LOST Revisited: “Cabin Fever” (May 9)

I’m running out of excited superlatives here, people. This episode was huge for advancing the overall plot, with all sorts of big freaky reveals. Let’s just jump straight in.

The song we hear at the beginning is “Everyday”, by Buddy Holly. Who, you may recall, died in a plane crash. And what we get here is Locke’s birth. I find it significant that the only other character whose birth we’ve seen in flashback is Benry. Sort of a passing of the torch. (Did we see Walt’s birth? If so, it still fits because of him being a Magic Boy. Or a regular boy with a Magic Dog.) And you know, life has not been kind to Locke – he was essentially forced into the world by a reckless driver. Poor guy just started out on the wrong foot.

Keamy has steadily gone from a background character to funnily intense and finally, to major threat. This guy’s getting scarier every time we see him. Luckily for Michael, the Island wants him alive, so Keamy’s gun jams. As it turns out, the Island doesn’t seem to care if Michael gets the snot beat out of him. And by the way, it’s good to back on the freighter again. I mean, it’s sort of horrible on that boat, but I missed those guys.

Now, Horace the dream mathematician also appeared in Benry’s flashback episode last season. Just because you’re dead, doesn’t mean you’re out of a job on Lost. You’ll notice that his dialogue with Locke keeps starting over, only each time, it’s different. Still, he keeps re-starting, hits the same points, and then gets that nosebleed. Once again, we’re back to how events repeat on the Island. This is looking more and more like a major theme as time goes on. I also like Benry’s line to Locke: “I used to have dreams.” Somebody’s a little upset about not being Jacob’s favorite anymore.

Back in the past, little Locke is a miracle baby, the youngest preemie to survive. Instant rejection by his mother is just another one of the ways life dogpiles on poor Locke, isn’t it? (By the way, Locke’s grandmother is really funny in this brief scene.) This would mostly just be a sad little scene, if not for the sudden appearance of Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert. Last season we saw evidence that he doesn’t age, but this was still a shocker. Just how old is he?

I like Hurley’s observation that only the craziest people on the Island have ever seen the cabin. Maybe they can take Faraday on their next trip. Now, we’ve seen the mass grave before, but it’s still disturbing. And poor Hurley, well, this is all new to him. One of my Lost viewing buddies noted that one of the bodies has what appears to be a bullet hole right in the old melon. Looks like there might be some fatalities related to causes other than poison gas.

Well, looks like Locke started early with the backgammon. (Wouldn’t it be great if backgammon was not at all important in the series, and it just turned out that Locke liked to compare everything to backgammon?) Also, Locke’s foster mother doesn’t seem to fond of him. And note Locke’s drawing of black smoke overwhelming a stick person. Now, the test Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert administers is the same as the test that use to find the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. (As I learned from King of the Hill) His insistence that Locke find the item that already belonged to him certainly indicates reincarnation. Just who does he think Locke is? The modern-day incarnation of a certain four-toed god-king? The items he presents are: a baseball glove, “The Book of Laws”, a compass, a vial of sand, a knife, and a comic book that mentions a “Hidden Land” on the cover. Now, I think we all knew that Locke was going for that knife. Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert seemed pretty excited when he first held the sand and the compass (leading me to think there was actually more than one right answer). It’s pretty easy to see how all the various items fit into Lost mythology. The baseball glove is a bit of a stretch, but remember that the Red Sox represent hope. By the way, his description of a “special school” made him sound like Professor X.
Anyway, poor Locke made the wrong choice. It’s clear that he’s important, but he doesn’t live up to the expectations others have of him. He’s a man of faith with a knife in his boot. It’s almost like Locke is the wild card in this current repetition of events. If the life of the Island is cyclical, and Locke isn’t exactly who The Others are expecting, maybe he’s the one who can finally break the cycle. The Island doesn’t need a holy man – it needs a two-fisted mystic! Of course, I may be biased because Locke is awesome.

