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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

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Episode 8 - LaFleur

28 March 2012

Present: Sawyer and company see the four toed statue before the final flash which Locke instigates, leaves them stuck in 1974. Sawyer and Juliet kill two Others who are attacking two members of the Dharma Initiative. They head to the barracks with Amy and Sawyer manages to convince Horace Goodspeed that their ship crashed on the island. Richard Alpert comes to ask where his men are and Sawyer convinces him that it wasn’t Dharma’s fault. Horace allows him to stay for two weeks and Sawyer manages to convince Juliet to remain with him to wait for Locke.

Flashback: Three years later Horace is blind drunk as Amy gives birth to his son. Sawyer is head of security at the Barracks and gets Juliet to safely deliver the baby. Juliet and Sawyer are now living together while Jin and Miles are Dharma employees, still waiting for Locke to return. Horace asks Sawyer if three years has been long enough for Amy to really get over Paul. Although Sawyer says yes, when Jin calls with the news that Kate has returned he comes running.

The Good: This episode works so well on several levels.

First off are the parallels with Jack’s first flash-forward (322-23). Jack found rescue for the Oceanic Six while Sawyer chose to stay behind. Three years later and Jack is suffering through addiction and emotional torment. Meanwhile Sawyer has found fulfilment. The poacher has turned game keeper. The con man is now head of security for an organisation trying to save the world. Like Jack we are given a snapshot of Sawyer’s life and our imaginations are left to wonder about how he got where he is. And where he is is a happy place, at least at this moment.

Sawyer’s growth as a character is really enjoyable to see and is spelt out well through the writing, acting and makeup. Jack was bearded and bruised, Sawyer is clean and clean shaven. He has taken on a serious role with huge responsibility and is in a settled, committed relationship. Sawyer is not questioned as leader, his subordinates are afraid of disappointing him and he doesn’t need to yell to get Miles and Jin to cooperate. He encourages Juliet to fulfil her potential, handles the crisis of Amy’s pregnancy decisively and even counsels Horace on his relationship. Sawyer has become everything he can be by staying on the island.

Like Locke and Rose he had begun to suspect that this is where he was meant to be (319, 404). Since killing the real Sawyer (319) he has become liberated from his past. We already knew he was changing. We saw him play the hero (409) and be selfless (413) for those he cared about and here we see how he started to become the leader. It’s so refreshing to see him walk out and tell Richard the truth. No lying, no games, he just reasons with him. Sawyer has matured and become a better person, because he stayed.

Of course despite all the goodness in his story there is one problem. The parallel drawn between Horace and Amy and Sawyer and Kate is very obvious. But sometimes that’s not a bad thing. Sawyer eloquently explains that he is over Kate because three years is a long time. When you think about that it really starts to sink in. He knew Kate for about three months but he had spent (presumably) three years at Juliet’s side. He points out that he can’t even remember what she looks like anymore. It’s convincing and understandable. And then Jin calls. The really tragic moment here is that he doesn’t tell Juliet what the call was. Nothing could speak more clearly of his feelings for Kate. Adding to that tragedy is that he has probably idealised her. He knew her for a short time and has had three years to build her up in his mind. Now the question is; what will happen to the new life he has built now that Kate has returned?

Poor Juliet looks set to lose another man from her life (after both previous loves were murdered: 307, 406). Seeing her finally deliver a baby safely on the island is a nice moment, another example of the island delivering fulfilment and it raises important questions (see The Unknown). Daniel’s weeping for Charlotte and claim that “whatever happened happened” are fascinating too. If he is right and the past cannot be changed, then they were meant to become part of the Dharma Initiative. He pleads aloud that he “won’t tell her” but it seems he is destined to warn a young Charlotte that she shouldn’t return to the island. Jin will now be able to speak fluent English which will be interesting to see.

Together with the focus on the characters we get a bunch of new island mythology information too. We finally see the four toed statue. We see a lot more of Horace Goodspeed who is in charge of the Barracks. We get to see Richard Alpert still looking the same striding with no fear into the barracks and reminding us that he is a reasonable man. We hear about a truce which both sides entered into which helps explain why the Others let the Dharma Initiative stay for as long as they did.

