Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cabin Hopskotch - my brain just melted

(Note - re-posted after this post went missing)

“Game-changer,” “mind-blower,” “brain melter” – all of these designations have been used to describe various episodes of LOST. Last night’s “Cabin Fever” was all of ‘em rolled together: a hit of crack with a human growth hormone chaser!

Claire knocks back some lemonade with Christian, Locke gets locke(d) in a locke(r), Richard Alpert continues recruiting for the island’s new quarterback, Ben got chocolate in Hurley’s peanut butter, Hurley got peanut butter in Ben’s chocolate, Horace Goodspeed from DHARMA is stuck in a time loop for his impact on the environment, Keamy becomes even less likable, the freighter doctor catches up with time, Sayid takes a dinghy ride on the open seas, and Frank Lapidus sends a special delivery to the beach. Let’s drill down a bit.

Lost 4x11: Cabin Fever

OK, so let me start with my here’s my big theory. Locke and Ben are brothers. Both had mothers named Emily. Both were recruited by Alpert (Ben as a young boy in the jungle, Locke starting when he was the miracle baby in the maternity ward.) Both were born prematurely. Granted, we learn that Ben’s mother died in childbirth, though perhaps it is possible that she was whisked off and revived? Locke was abandoned at a young age and brought up by foster families. Alpert visited young John to test him, knowing that Emily’s son was special. Though when John picked the knife, Alpert believed he’d been recruiting the wrong son. So Alpert’s attention later focused on young Ben. Realizing well after the purge that Ben was actually the wrong choice, he/they helped arrange to get Locke to the island.

A big question: who is Locke’s dad, the man twice Emily’s age? Could it be someone we know? Alvar Hanso? Jacob? This scenario reminds me of “Rosemary’s Baby” or even “The Boys From Brazil.”

We are introduced to 15-year old Emily Locke in the late 1950s. She is fighting with her mother about meeting a man twice her age as she’s dancing to a Buddy Holly record. (Geek alert: Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.) After running from her house, she’s hit by a car. In the hospital, she reveals she’s six months pregnant and she goes into premature labor. Her baby, who she names John, was taken away in an incubator where he began a miraculous recovery to health from the youngest preemie ever at the hospital. Emily visits him a while later, but runs from the hospital.

Emily’s mother is talking to the nurse about adoption when she sees a man looking in on the nursery – Richard “Mothafarking” Alpert. (Dude!)

Geek Alert: Her mother was about to light up a cigarette. The nurse said, “You can’t smoke in here.” Is this another reference to the smoke monster, right as Alpert shows up?

Years later, Alpert visits a young John who’s playing backgammon with a foster sister. Alpert takes note of the picture Locke had drawn of a plume of smoke and a person laying down. He presents John with a test to see if he qualifies for a special school, laying out several items: a baseball mitt, a book titled “Book of Laws”, a vial of sand, a compass, a comic and a knife. All the items are laid next to each other, however he very deliberately places the knife upon the comic. Alpert tells him to choose the items that belong to him. Locke chooses the vial of sand and the compass which Alpert clearly approves of, and then reaches for the knife. Alpert storms off annoyed.

Check out the comic book. The floating city/island in the sky on the cover of this comic seems to be a nod to the idea that the island can be moved.


Geek Alert: When a new Dalai Lama is to be chosen, children who have miracles attributed to them are presented with a series of objects. If one chooses the items that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, he is the Chosen One and the next Dalai Lama. Preemie Locke’s miraculous recovery seems to qualify here.

Later we see a teenage Locke being freed from a locker by a teacher at Cowin Heights High School. (Go Knights!) The teacher tells Locke that he got a call from Mittelos Laboratories in Portland about John to participate in a summer science program. John wants nothing to do with this. He wants to be cool. The teacher replies, “That’s who you are, John…you’ll never be a superhero.” John replies with his now-famous, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

Geek Alert 1:
In Locke’s locker is a poster of Geronimo Jackson, the fictional 70s band who’ve been referenced several times in the series, as well as a picture. It appears the picture is of Sir Richard Burton.

Geek Alert 2: Mittelos Laboratories is the same name as the company Alpert was recruiting Juliet for (though it was then called Mittelos Bioscience). Mittelos is an anagram for “Lost time”.

