Lost: Lighthouse

Spoiler warning: This post contains a discussion of Lost season six, episode 108, “Lighthouse.” If you haven’t seen it yet and you do not like to be spoiled, move along! But I will blather for a moment about nonplotty things to give you some time to get away. Because I am nice and smell like strawberries.

This week’s episode of Lost was Jack-centric, which meant that I was prepared to be extremely bored, because Jack doesn’t really interest me all that much, I’ll be honest. As a character, he just doesn’t do it for me. I get where they are going with him and I even, to some extent, understand what they are trying to say with his character, but at this point anyone in the love dodecahedron quadrangle triangle whatever the hell it is makes me quiver because I fear that the love, uh, thing is going to be brought up again and I’m going to wander off to the kitchen to reorganize the spices and then realise that I missed half the episode with my evasive maneuvering.

Thankfully, Kate only showed up for all of 30 seconds in this episode, primarily to look soulful and inform us that Sawyer is “on his own,” so that was a relief. And, you know, I know that there are people who like Kate (and liked Juliet, and like Jack), but I am not one of them. I’m sorry, I liked her ok in the first season but she’s been going downhill from there. If anyone has a compelling argument for why I should start liking Kate again, I would be happy to hear it, though!

Honestly, the whole love entanglement thing is one of the things about Lost which frustrates me more than anything else. The show already has a lot going on. Most of it interests me and makes the wheels in my brain spin frantically. The show even has various depictions of love and relationships which I find engaging. The need to create this pivotal romance which keeps getting all up in my mythology escapes me. Can’t we all just run around in the forest with guns now?

Speaking of which, how about that Claire? Has she crossed over to the dark side? Her little hideaway was definitely high on the creep factor and was clearly meant to be evocative of Rousseau. Indeed, her whole character trajectory now what with the infection and the missing baby and stuff is sort of a repeat. Is the Island stuck in a loop? And Claire has gotten me thinking about Rousseau much more; she and Claire both have inconsistencies when telling stories, for example, and it’s possible that both characters were turned in some way. Like, when Christian was wandering around all over the Island and popping up to hang out with Claire…and how alone was Rousseau in the jungle? Claire does recognize that the entity in Locke’s body is not actually Locke, but she’s viewing him as a friend, which is a bit weird if you ask me because my friends don’t take over the bodies of dead people.

Over in flashsidewaysville, we see Jack repeating the sins of his father with his own son, which kind of bears out my theory that the flash sideways is about a world gone slightly twisted. The characters didn’t go to the Island, didn’t learn anything, didn’t have a chance to change the trajectory of their lives, and as a result they are doomed to do the very things which they didn’t want to do. Things go wrong. Nothing happens as planned. Even as we see certain themes repeating themselves in both timelines, which suggests a certain amount of determinism and “some things were meant to be.”

I am becoming more and more intrigued by the objects and spaces our characters find on the Island. I am a sucker for lighthouses in general so of course I got all excited to see a lighthouse, and even more so when I saw what its function was; again, I have a soft spot for decaying equipment and mysterious scribblings and mirrors, so I was as happy as a pig in a wallow when Hurley and Jack started messing around up there. Well, until Jack smashed the mirrors, of course. Not cool, dude.

The names in the lighthouse appeared to correspond to degrees, which bears out a theory which has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while. As we saw in previous episodes, the world of Lost seems to presuppose that there are lines and networks of energy moving across the Earth and that people can tap into these lines and also intersect with them, and that this is both time and space dependent. Remember the pendulum in the Lamp Post Station and how it moved across lines of energy like a dowsing rod of some kind? And how the Dharma folks used that to find the Island? And how a very precise bearing was needed to reach the Island by the freighter crew? And all that stuff about time windows and things needing to happen at specific moments?

I think that, in the mythology of the show at any rate, some people have an innate ability to tap into that energy. That’s what makes them candidates; they are connected with the Island in some way. Hurley most obviously, with his ability to see dead people. Miles, too, clearly has a connection with the dead. I think it’s possible that the degrees in the lighthouse correspond to, well, bearings, as it were, for those characters. Given that Jacob was dialing in on people to spy on them, I don’t think that this is so far fetched. Once Jacob figured out which bearing went with which person, he could start narrowing things down to determine who fit with the energy of the Island.

