-of-view. Ben seemed more concerned with getting Ethan and Goodwin to the crash sites and getting Patchy working on files for the survivors than rounding up 324 replacement bodies. I’m not absolutely ruling out Ben being behind the fake Oceanic flight, but I just find it hard to believe that Sayid would agree to work for Ben in the future if he thought for one second that Ben staged the 815 wreckage. Ben would have to have a really, really good explanation for doing that (and I’m not saying that explanation might not be forthcoming, which is why I leave open the possibility that the captain may have been telling the truth).

All that being said, for now I think that someone else set up the phony 815 remains. The captain probably believes that Ben is behind it, though, so it’s not like he’s purposefully lying—he probably never thought to second-guess whatever Widmore told him. And for all we know, maybe Widmore also honestly believes that Ben masterminded the bogus crash. I say this because I don’t think Widmore is behind the recovered wreckage, either. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a third party involved in the battle for the Island, and that this organization is playing Ben and Widmore against each other while advancing its own agenda in the process.

Who might this third party be? I come back to Abaddon… While I think Widmore and Abaddon obviously are connected because the helicopter team couldn’t have launched their mission from Widmore’s freighter without Widmore knowing about it, I’m not convinced that Abaddon works for Widmore. I think Abaddon works for someone else—and I think that person is “the economist” who also employed Elsa (if the captain's first name begins with an "R," then it could be him, but I doubt it). This mystery person and his organization could be fooling Widmore into lending them money and resources to help them get what they want. Yes, Widmore knows about the Island and probably wants to find it for his own reasons, but I think there’s another group with a more sinister agenda that is playing Widmore like a puppet. Ben may or may not know about this other group… but if he does know about them, he didn’t tell Locke!

One last idea I had on this subject... what if everyone other than the Lostaways (and perhaps Desmond, Juliet and Penny) is "bad," and the Lostaways were literally brought to the Island BY the Island to help protect it? Remember Locke's words from Season One: "Every single one of us was brought here for a reason." It may not seem possible, now that we know that Sayid is at one point working for Ben in the future, and that not all of the O6 want to return, but I think it would be kind of cool if in the very end, the Flight 815 survivors each played their own role in ridding the Island of everyone that shouldn't be there and then they leave it in peace. I haven't thought this through, so there is no need to point out the ten million things wrong with this theory... I just think it would be interesting if it ended up being The Lostaways Trying to Save the Island vs. Everyone Else Trying to Exploit It.


The last freighter scene of the night was the one many of us have been anticipating for months, ever since it was made known at Comic-Con that Michael would be returning to the series. Bravo to those of you who managed to avoid the ultra-high level of spoilers about this subject—that is something to be proud of. I wish I had been surprised.

When Doc Ray introduced Michael to Sayid and Desmond as “Kevin Johnson,” there was a millisecond of tension as we all wondered whether either of them would blow Michael’s cover. I had no doubt that Sayid would be able to pull off the charade, but I wasn’t sure that Desmond would. Then I got to wondering, “Has Desmond ever even met Michael?” I can’t remember that far back. I’m sure they met on the Island, if only briefly. We know that Desmond surely heard Michael yelling “WAAAALLLLLLTTTT!” at one point or another at the very least. Even Jacob was like, “Will someone just reunite this guy and his son already? He’s giving me a headache!”

I don’t feel like it makes much sense to speculate about what’s going on with Michael, since it looks like we’ll be getting information in the next episode regarding what he’s been up to. I will admit to being very curious about the whereabouts of Walt. Speaking of Walt, I should probably mention a few ideas I’ve seen on the message boards:

