Sunday, November 15, 2009

LOST Rewatch Week #21: The Constant, The Other Woman, Ji Yeon & Meet Kevin Johnson

Welcome to this week's edition of the Lost Rewatch

Without question, The Constant is a fan favorite and arguably both one of the best episodes of Lost and one of finest hours in television history. It is the perfect companion to my personal favorite, Flashes Before Your Eyes. Combined, these two Desmond episodes are absolutely essential to the overall series and have truly paved the road to S6.

So let's strap ourselves in for the ride and hope there are no side effects...

Alternate Reality Bites

Although I tend to think that this is a prop discrepancy rather than a hint of an alternate reality or timeline, it sticks out nonetheless. When we get our first glimpse of Michael in the hospital after he attempts suicide in his car, the patient in the bed next to him has a breathing tube IN his nose. Cut to a close-up of Michael after he sees Ghost Libby, and the patient next to him now has a breathing mask OVER his nose and mouth. The only possible scenario is that they somehow wanted to show us the time when Michael was in the hospital after getting hit by a car (S1, Special). 

Back in Black...Rock

We learn that the Black Rock originally set sail from England in 1845 before it became "lost at sea." It is safe to assume that Jacob brought the ship to the island (given that the ship is out in the distance during the conversation between he and MysteryMan on the beach in the S5 finale), which is an indication that their feud dates back centuries. 

Widmore knew that the Black Rock was on the island because he himself had been there (he was not exiled from the island until the early 1990's), so he bid on and won the only artifact recovered from the ship. One guess is that he wanted that journal from the ship's first mate because it might have contained clues as to the island's possible whereabouts. Another possibility is that Richard Alpert was the first mate. After all, in the S5 finale, Alpert addressed his agelessness, admitting that "I'm this way because of Jacob."

Crossing Paths

A dubbed version of Nikki's show Expose was on in Sun's hotel room in Ji Yeon

Foreshadowing Dialogue

The Constant

Desmond: "I've never had a dream so vivid; it was like I was actually there."

Faraday: "Your perception of how long your friends have been gone, it's not necessarily how long they've actually been gone. As long as Frank flew on the bearings I gave him...if he stayed on it, it will be fine."
Jack: "And what if he didn't?"
Faraday: "Then there might be side effects."

Faraday: "Your friend Desmond - has he recently been exposed to high levels of radiation or electromagnetism? We don't know why, but going to and coming from the island...some people can get a little confused."

Jack: "Why does he think he's in 1996?"
Faraday: "It's unpredictable, a random effect. Sometimes it takes place for only a couple of hours, sometimes it's years.

Faraday: "If the numbers you gave me are correct, what this will do is unstick Eloise in time...just like you."
Desmond: "So you sent her to the future?"
Faraday: "No, her consciousness - her mind."

Faraday, to Desmond: "Each time your consciousness jumps, it gets harder to jump back."

Faraday: "I think Eloise's brain short-circuited. The jumps between the present and the future, she couldn't tell which was which. She had no anchor, something familiar in both times. All this...see, this is variables, it's random, it's chaotic. Every equation needs stability, something known. It's called a constant." 

Des: "I'm on a boat, I've been on an island. Penny, is that really you?"
Penny: "Yes, it's me!"
Des: "You believe me? You still care about me?"
Penny: "I've been looking for you for the past three years. I know about the island. I've been researching, and then when I spoke to your friend Charlie...that's when I knew you were still alive."
Des: "I love you, Penny. I've always loved you."
Penny: "I love you too."
Des: "I don't know where I am."
Penny: "I'll find you, Des."
Des: "I promise..."
Penny: "No matter what..."
Des: "...I'll come back to you."
Penny: "...I won't give up."

The Other Woman

Juliet: "I'm only going to be here for six months."
Ben: "Right, of course. But we want you to feel at home."

Harper Stanhope: "Ben is exactly where he wants to be."

Jack: "You people had therapists?"
Juliet: "It's very stressful being an Other."

Juliet, about Ben: "He's been good to me."
Harper: "Of course he has; you look just like her."

Ben, to Locke: "I always have a plan."

Goodwin, to Juliet: "You're worried about Ben? What's Ben going to do?"

