The beautiful paradox of “LOST” is that, tonight, we have an episode that told us so much. Yet ultimately, at its core, the revelations are simple, basic, cutting right to the heart of the show we’ve loved for four years now. The quiet contentedness with which Ben shared Hurley’s candy bar said it all… without a single line. Tonight we saw the passing of the torch, the beginning of the next era for the island, and one that perhaps foretold by Locke’s childhood choice of the knife will be a tumultuous one. “Cabin Fever” directly takes us back to “Walkabout” from Season 1, the first episode to blow our minds, the first episode to put us on notice that “LOST” was up to something big. Locke’s destiny has been waiting for him since birth. Through immaturity, circumstance, and stubborn choice, he rejected that fate. But after a season of insecurity and confusion, it looks like he’s finally on track. Just in time to face an oncoming armageddon, a torching of the island.
I love that Alpert, ageless Alpert, was there when Locke was born. Locke, a preemie, unwanted, tormented in a foster home. Of course he draws pictures of a smoke monster attack. And Alpert’s first test for him, to see if he was the chosen one, connects him to the sand, the compass (certainly symbolic to Locke’s life and time on the island), and the knife. Alpert was upset, saying it meant Locke wasn’t ready. But I for one think it was Alpert that wasn’t ready. I don’t think the knife was the wrong artifact, but a premonition that Alpert didn’t want to see.
As a teenager, Mittelos Bioscience makes another play for Locke, who’s obviously now a gifted young scientist. But yet, even then, the rejected Locke rejects science, claiming to love only boxing, fishing, cars, sports… His teacher knew his calling was not any of those things. But telling Locke what he can’t do obviously gets you nowhere.
Finally, there was Abbadon, whose flashback appearance was perhaps the most startling and reassuring. He speaks of miracles. We learn it was him who put the hapless, wheelchair-bound Locke on the road to the walkabout. And I love how he says, “I went on my walkabout convinced I was one thing, and I came back another.” Or is that, “an other”?
But it’s Ben, as always, that brings things into focus. With the best line of the night, season, and perhaps the whole series. “There are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.” Ben’s sacrifices are many, from his health to his daughter, and perhaps reach back as far as killing his father. And Locke certainly has taken his lumps. I can’t help but think, though, that Locke’s status is not set in stone. Ben told everyone Locke wasn’t who they thought he was when Locke couldn’t kill his dad, and was ostensibly proven wrong. But Locke didn’t kill his dad. Sawyer did. And for all the visions and maps, it was still Hurley who spotted Jacob’s cabin first.
So Christian isn’t dead (or is he?), nor is Claire (or is she?), in communion with the island and Jacob. Aaron, off with Sawyer and soon to be off the island, is where he’s supposed to be. The eerie calmness with which Claire spoke, and the way she smiled when Locke asked how to save the island, was creepy as hell. The cabin scene was a big pile of questions disguised as answers, and frankly it makes my head spin.
And the assault on the island from the freighter begins, with the especially cool, time-and-space warping, prophetic morse code message from “The Shape of Things to Come.” Sayid’s off to save the day, but Desmond refuses to ever return to the island. There’s a secondary protocol focused on the last safe place Ben would go. The Temple? The long-anticipated Orchid Station? Perhaps they’re one and the same? Wherever it is, I suspect it’s where they’ll need to be to “move the island.” Move the island!
Frank fully outs himself as one of the good guys, yet throws more doubt on the theory that Widmore planted the fake wreckage on the ocean floor. I love that he tries to warn the survivors on the beach, but drugged-up Jack decides the answer is to head toward the danger.
Notes and Notions:
- So here we are at the end of a season, with Jack and the survivors hopeful for rescue that’s finally coming… except it really isn’t rescue that’s coming, it’s trouble. I love Season 4, don’t get me wrong, but isn’t this exactly where we were at the end of Season 3? This show is so brilliant, I don’t even care.
- Ben disavows the decision to wipe out the DHARMA Initiative, noting that he wasn’t always the leader. So who did Ben succeed? Who was the prior chosen one? I don’t think it’s Alpert, whose role seems to be strictly second fiddle. How about Widmore?
- The test that young Locke took reminds me of my (likely warped) recollection of how the Dalai Lama is chosen from generation to generation, with a candidate expected to identify an item significant to the one who came before.
- Is Abbadon, like Alpert, an ageless character?
- Interesting that Desmond stayed behind on the freighter, perhaps finally tired of saving others and ready to do what’s right for him. I guess I can’t blame the guy, but it seemed a little sad. Then again, I woudn’t want to pass through that nightmare zone again, either. Wouldn’t it suck, though, if Penny goes to find him on the island? Just before the big move? After all, we know in the future Widmore’s looking for it all over again.
- It clearly took a huge conspiracy to finally, after half a decade, get Locke to the island. In a big plane crash. So I wonder. Was everything just for him? Or are other destinies being fulfilled? I hope it’s the latter.
- Ben suggests that Locke talked Hurley into sticking around. But why is Locke keeping him by his side? Again, I think Hurley is special, too.
- Favorite Lines: Hurley’s dream, “Mallomars.” Or, “This is just awesome,” Hurley again, realizing they’re lost. The captain’s challenge, “I fixed your gun.”
- Music: Emily was getting dolled up to Don MacLean’s “Everyday.”
- Locations: The hospital was up at Waimano Home in Pearl City. The neighborhood was Wahiawa. The school was Leilehua High School.