LOST Season Six: More Thoughts on LAX

I’m still unpacking from Tuesday night’s data dump. The more I think about the episode, the more I like it. (A second viewing certainly didn’t hurt either.) I think my initial reaction was just pushing back from this “parallel universe” idea. (Since I’ve stayed spoiler-free, I had no idea this was coming.) However, I’m more and more intrigued by the concept of what would have happened if Oceanic had never crashed and how these characters fates would have been different. We’ve already been given a little insight into this: Hurley’s luck, Shannon’s absence on 815, no Michael or Walt sitting near Hurley, etc.

Yet, there were also plenty of parallels. Jack mending his wound in the airplane bathroom parallels his “physician, heal thyself” moment on the beach in the early part of Episode 1. Boone’s comments to Locke (“If this thing goes down, I’m sticking with you.”) are indicative of the Obi-Wan / Luke relationship the two shared on the Island. Kate’s marshall suffers the same kind of head injury in both realities. So the big question that emerges out of “LA X, Parts 1 & 2” is the same question we’ve been asking for a while now: free will or destiny? The episode seems to go out of its way to show that no matter the circumstances, Jack is destined to rush to help people and fix problems; and he seems destined to be hated for it no matter what — on the Island, by Sawyer (who blames Jack for Juliet’s death); and on the plane by Charlie (who makes the cryptic comment to Jack, “I was supposed to die.”).

But the great irony here is that Juliet is the one responsible for her death. In the S5 finale, it was her choice to jump the Dharma guy with the OJ, break out of the handcuffs and commandeer the sub back to the Island. It was also her choice to go along with Jack’s plan to detonate Jughead, albeit a choice spurned on by her assumption that Sawyer still harbors strong feelings for Kate. In the same way, it seems that Charlie is destined to die; however, Island Charlie chooses the noble death (saving his friends by dying in the Looking Glass station) afforded him by Desmond’s many rescue attempts.

So again we ask: Is Jack destined to be hated for his heroism? Or is his plight more a result of the free choices of those around him?

In this episode, Jack tries to revive Sayid after he’s “died”; Kate tells him to stop and eventually he does. I think we’re meant to recall the similar scene from Season 1, where Jack is trying desperately to revive Charlie after it appears that he’s been hung by Ethan. Jack pumps away, Kate tells him to stop, he doesn’t…and Charlie is miraculously revived. The difference here is that Jack has finally learned to let go of the things he has no control over. Don’t think that’s not important.

Desmond Hume aboard Oceanic Flight 815

The big wild card here is Desmond. I think he’s the key to understanding this. Maybe he’s mastered the whole time-traveling-consciousness thing and thus he’s able to materialize on the plane for a brief moment. Since “the rules don’t apply” to Desmond, I have a feeling we’ll learn that this isn’t 2004 pre-Island Desmond. I think he’s able to shift between realities, to see in “real time” (whatever that means) the same thing Juliet saw just before she died and thought, “It worked”.This screen grab seems to indicate that Desmond is wearing a wedding ring; could it be that 2007 Desmond (who is married to Penelope and father to Charlie) is somehow interacting with this alternate world to bring about some ultimate outcome? I don’t know and the whole thing makes my head hurt. But I think I may be on to something here.

Anyway, now I’m thinking Sayid never really died at all. If he did, then Miles should’ve been able to communicate with him. But just before Sayid is “resurrected”, Miles is looking at his body with a perplexed look on his face. When Hurley asks him what’s wrong, Miles just replies, “Nothing.” Maybe Sayid was never really dead to begin with; I’m thinking we’re seeing the same thing that happened to young Ben when Kate and Sawyer took him to the Others in 1977.

Once again, I’m amazed at this show’s ability to get me to think about weighty issues. I completely forgot to mention the “afterlife” themes that run through the show: Sayid’s rumination about where he’ll go upon death; Juliet’s curtain-being-pulled-back moment prior to her passing; the ankh in the guitar case, which is the Egyptian symbol for eternal life. I’m not sure what it all means, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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9 Responses to LOST Season Six: More Thoughts on LAX

  1. Dylan says:

    It sounds like you’ve been reading Doc Jensen.

    I also caught the parallels with Jack’s doing CPR on Sayid with his successful CPR on Charlie in season one. When he was doing it I was thinking to myself, “Is he going to save him the same way he saved Charlie. That’s kind of lazy writing (especially because JJ Abrams already re-used that scene with Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3). Kate even did the “Jack, stop” line, the camera zoomed out the same way it zoomed out when we thought Charlie was dead. But yeah, Jack stopped this time. I think he is finally reaching the conclusion that he can’t try to “fix” (his ex-wife’s main gripe with him). He sees that he finally failed in his attempt to “fix” the future (even though I guess he technically succeeded), so he lets other people try to fix things. He lets Hurley take Sayid to the temple. He lets the Others hold Sayid in the water. He finally admits his own powerlessness and imperfections (when he tells Sawyer almost helplessly, “I’m sorry. I thought it would work.” I just hope Jack isn’t as passive as he was in season 5. I still miss seasons 1-4, hard core Jack.

