Saturday, March 27, 2010

I ALONE AM ESCAPED TO TELL THEE

And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.
- Tennyson, Idylls of the King
When all is said and done, when the last white LOST logo falls backwards on the last black screen, it won't be the quality or the quantity of the Answers we'll remember. It will be the story.



Like kids around the campfire we've been riveted to this great big sprawling yarn, coming back year after year, begging to hear the next chapter. Soon it will all be over. But fortunately a great story - like Poor Richard - is immortal.



Now that's not to say we didn't get our share of Answers this week. In fact, I'm guessing that the Answer junkies out there in the audience were probably giddy that they could tick off so many boxes on their Answer checklist.



Magnus Hanso was, as many guessed, the last Captain of the Black Rock. Check!



The Black Rock carried convicts to Australia to help to populate that infamous slave colony. Check!



It landed in the middle of the jungle on the top of a giant wave during a terrible storm. Check!



The ship and the wave smashed into the Tawaret statue and left nothing standing but a four toed foot. Check!



Richard doesn't age because Jacob magically granted him immortality. Check!



And the mysterious, bewitching, inscrutable Island of infinite possibility, it turns out, is a ... cork.



Hmmm. Check?


You know what I found out this week? I found out that for me Answers don't much matter anymore. They're always going to be only the icing on the great LOST cake. I know we need to start accepting them one by one,  but each Answer rubs off just a little bit of the wonder and makes me just a little bit sad. Like, I always imagined the Black Rock taking flight somehow, before landing on its belly on the forest floor. Knowing that it rode in on a tsunami, and that it took out Tawaret's noggin along the way, was useful information ... but it felt just a little unsatisfying. Like finding out Santa Claus is really just Dad drunk on eggnog. It's part of growing up, part of letting go of LOST, but my relationship to the Answers has changed. I'll take them as they come, but I'm done with using a checklist. Answers, I'm convinced, are never going to be what LOST is all about.

This episode was called Ab Aeterno, which translates as "since the beginning of time." The title reminded us not just that Richard is very old, but that the elements to any really great story are immeasurably older. It's the Big Picture we need to be looking at now. Not each intricate, individual Answer Tree, but the eternal, universal Sea of Stories.


The Richard we've known all these years as an immaculately groomed Island ombudsman started his very long life as a humble stuttering peasant. 

His was a tale of infinite woe. Trying to save his doomed wife, he killed a fat greedy doctor.

Which sent him into the clutches of a fat, greedy priest.


Which left him at the mercy of a mean, greedy lieutenant named Whitfield. Very possibly an ancestor of Widmore. (Whit = wheat= Wid + field = moor = more)



He navigated each harrowing turn in his bleak little life with the unselfconscious aplomb of a cork bobbing about loose in a bottle of wine until finally he washed up on the shore of the Fate he's been enduring for 140 years: as a plaything of the gods.



Richard came from a time before antibiotics, indoor plumbing or iphones, a time when life, especially for the poor, was nasty, brutish and short.



Except for his trip on the Black Rock, Richard had lived his whole long life on an island. He came from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands - a fittingly tragic place for a LOST luminary to hail from.



In 1977, Tenerife was the site of history's deadliest air disaster, with 583 souls lost in a horrifying runway crash between two airliners. In this melancholy place, Richard lived a life of hardship and misery, looking not to this crummy world but to the glorious afterlife for his reward.



Like so many others in this story, it was a murder that sealed Richard's fate and brought him to the Island. Having accidentally killed the despicable doctor, the hoped for gates of heaven were locked to him.



All Richard could see ahead of him was the gaping maw of eternal damnation in a fiery Hell. And for someone of Richard's time and station in life, there was nothing hypothetical or metaphorical about Hell. It was so real to him he could smell the sulphur.



The local padre was a slob who used his Godly connections to run a very lucrative con with destitute beggars like Richard. He doled out absolution like it was his own private possession and enriched himself selling criminals to slavetraders. Richard was the perfect mark for this conman.



He was above all else, a Man of Faith. Denied absolution, he wanted only the chance to accrue enough penance to save his soul from eternal damnation.



And it was that same gullible faithfulness that made him an even more convenient mark for the two ultimate Con Men he ran into on LOST Island.