Ben: "This is Charles Widmore. This is the man whose boat is parked offshore. This is the man that's been trying to find the island. Charles Widmore wants to exploit this island, and he'll do everything in his power to possess it."

Juliet: "They're children. Do they really belong here?"
Ben: "They're on the list. Who are we to question who's on the list and who's not?"

Juliet: "You knew this would happen, you wanted him to die. Why?"
Ben: "You're asking me why, after everything I did to get you here, after everything I've done to keep you can you possibly not understand that you're mine!"

Juliet: "These people came here to wage war against Ben, and Ben's going to win."

Ji Yeon

Desmond: "This is Charles Widmore's boat?"
Captain Gault: "That's right, you know him."

Bernard, to Jin: "It's all about karma. You make bad choices, bad things happen to you. We must be the good guys." 

Gault: "Some of my crew has been dealing with what might be best described as a heightened case of cabin fever. I think it's got something to do with the close proximity to the island."

Gault: "This black box comes from Oceanic flight 815. A salvage vessel recovered it from the bottom of the ocean. It took a considerable amount of Mr. Widmore's resources to procure it. It was found with the wreckage of the plane, along with all 324 dead passengers. That's not the complete story, as you are well aware, Mr. Jarrah...given the fact that you are standing here breathing. The wreckage was obviously staged. Now can you imagine what kind of resources and manpower go into pulling off a feat of that magnitude? Faking the recovery of a plane crash, putting 324 families through a grieving process based on a lie. But what's even more disturbing - where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies? And that is just one of the reasons we want Benjamin Linus."

Sun: "I thought I had lost you."
Jin: "You will never lose me."

Meet Kevin Johnson

Ben: "Once they have me, their orders are to kill everyone else on this island."

Claire, about Ben: "So he's one of us now?"

Sayid: "Why are you on this boat?"
Michael: "I'm here to die."

Miles, about Ben: "He wants to survive. He's a guy who gets what he wants." 

Ben, to Alex: "These people are coming, they know who I am. They're here to capture me. They'll kill anybody who gets in their way. If they knew who you were, that you were my daughter, they would use you to get to me." 

Tom, to Michael: "You can't kill yourself; the island won't let you. No matter how bad you want to, no matter how many different ways you won't happen. You've got more work to do."

Tom: "That's not your plane, it's a phony. A man named Widmore put it down there and he staged the whole wreck because he doesn't want anyone else finding where the real plane ended up...except for him." 

Miles, to Michael: "Your name isn't Kevin. Don't worry, 80% of the people on this boat are lying about something."

Frank Lapidus, to Michael: "What would you say if I told you that the plane they found in that trench wasn't Oceanic 815? I signed up for this trip because the owner of this boat believes me - Charles Widmore. He believes that 815 is still out there somewhere." 

Ben, to Michael: "There are people on your boat who are innocent. They have no idea that the man they work for is a monster, a killer without conscience or a greater purpose. I had to show you the difference between him and me. When I'm at war, I'll do what I need to do to win, but I will not kill innocent people."

Ben, to Michael: "What wouldn't a man do for his son? Consider yourself one of the good guys."

Alex: "I don't like taking orders from my dad...but I know he doesn't want me to get hurt."

LOST Book Club

Before she jumped to her death from the freighter, Regina was reading The Survivors of the Chancellor by Jules Verne. This book chronicles the last voyage of a British ship, as told through the eyes of someone aboard. 

Black Rock and first mate journal, anyone?

Significant Moments/Firsts

We meet Keamy and his team of mercenaries on the freighter. 

Minkowski confirms that Penny has been calling the freighter looking for Desmond. Presumably, they were ordered by their boss (Penny's father) Charles Widmore to not answer those calls. 

We are introduced to the Others' shrink and Goodwin's wife, Harper Stanhope.

We discover that Juliet had an affair with Goodwin before he died.

We find out for the first time that Ben does indeed know who Charles Widmore is. 

We are introduced to a new station, The Tempest.

We learn that Sun is one of the Oceanic Six, as is her daughter Ji Yeon...but Jin was not rescued.

Jin finds out from Juliet that Sun was unfaithful to him before they crashed on the island. Sun thanks Juliet by delivering the slap heard 'round the island. 

