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.
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!!!