who's John Cabrera?

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You can’t cast away what you’ve already lost

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So Rae Hanson was in town this week, and day before yesterday I treated her to a celebratory lunch for her crushing Lark win last season. I also presented her with this trophy… I’m showing you all simply to make you jealous.

Anyway, we naturally spent a good portion of our lunch Losting la vida loca. She and fellow Larker Amrie (who was also in town for the week) seemed to share my feelings that the episode was kind of a wet sock. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s how I’ve felt about all this temple stuff, to be honest. I mean, wet socks are just really annoying… right, Rae? Amrie, I know you absolutely hate them.

My beef, once again, was that there just didn’t seem to be much new information. I mean so much of what we saw, we already knew was coming… perhaps with the exception of The A-Team’s entrance there at the end. I mean, Smokey on his way to the Temple; Smokey manipulating someone into doing his bidding; Dogan trying once again to kill Sayid on the sly; me making the same A-Team joke I made the other day during our lunch.

I didn’t even really know what I’d write about here. I just wasn’t inspired.

BUT…… there was a turn for me that day. I wound up talking more and more about the episode with others… and a bit to myself. (Sure, I talk to myself. Who doesn’t?) It culminated at a birthday party later that evening, where about 6 of us were standing around intensely sharing our theories.

And suddenly, I can’t explain it… I sorta loved the episode. It was strange. It was as though… I don’t know… I was consumed by the need to get my show back; to be finally reunited with it. And if I was to find out Kate, God forbid, was raising this show…

I’d kill’er.

My friend Stevie made an interesting comparison to Myst, a video game the creators admit being influenced by. If you don’t know the game, it’s about an Island with strange properties: scientific anomalies, teleportation, time travel, hatches… but most interestingly (and I guess I’d never really thought about this until Stevie mentioned it)… the plot heavily revolves around two brothers who are vying for control of the Island. But at the start of the game, they both seem to have been ensnared by the other… trapped within the pages of two different books. And each brother is separately imploring you for help; warning you against the other.

The question you find yourself asking is… who’s the good guy? The answer, it turns out, may be much more complicated than a simple black or white (or in the case of the game, red or blue).

And this question forms the core of many similar Lost conversations: Who to believe here on the Island. Ben? Locke? Widmore? Hawking? Christian? Richard?… and now, more relevantly, our two opposite “pseudo-sibling” forces… Jacob or FLock? Which one is Good? Which one is Evil?

Or is there really any Good and Evil in this world at all? Aren’t most of these actions just rooted in reasonable human need? Doesn’t it all just depend on which side of the game board you’re viewing it from. We don’t sit down at a game of chess or backgammon and say, “I’m gonna play the evil side today.” Black and white are just the colors we use to distinguish the two sides. They both adhere to the same set of rules for gameplay.

But there is an infection. Right? I think at this point, it’s pretty clear something’s growing inside a few of our Losties. Or perhaps just more obvious in them than others. But I guess it isn’t clear what exactly. And where does one “catch the bug”, if you will.

Well, I can’t help noticing all the “Lord of the Flies” similarities lately, another clear influence on the show. Particularly this “seed of evil” theme. The idea that a small piece of evil sits dormant in all of us… been there since our birth… original… waiting for the right conditions to germinate… and once it does, if left unchecked, on say a lost Island, over 1000 miles from civilization, it will grow and eventually consume the person.

When Sayid woke from death, it was thought that something had changed in him. That he was somehow infected by something that wasn’t there before. Now, it’s obvious he’s sick. And that most likely it’s the same sickness that consumes Claire. But I think it’s interesting to note, that until Sayid came in contact with FLock, there really wasn’t anything out of character with the guy. He was a little discombobulated, sure; seemed confused by the torture, understandable, although I’m sure also reminded of how capable he is of the same. He was still loyal to his friends, though. He accepted Dogan’s deal to prove his virtue. I suppose, to prove to himself, more than anyone, that he is “good”. I mean, that has always been a theme for this character, right? So in a way, this “sickness” isn’t new. It just goes in and out of remission.

