ping pong table: The Inaugural Lost Mind: "Live Together, Die Alone" Revisited
July 29, 2006
Lostaways, conspira-spies and Drive Shaft groupies rejoice: Blogcritics.org has a new column: The Lost Mind!
I will be writing in as frequently as possible to get you caught up to speed on the latest happenings in the world of the Lost, along with my own brand of commentary, and, once the new season starts, give you weekly episode recaps. Of course, I know I'm not the only one out there doing this. Due to the fanatical following the series has, there are already about a million different places online to get your Lost fix.
So you're probably wondering what I plan on bringing to the table to hold your attention for the time you should be spending configuring the Numbers onto a grid, or brushing up on your Dickens, or practicing your anagrams. What's my hook, my angle, my gimmick, my schtick? Well, if you're looking for major spoilers, celebrity drama, or "OMG Clare+Charlie=<3 4Evr," then look away. But if you want commentary on the production aspect of the show, studies of the mythology and story, and critiques of the episodes from someone with a screenwriting background, then you've found your man. And I've found an audience. And that's all we really want. Now, onto the matter and hand:
This week, the last week of July, marks roughly the halfway point of the summer hiatus. We're midway between the May 24 airing of the second season's finale, "Live Together, Die Alone," and the October 4 airing of the third season premiere, "A Tale of Two Cities." And what better excuse is there than a halfway point to revisit some of the mystery and excitement of the season finale you have TiVo'd?
Now, this is not intended to be an end-all, be-all collection of theories and tidbits about the episode. If you want a recap, or a comprehensive list of fan theories and other details, visit the episode's page on LostPedia. This is a chronological breakdown of some of the smaller curiosities that stood out to me in this repeat viewing. Stuff that I (and perhaps you too) might have missed the first time around while being baffled by the bigger stuff like the four-toed statue, but that I caught this time and can't quite shake the feeling that they're pretty significant to the story as a whole. If you've got a (legally obtained, of course) copy of the episode at hand, it might be fun to follow along. If not, here's a transcript.
Right after the first commercial break, Desmond says "we are stuck in a bloody snowglobe." Sound familiar?
Desmond mentions "hostiles" on the other side of the island rather offhandedly to Sayid. Inman mentions them later. Are these "hostiles" the Others? Is it Rousseau? Someone else entirely?
Libby mentions that her husband David "got sick." Any correlation to the injections and the Quarantine on the island? This lends credence to my theory that Libby has already had some experience on the island or somehow knew the plane was going to crash. I intend to write an entire article on that one in the future.
You know, I'm seriously beginning to think that the nets with the doll-traps aren't Rousseau's.
Upon second listening, that bird definitely did say his name. This moment is so out of the blue from the rest of the show, that my guess is that it is the see-the-monster-without-knowing-it moment that Damon and Carlton mentioned in the official Lost podcast before the show aired.
The Simpsons have four toes on each foot. I'm just saying.
So "Radzinsky made some edits" to the Orientation film. Does this have something to do with Kelvin considering the Others to be "hostiles"? By the way, I really don't think that the stain on the ceiling is Radzinsky. If it is, Inman killed him. But Radzinsky didn't kill himself.
Much has been made of the identity of the person that Sawyer shot. I think it's pretty clear that he's not an "Other" in the traditional sense. Personally, I'm in the camp that says it was Marvin Candle. How could he be the same age now that he was in 1980? Well, duh.
Hurley confronting Michael here is weak. Jorge does his best, but Hurley's just not very well written in this moment. In the post-episode podcast, Damon and Carlton admitted that this was probably the weakest scene in the episode, and since so much else had to happen in it (they deal with shooting a guy, they deal with Michael's betrayal, Jack explains he has a plan, etc.) Hurley's anger just sort of gets blown off. I'm inclined to agree that this is the weakest scene in the episode, but Hurley never gets a moment in the rest of the episode to show that anger. He had better be pissed off in the season premiere.