- Some people think that Kevin Johnson is not Michael, but rather the actor who played Michael now playing a grown-up Walt. If that ends up being the case, even I may have to stop watching the show.
- It has been mentioned that perhaps the banging on the pipes that Sayid heard was Michael trying to communicate via Morse code—either to Sayid, or somehow to Ben. That’s definitely a possibility, but I think it was just some other crazy person aboard the ship who was banging his or her head against a pipe or something like that. There weren’t any breaks in the banging. And remember, that scene took place before we learned that several crew members had gone berserk. Sayid was convinced that someone was making the sound on purpose… it might have been just a small thing that was put in the episode to give Sayid another reason to believe the captain when he later claimed that Regina had gone insane and that others had, too.
- I’m going to cover the subject of the Oceanic Six later, but since I have seen a lot of people argue that Michael MUST be one of the O6 because we have now seen him again, I feel it’s appropriate to mention here that that argument doesn’t really make sense. Just because we’ve now seen Michael off of the Island and on the freighter does not mean he is one of the Oceanic Six. Until we see him in his own future-flash, there is no evidence that he makes it any further than the freighter. Having said that, I don’t doubt that other Lostaways make it back to the mainland but aren’t touted as part of the O6 and live life on the down-low after returning. So that could also be Michael's fate.


On the Island, Sun grows more and more convinced that the helicopter peeps are either up to no good (Charlotte), or totally clueless (Daniel). I think her conversation with Daniel was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. I was dying when she said she was pregnant and he was all awkward and responded, “Oh, you’re… wow, that’s… Congratulations!” I was sad that there wasn’t more Daniel in this episode.

After realizing that Nerd Boy is powerless, Sun decides to take matters into her own hands and orders Jin to gather up food for the journey over to Locke’s camp. While Kate cooperated and drew Sun a map, Juliet figures out Sun’s plan and tries to stop her and Jin from taking off. Sun wouldn’t listen, which led Juliet to utter the line that had viewers across the nation yelling, “OH NO SHE DIDN’T!” simultaneously: “Jin, your wife had an affair.”

I was really shocked that Juliet played that card—I didn’t see that one coming. But I should have, because back in my own write-up for “D.O.C.”, I declared it a "dumb, dumb move" when Sun told Juliet about Baldy. At least Sun got to smack Juliet afterward, right?

In all seriousness, I would’ve done the same thing if I were Juliet. While I don’t blame Sun for not trusting Juliet’s claims about pregnant women dying, we viewers know that the danger Juliet described is very real. From the viewer’s perspective (not Sun’s), nothing Juliet has done has proven her to be an eeeevil person at her core, so she acted out of desperation to save the lives of Sun and her unborn baby by saying the only thing that she knew would get Jin (at the very least) to stay put.


Awkwardness is in the air after Jin storms off and then Sun tries to explain her side of the story while Bernard is standing between them like a doofus wanting to go fishing. Jin chooses to bust out with Bernard, which leads to a short but nonetheless important conversation about karma (I'm not going to attempt to explain the real meaning of karma, let's just stick with the simplified definition, because that's how Bernard meant it... simply put, "you reap what you sow"). Bernard essentially says that Rose would now rather risk her life (because of the possibility of her cancer returning) by leaving the Island than stay with Locke, who they believe to be a murderer. He hints that bad things will befall Locke and the group that stayed with him because when “you make bad choices, bad things happen to you.” While we know that something unsavory is going to go down at the barracks for those who sided with Locke, we also know that some of the Lostaways who left the Island will grow desperate to return, and that their desperation seems to stem from guilt. So I believe that while Bernard’s cautionary words about “bad choices” are definitely foreshadowing something, I’m not so sure they’re going to end up applying only to Locke, if they end up applying to him at all.


After the Boys Only Fishing Trip, Jin quickly forgives Sun (and admits that he hadn’t exactly been Spouse of the Year, either), and only asks for assurance that the baby is his. Sun confirms that it is, and then tells him that they do in fact need to stay with Jack’s group in hopes of getting off the Island. Even Juliet and Sun make up. Love-fest on the beach!

And now, onto the flashes…


When it comes right down to it, there are only a few major issues that arose from Sun’s flash-forwards. There’s pretty much nothing at all to discuss from Jin’s flashbacks; they didn’t really provide us with any new information on his character. Though I did laugh out loud when the subtitles showed him yelling “I will kill you!” after that other dude swiped his taxi.

I (along with most people I’ve talked to) was pretty faked out about what was going on with both characters’ flashes until the very end. I did think that Jin was trying to get to the hospital to be with Sun. And while I had been doubting that Jin was one of the Oceanic Six (because he wasn’t being recognized by anyone), I still assumed his scenes were taking place in the future, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Even when he first showed up at the room of the Ambassador’s daughter, I was like, “That ass! He’s back to his old ways—putting work before family! He went to work for her dad again?!?! This is a bunch of crap!” Not until he commented that he had only been married for two months did it dawn on me that it was a flashback… and that was pretty much the last second of Jin’s scenes.