And every time it comes out, whether it be in his real life or his Alti-life, it’s used as a sort of bargaining chip. Or perhaps the deal is what brings it out at all. Observe:

“If you torture these traitors, you will see glory.”

“If you torture Sawyer, Shannon will live.”

“If you assasinate for Ben, you will save your friends.”

“If you kill this boy, he will not grow into a monster.”

“If you plunge this dagger into this evil incarnate, we will accept you here at the Temple.”

“If you kill these men, you will help free me of my debt, brother.”

“If you kill the protector of the Temple, I will give you your Nadia back.”

But is Sayid really alone here. It’s likely Claire was made a similar deal to get her Aaron back. Because for Claire, that’s what it would take. It’s not about her being exposed to a contagion. This is who she is, always. Under the right circumstances, that is how her seed will germinate and how the cancer will consume her. Both on the Island and off… in this universe and in every other parallel universe that exists.

In a sense these “seeds” are a universal truth about these people. They link every story that has, will, or could be told about them. If the deal is right, Sayid will always kill. And from his side of the game board, those deals will always seem reasonable, even if a bit brutal. A pretty effective way to move a game piece, wouldn’t you say?

In fact, think of it like this: an infected game piece, may simply be a piece that’s… “in-play”.

Because make no mistake, on the other side of the game board, similar deals are being made that seem equally as reasonable… or unreasonable depending on where you’re sitting.

“Protect this Temple from the evil incarnate at all costs… that goes for lying, kidnapping, inflicting emotional and physical pain, poisoning… do these things and I will give you your son back.”

Whoa, that’s… kinda… extreme… wouldn’t you say?

“You have a choice, though. You still have free will.”

Really? Because that doesn’t sound like free will to me. That sounds like powerful manipulation. It also sound like the infection is just a convenient way to explain to your “game pieces” why the other side’s “game pieces” are behaving so… unreasonably.

Anyway, blah blah blah… You know where I’m going with this.

As for big jaw dropping theories, I’m still working with my two biggies:

1.) The Island is a ship that wrecked on earth a long time ago. Its stranded sailors teaching primitive humans the knowledge needed to form civilizations.
2.) Jack, Christian, and Jack’s new Alti-son, David, are somehow, through all of this time traveling… the same person.

I’m actually doing some intensive work on that second theory… I know it’s not quite there yet. But I do need to get it ready for a gentleman’s bet with James Gunn. Believe it or not, he thinks I’m out of my mind; tried to get me to accept a $5 wager night before last. I’ll admit, I got a little nervous in the moment and backed down.

But I think I can do this.

I really do.

Oh, by the way, I’m listening to this song by Vandaveer right now. I thought you’d like to hear it, if you haven’t already… even though it has absolutely NOTHING to do with Lost.

Rev your engines
Cross your hearts
We’re sailing off to mars
We’re the travelers from afar

Pass cast aways on ship wrecks stars
Dark in empty bars
We’re light years on this cruise
You wait half your life for a brand new start
You learned your lines, you end your part
You’re all battered up and bruised

You always had a roman candle for a heart
Now you gotta firm grip on things for a start
I suppose that’s a part of growing old
Oh oh growing old

See?! I’m more than just Lost and So You Think You Can Dance! I’m a very complex dude!

22 Comments

  1. I had the same initial feelings about this episode, and it was mostly the promo departments fault. They made it sound like something ridiculous was going to happen and they couldn’t show anything, but really it was just an episode filled with things we knew were coming. Had I not been bombarded with that promo all week, I probably wouldn’t have walked away as disappointed as I did.

    I noticed that about Sayid as well, how he didn’t really turn until after he talked to FLocke, but still found it a little jarring, even sudden. Mostly because Sayid’s been sitting in the background for six episodes with not more than a line or two. I kept expecting him to die in his sideways, and that somehow that would have an affect on his island self. I think I would’ve bought into the transition to “evil” a little more had that happened.

    The only thing that I don’t understand is how exactly Dogan was the only thing keeping FLocke out. They showed the ash in the episode, we’ve seen it work… is Dogan tied to its effectiveness?

