This post contains spoilers for season six, episode eight of Lost! You have been warned! You can hop on over to “Sometimes PG&E Surprises Me” if you do not wish to be spoiled. Or, you know. Don’t want to read this. Either way. I don’t care.
So, this week on Lost: Craaaaaazy ladeez, y’all! Specifically, here’s what I said in chat with Anna:
This show is a huge fan of being like “We’re gonna make kickass ladies, and then we are going to RUIN THEM.”
And, pretty much. Yeah.
It was a Sawyer-centric episode, in which we learned that Sawyer has become a cop in the flashsideways, complete with Miles as a partner. It’s kind of an interesting reversal, that in the original timeline Sawyer dedicated himself to becoming a con man with the goal of eventually bringing Original Sawyer down, and now he’s a cop…with the goal of bringing Original Sawyer down. So, same shit, different method. Or something. Kate and Sawyer also collide at the end of the episode, mirroring the way that they keep colliding in every other timeline (cue stirring string music and a reminder that it’s Meant To Be). Despite the fact that I pretty much start twitching whenever Kate and Sawyer are in the same scene at this point, those scenes weren’t actually too awful.
I do think it’s pretty unfortunate that Miles was given basically no personality or backstory in the flash sideways. I mean, ok, now we know that he’s not wandering around being a ghostbuster: In this reality, he’s a cop. But it kind of feels to me like he was just thrown in there: “Look, synchronicity!” And I like the synchronicity which is going on, with people connecting all over the place, but it just kind of bugged me. In part because we don’t know that much about Original Miles and what happened with him in the first place. He’s a man of mystery and the show hasn’t done that much to resolve it.
The question is: Is he a man of mystery because they think his character is not that important and they don’t want to waste time on him? Or is he actually an integral piece of the puzzle, and that’s why we haven’t seen him doing much yet, because they don’t want to tip his hand?
I know that some people were pretty bored by this episode, which felt to me a lot like moving chess pieces around on a keyboard. Lost is, at this point, running a long con[1. Forgive me.]. It’s setting up for something and I think it’s a complex setup, so right now there’s a lot of running around in the woods/between islands/on submarines/etc. to get everything squared away and ready for the denouement. It would be nice if they could sneak, like, some character development in there while they’re at it, but I guess not.
And Fake Locke seems to be coming apart at the seams a bit more. So far we’ve seen him be a bit shifty and deceptive, but that seemed to ramp up in this episode. Look at how carefully he chose his words when he said “the black smoke killed them,” later admitting to Sawyer that he is the black smoke. And the other clever turns of phrase he uses; in case anyone missed the memo on this, he is not a character to be trusted.
But, mostly. Crazy ladies. Can we talk about crazy ladies for a minute[2. That’s not actually a question. I’m talking about crazy ladies whether or not you like it.]?
In this episode, we are reminded in pretty much every way possible that Claire is scary and craaaaazy. Her unkempt hair and clothes, of course, are meant to suggest a feral aspect, but we’ve also got her mooning over the baby buggy, going on the attack and trying to knife Kate, and also being very clingy with Kate. Craaaazy, amirite? This was underscored for us, just in case we missed being clonked on the head with it repeatedly, in the talk between Fake Locke and Kate in which Fake Locke talks about his mother and all of the “difficulties” he’s had as a result[3. Implying that really this whole situation with the Island and the black smoke and the killing people is because of his mother, from the “before” time.], and how “now Aaron has a crazy mother too.”
I’m sure all the mothers with mental illness who watched this episode were feeling just awesome by the end of it.
And, you know, this is something the show seems to do, is do really shitty things with/to the female characters. I don’t really like the way that women are handled on Lost in general and I really don’t like what the show does with mothers. And it’s really kind of getting tired to see women only viewed as attachments to other people; Claire and Aaron. Kate and Sawyer/Jack. Juliet and Sawyer/Jack. Sun and Jin. Women can’t be their own selves, doing their own thing, on this show, and it really cheeses me off.
And the way that the show handles mental illness pisses me off even more. We’re supposed to think that Claire has gone bad and twisted because of her behaviour. But, you know what? I don’t think that Claire is actually doing anything that weird given the way she’s been treated and the things that she has been through. She doesn’t really know what is real anymore and who to trust, not because she has mental illness, but because she’s being jerked around and manipulated and lied to. She may well also have mental illness, but I really don’t like the way the show is handling her character and bluntly saying that she’s “crazy,” because obviously no normal person would behave the way Claire is. It feels like a complete erasure and devaluation of what she has actually experienced, a dismissal of the shitty, shitty things that have happened to her.
Especially in re:the baby carriage, which I’ve seen people saying all sorts of horrid things about.
Let me put this bluntly: I know mothers who have lost their children. Young children. Children Aaron’s age. And, guess what? They keep things which once belonged to their children around their homes. Some of them have things in their homes which they describe as altars. Why? Because when you lose someone you care about, you want to remember them. And you cling to what you have. You don’t get to choose what you have. Maybe you end up with a baby carriage and a teddybear and that’s it. But you keep those things. And, yes, you do look at them now and then. That’s not “crazy,” that’s just human.
And this seems to be the best that Lost can do, is repeatedly creating interesting characters of the lady persuasion and then ruining them.
Laura at Adventures of a Young Feminist wrote about “Recon” as well, and of course the Feministe crew will be putting up their Lost roundtable tomorrow.