Lost: The Cost of Living
(S03E05) Now there's only one new episode of Lost left before a 13-week hiatus until February. The writers have answered quite a few questions in the last two episodes, but you know we're going to be left with a big, fat cliffhanger one week from tonight.
This episode had a heavy religious theme that ran through all of the storylines. In Eko's story, we come to understand how he interprets his life and that he does not see himself as a sinner, despite all the people he has killed. Eko spends the episode chasing his brother, Yemi, around the island. I think that Yemi was the black smoke, either actually taking the form of a man or causing Eko's hallucinations (he also saw the people he killed and the altar boy). During season two, in the "23rd Psalm" episode, the black smoke scans Eko and we see scenes from his life in the smoke. So, the question is: did the smoke take on alternate physical form or did it cause him to hallucinate? It did seem to admit to him that it was his brother at the end, and it may have set the tent on fire at the beginning.
Whatever the smoke was, the island was demanding a confession from Eko tonight. But Eko did not give it what it wanted: he explained that he was proud of his life and his actions because he did what he had to do to survive. Maybe the island didn't like that answer, because the black smoke took the form of a hand and beat Eko against the trees and the ground. He died, but not before telling John Locke, "You're next."
While it should be shocking when a main character like Eko dies-- he really was a terrific character-- the most staggering part of this episode, in my opinion, was the conversation Jack and Juliet had. Juliet pleaded with Jack to save Ben from his fatal neck tumor, but while she spoke, she played a video that showed her with messages written on cue cards. The messages said that "Ben is a liar" and that some of the others want him dead. She wants Jack to perform the surgery but to kill Ben on the operating table and she says she will protect Jack from the others. Here's the text from the cue cards:
- "Ignore everything I'm saying."
- "Ben is a liar."
- "And he is very dangerous."
- "Some of us want a change."
- "But it has to look like an accident."
- "It has to look like we tried to save him."
- "And that's up to you, Jack"
- "It's a complicated surgery. No one would ever know."
- "And I would protect you."
- "Now tell me to turn off the movie."
This is stunning news. But, is Jack being played? We already know that Ben is a liar. Is Juliet messing with him or is she sincere? Juliet and Ben both seem to be sincere with Jack-- the games appear to be over. But these people are super sneaky and manipulative so we just can't trust them, can we? We do have reason to believe Juliet, because the season premiere this month showed us that Ben had been shunned from the book club. Even if Juliet is being honest, I don't think Jack can bring himself to break the hippocratic hypocratic oath and just let Ben die in the operating room. I don't think he'd be able to live with himself if he knew he got off the island because he killed someone. Religion plays a small role in this storyline when Ben tells Jack that he believes in God because, two days after he was diagnosed with a terminal tumor, a spinal surgeon landed on the island.
Finally, Locke's restored faith in the island leads him and a team of castaways to the hallucinating Eko where an interesting exchange occurs. As Eko is drinking from the stream, the black smoke appears. Locke also appears across the stream and later tells Eko that he saw a beautiful bright light. Eko saw dark, black smoke. This seems to be a throwback to the good versus evil theme that was heavily played up in the first season.
Locke and friends also find the Pearl hatch, where they see a one-eyed man via closed-circuit television in another hatch. Who is the one-eyed man? Did we find his eye in the Arrow hatch inside a bible with the missing Orientation film clip? How did he know he was being watched? Previews for next week didn't show anything about a one-eyed man so I suspect we won't know who he is until 2007.
Is anybody else annoyed with the new characters, Nikki and Paolo? Nikki seems to be trying too hard to fit in with the others and Paolo seems awfully aloof. I'm annoyed by these two because they seem cleaner and less beaten up than the other characters that we know and love. They seem like imposters who want to be part of a clique. It's going to take a lot for me to care about those characters. I think the writers are intentionally trying to slowly introduce us to the characters, but I still feel a little bitter when I see them on camera. I feel like they haven't been through the same hell on earth that the other characters have been through-- which is probably true.