Saturday, July 04, 2020

LOST Rewatch: ? (COV114D-19)


I am still working my way through the end of Season 2 of the LOST Rewatch and there are only a few episodes that remain as we wrap up the season of the Hatch. And that is an appropriate adjective to this episode in particular because the A plot of "?" deals with hatches.

Remember back in "Lockdown" when the blast doors triggered (because the Dharma food pallet drop was taking place) and John got injured by the door crushing his leg? And remember who during that lockdown, blacklights switched on and he saw a hand-drawn image of some sort of hatch-based diagram? And in the center of that diagram was a big question mark?

Well, if you don't happen to remember that--you can read my recap of that episode here. But if you are ready to move on, let's focus on what actually happened in "?".

The beginning of it is mostly the immediate aftermath of what Michael did in Swan hatch when he murdered Ana Lucia and Libby, freed "Henry Gale", and then intentionally wounded himself with a self-inflicted shoulder gunshot to turn the suspicion away from him. He had deniability as Jack and Sawyer and Kate come rushing back to the Swan to find out what happened. And Jack--ever the opportunist--uses this crisis to out-maneuver Sawyer once more. He forces Sawyer's brief humanity to expose where he is keeping his stash of guns and medicine . . . so that Jack can get the Virgin Mary heroin he needs to put a lingering Libby out of her misery. Jack knows that he can't do anything to prevent her death and so he wants to pwn Sawyer again, just like he recently did during their mango-fueled poker game.

But that isn't truly important. Sure, there is sadness with the death of two more characters. And Hurley is devastated when he learns what happened to Libby. And he feels guilty that he forgot the blankets that drove her to the Hatch in the first place. And Sawyer regrets his recent snarky (if sexy) last encounter with Ana that allowed her to palm him revolver that allowed the deaths to occur.

But the true focus of the episode is Eko and John. Because Eko began having Island prophetical dreams of his priest brother Yemi--who told him that he and John needed to find the Question Mark. Eko doesn't know what any of that means. But he has Island-faith that John will understand and that together they will succeed.

Yemi pops up in more than one vision-dream during this episode--first to Eko and then to John when they are hiking out into the jungle in search of the promised Question Mark. It prompted me to consider that Yemi had (briefly) become the new Walt--a visionary individual who only serves to prod along the plot in mysterious ways.

And yes, there is lots of dreaming in this episode and much talk of miracles. Because that is the subject of the FLASHBACK! We learn that Eko spent his time after Yemi flew away from Nigeria in the drug runner's plane serving as a supposed priest. And weirdly enough, no one challenged his doctrinal authority or anything. So much so that he was working within a diocesean structure as a miracle authenticator. Eko had been planning to go to the U.S. and probably lose himself in a new country and ditch this fake priest role. But another priest interrupted his plans and sent him to Sydney to authenticate a story of a young girl who was supposed to have drowned but instead came back to life during the autopsy. (And . . . yes . . . the girl in question, named Charlotte, was the daughter of the psychic that was visited by both Claire and Rose in previous episodes.) But that is not important.

What is important is that there is much talk of miracles in the Flashback B plot and I think it was there to give viewers some slim hope that Libby might recover from her gunshot wounds. Not that any of the characters ever gave that indication. But I think it was there to toy with people's expectations at least a bit. But in the end, no help resulted and Libby died before she could tell anyone that Michael was responsible for the killings and for the freeing of "Henry."

While the Lostaways are preparing for a dual funeral, Michael is frantically trying to convince Jack, Locke, Kate, Sawyer . . . and Hurley? . . . to come with him on a raid of the primitive camp where Michael is sure that "Henry" is escaping back to. Michael semi-demands that no one else may help, no matter how logical it might be. (And that includes Sayid, which raises red flags for some of the observant Lostaways who think that Michael must have been compromised during the time he was missing and searching for Walt.) But more on that to come in the next episode . . .

Back in the now, John and Eko do succeed in tracking down the "?" in question. It is an entrance to a fourth Hatch station built below the precise location where the Nigerian drug plane crashed. This station, the Pearl, is simple compared to the Swan. It has some comfortable swivel chairs and a bank of TV monitors . . . and lots of notebooks. According to another Orientation film that Eko discovered--hosted by Mark Wickmund, who looks identical to Marvin Candle from the Swan film--the Pearl station is an observation post. It seems that the Dharma people in Pearl and supposed to snoop on the people in the Swan. Does this mean that the number punching in Swan station is just a bunch of baloney? John now certainly thinks so and in anger and frustration, he vows to abandon the Numbers and the Swan and put all of that behind him.

But Eko is now even more committed--and he vows to take over the task of number punching. He has taken over the faith of the Hatch in ways that John no longer has--which ties neatly into his Flashback religion sequence.

But bigger questions loom. Will Michael's treachery be verified by Sayid? Will Michael convince the right people to go with him to invade the Others camp? What does the Other's camp actually look like? Why did Michael betray his friends? What is the true nature--if any--of the Pearl Station . . . or the Swan Station for that matter?

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