Two For The Road (S2, ep. 20)
Christian: Maybe fate has just thrown the 2 of us together, you know. Two drinks in an airport bar —
Ana: Why would fate do that?
Christian: Same reason fate does anything — so that we can help each other out.
“Two For The Road” cuts short the brief relief from darkness that we’d been handed with “Dave” and “S.O.S.” and plunges us directly into the yawning mouth of the abyss. And you know what? I loved every moment of it. When that pressing darkness is supported by real forward momentum in the story it loses its oppressiveness and becomes seductive. Watching this particular descent into despair felt strangely invigorating, like taking the turns too quickly on a rickety funhouse ride. Farewell, Ana Lucia and Libby. You were well-liked, and you’ll be missed
• Ana Lucia and her mother function as a mirror of Jack and his father. Jack refuses to help his father when he makes a fatal error in judgment. Ana Lucia refuses her mother’s help when she makes a fatal error in judgment. Jack never reconciles with his father before the crash, but Ana Lucia does, spurred on, ironically, by hearing Jack’s desperation over the transport of his father’s body in the airport line.
• Jack and Ana Lucia’s first meeting as shown at the end of Season One takes on greater meaning with the information we receive in “Two For The Road.” Ana Lucia’s tenderness toward him and her own vulnerability are direct results of what we see her go through during this episode’s flashbacks.
• In the aftermath of Ana Lucia having murdered the man who shot her and terminated her pregnancy we watch as she crosses paths with Christian in an airport bar. He employs her as his ‘bodyguard,’ but insists that they give each other fake names and not use their real ones. He chooses ‘Sarah’ for her, a direct echo of Jack’s former wife’s name. She chooses ‘Tom’ for him, a direct echo of Kate’s murdered friend.
• Lost fun fact: The man who Ana Lucia shoots, Jason McCormack, was also seen buying necklaces off of Sawyer and Cassidy in “Confidence Man.”
GALE: You killed 2 of us — good people who were leaving you alone. You’re the killer, Ana Lucia.
• Ben steps up and gets overtly badass as he draws Ana Lucia in and swiftly overpowers her. He’d have killed her if not for Locke’s intervention. Once again the idea of ‘good’ people is raised, and I’m beginning to think that the word serves the same essential function that the word ‘Other’ does – to set up a clear (false) division between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ After all, neither the unidentified, list-bearing Other, nor Goodwin were truly leaving Ana and her fellow survivors alone. Only an idiot would think kidnapping people in the middle of the night wouldn’t cause serious panic and aggression in response. Plus, last I’d checked, snapping someone’s neck doesn’t really count as ‘leaving them alone.’
Locke: I was trapped under that blast door, helpless. You could’ve crushed my skull, but you didn’t do a thing. Why didn’t you?
Ben: Because you’re one of the good ones, John.
Locke: What? Good what?
Ben: None of this matters. I’m dead anyway. The doctor’s gone to make a trade and we both know he’ll come back empty-handed and then I’ve lost my value. So either Jack comes back here and kills me or my people find out where I’m being held and they do it.
Locke: Why would your own people want to kill you?
Ben: Because the man in charge — he’s a great man, John, a brilliant man — but he’s not a forgiving man. He’ll kill me because I failed, John. I failed my mission.
Locke: What mission?
Ben: When that woman caught me in her trap I was on my way here, John. I was coming for you.
• I don’t believe that the question of why Ben became trapped by Rousseau has ever been definitively answered, nor have we learned the ‘real’ reason for Ben sparing Locke’s life and remaining in the Swan when, during the events of “Lockdown,” he could have used Locke’s helplessness to effectuate an escape. But if I had to guess I’d wager that Ben is mixing lies and truth in the conversation above as per usual. I suspect that Ben was coming for Locke, but whether that was in order to bring him back or in order to dispose of him is unclear. I like that Ben is essentially stroking his own ego here when he calls the man in charge (i.e.: Ben) “a great man…a brilliant man.”
Ana: After 4 days of drinking and doing nothing — now, in the middle of the night, you’re ready to go?
Christian: That’s exactly right. It’s time, come on. Fate’s calling, Sarah.
• We learn in this episode that Christian was in Australia for a specific reason: to see his daughter, a daughter we didn’t realize that he had, a half-sister that Jack has grown up utterly ignorant of. Apparently, in order to muck up the courage to see her (or the courage to confront the mother of his secret child) he needs to drink himself to the edge of oblivion. It’s deeply sad stuff, and it’s worth noting that the Christian we see here – the Christian we’ve seen in all of the flashbacks thus far – is markedly different from the Christian that’s appeared on the Island, lending credence to my theory that Christian is an “Archon” created by the same force that animates the MiB and the Island’s other “apparitions.”
• I’m not sure who the woman Christian confronts in Australia is, but she’s not Claire’s mother.
Hurley: They didn’t have ‘Say Anything’ in Baghdad? It’s awesome. This dude, like, gets his boom box and he holds it over his head outside this chick’s window and he plays some Peter Gabriel song for her and bam, the girl’s, like, his. I mean, after her dad goes to jail. But then he gets her.
