Saturday, February 2, 2008

2. More Thoughts on Lost Season 4 Premier: Those Who Went with Hurley and Those Who Stayed with Jack

I think the decisive moment in the episode came when Hurley decided on the island to go with Locke, and explained his reasoning to the group. Hurley was moved by a combination of emotion (not wanting Charlie's death to have been in vain) and clear logic (Charlie had indicated that there was something not right about the rescue effort, and it made no sense to just ignore it). Emotion and logic have always been in combat on the island - often embodied in Locke v. Jack - but this was an extraordinary moment for Hurley, and one which will set up all the remaining episodes of the series.

At this point, let's look at who went with Hurley and who not, and why.

Those who went with Hurley:

I put Locke, Ben, and Rousseau in the same category: all have a deep connection to, and affinity for, the island. They would be the most sensitive to the danger of the rescuers. And, actually, Ben and Locke were not wanting to go along with the rescue from the very beginning - indeed, not wanting to leave the island, period. And Locke was the one who first said he was walking away from the rescue - so we could just as easily call this section "who went with Locke".

Alex and Karl are pretty much in the same category as Rousseau.

But Claire went with Hurley for a different reason: out of love for Charlie, and needing to believe his message. Claire, in other words, went with the emotional part of Hurley's argument.

In contrast, Sawyer agreed with the logic. Charlie had tried to warn them - where was the payoff in ignoring that? We might have expected Sawyer to try to convince Kate to come with him, but there is no disputing that Sawyer's decision to walk was consistent with the cold reasoning of self-preservation.

A reasoning which those who chose not to go with Hurley either rejected or ignored. Let's look at why.

Those who did not go with Hurley:

Rose acted of emotion and some logic - she does not trust Locke. She says she won't go anywhere with "that man". But she does not address the logic of putting aside Charlie's warning.

Jack, of course, is not going with Hurley - Jack is the leader of getting the Losties rescued. He'll kill, if necessary, to do this. He won't let anything get in the way - including evaluating the importance of Charlie's warning. This moment, I think, represents the clear beginning of the deterioration of Jack's capacity to be a leader. He needed to do better than just ignore Charlie's warning. (Jack also wasn't thinking clearly when he agreed to let Ben go with Locke. True, Ben was a flawed source of information, but he was still far and away the best source of information about the island. Since the rescuers hadn't yet arrived, conceivably Ben could have been of some help if something inexplicable happened on the island.)

Kate thinks much like Jack - though, she has a reason not to want to get rescued (her problem with the police). But, like Jack, Kate's wanting to get off the island is beyond logic at this point.

Juliet also hates the island with a passion - everyone does, of course, with the exception of Locke and Ben - but Juliet brings something a little extra to that hatred. She also has a connection to Jack, which (as with Kate) would make her want to not walk away from him and go with Hurley.

Sun and Jin probably have the best, most pressing reason to want to leave the island, and take any risks to do it: Sun wants to live and enjoy her baby and life with Jin. Even if they were inclined to take Charlie's warning seriously, logic might well still lead them to go with the rescuers.

Desmond: he made no statement, one way or the other, but we didn't see him walk with Hurley and Locke. Which is odd: he knows better than anyone the sacrifice that Charlie made. Has Desmond seen some sort of future which tells him he should stay with Jack? Is he thinking that's the still the best way to get off the island and get back to Penny? Or is he just so traumatized by what happened with Charlie, and his inability to change his vision, or perhaps by a new, terrible vision, that Desmond is too paralyzed to act? I'm guessing we'll see more of Desmond on this in the next few weeks.

And then there's Sayid. Logic says he should have gone with Hurley. So why is he staying with Jack - because Sayid thinks he can fight his way off the island even if the rescuers are hostile? Not entirely persuasive.

If you look at the group of people who are staying with Jack, I think they are clearly less committed to that action than the people going with Hurley. Sayid and Desmond seem especially likely to rethink their decision, if time allows.

But my guess is we'll see a lot a shuffling in these two groups in the week or weeks ahead - a very least, enough to get Hurley off the island with Jack and Kate.

See also ...

1. Lost's Back: 4.1: Full Paradoxical Blast


3. Two More Thoughts about Lost 4.1: Ensemble Flashforwards and Is Noami Really Dead?

and 4.2: Five Flashbacks and Three Rational Explanations

Lost New Questions from Season 3 Finale: 1. How Far in the Future? ... 2. Who's In the Coffin? ... 3. Who's Waiting for Kate? ... 4. Who Is Naomi's Boss? ... 5. Is Mikhail Immortal? ... 6. What Constitutes Reliable Evidence? ... 7. Are the Flashforwards Desmond's Flashes?

Lost Season 3 Finale ... Flashforwards

Lost: Keys to What's Really Going On

5-minute podcast of this Lost review

Subscribe to this free weekly 4-minute podcast about Lost on your cell phone: 415 223 4124

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