Wednesday, March 30, 2005

S1Ep19 - Deus Ex Machina (Locke's second flashback)

[This message was initially sent as an email to friends, it was loaded into this blog 2.5 years later]

Seriously, where do I even begin?

Yes, I was in my glory during Locke's second flashback episode, Deus Ex Machina. However, I'm actually pretty overwhelmed now. There's so much stuff going on across the message boards that there's no way I will ever be able to summarize it all and I feel like a failure. But I will attempt to hit the major points, and have pasted in an excerpt from the boards as well.

So here are the new things to ponder:

1) Beginning flashback scenes

The game Mousetrap (that game rocks, by the way, does it not?) was most likely a not-so-subtle reference to what's going on with the survivors on the island or maybe specifically to what's going on with Locke - they are trapped and part of some larger game or phenomenon.

Many people think the young boy who came up to him in the store was Boone.
People think the timing of this flashback was about 15 or 16 years ago (based on freezing the frame when it showed the papers on Locke's mom's psych ward visits) and the boy looked around 9 so it could definitely be Boone.

Did you catch when the woman asked where the footballs were, and Locke mentioned they were in aisles 8 and 15? Even I missed that, so I won't yell at you if you did, too.

When Locke is going to his car in the parking lot, some eagle-eyed viewers might have caught the flyer he pulled off of his windshield and briefly looked at. I missed this one, too! I'm losing it, man. But upon second viewing I saw that it was a flyer for a "Lost Dog." Various theories on what, if anything, this could mean, but Locke did tell a story to Sawyer about a dog who came to live with his family after his sister died and then vanished... but it seems like that would've been a lot earlier.

And no, it wasn't a poster for Vincent (Walt's dog) - he lived in Australia, remember?

2) Boone REALLY sucks

I was watching this episode in NYC at my friend Michelle's, as I will do again for the next episode, busily jotting down notes. In the first scene where Boone and Locke are building the trebuchet and Boone is asking stupid questions, I could not stop myself from blurting out, "BOONE SUCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSS!!!!" and then continued to scribble notes. Michelle looked over at me writing and wondered aloud incredulously, "Are you WRITING DOWN that Boone sucks???"
"Yes, I am." I reply.
It is my duty to keep reminding my faithful readers of just how worthless he is.

The trebuchet fails to break the hatch and Boone notices the big shard sticking out of Locke’s leg... the paralysis... is… returning!!!!!

3) Immaculate Conception = More Daddy Issues

Locke learns the mystery woman is his mother and goes to have lunch with her. There, her craziness becomes evident as she talks about his immaculate conception. I seriously thought for a while there that he WAS part of some government experiment a la The Bourne Identity/Supremacy and that was the reason he was such a great hunter and outdoorsman, etc., but alas, that wasn't the case.

A PI is hired to look into Locke’s birth parents. His mother is schizophrenic and has spent time in and out of psychiatric wards. Just WHAT psych ward, you may wonder? Oh, hmmmm.... let me think here a minute... yes, the EXACT SAME psych ward where Hurley went to hang with Lenny (and probably was also a resident himself at one point). The Santa Rosa psych ward. Some dorks on the board figured that out, so I can't take credit. But they had compared Locke's mom's files to the badge that Hurley had on when he visited Lenny and supposedly it's the same place though I have not done the research to confirm this. I don't doubt it, though.

Locke finds his father and when he tells his dad that his mom said he was immaculately conceived, the father says, "Well then I must be God!"
Later he is hooked to a dialysis machine, prompting many people to wonder if the title of this episode, roughly translated into God from the Machine, has to do with all of that.

Don't be too proud of yourself if you called that Locke was going to end up giving his dad his kidney because it was the most obvious thing in the world. Also obvious was the fact that his dad was going to bail after the operation.

No, the episode did not show why Locke became paralyzed. He was only paralyzed for 4 years before the crash and they went to great lengths to make him seem much younger than that in this flashback, so I think we have yet to see what ended him up in the wheelchair.

4) Locke's freaky dream

Even if you're a grown man it's OK to admit that you were at least slightly scared by Locke's dream sequence which looked like it was straight out of The Shining.

