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LOST Notes, 516: The Incident

Jacob: It takes a very long time when you're making the thread...but I suppose that's the point, isn't it?

OR

Rose Nadler It's always something with you people.

LOST, Season 5 Finale

The Incident

I. In Which The Mysterious Puppeteer Is Not Only Real, But He Looks Kinda Like Your Fuck-Up Uncle.

A. I'm going to take issue with the perception of Jacob as all-knowing, all-seeing or all-anything (besides perhaps first team All-Island for dodgeball or fishing or weaving or some shit). I know he transcends what I understand of time, because even back when people sailed places, he was rocking a young (semi-)professional haircut and the old "I totally forgot to shave this morning, wait, do women find this sexy, I had no idea, seriously" stubble. But it makes sense for him to be out there pushing some new folks towards the Island. He's been living in the same [pun]square foot[/pun] studio apartment, making tapestries like they're relevant (thousands of years didn't give him any tips on interior design) and eating fish for every meal , meanwhile his only company is the emo guy who wanders out of the jungle every once in a while to make death threats and compare not-beards. Maybe he needs some new faces to avoidturning into an angry heroin addict or something.

B. I'm not surprised that Kate has been generally amoral and self-interested since early childhood, nor am I surprised that the sad-sack airplane putz was whipped from the start. What I am surprised by is how Jacob knew that telling her not to be a self-interested little shit any more was the perfect strategy to get her to keep being a self-interested shit well into her thirties, thus ensuring that the Hakuna-Matata Circle Of Life endured.

C. Hey, Sawyer's uncle or otherwise vaguely paternal stand-in, it's really cool of you to step up and teach Li'l James the life lessons that he desperately needs to avoid a troubled childhood and equally tortured adulthood, but I think the best way to really communicate that message of love is to NOT LEAVE THE KID ALONE ON THE CHURCH STEPS AFTER HIS PARENTS' FUNERAL.

D. So now Sayid's ladyfriend could have been killed by Widmore, or by Ben, or by Jacob, or by Not-Jacob, or just by some random dude running a red light in LA (aka, obeying LA traffic laws). The actual guy behind the wheel is long dead by now, though, as are about 30 other people on Ben's naughty list, so we'll probably never find out who ordered the Code Red on Nadia.

E. I certainly hope Jacob IS a master of reverse psychology (as noted above with Kate), because if not, I hope he realizes how ineffectual his wisdom is on women. He asks Jin and Sun not to take their love for granted, and she then proceeds to do so on three separate occasions (with the bald guy, with planning to leave him at the airport, and almost with Michael). Or maybe Jin's the sucker because he married a spoiled rich girl and then actually heeded his own vows and/or the words of the ominous unshaven white stranger at his wedding.

F. If there was anyone who needed more "get your shit together" advice than anyone else, it's Jack, right? But everyone else (except Sayid) gets some kind of comfort or direction, whereas Jack and Jacob discuss vending machine mechanics. He just spent the previous minute bitching at his dad for providing some crunch-time fatherly wisdom, so he could use a little guidance. Maybe we just didn't see Jacob's exaggerated winking when he said "it just needs a little PUSH. A PUSH. LIKE YOU NEED A PUSH, JACK, BECAUSE OF DESTINY." He may not have said all that. My closed captions were weird.

G. I'm sure he's really an advocate of free will, but Jacob totally guilts Hurley back to the Island. "Why aren't you going back?...oh, that's cool. I mean, you're totally wrong about what you think of yourself, but it's totally your choice. So listen, if you ever want to go back - and it's up to you, really - you've got to get on this flight tomorrow. Again, your call, but this is your only option. For getting back, I mean. Because it's your choice. If you wanted to do the right thing and go back, this is your choice."

II. The Worst Thing To Happen To 1977 Since Screech

A. So now there's proof of what I've been waiting to hear all along: Kate is the reason everything is so messed up. Under pressure of ass-kicking and/or apocalypse, Jack confesses that the reason he's going balls out with this "a nuke can offset electromagnetism because physics" plan is because he had Kate and lost her by virtue of being an involved boyfriend. So she's all pissed off that he would dare try to forget her, so she starts showing up at places where she knows he'll be, leaving passive-aggressive comments on his MySpace page, and when she finds out he's gonna Truman the fuck out of the Swan Station, she suddenly joins the Peace Corps and is all "Make Love (to other womens' men) Not War." Then she shows up with a head of steam and her newly acquired Three's Company support from Sawyer and Juliet, takes one look at Jack's face and is all, "ya know, he has a point, blow the fucking place!"

