Tuesday, June 26, 2018

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, episode 7, The Moth

The Moth
"Give me my bloody drugs!"

Events: Charlie is in active detox from his heroin addiction; John attempts to distract him with exercise but it turns out he really just needed bait for a wild boar trap. When he asks Locke for the drugs he found inside the Virgin Mary statue back, Locke says he'll return them only after Charlie asks him three times, that giving him a choice in the matter is important. Later as people relocate to the caves, Charlie offers to help and things go poorly. Jack blows him off, ("We don't need you right now.") Charlie brightens when Hurley seems to notice his guitar, but Hurley has no real interest in it, he just needs Charlie to move it. Protesting the way he's being disregarded to Jack in anger, Charlie proclaims, "I'm a bloody rock god!" The force of his voice causes the cave he and Jack are in to collapse; Charlie gets out, Jack is trapped. After getting a group of people together to help Jack, Charlie asks Locke for his drugs a second time. John responds by showing Charlie a moth cocoon and explains in detail how the moth's struggle is difficult but necessary. Charlie ends up saving Jack by climbing into the cave himself and pushing back out. After his third request, John gives Charlie the drugs but Charlie throws the heroin into the fire.

In other events, Sayid, Kate, and Sawyer attempt to triangulate the source of the French woman's distress signal but just as Sayid switches on the transceiver someone clubs him with a stick from behind, knocking him down and thwarting the mission.

"I could help it,"
In flashbacks, Charlie's rock star lifestyle presents several moral challenges, prompting him to quit Drive Shaft after a priest's warning during confession. He admits to brother Liam, the lead singer, that the music is getting lost in the chaos of the band's success and implores that they both walk away if it gets to be too much. Eventually, Liam sings over Charlie's vocals at a concert, openly takes drugs, and misses sound checks. Charlie decides again to leave Drive Shaft but Liam responds with cruelty, driving Charlie to use drugs himself. Just before the crash of Oceanic 815, Charlie visits Liam in Sydney in an attempt to reunite the band but Liam, clean now, refuses. Charlie expresses his anger, blames Liam for his own drug addiction, and walks off.

Greater Meaning: The themes of this episode focus around religion and respect. Charlie has been religious in the past yet he actively experiencing drug addiction. The fact that he was singled out by a boar and before, a polar bear, suggests the monkey-on-the-back metaphor of drug addiction or a physical embodiment of being literally chased by one's demons. John compares Charlie to the boar in discussing the factor of choice that humans employ, not just a blind, animalistic devotion to physical drives (which in many ways, Charlie has lived in his experiences as a rock star). Religion seems to have been an influence in Charlie's life prior to the plane crash and his music career, but on the island, animal instincts, not just in him, become more important than an organized system of social rules and norms. Events on the island seem to have primal, immediate implications that supplant religion.

Early in the episode, Charlie is disrespected multiple times yet still insists that he can be useful. His former "Rock God" status, which earned him respect in the past, doesn't matter on the island; music is nice but actual survival skills are more valuable now. Charlie ends up proving his use in the best possible way----he earns the respect of the two most important people on the island (Jack and Locke) through what can be rightly viewed as sacrificial behavior: putting his own life at risk to save Jack and forgoing his own physical needs for the drugs to rise to Locke's expectations of him.

The issue of respect applies to many other character dynamics in this episode, too. While Jack and Hurley's disrespect of Charlie brings about serious consequences, Kate's disrespect of Sawyer does the same. In her dismissive treatment of Sawyer, Kate brings forth equally cruel and defensive reactions from him. Jin appears to consider Sun's comfort in relaxing his attitude on her wardrobe, moving toward respect, and Walt sees his own father, someone still somewhat unfamiliar to him, assert his skills and take charge, moving toward respect, and Locke, in the end, respects Charlie's decision to ask for the drugs a third time, although he had no foreknowledge that Charlie would destroy them.

Further Questions: 

1. Sayid insists their survival was extremely unlikely, so why did it happen? How?

2. Who hit Sayid, and why?

3. Jack admits to Charlie when speaking of confession that he's "no saint, either." What sins has Jack committed?

4. Will Charlie stay sober?