"I'm a lot more than just an orderly."
"I'm cool with you going in alone too."
Godspeed John, and onward Christian Shephard. Good grief, where to begin?!?
(At the risk of diverting away readers, check out this blog post from Alan Sepinwall of the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He's always insightful, analytical and has a doozy of a theory at the very end of his post.)
The pace picked up considerably in "Lost's" episode 11, "Cabin Fever," compared to last week's installment. At times like these, I find comfort in bullet points. Scribes Elizabeth Sarnoff and Kyle Pennington and helmer Paul Edwards have given us a lot to sort out.
**In a word -- Claire! If she wasn't dead in that scene with her long-lost daddy Christian Shephard in Jacob's creepy, creeky cabin, then she sure was stoned. I'm leaning toward dead...but I don't think that Locke was hallucinating in that cabin. I think she and Christian appeared to him for the very specific reason of instructing him on what to do to "save the island." But it's heartbreaking to see her so unconcerned about being separated from Aaron.
"I'm with him," she tells Locke, referring to Christian and agreeing with him that Aaron just isn't "supposed" to be there.
**We've learned that Locke has been monitored for all of his born days by the omnipresent Richard Alpert (back from his mission to Miami to infiltrate a rival network series that is destined to be axed after one season). Just the sight of Richard puts me on edge. Actor Nestor Carbonell is fantastic.
**The freighter doctor does wind up with his throat cut. I can't even pretend to grasp the logic of the time-travel/consciousness projecting business.
**Michael still can't be done away with, not yet, even when he enrages a killing machine like Keamy. (Mr. Friendly was not fooling.) The narrow room where the freighter fiends were holding Michael chained to a pipe was very reminiscent of the tiny room in the hatch where the survivors held Ben in season two when he was intro'd to us as Henry Gale. Ha! More like Elmira Gulch.
**The look of Locke in the scenes in and around the cabin was very, very Col. Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now," minus about 75 pounds compared to Brando of course. But c'mon -- the army green T-shirt, sweaty bald head, lantern lighting touches. I half expected to hear him whisper "the horror."
**The sight of the Dharma Initiative mass grave site makes me want to puke every time. I can't imagine how the show's production crew must feel having to set it up. It's instantly suggestive of Holocaust imagery from the camps. Never forget.
**Friday afternoon update: Can't believe I forgot to mention Locke's encounter with Horace! Any time a scene starts with "Lost's" trademark zoom-in-on-an-eyelid-that's-about-to-open shot, you know it's going to be good. According to ABC's release for this seg Horace's last name is Goodspeed. I loved how he was wearing a tie-dye T-shirt underneath his Dharma jumpsuit. Noticed that the job category printed under his name was "mathematician." And of course, noticed that he was dealing with that nasty nosebleed that comes with time travel. That would account for the instant replay of his greeting to Locke as he's chopping down trees, and it would account for his statement: "I've been dead for 12 years."
**Was the flashback depicting Locke's birth the earliest time period we've seen in this show? Judging by the song, Buddy Holly's "Everyday," and the fashions, we were somewhere in the second half of the Eisenhower administration. The backstory on his mother was of course interesting. At first I wasn't sure if the Locke's-crazy-mom character that Swoosie Kurtz played in an earlier season was also named Emily but in fact she was. I think it's interesting that Locke, through all of his domestic situations, kept his mother's maiden name as his surname. Friday afternoon update: And what about the father, is it con man Anthony Cooper? Was it really an accident that Emily got hit in the pouring rain by that speeding two-ton car?
**So Christian Shephard can speak on "behalf" of Jacob. Loved the way he said "I'm Christian" and the way he moved just for a moment into the light. But what's he doing working as the mouthpiece for Jacob? Jacob = Jack? I'm so confused. I do remember that even when Jack found his father's casket in an earlier season, he never did find a body. With all the boozing Christian did, his physical body was probably pickled and certainly wouldn't have decomposed that fast after the crash.
**Friday afternoon update: When Keamy goes ballistic and starts charging around the freighter demanding to go to "Protocol 2" of the plan, the file he pulls out of the safe has a big Dharma Initiative logo on it. I'm guessing Protocol 2 is "scorched earth" in Widmore-speak.
In the big-big picture, this seg seemed to hammer home the point that everything, bloody everything is connected, and someone has a master plan. Lance Reddick's character, ID'd in ABC's press release on this seg as Matthew Abaddon (surely there's some anagram action in that name), has been getting around almost as much as Richard Alpert.
We've seen Abaddon dispatching Naomi, Faraday, Charlotte and pilot Frank to the expedition from the freighter to the island, presumably at Widmore's behest. We've seen him talking to Hurley at the mental hospital (memory does not serve on this point -- as I recall Abaddon was posing as a lawyer for Oceanic and trying to get info out of Hurley, right? Wrong? We've covered a lot of ground this season, fer chrissakes). And tonight we saw him pop up as a mysterious orderly in the rehab hospital where Locke winds up after his fall in his scuffle with his dad.
Loved the Hitchcockian shot of the wheelchair-bound Locke parked at the top of the staircase by orderly Abaddon. Your mind immediately pictures Locke tumbling down those steps, which only makes it more unnerving when he does not. And now we know where Locke got the idea for the Australian walkabout.
"When you and me run into each other again, you'll owe me one," Abaddon tells Locke. Not the kind of thing you want to hear from steely-eyed Lance Reddick, no matter what character he's playing.
Speaking of unnerving, the scene with Richard Alpert visiting the little-boy Locke and giving him the test by pulling out those items and asking him to pick "which belong to you already" will certainly stand as a pivotal moment in this series -- just don't ask me exactly how.
By my count, he pulled out a baseball glove, a vial full of sand (I think it was sand?), a "Book of Laws," a gnarly-looking knife, a compass and a comic book that I couldn't catch the title of. Let's not forget that the 17th century British philosopher John Locke was big on riffing about the rule of law, the social contract and what we give up in personal freedom for the sake of bringing some order to our lives. Was it my imagination or did Richard grab everything but the book when he hustled out of Locke's living room in a huff?
Locke didn't make the "school for kids who are extremely special" back then, and he sure didn't want to have anything to do with the Mittelos science camp in Portland (a gateway to all kinds of things in this show) about 10 years later when Alpert et al tried to get to Locke when he was a geek getting picked on in high school.
How many times have we heard Locke use the line: "Don't tell me what I can't do," as he told his teacher in this seg. I'm not convinced that teacher was really just a horn-rimmed innocent. Perhaps he's in cahoots with Alpert.
One little touch that I really liked in this seg involved Des. We didn't see much of Desmond and Sayid on the freighter, but we laid the groundwork for Sayid going back to the island when Captain Gault proves to be a decent sort and tries to help Des and Sayid survive the murderous Keamy. At Sayid's request, Gault helps them escape in a little "Zodiac" boat. But Desmond decides not to go at the last minute. As he explains to Sayid: "I've been on that island for three years. I can't set foot on it again...Not when Penny's coming for me."
Nice bit of characterization on the writers' part. Des doesn't feel the need to be a hero.
Me, I feel the need for sleep. There's so much more, but my head's worn out from thinking.
Friday afternoon update: I keep thinking about Aaron winding up with Kate and Jack (however briefly) in Los Angeles. Are they the "nice couple in Los Angeles" that the Aussie psychic was steering Claire toward a few seasons back?