Saturday, February 2, 2008

INTO THE ABYSS



Yo, Hurley! Nice buttcrack!

In all seriousness...we couldn't have asked for a better guide back into our long Lost fantasy world than this most excellent of EveryDudes.



It can't be easy being Hugo Reyes. Everything he ever craved or wished for - more food, more money, freedom, rescue - every blessing turned into the most demonic of curses. It was bad enough when all he had to deal with were the perils of all those dirty million dollar bills. Now he's got to deal with being one of the six celebrity survivors of Oceanic 815. What can possibly be better than surviving? And being a celebrity? I mean, isn't that the American Dream in a nutshell?



"Which way I fly am Hell, myself am Hell." - John Milton

What does it feel like to go crazy? To see things that aren't there? To hear voices? To literally get smacked in your whiskery jowls by glam little ghosts from the Fourth Dimension?



Charlie is Dead. But he's also Here.



Sometimes we have to break this down and make it simple. Charlie isn't just "here" in Hurley's mind. That's what the slap was for. He's right here. Charlie wants Hurley to wake up and listen to that inner voice that feels like madness, but isn't. According to the existentialist psychiatrist R.D. Laing, "Madness may be a sane response to an insane world." And we know that the World According to Hugo has never been a normal place. EveryDude is constantly having to deal with some highly irregular shit.

Like this fellow who apparently wants to play a little chess.



Who is this guy? He called himself Matthew Abaddon, although he couldn't seem to locate any conventional ID. Abaddon, the Angel of the Abyss. A keymaster of sorts. The dark angel guarding the place where Lost Souls are trapped. In other words...and I know we're not allowed to say this, but I'll say it anyway...the warden to a kind of purgatory. So when he asks "Are they still alive?" it's possible that he's asking both a factual and an existential question. Has Hurley abandoned his friends alive on the Island that he himself managed to escape? Are they literally there, living, suffering, waiting? Is that why Charlie crashed through the Hydra of Hurley's subconscious to tell him "They Need You"?



Or are they "still alive" the way Charlie is still alive? Are they now lost souls who are still among us, waiting for Hurley to free them from the Abaddon where they're trapped?

Who is this mysterious visitor ?



We don't know. ...But I bet Jack does.



Jack made a special trip to Hurley's playpen, looking newly chic and manorexic, in order to make sure Hurley was going to keep his mouth shut. It was a very quick visit, and Jack's vodka induced double vision didn't make for a very competitive game of Horse, so it really seemed he only made a drive by to be sure Hurley wasn't spilling any beans. And whatever Jack wants Hurley to stay shut about, it seems like it's something very, very sad, bad and no good.



It really didn't seem like Jack had anything to worry about from his rotund ole buddy. Whatever horror is roiling in Hurley's mind right how, he's repressing it like a real man.



Now, speaking of real men...and of crazy men...we really should give a second look to our fearless leader.



Jack's on a real roll. First Kate pwns him for the sat phone.



Then he shoots Locke in the head



although, not surprisingly, Jack's gun shoots blanks.

Jack's new murderous side was brought out by this bombshell:



that Charlie had died but that his final warning was to his friends not to trust these new arrivals. Perhaps the sane response would have been to sit down and take a minute to reassess the situation. This was powerful new information that changed all the parameters Dr. Leader had been operating under.



But the truth is Jack is no longer operating with any more sanity than anyone else. Instead of holding a pow wow, Jack chooses the more tried and true method of problem solving and reasoned debate - "I am so much better than him!"



Like baseball captains on a sandlot, Locke & Jack divvied up the survivors. And this is where it all got a little muddy. Maybe the episode was running short on time, but it seemed like who went where or why was pretty random. The group just broke into two pieces...



one to the illusory safety of the Barracks and one to the illusory safety of the Rescuers.



To quote the namesake of a favorite not-dead Lost Soul..."From the naturalistic point of view, all men are equal. There are only two exceptions to this rule of naturalistic equality: geniuses and idiots. "- Mikhail Bakunin

So which side is which?



Because whether we are talking about geniuses or idiots, this man has to be part of the equation.



Locke's Mikhailesque recovery continued its remarkable rapid healing in this episode. When Hurley conveniently wandered off the path to discover Jacob's Cabin



which may or may not have been jumping from place to place in Hurley's fevered brain...and when he saw Jacob rocking out inside



which may or may not have been Jack's eternally undead dad...and when he then saw a creepy bloodshot eye



which may or may not have been Jacob's...and when he heard the whispers of the Island muttering all around his head



which may or may not have been the voices of those Lost Souls trapped right there among them,...when Hurley had this traumatic interlude, who showed up to talk him down off the ledge?



Why the sanest man of all, Mr John Locke. Protector of the Island, keeper of enigmatic mysteries and Mad Hatter Extraordinaire. Unlike Jack, Locke isn't questioning anything here. Locke has certainty on his side. He knows the saviours aren't coming to save anyone. He knows the Island wants them to stay. Locke has looked into the Abyss and the Abyss looked right back. And now he's got the absolute rock solid certainty that only a madman - or a genius - can have.



Although one almost has to wonder if Locke might already fall into a new category of men - the Lost Souls who still walk among us after death, but who can sit next to us and talk to us and even slap us in the face. How did Locke climb out of the Abyss of the boneyard when Walt appeared? And how is he moving around this Island so smoothly and calmly...more like a spirit than a man? In this Shadowland of lost souls and whispering phantoms, it may not be sane to presume too much about anyone based only on mere corporeality.

