Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Russian, a Scot and a Spaniard Walk Into a Bar...

Actually, a peek at Wikipedia informs me that the Mysterious Stranger is in fact Portuguese, but since Spanish was the first thing she spoke, I figured she was from Spain. Evidently her name is also Naomi, but the show hasn't told us that yet either. Apparently she's a regular addition to the cast now, though. Anyway, I'll get to that part of the story later, since it was the part of the episode I really loved. But to the main thread...
I was right; D.O.C. does stand for "date of conception". It seems it makes a big difference whether the baby is conceived on the island. If Sun has two months to go, that could mean two seasons before she goes haywire, and maybe they'll be rescued by then, and presumably once she's off the island having a baby won't be a problem. Though if that were the case, why didn't they ship the women out when they got pregnant and have them give birth off the island at Richard's facilities? Surely they could have kept them contained easily enough. Wouldn't that have been better than watching these poor women die, one after the other, along with any real hope of a next generation of Others?
I think Juliet sincerely cares about her patients, and that losing those nine women and their babies really took a toll on her. There was a bit of nice bonding between her and Sun, and I do think she wants Sun to be happy and healthy, though unfortunately her situation is such that it's basically one or the other. Her message to Ben didn't smack as much of betrayal as the One of Us conversation did. All she did was report on Sun's condition, plus indicate that she was checking up on Kate. Is Ben's imminent arrival about those two? I figured he was planning some sort of organized attack on the beachies - though hoping he wasn't. Maybe he just wants to nab Sun and Kate for research. Not that we really want that to happen, though being with the Others could actually be their best chance of survival. Seems like Ben has bad things in mind, though; Juliet's "I hate you" would appear to point to him using her to do unscrupulous things.
It seems like the tryst between Sawyer and Kate was Ben's plan all along. Very complicated, but everything that happened to them while they were in captivity was a way to build up all this romantic tension between them that would culminate in Kate thinking Sawyer was a dead man and feeling driven to fly into his arms on what she presumed to be his last night alive. So that whole thing was about getting Jack to operate on Ben, but maybe it was also about getting Kate pregnant. They're running out of fertile women, I reckon, and women willing to risk getting pregnant. Was Juliet taking contraceptives or something? Because she and Goodwin seemed to be in a pretty cozy relationship. She of all people would know the dangers, and besides she's sort of indispensable to the Others, so I wouldn't think Goodwin would risk the future of their community by potentially impregnating her.
Despite her sincere affection for Jae, Sun is truly remorseful for the affair she had with him, and she is thrilled that the baby is Jin's, though if neither she nor the baby will survive, it's not going to do Jin much good. I really think that Sun is safe for this season, because the question of whether she can survive this pregnancy when no one else can will become such a pressing issue for the fourth and perhaps fifth season. (Will there be a fifth? I hope so!!) I'm not so sure about Jin, but we'll see... I liked the flashback, firmly rooted in those giddy newlywed days, before Jin was so firmly in Mr. Paik's grasp. And now we learn that he might not have been forced to do those things if not for Sun asking for money to shut Jin's mother up. Should she have done it? Hard to say. She did promise his father she wouldn't let Jin find out the truth... But would it have been so terrible if he had known? Would it have been worse than being Mr. Paik's slave? Jin shouldn't be ashamed of something over which he has no control. But then their society seems very bound by class distinctions, and shame is something to be avoided at all costs. Still, unless she told Mr. Paik, the outcome might have been better if Sun had just let Jin know the truth. But it's hard to say.
Here's the big question: Could Sun and Jin be siblings? Okay, that's a really big stretch, but given this show, not so much. Maybe Jin's mother was saving the big guns for later. She already blackmailed Sun with the fact that Jin was born to a prostitute. Can you imagine the shame for all concerned if it got out that Sun had married her own brother? Anyway, it's nice that it's a deadbeat mom for a change. Mr. Kwon may not biologically be Jin's dad, but he raised him. He took him in out of the goodness of his heart, only to be repaid with Jin's rejection because he was ashamed of his humble beginnings. If anything, I like Mr. Kwon even more than I did before. He is a really fantastic guy, and it's heartbreaking that Jin would pretend he was dead because he didn't feel like he was good enough for Sun, or for her father, anyway. Sun certainly treated Mr. Kwon with respect and didn't seem to look down on him at all, especially when she realized that he had taken on the burden of a child who might well not be his own. Anyway, I'm glad he and Jin reconciled before the crash; it just makes me very sad that Jin would treat such a magnanimous father that way, even if he thought he had to in order to marry Sun. Mr. Kwon is definitely one of my all-time favorite flashback characters. (And it occurs to me I don't think I included him on my HANSO cards. Phooey...)