From this dream sequence have arisen many questions:
- Did Locke therefore KNOW that Boone was going to end up getting hurt?
He told Boone about the Theresa part to get him to believe that the dream was a sign that they go on the search for the plane... but he neglected to tell Boone the part about him appearing all bloody...
- Did Boone actually KILL Theresa? It didn't seem that way to me... he said she broke her neck. But obviously he is carrying around guilt about it.
- Why exactly were they meant to find the plane? All they found in and around it was drug-smuggling paraphernalia as well as the drugs themselves (watch out, Charlie! Go back to Hobbiton now!). So was Boone meant to send out the transmission, or was Boone meant to die? And was the light at the end in the hatch directly related at all with the events that occurred when they found the plane? I'm not sure. Theories are discussed in the message board section below.
- Supposedly Boone's tank top had the Chinese characters for 48 upside-down on them. Chapter 48 in Watership Down (that Sawyer was reading before) is also called Dea Ex Machina (similar to this episode's title). 48 was also the original number of survivors, I believe.

5) Locke and Boone

- People are debating whether or not Locke was ever REALLY paralyzed. They think that maybe it was all in his head. I think they are jumping to conclusions based on 1) the fact that we weren't shown that part yet on the flashback and people can't deal with it and 2) he could walk and then not walk and then walk again in this episode and that confused people. My theory is that the Island DIDN'T WANT him to go up into the plane, for whatever reason, and so his paralysis was temporarily brought back. Either because the Island knew the plane in the tree would crash and the people in it would be killed, or because it needed to test Locke again, or who knows.

- The whole "Locke is evil" theory is rearing its ugly head again and I will have NO PART OF IT. Just because your parents are really screwed up does not mean that you will be... and just because you wanted to take a chat line phone operator you've never met (from his first flashback) with you on vacation doesn't mean you're crazy... and just because you played war games and called your friends by code names in the break room at your lifeless job (also from Walkabout) doesn't mean you have delusions of being a secret agent or military hero... and just because you sacrifice the only person who completely trusts you in order to get what you want doesn't mean you are selfish, and just because you lie about how that same friend got hurt and then bail out after you drop him off back at camp doesn't mean... well... hmmm, I'm not making a good case for Locke here now, am I? I call that Jack and/or the rest of the camp goes AFTER LOCKE with a vengeance very, very soon... (by the way, nothing that I said above should lead you to believe that I think Locke is evil because I DON'T and I STILL LOVE HIM and he is THE BEST character EVER. End of tirade.)

- Will Boone die in the next episode? The boards are split. There have been many "spoilers" about this issue and I reveal nothing by saying that the spoilers could be read to both prove it's Boone who dies, or prove it's one of a few other people. So basically, no one really knows. I think he's outta here. And I will certainly be happy about it. Come on... if one of the main 14 HAS to go, are you saying you DON'T want it to be Boone? If you are saying that, then please reply immediately to this and you are forever banned from this mailing list. The people who think it won't be Boone are 1) 14-year-old girls who think he's cute or 2) people who think the writers wouldn't be that obvious and that the previews are intentionally tricking us (which could be right). So far the only people I know who don't WANT it to be Boone are the 14-year-old girls.

- Locke actually told Boone that he was in the wheelchair. It is quite significant that he opened up to Boone. Although, he might have told Walt in the pilot episode, no one knows. Did Locke tell Boone because Locke knows he's going to die anyway? If Boone does die, then only Locke knows about the hatch. And possibly NO ONE knows about the new transmission Boone made.

6) Sawyer

Poor Sawyer, overshadowed a lot in this episode. I do not believe his problems are related to his reading. But we will see if I'm right. Great scene with Jack asking him the STD questions - also something that probably came from the writers reading the boards, people have been talking about that for a long time.

He was reading A Wrinkle in Time again.

I'm a little worried that he mentioned his Uncle and the brain tumor.
Nothing is ever said on this show without a reason...

Will Sawyer, Jack and Sayid finally be friends now?

Best line goes to Hurley: "... Looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter!"

Runner-up goes to Sawyer: "... My insurance just ran out."

7) The New Plane, Its Surroundings, and the Distress Call

I could write for HOURS about these topics. I will keep it short, there's just too much:
- What's up with the Nigerian fake priests smuggling smack and crashing onto the island? Read the message board section for more on the very overt religious undertones regarding this issue.