Mr. Whiteshirt and Mr. Blackshirt. Or, as they could just as easily be called, Mr. Whitepants and Mr. Blackpants. I wonder why no one thought to call them that. Because I really don't think it makes any difference. The whole black and white thing has only always been a ruse. I'm convinced of that now. The relationship of these two dudes is fascinating.



They're like Sheepdog Sam and Ralph Wolf, who clock in every morning to battle one another to the death, and then clock out every night to share a cocktail.



It seems that the Flim Flam Twins are running contiguous cons. Jacob offers tabula rasa, a clean slate, a new life unstained by past sins.


His brother offers freedom - freedom from Hell, from being Jacob's prisoner. He offers free will.


Jacob has magical powers, but they're a little bit half assed. He can make a person live forever, but for those who have already died, he can't do a thing to bring them back.



His brother's extraordinary powers are different. His magic is that he can take on any form he chooses. He can turn himself into whoever you want him to be ... or whoever he wants you to see. I think most of us have surmised that the manifestations of those whose bodies lie on the Island were The Smoke Monster taking their form.



But it's conceivable that The Monster has always been more flexible than that. How many of the other curious things we've seen were ploys from his bag of tricks?



The Monster says Jacob is the devil. Jacob says The Monster is lying. The Monster says Jacob is lying when he says The Monster is lying. Last week, the NotLocke Monster told us that his mother had been insane. The more we learn about her kids, the more that starts to make sense.


Divine providence didn't shine on these boys equally. Jacob gets to have a human body. He gets to have a name. His brother gets neither - although he does seem to like to be called "Friend". What's more, he's Jacob's captive. Like Richard, he can not be killed, but like Richard, he's trapped within a place that's more purgatory than paradise.



Jacob compares his no-named brother to the darkness inside the wine bottle. Jake has the job of keeping the evil genie inside the bottle.



I'm not sure what Jacob thinks he's actually accomplishing. It's not as if he's got all the evil in the world bottled up on LOST island, no matter how proud he is of himself. The world that Richard came from was already full of greedy doctors and wicked priests and slavery and sickness and violent, painful, terrifying death. How much worse is it going to be if Jacob takes the cork out of the bottle? Are we talking the Hellmouth here?



Is No-Name the Master?



It's worth noting that the Hellmouth did not spring forth fully formed from Joss Whedon's imagination. People in the Middle Ages believed in a howling chasm below the Earth squirming with fiends, gargoyles and demons.



The concept of a Hellmouth corresponds to the pocket of supernatural energy that seems to be trapped within LOST Island. And there is still a lot of credence for that idea.



I'm in the camp that believes, not that it matters, that the ship we'd seen approaching the beach in The Incident was indeed the Black Rock.



As it approached the Island, it became trapped in a violent electrical rainstorm, much like the one Frank had to steer Desmond through in The Constant. Passage to or from the Island seems to involve navigating some kind of turbulent EMF-infused moat.



For those still looking for science fiction in this fairy tale, there is plenty of evidence left over for a theory that the Island represents a pocket of super forces, created by an electromagnetic anomaly of ginormous proportions. But that wasn't what this episode was about.



As a 19th century Spanish Catholic, the Hell that Richard feared was a place of merciless, incessant torment, a place that made perfect sense within a universe where insignificant humans accepted their plight as toys to a capricious God. A God who could punish men for failing to avoid the Evil that he himself had forced into their path.

The black and white morality of the Catholic Church made perfect sense to Richard, made him an easy subject for the Flim Flam Twins to manipulate. The question for us to consider is whether the writers are also expecting us to buy into this binary moral universe - where black is bad and white is right - or if they're counting on us to have just a wee bit more intellectual sophistication.



LOST has winked or nodded at almost every religion and spiritual belief system known to man. I am not ready yet to accept that they've settled on something this simplistic as their final metaphysical metaphor. I don't consider myself all that demanding when it comes to LOST's endgame, but I might just have an actual cow if LOST turns out, after all this, to be about nothing more than:



When Richard finally decides to align himself with Jacob, he brings a message back to The Monster.


