The Moth Chase

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

Episode 13: Some Like it Hoth

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Dear MothChase Readers,

‘Some Like it Hoth’ is our 100th post! Thanks for reading – we’ve enjoyed writing to each other and for you!

oxox,
Natalie and Kathryn

—————-

Hey Kathryn,

Great episode!  I can no longer resist commenting properly on your musings about all the broken families in this show.  You mentioned so many in our previous post, but when I pondered it tonight, I realized I couldn’t think of anyone but Sun who had a stable two parent family and even her father was an crazy mob boss, so I’m not even sure that counts!  Everyone who remains (in some form) from (some form of) flight 815 comes from and/or produces some sort of family brokenness: Jack, Kate, John, Christian, Sawyer, Claire, Jin, Aaron, Sun, Daniel, Miles, Hurley, Ben…  And then when it comes to Juliet and Sayid, we just don’t know.

So tonight we had the pairing of Miles’ and Hurley’s broken relationships with their fathers: Miles, unwilling to forgive his, Hurley trying to teach Miles that forgiveness is the true path.  When we learn that Miles’ father is dead in a place where no one can reach him, I tried to resist thinking that the only other main Asian male character we’ve had besides Jin was his father, but it turns out my resistance was futile.  Chang is Miles’ dad, and, in a strange turn of events, Miles is inhabiting the island with his own baby-form self.  Another quirk in the time travel ripple!  I must admit that for a moment I was nervous that Miles was somehow going to be his own father…but Lost managed to sidestep another risky incestuous move!

We’re reminded again and again in this episode of Miles’ special gift and we get to see Naomi’s recruitment of him to Widmore’s special ops team.  Of course, he’s getting paid 1.6 million dollars, 16 being one of the island’s magic numbers, as we’re reminded in the creepy scene where Hurley watches his own lottery numbers being branded onto the hatch as it’s being built.  And we get to see Bram, the guy who was working with Ilena in the previous episode, try to kidnap Miles back in the real world to offer him a truer path to self-revelation than the empty promises of money that Widmore offers (let’s not even get into the naming, Bram, yet! This could be a reference to Bram Stoker, the famed writer of Dracula or, I think more likely, it could be a reference to the name, Abraham, the Biblical father of Isaac – who you mentioned in the last post as the biblical father of Jacob…to whom our island’s god-figure alludes.)  Again we get the question, “what lies in the shadow of the statue?” which again, I’m thinking even more now serves as a litmus test for who has a true or authentic relationship to the island.  I noted in our last post that Lapides was not on the right team, and now neither is Miles as he decides to join Widmore’s (and Lapides’) team.  So if these new folks – the seekers of a true path – aren’t working for Widmore, are they working for Ben, or is there a new faction in our cosmic battle?

What I loved most about this episode, though, was the bond developing between Hurley and Miles.  They both see dead people!  Or hear them or commune with them or play chess with them or whatever.  Either way, they have this weird gift/curse in common, and it was fun to watch them bonding…to see the different responses that could happen to these broken family situations.

In addition to these different ways of relating to absent fathers played out by Miles and Hurley, we also see their different approaches to dealing with time travel.  Whereas Miles doesn’t want to interrupt his own narrative path, Hurley is perfectly willing to try to pitch a script for The Empire Strikes Back (with some improvements) to Peter Jackson.  And, indeed, we have another beloved pop culture reference that helps us understand what is going on in the story – Hurley presses Miles to learn from Luke.  Don’t waste time being angry with your father when it’s all going to work out in the end.  Reconcile now.  Make things right…or we going to end up with something totally sucky, like Ewoks!

But these Hurley/Miles moments renew my question, how do the mysteries of the island relate to the real world?  Really, how do those numbers pass from the island to Hurley’s crazy friend to Hurley playing them in the lottery?  There is a real connection between the island and the real world – like the Jack/Claire thing and the relationship between Kate, Sawyer and Cassidy, to name only two examples.  This is the one question I *need* answered before the series ends.

And how will all of this relate to the coming massacre?  Will the interventions Miles makes with Chang have any bearing on that event?  At least we now have the answer to Daniel’s question so many episodes ago as to what kind of time Miles had already spent on the island – double time, it seems.

Best line in the episode – Hurley to Miles: “It will help with global warming, which hasn’t happened yet, so maybe we can prevent it!”.  You can always count on Hurley for that comedy relief.

Oh, and did you notice the Egyptian history being charted on the chalkboard that Jack was erasing in the Dharma classroom?  No deep meaning, just fun, I think – another clue to keep us on the Egyptian path of pondering.

Ok, and best moment in the episode – Daniel returns!  Yey!  I’ve missed him so.  And he doesn’t return in a “have to get to know each other again all over again” way, but rather in a way that recognizes Miles.  Thank goodness we’ll finally get to know what happened –why Daniel left and, more importantly, why he’s back!

So much to wrap up – so many questions and characters and fun paths to traverse!  I really. Really. Love. This. Show.

xo,
Natalie

Dear Natalie,

Like you, I was totally aware of the broken families/estranged fathers and sons theme continuing, and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into Miles’ past (both in terms of the flashbacks, and in terms of seeing baby Miles on the island). We still haven’t learned why Dr. Chang abandoned Miles and his mother, but we know that his absence, coupled with Miles’ preternatural “I commune with dead people” gift, left him pretty messed up and open to the mercenary offers of Widmore. Probably the scene that drove home to me just how much anger Miles carries toward his father was the scene with Mr. Grey – he punitively refuses him closure when he asks for a message from his dead son, sticking up for potentially neglected sons everywhere. While I loved Hurley’s message of forgiveness, a la Star Wars analogies, there is so much child-abuse/neglect I couldn’t help but sympathize with Miles’ harsher view of justice.

I also loved watching his secret gift in action. The fact that he, and only he, could have learned the truth from that dead body was so pleasurable to watch: it reminded me of wilely characters in old folk tales (“please, please don’t throw me in the briar patch”) – just when the heavy-handed authoritarian thinks he is putting Miles in his place, it turns out that giving him the dead body is the surest way for someone else to learn what is really going on at those drill sites.

Given that Widmore was on the island at the same time as baby Miles, one has to wonder if that isn’t why he recruited him later. And of course, I want to know if and how the island might have caused Miles’ special gift. But it is still very unclear who Widmore is playing against and why Bram insists he is on the wrong team. Bram, by the way, is definitely a nickname for Abraham (Bram Stoker’s name was Abraham) and I agree, it is not a coincidence that we have an Abraham on the same island as Jacob. The question is: is Bram playing for the same team as Jacob, and if not, whose team is it?

In a completely different plot, I both loved and hated it when Sawyer punched out Phil. It was so decisive and reactive and there was something satisfying about him saving the day in that way. But this kind of reaction is exactly what he blamed Jack for, and the solution is far from permanent, meaning that Sawyer is finally going to have to stop protecting the status quo and start planning for an unknown future. I have been wondering if Sawyer isn’t able to resort to his preferred leadership style precisely because he has been leading under the conditions of civilization and society (as opposed to camping in the jungle or on the beach). It remains to be seen what he will do if that structure is taken away.

Final thought, why Ann Arbor? We’ve heard a couple times now that Dharma is based there and I just wonder what it means.

xoxo,
K

Written by themothchase

January 25, 2010 at 9:09 am

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