The Other Woman/Je Yeong (S4. eps. 6 & 7)
I’ve managed 9 hours of sleep since Sunday, and I’m feeling a little bit winded to say the least. In that spirit, I’ve decided to weld the columns for “The Other Woman” and “Ji Yeon” since, let’s be honest, neither episode offers much to chew over and I’m exhausted. Hooray for the holidays! And because it’s the holidays, I’d like to thank all of you for reading and commenting on these articles. Your thoughts and opinions are never less than intelligent, and my favorite part of this gig is reading over your reactions. I’d also like to thank Nick for giving me the opportunity to write about this show for all of you on Chud’s main page and, most especially, I’d like to thank Eileen. She’s responsible for editing and posting these columns on the site, and she consistently does an amazing job with the lengthy, rambling write-ups that I send in. Thank you, Eileen, for all your work.
Have you read the Rewatch Column for “The Constant” yet? If you haven’t, then you’ve missed the opportunity to (a) watch my mental breakdown in progressum and (b) hear my theory on how the consciousness-traveling which Desmond participates in, and which Daniel explains, may play into the final season of the show. Check it out and let me know what you think: WhatIsWater@gmail.com
Thoughts on The Other Woman:
• I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a woman who looks good in blue eye-shadow. This includes Juliet in this episode. It ain’t a good look, ladies.
Harper: “Hello, Juliet. Long time no see.”
• Harper Stanhope enters the show for the first (and the last?) time. I dig Harper. She’s attractive in a severe sort of way, and she’s got a no-nonsense directness that’s appealing. Just like Isabel the disappearing sheriff, I’m sorry we haven’t seen more of her around.
Harper appears out of nowhere in the middle of the jungle, accompanied by The Whispers. She claims that she’s come to deliver a message from Ben, despite the fact that Ben has been locked up in the barracks basement. This implies that either (a) the Others can ‘teleport’ somehow, and have been visiting Ben in secret while he’s in captivity, or (b) Ben provided a list of orders to be followed in the event of his capture – a list that might have been made with future knowledge of what is to come (see: my theory from “The Constant”). I think it’s interesting that the Others apparently have a staff shrink on duty. Why? Is it simply to give Ben personal, private insights on the people around him? Does he use their information the same way that he uses the castaways’? Or is there a legitimate psychological purpose to these sessions? The Others are fond of brainwashing after all, and they’re fond of psychological warfare (see: their “jungle hillbilly” personas) – there’s no shortage of mind-centric themes in the show as it is. Anyone have a theory?
Juliet: “It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.”
• That’s a cute line.
Jack: “Seemed kinda hostile, even for a therapist.”
• That’s even cuter – directly after Juliet says “Other,” Jack invokes the word “hostile” – a word that’s been directly associated with the Others throughout the show.
• We’re again told that only women who conceive on the Island appear to succumb to the Mysterious Baby/Mama Killing Malady. This is ultimately why Claire was able to give birth, yes? Aaron was conceived off of the Island?
• Harper tells Juliet that Juliet looks just like “her”, but we don’t find out who “her” is. Juliet bears a certain resemblance to Ben’s mother, but it’s also possible that she looks like an older Annie (Ben’s childhood friend in his flashbacks). I’m hoping that she looks like Annie – I don’t need any weird oedipal revelations in the final season. It’s weird enough that Michael Emerson’s real-life wife plays Ben’s mother on the show. She’s also, apparently, Arlene on “True Blood.”
Locke: “You do remember what Charlie said about these people.”
Claire: “All Charlie said was whose boat it isn’t. Don’t you wanna know whose boat it is?”
• Locke continues to spin in circles (perhaps literally – again, see the theory in “The Constant”) as the people around him start to question his approach to leadership. Ben, slippery bastard that he is, identifies Locke’s insecurities about this and pounces on them – using Locke’s need for affirmation and counsel in order to spring himself from his basement holding cell and move into a kind of “house arrest” arrangement.
• I like to think that I’m not a dirty old man, but then I see Juliet in a bikini and I realize that I am, without a doubt, a dirty old man:
• One of Lost’s very best storytelling tricks is the way in which it loops back to fill in the details about prior scenes. Learning that Ben sends Goodwin after the tail-section because of his jealousy over Juliet and Goodwin’s affair makes the experience of the show deeper and more complex.
Ben: “If my people still wanted me, John, they would’ve stormed this camp long ago.”
• That’s a good point. Ben really does appear to have fallen out of favor. But then again, we’ve also been told via Harper that Ben is actually “exactly where he wants to be.” So who the hell knows, really?
Ben: “This is Charles Widmore. This is the man whose boat is parked offshore. This is the man that’s been trying to find the Island.”
• Our first official confirmation that Widmore is the one attempting to reach the Island. The video that Ben shows to Locke (on the same VHS tape that Ben used to show Jack the Red Sox game in Season 3) is ambiguous in all the best ways. Ben claims that the blindfolded man is one of
Locke: “How does Widmore know about the Island?”
