Friday, April 17, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Episode 17 . . . In Translation

Events: Brought about by a disagreement over Sun's choice in swimwear, Jin alarms the survivors with his possessive behavior over his wife. Michael attempts to intervene on Sun's behalf, but is slapped by Sun. Later, Sun apologizes to Michael for her actions and tries to convince Kate that she's doing the right thing, that Jin wasn't always so controlling.

The flashbacks show this to be true; Jin was a kind and tender husband, very much in love with Sun. In order to win Sun's hand in marriage, Jin agreed to work for her father, Mr. Paik, as an enforcer in the negative and violent aspects of his business. Jin is not initially violent in nature, but the episode suggests that he became so over time in order to please Mr. Paik and to provide Sun the luxurious lifestyle she expected. Eventually Jin seeks the advice of his father, a poor fisherman, who tells him to escape with Sun to America and to cut ties with Mr. Paik in order to save the marriage.

With everyone already suspicious of Jin because of his interactions with both Sun and Michael, Jin is blamed with the raft is set on fire. Sawyer assaults Jin and brings him to the beach where everyone begins shouting at him. Sun stops Michael from assaulting Jin by screaming in English. John Locke tries to shift the aggression off of Jin onto the others on the island and later reveals that Walt was the one who burned the raft. Jin leaves Sun in the caves and shows up the next morning with harvest bamboo for Michael's second raft.

Greater Meaning: Until now there had not been very many opportunities to empathize with Jin.
We'd seen controlling behavior before and a violent overreaction with Michael over Mr. Paik's watch, which were negative situations, and a few happy moments in Sun's flashbacks of the early days of their engagement and marriage. Seeing Jin bend to Paik's will and become violent does spark empathy for his struggle, as does his apology to his own father for his shame and the on-island scene of the beach confrontation. Jin is innocent of the crime of which he's being accused, but cannot understand what anyone is yelling at him or defend himself. Sun's ability to speak English was another major blow in a long line of major blows, and for better or for worse, he decides to help Michael, someone who he'd had nothing but trouble with until then to presumably see his own way off the island. As we saw in House of the Rising Sun, Sun had been prepared to leave Jin just before the Oceanic flight took off and crashed, and here, with Jin's father, it's shown that Jin was also troubled over the relationship. There seems to be a great deal yet unsaid about the goings-on of the Kwon's marriage, Sun's English, and Jin's secrets of his own. Jin and his father were shown to be caring and interacted easily with one another. Although his actions in the recent past have been unpleasant, it's as if we're being told not to give up on Jin just yet.

Worth noting is the fact that Hurley twice shows his empathy toward Jin, first when he tries to invite Jin to play golf, and second, when Michael charges Jin on the beach Hurley (with Jack) tries to keep the peace. Sawyer instigates aggression while John Locke reasons out Jin's innocence and blames the island's "others." How does Locke know what he knows? He's wrong about who burned the raft (he later discusses this with Walt) but knew enough to convince the group that it wasn't Jin. Walt and Locke both admit they like it on the island, and we've seen insight into Locke's particular reasoning for this. Locke's knowledge of the island and his concern over the "others" seem to suggest Locke may be in this for more than the short-term, raft or no raft.

Further Questions:

1. Did something major happen between Jin and Mr. Paik?
2. Why did Sun learn English and hide it from Jin?
3. Are there bigger reasons for Walt's wanting to stay on the island?
4. Was Locke just deflecting blame away from Walt or is he really worried about others on the island?
5. Will Jin and Sun reconcile?
6. Did Mr. Paik ever find out about Jin's father?