With Sun’s flash-forwards, I was also misled. I suspected that something freaky was going on with the baby. First off, Sun went into labor after watching Dead Nikki’s awful TV show, “Exposé,” which couldn’t have been a good sign. Then she said, “Something is wrong” when she called emergency services.
Her normal doctor was replaced by some other guy in the delivery room, and this new doctor declared that the baby was “in distress.” I was positive that Dharma/ Widmore/ Hanso/ Jacob/ Smokey/ Abaddon was overseeing the delivery and was going to steal the baby. That, or the baby was going to have horns or be green with purple polka-dots or something (you may recall that these were my fears about Aaron, too).

But none of that happened. Ji Yeon came into the world, and all was well. Except that I was cursing Jin for not getting there in time.


No one believes me, but as Miss M and RK can attest to, I did NOT cry during the final scene when Hurley, Sun and Ji Yeon visited the cemetery. I think it was because I was so certain that there would be some strange twist. I kept thinking, “OK, this is the episode that the producers wanted to end with before the show goes on hiatus because they said it had a mini-cliffhanger.” So I kept waiting for the cliffhanger. And it didn’t come. In retrospect, I feel that the cliffhanger was Michael’s reappearance. Sometimes it’s hard for those of us who are really obsessed with the show to remember that the vast majority of the millions of people who tune in every week do NOT read the message boards or show-related sites, and so they probably either didn’t know or forgot that Michael was coming back.

Or, the fact that Jin’s tombstone listed his date of death as 9/22/2004, the date of the Flight 815 crash, might also be considered a cliffhanger. It certainly is the cause of the biggest debate I’ve seen on the boards in a looong time: Is Jin dead, or not?

But before I attempt to break down the arguments for or against Jin’s death, let’s pause to consider a few other strange things from this final flash-forward scene. First off, Hurley flew all the way to Korea to join Sun and her daughter for this most personal of moments (those golden tickets come in handy). More importantly, he was glad that none of the other Six made the trip:

SUN: I can't believe you came all this way.
HURLEY: Are you kidding? Is anyone else coming?
SUN: No.

What is up with that? We know Kate has Aaron, so I guess she had a good excuse for not flying halfway around the world. But what about Jack? It seems out of character for him not to rise to the occasion, especially if all we’ve seen so far points to him still being gung-ho about leaving the Island early on. Most people think that Kate’s trial was near the end of 2006, much later than Ji Yeon’s birth (mid-2005). At Kate’s trial, Jack was still spouting off the Oceanic Six story with such conviction that Kate thought he was starting to believe it. And at what was most likely a much earlier point in time, Jack told Hurley that they would never “go back.” Perhaps Ji Yeon’s birth came shortly after the squabble that Hurley and Jack got into at the mental institution while playing basketball, so Jack didn't want to see Hurley again so soon after. But then again—would Hurley have been able to leave the mental institution to fly to Korea?

Since Hurley’s flash-forwards are hard to place in the overall timeline, suffice it to say that for one reason or another, Hurley was glad that he and Sun weren’t going to be joined by Jack, Kate or Sayid. It may mean that he holds all of them somewhat responsible for whatever ends up happening to the rest of the Lostaways, or it may mean that it would be too hard for him to face the rest of them and “keep up appearances” for the media while in a bigger group, or it may simply mean that Sun is the only one of The Six that he likes. But believe you me, his words definitely mean something.