Over at the mass grave, Benry is all creepy, even when he’s been shattered. I liked his interactions with Hurley – something about the most unsettling and the most likeable characters getting together makes for fascinating scenes. It’s interesting that Benry admits he’s not always the leader of The Others. I don’t think he’s alluding to Jacob, either. I think he’s talking about Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert. Sure, we’ve never seen him do anything other than listen to Benry’s orders, but his reappearance in this episode, right before this scene, indicates that he might rank a little higher than we’ve seen. Plus, he doesn’t age. That alone qualifies you for leadership.

It’s falling apart on the freighter. It looks like Keamy is working directly for Widmore and the Captain actually thinks of this as a rescue mission. So, between Keamy, Michael, and the Fantastic Foursome, there were at least three hidden agendas on the freighter. Hard to believe it took as long as it did for people to lose their minds. Kind of alarming that the “secondary protocol” actually tells Keamy where Benry is going, though. How could Widmore possibly know that? And why is that information locked up? Why not provide Keamy with all the facts right off? There is bad stuff happening on this freighter. Plus, now they want to “torch the island”. Yikes.

OK, this is really cool. There’s a scientific theory called “Schrodinger’s Cat”. Short version, and I don’t really know science so I may have the specifics wrong, is the idea that if you put a cat in a box with a radioactive isotope that has a 50% chance of breaking down and killing him, and then you close the box, the cat is both alive and dead. Only by opening the box do you eliminate one of those possibilities. Mentioning this in reference to the finale of The Sopranos got me in the LA Times last year, so here’s hoping!

Anyway, in the scene on the deck, the Doctor is clearly seen. Then Omar gets the Morse code signal that the Lostaways sent two episodes ago. If you remember, they said that the Doctor’s body washed up on shore, and the freighter responded that the Doctor was still alive. So due to the time warp around the Island, when the Doctor does die later in the episode, his body washes up on shore before he actually died. Essentially, his corpse traveled a day or so back in time in reaching the Island. So in this scene, the Doctor is both alive on the boat and dead on the Island. He exists in both states simultaneously, which is about as literal an evocation of Schrodinger’s Cat that you can get without an actual cat in an actual box. I love this stuff!

And you have to admire Sayid’s determination in taking the raft back to the Island. Considering that he knows about the lost time, and he watched Desmond and Minkowski come unstuck in time after traveling from and to the Island, respectively, he’s a brave man to head out there in a little boat.

Let’s see, life has been unkind to Locke from Day One (literally). I’ll bet high school was a snap, right? Huh. It looks like Locke was not popular. The program the teacher tells him about should sound very familiar. We’ve seen Mittelos Bioscience over in Portland before, after all. That’s the front company that recruited Juliet. (And doesn’t that anagram for “Lost Time” seem more significant after what we’ve seen this season?) Clearly, Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert has not given up on Locke. Once again, though, Locke is torn between his two sides. Following the Mittelos path would force him to turn his back on the other things he loves. (Hey, Schrodinger’s Cat! He can be a man of science and a man of action simultaneously, but only until he actually chooses one or the other.) And his response to the teacher of “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” has turned up in many of his flashbacks, most prominently at the Outback Adventure place. *** all images courtesy of DarkUFO and LostEasterEggs ***

Michael and Frank disagree as to who created the fake Flight 815. It’s interesting that Frank thinks of Widmore as his boss, even though he’s not really privy to the main point of the mission. After all, the Fantastic Foursome seem to intend the Lostaways no harm at all. And it was Abaddon who got them on the freighter in the first place. I’m willing to bet that it’s not Widmore they’re actually working for at all. And hey, what’s that thing strapped to Keamy’s arm? It seems significant later on – is it a detonator? I wouldn’t put anything past that crazy guy.

