LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 1: “LA X”, Part 1

5 02 2010

Hey everyone, was that a fantastic way to start the season or what?  I really hope that all of you enjoyed it as much as I did!  Seriously, I don’t know what I’m going to do when this show is off the air.  There’s simply nothing on TV like it, and it’s depressing thinking about this season being the last.  Alright, well, enough about that for now.  Let’s get right to the recap!

“LA X”

One of the things that I think gets lost when you get into the show and analyzing what we just saw, is one of the big questions we had coming in to the episode.  What the heck does “LA X” mean?  I guess it could be as simple as us being shown that Oceanic 815 didn’t crash on the island, but rather landed at LAX.  But I’m still curious about that space between the LA and the X.  DDay noted in the Comments section of the LOST Challenge of the week that perhaps the “X” was the Roman numeral for ten, and that we’d see ten passengers from the original flight 815, similar to the Oceanic 6.  However, I counted more than 10: Jack, Rose, Bernard, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, Jin, Sun, Sayid, Boone, Arzt, Frogurt.  Even if you only count “main” characters, you’ve got 11.  Anyway, I’d love to see if any of you have a way of looking at them that makes it an even 10, but I’m not seeing it.  Instead, I’m led to believe that the “X” is more related to a variable…maybe a variable (alternate) universe.  Maybe we’ll get more info as the season moves along, but that’s where I am with it right now.


Jack processing his situation

Jack back on Flight 815

So what do we call this new storytelling device?  I think I’m going to refer to it as “the alternate universe”, even though no measure of that is confirmed in any way at this point.  Regardless, what can we make of this “alternate” story right now?  I think there are two things you might be tempted to think, each of which are possible.  However, I would refrain from convincing yourself that it *must* be that way so soon.

First, I’m guessing your first inclination is that we must be seeing this thread because the bomb went off and reset things.  Or that perhaps the bomb never went off in this timeline, and that’s why the Incident never happened.  I would propose a potential third scenario: that this thread is completely unrelated to the Jughead detonation.  Perhaps we’re seeing what we’re seeing simply because the writers want to convey to us what would have happened if the LOSTies never crashed on the island.  The reasons why they got into this timeline are not important, but the end result is.  I’ll share more of this theory of mine in the coming weeks if it continues to be in play as we move through the season.  However, for now, think about what’s at stake back on the island in the other timeline.  Could this timeline give us some insight into what everyone’s “playing for”?  Again, I don’t want to invalidate reset theories, or thoughts about this being the timeline for the bomb *not* going off, but I think those two are more straightforward and don’t require a ton of explanation.  I’d like to think that there may be something more at play.

Regardless of the underlying reason, I’m really intrigued by the thread itself.  Sure, there are a lot of answers to be had in the “main” thread.  And the writers could easily fill up 18 hours of the show’s final season with wrapping things up in a much tighter bow.  But it wouldn’t realy be LOST if we got all of the answers one by one as the season played out.  I’m cool with a little diversion, and re-visiting old characters for one last good-bye before everything comes to an end.

Jack’s Bloody Neck

As far as the thread itself, events happening in it are certainly not exactly what we remember, and some weird things are going on.  First of all, Jack takes a trip to the restroom, and shows us a little blood stain on his neck.  I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to make of this.  Did he hurt himself when the plane jostled around in the turbulence?  Is he somehow connected with his alternate self back on the island?  Does he have some kind of condition in this timeline that we’re not supposed to know about yet?  I gues this is just one of those things that you file away and look for more clues in subsequent episodes.

Desmond on Flight 815

Des and Jack

Desmond on Flight 815 with Jack

So…what’s Desmond doing on the plane?  He was never on the original Flight 815…he was pushing the button in the Swan Station.  Perhaps without the island to drag him in, he completed his race around the world as he had hoped.  Then maybe he stayed in Sydney for some time before deciding to fly to LA.  Or, perhaps he never ran the race in this timeline.  One thing I’m leaning towards is that Jack’s thought that he met him before is more related to his encounter with him during Sarah’s surgery (remember the flashback from early Season 2?) as opposed to any “main” timeline knowledge transferrence.  I could certainly be wrong though.