The white rock that he hands to The Monster is the same rock we see NotLocke toss into the ocean in The Substitute, calling it an "inside joke". I think the joke is on us, or on any of us who are being tricked by this black-white sleight of hand.



I have no problem describing The Monster as Evil. He's done enough coldblooded killing to qualify hundreds of time over. But there's no way I'm ever going to be able to see a way clear to indentifying Jacob as Good.



It's not just because he's a smug, sanctimonious dick. It's not just that he's the one who is free to go "walking up and down in the world", like Satan does in the Book of Job. He tells Richard that no one gets into his temple unless invited by him. He says arrogantly that the is the one who brought the ship to the Island, that he continues to bring people to the Island - in order to prove The Monster wrong.



Does that mean he brought everyone who came to the Island? Even the Dharma Initiative?



I'd like to have seen that negotiation process. From what we've witnessed, Jacob doesn't exactly invite people to the Island. He more or less connives and manipulates or, when necessary, has his playing pieces arrested in order to get them to the Island.



Everyone on the Island, it seems, is there as a function of Jacob's imperial Will. What gives him the right to control the lives of people this way? He doesn't say, doesn't seem to care about that. He needs to bring people to the Island so he can use them as pawns in the blood feud he's got going with The Monster. He seems to think he's giving them a great gift when he washes their past clean, but he doesn't address the fact that they're getting this second chance while trapped on an Island of Mystery with a bloodthirsty Smoke Monster that eats most of them for lunch and then spits out the bones.



Those who don't get killed by The Monster more often than not suffer and die some other way. But Jacob takes no responsibility for what happens to the pawns he throws into the Thunderdome. He seems to think he's hot shit because he doesn't "intervene" ... you know, after he intervened all these poor suckers onto the Island in the first place. Jacob grants himself a clean conscience, but does that mean we have to give him a free pass? In the end, who is more responsible for all the suffering we've seen on LOST Island? The Monster that terrifies and destroys, or Jacob who feeds him fresh victims every chance he possibly can?



Since this is LOST, even an Answerpalooza episode like this one raised more Questions than it answered. For instance, if Jacob is the only thing keeping The Monster trapped, why isn't he free now that Jacob is dead? And what kept him caged in on all the occasions when Jacob went off Island, shopping for Candidates to give his magic touch to?

Speaking of magic touches, I don't believe we have any explanation for the black gloves Jacob wore so he wouldn't have to touch Ilana. Does Ilana have cooties? Why was she bandaged? And what meaning does it have that Mr. Whitey was wearing black when he travelled to her bleak Russian hospital bed to ask for her help?



Jacob asked Ilana to help protect the six remaining Candidates. So this group represents the end of the line. What then? What happens when the last Candidate dies? Or leaves? Does that mean The Monster wins? Is that what makes the stakes so high?



Why would anyone be willing to replace Jacob anyway? Does this look like a fun job? Alone for all eternity, keeping watch on a Monster who tries every day to kill you, all while constantly interviewing candidates for the inevitable day when he succeeds ... Who would ever want a job like that?



Why did Jacob fight off Richard's attack but not Ben's? Why can't Jacob just destroy The Monster? And why can't The Monster kill Jacob himself?



Richard was given the ceremonial dagger to kill Jacob, the same pugio that Dogen had given to Sayid.



It came with the same instructions - to use it before the victim had a chance to speak - and in both cases it failed to hit its mark, although for different reasons.



The Monster seems to be quite literally unkillable, but Jacob, as we know, can die.



What exactly is Jacob trying to prove to The Monster? If Diogenes finally finds that one honest man, that one incorruptible soul, will that somehow neutralize The Monster's Evil? Is that what the Candidates are for? Not to take over Jacob's seat as Prison Warden, but to turn the Island's secret power from Evil to Good? Is that what OtherLOST is all about? If Jacob finally proves his point to The Monster, does the Island just go away ... or sink to the bottom of the sea? Become a non factor in the world? Can all the Candidates have alternate destinies and just live ordinary, middling happy lives in an ordinary, middling world? Is that what we'll ultimately see happen at the end of the story? And if the story ends with the Island on the ocean floor, where will that leave our battling bros?