Claire was in this episode for about 10 seconds, Sawyer not at all. No John either, but it looks like both of them will play a big role in next week's episode. I thought John told Sawyer he wanted him to kill Ben, but maybe I misunderstood or just assumed. If he meant Anthony instead, this could be quite the crucial episode indeed, when we may find out if Anthony and Sawyer and one and the same, and if so, whether pseudo-Sawyer will take his revenge if given the chance. I have a funny feeling that he might not. He feels really terrible about killing that guy in Sydney, as well he should; I think the thirst for revenge has seceded somewhat. And John, if your way of taking the high road is to delegate murder to somebody else, that's really not too noble of you. Then again, maybe for some reason he literally "can't". But I'm thinking it comes down to an unwillingness to harm his father, despite all the pain he's inflicted. He still can't help but cling to this impossible hope that he will change his tune. I hear next week's episode is supposed to be mind-blowing. Here's hopin'.
You know what was mind-blowing? Mikhail! When he came crashing onto the scene, I squealed, "PATCHY!!" I was elated. I'd harbored a slight hope for a while that he wasn't really dead, but then I pretty much accepted that he was. Whether he was knocked unconscious or playing dead, he managed to survive the Unfortunate Force Field Incident. Which means John's not a murderer! And which means one of my favorite Others is back on the table. I find it ironic that Mikhail is the communications expert, since he's such a recluse and would probably prefer not to talk to anyone at all. He's a loose cannon, a renegade, almost as much of an independent operator as Danielle. Yeah, he's an Other, but only just barely. I don't think he has particularly strong allegiances to them, and Ben's afraid of him. Mainly he's just looking out for himself, and rather like Locke, he craves the solitude this island can provide.
Mom was not happy to see him back. She told me that she groaned when he showed up, and that she's sure Naomi said something like, "You're an evil man!" when he claimed she said "Thank you." "Why," I asked her, "would she call the guy who just saved her life an evil man?" I find it unlikely that she would have any preconceived notions about Mikhail. It is possible she said something other than "Thank you" there, but I don't think that was it. Unfortunately, I can't make the words out well enough to try to find the proper translation. Anyway, it seemed as though Hurley's flare was what made him appear; he was running toward them with a purpose but was surprised when he saw who was there. Who did he think it was?
At any rate, he saved Naomi's life. Doesn't that count for something? Maybe he felt like he had no choice, like it was the only way to save his own skin since he was outnumbered. Maybe he figures now they are in his debt, so they won't go after him in the future. There might well have been ulterior motives. And his self-satisfied smirking isn't all that endearing. But that doesn't change what he did. Unless he and Naomi are in league somehow? Was Patchy watching Desmond all that time when he was in the hatch, and she had the picture because he captured it on film and they printed a copy, and the two of them are part of some huge conspiracy? I wish I knew Italian. (Naomi is very multi-lingual, incidentally, speaking Spanish, Chinese, Italian and English, none of which is her native language.) Gah. I really want to believe that Mikhail just saved Naomi because it was the right thing to do. I don't think he's such a bad guy. He did kill Bea, but it looked to me like she almost forced him to do it. I don't think he wanted to at all.
In spite of his shortcomings, Desmond is probably the most spiritually mature person on the island, with the probable exception of Rose, who we just haven't seen enough of. Yeah, he threatens Mikhail, but I really don't think he ever had any intention of killing him. He's a "live and let live" kind of guy. The look on his face when he killed Kelvin was one of such utter horror... It was about more than the dreadful realization that he was alone now. Desmond does not want to kill anyone. He claims to be a coward, and maybe he is, but he's always looking out for other people. He had Charlie and Eko's backs before he even knew who they were, worrying about their well-being when John was so far off the deep end he didn't care anymore. I wonder whether the order he disobeyed in the army had to do with killing someone? I bet we'll find out one of these days.
Incidentally, did he really kill Kelvin? If Mikhail could survive such an apparently fatal blow, couldn't Kelvin as well? He only stuck around for half a minute or so before he realized the timer was about to run down, and I can't imagine he would've risked going back to bury him. Then again, shouldn't he have seen his corpse when he went back to his ship, or noted its disappearance if it wasn't there? Sigh... I'd love to see Kelvin again... Desmond could use a load off his conscience. Not that he's really done so very much to be ashamed of since landing on the island, especially in comparison to some of his fellow castaways. He just needs to learn to control his temper.
So I was very happy Desmond let Mikhail go. I knew he would, despite Charlie's objections. Charlie is a far sight too keen on revenge, if you ask me. It's gotten him into trouble before, and he ought to have realized by now that it won't bring him peace. Granted, it may be a matter of security, but Desmond's right. He's bound by honor to let him go, and anyway, the more Others they kill, the more trouble will come. Maybe not with Mikhail, since it's quite possible everybody on the island thinks he's dead, so it wouldn't make much difference if they killed him again. But that wouldn't make it right. Desmond is rising above the growing turmoil by refusing to adopt an "us vs. them" mentality. I cheered when he pointed out that the castaways had killed more of the Others than the other way around; it's about time somebody besides them acknowledged it. And that little eye-rolling laugh when Charlie said the Others started it... Desmond knows it's up to them to end it.
