The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “Lighthouse”

[By popular demand, we’re bringing you a Lost-oriented Open Thread this week.

[By popular demand, we’re bringing you a Lost-oriented Open Thread this week.  And if it goes well, we’ll bring you another one next Wednesday, too!  But don’t worry—this isn’t this week’s only Lost post.  I’ll still be subjecting “Lighthouse” to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve.  Come back Monday to see the full piece!]

So, here we are, four (or five, depending on who’s counting) episodes into Lost’s sixth season, and I’ve gotta tell you, I am loving it.  Although I disliked the flash sideways-es at the beginning, I think that had less to do with the narrative structure and more to do with the fact that Kate is just an uninteresting character. The events that occurred on the Island and in the flash Universe worked together to remind me of why I was so interested in the character of Jack back in seasons 1 and 2, before he started pining too much after Kate, before he got a tattoo in Thailand, before he stopped asking the important questions.  I’ll talk more about his flashsideways in my full post on Monday, but I was glad to see him get a full episode of character development before the season was up.

Question 1: The flash sideways-es: Awesome, or a waste of time?  Would you prefer a faster, more epic pace, or are you as cool as I am with these super-slow-burning character episodes?

"So, you and me are just gonna talk this whole episode? Uh, that's cool. I guess."

Speaking of Jack, it seems the the Daddy issues we thought the show forgot about are back and raring to go.

Question 2: Does this mean that Sayid, the only main living character who doesn’t have Daddy issues of his own, is doomed to die before the show’s climax?

And, speaking of Daddy issues, the unseen Christian Shephard haunted this episode.  (My bet is that we’re not going to see him again until the climax of the show — maybe the third-t0-last episode.)

Question 3: Takin’ all bets!  Christian Shephard: good or evil?  On the good side: Jack reminded us this week that he helped the Lostie’s out in the first season by leading them to the caves!  (Also his name is “Christian Shephard.”)  On the evil side: Back in the day, we saw him hanging out in the creepy cabin (which was probably being used by evil Smokey) with Infected/Evil Claire.

Speaking of Claire…

Question 4: Claire: What’s the deal?

The Othahs ate ha baybee!

And, finally, the big question:

Question 5: Now that the answers of Lost are coming out all fast and furious, do you WANT all the questions to be answered?  While I certainly want the big questions answered, I don’t want the show to lose its sense of mystery, either.  It’s like, if I were in a room with a poet, would I have him or her gloss every single word?  Then the poem would lose its spark.  Of course, I can easily understand the other point of view: “I invested so many hours in this thing.  I need to know that it all makes sense, that it holds together!”  (Also: is this debate just a meta-level recapitulation of the old “faith vs. science” debate we keep seeing in the show?  Am I like poor, deluded Locke, saying, “I looked into the eye of this network television series, and what I saw was beautiful”?  And if you, the rationalist answer-lovers, don’t get the answers you desire, will you take a telescope, Jack-style, and start smashing all the mirrors in Darlton’s houses?)

See you on Monday.

21 Comments on “The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “Lighthouse””

  1. Bob #

    Thank you for this thread, LOVE IT

    Question 1 – I think the flash sideways are awesome! I’m a fan of how the characters have changed without the Jacob touch. This, in my opinion, adds to the mystery of the show. Does anyone have any insight on why his son was a piano player? There seems to be a hidden meaning, but I’m not sure what.

    Question 2 – Didn’t Sayid already die? No, I’m serious. Also, I think Christian will show up earlier, in just a few moments, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not there till the end. (Sidebar – my favorite word is Antepenultimate – which literally means ‘Coming before the next to last’, so means you expect Christian in the antepenultimate episode. Man I’m a geek)

    Question 3 – Wow. I’m not sure. Now I think he’s on the Smokey, MiB side of things. Is that evil or good, TBD. But I think he falls on this side right now.

    Question 4 – I’ve dated crazy hot girls like this before. I just know to agree with them and get out the way. She seemed so normal and yet so . . . off. I think Jin could have explained the Katie abduction better ‘We were looking for you when the island moved’ but I’m sure it wouldn’t have helped. My Claire question – why didn’t she move with the time jumpers.

    Question 5 – I go back and forth on this. I guess I want all the answers ‘Out there’ – either that the producers gave it to you straight forward or enough information to infer what you want from the show. If it ends being ambiguous if Jacob and Locke are ‘good or evil’ – it has to be done darn well.

