SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode airing March 16, 2010, don't read this.
Okay, let's stop with the factions. From the first season of this show, we have the recurring plot of element of newly-emerging factions (some brand new, some arising from older factions). The factions sometimes overlap, their motives are often ambiguous, but they're out for blood when their own interests are threatened.
(Come to think of it, it's a little like Congress.)
Tonight's episode introduced us to yet another faction--Widmore's submarine people. By my count, this takes us up to eleven (ELEVEN!) factions thus far (though I'm sure I've missed some--feel free to remind me of what I may have left out):
- Our original Losties (Jack, Kate, et. al.) At times, they've split into multiple factions, (as in, John vs. Jack) but let's roll with it and think of them as one group.
- The Tailies (Ana Lucia, et. al.)
- The Others (Mr. Friendly, et. al.)
- Rousseau's original team
- The freighter people (Miles, Charlotte, Naomi, et. al.)
- The Temple Others (Dogen, et.al.), or, as my husband calls them the "Other Others". This group may or may not be of identical motives and alignment as the original others who have been kidnapping children since Season One.
- The Ajira passengers, who seem to be innocent casualties of one very bizarre plot line.
- Ilana's Ajira team, who have been sent to protect the "candidates". It is possible they're on the same team as the Temple Others, but it also appears there might be some division.
- Widmore's new submarine team, which presumably could be lumped in with the original freighter people, but then again, maybe not.
- Fake John Locke's tribe (newly-bad Sayid, crazy Claire, Cindy, et. al.)
Thus I repeat, let's stop with the factions. It has been fascinating to watch these groups emerge and break off, but there are eight episodes left, and I would be ever grateful if we could not have any new characters or alliances form, thank you.
The sideways flash in "Recon" centered on Sawyer (and, in a delightful twist, his partner Miles). It wasn't my favorite of the sideways flashes. Sawyer may be on the right of the law this time around, but his character is fundamentally the same.
Much more interesting in this episode was the interactions between Fake Locke and Kate. Fake Locke has a demeanor that is surprisingly gentle and kind (in fact, when he acts like this, he reminds me very much of my dad, which is a little freaky). He is kind to the children of the group, and he speaks with (what appears to be) great wisdom to Kate. He seems to be interested in keeping legitimate peace (between Kate and Claire), and he's even been very honest when he could've been deceptive (openly telling Sawyer he's the Smoke Monster).
Fake Locke tells Kate about his "crazy mother". The message boards are abuzz with the idea that his mother was the mythical Lilith (no, not Frasier's Lilith, but the Lilith that is mythological first wife of Adam). I don't know enough about the story to offer any commentary, but it is interesting that Lilith is considered a "wind spirit", appropriate for the mother of a smoke monster, no?
Stepping away from the specifics of this episode, I wanted to point out an interesting article that ran on MSNBC yesterday:
Life is like being on the island — we don't know why we're here, we don't really know what to do, but we still search for answers. And we often fail, even with the best intentions in mind. Isn't that journey enough? Do “Lost” fans need all these enigmatic strands of loose story to ultimately make sense? Hasn't the ride itself been worth it?
It's a good question. As the series wraps up, we may need to prepare ourselves for the fact that not all these pieces will click together in the tidy way we'd like. The writers may yet surprise us with a solid, sensible ending, but I'm getting a growing sense that they're wanting to draw parallels between real life and the show: Sometimes there are answers, and sometimes there aren't. I don't think they'll make this easy on us.
Even while part of my brain craves concrete answer to every rabbit-trail mystery we've seen (Libby, Mr. Eko, the Hurley Bird, etc.), another part of my mind can understand that a little remaining mystery fits perfectly with the essential theme of the show. Plus, it leaves something for the book, which you know must surely be in the works already (at least, I hope so).
This opens up a whole can of worms (Lost has a way of doing that): what does a writer owe readers/viewers? Does a reader/viewer take on the risk that they may invest themselves in a story that ends badly? Or does a writer take on the responsibility to consider the readers' need for resolution? I suspect everyone would have a different answer--I personally plant myself somewhere in the middle, tilting a little more toward the former than the latter. What do you think? Do you expect every Lost mystery to be wrapped up neatly? Will you be angry if it isn't?
Before I forget, the best quote of the night comes from Kate, to Fake Locke: "Very insightful, coming from a dead man."
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