D.O.C. (S3, ep. 18)

Sun: “I asked you a question, everyone else might be alright with you washing your clothes and eating our food, but I want to know what’s going on. I want answers. What are you people doing? Why are you taking children? What happens to pregnant women on this Island? What happens to –”
Juliet: “They die. They all die.”

D.O.C. marks what I think is the last ‘conventional’ flashback for the show. Never again will we follow one character through the memories of one past event that took place off-Island.

I say that’s cause for celebration. As of “D.O.C.” the format has officially worn out its welcome. Nothing that happens in Sun and Jin’s past is half as interesting as what’s happening in their present, and while I think there’s one moment in this episode’s flashback that redeems the entirety of it (more on this below), I still think it’s a lot of time spent exploring things that we’ve already seen explored.  Starting with “The Brig” the flashbacks are going to start getting more ambitious; twistier and less predictable. I don’t have a ton of insightful things to say about “D.O.C.,” and I’m glad to be passing firmly into the home stretch on Season 3 – where the show starts slamming episodes out of the park like a Gamma-irradiated Hank Aaron.

Thoughts:

• The excellent David Oliver has published the premiere date for Lost’s final season: Tuesday, February 2, 2010. We’re almost done with Season 3 – giving us a solid two months-and-change between now and the beginning of the end, so to speak. I’m thinking that I’m going to try and line the end of the Rewatch up with the beginning of the show’s final season. That gives me a little extra time, and it means I’ll be able to cover the mobisodes (which technically violates my self-imposed rules about only commenting on what’s in the show itself – but I consider the mobisodes an exception, given that they’re intended to be canon and exist as part of the show). Does that work for you folks?

• Sun and Jin’s flashback bores me. I could write more about this – why it bores me, what this means about something or other but I’m bored just typing this. M-O-O-N. That spells bored.

• In the Rewatch Column for “Catch-22,” I wrote that Naomi ‘wasn’t dead, just unconscious.’ Clearly I didn’t remember the gaping wound in her chest. Oops.

• Jin and Mikhail’s jungle dust-up is a lot of fun – it’s good to be reminded that Jin’s a badass. And speaking of his badassness: this flashback would have been a lot more interesting, had it focused on, say, Jin’s time in the army.

Mikhail: “If I fix her, you must let me walk away as if I never came upon you.”

• Mikhail returns, and his entrance is sensational. I love the way he turns and runs back the way he came just as soon as he sees Desmond and Co. It’s goofy and entirely believable behavior. During the course of his conversation with the castaways, Mikhail casually reveals that he’s multilingual. Talented guy, this Mikhail.

• This episode may not have a lot of figurative meat on the bone, but it does have one heck of a central conceit – one that’s a continuation of the ‘Catch-22’ situation that Desmond found himself in during the last episode. If Sun got pregnant off the Island, then she’ll apparently be okay, but she’ll know that the baby isn’t Jin’s, because Jin was infertile before arriving on the Island. On the other hand, if she did get pregnant on the Island, she’ll know the baby is Jin’s, but she’ll be in danger of dying.

Mr. Paik: “Why should I give you money without an explanation?”
Sun: “Because my whole life I’ve pretended not to know what you do. I’ve allowed you to keep your control over me. I pretend that everything is all right. I will continue pretending – as long as you give me the money I am asking for. No questions asked.”
Mr. Paik: “If this money is for your husband, it is he who will bear this debt. He will no longer be a floor manager. He will be working for me.”

• The first glimmerings of the steel in Sun’s spine are revealed here in her conversation with her father. Revealing that it is Sun who initially causes Jin to become an enforcer for Mr. Paik is almost enough to redeem the rest of this flashback. Almost.

Naomi (in Portuguese): “I am not alone. I am not alone”
Desmond: “What did she say?”
Mikhail: “Thank you. She said thank you for helping me.”

• The show doesn’t translate Naomi’s words here – I had to go find the translation myself. This is one of the many reasons for why Lost maintains a firm hold on my imagination. It encourages you to do some footwork of your own.

• We learn that Juliet has lost nine women in three years to the Island’s mysterious anti-pregnancy stance.

