LOST Recap: Season 4, Episode 11: “Cabin Fever”

11 05 2008

Uh, wow.  Just wow.  Just when you think that Season 4 can’t possibly get any better, an episode like Cabin Fever comes along and takes things to a whole new level.  Really, this season has simply been one home run after the other, and the show just hit a grand slam with this episode.  In all honesty, I’m still trying to dissect some of what we saw on-screen, so I’m not sure this recap will make complete sense, or be able to explain every scene.  But here we go with my best guesses:

“Cabin Fever”

When I first saw this title, I thought more about Captain Gault and his reference to the “sickness” that the freighter folk were coming down with.  Kind of strange, because I think the main intention all along was more in line with re-discovering Jacob’s Cabin.  But there’s even a third possibility: Locke’s mindset.  Throughout this episode, we’re treated to situations in which Locke is “boxed in”: as a baby when he’s born prematurely and placed in an incubator, in high school as he’s stuffed in a locker, and after his paralysis when he’s wheelchaired into an elevator.  Of course, we already know that he used to work for a box company before he came to the island.  We’re definitely being told a story of a man who is repeatedly confined to a specific space, but then breaks out and expands his horizons.  Could this overarching theme be related to the “real-time” events of this episode as well?  Is Locke now about to break out of another form of confinement he’s been experiencing on the island into another level of consciousness?  I’m sure we’ll get an idea of that beginning with next week’s episode.

“He’s twice your age, Emily.”

OK, call me a conspiracy theorist, but this line, and the scene surrounding it, leaves me with some doubt as to whether or not the late Anthony Cooper (Sawyer’s namesake) is really Locke’s dad.  Yeah, it’s a reach, but follow the logic with me for a minute.  We can reasonably assume that Emily is in her mid to late teens in this episode, putting her lover in or near his 30’s.  Couple that with the song on the record player, and what we already know about Locke…that he was born in the late 50’s…and we’ve got Anthony Cooper coming in at nearly 80 years old when he came to the island to meet with Sawyer and his chains last season.  Something just doesn’t add up there.  It could be that I have the math wrong, it could be something the writers overlooked, or it could be that there is more to the story of Locke’s father.  Let me put it this way…I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a) Cooper’s claim to be Locke’s dad was his original con with Locke (he did need a kidney, right?), or b) that Cooper travelled through both space and time to get to the island last season.  Just a little something to think about.

Sayid is no one’s bitch

Just a quick aside here that could easily be lost with everything else that happened in this episode.  Despite giving up a few inches of height to Keamy, and a whole lot of firepower, Sayid has no intention of giving up his friends on the island.  Awesome to see someone stand up to Keamy, even if it was only for a fleeting moment.

The island still has plans for Michael

Although we already knew that it wasn’t yet Michael’s time to die, it was still a powerful scene to see him stare down the barrel of Keamy’s gun with eyes wide open.  At this point, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the character, depsite his actions in Season 2.  It would certainly be nice to see him get a chance at redemption before the island decides that his time is up.

“I used to have dreams.”

It’s absolutely amazing how thoroughly downtrodden Ben is in this episode.  This guy is the man with the plan (and a backup plan) for every situation, but in this episode, he is thoroughly lost.  From the opening scene (just look at his face), to his inability to figure out where Jacob’s cabin is, to his awesome one-liner, “Destiny is a fickle bitch”, to his reluctance to even approach Jacob’s cabin after they find it…Ben has simply lost the will to try.  As the episode progressed, especially after Ben’s line to Locke about tricking Hurley, I kept expecting to see something that would lead me to believe that Ben was somehow still in control…that he was manipulating from behind the scenes…that he was one quick move away from taking over…but nothing.  We’ve seen the flashforwards, so we know he regains his mojo at some point.  But right now, it’s gone.

Hello again, Mr. Alpert

I love the character of Richard Alpert.  I’m so glad that Cane got cancelled so that Nestor Carbonell could reprise his role.  And again, his appearance raises all kinds of questions.  First, what’s up with this guy’s age?  Seriously, does he ever get old?  OK, I’ve got 2 theories about this: one of which I thought of back in “The Man Behind The Curtain”, and a new one I just thought of after this episode.  So, the seemingly most obvious answer to Richard’s appearances, all at about the same age, is that he simply doesn’t age at all.  The island showed him the fountain of youth, and now he can go on for years and years at the same age.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, I don’t subscribe to that theory any longer.  Now I believe in this one: Richard is a time traveller.  He seems the same age everywhere (or everywhen) he goes, because he’s only in places for short periods of time before he time travels somewhere else…past, future, whatever.  I’m not sure how yet, but that’s my new theory.

