Season 2 – Episode 12 – “Fire + Water.“
Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.
Wow. This episode was, how you say…a bit rough. Mainly because the emotion and subject matter brought out the worst in a lot of people, but also because the episode itself was centralized and, well…weak. For a show that takes pride in breakneck storytelling and deep character development, ‘Fire + Water’ was a break from the usual stride of the show, and that may or may not be a good thing.
(In a drunken stupor, Charlie makes the horrible mistake of breaking into John Shaft’s loft.)
First off, let’s talk about the episode itself. This Charlie-centric episode focused on his family past, specifically when Drive Shaft was all but washed up, and his brother Liam was a walking shell of a man. His haunting thoughts of the past, coupled with getting kicked out of Claire’s tent and his urge to hit the smack again, led to one of the more tripped-out Lost episodes we’ve seen in a while.
It breaks down like this. Charlie is having dreams about saving Aaron from who-knows what. These vivid dreams are coupled with his past with Liam, trying to clean him up to be a good husband and provider to his new daughter. The main theme of the episode was betrayal, abandonment and faith (as is usually the case here), and in the end of the flashbacks, Liam headed off for Australia to clean up, while Charlie was left alone to pick up the pieces. Well, that takes care of that.
Back on the island, Charlie’s not making any friends. His increasingly erratic and dangerous behavior give everyone the impression that he’s back on the sauce, and Claire continues to push further and further away. This angers Charlie more, and he sinks to drastic measures to ‘save’ Aaron.
During a heated conversation with Locke, he takes the remaining Mary statues away from Charlie and explains to him that he ‘lost the right to be trusted.’ The downward spiral continues through the entire episode, with Charlie doing something crazy to win back the trust of Claire and respect of Locke, and ultimately messing up and sinking lower.
The climax of the episode is when Charlie starts a fire in the jungle to grab the attention of the castaways. When they head off to put the fire out, Charlie snatches Aaron and tries to get him baptized. This leads to a confrontation in front of the entire crew, with Claire running off with the baby, and Locke essentially busting his punk ass up. Later, Charlie promises to Jack that this will never happen again, Aaron and Claire get baptized by Eko, and the show ends.
But wait. One of the last things we see is Locke changing the locks to the gun cellar once again, this time placing the remaining statues inside. What? We’re left staring at Charlie as he puts his hood up and stares menacingly into the fire, much like ‘The Moth,’ where he takes his hood off and does a similar thing.
What They got Right.
Okay, here’s what they got right on Wednesday.
They solidified more of Charlie’s story, giving us a much-needed background on how he got to where he is now. Trust, abandonment and family are very important to him, and it eventually led to his fall from grace. This is directly reflected on the island, where the very same issues ruin his weekend. Charlie had been lurking in a shadows for a few weeks, and it was nice to shed more light on his problems. He claimed that he didn’t use the hidden smack, although he wanted to.
Here’s the thing about Charlie, though. He’s a damn liar. He’s been lying to everyone since the show started. He lied right to Claire and Locke’s faces, betraying them and harming Aaron in the process. A lot of people online are angry with Locke for knocking him out, but what would you do if you were in that position? Locke might not be a person that you can trust, but Charlie is making life miserable for Claire and Aaron, so a whooping might have been in order.
On the other side of the coin, where does Claire get off shutting Charlie out of her life? After all, this is the guy who almost got killed trying to save her, murdered Ethan for her, and set out towards the black smoke to steal Aaron back from Rousseau. When a guy does that for you, you may want to consider giving him a break or two. I’ll leave that argument up to you.
Another thing people are talking about is Locke. The rumor is that he’s working for the Others now, or there’s something evil and sinister he’s hiding from the rest of the castaways. Judging by his recent behavior, that could be very true, but not yet determined. The next Locke episode won’t be for several weeks, so sit tight, let the story unfold, and watch him slowly get crazier and crazier.
What They Got Wrong.
Now, let’s talk about why this episode was lacking.
(“Let’s get outta here, Freckles. This episode sucks.”)