It is revealed that Michael is Ben's man on the boat. His alias is Kevin Johnson.

We see Walt off island for the first time.

We are led to believe that Jin died, but the date on his tombstone was the date of the his actual circumstances are unknown and part of the Oceanic Six lie. 

It turns out that Ben's Other henchman Tom is gay.

We see Tom in New York. So far the only Others to be seen off island are Tom, Ben and Richard Alpert. 

Tom confirms that Widmore is responsible for the fake 815 wreckage and bodies. 

Jack and Juliet share another kiss. More sweet than passionate, it would be their last.

The Temple of Doom

Ben reveals that the Temple is a sanctuary, and "the last safe place on this island" for only the Others. In addition to housing and protecting the remaining Others and children, all of the island's healing powers may originate or emanate from the Temple. The last time we saw Young Ben in the late 1970's, Richard Alpert was carrying him into the Temple with a potentially fatal gunshot wound. 

The Visual & The Visceral

When Ghost Libby appears to Michael in the hospital, she is carrying a stack of blankets. Michael shot and killed her on the island as she was holding a stack of blankets. 

When Ghost Libby then appeared to Michael on the freighter before he died, she is wearing the exact same green t-shirt that she was wearing when he murdered her.

Pending danger alert! When Michael first joins the freighter in Fiji, Miles is eating an orange. As I've mentioned before, oranges have come to signify death on screen. Cue the Godfather theme...

Michael presses the Execute button the bomb in the engine room, thinking he would blow up the freighter. Desmond, Locke and Eko all continued to press the Execute button at one point on the Swan hatch computer, thinking that they were saving the world from blowing up. 

The Watch Men

Add this to the tall stack of lingering Lost questions...will we ever find out who the intended recipients were of the two watches from Mr. Paik that Jin was supposed to deliver? One was for someone in Australia, the other in Los Angeles. 

Captain Gault

Gault knew who Desmond was, and that Des knew Charles Widmore. Widmore financed Gault's freighter, but why also inform him about a non flight 815 person of interest? This confirms that Widmore knew for a fact that Desmond was on the island. In her brief phone call with Des, Penny said that she'd been looking for him and knew about the island. So did Widmore finally discover its whereabouts from his own daughter's search? 


When he travels back in time to 1996, Faraday instructs him to say "I know about Eloise." Although Des did not find out the name of the mysterious woman who predicted his future in Flashes Before Your Eyes, we all know that it was Eloise Hawking...Faraday's mother. So yes, Desmond, you really do know about Eloise. 

Harper Stanhope

When she appeared in the rain to Juliet and Jack to tell give them instructions from Ben about Faraday and Charlotte, I am now wondering if Richard Alpert sent her (either on his own or as instructed by Jacob). Ben was being held in New Otherton by Locke, so it was not an order from him directly...


Nurses at the hospital referred to Sun as one of the Oceanic Six. So Kate, Jack, Hurley and now Sun have all been recognized as Oceanic Six when out in public. I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but it still puzzles me how someone as distinguished looking as Sayid (at least in that group of 6) roamed the world without so much as a side glance from anyone. 


We know that Tom was off island to recruit Michael for the freighter, and that one of his travel indulgences was a man named Arturo. It seems to me that Arturo may have been the man in the video that Ben shows Locke; the man that Widmore beats up on camera. Perhaps Tom was the one taping it from above. 

Charles Widmore

Widmore was on the island when Ben took Alex from Rousseau and raised her as his own, so Ben had to know that Keamy and co. were looking for her as bait.  And yet he sent her out into the jungle. That she was not immediately shot and killed along with Karl and Rousseau leads me to believe that they had a photo of her. 

How is it that 324 graves are robbed in Thailand, and no one makes the connection that 324 bodies were discovered shortly thereafter at the bottom of the ocean in what is allegedly flight 815?

Widmore provided Captain Gault with a fake black box, told him it was from flight 815 and that Ben was responsible for the fake 815 wreckage and bodies. The lengths that Widmore went to in order to get to Ben after all of these years was remarkable. That kind of time and effort rivals the lengths that MysteryMan went to in order to finally get to Jacob, as NotLocke.... 