The island underwater

So…was that a cool sequence or what?  A quick dive from the plane into the ocean shows the island completely submerged, with the sonic fence fully built, the barracks mostly intact (swingset included), a Dharma shark (did you catch that?), and the lone leg of the four-toed statue.  After you get past the “fun” part of the scene and look at the evidence directly, I think you can determine a few things: Jacob and the Man in Black were still in their power struggle, Dharma still came to the island to study it and built the sonic fence to keep the smoke monster out, and that whatever caused the 4-toed statue to fall still happened.  You can also assume that the iland wasn’t submerged until at least 1977 or later.  The only true relevance I can take from this is that this is not so “alternate” a universe that the island as we know it never existed.  It’s just that our LOSTies were never a part of it.  As for the rest, perhaps we’ll get more insight into it as the thread progresses.

Back on the island

Alright, before I get into the storyline of what’s happening here, I’ve got 2 pieces of commentary to share.  First, by the time we got to the scene before Kate was seen blasted into the tree, I had seen Juliet’s bloody face way too many times.  That was hard enough to watch once, did I really need to see that over and over and over again?  The other thing I wanted to mention was the really cool sound effect used when Kate was trying to get her hearing back.  I love when they take the extra time to add something like that to a scene.  Pretty cool stuff!

Sawyer gets to kick the crap out of Jack…again

What started as a funny segue as Jack got knocked into the hatch implosion site unaware, turned into a sad, somber, and ultimately tense scene between Jack and Sawyer.  Definitely a completely believable scene as Sawyer holds Jack fully responsible for Juliet’s death.  Not surprisingly, Jack is devastated on multiple levels.  Not only does he truly take on the brunt of feeling responsible for Juliet’s death, but he now feels directionless.  His thought that everything in his life was leading up to this moment is suddenly and violently ripped away from him.  Not unlike John Locke in Season 2 when he stopped pressing the button, Jack feels rudderless in a sea of despair.

“Oy, have a clucky-cluck day, mate!”

Hurley tells Sawyer how lucky he is

Hurley and Sawyer discussing how to handle lottery winnings

Back on Oceanic 815, we’ve got more fun with old characters, or main characters in new situations.  We get to see Arzt again, pushing Hurley to vocalize the catch-phrase from his successful chicken franchise.  Apparently, Hurley’s managed to completely reverse his bad luck, with nothing but good things happening to him.  Sawyer’s alternate background is still mystery, but I’m sure we’ll find out about him soon enough.

Dharma vans in the future

One of my colleagues at work was asking how the Dharma vans happened to make it from 1977 to 2007 when the LOSTies jumped forward in time.  To me, the answer seems somewhat straightforward.  It’s the same way that the canoes skipped through time with the LOSTies early last season.  It seems as though if any of the LOSTies are touching an inanimate object, it moves through time with them.  That would also explain why the one van that Hurley was leaning against moved through time, whereas the one Sawyer and company drove to the Swan site did not.  At least, that explanation seems to fit as well as any.

Juliet is still alive?

After attending Comic-Con and hearing directly from the writers’ mouths that Juliet was dead, I was stunned to see that she was calling out from under the rubble.  No way she could be alive, right?  Part of me was hoping for the ultimate head-fake: that the writers had told us the truth through 5 full season just so that they could screw with us in Season 6.  Despite “knowing” that Juliet was dead, I was on the edge of my seat to see if she’d be a big part of Season 6 after all…

“I’ve got a gun!  And I know how to shoot it!”

You gotta love Hurley, you really do.  He’s about to run into Jacob, and he still cracks us up.  Maybe after Season 6 they can have a Hurley spin-off called “Have a Cluckety-Cluck-Cluck Day” or something…

Locke goes on the Walkabout…or does he?

