Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Like a Bird on the Wire..."

So when the LOST promo for Recon started last night, what I thought I heard before I let out a shriek of delight was "Like a bridge over troubled water," albeit a version I'd never encountered before. What I was actually hearing was "Like a bird on the wire," the first line in Bird on the Wire, a Leonard Cohen song that seems as though it was written especially for LOST. Some thoughts...

Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir... In other words, "You gotta make your own kind of music, sing your own special song, make your own kind of music even if nobody else sings along." This is what everybody on the show has been doing to some extent all along. Each is a very distinct character; some are more comfortable with themselves than others. They have to come to embrace the best about who and what they are.

I have tried in my way to be free. All of them came to the Island burdened with emotional baggage from their past. Their ordeal is largely about facing and moving past those issues.

Like a worm on a hook, like a knight from some old fashioned book, I have saved all my ribbons for thee. The worm on a hook definitely evokes the idea of being driven by fate, a puppet in the hands of bigger forces, helpless to fight back. The knight, however, implies a marriage of fate and free will. A knight is someone who is charged with the task of battling evil. But he must make the decision to go forth as planned, and he does so for the sake of the king on one hand, a lovely maiden on the other. For folks like Richard, Ilana and Hurley, I think the king has been the main consideration. For people like Daniel, Desmond and Charlie, the damsel in distress is the more powerful motivator.

If I, if I have been unkind, I hope that you can just let it go by. If I, if I have been untrue, I hope you know it was never to you. These characters have made a lot of mistakes and sometimes been cruel, but most have at least one person who truly matters to them. For instance, Sawyer. On the Island, I think he came to truly care about Kate first, then Hurley, then eventually the others. No matter what happens this season, I'm convinced he could never be persuaded to harm either of them.

Like a baby, stillborn. Fertility issues that have plagued the Island at large and so many of the individual characters. Ethan, for instance, was so deeply scarred by the deaths of his wife and baby it drove him to homicidal mania for the sake of capturing Claire in an effort, presumably, to gain some insight that could reverse the problem, thus giving those deaths meaning and avoiding future heartache.

Like a beast with his horn, I have torn everyone who reached out for me. Most of these characters have deeply scarred others who care about them. In doing so, they prove the point of Smokey, the ultimate "beast", who remains convinced that humanity is inherently evil.

But I swear by this song and by all that I have done wrong, I will make it all up to thee. Everyone is moving toward redemption. At this stage of the game, most are acutely aware of the journey.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch; he said to me, "You must not ask for so much." The crutch makes me think of John Locke, who is always so desperate for answers and sometimes has made very foolish decisions in an effort to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. If John were to rise from the grave at this moment, all memories intact, I think he might be inclined to caution that curiosity killed the cat and patience is called for. That's certainly a good thing for us viewers to remember too.

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door, she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?" This is the only line that doesn't really leap out at me. I think I'll go with Claire, though, who has lived in the dark for so long - "in the dark" about what has been happening for the past three years, and under the dark influence of Smokey, whose words she never questioned. She now stands at a doorway of sorts, exposed to the lighter influences of the likes of Kate and Sawyer, who will, I presume, help bring her back to her senses.

The last couplet encourages more faith; this one urges more reason. They balance one another perfectly, as is so often the case on the show. The Man of Science and Man of Faith need not be in conflict, and indeed, one man can be both, as I believe Daniel Faraday demonstrates. In any case... Good Call on the song choice for this promo.

5 comments:

MamaTink said...

very good observation!

Erin said...

Thanks! :D

John said...

Thanks for the research but can you tell me who is singing the version on Lost.
John

John said...

Thanks for the research but can you tell me who is singing the version on Lost.
John

Erin said...

It's Leonard Cohen's version on the promo. I know several others have covered it, including Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Thanks for dropping by!