- One very bizarre idea: Some COMPLETE nerdy freak on the boards mapped Hurley's numbers onto the globe and guess what? They are in Nigeria. Then they mapped the exact opposite point on the globe and guess what? It's in the South Pacific. I don't have time to explain exactly how they did this, just trust them, they are the Ultimate Nerds and you must have faith. This has led many to speculate that the "hatch" is actually a portal THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, and that when "the light" came on it was actually the sun rising on the other side of the earth. Ummm... I don't know about that. I think it is NOT a coincidence that those numbers are those points on the globe, and I think that the hatch could be some sort of portal, but I do not think the light was the sun, especially since it had that weird orb-pulsing type sound accompanying it, and because it would have to be an exact straight tunnel for that to work anyway. But something is up with Nigeria.

- The distress call - perhaps the most hotly-debated topic on the boards.
Basically the issue is that Closed Captioning showed the transmission voice at the end replying to Boone saying, "There were no survivors from Flight 815." But then on the next day they had up a clip and the audio had been changed and it definitely said, "No, WE ARE the survivors from Flight 815." So everyone is freaking out. If it was the first thing, that's more normal, and could either mean that 1) the FAA assumed the flight crashed and everyone had died but now they know there are survivors or 2) that they are in purgatory and all dead but yet somehow still able to contact the real world? Doubt it. If it's the latter quote then it could be that Boone was talking to people from the other end of the plane who are elsewhere on the island. Or some people think they are in a parallel universe and Boone was actually just talking to himself. Can you SEE why I am stressed out trying to recap this crap??!?!?!!?!? A definitive answer was given BY THE WRITERS and is in the message board section.


Surprisingly, almost no one is talking about what the hatch is and/or what the light is. I think everyone's too preoccupied by other issues and quite frankly, we had all run out of brain power by the end of the episode. But what a great scene, no? First, I was just heart-broken when Locke was crying, "I've done everything you've asked me to do!!! So WHY are you doing this!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????" and his voice was breaking. Good Lord, the drama. Then a pause... pause... the light starts glowing. Locke stares mesmerized, all the hair on viewers' bodies stands on end.


Did it remind anyone else of Pulp Fiction when people looked into the briefcase with the glowing light?