The other thing I’d like to touch upon before getting into the “Jin: Still Alive or Definitely Dead?” debate is that I feel more affected by this final scene now that I’m thinking about it again three days later (I’m currently on a flight back to colder temperatures—boo!). Regardless of what fate has befallen Jin, Hurley and Sun are mourning him at the grave site. We don’t know if they’re mourning his death, or that they don’t think they’ll ever see him again, or the fact that he can’t be there with them but is otherwise alive and well on the Island, but make no mistake—they are mourning. I think that unfortunately for a subset of us hardcore fans of the show (cough, cough), we are usually so busy trying to figure out the next twist or searching for the next clue that some of the more poignant scenes lose their impact. I am ashamed to say that I’m programmed well enough to have known that they were going to show a close-up of Jin’s grave, and that whatever date was on it would be a huge clue. I muttered, “Someone’s got a screenshot translated already, I’m sure of it,” just moments after the credits rolled (we couldn’t catch what was on the tombstone on our hotel room’s TV, and we didn’t have Tivo, either!). Never for a second did I even pause to consider the fact that Jin may very well be dead, which would make me very depressed indeed. It wasn’t until my husband emailed me, “Done crying yet?” that I realized I had cheated myself out of a scene that should have packed a significant emotional punch. When I get home I’ll watch it again, properly this time.


Let me say this upfront: I haven't made up my mind yet as to what I think happened to Jin, although I certainly hope he is not dead. Therefore, I am leaning toward that camp right now. Below, I am simply reporting arguments I’ve seen on the message boards for the two different scenarios.

1) Jin is still alive, and is still on the Island.
I’ll admit that when I read that the tombstone listed 9/22/2004 for Jin’s death, I immediately thought, “Oh, good, that means he’s not dead.” I have since realized that this was a faulty conclusion to jump to, as I’ll explain in a second. But for those who believe Jin is still alive, the date on his grave is the first bit of evidence. This is because we obviously all know that Jin didn’t die on that day. Other supporting evidence includes:
- Sun called out for Jin in the heat of the moment during her labor, and wouldn’t have done so if he were really dead. The people who cite this as proof of Jin's well-being most likely also believe that Jack’s dad may somehow be alive in the future, and that’s why Jack referenced his father twice in “Through the Looking Glass.”
- If Jin is dead, that doesn’t leave very many people for the Oceanic Six to feel like they had to go back to the Island to for, now does it? To put it bluntly, we can’t expect Jack or Hurley to end up feeling guilty about leaving Sawyer or Locke in Othersville. Sure, there’s still Rose, Bernard, Juliet, Claire and those kids they never show anymore, but all in all it’s not like there are a ton of Lostaways who would be left on the Island that The Six would feel responsible for or emotionally connected to. Especially since many assume something bad must happen to Claire in order for Kate to end up with Aaron. Yeah, maybe Jack would want to go back for Juliet--but then why wasn't he acting that way in Kate and Hurley's flash-forwards? And maybe Juliet gets off the Island--she wasn't on the flight so wouldn't be counted as one of the O6 anyway. But back to the original point... If Jin is dead, that would give the O6 even less of a reason to want to make it back to the Island. Remember that Dead Charlie told Hurley that “They need you… you KNOW they need you!” and Abaddon asked Hurley, “Are they still alive?” It doesn’t seem likely that Dead Charlie or Abaddon were talking about all of the no-name extras.
- If there ends up being a “only one more spot left” scenario during the rescue (especially if it is by helicopter), Jin would force Sun to leave without him and could therefore still be alive and well on the Island.
- Nothing that Hurley or Sun said in the final scene could be interpreted to mean that Jin is definitely, definitely deceased. If The Powers That Be wanted to make it clear to viewers that he was dead, then one of the characters would’ve said something more explicit at the grave site, like, “Why did you have to die?” or “I hope you’re looking down on your daughter.” Instead, this ambiguous ending could be the “mini-cliffhanger” the producers referenced in the past. We’ll only get resolution when we see the events of the rest of Season Four unfold.

