LOST: The Cost of Living

Why “The Cost of Living”? Because everyone has to make adjustments?

Whatever the meaning behind this name, this was a good episode for LOST fans: intense, well written and well acted, though quite dark.

Spoilers from tonight’s episode after the jump.


Links and Miscellanea

  • Those LOST action figures you’ve been waiting for, designed by “Spawn” creator Todd MacFarlane, are about to be released for consumption. MacFarlane and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) will be there for the release.
  • Here’s an interview of JJ Abrams with MTV (both text and streaming video). Not all of it is LOST-related, but here’s a bit that is: “[I]n our earliest meetings, we discussed introducing the Others and having this hatch, and we did discuss exactly what was really in the hatch. We knew that there was going to be some version of the Desmond character. We knew that ultimately it was going to be the survivors of Flight 815 versus the Others, but exactly who the players would be only got clear as we moved forward.” None of this is new, but it’s nice to be reminded now and then that the show isn’t exactly making it up as they go along. JJ also mentions that there will be a “very emotional” cliffhanger at the end of episode six, after which the show goes into its dreaded hiatus.
  • A little tribute to LOST from the guys at Nobody’s Watching.
  • The Tail Section has an interview with Matthew Fox about an upcoming football movie he’s been working on (with a little bit about LOST thrown in for good measure). Fox takes a fatalistic view of the possibility that Jack could be killed off: “I think that’s just part of the show, so yeah, that’s always in the back of my mind, but I don’t sweat it too much. If that times comes for Jack Shephard, it’s because that’s what is meant to happen in the story.”
  • I’ve been complaining about the state of the Official LOST Podcast, but it turns out I owe an apology to Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. (Do I think they care about what I think? No, I do not.) The podcast has been rolling along, in glorious mp3 format, it turns out. I won’t apologize to ABC.com’s webmaster, who buried the podcasts somewhere within an incredibly non-intuitive and difficult to navigate website. But now I’m caught up, so here are some tidbits I’ve gleaned from the last three podcasts available here, here and here):
    • Carl, the young man who used to occupy Kate’s cage, is a real Other, was really trying to escape, and really got beat up for his attempt.
    • The Flame Station will be found sometime this season.
    • Charlie and Claire will be two points in a LOST love triangle this season. The other person’s name was not revealed. Possibilities include Locke (as a carryover from last season), Desmond (whose actions last week were misinterpreted by Charlie) and Paolo (because he’s model-good-looking and hasn’t been given anything interesting to do yet this season.
    • At some point, we’re going to get back to the Other’s suburban enclave. There’s also a very good possibility that we’ll see an Other’s flashbacks, which will reveal how things have evolved for the Others on the island.
    • Not all of of the Others are at the Hydra Station, but there are other Others at different locations on the main island.
    • Jai, Sun’s English tutor, was not murdered, but committed suicide. Also, Sun did, in fact, consummate her affair with Jai. (Both of these points were hotly disputed among LOST fans.) Also, Sun is unsure who the father of her child is, but will find out sometime this season.
    • In the season premier, when Juliet listened to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on CD, even though the jewel case she selected was the Talking Heads’ “Speaking in Tongues,” Lindelof implied that the song was switched during post-production (possibly due to difficulties with licensing?). If the producers had stuck with Talking Heads, my guess is that the song would have been “Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)” which opens with the lyrics, “Home is where I want to be/Pick me up and turn me round/I feel numb – burn with a weak heart/(So I) guess I must be having fun,” which fit the mood of the scene. On the other hand, track 1 would fit with Juliet’s book club selection (“Burning Down the House” and Stephen Kings’ Carrie, respectively).
  • Damon Lindelof confirms the theory espoused by Entertainment Weekly columnist Doc J that LOST and Heroes share the same universe: “Totally true. And if Hiro can teleport ANYWHERE, wouldn’t YOU watch him team up with Hurley to find the rest of that four-toed statue?” Lindelof really knows how to excite the fanboy in all of us.

Observations and Speculations:

  • So, I guess being seated in the tail section pretty much ensured a short life expectancy. Every major character from the tail section has now died (not including Bernard, who doesn’t seem to qualify as a major character. Have Rose and Bernard even appeared this year?)
  • So here’s what we know about the Monster, along with a few of my own inferences: It’s a shape-shifter. It also steals corpses and assumes the form of the dead person. My guess at this time is that the appearance of Christian Shepherd in episode 1.5 “White Rabbit” was really the Monster toying with Jack. (Both Yemi and Christian’s bodies were missing, and there was something eerily familiar about the way that not-Yemi lured Eko into the jungle.) We also know that what Locke saw was a beautiful white light, apparently not black smoke. At some point, I’d like to find out that there’s a logic behind the Monster’s actions and that they are not completely capricious.
  • Mister Eko