Ben: “I don’t know, but he does.”
• That’s a big ol’ lie right there. We now know that Ben personally sent Widmore off of the Island. Essentially what this means is that it’s impossible to take anything Ben says at face-value. The man lies for a living. So, when Ben tells Locke that Widmore wants to “exploit” the Island, I now have to wonder whether there’s truth to that statement. We’ll talk more about Widmore’s potential motivations as we move further along.
Ben: “They’re on the list, Juliet. Who are we to question who’s on the list and who’s not?”
• The fact that we can’t trust Ben to tell the truth means we can’t be sure that these lists were actually coming from Jacob. Ben may have created some, or even all, of them. Lost is a show about faith, but it’s not simply about, say, the importance of faith. It’s also about the perils of faith, and I think that when all is said and done, Lost will have etched an impressively even-handed portrait of how faith can inspire and destroy us.
Ben: “He’s making a case for this woman–Ana Lucia. He thinks she’d be a valuable member of our society.”
• That’s an interesting line. We’ve talked before about the meaning of the word “good” to the Others, and I’ve suggested what I think that meaning is in a recent column which you can read right here.
• A new Dharma Station is introduced in this episode: The Tempest.
The name of the station is an obvious shout-out to Shakespeare’s play of the same name. You can get a basic summary of the storyline here. Lost shares some interesting echoes/parallels with The Tempest. Want to hear about some of them? Okay!
First, the play concerns a magician named Prospero, who uses his magic to shipwreck a crew of people on an Island. This echoes Jacob’s apparent hobby, as seen in the opening of the Season 5 finale. The Island that Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, live on is under his control (shades of the “magic box,”).
Prospero’s reluctant servant on the Island is the spirit Ariel, whom Prospero has promised eventual freedom to, in exchange for Ariel’s service. This could very well echo the relationship between Jacob and the Man In Black, though that’s pure conjecture on my part.
The character of Caliban, a half-human schemer who wants to usurp Prospero and attempts to rape his daughter, Miranda, is closely mirrored by of Ben Linus in various ways. Caliban’s obsession with Miranda mirrors Ben’s obsession with Juliet, and the way in which Caliban is forced to serve Prospero, growing more and more resentful of that obligation, is mirrored very clearly by Ben’s reluctant service to Faux-Locke in Season 5, as well as his bitter rage toward the “Prospero” of Lost’s Island: Jacob.
Like Lost, The Tempest is aware of itself as a work of art. Lost has done a lot of ‘meta’ stuff over the years in commenting on its own storylines, strengths and weaknesses through the medium of the show itself. Similarly, The Tempest draws clear parallels between the magic that Prospero yields and the ‘magic’ of artistic creation. The play contains another play inside of it, and Shakespeare’s characters are assigned actors’ roles within the story itself.
There’s more, but the holidays are calling and that’s the most important stuff to my eyes. Let me know what other mirroring/parallels you can find between them in the comments if you’re so inclined. I highly recommend reading Shakespeare’s play if you haven’t had the opportunity to do so. It’s a wonderful story, with terrific language, and it’s relevant to a fantastic show. I’m chock full of superlatives today, apparently.
• Watching Juliet and Charlotte body-slam each other while Daniel furiously types away is entertaining stuff.
• We get confirmation in this episode that Ben used the poisonous gas manufactured in The Tempest during The Purge. This seems to further confirm my theory that the “quarantine” notices and hazmat suits we’ve seen in the Swan and Pearl stations were meant to protect surviving Dharma employees from a surprise gassing if and when they emerged from their hatches.
• Charlotte sure does love to pistol-whip people. She clocks Kate and Juliet over the head in this episode.
Ben: “After everything I did to get you here, after everything I’ve done to keep you here, how can you possibly not understand… that you’re mine?”
• Possibly my favorite Ben-moment in the entire series. It’s a phenomenal performance from Michael Emerson (ably abetted by Elizabeth Mitchell) that bares Ben’s twisted, greedy soul for us to see. I suggested above that Ben’s character echoes the character of Caliban from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in this scene the parallel feels particularly apt. I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear Ben claim “This Island’s mine!” as Caliban does in the pages of Shakespeare’s play. His question to Juliet here arguably serves as a similar echo of that sentiment.
Sawyer: “Son of a bitch! How’d you get so damn good at horseshoes?”
Hurley: “I don’t know. Guess I’m just… lucky.”
• Lucky, huh? Since when? The show continues to hint that Hurley is “special,” and his comment here to Sawyer suggests (perhaps ironically, perhaps not) that Hurley’s luck may be beginning to change.
Ben: “See you guys at dinner.”