    One thing that didn’t sit well – I liked how Dogen only spoke to Jack and needed Lennon to speak to everyone else throughout the first few times he was around (It even worked in the flash-sideways) but talked directly to Hurley in this episode. Kind of took away from how cool he was, IMO.


  2. Kevin #

    Ah, bless you, Overthinking It. Bless you.

    #1: I love, love, LOVE the flash-sideways. In fact, I may even be enjoying them more than the on-Island intrigue. Seeing the parallels between each universe is intriguing to me, as are Jack’s brushes with recognition — when did I get this scar? and so on. Sure, Kate’s may have been less compelling, but it was still interesting. Most importantly, I find the sideways glimpses to be EMOTIONAL in a way that the Island story has trouble with by now. Jack’s self-recognition and reconciliation with his son? Moving. Locke and Helen’s love? Even more so. The sideways characters are growing in a way the Island characters cannot — with the exception of Sawyer re: Juliet.

    #2: Yes, I’m with Bob — Sayid died. Now the big mystery is to see what has come back in his place. I have a feeling he will soon start to go all crazy-Claire…

    #3: I’ve always been of the opinion that ghost Christian is good… or at least, not bad. If he ever talks to other characters, he doesn’t say anything that would seem judgmental or dangerous; sometimes he helps. If Smokey gets to bring back other characters and “infect” them… I think Jacob may have a related ability.

    #4: I expect we’ll get our answer next week, for both Claire and Sayid. Girl is dead, dead, dead, and she’s a zombie, for lack of a better term. As is Sayid.

    #5: I think it’s a moot point — the writers have said they will NOT be answering every question, only the ones that are important to the characters themselves. They are CONSTANTLY bringing up the “Midichlorians” example from the Star Wars prequels — 30 seconds of exposition in STAR WARS from Obi-Wan about what the Force was is absolutely all we needed to ever hear about it. We rolled with it. And then when Lucas felt the need that Jedi could do blood testing to count the midichlorians in the body, to see how in tune with the Force someone would be… just stupid. He should have left it alone. There are big questions on Lost that the CHARACTERS want answered, and rest assured, those will be dealt with. But the questions that fans have, that tend to be more logistical in nature? Many of those promise to fall by the wayside.

    Really enjoyed the episode overall. I imagine Desmond is #108 on Jacob’s summon…


  3. Kevin #

    (and @Bob: don’t forget that Daniel was “fated” to be a concert pianist, until his dear ol’ mum told him he had no other choice but to study science… another fine parallel between universes)

    ((Oh — and Jack is a decent pianist himself… you could also infer that his son has all the talent at piano that Jack, while good, did not have. Or maybe, like Faraday, he wanted to become a musician but had a parent that made him go into something scientific))


  4. Bob #

    @ Kevin – THANK YOU!!!! I couldn’t quite pinpoint why the piano meant so much – it was the Faraday part. Also – agree with your #5.


  5. Jon Eric #

    1.) I think the question of whether the flash-sideways sequences are a waste of time remains to be seen; we still don’t know what the point is. If the two universes interact in some way, then great. If, on the other hand, these turn out to be a “what if?” aside, I’ll be very disappointed, because they don’t inform the action, and they spend time developing characters who don’t participate in the story. Are they interesting? A little. They pique my curiosity. But should the show be spending airtime dealing with this stuff? That remains to be seen.

    2.) I’m not so sure anymore that Sayid isn’t Sayid. Nor am I certain that he’s “infected.” Who else do we know who’s been infected? Rousseau and Claire? And, aside from this infection, the other trait they have in common (and NO ONE ELSE does, as far as I know) is having given birth on the island. The fact that Sayid has not done so, nor is he capable of it, makes me rather skeptical of the assertion that he’s got the same bad mojo goin’ on. I think, being the general-purpose tough dude he is, he’ll figure out a way to get through.

    3.) Christian Shepherd. Hm. He’s still the wild card, and I have no idea anymore. I used to be pretty sure that his apparition was really the smoke monster. But then where’s the real Christian’s body?

    4.) Alright, so now I need to sort of go back on something I said in #2. Remember in “Lighthouse,” when Claire says (and I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t have DVR) “They tortured me! They branded me!” And soon-to-have-an-axe-in-his-gut says “That’s not true!” Well… yes it is. That’s exactly what they just did to Sayid, anyway. So I guess the lower-level temple grunt Others don’t get the whole story. Anyway, I think she’s got a severe case of Empty-Nest-Styndrome, as well as a deeply-fixed and nigh-unshakable belief that the Others took Aaron, but if you were shunned by the only society around and left to fend for yourself in the jungle for three years with no one was Smoke Monster and Christian Shepherd for company, you’d be pretty rattled, too. Remember how Rousseau was acting when we first met her?