B. I'm sure Sayid's got mad reading comprehension skillz, but he basically skimmed "Nuclear Bomb Core Removal For Dummies" before he was ready to get to work, and I have a hard time going along with the idea that Daniel Faraday can express his ideas clearly and succinctly in ANY format.

C. I think the full title of this episode is "The Incident: Bitches Be Trippin." Juliet, happy-go-lucky about living in the 70s, goes Jack Bauer on the sub crew because Sawyer says "I" instead of "we" and looks at his ex-girlfriend funny. That's not suppressed emotion; that's just him trying to pretend he doesn't remember what she looks like naked. Normal stuff. BUT he's a grown-up now (I know because he's kept his shirt on all the time) and since he's the happy husband, he goes along for the ride. In fact, he's so sold on the idea that he proves his point by firing a gun in a pressurized underwater tube. So OF COURSE they get off the sub and she pulls the dreaded DOUBLE-REVERSE, suddenly deciding that her previous unexpectedly contrarian stance wasn't nearly unexpected or contrarian enough. Yep, blow up the bomb because your parents got divorced and you think Kate and Sawyer should be together. It's a love-bomb. You're doing the 70s wrong. I'd like to think that she had a grand plan that involved wrapping a chain around Kate's waist and throwing her into the Magnetic Pit Of Doom, thus making her death a product of bitter irony and not some weird commentary on the evils of love ("marriage is bad, because safe and smart women can't make up their minds, am I right fellas? stick with the destructive crazy chick, she looks good in jeans!").

D. I think my history of totally platonic love for Sayid backs me up when I say of course he's the guy who can remove the plutonium core of an h-bomb. If you gave me one choice to pick who could safely do that, I'd say "Billy the nuclear physicist," and you'd say, "that's not a real character," and I'd say, "Ok, Sayid." But he spends four years or so trying to play against the ignorant American stereotype of Iraqis, then at the drop of the hat he's all "Yes, I can properly handle the fusion core of this weapon which under certain circumstances could cause destruction of a massive scale. No, I don't need your composition book of instructions even though I'm only halfway done. How do I know all this? No reason, they teach this to all military torturers." Did this show switch to Fox since last episode?

E. I didn't notice 70's Richard being anywhere near that bomb when it went off to see the castaways die. He looked like he wanted to be nowhere near it, but in general, The Others seemed much less interested in the bomb's purpose than in its transportation. "We're not going to help you walk it through this crowded village of angry people, but damn what you do with it once you get out." Shouldn't that raise curiosities? The indigenous (or at least more-indigenous) Island people are totally cool with the impending nuclear explosion as long as it means you leave them well enough alone. No, but I'm sure Kate's right.

F. Dr. Chang is not a great advocate for basically anything. He's all stern and short with the underlings, but can't do a thing with Stewie Radz when it comes to sharing his point of view. He's all, "you should stop doing this thing that you're doing as it will kill us all," and then Stewie says, "MY VOICE IS LOUDER THAN YOURS," so Doc C goes, "um, ok, I'll just be over here actively participating in your doom plan, but seriously, think about what I said re: killing us all, if you have a moment."

G. Yep, you can just walk through Dharmapolis with a conspicuous metal device and a guy who looks kinda like the murderous kidnapper who escaped from your camp about a week ago. Sure, I know they're at Threat-Level Orange and things are so messed up that Phil is making orders, but there are probably TONS of long-haired Middle Eastern men around camp, and after all it's the 70s, where no one is racist or bigoted in any way.

H. And while we're talking about things that make total sense, how about Jack letting Sayid carry the bomb and walk in front of him ("I'm a changed man, totally not a martyr in waiting! Destiny!") and then Jack becoming Doc Holliday when shit gets real. My only possible explanation is that an additional 25-30 years of violence on TV (and the advent of Wolfenstein, Doom and Halo) have made your normal, average person in 2001 akin to an expert marksman in 1977.

I. So a couple retirees who dress in pastels and built a Swiss Family Robinson bamboo mansion in the middle of the jungle goes unnoticed for three years of the Jin-Soo Kwon detail. Not to mention they're an interracial couple, and so even though the neghborhood would pretend that they're progressive and open-minded, they'd be whispering about it all the time (SPOILER: all the jungle whispers are just secret prejudice, that's why Sayid heard them, they thought he was a terrorist). So now we add "security guard" to the list of roles Jin can't adequately fulfill, alongside Assassin and Husband (though maybe he gets a pass because of who his wife is). So far, I know he can do two things well: beat up a black guy and catch fish. Unless he becomes a longshoreman in Boston, his options are limited."