I'm not sure how many of the deaths Desmond knows about, but I did a count of Others killed by castaways and castaways killed by Others. Unless I'm missing something, the most basic count has the castaways killing seven Others and the Others killing two castaways. Charlie kills Ethan; AnaLucia kills a random Other and Goodwin; Eko kills two Others shortly after the plane crash; Sawyer kills an Other in the season two finale; Sun kills Colleen. Meanwhile, Ethan kills Scott and Goodwin kills Nathan. The numbers change a bit if we take other factors into consideration. Michael kills AnaLucia and Libbie; those could potentially be counted as attributable to the Others, but the fact is that ultimately it is Michael's decision to pull that trigger, and nobody was forcing his hand. Also, Ethan either thought Charlie was dead or thought he would be by the time Jack caught up with him, and Danny was all set to kill Sawyer on two separate occasions. On the other hand, it certainly seems John thought he killed Mikhail. And Juliet killed Danny, but it was so Kate and Sawyer could escape, so that's sort of similar to the Michael situation. (Shouldn't Sawyer perhaps be a little more grateful to her for saving his life?) Any way you slice it, though, the Others aren't responsible for as many deaths as the castaways are. It's time more of the survivors realized their fear is turning them into murderers. Seems to me Desmond isn't such a coward after all.
At this point, I think Charlie is, because after all, he figures the axe is about to fall on him at any moment. He doesn't want to take any chances with something that might wind up getting him killed, plus he still has a major grudge against the Others. He's much more cautious than Hurley, who fires the flare gun (well, his intentions were good - but what a great comedic / calamitous moment), who tells Mikhail about the phone, who gives his full name and flight details to Naomi (who he, and we, presume is a "good guy", but you never know). I love how he calls his mom on the phone, and how he gets to be the one who gets handed the most major revelation of the episode. Is it really a revelation though?
There are many possible explanations. 1) Naomi is mixed up. 2) Naomi is lying. 3) The plane really did crash and everyone died, and this is some sort of otherworldly place, though the wreckage was still on the island, so was it just part of the illusion? And... Anyway, I don't think I like that theory too much. Enough with the "everybody's dead" stuff. How can you die twice? 4) It's some massive conspiracy, probably involving Mr. Widmore, and they had a fake plane in place for people to find, complete with... fake bodies... Hmm... That seems awfully complicated... But I think I'm probably going with this or number 2 as the most likely scenario. There are others, I'm sure; I think I even thought of a couple more last night, but they're not springing to mind right away. But if they had a fake plane ready, the plane crash was intentional, in which case it would seem that maybe Kelvin was part of the conspiracy, pushing Desmond's buttons just enough so that he would come after him that day, letting the clock wind down. Maybe Desmond's entire relationship with Penny was orchestrated from the beginning, a la The Truman Show, so that he would wind up in that race, and maybe Libby was in on it too. Ugh. Since when am I such a conspiracy theorist? But there's got to be some explanation for all this...
Jin is a very fast runner. Was he really in the army? Since he lied about his father it's hard to say for sure what else he lied about, but as military service is compulsory for men in South Korea, he must have been a soldier, and that may be where he learned to run so fast. He's very suspicious of Mikhail, especially after he realizes he took the phone. Why did Mikhail take the phone? I really don't think he wants off the island or wants to communicate with anybody else on the island too much. It seems like he just took it to see if they would be clever enough to realize he had taken it. He wasn't even walking away quickly; it was pretty easy for Jin to overtake him.
I don't think that still should have been the picture ABC used on its site. Way too revealing. Mikhail was the big surprise of the night for me, and for many others too, I'm sure. They should have had a picture of Sun and Juliet. Anyway, I hear five people will meet their demise before the season ends. Who? I certainly don't want to lose anybody, let alone five people, but if I have to venture some guesses... 1) Charlie. They've been dangling his death before us since Valentine's Day. I just don't know if Desmond can keep him safe much longer. 2) Rose. Supposedly she's back before the end of the season, but the fact that we haven't seen her all this time is worrisome. What if, following the hatch implosion, her cancer came back with a vengeance? 3) Anthony Cooper. Doesn't seem like there's much point in having him on the island, and presumably he was brought here so Locke could kill him, though it seems he can't, and if he turns out to be the real Sawyer, I don't know if our Sawyer will have the heart to kill him. If he spares him now, though, I have a hunch Anthony might just turn the tables. 4) Jack. The last episode is supposed to feature something that will fundamentally change the show forever. Granted, it could have something to do with the tsunami; if we're 90 days in, that means December 21, right? So four more days till Christmas, five more to the tsunami? Somebody better mention the fact that it's Christmas. Someone must be paying attention to the date. Anyway, if Jack died, that would definitely change the show... 5) Hmmm, last one... Well, at least one of the Others must kick off. Which could mean Ben, especially if he's getting a flashback before the end of the season, but he's so intriguing I'd really rather keep him around... So maybe Juliet. Maybe she'll die doing something heroic. I don't know. I really don't see why they have to kill of five people. Even one is too many...
Anyway, all told, D.O.C. was an extremely satisfying episode. Not nearly as much humor as last week, but just enough to keep things from seeming too dismal, and the tenuous alliances formed between Sun and Juliet and Mikhail and Desmond gave the whole thing a very redemptive tone, which I loved. Of course, the last couple minutes introduced a major mystery, but we can worry about that later. For now, I welcome Patchy back with open arms.

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