While we continue to ponder all the puzzling possibilities, the rat race continues. The Monster torments Richard as he lies suffering alone in the hold of the ship.

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony."
- Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner

Like Lloyd Heinreid in The Stand Richard is a sole survivor, desperately using a nail to try and dig himself free of his chains. When exactly does The Monster start manipulating him? Is it when Whitfield comes down into the hold and starts slaughtering the prisoners?



Is it when they hear the officers being torn to shreds on the deck above them? Or when The Smoke devours Whitfield?



The onslaught of serial horrors serves the Monster's purpose of freaking Richard out of his bugfucking mind.




In fact, it's much the same series of events that happened to our Losties in The Pilot, when after witnessing the death and mutilation of their fellow passengers, they watched The Smoke Monster execute their pilot and toss his bloody remains into a treetop.



The Smoke Monster evaluates Richard, much as we've seen him do before - to Locke, to Juliet, to Eko



- and for the time being at least, he spares his life.



Is the boar that comes in to eat the rotted flesh also The Monster? Is it another atrocity designed to pulverize Richard's defenses?



We know from Outlaws in Season One that The Monster sometimes enjoys being a boar.



The Monster lets water pour into the cell, but none of it is within reach of Richard's mouth. The whole time he is dying, we keep watching him try to live.



But when the boar runs by him and knocks the nail out of his hand, Richard's despair is complete.



That's when The Monster decides to pull the trigger on his scam.



"And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman's mate?"
- Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner



The Monster brings Richard one last false hope before he reels him in.


Ghost Isabella warns Richard that they are both dead and in Hell - the very words we hear Richard say at the beginning of the episode, the words Anthony Cooper said to Sawyer before he was killed in the belly of that same ship.



The Monster grants the lovers one scant joyous moment of reunion



... before he kills "Isabella" one more time, rips her to pieces and lets Richard hear her agonized screams. Richard tries desperately to save her one last time, but it's futile.


Totally bereft, totally helpless, totally hopeless, Richard is softened up well and good by the time Randall "The Monster" Flagg finally climbs down the ladder to claim his prey.



The Monster asks one thing of Richard in return for saving his life - the same thing he asked when Ben summoned him in the Temple basement. Like the resentful child I think he is deep down, the only thing the monster wants is "anything I ask" - which in this case means "kill the devil". Richard agrees. In return, The Monster promises Richard, just like he promised Sayid in Sundown, that he'll grant him his heart's desire. Isabella.



Richard, not stopping to consider the limitless possibilities for unintended consequences in this situation, sets out to slay the dragon. Little does he know, as he races along on his rickety bowlegs, that he's only running from one con game to another.

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport." - Shakespeare, King Lear



Richard is weak and easily bested by Jacob, who rudely baptizes him and then makes him an offer he can't refuse. Still pretending he's the High Priest of Free Will, Jacob decides he could use a translator, an intermediary to help him influence all that free will he says he's not going to influence.



Like when he sends Richard to Portland, Oregon to recruit Juliet  for the imaginary firm of Mittelos Bioscience.




Or when Richard is sent to test the specialness of the six year old future Candidate, John Locke.



Jacob freed the trembling peasant who feared God's eternal damnation as a murderer. But a funny thing happened on the way to redemption.



Somewhere along the way, the good God fearing Man of Faith became the co-author of a gruesome Island genocide, along with one of Jacob's other murdering acolytes, Ben Linus.



Somewhere along the way, something went horribly wrong.



I think we're probably going to have to face the fact that this is a story without a Good Guy. Just like it's not about the Answers, it's not about Good Guys and Bad Guys either. So what is it about then?



It's not about Prophets. It's not about following the leader. It may be reminiscent of Biblical chapters where God and Satan played dice with the lives of human beings, like they did with Job or with Adam and Eve, but it's not really about that either. Jacob can't absolve sin. He can't reverse death. He isn't God. He just plays one on the Island.

"The absurd is sin without God." - Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
The Monster has a bit more charisma than Jacob, I think, and there's something oddly sympathetic about him. As NotLocke last week, he told Sawyer his philosophy was "Kill or be killed." We hear Whitfield use the same phrase as he systematically butchers the captives so he won't have to compete with them for resources.