    In the end, after sitting with it, I liked the episode. Still wish more happened, but I liked it.

  2. I wonder if the “contagion” is greed or plain old selfishness? I think you may be correct in paralleling ClaireTheWildThingsAre and Sayid in the whole bargaining-manipulation theory. I don’t remember a time where either of them sacrificed something for the good of the whole or were unselfish or particularly giving in any way; except for Alti-Claire who offered Alti-Kate her credit card, but again, only because Alti-Kate helped her out.

    I think Alti-Sayid said it best when killing strange-scary-mobster-fella he was asked to just let it go, he said “I can’t” and pulled the trigger. I think you’re right in that it’s just his nature; he kills. He doesn’t always like it, but sometimes he does. He manages to be ok with the killing.

    Did anyone else see the LOOK that FLocke gave Kate as she exited the Temple?? Great Googley-Moogley I thought she was going to get tromped on the spot! I wonder if she’s the key to the whole thing; her character has always swung like a pendulum.

  3. I think the secret key of the ep is how/why the stewardess and her little ragged children/servants were all up with Jacob and the Others then quickly switched teams to stand with Flocke. Obviously this chick is sitting on some massive secrets, and I’d kind of like someone to get her to talk. Ironically, the Sayid ep is over…

    My biggest problem (and still is, grumble grumble) was the insane love triangle w/Sayid’s brother and Nadia. (Nadya?) Honestly, what kind of idiot brother would be all, “Hey, great to see you bro… Listen, I’m kind of behind on balancing my checkbook or whatever, so could you do me a solid and crack some heads at the bank? If not for me, for the woman you love that I happened to marry and have kids with… Oh you have moral issues with this, well I mean you DID torture people 10 years ago and these are EVIL LENDERS!!” And conversely, what kind of idiot brother would do such a deed, even if they were loan sharks? And yeah yeah, somehow it’s connected to Jin, but it really seemed unnecessary to show that Sayid will do bad stuff in an alt universe too. We get it. Everyone has a price.

    Well that and it’s a damn shame Sayid didn’t stab Kate when he had the chance.

  4. Yeah, but Lizz, I think the aim is to dispel this notion that our characters live by a different set of rules in the Alti-Verse. I feel there’s a tendency to believe that somehow this Alti-verse is a corrected (or in some cases deevolved) version of the first-Verse. And I just don’t think it is. These people are just doing what’s in their nature. The whole concept of “infection”, is just a red herring, I think.

    And what’s so much more violent or “evil” with Sayid, than all the crazy stuff we’ve seen the characters do. I mean, Locke is one of the more beloved characters on this show… that dude, threw a knife in a girls back!

  5. I actually dug the ep. All I kept thinking was – it’s not as clear as black and white. Who says one is good and one is evil. I feel like we’ve been led to believe that Jacob is good, but I can’t remember WHY… Maybe he’s evil as the devil himself (he does play the devil on Supernatural – haha) My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I can’t shake it. And you seem to have stated it all much better than I could have. It all depends on what side you are looking at it from.

    The whole Jin in the freezer thing… If I remember right he seemed surprised by the money. What if SUN borrowed it – so she could A) escape FROM Jin or B) Escape from Daddy WITH Jin….

    Keemie is a bad dude. Sorry to see him die. Again.

    It’s so strange what this show does to me. I am SO EXCITED to watch it on Tuesdays and so damned disappointed when the hour is over. I definitely feel the “ramp up” to the end. I’m very nervous about the finale though….

  6. That’s RIGHT we HAVE seen strange-scary-mobster-fella before!! He was one of the men Widmore sent to the island to kill/kidnap Ben!

    I felt bad for Miyagi when Sayid turned on him; plus, something tells me that spring water is useless now that Lennon bled to death in it (gross).

  7. Can we talk about Ben’s seed for a moment?

    Sayid shot Ben.
    Ben’s dad shot Sayid
    Ben was healed in the temple waters (in the 70’s)
    Sayid was healed in the waters (in 2007)
    Ben spent years doing evil deeds in Jacob’s name after he was healed.
    Sayid tried to redeem his name after he was healed.
    Ben talked to FLocke and killed Jacob for him.
    Sayid talked to FLocke and killed Dogen for him.
    Ben is now with the A-Team.
    Sayid is now cruisin’ with Team Flocke.

