Quick Hits: LOST S6, E10 — “The Package”
And so we return to the stories that advance the plot. Even @DamonLindelof seemed to admit via Twitter that the LOSTies weren’t likely to love this episode, hinting that “in one week, the conversation is going to change.” Well, this episode certainly didn’t shift the conversation, but rather it pulled things back in to a plot-centric course… taking a right turn from the mythological slant of the last episode. Given that I heard half the audience groan over the lack of plot advancement last week, I think we can expect an exact switcharoo with the complainer last week lauding this episode and the lovers of the Jacob-MIB tales lambasting Darleton.
There was some thought amongst me and my fellow LOSTie friends that Jin and Sun could have been candidates for cancellation in prior season finales. They always survived the cut despite the fact that, in many ways, their characters had ended their usefulness as primary storyline members and other characters who cross that Rubicon (like Boone, Shannon, and, at least temporarily, Claire) all met their end. Darleton did a good job of reviving them, to a degree, but this episode showed that even the gimmick of the separated lovers couldn’t really carry an episode.
The one area that the episode did work for me was the sideways universe. Sun and Jin in a separate existence worked quite well and more interestingly than many of the other storylines. We’d been teased with Jin’s being found by Sayid at Keamy’s restaurant, so we already wanted to know how he got there.
Click through to keep on keeping on.
In the sideways universe, we learn rather quickly that Sun and Jin are not married. Interesting that the lack of wedding rings hadn’t actually been widely noticed before. I wonder if Darleton had a laugh with that. Anyways, we see that there are some changes in the nature of the Kwon’s relationship. Notably: i) as mentioned, they are not yet married and Jin is characterized as Sun’s bodyguard; ii) Sun, rather than Jin, is the one planning an escape from the Paik company and family; iii) Jin is not sterile and he’s already impregnated Sun. Each of these changes are somewhat intriguing. Keamy’s comment to Jin that “Some people just aren’t meant to be together” was actually quite ironic, in that the episode reflected Jin and Sun’s destiny to be together.
I will say that the unintended gunshot wound that struck Sun in the belly was the third time LOST has done something this year and I’ve thought to myself “Wow, are they really going that budget.” Unlike the Sawyer rope scene and the Claire/Kate knife fight, where the production value and care was my real gripe, here you had Darleton using a cinematic technique (in the innocent character getting hit by the stray bullet off camera) which normally is reserved for movies and TV shows that lack the dramatic care and writing skills of a LOST. That’s not to say the moment was without its merit, as it led to Sun telling Jin she was pregnant.
Sun had tried to tell Jin of her pregnancy when proposing their escape earlier, but was interrupted by Keemy’s arrival at the hotel. I really liked this alternate reality in that it played up a reversal of the surreptitious plotting by Jin to be a better man and run away with Sun in the Island universe and also restored the threat of the pregnancy in crisis which was such a strong parallel in the Jin/Sun storyline in Season 4. It also ensures that we’ll see some more of Jin and Sun in the alternate universe as they seek treatment for Sun.
More quick hits from last night:
- Sun is decidedly more attractive and endearing as a character when speaking only in Korean. I’m not really entirely certain why they chose to make that move, but it worked on a few levels… not the least of which is that LOST is one of the very few shows in which the use of subtitles and language confusion has seemingly improved the flow of dialogue at times.
- Widmore seemed to be a sympathetic character in the episode… for about 55 minutes. The reference to “The Package” was somewhat clearly a double reference (or, if you attend the University of Tennessee on football scholarship, a “double video”) with the headfake to the watch brought to LAX by Jin and the somewhat subtle reference to the locked cargo on the submarine that Sawyer had seen a few episodes ago. What was a little more shocking to me was just what the package was. Maybe I’m a total moron and just a fool for not seeing it coming, but until I saw him being lifted up from the sub, I didn’t realize it was going to be the Constant, Desmond Hume. I realize I should have realized that it was Desmond at least when Widmore said the package was a person, rather than a thing… but I didn’t, for whatever reason.
- What does Sun’s use of paper to verbalize remind me of? I’m honestly pulling a blank on this; however, I feel like Jack’s granting of Sun’s voice to her via use of pen and paper is a reference to something. That and the survival of one tomato in Sun’s overgrown garden were definitely important, but it’s too darn late at night for me to figure it out.
- It’s a little unclear if Jin’s importance to Widmore really rests with his ability to interpret the map of geological and magnetic activity with his name signed onto it or if he’s aware of the candidate status. One would have to think that Widmore is playing down how much he knows (just as FLocke suggested in their beach conversation) or at least that he hasn’t filled in Zoe. Otherwise, we’re dealing just a little too closely with coincidence and I’m mentioned before that I prefer my LOST coincidences to actually be intelligently designed.
- Sun’s suspicion of Locke is not something new. Throughout the series, Sun has relied upon and turned to Jack and away from Locke. Unlike the sometimes vacillating Kate or the stubborn Rose (who often sided with the man of Science over the man of Faith), I recall Sun as virtually always being true to Jack and distrusting Locke.
- The comment by Zoe, Widmore’s geophysicist, upon entering Room 23 where they kept the kidnapped Jin was astute: “Well that was weird.” This was after Jin flipped the switch and saw the presentation that was used on Carl, which said:
Look at your life
We are the causes of our own suffering
I didn’t expect that Room 23 would ever be explained (just as Ben’s room with people’s ultimate desires — in the case of Locke, his father — won’t ever be explained), and I’m aware that this episode didn’t explain Room 23, but I appreciated that the producers at least gave it a wave farewell and left us to our own machinations on trying to compare LOST to A Clockwork Orange.
- In a similar vein was Sawyer’s comments to Locke questioning his mode of travel over to Hydra Island. He asked why he didn’t just fly over as the smoke monster, to which Locke replied that if he could just fly over water as the smoke monster, he wouldn’t still be on the Island. Sawyer’s deadpan: “No, because that would be ridiculous.” As with Zoe’s comment about Room 23 being weird, this was also almost a little homage to the audience’s questioning of some of the over-the-top storylines. IMO, suspension of disbelief has never been too tough with LOST, but I do like the producer’s occasional nods and winks.
- I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve really enjoyed seeing some characters revived. This was not true for Martin Keemy, whose teeth still remind me of Matt Dillons’ in There’s Something About Mary. Unlike with Keemy, I was very happy to see Mikhael Bakunin, the intrepid, creepy and somewhat crazy, multilingual stationmaster of the Flame. It had been a while, but it was great to see Mikhael in the alternate universe, even if he was working for Keemy. What I really appreciated was that Jin shot Keemy in his right eye, the same eye that was missing in the Island universe.
- I’m also quite happy to see Desmond’s return — though I also wish we could have more Penny (and a return of Libby). That said, his reintroduction was a bit much, with Zombie Sayid playing Rambo and coming face to face with the drugged Des.
The more I think about it, I actually liked this episode. No, it wasn’t a standout sixty minutes in that we did get the big reveals that we all want, but it did a solid job of advancing the plotlines: Sun and Jin are moving closer together, alliances are solidifying, we’ve got some clarity on the importance of the Ajira plane, #TeamWidmore and #TeamSmokeMonster are at loggerheads and Ricardus is back in the saddle. I’m ready for the conversation to be changed and for these final six episodes.
As a special bonus, be sure to check out the animated LOST character series over at behance.net.