Lost Again: Solitary

Welcome back to “Lost Again”, my weekly examination of the Lost series. I am re-watching the series and theorizing, based on the now-complete knowledge of the entire show, which plot lines were cohesive and well-developed throughout, providing amazing payoffs by the end of the series, and which ones were dropped, messed up, or flat-out busted.

This week I will be looking at only one episode, because it is chock-full of material that needs to be addressed. Some nice groundwork is laid here for major future plot developments, some followed through to the end, and at least one which, I believe, was not. I also like the idea of having an episode called “Solitary” in a post by itself.

Solitary: One of the themes of this week’s episode is the need each of us has for other people- community. I wholeheartedly agree with this, as most believers probably do. The Church is the Body of Christ, and each member is meant to evangelize alongside others, and disciple one another, building each other up into maturity in Christ (see Ephesians 4: 11-13). We feed and clothe our brothers and sisters when they need it, and they do it for us in turn. We look to others to be our family, our support, but not our God, not our Salvation. Without the Holy Spirit, we would simply be a community of blind people leading other blind people. Some have said the point of the whole show was that our characters needed each other for their salvation. This may have been the intention of the writers; it sounds like a popular notion. If so, though, it’s an inconsistent point at best. In Season 6, Jacob explains to the few candidates left that he brought them to the island to save them. They had to be rescued from their wretched lives by a benevolent, personal being greater than themselves. But the community they made on the island was of great significance.

As we pick up where we left off last week, Sayid is in self-imposed exile because he feels guilty over torturing Sawyer last episode. While in deep thought on the beach, he spies a giant cable hidden in the sand and coming from the water. The cable is highly significant in Season 3, as it leads to the underwater Dharma Initiative station called the Looking Glass, where a dearly beloved character dies in an act of self-sacrifice. Curiosity almost kills Sayid’s cat as he follows the cable into the jungle and gets trapped in one of Danielle’s jungle ambushes. We discover Danielle Rousseau is the French woman who made the 16-year looped radio transmission for help the survivors found in the pilot episode.

Danielle and her daughter Alex, who we meet later, are important to the entire series as a model for the relationship of Claire and Aaron. Many parallels are drawn between Claire and Danielle during the series, and in the final season, Claire has tragically become Danielle in many ways. They both even have a music box which they treasure.

Danielle’s story is also significant to the overarching plot of the series, in that in her story, we see how the Others were infected with the lies of the Man in Black. My theory, based on the entire series, is that the Others, while led by Ben and maybe even before that when they were led by Charles Whidmore, were deceived. They were being puppeted by the Man in Black, who was posing as Jacob. We know that while Ben ruled the Others, he was never allowed to see Jacob. Due to his own quest for power and bitterness over not being able to see Jacob face-to-face, Ben became…Ben.

We know from Season 5, when we see through time travel Danielle and her crew after their shipwreck, how she became convinced that her crew was infected with some disease which was turning them against her. She was right about this, as the man who had clearly loved her and fathered her soon-to-be-born baby Alex, tried to shoot her in cold blood. In season 6, we see the exact same “infection” happening to Sayid and others. He goes to try to kill the Man in Black, and is warned by those who know the Truth, not to let him speak. If the MiB speaks, it will be too late. But Sayid lets him speak to him, and he loses himself to the Man in Black, becoming a virtual zombie for most of the last season before he, also, dies in a heroic act of self-sacrifice. This must be the same “sickness” which turned Danielle’s crew against her, ruined countless Others as they sought to protect the Island but were actually being deceived by the Man in Black, and eventually deceived both Claire and Sayid.

There is something said by Danielle in this episode, though, which I believe was a mistake of the writers. She tells Sayid that “they” were carriers of the sickness that got her crew. Sayid asks her who she means, and she says “The Others”, the first time that word is applied to them. This much is proven correct. But then Sayid asks her about the Others, and she says she has never seen them, but she has heard them in the jungle, whispering. First of all, we find out in Season 6 that the whispering voices are those who have died on the island and not been able to move on, in a kind of island purgatory, and are not the Others at all. Danielle could have been making a mistake, but I also find it incredible that Danielle would have been on the island for 16 years and not seen one of the Others. She is an expert at hiding and ambushing, so it makes sense they may not have seen her, but to have never seen one of them- doubtful. The revelation about the whispering voices in season 6 happens almost as an afterthought, and is not tied to the living Others at all. I believe this is a major inconsistency by the writers, and one of the areas in which the ball was dropped.

Additionally, as Sayid warns Danielle to be careful of the monster in the jungle, she says there’s no such thing as monsters. Surely she has seen the smoke in the 16 years she’s been there, so what’s the deal? What does she think the smoke is, if not a monster?

It is also important to note that Ethan, our first “Other”, appears in this episode, posing as a survivor from Flight 815. I find it perfect that Locke is the one with whom he first shows up. Of course, Locke was not directly responsible for Ethan being a fox in their chicken coup. (Was it the beginning of Season 3 when we saw how Ethan and Goodwin were both sent by Ben to gain the trust of the survivors and find out as much as they could about them?) But as I mentioned a couple of posts back, Locke is easily led down the wrong path. Could this be an indication by the writers that the Others are discovering this weakness in John as early as this episode? Whether or not this is the case, it works beautifully.

Standout elements this episode:

The Black Rock slave ship is mentioned for the first time by Danielle.

There is a nice parallel scene with one from Season 5. Here, Danielle and Sayid stand facing each other with rifles pulled on one another, and she speaks of how her love Robert tried the same thing, and did not know she had broken the gun. In Season 5, we see this scene play out, as she and Robert face each other. He convinces her to lower her gun by saying that he loves her, and when she does, he pulls the trigger. It does not work, and she kills Robert. She does not, however, kill Sayid.

During a flashback of Sayid torturing a guy for the Republican Guard, they pull a Hunt for Red October technique, to go from subtitles to speaking English, a technique I always thought was pretty brilliant. They slowly zoom in on Sayid’s mouth as he speaks his native language, and zoom out as he switches to English.

Also, Hurley builds a golf course.

SNT: 32
To Jack: Dr. Quinn (one of my faves)
To Kate: Freckles

About Kristi Israel