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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 02/01/2008

'Lost' Dueling Analyses: The Beginning of the End

In which Movies editrix Jen Chaney and I hungrily resume our favorite weekly obsession: overanalyzing 'Lost.' (Warning: If you haven't yet watched last night's season premiere, tons of spoilers follow.)

Liz: Well Jen, was it all you thought it would be or did last night's season opener leave you confounded? Me, I liked it though I felt ABC was a bit disingenuous with the previews -- some of them showed exchanges with the "rescuers" (or should we call them the "boaties") that obviously weren't a part of this episode.

Jen: I was pretty happy with the episode overall. I thought Jorge Garcia was genuinely moving. I also really don't want to hear the usual bellyaching about how "we didn't get enough answers," "why won't they explain the polar bear?" etc. etc. First, I thought we started to get some tantalizing answers last night. Second of all, the whole enjoyment of "Lost," for me anyway, is trying to solve the mystery. I agree that we need some answers -- and still believe they will come -- but I am relishing the intrigue for as long as it lasts.

The first thing I want to talk about is Jack's father, Christian Shephard.

Liz: Hold that thought re: Christian.

I agree. Both on Hurley and on the mystery. It was a really deft stroke to see Hurley and his flash-forward be so closely tied to the crux of the plotline. His flash-forward raised two out of last night's four crucial new questions for me: Who makes up the Oceanic 6 and what does Charlie (apparently beyond the grave) want Hurley to do? But, sure, let's start with Christian Shephard -- he's my third question. Laying it all out there -- the fourth is: who are the Boaties?

Jen: I have some additional questions, too, but let's tackle these in random order. Christian Shephard: He was totally in that chair, in Jacob's Love Shack. I rewound and paused and that was without question him (here's a screengrab courtesy of ABC's press release also listed the actor, John Terry, as a guest star. After the show, I tracked down the last of the mobisodes, which apparently circulated on the Web earlier this week but had not yet been posted on ABC. It's a doozy.

You can watch it here, but essentially we see Christian Shephard alive, telling Vincent to go wake up Jack right after the crash of 815. So that coffin was empty for a reason. I believe Christian did die in real life, but on the island, he resurrects. The island heals somehow, for reasons that we still need to fully understand.

Much more after the jump...

Liz: Or -- having Christian Shephard appear not only in Jacob's cabin, but in the same chair and pose we saw Jacob in last season is certainly tantalizing. Is he actually Jacob or, like the smoke monster, is Jacob a being capable of shape-shifting and taking on other forms? Though why he'd choose to reveal himself to Hurley as Christian Shephard is beyond me. One possibility is that if Jacob is capable of taking on other forms, maybe he's limited to manifestations of people who have actually set foot on the island -- for instance, Jack's dad and Mr. Eko's brother, both of whom were actually on the island. So perhaps Christian isn't alive so much as being inhabited by the island spirit -- Jacob or the smoke monster.

And if the island resurrects, that better not mean there's hope for Nikki and Paolo.

Jen: That's an interesting concept. I, too, question why Hurley would see him since I believe in the shape-shifting. I also wondered who that second figure, the eye that peeked out the window, was and whether that might be Jacob. My initial thought is that it was Locke, since moments later Locke suddenly shows up all like, "Oh, hey Hugo. Um, what are you doing here?" But I am not sure. I do not think Christian was in the chair in last season's episode so the shack returns its air of mystery.

By the way, Lindelof has said Nikki and Paolo will never come back. I will note, however, that he made no similar promise about Boone.

Liz: Yes, chatters in last night's real time open chat here on the site were convinced it was Locke. I wasn't so sure. I initially thought it was McPatchy, but I understand Lindelof said in a podcast that McPatchy is definitely dead. Though with all this resurrecting going on, who knows.

Jen: Also -- and this will segue is into the Charlie issue -- I found it interesting that he told Hurley, "I am dead. But I'm also here." Maybe that applies to Christian in some way, too. He's dead in reality but remains a presence... a presence that apparently can order Vincent to go wake up his son.

Liz: Also, I hate to say it and open this can of worms again, but that also calls into question the very life of everyone on the island. I know, I know -- we have been told they did not die in the crash, but well, there it is.

And I thought Charlie's statement jibed well with Dominic Monaghan's current career.