The Keys to Season 6

While I continue to ponder how the detonation of Jughead at the end of S5 will affect everyone, there are a few statements from the following essential mythology episodes that stick out in my mind:

Flashes Before Your Eyes (S3)
Eloise Hawking: "The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die; that was his path, just as it is your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, do it because you're supposed to."

The Constant (S4)
Desmond asks Faraday in 1996 if their meeting was changing the future. Faraday's response is "You can't change the future."

The Variable (S5)
Faraday, to Jack: "This entire chain of events, it's going to start happening this afternoon. But we can change that. I studied relativistic physics my whole life. One thing emerged over and over - can't change the past. Whatever happened, happened. But then I finally realized that I had been spending so much time focused on the constants...I forgot about the variables. We're the variables. We think, we reason, we make choices. We have free will, we can change our destiny. I think I can negate that energy under the Swan. I think I can destroy it. If I can, then that hatch will never be built and your plane will land, just like it's supposed to, in Los Angeles. "

According to Faraday in The Constant, when someone's consciousness is sent into the future, they require an anchor, something familiar that they care about, in order to survive and return to the present safely. What I find fascinating is that Jack & co. were physically transported back in time in S5 (versus just their consciousnesses), and that after remains to be seen if they actually return in physical form to the future. 

Due to the Writers Strike, there are only 13 episodes in Season 4. I am now tackling four episodes per week for the Rewatch in order to complete all five seasons by January 20, 2010. I have pre-ordered S5 on DVD, and even though the busy holiday season is upon us, I am going to do my best to stay on track. So I thank you for your patience! The finish line is fast approaching. 

Thank you for reading along. Please feel free to leave a comment to address any of the above or to pose your own questions and theories!

Until next week...


Crusoé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

I've been watching and reading along with you...but when season 3 really picked up steam and I got into season 4, I couldn't stop. I have now finished season 5 (again)this morning.

This is the second time I have rewatched the series and some of my favorite parts are on the way.

You mention that Tom, Ben and Richard are the only Others to be seen off island, but I recall seeing Ethan with Richard when they were trying to recruit Juliet to join them.

One of my favorite episodes (Cabin Fever) is in the next batch, so I will have more to say later. Until then, thank you for your posts, they are thought provoking and insightful. Counting the days until LA X.

Dustin Winebrenner said...

I find sorting out Penny and Charles Widmore's separate paths to the island to be a little difficult.

Penny had presumably found the location of the island at the end of S2, when her tracking station got the signal. Why does she wait a couple months before leaving to find the island? Was she simply waiting for Desmond's Christmas Eve call before departing? (He told her in 1996, I believe, that he would be on the island in 2004 - this is the ONLY thing connecting him to the island for her, right?)

She already knew the island's coordinates when she was sending a radio signal to the Looking Glass (before Desmond's call).

But how did she know her dad's ship was already on the way to the island? I mean, she called his boat. (Even though it wasn't Widmore's personal boat. It was a secret mission, so I don't know how Penny would even have that number.)

Clearly Widmore's been looking for the island's location. But how did he find it? Did he get tipped off by Penny's tracking station crew?

Clearly Widmore knows that the 815 survivors AND Desmond are on the island. But how does he even know any of that? The only answer I have is that it's written in Faraday's journal, which Widmore and Hawking have spent decades of their lives making sure comes to pass as written. I'd go so far as to say, because Desmond and 815 were mentioned in the journal, Widmore made sure these people ended up on the island - sending Desmond on the boat race and sending Locke (via Abadon) on the Walkabout.

So a bigger question is: if Widmore was concerned with making sure the events in Dan's journal came to pass, then why was he also planning to KILL everyone on the island? Killing all those people would certainly upset "fate" as he understood it. After all, most of those people, including Faraday, had time skipping back to the 70's to do.

shar said...

Thanks so much for including your keys to S6 quotes. Reading these again and the other quotes you put in your recap really help.

Anonymous said...

My guess with Sayid is that he laid low for a while once finding Nadia. Hurley stayed in the news for his car chase, Kate for her trial, Jack for being associated with Kate, Sun for being pregnant I guess (why didn't anyone make THAT connection?) and maybe for overtaking Paik Industries.

