Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jacob's Foot: The Substitute and Nihilism

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="800" caption="Locke: Man of Science."]Locke: Man of Science.[/caption]

An absolutely fascinating episode of LOST. I think we might've just found out the significance of the Numbers. I'll get into that. It looks like The Man in Black is not the Big Bad or whatever you want to call it. I'll also get into that (but then again Richard looked absolutely terrified). It seems as if someone is coming to The Island. I'll get into that. Perhaps I should quit writing "I'll get into that" and actually, well, get into it. SO I WILL!

I have missed the real John Locke, folks. The sideways story had me once Helen walked through the door to help John up after he fell. He was still the same sad man we saw in "Walkabout," full of self-pity and just awfully sad. He doesn't believe in miracles. My mind immediately went to that scene in "There's No Place Like Home" when Locke describes the Island, to Jack, as a place of miracles. He was denied a chance to go on the Walkabout. But his life isn't all sadness anymore. He has Helen in this sideways world. Not only does he have her, he's going to marry her. He met Hurley after being fired from his job and it turned out Hurley put him on track to find another job quickly. He met Rose in the job placement office and she told him to begin living his life again, that she did even with her terminal cancer. They were both healed, of course, when they landed on the Island. And Rose even told John, in her way, that she knew about his healing. Something that stuck me was Locke's faith even when it appeared he had lost it. He told Helen that he's aware he can't do what he wants to do but he never stopped thinking or trying to do the things that he wanted. That's John Locke. In the end, when he essentially accepted his fate, Helen tore up Jack's card.

Once again, there were some differences in the Sideways world. But Doc Jensen beat me to the punch in stating all of them so swing over EW.com way for it. Continuing with The Foot recap:

I, of course, won't continue with this recap without mentioning the words written on Helen's shirt. "Peace&Karma." Listen, EVERYTHING is significant in this show. I had half the mind to go back and carefully examine Jack's card but I didn't. Peace&Karma will not be ignored because those two words sum up what I hope the future holds for John Locke. Peace and the Karmic gods to do John Locke some good. I hope when/if there is a reconciliation of these two worlds that John Locke will find the ultimate peace. It would be the finest way to end John Locke's story.

I also won't continue into the meaty on-Island story without mentioning the fact that Benny Linus and Johnny Locke are now colleagues. Both teachers. European History is what Ben teaches and Locke is simply a substitute (and do I really need to break down the symbolism/significance/meaning of the episode title and Locke's role in sideways world? I probably will, anyway). Locke is teaching biology. Science. Very sneaky, writers. I knew Ben would show up at some point. I was delighted when he did and delighted that he was chastising the faculty for not removing the empty coffee bag from the coffee machine. It's going to be great to watch the working relationship develop between the two of them.

As for the actual John Locke substitute, Mr. NotLocke, Mr. Man in Black...he is not a happy man. There was quite a bit of story in that Island tale. NotLocke accused Jacob of manipulating the candidates to the Island. He told Sawyer that Jacob always wanted to protect the Island. When Sawyer asked NotLocke what the Island was being protected from, NotLocke said nothing. NotLocke reminds of a total and complete nihilist. He's the Ippolit of The Island. Ippolit is a character in Dostoevsky's "The Idiot." Anywho, NotLocke believes in nothing. All three choices involved nothing. They could literally do nothing. Sawyer could protect the Island but NotLocke called protection meaningless and reduced it to nothing. The third is to leave the Island. Again, doing nothing. Nietzsche's Superman rejected the traits of humility and passivity. Perhaps that's what NotLocke perceived Jacob to be instilling into these characters. He insinuated Sawyer and the rest were pawns or puppets with no free-will, that they were here because of Jacob but their purpose is meaningless and no purpose actually exists. It reminds me of the 'push the button' question that dominated the second season. Faith vs. Science, predeterminism vs. free-will. Returning to Superman, the Superman believed traits of humility and passivity were devices of that powers-that-be to control man.

Here's why I explain my Numbers remark at the top of this recap. I don't at all think the Numbers were explained. It's merely the philosophy of NotLocke throwing out an answer to Sawyer's question. His response is inherently nihilistic: "Jacob had a thing for numbers." STEVE described NotLocke as wild. I totally agree. Here's a dude who told Sawyer that he felt pain, joy, and the whole nine yards of humanity, that he is a man. But he's been trapped. And now he's absolutely miserable. I speculated he wanted to return to The Temple, that the Tempe is his home. Scratch that. This dude, as far I can tell, wants to get the hell off of the Island.

So, then what, do we make of Richard's absolutely terror of him? Hm. I trust Richard. He still holds the greatest Other title. NotLocke was disgusted that Richard followed Jacob blindly. I think the idea of Richard disgusts NotLocke. Re: Nihilism. Richard is convinced he's going to kill Sawyer and others. I don't know. I really don't know. It's only the fourth episode!

How about that boy NotLocke saw? I'm thinking that was Jacob. "You know the rules. You can't kill him." I think that refers to Jacob. It was very creepy though and I loved it. It reminded me of the ol' season 2 Walt vision days. That first shot of the boy was INSANE. This is going to be a dynamite season, folks.

We learned via Ilana that NotLocke is stuck looking like Locke. He is a permanent substitute. Interesting. Also, going back to the vision of the boy, perhaps NotLocke isn't responsible for the Walking Dead. HMMM. The boy also reminded me of how Christian was in "White Rabbit." HMMMMM. As for Ilana, I'm still intrigued by her. She's more together than Richard is but, of course, she wasn't beaten and hung up in a ball in a tree. I like the knowledge she possesses. If I'm Frank, Sun, and Ben...I feel safe. I also was touched by Ilana's moment of mourning in the Foot. The four of them will be journeying to The Temple. But before that...

