Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lost's Real Hero

Usually I rely on my buddy McBlog's blog to sound off on the latest Lost, but with no post in sight, I'll just do my usual commentary right here at home. Last night's episode, "LaFleur," packed exactly the sort of emotional punch I was discussing the other day that's been missing thus far from season five. In what's become typical lost fashion, "LaFleur" was presented an a non-linear fashion, with the end point being the both expected and unexpected emotional climax, rather than simply a conclusion of plot. While the Oceanic 6 had their three years off the island, we find that the small remaining group of Losties spent an eerily similar (in terms of time) three years on the island, albeit from 1974-1977 as part of the Dharma Initiative.

The first question there is about that three year period, which perhaps explains why Jack, Kate, and Hurley appeared when they did in 1977. If they weren't supposed to have left the island than this could be part of the island's way of self-correcting, putting our characters back together after having experienced equal amounts of time apart from one another. I'm in the camp that Locke, Ben, and the plane, didn't go back to the 70's and Locke and Ben's different experiences with time (it hasn't been three years for either of them) could play into that.

But to leave the nitty gritty of plot and go back to our characters, after having gone two years without a Sawyer-centric episode, last night was the time for the show's new hero to shine. The transformation of Sawyer from Han Solo at the beginning of A New Hope to Han Solo at the end of Return of the Jedi has been nothing short of remarkable, despite how predictable such a transformation might be. Coming on the heels of episodes focusing on Jack and Locke, it was all to evident that Sawyer's developed into the show's real leader and it's true hero. The last two weeks have showcased Jack and Locke as utter failures in their efforts to convince their friends to come back to the island, with their ultimate successes coming only because of the machinations of Ben Linus and the work of as yet unknown forces. Yet while Jack and Locke can't convince anyone else of anything, Sawyer convinces his small group to stay on the island and remain part of the Dharma Initiative, not out of self interest but out of selfless concern for everyone else tied up in this mess.

In another typical Lost twist of fate Sawyer's con man past proves vital in his perpetuation of a shipwreck story to presumable Dharma leader Horace Goodspeed. And as if to further exemplify Sawyer's mastery of the leadership role, we see his brief meeting with Richard Alpert, resolving a dispute with the Others not through lies but with the complete truth.

Much of Sawyer and the gang's three years on the island are glossed over, presumably because nothing much interesting happened. Jin learns English, Sawyer and Juliet hook up, and Sawyer manages to become head of Dharma security, enabling him to run an operation searching the island for any of the remaining time traveling survivors. Because of the circumstances, we harbor no hard feelings for Sawyer and his relationship with Juliet in regards to his feelings with Kate. As Sawyer fortuitously tells Horace near the end of the episode, three years should be enough time to get over someone, but in the Lost universe nothing should be unexpected.

"LaFleur" was heavy on the characters, a first for Lost this season and on further reflection was no slouch in the mythology department either, albeit a bit more subtly than we've come to expect this season. The first relevant piece of information we get is the time frame, 1974-1977. This is 20 years after the Losties appearance in "Jughead" and presumably before Dr Chang's Dharma initiation videos and before "the incident." If we're to believe Charles Widmore, he should still be the leader of the Others, as he says he peacefully led them for three decades. And given that Ben has to be at least 40 in 2004, he's got to be on the island with his dad by 1977. A pleasant surprise last night was the ageless Richard Alpert, appearing to discuss the apparent breaking of a truce that has existed between the Dharma folks and the Others. On one hand we have the question of what Richard knows about time travel and our survivors and on the other hand we have the question of what the hell those two Others were doing in attempting to execute Amy and her husband who seemed to be on a picnic.

That's all I've got for now, but stay tuned to my buddy McBlog for more on Lost.


Anonymous McMc said...

You should've titled this post, "The 'Lost' Hero"

2:06 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Good call.

One other point I wanted to make was about grieving Daniel, who we see just briefly in 1974 and don't see at all in 1977. When asked by Miles about interfering with the past, Daniel only responds, "what happened, happened." As we already know, Daniel seemingly knew Charlotte was going to die and her death was further proof of his scientific theory of time as a string that cannot be changed.

I bring this up because I still see countless theories out there by Lost fans that posit that our Losties are going to change some event that we already saw happen. That's just not a theory I can buy, because the characters of the show have indicated this is a scientific rule, and more importantly, in terms of the story, this has proved to be an excellent narrative rule. Time and time again we've seen that you can't change the past and that the universe "course corrects" for any changes you try and make.

What's more interesting is the possibility that our characters are simply part of the past- that is, what happened, happened, because they were a part of what happened. This starts to get a bit confusing, but rather than think about the logical complexities, focus instead on the concept of fate in the Lost universe. Going all the way back to season one, look at the roll of fate in the various off-island connections between our characters and how they were all thrown together on the island. If what happened in the past happened because it was supposed to happen, doesn't that mean what happens in the future is supposed to happen?

So our final question for the day is, what's supposed to happen?

4:18 PM  

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