Elsa does somewhat recognise Sayid in ep 3, she says something like "Do I know you from somewhere?" and he says "I'll tell you exactly where you know me from..." So I guess he just lived the quiet life with Nadia.

thorsten said...

Juliet: "It's very stressful being an Other."
I alwas thought it funny that Juliet was referring to herself as an Other. Like she did later, with Others 101 and latin lessons. Juliet must have learned during her time on the Island who the Others are, and why. Of course shen can't tell us, the audience.

Oranges came to play in AMCs Prisoner remake. Six goes out to get them when his Loft is blown to pieces…

Harpers warning, and all this confusion about The Tempest and a possible ploy by Ben to relase the gas and KILL EVERYBODY ON THIS ISLAND never really worked for me. We witness Charlotte banging on Kates head, and the Faraday shutting down the poison plant. So Widmore expected Ben to bring on another purge? And was the DHARMA killing first purge done via the Tempest? I rather thought by the small gas canisters Ben used to off his daddy.

The course correcting Universe…
If Desmond picked Timelines by averting Charlies death over an dover again till the right one popped up, it is possible that in some of them Penny was dangling from that parachute, not Naomi. But close timelines collapse into the most possible one, a function that is done by our brain every day a million times.

This entire chain of events, it's going to start happening this afternoon How did Faraday find out about the exact timing, over in Ann Arbour?

thorsten said...

Sweet moment in 4.08: When Michael tries to kill himself with Toms gun a gameshow is on TV, and the the question is "Who wrote Slaughterhouse 5“. The candidate gives the right answer, Kurt Vonnegut.

Kyle Stedman said...

Jo, I love your posts! I'm behind on the rewatch, but at this point I don't read anyone's rewatch posts but yours, which are exactly what I want: a review that includes knowledge of everything we know so far. Stellar stuff.

One comment: I was surprised that you suggested Harper may have been sent to Juliet by Richard. With the whispers and her sudden disappearance, this appearance seemed remarkably similar to other appearances of the smoke monster, most notably when it took the form of Yemi before killing Eko. In both cases (if I'm right), Smokey tries to manipulate a person by appearing in a form that is the most likely to create shame. Perhaps Smokey knew this about Juliet because of his "scan" of her when Juliet and Kate were handcuffed, hiding from Smokey in the banyan tree. Eko was similarly scanned soon before his death. (And Locke too, of course, seems to have been scanned. What did it learn about him that it used to manipulate him? Or was Locke such an eager actor, given the gift of walking, that he never required such a stick to do Smokey's bidding?)

What's more, if Jacob's nemesis indeed equals smokey, this is a powerful clue to his character: wielding power through fear and shame, as opposed to Jacob's method of comforting, touching, etc. (Though of course Jacob may be just as ruthless at times; hard to say with him!)

So the really big question to me, then, is why Smokey wanted Juliet to kill Charlotte and Daniel--and, presumably, allow the gas to be used to kill everyone on the island. Perhaps this is a sign that Widmore and Smokey are indeed in cahoots, if Widmore indeed planned to use the Tempest gas against everyone, perhaps as revenge to Ben for being booted off the island (which makes Widmore's friendliness to post-donkey-wheel Locke especially interesting, given that Locke was soon to die and be possessed). I find myself rewatching with these kind of overarching Smokey-motivation questions a lot these days. Thoughts like this: "Smokey seems to have guided Locke to the Swan hatch, implying that Smokey wanted it to implode, implying that Smokey wanted the island to appear on Penny's radar--perhaps because that's how Widmore would find the island too."

Shrug...I know I base too much on conjecture, and I'm happy to be proven wrong. But we'll see! I'll try to catch up with you soon!

Angela said...

Love the recap! I've been trying to figure out who Richard is/was myself...I think he's "kind of a big deal" and I think this will come out in Season 6.

Maybe I'm crazy, but as a linguist, I find it interesting the different accents on the show. You said that perhaps Richard was 1st mate on the Black Rock, but, although its not entirely impossible, Richard has an American accent, so that makes me think he wouldn't have been on an English ship.

Also, Jacob has an American accent...even though we know he is a lot older than he looks.

Looking too closely or on to something? I have no idea, just thought I'd throw it out there!