Geek Alert 3: John’s high school team was called the Cowin Heights Knights. Dr. Gowin Knight invented process to magnetize steel in 1745 which they used in compass needles.

Much later in John’s life, we visit John post-fall from the building in the Delerue Center for Rehabilitation. An orderly tells him that he should do a walkabout in the Australian Outback. The orderly is Matthew Abaddon (!) – the same creepy man who was assembling the science team with Naomi, and the man who paid a visit to Hurley in the mental institution. Abaddon says to him, “Oh I’m a lot more than just an orderly, John…When you and me run into each other again, you’ll owe me one.”

On The Island:

Locke, Ben and Hurley are wandering through the jungle. Locke asks Ben where the cabin is and Ben says he was following Hurley. This is almost a Three Stooges moment. They set up camp for the night.

Tight close up on Locke’s eye. He awakes to the sound of wood being chopped. He follows the noise and comes across Horace Goodspeed. (Geek alert: Horace and his wife Olivia were the couple who helped Ben’s parents in Oregon when his mother had gone into premature labor hiking in the woods.) Horace appears stuck in a time loop. He tells John he’s building a cabin for him and his wife and that he’s been dead for 12 years, and that in order to find the cabin, John needs to find him. Horace’s nose was sporadically bleeding. This is probably a clue that he had “the sickness”, like Desmond and George Minkowski, though he appears to be locked in time even further.

Is Horace stuck like Sisyphus from the Greek mythology who had to push a boulder up the hill for eternity only for it to roll back down before he reached the top? Could his constant building of the cabin(s) explain how Hurley saw the cabin in numerous locations? And is Horace going to buy carbon offsets for all the trees he’s cut down?

Geek Alert: Horace Goodspeed appears to be the man that Locke saw in the cabin rocking chair in season 3’s “The Man Behind the Curtain”. Though at the time, I swore it was Locke with hair in the chair.

Locke awakes. Ben says that he used to have dreams. He’s jealous. They set off to find Horace’s corpse in the DHARMA pit. John finds a map in Horace’s worksuit and they’re off again. As Locke and Ben bicker in the woods, Hurley stumbles upon the cabin. Ben tells John that it’s his destiny to enter it alone. Actually, he utters one of the best lines of the series yet, “Destiny is a fickle bitch.” While waiting outside, Hurley and Ben share an Apollo chocolate bar in a dialog-free moment that was, honestly, cute.

Actually, weren’t all the scenes of them trying to find the cabin all kind of light hearted…a little like the Cowardly Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz?

Inside the cabin, John meets Christian who asks John why he’s there. John replies, “because I was chosen to be here”. Christian agrees. This was a freaky enough scene, but then John turns around to see a smiling Claire (!) behind him. She says she’s with Christian. Christian explains that Aaron is exactly where he needs to be and…oh, by the way, maybe you don’t want to tell anyone you saw Claire here. (Why should he voluntarily share relevant information? This is LOST.) Locke the asks Christian the right question: “How can I save the island?”

Question: So with Claire seemingly content without Aaron, does this mean she’s been dead since the house explosion? This could explain why she was barely bruised after the house came down around her.

Locke tells Ben that Christian told him what he needs to do: They need to move the island. Huh? But this theory that the island can move has been out there for a while. Given the comic book reference, too, it seems this was reality.

On the Freighter:

Keamy tries to kill Michael but can’t. The gun locks. One of the crew members gets the Morse code message from the island about the doctor, who’s still very much alive. Keamy takes care of that later, though, when Frank Lapidus says he won’t fly to the island when they appear to be loading up the chopper with military ammo.

Keamy had gotten a “secondary protocol” for taking over the island from Widmore. It had a DHARMA Orchid Station logo on it, so that seems to clinch it that Widmore works for or is related to DHARMA.

The captain helps Sayid get a rescue raft so he can get to the island and help save everyone there. Sayid sets off alone when Desmond says he cannot go back to that island.

The captain tries to stop them from taking off, and Keamy shoots him. Frank wraps a phone in a bag and as they fly over the island, he drops the bag to the beach for the Losties to find.

“Cabin Fever” had the most solid storytelling of the season. Absolutely killer episode. What did you think? Is your head still spinning like mine is? Help me out with this one with some comments.

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