11 May 2006

?

Last night's episode of LOST, "?", was one of the best in the show's history. Absolutely fantastic.

So, so much to talk about. Let's get right into it. The episode started with Eko standing, mid-day, working on his church. Almost immediately we become aware that this is in fact a dream- suddenly in front of him is an entirely healthy Ana Lucia, inquiring as to his activities. He tells her he's building a church- and after some playful banter, Eko sees Ana die right in front of him- showing a wound identical to the one that kills her in reality. Then, we see Eko inside the hatch. He's running wildly, and comes upon his brother Yemmi, sitting at the 4 8 15 16 23 42 terminal, staring forward.

Yemmi basically tells Eko that he needs to "help John" and have Locke "take [him] to the question mark." Yemmi tells Eko that John will know what he's talking about, and that he will not want to show him at first. Yemmi also implores Eko to take his axe.

Now, as a dream, this is interesting, and is the first of two such visions in the episode (among many in the show's run). Eko sees the following things in his dream he has no possible way of knowing beforehand:

  • Ana Lucia is dead

  • That John needs "help" (more on this later)

  • Anything in relation to the "question mark"

  • That John would know what this question mark refers to

  • The ultimate sequence of events that plays out after following the instructions of the dream


  • Meanwhile, we are taken to Eko's flashbacks, where we catch up with him as a (fake) priest working in Australia. We soon learn that, with the help of some forged documents, he is making a trip to LA, for reasons unknown. But- that plan is interrupted rather quickly. It appears that there is a woman claiming a miracle, and Eko's superior charges him with the official investigation.

    The flashback is pretty simple- the mother claims that her daughter has drowned, and that after being pronounced dead and ready to be autopsied, she miraculously rose back at the last moment. Eko hears chilling audio tape to this effect at the coroner's office.

    But, when confronting the girl for the first time, Eko finds that her father is not the least bit supportive, and is indeed very dubious of the claims. He is, as I'm sure everyone noticed, the psychic that proclaimed to Claire in Season One that she needed to raise her baby, and no one else. Through these series of instructions, and his eery insistence, he is ultimately responsible for Claire's being on Oceanic Flight 815.

    The father claims that his daughter was simply in hypothermic shock, and the claims of resurrection are stemming from the girl's mother's zealotry, spite, and the coroner's negligence. He says the mother wants to tear down his choice of living- where he exploits people through a non-existent psychic power through the use of false miracles which, he claims to Eko, do not exist. He assures Eko, "I am a fraud." Eko, having stated early on that he does not believe the story, is all too willing to drop the investigation and make his trip.

    This scene brings two issues to light. First- was Claire's reading a fraud? If so, what did the psychic have to gain by it, considering his insistence that he not take any money from her? This raises the distinct possibility that, in fact, the psychic was lying about being a fraud. It's tough to draw a conclusion on that, except to point out that he is now directly responsible for two people getting on Flight 815- as he may very well have known that Eko was looking for a reason to end his check up, and get on a plane as soon as possible.

    The other possibility is that, in fact, he was also looking to cover something else up from being investigated. We learn later in the episode that, in fact, something legitimate has happened to the girl, as she confronts Eko at the airport with information regarding his brother, and how he actually felt about Eko. This is information she was not likely to have unless she
    a) Was stuck "in between places" and communicated with Eko's brother, or
    b) Her psychic father is either a true psychic, or a man connected to people that would know Eko's past for reasons pertaining to the actual construct of the show. But that's a huge rabbit hole...

    Back on the island, Eko takes the impetus of the dream to bring Locke into the jungle to search for Henry Gale, who has escaped. In the hatch, Ana Lucia is dead, and Libby is barely clinging to life.

    Eko's proposal to John and his need to get to the question mark is met by ambivalence and dismissal. After head butting Locke, however, the ball gets rolling. By using the rudimentary map Locke created from memory off the blast door, they make their way in a general direction towards where this "?" spot may be. Eventually, they come across a big LOST landmark- the Boone/ heroin/ Yemmi biplane.

    After sleeping the night, we are introduced to another dream sequence. In this one, Yemmi brings Eko to the cliff where the plane originally sat, before it was slipped off by Boone. Yemmi instructs Eko to climb to the top. He does- using the axe- and upon reaching the height, sees his brother sitting, in a wheelchair, before falling to his death. This wakes up John, and as it turns out, it was John who was dreaming.

    This is an interesting dream- why is it that Locke has to be the one to have the dream? Are these dreams being directed into their heads? How else can you explain these visions?