    • Jason says:

      Jensen is always the first reviewer I read after each episode. But most of these thoughts came as I was reading a different review over at http://nikkistafford.blogspot.com

      For most of S5, you’re right, Jack was pretty much resigned to let whatever happened happen. Even as he prepares to detonate the bomb, he tells Sawyer (speaking of Kate), “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” But I saw a glimpse of the old Jack in this episode. The fact that he even tried to save Sayid showed more fire in the belly than we saw for most of S5. Also, as the Others were drowning Sayid, Jack was the only one who moved forward to try and stop it before Crouching Tiger jacked him in the neck. So even though Jack is more aware than ever of his failings and what they’ve cost him in terms of bloodshed, I think we’ll eventually see the pendulum swing back to — as you referred to him — hard core Jack, although I think he’ll be a bit more open to the mystical elements of his Island destiny this time around.

      I meant to put this in my “more thoughts” article, but did you notice what the dude with the John Lennon glasses said to Jack just before Sayid woke up? He was asking Jack to come with them; Jack refused; then dude says something like, “I’m asking nicely, but if you don’t come, we’ll have to take you down there ourselves.” (Something like that.) I’m wondering if by “down there”, they’re referring to the bowels of the Temple where Ben was “judged” by Smokey. Until I see the list, I’m not convinced that everyone’s name was really on it. Way back in S3, Danny made the comment that Jack’s name was never on any of Jacob’s lists. I wonder why that would change now. I don’t know, that’s kind of a wild hair. But I’d love to see the “real” list to see which names were actually on it.

  2. Dylan says:

    Do you know if Darlton is doing the official lost podcast this season? I haven’t seen a new one come up yet.

  3. Jason says:

    New audio podcast is up. Listening to it right now.

  4. Lane Widick says:

    As I was re-watching the episode today, I had the same thought about Miles not “sensing” or “feeling” the dead spirit of Sayid. It brings about many thoughts and questions, most notably:

    1. Was Sayid ever dead
    2. Did Miles sense that it was not longer Sayid, but possibly someone else, like Jacob, or possibly someone else?

    One other thing that I’m really liking that no one on any of the reviews seems to be talking about is the tremendous acting by Michael Emerson. He’s gone from having total confidence to almost being deathly afraid. Of course, he’s seeing things that even HE has never seen. He just doesn’t seem to be the same Ben at all.

    • Jason says:

      Lane,
      I’m thinking Sayid was never really “dead” and that’s why Miles looked so surprised or weirded out or whatever. He knew that something wasn’t right. I think we were witnessing the same thing that saved young Ben; but I have a feeling that the fact that the water was murky will have some kind of implication for Sayid’s future; maybe it means he’ll completely give in to the darker side of his character. We’ve seen him vacillate between good and bad; I’m wondering if the worst is yet to come for our man Sayid.

      Here’s what is beautiful and ironic about this storyline: Sayid shoots young Ben; young Ben is taken to the Temple, but there are implications for his salvation — he will lose his innocence and he’ll always be an Other; this prompts the Dharma folk to view Sayid as a “hostile, culminating in Sayid being shot in the stomach; which leads to Jacob telling Hurley to take Sayid to the Temple; which leads to Sayid experiencing the same “salvation” that ultimately put Ben on the path to becoming a lying, manipulative deviant; which is why Sayid shot him in the first place.

      That paragraph took a lot out of me. I need an aspirin now. 🙂

      But you’re right — Michael Emerson is incredible. I’d be OK if he and Terry O’Quinn just spent the rest of the season sharing scenes together. They’re just awesome together. Did you notice how evil FLocke looks with those sinister glares? Yikes.

  5. Dylan says:

    So what we learned from the podcast:

    Both flash sideways are NOT alternate realities, but are both equally real and will eventually reconcile.

    The flashsideways will help us understand who our characters are better. The response to the question of “why should we care?” is “be patient.”

    A lot more has changed than we realize in the flashsideways, and understanding what has changed will be a continuing mystery this season.

    There are consequences to the murky water in the Temple

    Walt’s ability to kill birds will remain a mystery and will not be answered.

    White stones are tough negotiators.

  6. Jason says:

    I’m not sure how these timelines can be reconciled. At this point, I’m along for the ride, but I’m just not sure how it can work effectively.

    I am intrigued by the “what has changed” possibilities.

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