Jen: Oh, meanie! I was so happy to see Monaghan last night. Glad they are letting him stick around. You raise a good point about the death issue: As others pointed out in the chat, Ben specifically used the term, "every living person on this island will die." Which implies that some of them are not living.

Liz: Right -- I caught that, too. Why bother to throw the word "living" into that sentence?

But yes, let's talk about Charlie and his reason for appearing to Hurley. What was it? What does he want Hurley to do? It seems obvious that Hurley and the other "Oceanic 6" are hiding a secret and that the story they've shared after returning to civilization was a fabrication. But to what end? And who was the chilling suit who also came to visit Hurley in the hospital, promising a nicer facility in exchange for information?

One of the chatters last night, eprice29, said "I think they [the Oceanic 6] are all lying about the whole experience, like Hurley said he never met Ana Lucia -- probably had to cut a deal."

Jen: Charlie told Hurley that "they" need Hurley. And the alleged attorney for Oceanic -- otherwise known as Lance Reddick, otherwise known as Lt. Daniels from "The Wire" -- also said something about "they" still being alive. The obvious inference is that some people have been left behind on the island and that potentially bad things may be happening to them.

I'm going to make a bold prediction right now: Something unsavory is going to happen to Claire and Aaron. They are going to take the baby away or something. I think that is magnifying Hurley's guilt about his choices ("I never should have gone with Locke"). His decision to do that, and his fantastic speech about Charlie, prompted Claire to follow.

Liz: Interesting that you say "bad things." It goes along with Hurley's regret about following Locke. It does imply that those left on the island -- since we're now assuming that's the case -- are not there by choice or are under duress. Hurley seems to feel some remorse for leaving them, as does Jack -- who has turned to drinking massive tumblers of mixed drinks when he gets home from work. One interesting thing my husband pointed out though: the Oceanic 6 apparently contains members from both groups -- those that followed Jack and those that followed Locke. So it isn't as if one entire group was left behind.

We are also now preconditioned to be wary of Locke. Because, like, who wouldn't trust Hurley?

Jen: Very true. Let's pause, since this also was such a major issue in the live chat, and identify the six. We only know for sure of three: Hurley, Jack and Kate. I believe Jin and Sun also make it out alive. Do you agree? And who is the sixth?

Liz: I think the sixth is whoever was in the coffin in Jack's flash-forward at the end of last season.

Jen: I'll also note that this is another answer the show gave us last night: That six people make it off the island. Just sayin'.

I'm not convinced about Sun and Jin, though. Why them? Why not Bernard and Rose? After all, Sun is pregnant. Wouldn't the island be especially keen to keep her there?

Jen: Well, to be fair, I am basing this on a spoiler I read (which I won't reveal) about something that happens later this season.

Liz: That is totally unfair, Jen!

Jen: To clarify, the spoiler didn't say: Sun and Jin leave the island. I inferred it from what I read.

Another question: Why does Hurley tell Jack -- who totally stinks at HORSE -- that "it" wants us to come back. What is the it he is referring to?

Liz: He's referring to the island force, whatever "it" is. The way Hurley said it, though, gave me the notion that Charlie was a part of that force and that Hurley did not entirely trust it. And I think Jack was off his game because he was preoccupied. He does, by the way, totally rock the skinny tie look.

Jen: Oh, he so does. Matthew Fox rocks a lot of things. Except maybe a fake beard.

Liz: Obviously, though, at some point Jack comes around to Hurley's point of view -- we know because his own flash-forward from last season postdates Hurley's. In Jack's (with the beard), he's obsessed with finding his way back to the island.

Jen: The "it" Hurley refers to also could be "Eli Stone." If I saw one more ad for that last night, I would have to believe an evil entity was responsible for it.

Liz: Surely only an evil entity would conceive of a show featuring an inspirational lawyer. Puh-leeze.

Jen: Yes, agreed. I also think we got a hint last night that Jack was unsettled. Hence the vodka in his orange juice in the first two minutes of the ep. Which by the way, kicked off with a bang. I knew Hurley was in that Camaro so I wasn't surprised by the reveal, but still: Awesome open.

Liz: Yes, it was. Very "Dukes of Hazzard"-esque, what with the driving into a pile of melons. I was waiting for Boss Hog to appear.

