02 March 2006

"Maternity Leave"

"Maternity Leave" was the name of the episode last night, and besides being a fantastic entry in the series, it has to rank up there with the most revelatory hours in the show's history. Great, great episode. I had been clarmoring for a Claire episode for a while, and getting one was even more than I'd hoped for, even if I didn't technically get what I was hoping for. This was only the second LOST episode without the familiar pre-crash flashbacks (the other being "The Other 48 Days"). The entire plot unfolded as Claire moved towards discovering the physical and mental representation of her time away from camp, during her abduction by the "Others." This of course was the same instance when Charlie was nearly hanged to death.

There were a handful of fairly huge revelations, so let's get right down to it.

  • First, it is revealed that Claire was held captive by a group of people- including Ethan Rom, who is later shot- in the interest of their obtaining her baby. She is drugged, vaccinated, and held in a new, as yet unseen hatch where she is told that what's being done to her is to "save" her baby. She is manipulated, while drugged, into giving them her baby when born.

  • Claire, of course, escapes this hatch, and does so with the help of who we are lead to believe is Alex, Rousseau's now adolescent daughter. She intervenes on the night it appears the hatch "scientists" aim to "cut the baby out of her," dumping her outside the hatch grounds. Interestingly enough, finishing off a fragment of information we were given earlier, Rousseau herself, unaware of how close she was to her child, finishes the rescue job. Claire, as we remember, then stumbles back into camp, not able to entirely remember what's happened to her.

  • One of the bigger revelations of the episode- when we see Ethan with Claire in the hatch's makeshift nursery, another man pulls Ethan aside to talk. It is clearly "Zeke," or the man that abducts Walt on the boat and speaks with Locke, Jacke and Sawyer in the jungle earlier this season. He is seen, however, not as we know him- that is, bearded, scruffy, dirty and dressed in rags. Instead he's clean-shaven, in what appears to be corporate attire and no dirt anywhere on his body. Two things come from this scene- the seeds of a later revelation, and an answer as to why these survivors were handled differently- recall, from "The Other 48 Days," that a "list" was made by fellow mole Goodwin, and that it was a guide for who was taken and who was left. As Goodwin put it, who was "good."

    This didn't happen to the main Lost camp because, of course, Hurley had the manifest. Since they knew he was not on the plane, he wasn't, apparently, able to formulate the plan in time (nb- I think there's actually more to this line than I'm recalling from memory; I'm rewatching the episode sometime soon, and I'll add here anything relevant).

    We also learn two more things- first, that there seems to be someone higher up on the chain than "Zeke," as he talks to Ethan about the repercussions from him resulting in failing a task, etc. Further, we find that Zeke and Ethan, in fact, did know one another, which Zeke denied to Jack when they spoke in the jungle.

  • The sown seeds from that earlier appearance of "Zeke" comes later, after Claire, Rousseau and Kate stumble on the same hatch Claire had been held at- now completely abandoned. In it, Kate discovers a room full of lockers- inside, a mess of rags and "native-wear"- stuff we've seen "Others" in through the run of the series. It appeared almost like a wardrobe department.

    In addition to this, Kate finds a fake beard and theatrical glue. This links directly back to Zeke, who we're to believe has been putting on this disguise for, one would assume, the benefit of the survivors. We're not told why- it could be anything from a sense that this is a more convincing means of controlling the survivors to a symptom of their madness. Either way, it's a very big piece of information. It would suggest, somewhat, that there may not be a group of "natives" (more specifically, jungle-dwelling savages) living on the island.

  • The vaccine that Ethan is pumping into Claire is, in fact, the same stuff we see Desmond injecting himself with at season's beginning. They both bear the imprimatur of THE NUMBERS- "CR 4-81516-23 42."

  • Finally, the biggest piece, to me, from the episode.

    When Ethan is showing Claire around Aaron's would-be nursery, he brings her to the crib. Above it is dangling a mobile made of airplanes. Not only is this a mobile and crib that Claire saw in a dream prior to her being abducted, but in BOTH instances- the planes bear the logo of Oceanic airlines. Now, this means nothing in Claire's original dream, of course. But in her stark recollection of the abduction, the logos are remarkably significant.

    This means that the people ON the island- the ones in some way connected to the hatches and whatever solid information can be gleaned from what goes on there in the filmstrip video- had a mobile of toy planes with the Oceanic logo on it. The same extraordinarily remote island where thereafter an Oceanic airline slams onto it's shores.

    This suggests a link, a relationship between the people on the island, and the specific flight/ crash of Oceanic 815. It's a really, really big deal- assuming there isn't some sort of false memory style copout (I don't think this is the case). It expands the scope of what's happening on the island pretty greatly.

    The only other alternative would be that they had little Oceanic logo stickers special made and delivered to this remote island, along with enough little toy plastic planes to make a mobile, all in the time it took for Claire to wander out of the fuselage and be abducted by Ethan (for what it's worth, about 22 days, give or take).

    Finally, the mobile was playing "Catch a Falling Star," which is the song that Claire requests the eventually rejected adoptive parents sing to Aaron at night.

  • Aside from these large-scale "questions" for show "answers," we are also given a bit of plot development with the Henry Gale character. Locke is pushing for some sort of resolution to the situation- we learn later that he wants whatever Gale is out of the hatch- and Jack prefers to wait the whole thing out. Meanwhile, Eko uses Gale to absolve his own sins, and tips everyone off to what his little to whiskers are, as he cuts them off after finally completely repenting for killing the two "Others" that attacked him.

    I'm pretty much 100% on Gale not being what he says he is, but we'll see I guess. Either way, he appears to be sowing some discontent between Locke and Jack, clearly for his own benefit. It appeared Locke took the "bait," as it were, seeing as he destroyed a whole kitchen set in anger. I think it'd be smart to wait and see what Locke was upset about, or what he was getting at with this. He knew Gale could hear everything he did out there- they'd just talked about it. Seems odd that he'd tip him off that willingly that his "plan" was working, especially a guy like Locke, who doesn't seem like he'd fall for it anyway. It could be he's simply pissed at having a guy like this in his hatch. We'll see.

    Next episode March 22nd. The repeats- they WOUND me.

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