J. DANIEL FARADAY WAS VERY EXPLICIT ON HIS TIMETABLE, SO MUCH SO THAT I CAN ONLY GIVE SAWYER FIVE MINUTES TO OFFER A COUNTERPOINT AND TO BEAT ME UP. BUT YES, SINCE YOU ASKED, I DO REMEMBER THAT THING THAT HAPPENED FOUR YEARS AGO, AND I WOULD LIKE TO PAUSE TO REMINISCE ABOUT IT AS IF THERE AREN'T MORE PRESSING MATTERS.

K. I am impressed with Sayid and Faraday's ability to arm this nuclear weapon to explode on impact, as opposed to all those other nuclear bombs from the 50s that were rigged to detonate by some high-tech remote trigger. He took a hydrogen bomb and scientifically converted it into a hydrogen bomb. Brilliant. Except this highly volatile 25-year-old radioactive weapon that can withstand being shot at, dropped and otherwise jostled on several occasions must have hit a pocket of electromagnetic energy en route to hitting that pocket of electromagnetic energy and the whole fall was cushioned. I'll bet Sayid crossed some wires and instead of setting it to "Explode on Impact" he set it to "Explode Upon Being Hit With A Rock."

L. Nice job trying to drive off in a METAL CAR, Radz. This is the kind of genius I'd expect from a guy who declared "If Edison wasn't a huge fucking dork, we'd all be in the dark!" at 12:40 in the afternoon.

M. In memory of Juliet's [pun]Swan Song[/pun] and final (first?) heroic/redemptive act, here is my tribute -- it's every Juliet scene ever written in a nutshell. FANFIC!:

Main Characters A & B are arguing.
Main Character A: I'm telling you, 2 + 2 = 4.
Main Character B has a flashback about their parents or their pet cow or some shit.
Main Character B: You're wrong, Main Character A. It's five. Trust me.
Main Character A: Are you retarded?
Juliet (off camera): You should trust him, Main Character A...
Both main characters turn to see that Juliet has wandered up behind them but was apparently waiting for the most opportune dramatic moment to announce her presence because she can't converse like a normal person.
Main Character A: Why's that?
Juliet: ... ... ... ...because he's right.
Main Character A: Even though that makes absolutely no sense, I understand that you're the two-dimensional advisor character that gets used whenever I, a character people actually care about, needs to be pointed in a new philosophical direction. So I'm going to believe whatever you say as if the worst available vag doctor on the mainland holds any credibility as Sheera, Queen of the Jungle here.
Juliet violently releases her bowels, soiling herself. The corners of her mouth turn upward as she tries to mask the strain of crapping her pants.
Main Character A: Is that a smile? Are you smiling?
Everyone stands there in silence.
L O S T

III. Someone Changed The Lockes OR The LockeBox OR DeadLocke OR I Could Just Keep Doing This

A. I love that Sun is BFFs with Ben now that she's not making deals with ruthless tycoons to plan his assassination. "You killed my husband!" "Your husband is alive." "Oh...what are you doing for lunch?" Plus, it's pretty obvious that Ben isn't interested in being her friend considering he almost never looks at her while he's talking. He's probably trying to avoid admitting that this new confident and credible Locke turns him on a little.

B. It's not that we could have seen it coming; I mean, nothing on the show leads up to the point where a centuries-old ethereal being assumes the form of a dead man and convinces everyone that he's resurrected. Unless we count Christian Shephard. Or Claire. Or Yemi. Whatever, shut up. My point is that even if you had so much blind faith that people called you Reverend Ray Charles, something should've raised a red flag when John Locke walks out of the underworld strutting like death made his penis three inches longer. Whether he was the mysterious hunter, the wannabe high priest or the man who would be king, Locke has always been a dweeb in some small way. He gets caught up in trust and faith and doesn't really consider the immediate consequences of his actions until they're hitting him in the face. If you really wanted to test whether or not it was really Locke, you just need to let him check his e-mail. If he loses all his money to a Nigerian prince or the Scottish lottery, then you know he's the real deal and not this Fake Locke (Focke).