Sun wanted to bury Locke. And they did. They took him to the graveyard where so many of our beloved characters lie. Ben's eulogy seemed sincere and heartfelt. I think he's truly sorry considering the recent events in which he was manipulated into killing his leader, Jacob. He spoke truly of Locke. A believer and a man of faith. I really do hope Ben can be redeemed. Poor Sun was wary of following Ilana but Ilana assured her that Jin would be in The Temple. Poor Sun doesn't know Jin left The Temple to find her and is now with a gun-toting Cliare and trapped in a bear trap. But I think Claire will not even harm Jin. The two are friends. FRIENDS. He tried to help her catch the Par Avion bird! I digress. I cracked up when Frank said the funeral was the weirdest he's ever been to. You bet your Aldo bobblehead that Frank is going to rise in the rankings for that. Dear LORD how I laughed! Frank Lapidus, everyone!

Don't think I forgot about Sawyer. Sawyer is in absolute "I don't give a flying BLEEP" mode. He was drinking whiskey, listening to The Stooges, and basically inviting death to come. He knew MiB wasn't Locke. And the man followed him for answers alone. NotLocke told him he could tell him why he's on the Island. Sawyer chose to stay with NotLocke when a frantic Richard told him to get the heck away from him. Sawyer just wants get off the Island. He did choose number three: Get off the Island. What will it take to get off of the Island? I'm sure it's going to be intense. Sawyer's had some bad luck in his attempts to get off of the Island as he noted to NotLocke. Considering what he's been through, I don't blame him for wanting to get off the Island. I'm not sure what the future holds for Sawyer. STEVE thinks he will die. Perhaps he will. Perhaps a few characters I love will die. It is the final season after all.

The previews for next week hint that someone is coming. I think this is going to get very, very intense. Here's some more thoughts:

--Ben covered his ass with Ilana. I mean, NotLocke essentially murdered Jacob. Sure Ben did the stabbing BUT NotLocke did kick Jacob into the fire which really killed him. And you know? NotLocke is essentially doing what he's accused Jacob of doing. He's manipulating the bollocks out of people so far.

--Had a thought while re-watching "What Kate Does." Perhaps "The Incident" began the flash sideways. Bear with me. What sparked this thought was the scene between Kate and Claire when Kate asks Claire whether or not she'd be believed if she told Claire she was innocent. When Jacob visited her, he touched her hand and told her (i'm paraphrasing) to not steal again. She said yes. In the sideways, she may be innocent. I'm not much into theories but one can consider this is a theory. Am I saying they were all sideways? No. I'd be daft if I suggested that. It's just a thought that I don't really buy into myself. I also continue to have a love/hate relationship with message boards.

--I really am anxious to see Claire/Jin again. I'm SO INTO THIS SEASON! I want everything going on in one episode. NotLocke/Sawyer, Sun/Frank/Ilana/Ben, The Temple.

--How about NotLocke throwing the white stone into the ocean? He told Sawyer it was an inside joke. We saw those two stones with the skeletons in season one. Also: backgammon.

--The Aaron theories are abundant on the message boards. Tell me: how can the boy NotLocke saw be Aaron when Aaron is just three years old? I'm all for Aaron emerging as a character of mythic and epic proportions but I really think it's simply about getting Claire and Aaron back together. Claire deserves it. Aaron deserves it.

--I don't think I have much to say about the cave or about the names. It's worth noting that Kate is not a candidate. Only males. And Locke had his name crossed out because he's dead. NotLocke can be incredibly understanding and then incredibly harsh and cold.

--Ilana collected some of Jacob's ash before leaving The Foot. If I'm NotLocke, I wouldn't be all smiles with Ilana on the Island.

--This episode mirrored season three's "The Brig." I deemed "The Brig" one of the show's most underrated episodes. I stand by that. In "The Brig," Locke gets Sawyer to go with him with the promise that Ben is imprisoned in The Black Rock. In this, NotLocke lures Sawyer with him through the promise of answers. Murder soon follows in "The Brig." Will murder soon follow? Hm.

--Terry O'Quinn was dynamite this episode. What an actor. I loved how he portrayed Locke in the Sideways world. Loved the NotLocke stuff. I've gotta mention Jeff Fahey for delivering one of the greatest lines in the show. I think Elizaberth Sarnoff and Melina Hsu Taylor wrote an outstanding episode.

--I'm predicting next week's episode is a Jack episode. Why? Season Six has been following the blueprint of season one and, after all, the season is clearly mirroring season one.

TO THE RANKINGS!

THE OFFICIAL LOST RANKINGS

It was only a matter of time until Locke returned to the top 5 for me. It took me nearly 9 months and the Sideways story to properly rank Locke. He's still one of my favorite characters and would've reclaimed the top spot if Jack wasn't so badass and awesome last week. There was some exciting movement in the rankings. Sawyer dropped in both our lists. You know, this is a very tough numbers game. It's the way the biscuit bakes, you know. Desmond retains the top spot for STEVE. MiB moved up for STEVE because MiB is wild. Here they are:

AFTER EPISODE 4

Ranked: 2/17/2010

CHRIS

1. Jack

2. Locke

3. Sayid

4. Desmond

5. Ben

6. Hurley

7. Jin

8. Miles

9. Claire

10. Dogen

11. Frank

12. Sawyer

13. Kate

14. Richard

15. Sun

16. The Man in Black

17. Ilana

18. Lennon

19. Widmore

STEVE

1. Desmond

2. Sayid

3. Sawyer

4. Ben

5. Kate

6. Miles

7. Jack

8. Jin

9. Frank

10. Dogen

11. Man in Black

12. Richard

13. Claire

14. Locke

15. Ilana

16. Sun

17. Lennon

18. Widmore

19. Hurley

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.