  • I’m really going to miss Eko. And I’m certainly going to miss Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. He’s a really great actor, and I think his character could have been explored further. I’m guessing that he might have a cameo in a Charlie flashback later this season.
  • Now we know why Eko was building a church on the beach: he owed Yemi one church.
  • The best line of the show: “I guess he’ll be expecting us.” By the way, is it just me, or does Eyepatch Guy look an awfully lot like veteran character actor Ron Perlman? He didn’t get a guest starring credit, though, so it’s probably not.
  • Eye Patch Guy Ron Perlman
  • So can Jack trust Juliet? That’s a dangerous game she’s playing. Clearly, her and Ben are no longer on good terms, but what she’s proposing is sedition, treason and murder. Cool. Still, I have to wonder who she meant when she wrote that “
  • The cue card video appears to have been filmed at Juliet’s home in the Others’ village—meaning on the main island. Who is she referring to when she wrote that “some of us want a change”? Does she have support from her own faction? So far, she seems like the only one who has openly defied Ben, though Alex seems to be willing to take some covert actions of her own.
  • Juliet's Home Movie

  • Nikki and Paolo aren’t really doing much for me. I hope the show figures out something to do with their characters.
  • I like the new John Locke. He’s self-effacing, yet confident, willing to lead, but not ready to tell anyone what to do. He seems totally rejuvinated and ready to go into battle. This should be a good season for Locke after last season drained so much of his character.
  • Once again we had a key piece of dialog repeated. “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate.” I’m still not sure what this means. (I think it can be interpreted two completely opposite ways). The first time we heard this line was from Eko to Locke, referring to the sliced piece of the Swan Station orientation film that was found in a bible in the Arrow station. Locke passed on this saying to Desmond.
  • So now we know that the tumor is, in fact Ben’s. Why don’t the island’s miraculous healing powers work for him the way that they worked for Locke and Rose?
  • Are the Others religious, or is Henry just toying with Jack in an attempt to get Jack to think it’s his destiny to save him? In this episode, we have Ben telling Jack that the fact that a spinal surgeon fell from the sky is evidence of God. Recall that last year (episode 2.18 “Dave”) Faux Henry Gale told Locke that God “can’t see this island any better than the rest of the world can.” And what’s with the hippy cult garb? (At some point, I expect a guest musical appearance from The Polyphonic Spree.)
  • Can anyone identify the song that was playing at the funeral for me?
  • What did Eko mean when he whispered with his dying breath to Locke, “You’re next?”

So, anyone catch anything I missed? Though I mourn the loss of Eko, this was a very good episode. Next week, we get a mini-finale, followed by a long hiatus. Until then, remember “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate.” Whatever that means.

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20 thoughts on “LOST: The Cost of Living

  1. Great post, Greg, as usual.

    If I were Jack, I would still not entirely trust Julia. For all we know, she’s testing him with the video tape. I wouldn’t trust anyone in “the village.”

    I thought Eko’s last words were “Where next?” I hope you’re right, because “where next?” is somewhat of a non sequitir.

    Agreed on the new Locke. I’d say he’s a born-again Libertarian. 😉

    Oh, and as soon as I saw Nikki and Paolo I said “Crew-man #3!” out loud. I think they’re just next episode’s cannon fodder.

  2. I agree with David, I would not trust anyone on “the village.”

    I was sad to see Mr. Eko go so quickly, especially since much was done to try and save him by Locke. Plus he really was a great character. But it seems the island goes after characters who were violent in their pasts. I do wonder about Kate, when she will get her interview with death……

    I’m glad to see the view of the island expanding to show more “Others.”

  3. Dan, I’m looking forward to the flashbacks of the Others, if indeed they’re really going to do that. What makes that village cult tick? Why? Etc. etc.

    Anybody know anything re: Michael & Walt?

  4. David,

    According to the Official podcast, we will see more of Michael and Walt later on, so I think we can assume that they didn’t just safely boat off into the sunset.

  5. LOST is losing it. This episode was the worst since the Charlie episode last season. I am truly worried. Ekko, one of the best characters they’ve got, is summarily killed one episode after he’s rescued from a polar bear? The flashbacks revealed nothing new about his character whatsoever. I am now understanding the growing frustration people feel with this series. None of the most burning questions from last season have been answered, or even addressed. We still don’t know what happened to Locke, Ekko, and Desmond when the hatch exploded. Now Ekko’s dead? Please. Why even have the tail section? And what about Sun and Jin? Sayid wanders back into camp and there’s no mention of any of that.

    I’ve defended LOST time and time again, but things are really starting to slip.

  6. Huh. I really liked the Charlie episode last season. But then, I really liked a lot of this episode as well.

    I have noticed that interest in the show in the general population seems to be fading.

  7. I’m still enjoying LOST. I’ve had a few “when are they going to tell us anything” moments … but I’m still hanging in there. I feel right now the main thing the show needs to do is tell us more about the Others. And that is happening. It’s happening slowly … but it’s happening.