Desmond was discharged because he "couldn't follow orders." Is that a flashback set-up or what?
Eko says "open the door and I will forgive you." Locke gives a confused look before asking "forgive me for what?" Eko is a (sort of) priest, after all. It's part of his job to forgive sinners. I think that there is some other-worldly, religious thing going on with the Swan hatch and the button-pushing and the key-turning. I don't know what, but more on that later...
What of the seemingly abandoned Dharma station that Sayid finds? Since we don't really see much of Sayid any more after this point in the show — much like we didn't see the raft folks after the attack on the raft in "Exodus" — so my guess is that, like the rafties at the beginning of season two, we'll double back to explore more of what happened here within the first few episodes of season three.
Something must have moved the pile of pneumatic tubes. The way they were scattered about suggested that they had to have been interfered with, since if they all fell out of the pipe so close to the ground, they wouldn't have spread out like that. Something here isn't what it seems. Plus, if these are coming from the Pearl, what is the source of the vacuum?
Kate reads the phrase "0400 SR moves ping-pong table again," off one of the journals. My guess is that the "R" in "SR" is Radzinsky.
The whispering in the woods before the heroes get ambushed is worth mentioning because in one of the podcasts, Damon and Carlton carefully choose their words in describing how the whispers relate to the Others. They say that "we have been led to believe" (or something like that) the whispers are connected to the Others, which all but confirms that they are not.
The cheesy dot-matrix, sprocket-holed paper printout from the old computer equipment is exactly the kind of printout I deal with at my job (it's a shitty job). Let me tell you, the way those printers break down all the time if you're not careful, there is no way the Pearl was unmanned on 92204.
The half-deaf sound design when Charlie wakes up is what got the show nominated for the Sound Design Emmy. Did I mention that the show got screwed for Emmy nominations? 'Cause it did.
In what has to be the least subtle historical/mythological reference in the history of Lost or, indeed, television as a whole, a character named Penelope promises to "wait for you always."
In another moment that has me thinking there is something religious going on with the button-pushing and key-turning in the Swan, Des holds the keychain rather like a rosary when he's looking up to Locke at the hatch in the flashback. I'd dismiss it right away if he didn't later cross himself with the keychain, suggesting that he is indeed a Catholic, just before he turns the key.
Not-Henry is the only one who looks like he knows what's going on when the sky turns bright white. White, mind you, and not violet as Clare says.
By the way, I totally called it that the hatch would get blown up way back in, like, March. The losties went an entire season without having a hatch, and in the anything-goes take-nothing-for-granted style that Damon and Carlton and company have created this world... well... anything goes, and you can take nothing for granted. Especially something like shelter.
Charlie is acting really odd when he gets back to the beach. Could be a head injury, but when he says of Locke and Eko "they're not back yet?" it makes me wonder if he had some sort of spiritual experience with those two when the key was turned. Or, if there is no head injury and there is no spiritual experience, then it's just more awkward writing for the episode. Plus we know that Desmond, Locke and Eko are in season three, so wherever they are, they'll be coming back.
You never get a full shot of Walt. Presumably because Malcolm David Kelly isn't as young as he was back in the summer of '04. Damon and Carlton said at Comic-Con, however, that the issue of Walt's growth would be addressed, and they also suggested that time may pass differently on the island than in the rest of the world.
The number 7418880, which appears on the screen of the remote station computer, is 4*8*15*16*23*42. But you already knew that, right?
And there we have it. A second viewing of the second-season finale of Lost: "Live Together, Die Alone." Liked what I have to say? Have theories of your own about the finale? Think I should never do this again and it was a stupid idea? Let me know. I'd like for this column to be fairly interactive, letting your comments guide what kind of stuff appears in the articles. So, comment away. What else are you going to do with your time, look for code fragments?
Boxclocke is the pseudonym of Baylor Johnson, a student filmmaker and screenwriter at the University of Texas at Austin. His personal blog is The Boxclockery, part of The Workingchair.