So, back to the island -- should we contemplate the provenance of the Boaties? Who are they? I'm going with representatives of Hanso Foundation pariah Thomas Mittelwerk. These people are clearly folks who knew about the island, but don't have a direct relationship with anyone on it. And Ben seems to be clued in to who they are and the fact that they are not to be trusted. They are interlopers.

Jen: Naomi was radioing with a dude named George. But at the end of the episode, Jeremy Davies shows up. And he plays a character named Daniel Faraday. So I wasn't sure if we should even assume he was working with Naomi. I don't think the freighter peeps are affiliated with Dharma. I agree that they are affiliated with some third party, possibly, as you smartly suggest, Mittelwerk.

Liz: It would be quite a coincidence, though, for Faraday to show up so soon after Naomi radioed the coordinates to the boat. Though my question about Faraday is why he parachuted in? There are plenty of places to land a copter on the island.

Jen: It would. I just thought the way the episode played, the viewer would assume Davies is George, the guy whose voice we heard earlier. But that's not how he is identified in the credits.

Jen: I also wonder whether Lance Reddick's character is affiliated with the freighter group. His name is Matthew Abbadon, which screams anagram. All I could piece together though was that last name almost spells "a bad one." Is that too obvious?

Oooh, interesting -- quick search reveals that "Abaddon" is a Hebrew word meaning destruction. From the Wikipedia entry:
"By extension, it can mean an underworld abode of lost souls, or hell ... Many Biblical scholars believe Abaddon to be Satan or the antichrist. Others have stated that he may be one of the lesser demons of hell, or even a dark angel."

Jen: So definitely a bad one. Not that we couldn't tell. You can't trust a person without business cards. I also noticed that when Abbadon first greets Hurley he is sitting in front of a chess board. As we talked about earlier this week during our "Looking Glass" discussion, that could signify that he is trying to outsmart Hurley.

A couple of other questions. One I had: How did Ben know that Kate had followed the "right" trail of blood? And if he's so concerned about saving the Losties and distrustful of Naomi, why didn't he just tell Jack that? He's making it very hard to continue my belief that his motivations are for a higher purpose.

Liz: I think Ben knew Kate had followed the right trail because he actually saw Naomi get up and leave (and probably come back and take a different route). Also, why did Kate take the sat phone -- she seemed to already be distrustful of the boaties and Jack's handling of them. So not only do I distrust Locke, I distrust Kate. Although, knowing her, it's just another boneheaded move.

Jen: You just hate her. I can't even trust your judgment on Kate due to your hatred.

Liz: Guilty as charged.

Jen: That said, I thought she took the sat phone because she didn't want to argue with Jack and she really did think they should check out the other trail of blood. Not a nice thing to do to our hero. But it also was smart.

Liz: One other tidbit I noticed and wanted to mention -- did you notice in Hurley's flash-forward when Mr. Abbadon comes to visit that Hurley is occupied with painting a man standing outside an igloo in a snowy landscape?

Jen: One shocking moment I want to include: The fact that Jack seriously would have shot Locke. Pulled the trigger and everything.

Liz: Unless Jack knew the gun wasn't loaded.

Jen: He didn't seem to. He was just going to shoot, and looked surprised, then ashamed, when nothing happened. I think he is letting the power struggle take over his judgment. And pride comes before the fall ... the fall being trying to jump off a bridge while taking OxyContin or whatever it was.

Should we sneak a peek at next week's episode and what we have to look forward to?

Liz: Yes, it's titled -- tantalizingly -- "Confirmed Dead." The press release promises only that we'll meet four characters from the freighter who may not be all they seem. But who is dead? Does that mean the Boaties tell them the Oceanic passengers had already been confirmed dead or something else?

Jen: It makes me think that all of our postulating about who's dead and who is alive could have a payoff of some kind. These titles usually have a double meaning. So it probably means the literal thing: They'll confirm that Oceanic allegedly had no survivors. But it also may mean that we learn some people are dead that seemed alive. John Terry is not on the cast list, so it appears at first blush that Christian Shephard won't be making an appearance. But hopefully Michael will.

Liz: Yes, I see Harold Perrineau is listed, though I think he was listed for this week, too. Until next week, then?

Jen: Until next week. It's so good to be back, isn't it?

Liz: Indeed. Let's hope for a speedy end to the writers' strike so we can power through all 16 promised episodes.

By Liz Kelly  |  11:43 AM ET, 02/01/2008

Categories:  Lost

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