    5.) What Kevin said.


  6. Harold #

    I think Kate will be infected next.
    Question 1 Only if It leads somewhere and has a purpose other than to provide death the Island people.
    Question 2: I bet the writers never thought to say he had Daddy issues. But Saiyd this season isnt the Saiyd of old, this guy so far seems so weak and afraid.
    Question 3: Christ Shepard is dead or at least an illusion created by MIB to fool Jack and Claire. Using the dead is MIB’s version of manipulation I believe.
    Question 4: “The Othahs ate ha baybee!” I hope the writers put that in the show! Claire is no different now than Delenn, Danielle Rousseau’s husband. A remorseless killer turned to the dark side like Vader, not a killer puppet but all morality stripped away.
    Question 5: Answer EVERYTHING! But leave the good and evil decision to us. Don’t do the Soprano’s on u and run out of idea’s, call it intellectual and blame the audience for not understanding it. The best way is for people to look at the series again and think like they did with the Sixth Sense. It was all right in front of me the whole time!


  7. Brian Williams NBC Nightly News #

    @ Jon Eric, how can you say that the flashes don’t inform the action? We’d never fully know what “You’ve got what it takes” meant to Jack without seeing the flash-sideways. And remember that they’re not different characters, they’re the same characters in different circumstances. Lessons learned from the sideways flashes can still act as revelations in the 2007 timeline.

    The Lost creators are putting the weight on the characters’ shoulders for this season. Final character development will help to generate a satisfying, organic ending, without relying on a stupid 2-episode smoke chase sequence or a deus ex machina, like the Naval ship at the end of Lord of the Flies (though that seemed intentional). I guess in this case it would be someone like Charles Widmore showing up with another mercenary army or something.

    @Kevin, agree that Desmond is 108, brotha.

    And to bring this back to the question/clues of whether Jacob
    or MIB is good or bad, this episode really pushed me back onto Jacob = good, Smoke = bad. I wasn’t sure after ‘The Substitute,’ Smokey seemed more like a misunderstood antihero then. But now, Jacob really doesn’t seem to mind that MIB killed him (perhaps because he isn’t REALLY dead), but more importantly he seems to truly care for the survivors. He may have manipulated them to come to the island, but he seems to want to help Jack over his daddy/confidence issues, regardless of whether it helps him win over MIB in the end. And as for Smokey, he’s obviously kept Claire company for years, and he’s evidently lied to her the entire time. Granted she’s probably crazy, but he seems to just want to keep her around for his own ends, and the same with his pact with Sawyer.

    Does anyone think Sayid will have a choice when he faces Locke & Claire when they come to the temple? In Star Wars terms: Will this be “Join me, it is your destiny,” or will it be Order 66?


  8. dock #

    Im really looking foward to seeing alternate universe faraday and alternate universe richard. Maybe tip alternate jack further towards whatever hes trying to realize…. as far as the q’s-
    1) Not to be “that guy”, but they can be both. Even the lame kate episode was still somewhat interesting. The whole Claire thing and all, and it worked as a good reintroduction to claire. And the Locke and Jack stuff has been terrific.
    2) I think Sayyid is technically alive but now probably going to turn to the dark side, and sawyer claire and sayyid will be lockes group..which will be frikkin incredible.
    3) Christian Shephard- BAD. Told Locke he was going to have to die to bring everyone back, setting up the perfect body snatch for smokey; he led claire off into the jungle now shes with evil locke….i think christian shephard was a good guy but MIB got him just like he did Locke.
    4) Claire has gone crazy from all the pain shes endured on the island (kidnapping baby snatching ghosts torture) and has fallen under evil lockes spell. Shes a goner. In a wierd way, shes kind of like darth vader..
    5) YES I want the big questions that fill the plot gaps answered, but NO please do not keep answering questions for 20 years post-final episode, or make us sit through a speech that sounds like its the wrap up at the end of scooby doo.

    Great stuff this week on the show, I felt like it was the best episode of the season. And I love the lost thread too, awesome idea. Lookin foward to reading mondays column. …you have what it takes.


  9. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @dock: Awww! We at Overthinking It have what it takes? I swear I almost teared up when I read that. (No, not being sarcastic. It’s 2 in the morning. I’m tired.)