First off, everyone should know by now that Lost airs two different sorts of episodes. One is known as a ‘Mythology episode,‘ and another is known as a ‘Character episode.‘ You can’t expect the writers to keep dropping island weirdness and secrets on us every week, so a slower-paced ‘Character episode‘ is a good way to break up the non-stop action and confusion. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the mythology episodes, but I appreciate and understand why they need to slow it down and explain a character’s actions every now and then. No problem.
This character episode was full of characters acting far differently than we’ve seen them in the past. Personally, I think this had everything to do with thin writing and a weak story arc. When the episode starts, Charlie isn’t trusted and becomes exiled from the group. When the episode ends, he’s in the same position. There’s no resolution, the story doesn’t move an inch on all fronts, and we’re left wondering what just happened. Normally, character episodes exist to slow things down and take in more of the underlying issues, but this week’s episode brought the train to a screeching halt. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the episode enough, but there were more flaws in it than usual.
The brief conversation between Jack and Ana was the closer for me. They’re talking about what happened in the jungle between the hunting party and Zeke last week. Ana asks him what happened, and Jack tells her that Zeke held Kate hostage until they chose to leave.
Ana’s response? Well, you saw the episode, you know what she said.
Does that sound at all like something Ana would say in a situation like this? The Others have absolutely terrorized her for two months, killing people and stealing children. Ana impaled one of them, for Christ’s sake, and she’ not the least bit concerned about any other details? She’s a loose-cannon cop, and I completely expected her to head off in search of Zeke by herself.
Remember ‘The Other 48 Days?’ Remember the hiking and ordering around? Did she forget all the things that are going on around her? I cannot stand it when the castaways don’t share vital information with each other, and in this case, the writing was flat-out dishonest to a strong character. She’s not Hurley, for crying out loud. As a saving grace, I will argue that Jack and Ana have this light-hearted conversation, because they’ve spent the last few days in the jungle setting traps and a ‘training course’ for their soon-to-be-decided Army.
Same deal with Sawyer. Last night, Zeke held Kate hostage and Sawyer vowed revenge. Today? They’re awkwardly flirting and doing physical therapy on the beach. Come on!
I’m done complaining, make with the numbers!
(Aaron is one ugly, filthy baby. Thought I’d just throw that in.)
4. So, what’s going on with Locke? I don’t know, but like Charlie said, ‘That bald wanker knows something.‘ You could almost feel his slow descent into evil during the episode, much like when Boone died in Season One. Why did he keep the statues? Why did he change the lock on the gun cellar without telling anyone? I mentioned before that Charlie is a liar, but Locke has done his share of lying as well. It was his dishonesty about the hatch that led to the death of Boone. He’s complicated, possibly crazy, and I’m confused. Let’s move on.
8. Where are they getting all the tarps? Do airplanes normally stock up on those things?
15. Libby, Libby, Libby. Here’s the deal with her. She’s 100% completely nuts. Hurley knows her because they were probably at the mental hospital together. She’s not a doctor, she was a patient. I did like the comment about the new washer and dryer in the hatch; confirming theories and suggesting that Dharma & Hanso are still functioning to this day. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the Dharma Food Delivery Guy shows up in a few weeks. Hopefully, he’ll bring another gallon of ranch dressing.
16. When Charlie’s dreaming about Aaron being in danger, the dove flying out of the frame looked and sounded exactly like the drug plane in Locke’s vision last season. Interesting.
23. Next week is a re-run of ‘The Numbers.’ This seems to state that they are leading back into Hurley/Libby/Number territory in the upcoming weeks. We will find out why Hurley’s not losing any weight, among other things.
42. Spoilers Ahoy! By the end of Season Two, we will find out loads more on Dharma, the answer to the Michael/Walt question, why the plane crashed and what happens when you don’t push the button. What they will save for Season Three is beyond me.
The next new episode will be broadcast on Wednesday, February 8. Episode 13 will be entitled ‘The Long Con,’ and will be a Sawyer-centric episode. From the looks of it, we’ll be going back to Other territory, as Sun gets attacked in the night by who-knows what. It makes sense that the Others would want Sun, because she’s a good person and would probably make very pretty babies. The monster will return, we’ll find out more about Sawyer’s past, and the Jack/Kate/Locke/Ana power struggle will heat up. More on that next week.