But before we leave the topic of Mr. Alpert, why don’t we ask another question: How the heck did he know where John Locke was as a baby?  There are a couple of answers, only 2 of which really make sense to me.  One, is that he knew Locke’s real father somehow.  He knew of Locke’s birth, and Emily’s impending decision, and went to the hospital to try to get a leg up on tracking him down later.  Not buying that one?  Me neither, really.  What I really think, is that Mr. Alpert is actually from the future.  He’s doing all of these travels back in time to steer the course of actual events that have already occured, from his perspective.  How does he know about Locke’s birth?  Well, from Locke himself, in the future!  How’s that for a thought?  More on that in a bit.

John Locke, the next Dalai Lama?

As if it’s not enough that Richard is stalking Locke throughout his life, but now he wants to run the reincarnation test on him.  Of course, John fails miserably, stopping him from coming to the island at a much earlier age than he did.  Or does he?  Part of me thinks that the reason Richard is so thoroughly upset with young Locke is not that he’s “not ready” (he must know that he will be at some point, right?), but that he IS ready.  He grabbed the knife, and that knife is Mr. Locke through and through.  Maybe, instead, Mr. Alpert is himself not ready for Locke to be ready.  Maybe Mr. Alpert is the leader of the Others at that point in time, and like Ben last season, is simply not yet ready to give up the reins.  Can’t imagine any other reason why Richard would show that much disdain for a child.  I certainly am having a hard time believing that it’s only due to him not yet being “ready”.

“You need to go on a walkabout”

First, a couple of visits from Richard Alpert, then a visit from Matthew Abbadon, who just so happens to recommend a trip to Australia.  So, if Charles Widmore hired Abbadon, and Abbadon inspired Locke to go on his walkabout, then Widmore must believe that Locke will help him usurp Ben’s power on the island at some point, right?  Honestly, I’m not sure, but what intrigues me even more is the idea of Locke’s destiny.  All of John’s “chance” meetings in this episode lead to the idea that there was actually no chance in it at all.  Yeah, Locke was “chosen” alright, but not in the random, happenstance way in which that phrase is generally used.  John was hand-picked early in life, and was guided to do the things he was “meant” to do.  Everything has been carefully orchestrated to give John the impression that he was acting on his own free will, when he was in fact, doing what others suggested or pushed him to do.  It makes the whole idea of “fate vs. free will” come into play even more.  Michael’s inability to die until he meets his destiny is nothing compared to the life-long manipulation that Locke has had to endure.

The doc goes overboard, but…

…he doesn’t have stitches.  He does have an interesting scar in the same place, but definitely no stitches.  How in the heck is this possible?  Does his body move back in time temporally as it travels backwards in time to the island?  Honestly, I have no real grasp of what’s happening here, other than the fact that it seems as though the way in which time moves for you as you approach or leave the island is nearly completely random, and is (as we know) determined solely by the vector you take when you travel.

Claire has turned into one spooky character

It certainly seems as though the rumor about her being dead is true, but more than that, she is one darn spooky girl now.  That look and tone in Jacob’s cabin was chilling.  Odd that Christian didn’t want Locke to tell anyone about her either.  The strangness in the cabin continues…

Ben and Hurley share some chocolate

No amazing insights here, I just wanted to take a minute to nod in appreciation of this moment.  It killed a few seconds of time, but it was absolutely hilarious!  Awesome scene!

“He wants us to move the island.”

What a setup we have for the 3-part finale!  Just a quick note, and maybe it’s obvious to everyone at this point: I think they’re not only supposed to move the island through space, but through time as well.

POST-EPISODE QUESTIONS

What the heck is Christian Shepard’s role in all of this?

He’s dead, yet he’s showing up everywhere on the island, off thr island, in Jacob’s cabin, and is speaking on behalf of the big man himself.  How the heck did he get into that position?

Is there a difference between fate and free will on this island?

How much of your life is yours if you’re being guided by something else?  Charlie, Michael, and now Locke all appear to have their fate already decided for them.  The Oceanic 6 also appear headed back to the island after they escaped it, whether they want to or not.  Can any of the survivors break the cycle?

Where (and to when) are they going to move the island?

I have no clue obviously, but it’s fun to think about.  Somewhere really, really cold perhaps?

I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did! 

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