I have got to talk about the episode of LOST that aired tonight. While many of the episodes this season have been weak (especially in view of the heights this show reached in its first season) tonight's episode blew away (like an exploded submarine) anything this show had ever done previously. I'm truly at a loss for words, but as a writer, I will attempt to fight through it and say a little bit about what I thought.
There are spoilers ahead, so if you're behind on LOST you should stop reading.
Okay, first of all, the big question that was actually answered this week (because lately the show has been promising answers while delivering crap, the security system you just have to go over instead of anything on the smoke monster, or stuff we pretty much already knew, Claire's dad is Jack's dad) is how Locke got paralyzed, and there was potential for this to be a big letdown. To put it mildly this was the exact opposite of being a big letdown. First of all, we got more of the Locke and his father storyline which is one of the best flashbacks the show has to offer. To have his father be directly responsible for his paralysis and through trying to kill him, no less, added a huge dimension to Locke's character. One we will get to see through due to the fact that Benry Gale has Locke's dad locked up. I haven't been this excited about the show after an episode's conclusion since the first episode, which I watched on DVD, allowing me to go ahead and immediately watch the next one when necessary. Man I wish it was already next week.
Secondly, Benry Gale told us a little more about the island. I don't know if we can take the idea of the "magic box" that manifests your every desire 100% literally, but the idea at least is intriguing. It would also explain quite a lot, the Horse Kate saw and Charlie's miraculously undamaged guitar to name just a couple. One of the things that I've wondered is if this were strictly a sci-fi premise, in that there is a scientific (if possibly far-fetched) explanation for everything on the show, or if some part of the island was in some way mystical, I'll get to that in a bit.
Taking just the first two seasons into account, I was beginning to lean towards a completely scientific theory. In fact I put the beginnings of one forth earlier this season. I argued that the show was a purgatory themed experiment, troubled people (and every character is certainly that) are forced to face their mental demons and come to terms with who they are, after which they were given their freedom in the form of death. I made this argument based on the belief that there is no other way off of the island. We still aren't sure that there is another way off of the island. It's possible to get to the island, but are we sure that anyone has ever left it? In the "Not in Portland" episode that brought us back from hiatus, we saw Ethan off of the island, but isn't it possible that he was a recruit that had yet to get to the island when he was working on getting Juliet there? Benry Gale told John tonight that the submarine was a comfort for those he had recruited, a sign that they could leave if they wanted, even though, he hinted, that was a lie. Maybe it isn't that Benry feared he would appear weak if he let Dr. Jack go, but he feared the mutiny that would occur if the non-native Others then realized that they could never leave. The real hitch in this theory of course is Michael and Walt. What is their fate, a question that from what I've read won't be resolved until next season, but until the show tells me otherwise I'm sticking with the belief that they did not get safely away. I still like this theory, but now I believe that the island plays a larger (and more mystical) role.
I believe that Darmha planned on using the Island for experiments of some kind, but when they started their experiments, they were unclear on A) exactly what they were dealing with in terms of the island, and B) the fact that the island was already inhabited. The island allowed Darmha to set up its stations, including somehow tapping into the electromagnetic force of the island which caused the need for the button, but retaliated after Darmha's usefulness had ended by releasing some sort of virus that wiped out the remaining Initiative members, as well as the rest of Russeau's team.
Whether the Purgatory like experiments are taking place on behalf of whoever is in charge of the Others (Benry's hinted at boss) or by the Island itself remains to be seen, but the fact that the Island is somewhat mystically sentient seems clear to me now. (However each week everything has the potential to change.) The Island has its own purpose, as evidenced by John being out of a wheelchair, and Benry Gale being in one. It seems to either answer to a higher power then Benry Gale or to be a higher power into and of itself. Desmond's flashes and even Hurley's getting the van to start through pure faith could be further evidence of the Island's mystical power. Maybe Desmond needs to unlearn what he thinks he knows about the certainty of his visions in order to finally save Charlie's life; maybe he, like Locke before him needs to believe in the power of the Island.
These are some of the things tonight's episode caused me to think about. An interesting theory I read, which I believe gained credence in tonight's episode, is the theory that Locke's father is the real Sawyer, the con-man who caused the death of Cast-away Sawyer's parents and turned him into the man Sawyer/James Ford is today. While in earlier episodes we saw Locke's father perpetrate cons, he was never specifically referred to as a con-man until tonight. Not only that, but we also learned that he's changed his name at least once, so why couldn't he have at some point gone by the name of Sawyer? If this is true, then I fell like this character has some tough times ahead of him, because not only will he have to answer to Locke for his past deeds, but I have to believe Sawyer will get a shot at him as well.
Until Next Time, This season took a huge turn for the better tonight, and I am greatly looking forward to see where it is headed next. If you are behind on, or God forbid have never watched, LOST, what are you waiting for? The first two seasons are on DVD and the entirety of this season is available at abc.com.