But, every time I try to theorize about Lost, my brain turns into one of those snake in a can things and explodes, so I am going to stop typing now before I overthink this any further.

2 Replies to “Lost: Lighthouse”

  1. The characters didn’t go to the Island, didn’t learn anything, didn’t have a chance to change the trajectory of their lives, and as a result they are doomed to do the very things which they didn’t want to do. Things go wrong. Nothing happens as planned.

    Can I ask why you view the sideways world this way? Kate and Claire’s sideways world was pretty plot-oriented so there wasn’t much in the way of character there, but we saw Locke happily engaged, with apparently a good relationship with his father, and accepting his disability (with the caveat that the show might reverse that decision; my money is currently on they won’t, which I hope is the case, but we’ll see). We saw Jack repeating his father’s mistakes, yes – but the climactic moment in his sideways plot was the part where he realized what was going on and made very explicit to his son that he didn’t want to be doing that. Compare this to Locke getting progressively more tyrannical and obsessive and alone and eventually being murdered right after being convinced not to kill himself, and Jack having a two-year downward spiral and a really unfortunate beard (/shallow). I mean: neither of them really learned lessons with the Island. Kate even pointed that out to Locke, when he came to see her and said that he used to be obsessive and angry and she said something like “and look how far you’ve come” (which: does this count as a reason to like Kate still? I liked Kate, in that moment, a lot. But I also cheered when Jack broke the mirror because I am so over this Jacob fellow, so I have weird fondnesses, sometimes). I mean: neither Locke nor Jack learned anything about themselves, or got over their major problems, in 5 seasons of Island reality. And in one episode each of sideways world, they did learn, and progress. And Claire is… Rambo Claire, now. So I don’t really see how the sideways world is worse than the Island world, at least for these characters.

    I am so glad to see your love for the weird Island things! Because I’ve seen a lot of people be like “wtf lighthouse out of nowhere this is stupid” and I’m just like “have you not been watching this show? things happen for apparently no reason, go with it and judge them based on whether or not they are cool, which this lighthouse is, so chill.” And I love all your theorizing/musing on degrees and energies and specifics (I still really wanna know why that freight guy washed up dead before he’d been killed! And why the light scatters differently! But I am not optimistic about finding these answers).

  2. I think, for me, it’s that something still feels off about what is happening off-Island and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am comparing it with the lives they would have had rather than the lives they had when the Oceanic Six made it off the Island (which, I agree, that did not go well, I think because they had unfinished business with the Island). I’m not entirely sure that the things which are happening for everyone are happy; I sense an undercurrent of bitterness. But I may be projecting my own thoughts onto them since I know the show and the creators (I mean not personally, but I have a familiarity with their minds from watching their work). I could be totally, totally wrong. There is definitely a strong argument for “everyone is perfectly happy and you are making things up again, mel.”

    Getting back to the theory/lines of energy issue (which I am glad you like! I wasn’t sure if I was just typing out my ass there), I really do feel like these people are meant to go to the Island or to connect with it in some way, or that the Island has an influence on their lives. As a result, I think that Something is going to happen, and maybe it’s my dread of the Something that’s making me feel like their lives off-Island are careening towards an unpleasant set of circumstances. I think I am still in the mindset as a viewer that the Island is a good thing and maybe I am wrong. Perhaps it is actually a negative influence and by escaping from it, their lives will be better?

    And the weird Island things are the best part of the show! They remind me, and this is an extreme tangent, of this place I was staying in Ireland for a while. They had these huge grounds and a big garden and I would go for walks in the garden and stumble (sometimes literally) on random pieces of art. And I’m not talking statuary surrounded by hedges, I am talking forest paths which are sort of partially overgrown and suddenly BAM some sort of strange object. I found something new every time I walked out, and Lost seems kind of the same way—there’s always something bizarre around the corner and that is what I keep coming back for every week.

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