Friday, February 01, 2008
Lost, Season 4, Episode 1: The Beginning of the End
Thanks for waiting, y'all. It kills me that I can't post my blog the night of the show and beat all the other reporters to the punch, but finally, my column is below. A little more succinct than usual (which isn't a bad thing; having a forced word count stops me from blathering on and on) but most of it is still there. I LOVED the episode, loved that they opened with Hurley, who most people believe is some sort of side character with no real meaning, and after believing that "Dave" was some sort of throwaway episode, it's looking like it was more important than we thought, since the idea that Hurley is seeing imaginary people was in the back of our heads through that entire episode last night.
So let's discuss!! What did you think?
The long wait is over, and guess what? MORE QUESTIONS!
It’s been eight long months. Fans have speculated about who was in that coffin, why Jack wanted to go back, who might have been left behind — but nothing could have prepared us for the words that were uttered by Hurley at the beginning of “Lost’s” season 4 premiere: “I’m one of the Oceanic Six!”
Whoa, dude. I didn’t see that coming.
On the island, the survivors celebrate their impending rescue until Charlie’s message splits the group into those who believe the rescuers are legit, and those who think they are dangerous. Hurley sees Jacob’s cabin, becomes the island’s newest disciple, joins forces with Locke, and leads a small mutiny against Jack. In Locke’s corner: Hurley, Claire, Ben, Rousseau, Alex, Karl, Sawyer and several of the background characters. Splitting the group — without any cages involved this time — is an intriguing way to begin the season.
But the really good stuff was in the flashforward. Like the “Through the Looking Glass” flashforward where we saw a crazed, bearded Jack, now we get a flashforward that takes place before Jack’s, with a crazed, bearded Hurley who believes that the island wants them back. To make matters worse…he’s seeing Charlie.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had a lot to prove with this return, and they managed to do it (even if there were a few moments where it felt like they were trying to do too much). “The Beginning of the End” felt like a series premiere all over again, with new enemies, new storylines, and endless possibilities.
• Hurley’s cannonball: It’s the happiest we’ve seen him. Even in the past, just about every comment he makes oozes with sarcasm that masks his pain, and in the future, he’s shattered. In this one joyous moment, he believes he’ll be rescued and he’ll finally be free of the money. One second later, he discovers his best friend is dead, and it’s all over.
• Jorge Garcia: All of the Hugo episodes have had comic overtones, and this one was a portrait of a broken man. Garcia really stepped up, and between the tearful scene where he has to tell Claire that Charlie is dead and the various scenes of him losing his mind, he showed he’s a lot more versatile than most people give him credit for.
Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Naomi’s not dead (oh wait, give it a minute... okay, now she’s dead)
• Hurley seeing Jacob’s cabin, and then Jacob. Last season the only two people who could see or hear Jacob were Locke and Ben, the two characters who believe the island is a living, breathing thing that can make decisions and determine your fate. The image of the man in the chair and the close-up of the eyeball appeared to be one and the same person, but this time, they seem to be from two people. Not only that, but the cabin is ephemeral, disappearing and reappearing wherever it sees fit. Is Jacob controlling it? Is the cabin another form of the smoke monster? Is it two people or can Jacob astrally project himself the same way Walt seemed to?
• Jack pulling the trigger when holding the gun to Locke’s head. WOW. Until now, the two men have always locked horns, but they know how far they can push the other guy. This time Locke makes his usual “you’re not gonna shoot me, Jack” comment (you know, as many of us regularly say to our friends) and he’s wrong. Something’s snapped in Jack.
• Jack in the future checking on Hurley to make sure he keeps his mouth shut. He takes on the role that Kate played at the end of “Through the Looking Glass,” by telling Hurley to keep quiet, and refusing to listen to Hurley’s pleas that they did the wrong thing. Unlike with the previous flashbacks, we watch this episode with a sense of dread, knowing that Jack will soon be as destroyed as Hurley is, and will be just as obsessed with returning to the island.
• Hurley saying he shouldn’t have gone with Locke. Until now, the flashback has served to illuminate the present, but now, the flashforward will bring dramatic irony to the present, where the viewer can watch the characters’ actions with the help of hindsight. Because of the flashforward, we know that Hurley’s making a mistake by following Locke, and will watch all of the island action with that in mind.
Important Lost Motifs:
One of the most important motifs of the show is time — with the flashbacks, present-day material, and flashforwards, the viewers are watching the show on three different time planes. But there’s also been speculation among fans that the characters are all time traveling, and exist on three different planes at once. Every clip show seems to repeat that seemingly innocuous scene of Hurley and Sayid listening to the Glenn Miller Orchestra on the beach, with Hurley saying they could be picking up a signal from another time, and then laughing it off. But in this episode’s flashforward, that theory seemed to really find legs. Charlie says, in a line that will no doubt be one of the most talked-about moments from season 4, “I am dead, but I’m also here.” Does he mean that he’s dead on one plane, and alive on another, and that Hurley’s living on more than one at the same time? Or is it simply an emotional moment, where he means he’s dead, but he’ll always be “here,” in his heart?
Did You Notice?:
• The cop who interrogates Hurley is Mike from “Collision,” who keeps yelling at Ana to holster her weapon when they’re responding to a domestic call.
• The Oceanic attorney who meets up with Hurley is named Matthew Abbadon, which sounds like “Abandon.”
• When Locke went to Jacob’s cabin, the camera holds on a painting of a dog sitting in the corner. We saw the painting again, suggesting there’s some significance to it.
So Many Questions...
• Who are the other three people in the Oceanic Six? When did they all get together to make this pact that they would stay hush-hush about the island? After we establish who the Six are, will we see flashforwards of people who were left behind?
• Is Matthew Abbadon really from Oceanic? Is he referring to the people left behind when he asks, “Are they still alive?”
• Why did Hurley see Jacob instantly, when Locke only caught a glimpse after staring at an empty chair for some time?
• Was Naomi really just changing the frequency on the phone or was she sending a hidden message?
• Was Charlie really there? When Hurley thought Dave wasn’t real, Dave hit him and it hurt him, but Dave wasn’t there. On the one hand, another mental patient points out that Charlie is standing there, which would suggest he really is there. But on the other hand, Hurley could just be imagining that guy, too.
• Who does Charlie mean when he says, “They need you”? Are “they” the people who were left behind?
• What terrible thing did the Oceanic Six do?