  10. Iver #

    Okay…my paltry thoughts on the questions…mostly because I spend all day alone at my job and have WAY too much time to think.

    1) I like them, but agree that I would like to see them have a deeper purpose other than just “what if”…But yes, I like the way they expand the characters and add a new dimension to the Losties…and as a side note…as a professional musician with a VERY non-supportive/abusive father…well, the scene with Jack and his Son moved me deeply.

    2) Sayid…okay, I think that Sayid is the opposite of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader…Sayid has already experienced darkness (being a torturer, etc etc) and when the time comes he will say “No” to the darkness and choose a different path.

    @Brian…so, basically, I think it will be a “this is your destiny” moment but he’s going to take the Luke route and deny his “destiny” for his own path.

    3) I’m wondering if Christian represents some third entity/power at work on the island. If Jacob=light and good and MiB=dark and evil then perhaps Christian=some median force, some gray area that represents light and dark…a neutral power???

    4) Claire has simply snapped…she was used by Smokey for a short time but he overloaded her CPU and she’s now completely fried…in my personal opinion, Claire was/is kind of weak-willed/weak-minded and she just couldn’t handle the mental load of Smokey using her…perhaps why he didn’t stay with her long? But he’s still willing to use her as a tool in his grand scheme…

    5) No…please don’t answer all of the questions. Some things need to be left a mystery or simply, un-explain-able…Thank you Kevin for bringing up the whole “Midichlorians” thing…as you said, Obi-Wan’s explanation was fine and all we needed….I think that if they try to answer ALL of the questions that’s what we’ll get…someone stopping the flow of the story to ask a stupid question like “Master, I’ve been wondering…what are Midichlorians?” (worst movie line ever…in my opinion)…

    …anyway….these are my thoughts…thanks for listening to my stream of conciousness thoughts….


  11. Kevin #

    @Iver: yeah, about answering the questions — I was reading a post on another Lost talkback a while ago about the “Hurley bird” (can’t even remember the episode — you know, the bird who flew past a bunch of the survivors and seemed to cry “Hurley!” as it went). Darlton made it pretty clear that no one should ever expect them to bring that up again, because apparently “What exactly is the Hurley bird? Did he REALLY say ‘Hurley,’ and if so, why?” is a BURNING question in the fan community. Anyway, this commenter was actually UPSET by this — that the Hurley bird was enough of a “mystery” to them, they thought the writers clearly didn’t have a “plan” because now they were saying it was a throwaway moment, and it pissed them off.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, just as some of the random events on Lost are just random events. Answer the questions that NEED answering… anything else is gravy.


  12. dock #

    @mlawski- as Kurt Angel would say- “Its true. Its damn true!”


  13. Jon Eric #

    Brian Williams,

    @ Jon Eric, how can you say that the flashes don’t inform the action? We’d never fully know what “You’ve got what it takes” meant to Jack without seeing the flash-sideways. And remember that they’re not different characters, they’re the same characters in different circumstances. Lessons learned from the sideways flashes can still act as revelations in the 2007 timeline.

    That “You’ve got what it takes” bit is some factual information that literally informed the 2007 storyline action, sure. But I meant “inform” in the way that the flashbacks of seasons 1 and 2 did. They told us something about the character that, in turn, made it clearer why each person acted the way he or she did. The flashback stories explain nothing about the characters’ motivations, because they’re two alternate versions with divergent histories. Narratively, this frustrates me.

    If they give us a good reason, I’ll be willing to look past it. If not, then they’re nothing more than diversions at a time when the main plotline ought to be barreling toward its denouement.


  14. Brian Williams NBC Nightly News #

    I agree that the sideways flashes don’t have the obvious impact that the earlier flashbacks did, but I still think they’ll provide insight into the characters, since they provide raw glimpses, nearly untouched by island weirdness. So far we’ve learned that:

    -Jack has potential as a father, and it was hugely important to him to be a good dad. This gives weight to Jacob’s “you got what it takes.” What does this mean? The EXTENT of Jack’s dad issues (now known from the sideways flash) may have held him back this whole time. Now that they’ve possibly been resolved, Jack might not freak and run into the jungle (for once) upon seeing Christian. I’m guessing Smokey will try to use Christian’s appearance/body/whatever as his way to control Jack.

    -Locke has the ability to accept an ordinary fate. Granted, Locke is dead in 2007, but it appears that he’s still apart of the combined Smoke/Locke entity (evidenced by him yelling “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”). Locke may not let Smokey manipulate him anymore with hokey island mysticism.