Mikhail: “She’s fine. Keep the wound as clean as you can, she should be better in a day.”
Charlie: “Day? Her lung was punctured.”
Mikhail: “On this Island, the wounds are a bit different. Maybe a day and a half. I did as I promised, she will live.”

• Mikhail’s comment shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone watching the show – we all know by now that, typically, wounds heal fast on the Island. That fact helps to explain how Mikhail is walking around so quickly after we saw him collapse at the sonic fence (which we’ll learn was not set to kill). It makes me more curious about Ben’s difficulty in healing – something that Locke has already pointed out. Why is Ben taking so long to mend himself, while a newcomer to the Island like Naomi knits up so quickly? I’ve suggested before that the Island’s healing powers may be self-activated – that Locke and Rose may have taken the ancient edict of ‘Physician, heal thyself’ and literally applied it, while characters like Jack are striving to figuratively do the same thing with their emotions and past pain. But I can’t see how that theory explains Ben’s slow mend.

• Lost continues its admirable tradition of showcasing graphic, messy, impromptu surgery. Mikhail’s lung ventilation is great stuff. As is his theft of the satellite phone that Naomi is found carrying.

Charlie: “This is a mistake! We can’t keep letting these people go!”

• Desmond allows Mikhail to leave as agreed, keeping his word. But Charlie is right about it being a mistake. Thanks to Desmond’s decision, there’s a grenade in Charlie’s future.

Juliet: “Did you know that the average male sperm count is between sixty and eighty million? But on the Island, it’s five times that. We call that good odds.”

• ‘Good odds’ is an understatement. Jin’s sudden…er…potency is interesting. In another instance of the yin and yang of this show’s concepts, the Island doesn’t appear to have a problem with the ability of men to procreate – it’s making it significantly easier for them to do so. What’s up with that?

• Maybe I’m just an old softie but the scene where Sun discovers that Jin is the father may have slightly sort of choked me up a little. Maybe.

• We learn that Ben has placed a recording device in the Medical Station for Juliet to report to him. She gives him the status of Sun’s pregnancy and informs him that she’s been testing the other women. The Freighter folk are arriving, so any plans Ben may have had for Sun or Kate will be permanently interrupted. The implications here though, are unsettling. Ben’s been shown to be dismissive about the death toll involved in solving the fertility problems, and he’s focused in on the castaways in a manner that suggests these people as guinea pigs. It’s been suggested that Ben purposefully placed Kate and Sawyer together, allowing them to make like Al Green and get it on in the bear cages – was he essentially trying to get them to breed? What a creepy damn thought that is. 

Naomi: “No. Flight 815 they – they found the plane. There were no survivors. They were all dead.”

• After this episode aired, people were confused and excited. Didn’t the show’s writers state firmly that the Island wasn’t purgatory? Well, yes, they did (Of course, just because the Island isn’t literally purgatory, doesn’t mean that the Island doesn’t essentially function as a purgatory). The castaways are very much alive (at least as far as we know – they’ve returned to the ‘real world’ after all), but somehow someone has sunk an identical plane in the pacific ocean at (one assumes) great cost, in great secrecy.

• Bring on The Brig!

*****

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Missed a column? Catch up here:

Season 3

• Catch 22 (S3 ep. 17)
• One of Us (S3 ep. 16)
• Left Behind (S3 ep. 15)
• Exposé (S3 ep. 14)
• The Man from Tallahasse (S3 ep. 13)
• Par Avion (S3 ep. 12)
• Enter 77 (S3 ep. 11)
• Tricia Tanaka is Dead (S3 ep. 10)
• Stranger in a Strange Land (S3 ep. 09)
• Flashes before your Eyes (S3 ep. 08)
• Not In Portland (S3 ep. 07)
• I Do (S3 ep. 06)
• The Cost of Living (S3 ep. 05)
• Every Man for himself (S3 ep. 04)
• Further Instructions (S3 ep. 03)
• The Glass Ballerina (S3 ep. 02)
• Season 3 Premiere

Season 2

• 
Season 2 finale
• Three Minutes (S2 ep. 22)
• ? (S2 ep. 21)
• Two for The Road (S2 ep. 20)
• 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)