Wednesday, March 24, 2010

poor richard's almanac

LOST: As the episode begins, poor Richard's flipping out, spouting internet fan theories ("You're all dead! This is hell!) No one's buying it—not Jack, Sun, Ben, Ilana, or me, either. He strides off into the jungle, presumably in search of Smokey, and in order to give us the flashback we've all been waiting six seasons for.

Ricardo came from the Canary Islands, c. 1857—he killed a doctor (accidentally) who callously refused to treat his ailing wife, as Ricardo didn't have enough cash to secure his services. I think the doc was lying—he couldn't have helped her anyway. But when Ricardo returns home, his wife has died and he is arrested for murder. But hey, he was studying English, so his execution order is commuted in order to become a passenger, er, prisoner, on of course, the New World bound Black Rock. Losties across the world shout, "I knew it!"

Like Gilligan's Minnow, the Black Rock is caught up in a hell of a storm, and smacks into the statue of Tawaret (see everyone, they are explaining even some of the smaller show details), breaking it off at the feet (el diablo!) and ends up in the middle of the jungle where Smokey stops the first mate's "survival of the fittest" killing spree by going on one of his own and massacring the remaining crew members—except for Richard. Last week's pile of bodies had to be a result of Smokey too. The guy likes to mass-murder. Casts some doubt on who exactly masterminded the Dharma purge . . .

Ricardo, still in chains in the hold, has a ghost vision of his dead wife, followed by sounds of Smokey and her death (again). Very reminiscent of Ben, as a Dharma child, seeing his dead mother in the jungle before Richard shows up. Hmmm . . . On the Island, you shouldn't always believe everything you see, and definitely not what you hear. "It's good to see you out of those chains." Are you listening, Richard/Ricardo/Ricardus?

Richard is touched . . . by Smokey, who is still scheming to get off the island, still telling people exactly what they want to hear. Smokey's been playing this scene again and again—major echoes of Sayid's devil's bargain. Ricardo accepts [Dogen's] blade "If you let him speak, it's already too late." and heads off in search of he who lives in the base of the statue. Quick question—Jacob was yakking up a storm and Ben was still able to stab him and kill him—or did he? Is that just a silly, made-up god-killing no-talking knife rule?

Jacob is a badass ninja baptism machine! Maybe that's where Dogen learned his moves . . . He's also still keeping things to himself, as omnipotent beings do. But I still like Jacob, and I like his metaphors. And I like that Richard wants to live. A gentle touch is all it takes.

Back in the now—the moment I saw Hurley I knew who he had been talking to earlier on the beach. When Jack had so rudely interrupted. Beautiful scene with Hurley, Isabella and Richard, right up there with Dr. Linus's scene with Ilana and Ben. Jack schmack, if there was ever anyone to be a candidate to replace Jacob, a benevolent force with a core of iron to keep a cork in a bottle . . . let me just say that if Hurley's looking for a campaign manager, sign me up.

As much as a cross was waved throughout the episode, the Island mythology is not Christian mythology. As I have always suspected, the Island's mythology is more universal. Smokey is primordial evil, kept in check by the Island and Jacob's (or his successor's) presence. But this casts a serious new spin on the Sideways world. If the island, the cork, is under water in the Sideways world, that means that Smokey is on the loose. So is Sideways Locke actually Smokey? Is the Sideways world, which on the surface, seems "better" for our favorite castaways than the Island world, actually hell? Shades of Cocteau's Orphee, complete with mirror clues. I don't actually believe in hell, so I think a world full of Smokey and his particular brand of destruction is a metaphoric hell, rather than the Judeo-Christian concept of it.

I must say once again that I am really am beginning to think that Hurley will be the catalyst for saving the Island—keeping the proverbial bottle corked. As he warned a "saved" Richard, if he doesn't help keep Smokey "Locked" up, they really will all be going to hell—again, metaphorically speaking. So who exactly does Smokey have for sure on his team? Not Sawyer or Kate or Jin. Just Crazy Claire and Zombie Sayid. And some scared, nameless Others who are cannon fodder, let's face it. Seems like Smokey is as persuasive as ever. But look out, he's still recruiting—next week he may be making a play for Sun "Have you seen my husband?" Kwon . . .
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