Before I dive into 'Cabin Fever,' I'd like to congratulate Michael Emerson on his Emmy win for Best Supporting Actor. Emerson had, in my opinion, his best season on LOST during its fifth season (as I've written in the past). I was thrilled week after week with how Emerson portrayed Ben in what was a transition season for the character. I've written it before but I'll write it again: he knocked the scene with Jacob out of the park. Today's LOST episodes deals with the beginning of the transition for Ben Linus and there will be more praise for Emerson to come.
THE 'LOST' EPISODE OF THE DAY
The episode: Cabin Fever
Original Airdate: May 8, 2008
Written By: Elizabeth Sarnoff & Kyle Pennington
Directed By: Paul Edwards
Content: Locke, Hurley, and Ben trek through the jungle in search of Jacob's cabin and answers, while tensions run high aboard the Kahana as Keamy prepares to return to the Island. Flashbacks reveal a lifelong connection between Locke's destiny and the Island.
Why It's Worth Re-Watching: This is one of the most important episodes to re-watch prior to the premiere of season six in January. Where do I begin? Hm. Let's start with the Cabin scene.
Locke, Ben, and Hurley are trekking through the jungle to find Jacob's cabin. While searching, Locke has a dream. In this dream, he meets Horace Goodspeed in the jungle as Horace is building a cabin for his wife. Horace tells Locke that 'Jacob has been waiting for him for a real long time.' When Locke does find the cabin, it's creepy. It's even creepier, weirder, and odder with what has happened in 'The Incident.' We know from Alana that Jacob had not been to the cabin in a long, long time. I originally wrote that the cabin scene was creepy. I still can't pinpoint what exactly went on in there. We have no idea why Claire was there. One can speculate thanks to that teaser in 'The Incident.' But this cabin scene has to be a key event in the mythology of the show as well as the character arc for John locke. And another interesting thing to note is the difference between the cabin scene from The Man Behind The Curtain and Cabin Fever is how Ben was completely abandoned and forced to talk to an empty chair while Locke was met with destiny and fate.
Speaking of John Locke, I've written before about the tragic circumstances of his life. I compared him to a James Joyce character, Mr. Duffy, in my Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham recap. He led a sad, disappointing life until he got to the Island. And he is eventually is killed while trying to save The Island. An interesting thing to note about 'Cabin Fever' is the theme of Locke's specialness, his destiny with The Island. He survived a pre-mature birth, a fall out of an 8 story building (I think Jacob saved his life that day by his touch) and then there are two scenes with Ben that take on a whole new meaning given the events of season five. These scenes involve the concept of destiny. Ben warns Locke about destiny, about it's fickleness. Ben also accepts his destiny, that it was his destiny to have his daughter's blood on his hands and to have cancer: "Those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you'll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen... because, destiny, John, is a fickle bitch."
And then we've seen for four seasons the specialness of Locke, his communion with The Island. He knew when it was going to rain and when it was going to stop. If there's one character I thought that could defy death because of The Island, that character's John Locke. I wrote and wrote and wrote about it during the fifth season. I was so taken by that idea of the resurrected John Locke. When I saw him fall out of the makeshift, airplane coffin, I literally gasped. I did not see that coming. So, re-watching this episode, I'm even more intrigued about the story of John Locke. I doubt it's done. Anywho, this episode really sets-up the heroic John Locke of season five and his leadership over The Others (Richard even tells John that he's the one back in season 3's The Brig). This episode reveals who gave Locke the idea of Walkabout (mr. Abbadon himself). This episode also features a flashback appearance from Richard Alpert. His appearance is explained in 'Jughead.'
Speaking of Richard, in the podcast before this episode aired (the Mothers day one with Mrs. Cuse and Mrs. Lindelof talking to their sons), Damon mentioned that the search for the Dalai Lama inspired some of this episode and related it to the character of Locke. Well, Richard adopts this Buddhist search when with a young Locke. Here's how the Dalai Lama is found:
"'Whenever a Dalai Lama dies, a search is begun for his new incarnation. Signs are examined. The State Oracle is questioned. Then a search is begun in the area indicated. Once a likely candidate is found, possessions of the former Dalai Lama are presented to him, along with items that didn't belong to the former Dalai Lama, to see if he recognizes the Dalai Lama's actual possessions. If so, the boy is recognized as the Dalai Lama's new incarnation and trained to resume his position."
Richard lays out a compass, a comic book, the "Book of Laws,' a small container containing granules, a knife, and a baseball glove and asks Locke which of these items belongs to him already. Locke fails this test but is then inquired about by Richard while in high school. Once again, that theme of destiny and fate is present.
As for the other parts of this episode, this is the last time we see Claire. Keamy and crew are preparing to torch The Island. And Hurley and Ben share a candy bar (one of the greatest scenes in LOST).
Overall, this is a fantastic episode. It has great Locke/Ben exchanges, good comic relief from Hurley, and some badass Freighter action. You've absolutely got to re-watch this episode before the sixth season gets going in January.