Monday, May 25, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Season 2, episode 3, Orientation

The Raft Crew: Michael, Jin, and Sawyer are taken by a large man among a group of others and flung into a pit in the jungle. Sawyer tries to get information from Jin about the others but Jin explains that he was blindfolded. Sawyer tries to escape the pit but the large man returns and pitches a woman into the pit with them. The woman, named Ana Lucia (who Jack met and spoke to in the airport before the flight), claims to also be from Oceanic flight 815. After she notices Sawyer's gun, she grabs it and signals to the man up above, who pulls her out.

On-Island Events: As Desmond threatens Jack and Locke, Kate finds a room with weapons in the hatch and helps herself to one. A struggle ensues between Kate and Desmond and a stray gunshot damages the computer into which the numbers had earlier been entered. Desmond explains the danger this puts them all in but Jack doesn't seem to believe him.

In a flurry, Desmond tries to fix the ruined computer but Jack demands he explain how he came to be in the hatch. Desmond claims he was in a solo race around the world when his boat crashed onto the island; a man named Kelvin showed Desmond how to push the button, stating it was necessary in order to save the world. Locke and Jack then watch an ancient film strip, labeled "Orientation" by something called The Dharma Initiative. Led by a man in a lab coat named Dr. Marvin Candle, the film explains the organization's background and scientific interests, and identifies the hatch as "Station 3, The Swan Station," where studies in electromagnetism take place. Candle further explains the process of entering the numbers into the computer every 108 minutes.

As Jack seems disgusted by the notion that anyone would take any of these ideas seriously, Desmond tries and fails to fix the computer. Desmond and Jack abandon the hatch leaving Locke on his own, wondering what he's supposed to do. Jack confronts Desmond in the jungle, where he admits he remembers meeting Jack in Los Angeles.

Hugo, Sayid, and Kate return to the hatch, where Locke requests Sayid's help in repairing the computer. Just as Locke is about to key in the numbers incorrectly and hit "execute," Jack returns to provide him with the last number. Locke demands that Jack be the one to finish the final keystroke, and Jack resists until the countdown clock on the wall begins blaring out an alarm as the last seconds go by. Jack argues with John about the absurdity of pushing the button but in the end, pushes it himself. The clock on the wall resets itself and Locke offers to take the first shift.

Flashbacks: Locke has an outburst at a group therapy session but meets Helen, someone who seems to connect with him. They begin an affair but Locke breaks away every night to spy on Anthony Cooper. When he finally confronts Cooper about conning him out of his kidney, Cooper bluntly tells him to get over it and not to come back to his house. After six months of dating, Helen presents Locke with a key to her apartment but asks him to stop going to Cooper's house in the middle of the night (which he has apparently continued to do); Locke agrees and accepts Helen's key. Locke breaks his promise, and when Helen confronts him at Cooper's property, he agrees again to get help with his
anger and abandonment issues.

Greater Meaning: As the flashbacks in the episode belong to Locke, it's tempting to focus more on his experiences over anyone else's in regard to the events that occur in the hatch. He tries to help Desmond fix the computer and diffuses the situation when things get tense, he enthusiastically watches the orientation video, and later demands the island tell him what to do next when he's left alone in the hatch. Locke has put his faith in the island in a way he's never put his faith in anything else, and it shows through many of his flashbacks (including this episode's collection). Whereas he was scared and confused before coming to the island, he didn't have the same faith in any of his experiences (the walkabout, the relationship with Cooper, the relationship with Helen) that he seems to have with the island. He's still scared and confused, to a point, but now, because he believes so strongly in the island, he expects answers.

Jack is upset by Locke's devotion simply because the answers of the island are unavailable and because these situations do not make sense to him; Jack chooses not to question anything. As Jack knows nothing of Locke's medical condition pre- and post-crash, it makes sense that his faith in the island would not be as immediate as Locke's, but here it seems he is actively rejecting the significance of Desmond's presence on the island and his own reaction to it (as it is a connection to his own previous vulnerability after Sarah's surgery). Jack becomes tearful in remembering his former wife just as Locke does when he speaks of his father's betrayal in group therapy. Locke's ability to move on and place his faith in the island counters Jack's refusal to do so.

Further Questions:

1. Who was Kelvin?
2. What happens to Locke and Helen's relationship?
3. What happens to Jack and Sarah's relationship?
4. What is going on with Ana Lucia, and who's the man she's working with?
5. What is going on with the hatch, and how does electromagnetism factor in?
6. Is the Dharma Initiative still on the island?
7. Is pushing the button a sham?