C. Lapidus might be the most ice-cold motherfucker on the Island. He lands the helicopter with no problems after flying through a time-storm. He finds out 20 minutes after taking off from LA that some shit is going to go down on his plane, and he carries on like it's no big thing until he hits another time-storm, then he's all "oh hai we're crashin j/k sullenberger WHUT" and everyone on the plane is like "damn, wish we had this guy the first time instead of the psychic cop from Heroes." He has one moment of weakness where he decides he doesn't want to spend the next several months of his life playing straight man to Locke, Ben and Sun, but to his credit the only way that could be a worse combination is if Locke was named Ana Lucia and Ben's face scabs turned out to be leprosy. So Frank goes back to his plane, gets kidnapped and shown the dead body of the guy he was just talking to, and he doesn't shout, "HOLY DOPPELGANGER CHRISTMAS SHIT, I FUCKING JUST SAW THIS FUCKING GUY, THIS SHIT IS NUTS, I THINK MY RECREATIONAL DRUG USE DURING A RECENTLY-ENDED PARROTHEAD PHASE IS CATCHING THE GODDAMN FUCK UP WITH ME, WOW, I COULD USE A DRINK NO WAIT I DON'T MEAN THAT, I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULDN'T DO THIS AGAIN, I AM SEVEN AND TWO-THIRDS DAYS SOBER AND I DESERVE BETTER, BUT SERIOUSLY THAT IS SOME MADAME TOUSSAD'S-ASS SHIT RIGHT THERE, AND WERE I TO BE OLD FRANK, THE ONE WITH THE BEARD AND THE UNFORTUNATE SHIRTS, I WOULD TOTALLY WANT TO HAVE A DRINK." No, all he says is, "Terrific." Ice cold.

D. Jacob's Army (ft. Ilana and Bram) must have it in their charter not to expressly state their names or intentions to anyone. So far they've answered the question of "who are you?" with "friends," "the good guys" and "the [side] that's going to win." You know, I'm not asking for a company Prospectus, I just want a little something to go on in the future. Maybe just an acronym. I mean, it's already kind of clear that they're using fake names, since Ilana is what I would name a vaguely ethnic mysterious woman without giving it much thought, and unless Bram is going to write Dracula, join a children's educational singing trio or discover a new grain and then get victimized by a disastrous typo, that's totally not his real name.

E. Considering how much Ilana and Bram knew about the cabin, I do think Frank has to feel a little silly right now, because apparently everyone on this plane was planning on a transfer stop somewhere before Guam. Seriously, Hurley bought out half of the plane, the original survivors were locking down first class and almost everyone in the back seems to part of this mysterious Shadow Of The Statue group. There's a NARC School joke to be made, but since I'm already stealing the video from Videogum, I can't make it. But seriously, there had to be some awkward boarding line smalltalk for this flight. "Man, I love...Guh-yoo-am."

F. I'm pretty sure Ben's daughter (or whoever that was, in retrospect) shook him down and said "Listen to Locke or I'll tear your ass up," not "Completely deconstruct yourself and confess everything to Locke like a pansy." Geez, the guy got declawed over one little supposed resurrection and now he's all Chatty Cathy. Without his dangerous scheming qualities and "one step ahead" mentality, all Ben's got left is his ability to take a lot of punches to the face.

G. Just like Kate, Sun proved everything that I expected when she got back to their old camp. She stumbles onto Aaron's old crib with NO APPARENT REACTION relative to her own baby daughter whom she deserted to participate in a second plane crash. Then she fishes around, finds a ring that bears no deliberate resemblance to a wedding ring besides being fashioned out of metal, and immediately pines for her husband. Unnecessary Superlative Alert: There is no worse mother figure in the history of television. Even those mothers who beat or kill their kids; at least those bitches held SOME kind of emotion for their children. I'm not even sure Sun acknowledges that Ji-Yeon exists at this point.

H. Thank you, everyone, for following me across the Island to meet this mysterious man from whom you've been taking orders. Now, if you wouldn't mind sitting here outside while I go meet him alone, we'll, uh, get to that "group" part in a sec. No, I don't think you could have just sat on the beach while I went ahead and did this on my own. We have an obligation to show a large group of people walking across the Island for every finale. Wait, forget I said that last part. Just be cool.

I. It's Jacob's fault he got all stabbed and whatnot, considering how nonchalant he was about it when talking to an easily-manipulated Ben. Plus, you know the old Latin adage, "He who keeps a fire burning at the center of his house will eventually be kicked into it by a body-snatching mystery spirit." The Romans were a very specific people. So [pun]Anti-Locke breaks[/pun] into the place, commences the stabbing and fire-kicking because he was sick of living in that busted shack and wanted to squat at the Foot apartments for a while, and all it takes is two words to completely dismantle the plan he'd apparently been setting up for decades. I assume that's the Semi-Immortal Omnipotent Being version of Jack telling Sawyer that he's fucking up their comfy Dharma life because Kate wouldn't tell him what Sawyer whispered to her on the helicopter. Although I wouldn't object to Jack being kicked into open flame. I'm crossing my fingers, Season 6!

Posted in: Television
Tagged: abc, lost
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