Benry’s line that there are “consequences to being chosen” nicely brings us to Locke’s rehab. The sign calls it the “Delerue Center”, and I feel like that must be an anagram. Of course, there are also a composer and physicist by that name, so it might be a reference to one of them. Anyway, I was not expecting to see Matthew Abaddon. That was a nice freaky surprise. This scene is so fraught with tension, as they really convey the idea that Abaddon’s going to pitch Locke straight down the stairs. Interesting that he’s the one who sells Locke on the walkabout, for several reasons. First Abaddon claims that it changed him. An actual walkabout, or was he on the Island? Next, Abaddon claims Locke owes him a favor. Yeah, that’s going to come back. Finally, he made the move to get Locke to Australia, which means he wanted Locke on Flight 815, which means he knew it was going to crash. This was all set up to get Locke on the Island! Now, considering that Desmond’s failure to push the button was based largely on internal factors, I don’t know how Abaddon, or anybody, could have known the plane would crash. I suspect when we find the answer, it’s going to blow our minds.

On the freighter, Keamy’s lost it but good. We all knew the Doctor had to die, since his time-displaced body is in the past, but Captain Gault? The one trustworthy guy on the ship? That was pretty shocking. And this is another instance of Frank just trying to be the peacemaker. I’m not sure what his agenda is, but he really doesn’t want anybody to get hurt.

Hey, it’s Jack! Once again, being a bad patient. I liked the scene with the helicopter’s approach, as you could see everybody’s faces just fall as it passed right over. I’m not sure why Frank thinks it will help the Lostaways to follow the helicopter full of heavily armed psychos, but he’s been pretty trustworthy so far. Still, Keamy survived the Monster. I’m not sure any of our buddies can really give him much of a fight.

And now comes what I call the Big Stack of Awesome. I’ve got to say, it makes me a little nervous for Locke that the two guys who are definitely alive in the future decide it’s safer to wait outside. Regardless, it’s none other than Christian in Jacob’s cabin! And he can speak on Jacob’s behalf! So where did Jacob go? He was there last time Locke was in the cabin, but when Hurley looked through the keyhole in the season premiere, Christian was the one in Jacob’s chair. Plus, you know, Christian’s dead. And it’s not like he’s appearing in a form familiar to Locke, as we’ve seen happen on the Island before. Eko’s brother, the horse, Walt – these were all visions that meant something to the viewer. Locke doesn’t know Jack’s dad. (And why is Christian so important to the Island? Does he have some kind of history there? We really know him as a drunk and a crappy dad, but on the Island, he has an almost mythological significance.) And Claire’s also there, where she’s supposed to be. And the baby is not supposed to be there. That’s something right there. We’ve always worked from the belief that nobody but Claire can raise the baby. However, we know that there are powerful forces of Good and Evil at work, we just don’t always know which is which. We’re fairly certain that the Island is good, and it’s not a stretch that Christian, who speaks for Jacob, who speaks for the Island, is doing the Island’s will by separating her from Aaron. What if Roger the Psychic was part of the evil forces and he lied? What if the destruction comes from Claire raising Aaron? The Island has certainly provided numerous surrogates (Locke, Charlie, Rousseau, The Others), and we’re learning that we should trust the Island. Of course, Ghost Charlie says Jack “isn’t supposed to raise him”, but that could mean any number of things. Right now, it’s clear that the Island wants Claire and Aaron to be separated.

And here is where Locke finally passes the test. When pressed to ask the one question that matters, he chooses correctly: “How do I save the Island?” Locke is the savior the Island has been seeking. Perhaps he’s the reincarnation of an important Island figure, as Richard “Batmanuel” Alpert and his test would suggest, but after making the “wrong” choice in the past, Locke proves here that he is the person the Island needs in order to survive.

When he emerges from the cabin, Locke gives us the seven words that change everything: “He wants us to move the Island”. That’s why Widmore can’t find the Island, even though it was once his. That’s why Jack can’t find the Island in the future. The Island can be moved! And it can’t move itself, which is why Locke has to do it. Do you guys remember all those times I told you Locke was awesome? You know who agrees with me? The freaking Island agrees with me!

This is going to be a very long week. Especially since the preview very clearly shows the Oceanic Six boarding a cargo plane. These next episodes are going to be huge! I recommend having your minds pre-blown so you can fully concentrate on next week’s episode.

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