    What does this say about Ben’s seed? Sayid’s seed? The Temple Waters? How sad I am that Sayid is evil?

  8. P! I’m trying to say that Sayid is not evil! No more than Dogan was. He’s just taken up a different side here. I mean, even all those strange looks he was giving at the end of this episode… how different are they really from the strange looks he’s been giving on this show since season 1?

    Good observation on these parallels though.

  9. Sorry if there was an implication that what you were saying was that Sayid is evil. That last little comment was just me being sad that currently Sayid appears to be all Darth-id. And that makes me sad.

    I was more interested in you idea of this seed. And why is it that Ben is reacting differently after talking to FLocke and killing Jacob. The two did the same thing so why is it that…. oh. Wait.

    Sayid has always been an avenger of sorts. Sure, he kills but usually with good reason (if there is such a thing.)
    Then there is Ben… who has always played the victim.
    Basically… Sayid is a person who owns what he has done… which we see in Alt World by how he says he doesn’t deserved Nadia. He may not like the stuff he does but he knows there is a dark side in him that he’d like to surpress.
    But Ben is more like… “why me” guy… I only tried to do good, dude but everyone is always against me, wah wah guy.

    Where… why do I always seem to talk myself out of confusion when I am typing comments on your blog. See? I talk to myself too.

    Anyway… I just want Alt World Sayid to stay good and swing over with Alt-Jack, Alt-Locke and the rest of Alt-crew, to the island universe and save them all from themselves. What? I’m confusing myself.

    P.S. working on a fun Lost/Star Trek comparison pictorial that I think you’ll find satisfying given your “island starship” theory. :)

  10. OOH… sorry but one last thing. Off topic too… sorry! but while I’m putting 2’s and 2’s together… Something that has been bugging me about Flocke going home. and who ultimately is manipulating all this time travel stuff and if the happy ending would be everyone off the island rather than Jack becoming the new Jacob or whatever.

    You know how FLocke has become “I wanna go home” guy? And how he has recruited Sawyer to help him go and is telling Sawyer that he can go home too?

    Well… is there any sort of connection with Juliet’s comment: “I wanted you to be able to go home. I wanted to make it so you never came to this damn island [Juliet starts crying] … it didn’t work.”

    and her post death comment to miles: “It worked.”

    I know we all assumed she was talking about the creation of the Alt Universe… but what if she’s talking about FLocke getting everyone off the island?

  11. P, I think you’re right that “It worked” is likely not referencing what we assume it is. But I’m of the camp that believes Miles is not speaking to dead people. I think he’s seeing, hearing, communicating with those who are living in the Alti-Verse. My guess is that sometime this season, we will actually witness Juliet in the Alti-verse utter the phrase “It worked.” and it will only indirectly relate to what we originally thought she meant.

  12. The statue looks like a giant game piece doesn’t it ;)

  13. I loved this episode.. how badass was it when FLocke rallied his troops at the temple.. everyone walked out to join him.. the satisfied look on his face was proud accomplishment & made me say to myself, yeahh now lets go kick some jungle ass!

  14. John I’m loving your take on this episode… I had a few thoughts first this episode made me think that the deals either made with Flocke or Jacob are fulfilled in the altiverse/sideways…(originally Claire wanted to give up her baby and now she’s keeping him, Nadia is alive, even dugan is spending time with his son who for all purposes should be dead) The next is and I know it really this really belongs to the Locke episode but… If baby Ben blew up on the island in the 70’s and he was not on the sub with the rest of the other kids… How did he get off the island to be with Locke at the school. Now obviosly we are still not sure of what the altiverse/sideways is or what it means in the timeline but all the others and dharma peeps who were meant to be in the 70’s on the island should basically cease to exist in this new altiverse/sideways. Is the Ben we know now a product of the time travel of our losties 70’s action or mearly in another timeline all together. What does Ben being in the sideways tell us?