- On The Fuselage website, Damon Lindelof (screen name The Nomad, writer for the show) had this to say in response to a question about the transmission...The Nomad says: As to what Boone says, we purposefully put that CREAK over the first part of the transmission so you, dear fans, would go crazy. Therefore, I will NOT reveal (at least not today) what Boone actually heard. I promise this, though... We KNOW what Boone hears and we have plans to pay it off. And those plans? Are AWESOME So it seems to me we may as well stop arguing about what was said. We're not meant to know just yet.
- Why was the plane full of the dorkiest eye glasses possible? Great line by Hurley.
- I loved Jack's comment about if he tried to help Sawyer all he'd get would be a snappy one-liner and a new nickname! LOL!
- When Locke's mom called him "special", I thought, "hmmm.... now we know why Locke and Walt bonded." I had a weird feeling about the "instant relationship" between Locke and his father.... and as soon as I saw the dialysis (sp) machine, I just knew what was gonna happen next. I really felt for Locke. I hope Charlie doesn't find out about the precious cargo in the small plane... and how is it that Boone can survive a jet crash but not a small engine plane crash... hmmmm....
- The only explanation that was reasonable to me for why he could have been paralyzed and then walk again miraculously was if it was psychosomatic the whole time. The leg injury just got him doubting his ability to walk, so he became "paralyzed" but when it counted, he picked up his buddy and carried him back.
- So, the paralysis could be psychosomatic or maybe it could be from leaving the hospital too soon after the operation and bouncing around in a car.
- The heroin all over the ground - could Jack actually put that to GOOD use and maybe make some painkiller from it? And yet, it be kept away from Charlie?
- I think that Locke has "savior" issues... and he wants to be the one who finds something really hugely big which will help everyone get off the island... like not telling anyone about the hatch until he can get it open... and if he mentions the plane, everyone will swoop in and he'll lose some "power" over the situation. If he's weak (physically), he's not going to give up info which will put him in a submissive/dependent situation. Just my opinion. Even though Jack is the "natural" leader, Locke wants to be the savior. (more religious undertone, I know.) That's why I think he lied about Boone's injuries. If he said, "Oh, there was this plane...", that would be the focus and then there would be a bunch of "I thought you were hunting food for us?" type questions and accusations. I know a lot of people love Locke but I just don't trust the guy. I hope he proves me wrong but he holds back too much and is way too secretive for my liking. As for the light in the hatch... "let there be light..." Maybe it's hinting at a new beginning... of something.
- I also find it interesting that none of the survivors is all too stable, mentally speaking. Hurley has presumably been institutionalized at some point, Locke has a family history of schizophrenia, Jack's dad seemed to be an alcoholic, Charlie's a (recovering) junkie, and Sawyer and Kate seem to be haunted by the past (as are most of them).
- I agree with the psychosomatic idea perhaps what his "parents" did to him crippled him. Perhaps he needed something to make him special and it was not until the plane crash when something extraordinary happened that he forgot his "disability". So then as he tries to figure out the hatch and his continued failure brought his disability back to him. Maybe something as a weakness of a superhero. Failure and disappointment are his kryptonite.
- Just a pet peeve that's been annoying me: if there's no physical cause of Locke's paralysis, it's a somatic disorder (specifically conversion disorder, aka hysteria in Freud's time) not a psychosomatic symptom. Sorry if anyone's offended, but this is just my field of expertise and I wanted to set the record straight. (e: I just learned something!)
- If we want to see Locke's deception through rose-colored glasses, I guess we could say he thought that it was better not to tell the others about the second plane because they would be distracted by that and not be totally focusing on Boone. Of course there could be glass and metal fragments in Boone that Jack wouldn't be looking for if he simply fell off of a cliff.
- Good episode! There definitely seems to be a recurring theme of Daddy issues with the characters. I think Locke's dad would easily qualify as the biggest jerk of them all though. What a horrible thing to do. No wonder Locke has issues. I had a pretty good idea that Locke was psycho before, but after tonight I have no doubt. He was willing to just let Boone die to achieve his own goals. I say this because Locke knew that something bad was going to happen to Boone after his dream, yet he encouraged him to climb up to the plane anyway.
- A little bit about the mysterious hatch... I just get the feeling that nothing good will come out of that. Wouldn't it be deliciously grim and refreshing if it turns that by opening the hatch, Locke only unleashes the worst horror yet upon the survivors? I just feel that it would be beautifully ironic since, as far as I can tell, Locke believes that some sort of salvation lies beneath the hatch. There just seemed to be something unnatural and sinister about the light at the end of the episode... I don't really know how to explain it, other than that the way in which Locke used Boone was so cold... he -knew- something bad would happen, he saw the bloody vision. Then, instead of staying and trying to help Jack take care of Boone, and give him the right information as to what happened, he lies about it and runs back to the hatch. And then this light comes on as if to comfort Locke, as if to reward him... for his 'offering', his 'sacrifice'. There's just something twisted about Locke's obsession with it, I don't see how it can be a good thing. It could be that the source of the mysterious "sickness" that Danielle speaks of could be down there... And if so, it looks like Locke would be the first one to be "infected". But we really don't know what kind of sickness it is, and I think that it would be a good twist if Locke became infected by it. I say this because I assume that it does something to make the recipient "evil" in some way, similar possibly to Ethan... of course, the exact details are really up in the air. However, if Locke unwillingly became similar to Ethan, think of how bad that could be. Locke is probably the smartest/most manipulative person on the island. If he became infected like that, he would probably do a way better job of fooling the survivors and achieving whatever goals he would have than Ethan did.- With more of Locke's back-story revealed, he and Sawyer seem like similar creatures. The manipulatee (if that's even a word) becoming the manipulator. A con man ruined sawyer's life; he became the same kind of con man… Locke got screwed by his parents and he screws with everyone on the island, especially Boone, who he treats as a pseudo son … Also, neither of Locke's parents seem like sane, rational people and the apple can't fall that far from the tree (although we could do the nature/nurture debate.) I think he's got a one-way ticket to looney-ville and that hatch is making it an express trip!
- So we still don't know how Locke became paralyzed. I wondered at first if we'd see another flashback episode of Locke going to kill or attempt to kill his father and getting shot and paralyzed during the process, but I figured he'd be incarcerated if that were the case, so I discarded that theory...
- One could argue that Locke isn't exactly lying. The plane was on the edge of a cliff and fell, right? So Boone technically fell off a cliff. He just cut to the chase instead of saying:

Locke: "He crashed in a plane that was teetering off a cliff that we found because of a dream that I had that was directing us to the plane to help us open this hatch Boone and I found but never told you about and by the way there's tons of heroin on the plane that you might be able to use to help Boone with the pain, and oh, there was a radio on the plane and Boone got a transmission out before the crash and I'd love to talk more, but I have to go pound on the hatch and ask why this happened."

Kate: "A plane?"

Jack: "A radio?"

Charlie: "Heroin?"

- e

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