Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Circle Of Life Moves Us All With Ji Yeon

So it seems that going into tonight’s episode, we know the identity of the Oceanic Six: Jack, Hurly, Sayid, Kate, Aaron and Sun. What we don’t know for certain is just how bereaved Aaron and Sun are. We’ll find out soon enough.

Ji Yeon was one of the most emotional episodes LOST has given us, and it certainly played like a final act for Jin, dragging out the one major unresolved issue between him and Sun and neatly taking care of it, showing the strength of their marriage and of Jin’s decency. Jin’s last words in the present were "You will never lose me," which might be seen as a safe bet that she would lose him. It showed us the birth of a baby that Jin named even though he couldn’t be with Sun in the future and her presentation to a dear friend to the accompaniment of Life and Death. The big question is... Why isn’t Jin there? Are we about to witness his death on the island? That’s certainly possible, even likely; we know somebody dies tonight, and if it’s him, we’ve been prepared for it.

But I’m not ruling out the possibility that he’s still alive. The grave stone says he died September 22, 2004. We know that’s not true. Couldn’t it be taking the facade one step further? Obviously, there would be a grave for Jin if the world is supposed to think he is dead, and it certainly makes sense that she and Hurley would visit it. Even if the eyes of millions weren’t upon them, it would seem like an appropriate thing to do. A symbolic act. If Jin is living on the island in the future, it’s probably because he struck some sort of bargain ensuring Sun got off, or there was only room for six people and he gave up his spot because someone else seemed to need it more and hoped he would be able to leave in the future, or something.

I like that scenario better, even though it’s more convoluted and means that the LOST people are really having too much fun yanking us around. That seems to have been the main purpose of Jin’s flashback - trying to give viewers a false sense of security that both of them end up off the island, about to become parents. I never really bought it; I couldn’t believe that the two of them would both be in the Oceanic Six, so as soon as I saw Jin in a separate flashback apparently headed to the hospital for Sun’s delivery, I was suspicious. Besides, he seemed much more concerned about that panda than about the baby; if this was his own child, I’d think that getting to the hospital ASAP would be his top priority. And he seemed rather violent when he was threatening death against the guy who took his seat in the cab. It didn’t really seem like the Jin we have come to know on the island. Still, it was a bit of a dirty trick, especially pulling the same thing they did with Jack when his words implied that his father was still alive. Sun is delirious because the labor is so intense, so she’s calling out for Jin. Blah. So after all that, after they make us think he’s alive, only to make us think he’s dead, if they then reveal that he isn’t dead after all, that’s some major whiplash.

But it would be worth it if it spared his life. Jin didn’t seem like such a nice guy when LOST started, but we love him now, and his devotion to Sun, his acknowledgment of past mistakes, his willingness to forgive... Those should garner a reward, not a death sentence. Then again, with some notable exceptions - most unfortunately Eko - LOST has a tendency to kill off people once they’ve reached a height of moral development. So I guess we’ll see. At least we know that Sun and the baby survive; the chances of that had been looking rather slim...

I loved Bernard’s conversation with Jin, which was mostly one-sided but still great. Any excuse to dig Bernie out of obscurity is fine by me, and it was just what Jin needed to give him a little perspective. It was a beautiful scene, and Jin’s reconciliation with Sun was even lovelier.
Juliet was interesting in this episode. I really liked her, even though revealing Sun’s infidelity was a pretty rotten thing to do. Under the circumstances, it was the last thing she could think of that might prevent Sun and Jin from setting off for John’s village. Though the revelation threatened their marriage, it did it job, and Juliet was able to impress upon Sun just how important it was that she get off the island. While it might seem strange for Sun to listen to her at all after what she did, I think Sun was starting to realize that her survival was at stake. Then again, Hurley is among the Oceanic Six, as is Aaron, so joining John wouldn’t necessarily have prevented her from leaving. But Juliet wouldn’t know that...

We didn’t see much of Daniel in this episode, but I thought his conversation with Sun was pretty funny. What an awkward man. Their discussion was laughably uncomfortable. Frank was good for a few chuckles too, especially when he pointed out to Regina that her book was upside-down. I had assumed that he left the door open for Desmond and Sayid; I guess it was Michael, whose re-appearance couldn’t have surprised much of anyone at this point. Way to ruin our fun, LOST.
It was nice to see Sayid and Desmond’s friendship continuing to develop, albeit under most unpleasant circumstances. Their conversation with the captain was quite intriguing, though it didn’t tell us that much that we didn’t already know. I was surprised to see him so forthcoming, since LOST is so full of people keeping loads of dark secrets, and one would assume the folks on this boat would be worse than most. Desmond has a lot to process now that he knows Charles Widmore sent this ship, though I’m surprised he didn’t suspect it. How else, if the boat didn’t have anything to do with Penny, would Naomi have that picture? I suppose there would be other explanations, but Charles has always made the most sense. Speaking of Naomi, EW thinks Regina was the "R" on Naomi’s bracelet and that she killed herself out of heartache for her lost love. That’s an interesting theory, and less sinister than my suspicion that the captain forced her to do it for some unknown offense. Then there’s his story that she just went crazy, which also seems plausible, but I’m poised to think the captain must be lying about something...

I want to hug Hurley again after this episode. Good for him for visiting Sun, who seems to have the earliest flash-forward of the bunch. Sayid’s the only wild card, and it looked to me like his was further into the future than just a few months. Coming to see Sun and her newborn baby was a very Hurley-ish thing to do, especially given that it was such a bittersweet experience for her. He’s an excellent comforter. Of the remaining survivors, Kate seems to have the closest relationship with Sun, but she probably wasn’t allowed to travel internationally because of the charges she faced. Sayid was probably too busy jet-setting and whacking people, and Jack probably just wanted to distance himself. I would have loved to see Mr. Kwon in this episode, welcoming his only granddaughter; I hope that opportunity will come eventually.

There’s more to discuss in this episode, but I guess I’ll leave it at that. Tonight is Meet Kevin Johnson, so I would assume it’s a Michael flashback that will show us what he’s been up to for the past month or so and let us know what the heck happened to Walt. The previews have grimly promised us that Someone Will Die, and Jin and Claire seem to be in the most vulnerable position. But it could be anybody, really, other than Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Aaron, Sun and Ben, though I’m pretty sure it won’t be Desmond or Michael, and I just can’t see them killing off John or Sawyer. What if Jin catches another fish? Can that fish count? Pretty please? Ah, well. I am bracing for carnage. The season has been surprisingly free of bloodshed thus far...

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