Boone and Locke make a connection

Boone and Locke discuss the walkabout

As we get to see Boone again (and Frogurt…did you notice him sleeping through his cameo scene?) Locke relays how he went on his walkabout.  Boone seems to imply that Locke’s lying, and I’d be skeptical of the story as well, especially considering what we see at the end of the episode.  Not sure what to make of this.  Did Locke get to fulfill his dream in this timeline?  Is he still supremely bitter with his situation?  Considering he’s dead and his form is being usurped in the “main” timeline, I’m most fascinated with his story in the alternate thread.

“Jacob’s gone.  He’s gone.”

Ben can’t believe that he just killed Jacob, and now his body has seemingly vanished.  But that’s the least of his worries.  He’s still being commanded by The Man in Black posing as Locke, and he has much to answer to Richard about.  Of course, he can’t help but lie about Jacob’s well-being, so Richard shows him what he’s up against by giving him a first-hand look at Locke’s dead body.  Meanwhile, Sun and Lapidus discuss who might really be good and who might really be evil in the current situation.  It’s apparent that we’re clearly not the only ones who don’t know exactly what’s going on.

Jacob needs Sayid

Jacob gives Hurley instructions

Jacob appears to Hurley and tells him how to save Sayid

So while Jacob apparently didn’t make any attempt to stop his own murder, he comes back as an apparition to help Hurley get the info he needs to get Sayid to the Temple for healing.  Obviously, he saw his own death coming.  This leads me to believe that he almost wanted the Man in Black to kill him, as it sets his ultimate plan in motion.  But he also needs very specific people in play for this plan to work.  He’s pulled these people to the island for a very specific reason, and he needs them to play their part for the endgame to be tipped in his favor.  While we clearly have no idea what Jacob’s plan is, it’s also very clear that he does indeed have one.  And he’s desperate to see it come to fruition.

“If she dies, I’ll kill him.”

Sawyer’s dead-set on making Jack pay for his poor decision-making skills.  While we get some additional info in part 2 of the season opener, I wouldn’t put anything past Sawyer and what he can do in his current mindset.  Perhaps that’s just what Jacob was planning for…

Charlie’s still an addict

Am I alive?

Charlie revived by Jack

While we’re hoping that everything works out better for our LOSTies in the alternate timeline than what they’re experiencing in the main timeline, we’re finding out that this is not necessarily the case.  Jin has reverted back to the uncaring jerk he was back in Season 1 of the series, and Charlie is still an addict, either trying to kil himself or trying to smuggle drugs off the airplane.  I guess it’s better than being dead, but things aren’t all roses in the alternate timeline.  At least we got to see Jack almost use the tracheotomy technique to revive Charlie, a reference to Boone’s crazy idea back in Season 1.

“You want to know what happened, Richard? Why don’t you go inside and find out.”

While Richard’s not sure that’s a great idea, the shadow of the statue people throw caution to the wind and escort Ben back in to see what went down.  Clearly not the smartest move, especially since they must have known what they were dealing with.  And sure enough, after shots are fired, the Man in Black takes his true form as the Smoke Monster, and attacks everyone in the room except Ben.  Ilana’s right-hand man seems to know exactly what’s up, and constructs an ash circle around himself, right there in Jacob’s abode.  It actually works for a split-second.  Too bad the circle is too small, and the monster has other objects at his disposal outside of the circle…which allow him to knock his target from the circle, and then deal with him directly.

Not what you want to see...

The Smoke Monster delivers the beatdown

And with that, we have final confirmation that the Man in Black is indeed the Smoke Monster incarnate.  Most of you were on to this for quite some time, but there was some minor chance that the Man in Black was simply controlling the Smoke Monster to do his bidding.  If we trust what was said in this scene, that is no longer a viable explanation.  The questions for me now are two-fold.  First, what is it about an ash circle that keeps the Smoke Monster out?  And is it in any way related to how the sonic fence keeps it out as well?  Additionally, does knowing that the Man in Black is indeed the Smoke Monster give us any insight as to why he kills some folks but allows others to live?  Most of what we’ve thought up to this point is that people of “pure heart” have been spared, while others who are not true to themselves are not.  Locke, Eko initially, and Ben are two specific examples.  But what if it’s something a bit less honorable?  What if the Smoke Monster allows people to live because it recognizes a weakness that it can exploit?  I say this because it seems to be what was in common with Locke and Ben (Locke was ready to follow “the island” because he could walk; Eko was willing to do things to show repentance for his murders; Ben was ready to follow Locke to show remorse for allowing his daughter to be killed).  Perhaps the Smoke Monster allowed them all to live because he knew that he could manipulate these situations in the future.  And perhaps he killed Eko the second time around because he was no longer repentant…and thus he could not be manipulated by the Man in Black.  Just food for thought…I’m sure we’ll get more of an explanation as the season wears on…