2) Sorry, suckas... Jin is dead.
The other side of the coin is that the producers could’ve thought viewers would understand that the “mini-cliffhanger” was meant to be: “Aww, crap--Jin is dead! How did he die?” rather than what ended up happening... everyone scratching their heads at the end of the episode and asking each other, “Wait a second--is Jin dead?” The end result is that we fans still need to wait to see how everything unfolds for Jin. But some feel that it is very clear that since Jin wasn’t with Sun in the future, and since Hurley and Sun felt that it was important to take Ji Yeon to Jin’s grave, that Jin is dead. The date on the tombstone is just a red herring… of course the date needed to be listed as the date of the 815 crash—we all know that that is part of the cover-up story that all of The Six have been adhering to (we just don’t know why). Even if Jin ends up dying during his and Sun’s escape from the Island, his date of date would have to be recorded as 9/22/2004. Other evidence for Jin being dead includes:
- Jin would not willingly be separated from Sun… remember: “Wherever Sun go, I go.” So he probably died before she escaped or died while they were both trying to leave. In order to protect her baby, she chose to continue on and leave the Island.
- Sun has unknowingly been foreshadowing his death, by using phrases like “my baby” rather than “our baby” in recent episodes.
- Sun calling out to Jin in the delivery room was nothing more than a momentary lapse of sanity amidst a scary, hormone-fueled labor. Similarly, Jack talking about his dad still being alive only occurred because The Mad Doctor was all drugged up.
- Jin has redeemed himself—he finally admitted that he was a crappy husband and apologized to Sun—and we all know what that means. Any time a character fully redeems him/herself on the Island, he/she seems to kick the bucket. Shannon, Ana Lucia, Charlie… some might even say Mr. Eko: they all had defining moments of self-awareness and then died shortly thereafter.
- There was no talk between Hurley and Sun about ever seeing Jin again, or trying to get back to the Island. Everything they said at the grave site could be interpreted to mean Jin is dead just as easily as it could be interpreted that he is still alive.

Finally, some have wondered if maybe Jin is one of the two people that Jack said initially survived but then ended up dying shortly after the crash. Unless Jack meant that those two people had only survived for a few hours after the plane went down (rather than days, which was how I interpreted his comments at Kate’s trial), I don’t think Jin could’ve been one of those two and still have the date of death on his gravestone be 9/22/2004.

The bigger question to me is, if we know that Sun got pregnant on the Island but the world at large was told that Jin died in the crash, did Sun tell the media that she was already pregnant on the flight? Did she want the doctors to think she was delivering a month early or something, and that's why she said "something is wrong" when she called emergency services, when in actuality she knew she was delivering on time? It was roughly a month after landing on the Island that Sun got pregnant, so "delivering a month early" could be a plausible cover story that she used.


Speaking of cover stories... something has been bugging me for a while now--ever since Naomi told Charlie that all of the passengers' bodies aboard Flight 815 had been found at the bottom of the ocean. What's bugging me is this: how exactly are they explaining the Oceanic Six then? Is the story something like, "We thought all 324 bodies were accounted for when we came across the wreckage, but there were these eight people who didn't die on impact and they somehow swam up and over to an island, and then two of them died"? I hope we get to see the press conference for the Oceanic Six.

And speaking of the O6...


(Disclaimer: I have no "official" word on who the O6 are, this is just my opinion, so don't worry, I don't think you can consider what I say below to be a spoiler.)

Before “Eggtown” (Kate’s flash-forward), the previews said, “Another member of the Oceanic Six will be revealed." After the episode aired, a lot of people thought we were cheated out of learning a new O6 member, because everyone had already figured that Kate made the cut, since we had seen her meet with Future Jack in the Season Three finale.

Before “Ji Yeon,” the previews stated that we would learn “the rest of the Oceanic Six.” I therefore had assumed that two people would be revealed, because I had previously not thought Aaron was one of the O6 because it was not made explicitly clear in “Eggtown.”

Well guess what? I fell right into the trap that the producers had set, and I wasn't the only one. In retrospect, I think the previews for “Ji Yeon” were misleading on purpose. They said “the rest” so that everyone would continue to think, until the very end of the hour, that the flash scenes were in the future for both Sun and Jin. This is the same reason why I don’t think they ever made Aaron’s status crystal clear. When "Eggtown" aired, they already knew what lay ahead for the Lostaways in episode seven, so they wanted to leave the identities of the Oceanic Six a little vague until after “Ji Yeon” ran. Further, the producers put out what is known as “foilers”… meaning fake spoilers. They listed both Jin and Sun as members of the O6 and this spread like wildfire across spoiler sites (I found all of this out after the fact). This was to throw people off the scent and leave everyone truly surprised by the ending of “Ji Yeon.” As Bobby Brown might say, it’s their prerogative to do this sort of thing, and I have to kind of laugh at people who are mad that the spoilers they read didn’t pan out. Why do people even want to watch the show if they already know every major thing that’s going to happen? Why waste an hour of your life each Thursday night?

