Friday, May 15, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Season 2, episode 1, Man of Science, Man of Faith

Introduction: After a blinking green cursor on an older computer flashes several times, an unidentifiable man types something onto the keyboard, chooses a record from a collection on a shelf, and begins exercising to the sounds of Mama Cass. Suddenly a loud thud causes the record's needle to scratch and dust to fall from the ceiling. The man immediately rushes to don a jumpsuit and arm himself. As he adjusts mirrors to reflect different locations within his environment, one mirror shows faraway lights surrounded by darkness, which are revealed to be Jack and Locke's torches looking down from the opening of the hatch from above. The man, whoever he is, lives in the hatch.

On-Island Events: At the blasted entry of the hatch, John and Locke disagree about how to proceed: Jack wants to wait to act, pointing out the danger getting people down the steep grade into the hatch; Locke wants to descend, immediately. Kate finds the blasted metal door which has been marked, "QUARANTINE."

As the rest of the group waits for Jack and Lock's return, Shannon asks for Sayid's help in finding Vincent. In the jungle, Shannon hears whispering and suddenly sees a soaking-wet Walt, who holds a finger to his lips and then whispers gibberish.

As Locke tries to recruit Kate's help in going immediately into the hatch, Hurley explains his fear of the numbers to Jack but get no support. Trying to unite the group, scared and still waiting at the caves, Jack reassures them that all will be well and they will wait until sunrise to explore the hatch. Locke gathers supplies and contradicts Jack by immediately going back to the hatch; Kate follows. Locke lowers Kate into the opening downward into the hatch but Kate is pulled down abruptly. When Jack shows up, both Locke and Kate are gone and he follows. He calls for Kate and Locke while examining the dark halls, a colorful painted mural on a concrete wall built around the number 108, and room of computer equipment covered by an arching eagle's nest-type enclosure. John Locke prevents Jack from touching the computer but is soon held at gunpoint by a man Jack eventually recognizes as Desmond, the man he met during his "tour de stade" after Sarah's surgery in Los Angeles.

Flashbacks: A motor vehicle accident brings two significantly injured people into the emergency room at Jack's hospital. Both cases are critical, one an older man, Adam Rutherford, and the other a younger woman who pleads that she be able to dance at her wedding. Jack chooses to treat the woman first and successfully stabilizes her but the other patient dies across the room. The young woman is Sarah, and the accident has left her with a broken back. Jack is skeptical about her chances in surgery, but decides in the end that he will fix her and tells her so. He does not believe the surgery was successful, and to process his failure, Jack drives to an empty stadium to run laps up and downs its steps. He stumbles and hurts himself but another runner, Desmond Hume, aids him and the two chat. When Jack returns to give Sarah the news that she will remain paralyzed, Sarah tells him she can wiggle her toes. Jack and Sarah cry together as they realize the surgery worked.

Greater Meaning: Jack's refusal to believe in miracles is at the heart of this episode, aptly titled in ongoing comparison of Jack and Locke. The two events that speak to miracles or faith are Jack's fixing of Sarah despite scientific odds and the reunification of Jack and Desmond in the hatch at the episode's conclusion. Whenever something remarkable has happened on the island or in flashbacks, Jack reasons out a scientific explanation for it or ignores the problem (as with the smoke monster). When Jack meets Desmond at the stadium, he refuses to consider Desmond's question, "What if you did fix her?" Oddly enough, this is exactly what happened; does Desmond have a sense of never-ending optimism he likes to share with strangers or was there something more in his question?

Seeing Desmond again in the hatch is hinted at through use of the word "Brother," and Desmond's non-American accent, but verified when Desmond smirks at Jack over the top of Locke's shoulder as he holds the gun at him. That Jack met Desmond on the day a miracle occurred (Sarah's triumph over paralysis) and a second time after the crash of Oceanic 815 in very place they've been trying to enter seems at the very least unlikely and at the most, another miracle.

Is the hatch a miracle? Jack saw it as a place to shelter from danger, a very practical idea, whereas John seemed more concerned with simply getting inside and learning of its mystery. Once Locke made the decision to go in, Jack followed, feeling responsible for Locke and Kate's safety (not out of his own curiosity). Desmond seems to be the wild card who will determine whether or not Jack or Locke get to realize their intentions inside the hatch, should they survive their confrontation.

Further Questions:

1. What caused the key on Jack's necklace to levitate in the hatch tunnel?
2. What is the significance of the number 108?
3. Is Desmond an other?
4. What happened to Kate?
5. What happened to Jack and Sarah's marriage?
6. Did Desmond sail around the world as he intended?
7. How did Desmond get to the island, and how long has he been there?