    So, they basically re-create the events of the dream, with Locke in a similar situation to the one he was in with Boone- waiting back, observing, having issues with his legs. Eko reaches the top, and while he can see nothing in the distance, when he looks back down, he can see a large "?" burned into the ground, with the plane resting where the dot at the bottom would go.

    After finding that the mark was achieved by using salt in the soil, Locke and Eko find a hatch where the dot would stand, not unlike the original one (though easier to open). They climb down the long ladder into the main room.

    It is what would basically be described as a large mission control center, with two E-Z Boys, replete with trays and large magnifying glass. In addition, there were seven large observation screens, with a computer monitor nearly identical to the one in the Swan hatch, and various logs and diaries. Finally, Locke notices a pneumatic tube, and actually tests it with his "?" map, sending it up the chute.

    Once again, as well, there is an orientation video. Locke and Eko screen the video.

    In it, we see a man by the name of Mark Wickman (sp?). It is, of course, Dr. Marvin Candle, using a different name. In addition, he is not dressed in a doctor's smock, and the arm that appeared to be prosthetic in the Swan orientation video, is now fully operational. This, we learn, is the Pearl station. Basically, it is an observation bay for the experiments on the island. They are not told what the direction of these experiments are, just that they have no meaning, and that they are to observe and record these people in action. We also see a camera trained on the would-be inhabitants.

    So basically, for Locke, this is crushing. Much like the crisis of faith he suffers when his father betrays him, Locke is devastated to find that his "meant to be" destination, this island, and that hatch- are random, meaningless experiments. His faith in a greater mission is rewarded with an embarassing dismissal. He's naturally angry, and is incredulous when Eko suggests that the button-pressing is important "now more than ever."

    Eko believes that they are being tested, now. He believes he is here for a reason- that his brother left Nigeria years ago, crashing on this site- only to crash himself here years later, and to be drawn to this answer by his brother's own plane. Locke seems to appreciate this point, but doesn't heartily endorse it (to my eyes, at least). The scenes between Locke and Eko are some of the best in the show's history.

    One more note on the Pearl hatch- the only screen working among the seven was one observing the Swan hatch. Naturally, if this was being recorded- it doesn't bode well for Michael, who's ruse has, at this point, yet to be discovered.

    Meanwhile, Libby is clearly dying. Instructing Sawyer to go to his stash for the biplane heroin to make her comfortable as she begins to die, he forces Kate to go with him. This way, they find out where Sawyer's stash is. Along the way, Hurley is informed of Libby's fate. A really sad scene.

    Michael, of course, is interested in Libby's fortunes. Eventually though, things turn south. After apologizing to her for forgetting the blankets- ostensibly blaming himself- Libby suddenly bolts up, opening her eyes- and cries "MICHAEL!" Thinking she's wondering about his wellbeing, Jack promises her Michael was "OK," and that he'd "made it." Libby then dies. One thing to note- it would seem that since she's now dead, the reveal of Libby in Hurley's mental ward a few weeks back would now seem to be completely moot. But- apparently not. Some mild spoilers there, but worth checking out re: Libby.

    We end the episode seeing Michael, entirely out of sight of the now-mourning Lost-ers, in the armory. We then cut to the computer monitor, with the familiar countdown beep. Michael's image finally ends the episode.

    Just an absolutely tremendous episode. Sets up next week- with so much going on. Looking forward to it.

    One more note- another version of the Hanso Foundation commercial broadcast during the episode last night. In it, we are directed to the website www.sublymonal.com. In it, there is a password that can be used on the screen of one of the Executive Bios at the original site.





    JON LESTER | SP | B:L T:L | 22 YO | AAA PAW.

    __________ERA______SO______BB______H______IP______HR
    2006_____4.05______29______11_____26_____26.2______4


    Jon Lester made his 6th start of the year today against the Syracuse Sky Chiefs.

    His line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, ER, 0 BB, 6 K (76 P; 49 S)

    OUT DISTRIBUTION
    GB: 1
    FB: 8
    SO: 6


    Lester also allowed an unearned run. Jon's really turned it on over his last three starts, especially in the last two. The only thing you could quibble with is the gb/fb ratio, but when you're striking out that many- as I mentioned last time- it's just fine.

    His command is improved, and as a result- fewer walks, fewer HRs, more Ks. Sounds really simple, but it was always encouraging that Lester's stuff was never an issue through his early struggle. His pitch count is getting larger, which is moving him along nicely.

    Great day for Jon. His next start looks to be May 16th in Buffalo against the Bisons. It is Cleveland's affiliate, so this means Lester will face, among others, old friend Andy Marte (610 OPS). Leading the team in OPS are Lou Merloni and OF Jason DuBois, along with top prospect 1B Ryan Garko.

    ______________________________ |