(“I will not baptize Aaron. Keep me out of your weak episode.”)
Now, just because this week was a ‘Character episode,‘ that doesn’t mean that the CDP can’t drop some mythology on you. The following theory piece on the Dharma Initiative has been submitted to me by BluStaCon, CDP member and Lost fan. He explains his theories concerning the different stations of the Dharma Initiative, what they’re used for and if we’ve seen them in action yet. My comments are in parenthesis:
The Hanso Life-Extension Project:
This has already been hinted at within the website, but has yet to really make an appearance on the show. This is where my Black Rock survivor theory comes into play. Zeke does look like he could have been a pirate. If I remember correctly there were skeletons on the ship. This leads me to believe something pre existing on the island may be involved.
(The theory here is that some of these Others have been living on the island for a lot longer than we might think, thanks to Hanso’s breakthroughs with self-preservation. Could Black Rock survivors still be wandering the island? My opinion is that it’s a stretch, but you never know.)
The Hanso Foundation Electromagnetic Research Initiative:
The Hatch is definitely involved in this one. I think that’s a given. What it is, I have no idea. The “Incident” mentioned may have something to do with why the island doesn’t seem to exist on any charts. And why planes from Australia and Nigeria can make it there.
(I agree with this one. The Swan station is certainly the electromagnetic center of the island, and it’s still fully functional, thanks to the castaways and Desmond. I’m sticking with my satellite theory on this one, which says that they are preventing rescue by hitting the button, as it causes the island to go invisible in the eyes of watching satellites. It explains how Dharma has gone on for so long without detection, the reason for the button, and the reason for the ‘incident.’)
The Hanso Quest for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence:
Possibly a quest into what caused the island’s mysterious properties. Also may explain the controlling force that is bringing these seemingly random people close together.
(This might also have to do with the ‘monster,’ specifically, what gives it its powerful killing power. However, if they happen to stumble across an alien or UFO on the island, I’ll seriously never watch again.)
The Hanso Mathematical Forecasting Initiative:
A way to predict the future with numbers. Might be involved with The Numbers. That would explain why Hurley could win the lottery playing them. They could be one of the products of the research. When they are used together they may unlock some kind of power on their own. That is why the results of their use are wrapped up with bad events, like Hurley’s life.
(In my opinion, the Numbers are one of the biggest mysteries on this show. Think about it. They were being broadcast from the island longer than 16 years ago, led people to depression, wealth and suicide, are linked with every castaway, and act as a sort of siren song, drawing people to the island. That’s just weird, and I don’t know if the writers will ever be able to fully explain what they mean.)
The Hanso Cryogenics Development Imperative:
I think we may meet some interesting characters from the past with this one.
(I don’t even want to get into this one. The show is complicated enough without frozen corpses coming back to life. Besides, do we really need another character?)
The Hanso Juxtapositional Eugenics Development Institute:
Aaah, the most interesting one of all. Here are two definitions from the wikipedia. Juxtaposition is an act or instance of placing two things close together or side by side. This is often done in order to compare/contrast the two, to show similarities or differences, etc. Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through social intervention. The goals have variously been to create more intelligent people, save society resources, lessen human suffering and reduce health problems. Proposed means of achieving these goals most commonly include birth control, selective breeding, and genetic engineering. Critics argue eugenics is a pseudoscience, that it has a potential for “objectifying” human characteristics, and that historically it has been a means whereby social thinking culminated in coercive state-sponsored discrimination and human rights violations, even genocide.
(If you read and understand that, you can pretty much piece together exactly what the Others are up to. Utopian societies need new, ‘good’ people to continue the bloodline, and the Others are making sure their work will not die.)
Good work, BluStaCon!
(I threw in Chuck Norris roundhouse kicking a guy just to boost morale around here.)
Wow, this was a long post. As always, here are links to every last one of my Lost Friday writings. Sure, they’re nice to have around for entertainment purposes, but after a while they start to get needy, drunk-dialing you three times a week and begging for you to take them back. Sheesh, let it go:
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 11 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 10 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 5
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 4
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 3
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 9 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 8 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 7 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 6 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 5 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 4 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 3 REVIEW
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 1 REVIEW
SEASON TWO PREVIEW