Taking all of the above into account, I’m pretty sure that the Oceanic Six are: Kate, Aaron, Sun, Jack, Hurley and Sayid. For every argument there is as to why Aaron “shouldn’t count,” there’s an equally valid argument to make for why he should. Even the producers listed both sides of the argument about Aaron in their podcast for “Eggtown.” They have promised a definitive list of the O6 in the near future, and so I’m hoping that they’ll provide clarity in the podcast scheduled for 3/20. I’ll definitely include whatever they say in my next write-up, fear not.


Below are the highlights of the 3/9/08 audio podcast. Locke fans will be especially pleased with some of the things they cover--I know I was. As always, things the producers discuss in the podcasts can be considered slightly spoilerish, so if you don't want to know things that will or will not be covered in the rest of Season Four, then skip ahead to the next bold heading...

(This isn't a word-for-word transcript, but I definitely captured the gist of the comments)

Q. What is the purpose of The Tempest, other than to kill all the people on the Island?
A. Do you need another use other than that? What about the Arrow hatch? That was just built into the side of a mountain and had a glass eye in it. [e: That means the glass eye is going to come back into play soon, I'm sure of it!] The Tempest is an important station. It was on Kelvin’s map in the hatch. This was our attempt to get some more Island history in. At some point, the Dharma initiative was gassed, and we were wondering where that gas came from. The fact that the Dharma group was supposedly a bunch of hippies, but they had this huge station of chemical weaponry is kind of interesting and sets up for some story-telling later. That can be interpreted many ways… one of which is that not all of their missions were entirely peaceful. Another is that the Dharma group was aware that there were hostile forces on the Island and they needed to protect themselves.

Q. Is Charles Widmore really the person behind “Not Penny’s Boat?” Isn’t that Penny’s father? How can it not be her boat?
A. We got a big reveal here. We had Ben saying, “Widmore sent the boat, but I don’t know why he’s looking for the Island.” Do you think he’s lying about that? Perhaps. Will we find out whether or not Ben actually knows why Widmore is looking for the Island by the end of the season? Yes.

Q. Is this the last we’ve seen of Harper?
A. No. She’s still on the Island and she’s still an Other.

Hopefully by the end of “Ji Yeon” many of your questions about the Oceanic Six will be answered. [e: Uh.... wishful thinking.]

They had a round of very funny questions comparing Gilligan’s Island to Lost.

Q. In the Lost “Missing Pieces,” in the final one, “So It Begins,” Christian Shepard tells Vincent to go get Jack. We also see him sitting in a chair in Jacob’s cabin. Will we see more of him this season?
A. Yes.

Q. Will we get to see Smokey again any time soon?
A. Yes. But we have a rule… every time we show the monster, we want to evolve its mythology and show you something else about its nature. So you may learn something else about it.

Q. Locke used to be my favorite character. But now his actions make him tougher and tougher to defend. Will we see that his antics are justified? [e: No, this question was not sent in by me. But they apparently thought it was sent in by Terry O'Quinn, because he has been asking them this same question.]
A. Locke is a man who is on a journey. And his journey, like many Biblical characters, is one that has many periods of doubting and uncertainty and frustration… and the occasional Emmy win. Terry O'Quinn has asked us many of these same questions. I think it would be less interesting to see only the “Season One Locke” for the entire series. It’s more interesting to see the other sides of his character and him struggling to figure out what his purpose is. I think you will see a more invigorated and re-energized Locke by the end of the season. In order to truly have faith, you need to have doubt at some point. [e gets down on knees and praises the Heavens.]


This week's video podcast was pretty good. It's 5 minutes 30 seconds if you are interested:


I'm filling my prescription after I post this write-up.



Shout-out to JB, who told me about Dead Charlie's real-life photography exhibit... read an article about it here.


And finally, shout-out to EA, who had her picture taken with Karl (Blake Bashoff in real life) recently. He is currently in a play on Broadway. I hope Alex doesn't come find EA and beat her down! Alas, he spilled no Island secrets.

And with that, I am off to enjoy Xanadu on Broadway (I'll look for Karl myself in case he's roaming around the area). I'm positive that Xanadu will hold Lost-related clues.

Until next time,
- e