  15. I’m still wondering about the French team at the Temple last season. Remember how one the guys said that Smokey is a security system for the Temple? Was the guy lying and indeed infected making Danielle the one not being infected? Or the other way around? And where does it leave Smokey, did the ‘security system’ just mean that Smokey didn’t want them to go inside the Temple and discover who were inside? Why keep the Temple people a secret? Or if Smokey indeed was the security system, was it Jacob or MIB? And what happened between the 80s and 00s that made it so that Smokey couldn’t enter the Temple? Okay…I’m confused.

  16. Oh, hot damn! I love the idea of Juliette’s words being a big batch of misdirection… However, I’m quite convinced Miles can talk to ghosts and not people in other dimensions.

    Regarding Sayid, my issue is more the crappy writing that lead up to his killing spree in the alt universe. I’d be more impressed if he was shopping for his tank tops at the Grove and they didn’t have it in ultra black, ultra tight, so he flipped out and killed all the guys at Nordstroms… WHO HAPPENED TO BE ON THE FREIGHTER. (Then met Jin, who was trapped in a fitting room.) Okay, maybe not, but it seems just as random.

  17. led not lead. stupid grammar.

  18. What makes you so certain it’s ghosts, Lizz?

  19. Well, people that have died. Maybe not ghosts per say, but he did give that spirit in Long Beach a pretty kick-ass shakedown.

  20. Well we assume he was “talking” to a ghost. But he may very well have been accessing/watching/hearing/feeling the events of a similar parallel universe in which the money was also stuffed in the same location. Or where the Dharma dude at the Swan site died the same way. If I remember correctly, Miles was able to sort of hack into the experience of feeling the man’s filling rocket through his skull. If that event happened in the parallel universe (which I’m assuming it did) Mile could have easily been “seeing/feeling” it as it was happening. In fact, every time he uses his powers, he does it in a way that isn’t so much “talking” to them as “trying to understand what happened”… “hearing” them, if anything.

    And Miles always says that his power doesn’t work the way most would assume talking to ghosts would. And many events in the parallel universe are very much the same.

  21. Hey J,
    I like that you remembered Miles saying that his ability doesn’t work the way most would assume talking to ghosts would… The way we see Hurley talking to ghosts is definitely the “hollywood” version. But the way it really happens would be so hard for a television program or movie to portray. Of all the psychics I know or have talked to, they all see, feel, hear things differently.
    I know I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve got some psychic abilities… and hopefully this won’t make you folks think I’m a nut…. but for me, it happens in different ways… sometimes I hear words, sentences, conversations, or just names… others I’m shown things as still pictures and other times I see scenes where things are happening. Most things I “see” are like recollections of memories, only they aren’t mine. I also feel emotions, physical pain and sensations. And sometimes it’s just a creepy feeling that someone is standing really close and staring at me. But it’s all closer to what happens with Miles than it is with Hurley.
    I guess if Darlton is going for Hollywood you might conclude that Hurley is the REAL psychic in traditional terms and that Miles is perhaps hearing stuff from Alt World. Though, if you think about it… don’t ALL psychics communicate with other dimensions? I mean, the dead aren’t really on the same plane of existence as us, right?
    That kind of makes me wonder about Hurley’s “psychic” abilities. Ghosts have only directed him to do things that Jacob wanted him to do… Charlie, Ana Lucia, and most recently Jacob himself.
    So… as far as Miles and what is really going on there? I don’t know, I’m still on the fence about whether he can communicate with Alt World though I’m leaning that way… but IMO, he is the real psychic and Hurley is just being manipulated by Jacob (both the living and dead jacob.)
    :)

  22. Just as you thought of me when I had made the assertion that MIB and Smokey were not the same being… As I was watching tonight, I thought of you J, when Miles explained how his abilities worked and especially when he told Ben about the Diamonds with Nikki and Paulo.

    Wondering what your take on that was.

    Also… loving the immediacy of the show this season… we ponder a subject or question and bam… next episode it’s answered as if Lost had turned into a giant, confusing Magic 8 Ball.

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