Can you believe we are one episode away from the break – and only six away from season’s end? Where’d the time go?
Well, if I had some minor criticisms last week with the narrative flow, this week all was restored – even if I did feel that the writers employed a narrative cheat in telling the tale of Ji Yeon. More on that below. That said, I thought this was a great episode, that hit many bases and brought us equal doses of heart and mystery.
On with the show.
1. Ji Yeon is the name that Jin has chosen for this new baby girl. Of course, her mere existence brings back a whole host of questions – all of which have been hidden from Jin to date. As his command of English blossoms and Sun’s actions become more desperate, the two elements conspire to reveal these secrets to Jin. So it’s through this episode, and Juliet’s slap-worthy revelations, that Jin learns that Sun cheated on him, that her baby is indeed his and that women on this island don’t live beyond their 2nd trimester.
2. As we have seen in past episodes, Jin and Sun’s island sojourn have done wonders to repair their marriage. Jin has found escape from his hard life as hired gun to Mr. Paik, Sun’s gangster father. That was the big tell in the flashbacks/flashforwards. Seeing Jin race around the streets of Korea in desperate search for a big ass panda immediately instilled doubt in my mind. We know Sun wanted to raise her daughter in Seoul but Jin is looking for a fresh start and a break from her Dad’s controlling influence. Hence his desire to relocate to Albuquerque. Anywhere but Korea. So seeing him back home made me think that his tale was a flashback. Yet, we knew from Sun’s condition, that she was inhabiting a flash forward.
3. And that’s the nagging narrative trick that slightly irked me. It made sense to see Sun’s flashforward as it jibes with the way the rest of this season has played out – seeing who made it off the island and how their lives had degraded (although Sun seems a little better off despite the final, fateful shot of the night). But I’m not clear why we got Jin’s flashback. It really didn’t serve up new information and really just served to keep the viewer off the trail of “Where is Jin?” By interspersing his odyssey among Sun’s delivery scenes, we were kept from wondering too loudly, but it sort of feels like a cheat to save the final shocker a secret until the final moments. Again, not an episode killer but not a device we’ve seen the writers employ on this series. They’re usually more clever than that. (BTW They did plant a little clue in Jin’s scenes to clue us in to the flashback. When he returns to the toy store to buy a 2nd panda, the proprietor offers him a Dragon. “It’s the Year of the Dragon. Very popular.” The last Year of the Dragon was in 2000. The next isn’t until 2012.)
4. With all that said, Jin’s not dead. Not by a long shot. Just look at that headstone. Accoridng to it – his date of death is 9/22/04 – the very day Flight 815 crashed in the South Pacific. My take on this is Jin and Sun were separated – only she could leave and he is still back on the island – hence he is one of the 334 ‘confirmed dead’ passengers. Sun, like the rest of the Oceanic 6, has to live a lie – so she visits Jin’s grave to communicate with him – to keep that connection. She knows he’s out there and it saddens her to no end that he could not be present for the birth of their child. In fact, she may think she’ll never see him again so for all intents, he really is dead to her. But mark my words, he’s still out there.
5. Meet Kevin Johnson. So now we know who the mole on the ship is and it’s none other than our old friend – Kevin Johnson, errrr, Michael. Of course, that opens a whole host of questions. Where’s Walt? Why is Michael on this ship? And if Michael merely left 30 days or so ago (remember – it’s only Dec. 2004 in Lost’s chronology) how did Michael sail away, get Walt safe, get a new identity and infiltrate Charles Widemore’s organization in order to board his Freaky Freighter?
6. So here comes my outlandish theory. Those coordinates that Ben gave Michael? What if they never led to home but led to someplace else on the island or somewhere else in time. If the time travel theories are correct – then Ben could have gotten to Michael, grabbed Walt or made sure he was safe, and pressed Michael back into service on his behalf. Maybe he showed him the big picture and let him know how things would unfold – providing Michael with compelling evidence to help out. And then he sent him back through time, far enough back that he could join up with the Widemore warriors and put him in the exact position that Ben would need him in at this future (present) date?
7. The moment I wrote that, another crazy theory popped in my head. What if (and this is a huge What If?) Ben offered to rewrite history for Walt? To make it so neither one of them ever had to step foot on Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney to LA? All Michael would have to do is take a little trip back into time (his conscience) change his past self’s actions and then payback Ben for this ability to rewrite time and save Walt from ever experiencing the abduction and whatever experimentation came along with it. As crazy as that sounds, I can’t think of any other way that Michael could get home, get Walt safely looked after and then infiltrate a secret organization and board their freighter as hired help when the person running that clandestine operation knows the identities of everyone on board Flight 815 in the first place – at least he would have to as we all know it is Charles Widemore who planted that wreckage in the South Pacific and therefore he would have to have placed bodies to account for Michael and Walt. But if Michael and Walt were never on board Flight 815, then the problem is solved. Although, now we’re opening paradoxes and those always get messy.
8. Besides, as Michael warned Desmond and Sayid, the Captain is not to be trusted.
9. Sure, the Captain spins a nice yarn and does what the best liars do – he sprinkles in enough truth to make it all seem plausible – or at least to inject enough plausible deniability should he ever be called upon it. As he produces that black box from the sprinkled remains of the faux Flight 815 and drops word to Desmond that his freighter and mission is bankrolled by Penny’s papi, there’s enough there to make these guys believe that the Captain is on the up and up. Of course, we’ve got this tale being told to our resident Iraqi interrogator and torturer and we know that Sayid never takes things on face value – certainly not after being warned up front not to trust a damned word the Captain says. Plus, there was Frank’s final words to Sayid’s statement that he wants to speak with the captain. As Frank so ominously put it – “No you don’t.”
10. Now, the big question is, where is Frank and what is this secret mission he was tasked with? All I know is, he certainly didn’t seem happy about it. I have a feeling Frank (along with Faraday and Charlotte) will end up helping our heroes in the long run.
11. The other big question (and one I have an answer for) is what’s going on with the freighter folk. First Minkowski (the radio operator) starts tripping through time and contracts a fatal aneurysm for his troubles. Then in this episode, we find someone has painted Sayid’s new bedroom walls with Brain Matter Burgundy (I think Glidden makes it) which, of course, leads to our introduction to Kevin Johnson. And, finally, Regina is first spotted by Frank reading a book upside down before finally adorning herself in chain mail and taking the Nestea plunge. So what’s up with the crew? I think we’re witnessing the same sickness that Danielle (the Frenchwoman’s) research crew came down with in her report. As you’ll recall, Danielle ended up killing all of the members of her party due to some madness that they contracted. She, of course, did not contract the same malady meaning some people may have a natural immunity to whatever drives some people nuts and sends others through time. Anyway, it’s obvious something is driving them crazy on that ship and it can’t be just the Lima Beans. Although, that would certainly do me in.
12. Last thing – so now we have our final Oceanic 6. Jack. Kate. Sayid. Hurley. Sun. Aaron. One last thing on that – anyone find it curious that Hurley was the only one to visit Sun and she replied that nobody else was coming, he replied “Good!” Just being goofy Hurley or is he starting to drift away from the others?
That’s all for now.