  8. I think the island keeps the tumor down. I think Ben wants the surgery so he can get off the island (also why he wants the boat)

  9. HP, that’s one of the best theories I’ve heard in a while.

    I’m also beginning to grow wary though I don’t see myself not watching. The “Why have a tail-section” question is one I thought about before they killed Eko, and one that really bothers me know. I just don’t get it, but alas…

  10. Brian,

    excellent points. The writers have muddled the story way too much, and you can tell they are cutting corners now. Just who were those two new characters? When did we first see them? Why are they taking an active part now in the story and not earlier? Just how did Sayid get back and not Sun and Jin? So many corners cut.

    I still like the show, but I was definitely disappointed that they killed off Mr. Eko

  11. HP, good point. Although, they gave Michael & Walt a gas-powered motorboat, which has a range, which range is probably too short for Michael & Walt to find the mainland. Hence Ben’s desire for a wind-powered (unlimited fuel!) naval transport.

    LOST has been slipping, but I’m telling you, if they start doing flashbacks of the Others, I’m back in for sure.

    And hey, have they ever shown us a flashback of Claire? I don’t recall seeing any.

  12. Greg, another excellent analysis.

    This won’t score me any points but I’m kinda glad to see Eko gone. I never felt like his story was all that compelling. He seemed the least human of anyone on the island. And I like the fact that they killed off another major character. It is a bit weird that all the tailies are gone though.

    The biggest question for me is why are there so many good-looking, middle-age people all on the same flight? I mean seriously, the two new people they’re trying to introduce, at least make them average looking! Everyone is just way too attractive. It’s like Jerry says, “No way! It’s like four-to-six percent. It’s a 20-to-1 shot.”

  13. And hey, have they ever shown us a flashback of Claire? I don’t recall seeing any.

    Yeah, in season one. There was a whole storyline with her going to a psychic who told her not to give up the baby. It was more involved than that (I seem to remember him changing his mind about what she should do) but I can’t remember anything further right now.

  14. The song during the funeral is “I Wonder” by Brenda Lee

    I cried when Eko died, and I don’t think I’ve ever cried from a TV show. I really liked his character. I wouldn’t trust Juliet. And I like Season 3 Locke too.

  15. David J, There have been two Claire flashback episodes: “Raised By Another” episode 1.10, dealing with Claire’s baby daddy, here aborted decision to give up the baby for adoption, and the creepy visit to a psychic, and “Maternity Leave” episode 2.15, dealing with Claire’s abduction by the Others. “Maternity Leave” was the first flashback episode ever to take place entirely on the island.

  16. This makes me feel a lot better:

    With Eko’s death, just one tail-section passenger is still around: Sam Anderson’s Bernard. Last season, Michelle Rodriguez’s Ana-Lucia and Cynthia Watros’ Libby were shot by Michael (Harold Perrineau). With the departures of Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Perrineau and Malcolm David Kelley (Walt), there are no series regulars who are black.

    Akinnuoye-Agbaje asked to be written off the series. After losing both parents last year, he wanted to return to his London home and work on a film he’ll direct.

    I’d point out that there are black recurring characters: Rose and Ms. Klugh.

  17. I’m sad to see Eko go– I found him very compelling. And one thing we fans don’t give enough credit for is that his flashback stories were very interesting and dramatic. Remember that these writers still want to tell one-episode-arc stories sometimes, and if you judge it that way, this episode told a very human, compelling story in Eko’s African village.

    However, I think the decision to off him makes a lot of sense. Think about Eko’s arc and purpose in the larger narrative. At the exact moment that we lost the series’ guiding man of faith (Locke), Eko stepped into that role. He filled the role of Locke right down to the button-pushing. We needed a man of faith on the island, one to follow the inspiration floating around there. And in the end, he finally converted Locke, by constantly having faith and then being ultimately right about the button-pushing. Locke emerged from that catastrophe a new man, simultaneously taking the role of man of faith and making Eko redundant and unnecessary.

    I agree that there’s a lot wrong with the show lately, but there’s one thing that is so right that I probably will never abandon ship: Locke as the faithful, intuitive, flawed but revelatory leader. Still the greatest television character of all time. And after his journey through a dark wilderness last season (the low point of the show for me), I hope he never leaves us again. Cheers to Locke

    (and a pox upon Brian G., the show’s erstwhile most stalwart defender, for letting his doubts get the better of him. Hopefully you have a character arc similar to that of Locke, and can be restored soon to faithfulness)

  18. Pox on me?!

    Don’t worry, Ryan. I’m still pushing the button.

    I love LOST, but true love for me has never been ignoring the flaws or shortcomings of the object of your affection.

  19. Apparently the guy who plays Eko asked the producers to write him off the show so he could return to England and start working on a movie based on his own life.

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