Without veering too far off into the realm of imagination, we do know this choice to stay or go, to go Locke or to go Jack, faith or reason, sane or crazy, lost or found...will be the defining issue for the rest of our tale.



But until we get there, many wonderful mysteries still abound, both sublime and ridiculous.

Like - if you don't go online to learn what was written on Charlie's hand or to see that the figure in the chair was wearing Christian Shepard's white shoes, can you ever hope to follow this show?



Or mysteries like...

Where did Clare get that wig?



Why did ratfinky Bernard get more lines in this episode than Jin?



Why did the cops sic ten cruisers on poor Hurley just for knocking over a display case?



How do they make those fabulous torches? (Forget the Lottery. Can you imagine the profit margin at Home Depot on those things during barbeque season?)



How is it possible that Jack actually looked attractive in his flash forward?



Will the folks who bet so heavily on Darth Sawyer ever pay up?



What was the most important clue hidden in this image - the igloo, the paintbox or the Cheetos?



How did Naomi forge a faux trail, then climb a tree with her liver cut in half and then pull the knife from her own back and overpower Kate, Queen of the Jungle? Is it possible she's related to Mikhail?



Why did Jack only trust Ben "when he's with me" one minute, but then carelessly hand him off to his arch enemy a few hours later?



But most importantly:

What secret did Jack want to be sure Hurley kept quiet about?



Who are "they" that might still be alive? Did Smoky himself come to deliver this message?



Is it possible that Sawyer's line about survivin' was actually the most ironic line in the script?



Why do they need Hurley? Do they only need Hurley? Does Hurley only think they need him because he's crazy? Are we all being misled by the labyrinthine mazes of Hurley's cracked mind?



We aren't going to know any of these answers for a painfully long time. For now, we're told this is the Beginning of the End. But it also felt like the End of the Beginning.



We're reminded by this nostalgic moment at the cockpit, where the third leg of the original team was missing -



and very much missed -



that this really didn't feel like last year's Lost. The old mysteries are all still there, but a new one has been added, and it feels as if this new mystery is the one that will matter most in the end.

Only six from Oceanic 815 have made it back to terra firma. Why those six? What happened to those left behind? What do they need from Hurley? And how will he ever be able to help them?



One thing we can be sure of - however those questions get answered, it won't be in any way a sane mind would answer them. There's a thin line between life and death, between sanity and madness, between reality and imagination.



"Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness." - Blaise Pascal

Perhaps it was noteworthy that we saw a number of games being played in this episode.



Maybe the sanest way to approach all this is just to remember: they're playing with us, dude. They're messing with our minds every minute. It's all a game that we don't know the rules of. But games are fun, even games played on the edges of the abyss. Welcome back to the Madhouse. We're as Lost as ever but we're ready to play.



The Island wants us to come back. We're going!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

oo-er, thanks for those pictures. i missed that whole christian thing.

and i have no idea how naomi pulled the knife from her back. but the island does have fast healing powers so maybe it helped her hang on for awhile.

always more questions.

how did Hurley go with Locke and still survive?

What does survive mean in this?

my brain is chewing on all this

-Kimmerz

23iamme said...

Great recap Fish! You hit all the key points and have set me thinking on many things you brought up. Should last me well until next week.

Same time, same place *jink jink*

LostTvFan said...

Finally, been looking forward to your always in depth review and analysis of the opening episode of S4. What a ride we are on. Loved everything about TBOTE. JG was amazing, Charlie looked better dead than alive, Hurley's creepy visitor, Jack finally joining the ranks of cold blooded killers but for a missing bullet, Kate and Sawyer in pain as they choose different sides, Claire's grief and getting to see the entire cast take part in an episode. Feels like Lost is truly back. I love your take on 'death' and the possibility that these references to the dead and not dead have a double meaning we might just be beginning to understand. Great job, now on to another Thursday!

talliann said...

Awesome recap,Fish.
Actually you answered a few questions I was asking myself about the episode so it's great to see I'm not that crazy about some things I thought about the episode.

freckles929 said...

Great recap! I read that it was Christian in the cabin (and saw John Terry's name in the opening credits), but hadn't seen such a clear screencap before (same for the one with Charlie in the tank).

I thought this was a great episode, and wasn't Kate actually kind of awesome in it?

methosrocks said...

Great recap, Fish! I'm glad I'm not the only one obsessing over the nature of Charlie's "Dead but Here" state.

I really loved this episode. Jack and Locke seem to me to be equally nuts, both driven by ego and obsession. I can't wait to see how their two groups will interact in future, and I'm more than intrigued by these new people that are arriving.

And by the way, should I be worrying about a possible apocalypse on the way? The Fish said Jack looked attractive????? Will wonders never cease! LOL

Anonymous said...

Awesome!

susan14509 said...

Great recap Fish! Jack's gun shoots blanks. LOL! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

Great to see you back with your excellent recaps Fishbiscuit, you still don't disappoint! I have to say I was way too spoiled for this episode and probably would have enjoyed it more if I had refrained from the full-ep leaks. At the same time I believe your recaps also make any episode from this show entertaining in a brilliant and insightful style all of their own! (",)

Love your lighthearted comments too, like how great those fabulous torches are and where do they get them from - maybe Home Depot should take note!! Looking forward to next week's entry. Thanks for keeping up your super work!

- Midnight

Anonymous said...

How I've missed your recaps, Fish. Once again you are guiding us through the loonie bin that is Lost. - Saska

Anonymous said...

Jacks gun shoots blanks hahahahaha

I'm immature, come on now!

Great recap, Fish! Lookin' forward to the rest of the season!