What happened to The Monster that he settled on this ethos to guide his life? He doesn't have a body himself. What does he mean when he says he was betrayed and his humanity stolen? Was he once killed, at least in the physical sense? Was he the victim in some ancient melodrama we have yet to witness? Did the Island keep his spirit alive after death and has it now distilled into a supernatural force of rage and retribution? Did Jacob create The Smoke Monster?

Whatever happened, Richard is now caught between two masters. Having faithfully served Jacob for a century and a half, his disillusion drives him back to The Monster, to take him up on his ancient offer.

He calls out to the omnipresent Monster that "I changed my mind", but though he hears, The Monster doesn't answer.



And it's just as well really. Running from one false prophet to another is an exercise in futility. In absurdity. It's the same madness the button pushers were driven to by the 108 minute clock in the Swan Hatch.



Richard may not be trapped in Hell, but he is trapped in a world where God is dead. Without God, without death, without love, without freedom, what can save Richard from his vast despair? Isabella is dead, on the other side of that great unknown where Richard can never go.



That's where Hurley comes in. We see him early in the episode, looking surprisingly sane as he babbles in Spanish to the night air.


Later, after he has translated Isabella's ghost-speak for Richard, Hurley talks briefly to the air again, after Isabella has gone. Who is he talking to when he says "Got it"? He tells Richard that Isabella told him he has to stay and stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island and sending them all to Hell. In other words, he has to stay to save the cheerleader and save the world. 



Personally, I think Hurley lied to Richard when he said Isabella told him that.  That sounds to me like Jacob talking. By the end of the episode, I think we see just how completely Hurley has fallen under Jacob's sway.


Hurley was the last Candidate that Jacob chose, and he was chosen for a very special talent that he alone possesses. Miles may be able to speak with the dead, but only Hurley can actually see them and talk to them person to person.



It's a beautiful scene when Whoopi Reyes brings Hurleybella to Richard for one last sad goodbye. The camera swirls slowly around the ghostly trio, delicately revealing Isabella as she comes to Richard and speaks lovingly to him and then just as delicately, as she goes away again.



"Devils can be driven out of the heart by the touch of a hand on a hand, or a mouth on a mouth.” - Tennessee Williams
It is as sad and sweet a moment between lovers as we've ever seen on LOST. It's also profound. Richard can never be with Isabella, but that doesn't mean he has to bury his heart underground like he did her necklace.


When he puts the necklace back around his neck at the end of the episode, Richard is making a choice. 



He chooses to be human. He chooses to live. Trapped in the absurdity of a life without death, Richard's only choice is between life and despair. And as he showed throughout this episode, as all the Losties have shown time and again throughout the story, what Richard wants most of all is To Live.

“…because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.” - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Like I said, I don't think the Answers really matter all that much anymore. I used to think it was all going to come together like a clock, but now I'm pretty sure that if it did, it wouldn't be the kind of clock that would ever be able to tell time. Maybe something more like this:



Having seen the statue crumble, I'm not sure we really need to know how it got built.



I don't know if we'll learn why the Others spoke Latin. I don't really care what the Black Rock was doing between leaving Portsmouth, England in 1845 and taking on its human cargo in the Canary Islands in 1867. The puzzle has shifted now from this kind of arcane fact checking to trying to unravel the bigger questions of good and evil and loving and hating and living and dying.



This episode wasn't about Richard after all. It was about the Big Brothers who are grappling over this scrap of Island real estate. Why are they there? Why do they keep dragging civilians into the middle of their battle? And why in the world should any of our Losties be cooperating with them? If the Island gods want to kill each other, what business is it of anyone else? Sawyer had the right idea last week: Let them fight it out and let everyone else get the hell out of Dodge. Not that that's going to be easy.

If the Island is a metaphor for Pandora's Box, a place where unspeakable Evil is kept trapped so the world can be safe from it, then there was an interesting image about halfway through the hour. As Richard lay on the wooden planks of the beached ship, surrounded by the stench of death and feeling his own end creeping nearer, he looked up and saw a buttefly fluttering around in the wisps of sunlight.