Sayid: I think I get the idea.
• Hurley’s efforts to plan a date are adorable. As is his ‘Say Anything’ discussion with Sayid. These two characters are wonderful to watch together. Sayid’s suggestion that Hurley and Libby use the beach that he took Shannon to is touching and sad.
• Jack and Locke debate the integrity of the Others as they hover over Michael’s unconscious body. Locke appears ready, even eager, to assume that the Others have released Michael in exchange for Ben, whereas Jack is ready and eager to believe that Michael’s appearance is simple coincidence. Their core conflict – between coincidence and fate, between destiny and meaninglessness – is rendered again here in miniature. It should be pointed out that, had Jack decided to release Ben upon Michael’s reappearance, neither Ana nor Libby would be dead.
• Sawyer and Ana enjoy some aggro-snugglebunnies in the jungle, underlining yet again the characters’ desperate need for some kind of connection, even if it’s just the naked, sweaty n’ meaningless kind of connection.
• And speaking of connection or the lack thereof, Christian’s flashback flight from his son and from responsibility highlights the stubborn difficulty of admitting fault, of reaching out, of trying to set anything right. I don’t think its coincidence that the Jack of the Season 5 finale and the Christian of this episode are in largely the same emotional position – attempting to obliterate the past in order to avoid the pain of dealing with it.
Michael: Yeah, his people — the Others. I followed him back to his camp. They live in tents — canvas tents and teepees. They eat dried fish. They’re worse off than we are.
• We know now that Ben and his Others don’t live in tents and teepees, and they don’t eat dried fish. But we also know that, prior to Ben, that’s exactly how the Others lived. In every other time period we’ve seen the Others camped pretty much as Michael describes them – simply, monastically.
• Hurley’s realization that there will be wine involved in the picnic he and Libby are going to have is hilarious and very sweet.
• Jin’s silent ‘thumbs-up’ to Hurley is another of my favorite moments from this season; genuinely funny and oddly uplifting.
• Sawyer’s latest beach read is “Bad Twin,” a manuscript by the fictional author “Gary Troup.” Bad Twin was released as an actual book a few years back, and is apparently dotted with references to characters tangentially related to Lost. I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment too insightfully on its contents. What I can point out is that the title underlines yet again the notion of twins/twinning and the instances of this that have popped up all over the show. It’s also notable that, according to the plot synopsis HERE, the ‘bad twin’ of the title isn’t really ‘bad,’ just misunderstood (as Goodwin claims Ana Lucia is misunderstood, as I’ve claimed the Others are misunderstood by the castaways, and as I’ve theorized that the MiB entity is misunderstood by the audience).
GALE: He kept saying you were misunderstood.
ANA: What are you talking about?
GALE: Goodwin. Yes, he told us all about you, Ana — how he thought you were worthy, and that he could change you. But he was wrong. And it cost him his life.
ANA: He was going to kill me.
GALE: Was he?
• We’ll learn in Season 3 that Goodwin was in fact advocating for Ana Lucia, though we don’t learn why. And as far as I can tell, Goodwin had no intention to harm Ana – it was Ana who attacked him. So Ben’s not wrong about any of this, with one exception: Ana is misunderstood, to herself most of all.
Michael (and no I’m not kidding, he really does say this again): “They took my son! Right. Out. Of my HANDS! They took my SON!”
• Michael’s double-homicide is still just as shocking the second time around. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ana Lucia was a solid, well-realized character (if arguably repetitious – but that may be intentional given the ‘twinning’ themes of the show) who was unjustly hated by the audience, I believe, because she was a woman who dared to act like a man. Her final episode hammers this home perfectly.
• The way that Michael subsequently shoots Libby, accidentally and/or in a fit of panic, is terribly sad. Taking Libby away just as she was gifting Hurley with something approaching real self-confidence and self-worth is pretty close to the definition of cruelty.
• That said, Cynthia Watros, the actress who played Libby, gives us a pretty over-the-top death scene, and it makes me chuckle to see it frame-by-frame. Yes, this makes me a sick person.
• The ending of “Two For The Road” remains a powerful and ominous piece of storytelling. The awful silence that spreads out like an oil slick after Libby is shot is the perfect accompaniment to Michael’s unexplained actions. As he opens the door to the gun-closet and Ben rises up, his bug-eyes full of something we’ve only glimpsed before, Michael takes his weapon and uses it on himself without a word spoken or a chord of music played. One word: Haunting.
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Missed a column? Catch up here:
• S.O.S. (S2 ep. 19)
• Dave (S2 ep. 18)
• Lockdown (S2 ep. 17)
• The Whole Truth (S2 ep. 16)
• Maternity Leave (S2 ep. 15)
• One of Them (S2 ep. 14)
• The Long Con (S2 ep. 13)
• Fire + Water (S2 ep. 12)
• The Hunting Party (S2 ep 11)
• The 23rd Psalm (S2, ep. 10)
• What Kate Did (S2, ep. 9)
• Collision (S2, ep. 8)
• The Other 48 Days (S2, ep. 7)