The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

The Lie

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Hey Kathryn,

So this episode calmed down a little after all the new stuff they threw at us in the last one.  It reaffirmed for us that Hurley sees dead people with a lovely return of Anna-Lucia.  It reminded us of Kate’s role in Jin’s death (as well as how much I am loving this new scary Sun!).  And it did a fun Weekend at Bernie’s type escapade around LA with an unconscious Sayid.  It developed our concerns for Charlotte – yes, something terrible is happening here, even if we don’t know precisely what yet (did the forgetting of her mother’s maiden name remind you of the erasing of the kids in the photo in Back to the Future or am I just on some sort of 80’s movie kick tonight?).

The only new tricky things we really had to integrate were the appearance of yet another vicious island tribe we know nothing about and the re-appearance of the jeweler lady who apparently is some sort of witchy, scientisty, religiousy type all-knowing, all-controlling God(ish) figure (was that chalk thing a play on Foucault’s pendulum, itself an experiment with space and time? And was she calculating the time between the flashes on the island? Is that what that “event window determined” was all about?).  Even with that, though, this was a much easier episode than the last one!

All of which lets me focus in for a moment on Hurley.  We all love Hurley – he’s sweet, funny and simply fun to be around.  When he panicked and threw his pizza pocket at the wall, I laughed louder than I’ve laughed at any other moment in Lost ever.  But his humour isn’t just slapstick or playful.  He’s also our jester in the sense of being our truth-teller – a role played out quite literally in this episode.

I’m always startled by how easily folks lie in this show – not just the Oceanic 6 covering up their story, but Ben, Kate in general, spouses to each other in a supposed effort to protect each other (Jin to Sun, Sun to Jin), Michael to everyone, even Daniel to Charlotte, and so on.  It’s good to finally see the emotional toll of dishonesty borne out on at least one of the characters (while all the Oceanic 6 suffer psychologically or emotionally, only Hurley’s suffering seems explicitly related to living a life based on a lie).

And all this is what made the scene with his mother so funny and so sweet.  Hearing Hurley recap the last 4 seasons of Lost was perfect; we were in on the joke with him because he offered an incredibly helpful, succinct version of everything we’ve been tracking and ourselves trying to understand. His confusion is mirrored in our own.  And we as the audience realize that we know precisely what he knows – no more, no less.  Of course he sounded crazy, but it was a crazy that we’re continuing to participate in with each episode we watch.  But we resonated with his mother too – she believed him, but didn’t understand him.  And that’s sort of my experience of this show.  I’m tracking it.  I’m following along.  I can add it all up.  But my god, I don’t understand it to save my life!  It was a sweet moment that I’m choosing to interpret in a genuine way, rather than as a mother humouring her clearly crazy (although not) son.

So, do you think Hurley was right in following Sayid’s advice to do the opposite of whatever Ben tells him?  Or do you think he should have followed Anna-Lucia’s advice to avoid getting arrested?  For all of Ben’s duplicitous ways, my hunch is that ghost/sub-conscious projection Anna-Lucia and, surprisingly, Ben, were the real truth-tellers of the moment.

Ok, let me know what you thought!
Natalie

—–

Dear Natalie,

This will be a fast response, since family is on their way over and I have to get cracking on the next two episodes!

I agree – this episode was less about new shocking information and more about character development and small clues. Though as you point out the “clues” are more infuriating and potentially confusing than one might hope. Who are those dudes with British accents and U.S. Army fatigues threatening to cut off Juliet’s hand? Obviously, whenever they are at this particular moment, there were more than just the Others on the island. But does it mean anything? The army fatigues? The British accents? The medieval forms of torture? Likewise with strange jewelry shop woman (look, see how good I am being about spoilers!!) – does it mean anything that she is dressed like a wizard/nun/monk and operating her pendulum and sophisticated computer device in the basement of a church? And by the way, what do you think Ben was praying for as he lights his colored candle? I do assume, given the dialogue between her and Ben, the “event window” refers to the time frame when the Oceanic 6, plus Ben and Locke, can return to the island (she says: “you’ve only got 70 hours.” And he says, “That’s not enough time. What if I can’t get them all to go back?”).

All of which leads to the big question as we prepare for the final season: which details matter? Will we eventually learn the answers to all these infuriating mysteries (and brace yourself, it only gets wilder from here) or not? And I suppose another bigger question: does it really matter? I have to admit, all I’m really looking for is some overall closure. What is the island? How does it work? Why does it matter? What is up between Ben and Widmore (digression: did that scene in Widmore’s bedroom during season 4 remind you of the Job story? When Ben talks about how Widmore has changed the rules and how much he’d like to kill Widmore but they both know he can’t do that, it felt like two cosmic forces hashing out what is allowed and not allowed, caught in a lockhorn showdown where some other cosmic force prevents them from killing each other. I’m not sure which one would be God and which one Satan/the Advocate. Loose association anyway…). Who are the Others? Why were the people on Oceanic 815 chosen? You know, just the big looming questions. If they never explain what the British gents wearing U.S. fatigues mean, I think I can live with it.

OK, I didn’t even touch on the lying theme or the scene with Hurley’s mother, but I concur with your analysis. I do wonder if there is a clue in Charlotte not remembering her mother’s maiden name, but that might be an unfair conjecture because short of espousing a spoiler theory, it is going to sound like a red herring. Like so many of the details we are trying to track.

K

Kathryn,

Just a quickie to say, yes, I absolutely thought of Job with the scene in Widmore’s bedroom and even blurted out to my husband, “Oh my goodness, now we’re in the Bible and he’s Satan,” or something like that, only to realize that I didn’t really know which one I meant when I referred to Satan!

I know we’re both theologians and thus bound to see things like that, but if we both saw it then, yes, I think it was probably there on some level!

OK, on to episode 3!
N

Written by themothchase

December 30, 2009 at 10:33 am

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