Maybe I'm just being a cockeyed optimist but I think that was an important moment. Because when Pandora stupidly opened the box and freed Evil into the world, she managed to slam it shut and keep one thing still trapped inside it: Hope. Maybe that's the only Answer that's going to mean anything in the end.

“Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.” - Cervantes, Don Quioxete

34 comments:

TommyS said...

Bravo.

JenniChicago said...

Next to watching LOST, reading your take on it is my favorite part of the show. Thanks for another great one!

Anonymous said...

For me this was the type of episode I watch and appreciate the strong acting. But the story itself will not make any kind of sense until the very end.

We will get a much better understanding of what exactly is going on in this one after the last episode has aired - at least I hope.

While I enjoyed it - I'm not sure what it was about or what I was supposed to get from it. But the acting was really great and the images engaging so I'm willing to wait to finally make sense of what's going on between Jacob/MIB.

SockeRock said...

The most interesting part of the episode was Smokey saying Jacob stole his body and his humanity. Could Jacob be the real evil that's escaped the island. That needs to be corked up?

Hurley may not be the only one who can see and speak to the dead. Sawyer saw the ghost boy in The Substitute, and if he can see him, he most likely will be able to talk to him. What if he can see and hear Jacob talking to Hurley? That could upset Jacob's apple cart, as he boasted that Jack and Jin can't see him.

I'm also of the belief Hurley couldn't talk to the dead until Jacob touched him. Hurley's inmate at Santa Rosa also saw Charlie when he popped in to see him. If Sayid had been awake, would he have seen Ana-Lucia when she popped up to advise Hurley on what to do?

Anonymous said...

Excellent insights.

Anonymous said...

Great recap. I agree that the Answers tend to be a little anti-climactic, but I think once we have the whole story they will fit into the flow. We've just been waiting so long for these reveals! However, I also kind of like that they're fairly mundane. There may be magic happening, but it's still a human story, and yes, that is what really makes it great.

Richard's story is so sad and tragic, but I have to say, they really sold me on his love with Isabella in a very short time. I could believe that isolated on that island, he was still in love with her 140 years later. It was lovely and sad - particularly the last scene with her ghost. Great acting by Nestor Carbonell.

One point - when Jacob was talking about inviting people, I'm pretty sure he was referring to the room under the foot. I think Richard asked what was in there, and Jacob said no one entered unless he invited them, which would fit with the earlier episode where Richard freaked out about anyone going into that room.

I don't think Jacob was referring to the island itself in that conversation, though I suppose that makes some sense, too, since it's so hard to find. The whole cork thing was interesting, because of course things are not all sunshine and roses out in the world ... I guess there is seepage? Heh.

I like the idea that somehow the sideways world occurs because someone proves Jacob right, and the island sinks for some reason other than the bomb going off. The bomb doesn't entirely make sense since more has changed in people's lives than just that the crash didn't happen. There doesn't seem to be any influence of either Jacob or MIB ... which is interesting in the case of Hurley, who wasn't touched by Jacob until very recently. What made the numbers not evil, and Hurley not a jinx? Something must have happened or changed well before the not-crash. I can't wait to see how the story plays out. I won't mind so much if every little question isn't answered, but I absolutely want a satisfying total story.

Anonymous said...

Like JenniChicago said: Next to watching LOST, reading your take on it is my favorite part of the show. Thanks for another great one!

Thanks a lot!

Kyle from Kentucky said...

Sunday mornings with Fishbiscuit. I'm going to miss this in June.

Anonymous said...

He arrogantly tells Richard that no one comes to the Island unless invited by him

WRONG!!

He arrogantly told Richard that no one comes to see him at the foot of the statue unless invited by him.

But yes, he is a dickwad.

The black/white/religious undertones are a complete misdirection. The show is not going to come out and say who is evil and who is good. Lost operates in a grey area of morality. It wants the audience to determine who is evil or good.

Anyway, I sense another Skate vs. Jate fight here.

Jacob = sanctimonious dick = Jack
MiB = misunderstood bad dude = Sawyer
So, Richard = back-and-forth, indecision = Kate ???

rd said...

Thank you. That re-cap hit the spot for me. Hope. Continue to be human. I know you're not out to be a prophet, just talk about a show--but I wanted to let you know: you spoke the right word at the right time.
Rock on.

menevets said...

