Lost – ‘The Cost of Living’ – 3.5

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I’m a bit late getting this post out – seeing as how we’re sitting at the near precipice of this season staring down the last episode of 2006 that is due to air tomorrow night. Still, I wanted to make sure I posted my observations on the Eko-centric ‘The Cost of Living‘ before dropping my thoughts on tomorrow’s night’s ‘I Do’ (guest starring Nathan Fillion) – which I promise to post by the weekend.

Anyway, this was a good episode that offered a lot to chew on. My thoughts:

1.   While the night belonged to Eko, I’ll get to his fate in a moment. Before touching on the interesting questions raised by Eko’s tragic end – and the subtle answers offered up – I wanted to touch on two other revelations.

2.   The first involves a discovery made during Locke’s return to The Pearl. At the suggestion of Mrs. Exposition – one of the two new ‘former background players’ who have been drafted to the Bigs this season – Locke and Desmond fired up the Pearl’s bank of retro monitors (on loan from the Matrix‘ Architect). Most screens showed snow (in addition to zapping Dezzie’s clothes it appears the Hatch blast nuked the CCTV feed as well). Then one screen flickered to life and through stark black and white cathode, Locke and co. spied a bank of reel-to-reel computers. As Locke drew close to the screen a mysterious one-eyed man appeared on screen, well aware that he was being observed. As Locke put it, “I guess he’ll be expecting us.

3.   I liked the brief intro to Cyclops as it shows the writers are keepings tabs on the loosest of plot strands. Last season – when the Tailies were introduced – Ana Lucia discovered a glass eye left behind in the abandoned hatch. I think we may have located its owner.

4.   The other big development involved Jack’s recruitment as Ben’s personal surgeon. Early in the episode, it was confirmed that the X-Rays that Jack spied do indeed belong to Ben. In a potent exchange, Ben asked Jack if he believed in God. Jack deferred the question back to Ben who replied “Two days after I discovered I had a life-threatening tumor growing on my spine – a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky.” I think this exchange compliments the Eko arc nicely (which I’ll get to in a minute) and helps underscore my other island theory.

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5.   In a surprise twist, Juliet implores Jack – via a covert videotaped message – that he should operate on Ben and kill him during surgery. “He is a liar… and very dangerous.” I thought this whole sequence was chilling and upon later reflection, there’s so many ways this could be interpreted. Either Juliet is telling the truth and a regime change is required or this is all a test to see how Jack will react. If he goes forward with the deception and tries to off Ben in surgery, Jack fails his ‘judgment’ and is revealed to be ‘not a good person’ and thus unfit for their island utopia. If he warns Ben, then he is brought into the fold. Then there is the idea that Ben is not bad – but is in charge – and it’s Juliet with an agenda who needs him out of the way. Seeing as how creepy Ben ALWAYS is – I’m prone to dismiss that and take Juliet on face value. I think Ben is dangerous – but I’m not sure Jack is going to be able to assist. If all they need is Ben out of the way, they could just let the tumor advance and get rid of him the old fashioned way.

6.   Alas, poor Eko. We knew him… kinda. Although it seems a little foolish that Locke had to go to all that trouble just two weeks ago to save Eko’s hide from the polar bear only to have old Smokey lay the smackdown on our favorite Warrior Priest – I’m glad he did because Eko’s encounter gave us some more insight into this mysterious island menace.

7.   Based on Eko’s multiple encounters with Smokey, I think we can safely eliminate the ridiculous nanobots theory. I think Smokey falls less on the side of science and more on the side of faith. Therefore, I do not believe it is a security system controlled by The Others.

8.   The biggest clue to Smokey’s true identity comes in the final exchange with Eko and Yemi. “You speak to me as if I were your brother.” I think it is pretty clear that anyone who has had a visit from the dead has basically been conversing with Smokey and his mighty morphing parlor tricks. Now Locke claimed that when he had a visitation, he saw a beautiful white light. Eko – with that dark cloud dodging his steps – replies “That is not what I saw.” With all of the talk of judgment in this episode, I think Smokey is something more spiritual in nature. It is a judging force – one that presents itself as an agent of Good or Evil depending on the person in question. Jack saw his Dad who led him to water in Season 1. Locke encountered a brilliant white light and looked “deep within the island” – enhancing his belief in the island. Eko – with his murderous past and his refusal to atone for the life he was granted – was enveloped by darkness.

9.   My theory – this island may not be purgatory but it could be ‘Eden’. The two bodies in the cave – Adam and Eve. Perhaps this is the birthplace of pure good and evil in the world. Forget your scripture – Good and Evil are sentient forces (at least in Lost land) and here on this fantasy island is where it all began. That helps explain why Danielle killed her crew. “They were infected.” She couldn’t let them get off the island – for if pure evil made it to the mainland – it would mean the end of the world. This ties in with the numbers being broadcast and certain individuals (like Hurley) picking them up thousands of miles away. Good and Evil – emanating from this island – can influence behavior the world over and as long as they are contained on this island, the necessary balance is maintained. But if the cloud were to escape – all bets are off.

10.   All this adds up to one staggering conclusion. If that dark cloud is a swirling, malevolent force of judgment whose fury can render non-penitent men asunder – that Greg Grunberg must have been one helluva’ naughty pilot!!!

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Comments now closed (4)

  • Well, I guess I won’t talk to you about the show the day after if you’re just going to steal my Greg Grunberg jokes 😉

  • Thanks for all the Doogie material… oh wait, you’re not the guy who watches How I Met Your Mother.

  • Up front, I haven’t watched tonight’s episode yet, so some of this may change, but I wanted to track my thoughts on this one first…

    Well, as I already mentioned to you, I was worried that Eko was gonna get the ax when you told me someone major was going to buy it. I guess with his death, that pretty much clears out all the Tailies of any significance (I don’t count Bernard or any that the Others took). You know, if I were the two new tag-alongs to the Pearl, I’d stay clear of the lead crew and chill on the beach. I guess these noobs are the next red shirts to buy it. I hope they off the guy dropping a deuce bombing the harbor in the Pearl loo (Harbor) first. I’m digging on the new eye candy.

    As for the new eye candy, her observation shouldn’t have been new to Locke. I thought he feigned ignorance about the other hatches. After all, he viewed the tape, saw Jack in their hatch, the vacuum tubes, the computer printouts, etc. last season. BTW – The guy in the monitor with the eye patch looked an awful lot like Michael Ironside to me and we all know he’s usually a bad ass. No idea if it was him though…

    We also talked about Smokey and Eko and you told me you thought Smokey was fine with Eko until Eko told Yemi (Smokey) that he didn’t regret the decisions and actions of his path in life. If Smokey wanted to kill Eko, why didn’t it doe it as Yemi right then? Why wait until Eko followed Yemi into the forest? Do you think it is possible that Smokey and the thing that can morph into people aren’t the same thing? Perhaps the morph is more benevolent than Smokey. I’m pulling this out of arse right now, but Smokey gathers the intel and lays down the smackdown, but the morph is its master.

    I believe Juliet is following her own agenda, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I believe she’s much better than Ben.

    Not much fanfare around the return of Sayid, Sun and Jin I guess. No one cares what happened to them???