I love the ending to this episode. Ben continues to prove he’s a gold medalist in the “slithery, inhumanly-canny, manipulympics as he manipulates Locke into granting his freedom in exchange for information that has no real value to Locke (what is Locke supposed to do with Widmore’s information? What good does it do him? None, as far as I see it).
Thoughts on Ji Yeon:
SUN (in Korean): I thought I had lost you.
JIN: (in Korean): I love you too. And you will never lose me
Ji Yeon is ultimately a pretty light episode. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable, just less consequential in some respects. That said, let’s go to the highlight reel:
• Anyone notice that Nikki’s episode of “Expose” is playing on the television just before Sun goes into labor? I’ve talked about my admiration for “Expose” before, but my real regret when it comes to the Nikki/Paulo story, is that their deaths preclude any further Billy Dee Williams cameos.
Frank: “You know your book’s upside down.”
• The effects of the time-dilation “sickness” are beginning to spread. Regina’s now shown as being affected.
Bernard: “See, it’s all about karma, Jin. Do you know karma? You make bad choices, bad things happen to you. But you make good choices, and then good—”
• The scene between Jin and Bernard is quite sweet. I can’t help thinking that Bernard’s comments about Karma has significant bearing on my theory regarding the castaways and their ‘destiny.’ Refer back to my theory in the column for “The Constant.”
• Goodbye, Regina! In the weirdest cameo yet, Deathproof star Zoe Bell commits chain-laden suicide by jumping off the freighter after barely appearing on the show at all. I’m convinced that Regina’s back-story was jettisoned as a result of the writers’ strike during this season, and that part of that back-story would have involved a relationship with Naomi.
Gault: “Some of my crew has been dealing with… what might best be described as a heightened case of cabin fever. I think it’s got something to do with the close proximity of the island.”
• We meet the Captain at last – a man named Gault. The show makes a big deal out of setting up the Captain as an untrustworthy, potentially-dangerous fellow, which is an odd choice. When we actually see and meet the captain he’s shown to be a fairly level-headed guy. Am I forgetting something about his character?
Gault: “Now can you imagine what kind of resources and manpower go into pulling off a feat of that magnitude? Faking the recovery of a plane crash? Putting 324 families through a grieving process based on a lie? But what’s even more disturbing… where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies? And that, Mr. Jarrah, Mr. Hume, is just one of the many reasons we want Benjamin Linus.”
• I’ll admit to not remembering whether we get an answer to the question of who sunk the “fake” version of Oceanic 815. Gault seems to think that it was Ben who arranged it, but I believe we’ll also see paperwork which implicates Widmore.
• The room that Dr. Ray gives to Sayid and Desmond is a mess – bugs all over the place and a bloodstain on the wall. This is where Minkowski’s buddy offed himself.
Sayid: “Nice to meet you Kevin.”
• Ben’s man on the freighter is revealed at last: it’s Michael. I’m really looking forward to getting into the concept that “the Island” won’t let people die, and Michael’s storyline during this season gives me the perfect opportunity to do so. Sayid is such a cool, controlled cat. He doesn’t blink twice when he sees that Michael’s aboard the ship.
• Jin forgives Sun for her infidelity, and verbally faces up to the man he was before they crashed on the Island. The fact that their story has essentially wrapped up at this point (there’s really nothing more for Jin to do/evolve to now, and Sun’s pregnancy is the only narratively-compelling factor left for her as a character), as well as the fact that the writers essentially fake Jin’s death in this season, leads me to believe that Jin and Sun will make it to the end of this show in one piece. I hope that’s the case. Their relationship is the most dramatically-satisfying on the show as far as I’m concerned. What about Desmond and Penelope, you ask? They’re a close second – but Penny’s never developed nearly as well as Sun is.
• In a twist that seems to have ticked some folks off, we learn that there’s both a flashforward (Sun) and a flashback (Jin) in this episode – tricking the audience into thinking that Jin was racing to bring a stuffed panda to his wife and newborn daughter where, in truth, we were watching him race to give the panda to one of Paik’s potential business contacts. Frankly, the folks who complained about this episode sort of missed the point as far as I’m concerned. Sun and Jin have spent a good chunk of time on this show being separated by distance, by time, and by emotion. The flashback/flashforward structure of this episode literalizes that separation, and hints at the nature of the separation yet to come: a distance measured in time.
• Happy holidays, everyone! Look for a new column at the start of next week.
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Missed a column? Catch up here:
• The Constant (S4 ep. 5)
• Eggtown (S4 ep. 4)
• The Economist (S4 ep. 3)
• Confirmed Dead (S4 ep. 2)
• The Beginning of The End (S4 ep. 1)
• Through The Looking Glass (S3 ep. 22 & 23)
• Greatest Hits (S3 ep. 21)
• The Man behind The Curtain (S3 ep. 20)
• The Brig (S3 ep. 19)
• D.O.C. (S3 ep. 18)
• 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 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)