Fishbiscuit...

Where did you find that clock? At the Salvador Dali gift shop? It might be totally useless as a clock, but I want one!

Dezdemona said...

Superb recap, Fish! Love the "Flim Flam twins" designation, and that's what I shall call them henceforth.

I came away from this episode with a similar feeling - the characters and the story are what I'll remember, not the "answers". Love the possibility that all can be undone by the discovery of Diogenes' one incorruptible man.

Thanks for an excellent and thought-provoking read. As someone else mentioned before me, I'm going to miss having my Sunday morning coffee with Fishbiscuit's recap when it's all said and done.

Anonymous said...

I feel that reading comments isn't a big part of your day, but still, the recap was great.

Anonymous said...

I feel that reading comments isn't a big part of your day, but still, the recap was great.

Anonymous said...

Jacob can't absolve sin. He can't reverse death. He isn't God. He just plays one on the Island.

Great line Fish, that's exactly how I feel about Jacob. I find him at least as evil as the MIB if not more so because he's manipulating lives and then selling it as free will.

If free will prevails, our Losties will get the hell out of hell.

-LostTvFan

Laura said...

On some blogs I see Lost "fans" getting angrier and angrier about not getting all the answers, or ones they like anyway. They worry that if the final episode isn't perfectly up to their expectations, that they've wasted the last 6 years watching this show. What???? Fish, your opening statement is what I've always thought about Lost:

"When all is said and done, when the last white LOST logo falls backwards on the last black screen, it won't be the quality or the quantity of the Answers we'll remember. It will be the story."

That's why, every Tuesday as I sit at my desk in my office, I'm smiling with anticipation of the hour I will spend that evening watching a smart, fun, intriguing story. The only complaint I'll have about the final episode ... is that it's the final episode!

Anonymous said...

I really like your take on the show. Sorry I've only just discovered your blog! I also agree, that the answers don't matter as much as the fun I get out of the stories.

Anonymous said...

Best. Ever. Analyst. Recapper.

(yes, there's more to this than what is self-evident in the best tradition of LOST!)

Chris said...

WHOOOO =D finally!! I've been waiting all week for this. FBL, you are officially my favourite Lost site, it has to be said =)

Santa Claus metaphor? LOVED it, but it made me so sad :( but wow, great insight.

Nah, it's the questions and theories that Lost is, has and always will be about - that's why, post-Season 6, I am re-starting my OTHER Lost website dedicated to the questions that never get asked - like what is Vincent, who is the father of Ji Yeon, etc? There are still many, many theories to be explored that will NEVER (thankfully?) be answered :) the destination is never as good as the journey :)

Blackpants and Whitepants - yup, they are both shades of grey. It's as clear as day - neither can be described "good", nope, not in the slightest.

Horace as Smokey? Hadn't thought of that, to be honest. The scene always stuck out in my mind as being something different, not sure what though.

Yeah, ironic that Jacob can only work his powers on the living, Smokey on the dead. Again, two parts of the one whole, in my opinion.

"It's not just because he's a smug, sanctimonious dick." Whoo, at least Smokey is relatively upfront about things, although to what extent we can believe him has yet to be determined. He sure wasn't honest to Claire, but now he is being truthful (?) about why.

I personally believe the Dharma Initiative was one of the few true accidental discoveries of the Island, along with Desmond. The antagonism between the "Hostiles" and the DI, plus the fact that they f*&$ed everything up royally, points towards this. Desmond has pretty much done the same.

Ewwww, cooties!

Perhaps Jacob, after chatting to Richard, thought that defending himself was "interfering" by not offering anyone the moral choice of murder?

Richard / dead Isabella "Black Rock" scene reminded me so much of "Kate, damn it, run!"

King Lear quote & "to slay the dragon" line - nice :)

(I'm going to whisper it, because it seems so wrong to say or type aloud - I too think Hurley was, *gasp*, lying)

Personally, I never cared for why the statue got demolished - I want to know where it came from and why Jacob lives there.

So do you believe that, as well as freeing Smokey/evil, that uncorking the Island might prove key to SAVING humanity?