Horace Goodspeed is a good man. He is kind and generous to the survivors; the other people we see at the Barracks are similarly pleasant. Not only does that give this episode a feel-good happiness to it but it points to an important moral question. We don’t yet know what the Dharma Initiative might have done to provoke the Others. Perhaps they never did or perhaps they broke the truce at a later date. But we know that they are moral enough to accommodate our survivors, most of whom have been good people on the island. The question over what the Dharma Initiative were really up to is partly answered here. Most of their employees clearly believe they are there to make the world a better place. It adds to the horror of what the Others did to them to see them living happy pleasant lives like this.

This episode also serves the greater purpose of bringing Jack, Kate and Hurley back together with their friends. This brings them all into the same timeline at the same age. What happens now is pretty intriguing and Sawyer and company could be setup for more traditional flashbacks to their time in the Dharma Initiative which could reveal a lot more.

The Bad: The only complaint I have is my long held belief that no matter how much crazy magical crap is going on, someone needs to keep everything grounded. It would have been nice if someone could have freaked out about having to live their life out in the 1970s. It would just add a greater sense of reality and depth to the emotions they must be feeling if someone were to weep at the thought of never seeing home again or seeing their families or something. Being trapped in the 1970s on a strange island is not something viewers can relate to, so we need the characters emotions to express what that would be like.

The Unknown: As with “Through the Looking Glass” (322-23) this raises too many questions to fully capture. We have jumped three years into the future again and so here are the highlights: Did they ever admit who they really were to the Dharma Initiative? How exactly did they prove their worth to them otherwise? If Jin is searching grids looking for Locke then surely Dharma know they are up to something? Was Horace faking having no knowledge of the Black Rock? Where is Daniel in 1977? Where are Rose and Bernard? Why does Charlotte’s body disappear?

The biggest question which their life in the barracks though is where is Ben? If you can keep up with the timeline then Ben must be living in the Barracks with them (see 320). If so then shouldn’t he have recognised them all when they arrived in the future? Shouldn’t they have kicked him off the island or even the opposite and befriended him?

That also raises the question of Richard Alpert and Ben’s relationship and decision making. Richard seems known to the Dharma Initiative. We can assume that he offered them the same courteous warnings that he gave the American troops who landed on the island (503). But then should we assume that it was Ben who chose to initiate a new policy when Flight 815 crashed? If Richard were still in charge can we assume he would have marched out of the jungle and politely told Jack what was what? Speaking of Richard, how can he get through the security fence? Does he have big ear plugs too? He doesn’t seem afraid of them at all. Is he literally immortal and not afraid of being killed? Did he need a body just to show that justice had been served or is there something else going on with dead bodies (Christian, Yemi, Locke etc)? What is the nature of the truce the two sides made? When did babies stop being able to be born on the island and why?

The four toed statue looks like vaguely like an Egyptian animal statue. Could it be connected to the temple and the people who built it?

Did Jack, Kate and Hurley return specifically three years later so that time could sync up again for them and Sawyer? As in were they flashed to that specific amount of time passing or was that just the amount of time which had passed off the island and so that’s how much had passed on it?

Best Moment: Sawyer talking about not remembering what Kate looks like. He has no pictures of her and only knew her for three months. It’s one of those lines that really helps connect you to the character and imagine what their life is like. It was enough to make me believe that maybe he was over her. Silly me.

The Bottom Line: This is the first episode of season five which captures the spirit of earlier Lost episodes. Sawyer remains the strict focus of the story and the narrative really gets us into his mindset and helps understand who he has become. It’s also an episode that feels “on message.” The story of Lost has always seemed to me to be one where the survivors will eventually learn that the island is where they are meant to be. Sawyer learns that here and his story is told in an interesting, entertaining and pleasing manner. This also drives you to want to see what happens next and what happened in the past. Which is exactly what Lost has always done well.

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