Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Resurrection of Christian Shephard

(Note - this is a re-post of an old entry - somehow went missing)

Like the black smoke monster in last week's episode, this season of LOST has mostly moved along like a freight train. Last night's episode, "Something Nice Back Home", was more like a leisurely double-decker bus tour of a city with the fanny-packed masses. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with straightforward storytelling and revisiting of the beach crew. It was kind of nice…quaint, even. But with a shorter than normal season, followed by a further truncated number of post-strike episodes, a storytelling episode is not what I was expecting.

Half-siblings Jack and Claire both got visits from Daddy, Jin pwned Charlotte, Kate scampered around in her skivvies, Claire leaves Aaron safely in a tree (huh?), Karl and Danielle were unequivocally taking dirt naps, Hurley plays the telephone game with Jack, Saywer's heart grew three sizes and Miles was still a douche.

On the beach:

Tight close up on Jack's eye, just like the season 1 pilot episode. Could this indicate that a new Jack woke up? (See Alice idea below…) Jack's got appendicitis and needs emergency surgery. Juliet sends Sun and Faraday to the medical station to retrieve supplies. Charlotte and Jin tag along.

When they return, Jin pulls Charlotte aside and says to her, in Korean, that he knows she speaks Korean and that she understood what he and Sun had been talking about. After some denial, Jin threatens to break Daniel's fingers one by one until she tells the truth. She answers him in Korean. While not out of the realm of possibility for an anthropologist to speak Korean, could this be a clue that she has some connection to Mr. Paik, Sun's father?

Jack's surgery was a success, despite less than sterile conditions and no anesthesia, and a surgical staff consisting of a fertility doctor, a dentist and a fugitive.

In the jungle:

Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles continue their journey back to the beach. Sawyer gives Miles a restraining order against Claire. (Sawyer's become very protective of her and has evolved pretty dramatically from his "every man for himself" days.)

Frank Lapidus comes barreling through the jungle and convinces them to hide because Keamy and his team right behind him. (Why weren't they killed by the smoke monster?) Frank convinces Keamy to keep going to the helicopter, despite Aaron's whimper almost giving them up.

In a clearing, Miles has a ghostbuster moment and can hear the last moments of Rousseau and Karl. He uncovers their bodies, which are barely buried.

After continuing their journey, they set up camp and Claire gets awoken by an unexpected visitor: Christian Shephard, who's holding Aaron. (Dun dun dun…)

When Sawyer wakes in the morning, Miles calmly says that she went off with someone she called "Dad", and Sawyer follows Aaron's cries to find him safely in a tree. Claire is nowhere to be found.

Will we see Claire again in the episodes ahead? Or will she be gone for much of the rest of the season, like when Ethan kidnapped her in season one?

Flash forward:

Jack and Kate are playing house, raising Aaron together. Jack reads a newspaper article about the Yankees sweeping the Red Sox in a 3-game series with a 5-0 win. Based on actual events, that puts the paper's date as August 31, 2007.

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Geek alert: Jack tripped on a Millennium Falcon, another ode to Star Wars.

Later, Jack is reading to Aaron from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" – "How queer everything is

today! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!" The passage is not unlike Jack's transformation. We see the close up of his eye at the beginning of the episode. (Is this a new Jack?)

At the hospital, Jack is doing a consultation on a patient when he sees his father walking through the lobby. His colleague, Dr. Erika Stevens, snaps him out of it and Christian's gone. She asks him to review a patient's x-rays. It's an L-4 tumor – the same vertebra where Ben had his tumor. He gets a call from the administrator at Santa Rosa Hospital to come see Hurley.

When he visits, Hurley is despondent. He's claims that the Oceanic 6 are all dead and reveals that he's been seeing Charlie. (Seems this is a regular occurrence now.) Charlie's left a message for Jack: "You're not supposed to raise him." Hurley tells Jack that he'll be visited by someone soon. (Is this a reference to Dickens and A Christmas Carol with Scrooge getting visits from the 3 ghosts? Is the hope that he will change back to that pre-appendectomy Jack?)

Jack goes home and proposes to Kate, who accepts. Jaters rejoiced. Skaters booed.

Back at the hospital the next evening, Jack's reviewing the chart again when he hears a beeping outside his office. Turns out it's a smoke detector's low battery beep. He removes the battery from the detector and sees his dad again. Christian calls out Jack's name. He's startled. But his colleague, Erika, walks in and when Jack turns back, his father is gone. He asks her to write him a prescription because he's overworked and stressed.

Geek alert: Was the fact that the smoke detector was beeping some sort of wink from the writers that Christian is a manifestation of the black smoke monster? (Though it also vaguely sounded like the button timer beeping from the now-imploded hatch.)

Geek alert 2: Why is it that Erika shows up both times Jack sees his father? Is she somehow related? Or is she protecting Jack from him? And was the connection to her patient with the L-4 tumor a coincidence, or is she connected to Ben?

Geek alert 3: On the wall behind Jack are the names of the other doctors in the practice there. Directly behind him, are the names "Gardez" and "Evenson". Gardez is French for "keep". Was this a clue that Jack should stay with or keep Aaron?

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Jack arrives home to find Kate on the phone. He's suspicious and asks her who it was. Kate gets some water from the fridge, which is covered with kids' art. However, closer inspection also shows a monster-type cutout (black smoke monster?) on the freezer door and a shark, perhaps, on the top of the fridge door.

Geek alert: The flowers, ladybugs and butterflies on the fridge were the same as those on the wall in Hurley's hospital when Matthew Abaddon visited him in the first episode of the season.

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Let's discuss:

  • Why does Jack only marry people he saves? First, Sarah. Then Kate. And why does he turn on them when there's nothing left to save?
  • Rose posed the question, and it was a valid one: Why did Jack get sick on the island that heals people? Is he doing something he's not supposed to be doing? Is the island trying to keep him from getting people rescued?
  • Why didn't Smokey kill Keamy's crew?
  • Why would Keamy and his crew have buried Rousseau and Karl at all? If they didn't, who did? And why were they buried in such shallow graves?
  • Faraday asks Charlotte where all this electrical power is coming from. She says to add it to the list. Is this merely a list of the island's unanswered questions?

While I enjoy a break from the frenetic pace the show can take, I wasn't expecting a slower-moving episode just the second week after the strike-induced hiatus. Though at the end of the day, a mediocre episode of LOST is better than anything else on TV. What did you think? Were you disappointed? Or did you think the episode was killer? Comment below with your thoughts.

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