If anyone wants to discuss Lost with me, I'm always up for LOST stuff 24/7 xD this blog post has already provided HOURS of great Lost posting on Twitter - most notably wether S3 Smokey CGI is better than S6 Smokey CGI ;-)

- Chris
- superduperstream.blogspot.com
- lostSDS@gmail.com
- twitter @SDstream

Wanda said...

Another big fishbuiscuit fan here.

Yes, Smokey posing as Horace is a great point. Isn't that how Locke found his way back to Jacob's cabin? Of course no one's answered why Dharma Horace would have been building a cabin for Jacob.

Was thinking back to John Locke staring down Smokey--or being chosen by him. Were all the people Smokey spared candidates, or was Locke truly special?

Boy, there's a sea of difference between the comments here and over on DocArzt. I mentioned I wasn't a theist AND that I preferred MIB to Jacob, and someone offered to pray for me...Not sure which was the greater sin.

Lynnie said...

Fishbiscuit, I just discovered your blog tonight, and I think that I'll be spending lots of time here catching up on your other recaps.

My favorite concept that you addressed, speaking about Jacob and MIB: "They're like Sheepdog Sam and Ralph Wolf, who clock in every morning to battle one another to the death, and then clock out every night to share a cocktail."

I think that's a perfect description of their relationship!

Anonymous said...

Excellent recap! For me, one of the most interesting things was how Richard was a simple, religious man of the 19th century, and how Jacob and MIB totally took advantage of him. You covered that very well, unlike most recappers. I hope you're right, that this is really about shades of grey, not black and white.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your recaps, but why did you skip Dr. Linus? I really hope you go back to that since that has been my favorite episode so far.

WhooBoyHowdy said...

I am almost as addicted to your blog as I am addicted to LOST.. another great one FBL!!

Quirky Character said...

I'm sorry, but you're imagining things a coupla times:

>> Who is he talking to when he says "Got it"?

He's not talking to anyone. Richard says, "Thank you." Hurley says, "Yeah, you got it" as in "You're welcome."

>> He tells Richard that no one gets into his temple unless invited by him.

Oh, I see, you've corrected this one since I read your piece on Sunday. Still, why do you call The Foot "Jacob's temple"? It's just his dwelling. I wouldn't want anyone to come into my house uninvited either. Would you?

mynamesdan said...

just a quick note to say thankyou.

i'd rather read your recaps tahn anyone else's

Chris said...

@Wanda - I can't believe how little I've thought of Dead Horace before this point.. wow, I feel stupid now.

I wonder if Smokey saw the whole plan, involving Locke, the Oceanic 6, and Ben, away back in Season 1?

Also, I hope a few of these people came here thanks to my promoting of your website :) but that spoiler guy, I hope didn't - what an ass!

NoWillToResist said...

Very interesting recap. I didn't much care for the episode when it aired, but after reading this, I think it was better than I remembered!

And this:
"Knowing that it rode in on a tsunami, and that it took out Tawaret's noggin along the way, was useful information ... but it felt just a little unsatisfying. Like finding out Santa Claus is really just Dad drunk on eggnog."

was friggin' hysterical.
Great job!

Chris said...

I'm with NoWill - that was for sure my favourite line! :)

Anonymous said...

I have the ultimate test for you shipper boys and girls. DarkUFO has finally acquired information as to who ends up with Kate. As always, the choice is yours, you don't have to do anything that you don't want to do. Can you resist your own curiosity?

Go here if you can't http://spoilerslost.blogspot.com/2010/04/major-spoiler-who-kate-chooses-finally.html

SockeRock said...

You mean, Dark UFO's stupid April Fool's joke? Was pretty lame.

ASH said...

First time I've seen your post. Loved it. I'll be back.

You said, "And if the story ends with the Island on the ocean floor, where will that leave our battling bros?"

Seems to me Smokey kills just about everyone he can, with lame excuses shy. And I think that if he gets off the island, he'll just kill as many people as he can "out there".

I think if the Island ends up on the ocean floor, Smokey will have somehow been destroyed, and thus the rest of the word saved from his destructiveness.

Anonymous said...

i love reading ur idea's and relations!! Keep up the good work!

B-)

Anonymous said...

No recap this week? *bleurgh*