Juliet’s still alive!

Juliet dies...again

A bloody Juliet has a message for Sawyer

Well, kinda.  It’s almost too much to see her go again.  Not only because we have to see her die yet again ourselves, but that Sawyer has to lose her once again.  The interesting part of this scene, and the one that almost makes it bearable to see her die again, are her final words: “We should get coffee sometime.  We can go dutch.”  This definitely seems to be some major foreshadowing, especially when you couple it with what we find out she’s trying to tell Sawyer in part 2 of the premiere.  But I’ll get more into that detail in my next write-up.  One thing I will say, is that I’m pretty darn sure that we haven’t seen the last of Juliet just yet.

And the plane lands in LAX

Touchdown at LAX

Oceanic Flight 815 lands in LA

But not before we get one last mystery.  Desmond seems to have disappeared from the plane.  We’re clearly meant to notice that he’s not there…perhaps he has something to do with the missing cargo in part 2?  Regardless, the plane lands, and everyone’s back to their old lives.  Including Locke, who’s tragically still stuck in that wheelchair.  Is he fated to situations of desperation, irrespective of the timeline?

That’s all for now everyone!  I’ll be back tomorrow with my recap of Part 2.  And I’ll typically have my recaps up Wednesday night/Thursday morning…this week was a little out of the ordinary for me.  Thanks for coming by and reading despite the delay!




2 responses

6 02 2010

OK, first, I just love the feeling I get when my less than accurate theories make me feel like the stupid one in the class. I’m going to go with what I see and think I know. One thing I know is that the analysis here is spot on and extraordinarily well written.

My take- The “alternate reality” is real and we should watch for clues that tie the island reality to it- like Jack’s neck wound, like Juliet’s dying words, like Desmond, like the whole pen thing- Kate actually lifted Jack’s pen in the restroom door collision. There are little things in the “AR” that are probably meaningless and some things that aren’t. (I noticed- no Walt or Michael… Walt just got too big.) In any event, the “AR” will play out and ultimately they will come together. I think the “AR” and the island realities are more about the characters being true to what their nature is than the events that might make them that way in either reality and ultimately they will come together. Sayid is still a man of action. Sawyer a rule breaker and con man. Hurley a trusting “happy go lucky/not so lucky” dude, Jack is there to figure things out,…

The sunken island was post Dharma and Swan event- so maybe something else big is coming that sinks the island. The island can be moved via the wheel. Maybe it can be sunk it some fashion like that too?

Jacob has a master plan, knows what he needs to make it fly. Obviously the inhabiting of bodies is not an issue for either Jacob or the man in black- so is Sayid dead, alive or Jacob? We’ll see I guess.

In the pilot episode, Locke explains backgammon to Walt. “Two sides, one light (and he holds up the white piece) and one dark (he holds up the black) going up against each other. And this game goes back thousands of years- using bones for the pieces.” something like that… I never noticed that before re-watching the pilot the other day.

7 02 2010

Hey DDay, let me first say thanks for coming to visit, and taking the time to comment! I appreciate your feedback.

Also, sorry if my commentary about the title’s origins gave you some bad vibes. That wasn’t the intent at all. Actually, your guess was something I hadn’t considered, so I paid special attention to it during the premiere. It was a great guess! That it appeared as though you weren’t 100% correct shouldn’t stop you from sharing.

Glad you’re enjoying the blog, and I hope we’ll continue to see your reactions in the Comments!

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