    That’s about it, I don’t remember anything pertinent about Kate’s flash (surprise), other than she may be a true blue murderer in that timeline. If so, then it could prove prophetic (murders Sayid or something).

    Also, if the alternate timeline is truly the result of the nuclear bomb, in a way, the flashes ARE the ending, or at least half of it. While the series finale definitely needs to address the 2007 ending, if you saw all the flash sideways’ assembled into one final episode, you’d probably say it was adequate, as there is enough substance from which to draw thematic conclusions, at least concerning fate.

    I’m not saying the flashes are perfect, but more like Jack and Locke’s would be most welcome. As an extended ending alone, they’re worth it.


  15. Genevieve #

    Q1) What I find most revealing about the flash-sideways…es is that it appears to me that without Jacob’s interference, the Losties have RESOLVED their daddy issues, ON THEIR OWN. It’s almost as though Jacob wanted/needed them to have daddy issues when they got to the island, in order to better manipulate them. Granted, we only have 3 to go on so far… NO, FOUR! OK:

    1)Kate – whomever they accused her of killing (I can’t remember for sure), I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her father.

    2)Jack is able to be a pretty damn good dad with minimal effort, and more, he WANTS to be.

    3)Locke is obviously reconciled with his dad; he talks about having him at the wedding or going somewhere with him, with no obvious hostility.

    and, the one I’d forgotten,

    4)Jin & Sun aren’t married. I’m pretty certain their marriage was in some way related to her daddy issues (be it in defiance of him, or whatever.)

    So, on a show w/ such reliance on the concept of daddy issues, to have the characters seemingly without them in the timeline where they didn’t interact with Jacob seems HIGHLY relevant to me, and makes me question even more the idea of Jacob as obvious “good guy.”

    Q2) What do you mean, Sayid doesn’t have daddy issues? You don’t think at ALL that his life as a torturer and murderer, which he often seems to regret or even despise, doesn’t stem from having a father who pushed him towards and praised him for cold-blooded killing? Not to mention, a father from whom he felt he had to protect his little brother (by doing the killing for him.)

    Anyway, I hope Sayid doesn’t die. He’s my favorite again, now that Daniel is gone :*(

    Q3)Christian Shepherd = daddy issue resolution! Not good, not evil, just looking out for his kids. Led Jack to water, so he wouldn’t die. Hangin’ with Claire, to protect her. Perhaps he even encouraged her to be in league w/ Smokey, but if he did, it’s because he felt that was her best chance at survival. He’s the essence of fatherhood, protecting his children at all costs. We see a hint of that in Jack’s flash-sideways, when it’s revealed that Claire is listed in his will.

    Of course, I’m not entirely certain that Smokey is “evil” yet. I think that “good” and “evil” are too simplistic for defining what’s going on on the island. I think that Smokey may be truly neutral; he does what has to be done, for whatever goals he or the island may have, but he doesn’t play around with issues of morality. He represents, perhaps, animal instinct. Humanity’s “lizard brain.” Jacob is the essence of moralizing, with all the good AND evil that brings. He represents religion, control, the superego. Determinism, perhaps.

    Q4) Claire. Yeah. I got nothin’. I’m starting to think that whatever appeared as Claire to Kate was not Claire, but someone who has a vested interest in keeping Claire crazy… because, if Aaron had returned to the island, I think that she would’ve mellowed out quite a lot, just as Rousseau seemed to regain a bit of her sanity when she was reunited with Alex.

    Q5) I can’t even answer that. I don’t know what I want to know! I almost feel like I won’t know until it’s over, and I’ll be able to look back and say, “OOOooh, I wish I didn’t know that.”


  16. Gab #

    @Genevieve: What makes you think Sun and Jin aren’t married any longer? I assumed that since they were still traveling together, they are still married.

    I don’t have any original answers to the questions, hence why I hadn’t commented yet.


  17. Genevieve #

    @Gab: They weren’t wearing wedding rings, and the airport security chick refers to Sun as “Miss Paik.”


  18. Gab #

    Oh my gosh, I totally missed that!

    Then why would they be traveling together? (General question, not necessarily aimed at you, Genevieve…)


  19. Genevieve #

    Well, I assumed that they’re “together,” just not married. I don’t know, though. I’m bummed that they started the season following the pattern of 1st season “centric” episodes, but while I think in s1, Sun was next, this time it’s Sayid. Not that I don’t love Sayid, but…


  20. Gab #

    Ditto about Sayid… SAD PANDAS, too.


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