Friday, February 5, 2010

Reflections on "LOST" Episodes 6.1/6.2 - "LA X" (Part Two)

I've been reading waaaayyyy more than I should about this season premiere. It's just that I can't seem to get my head completely around the pretzel logic. I feel like I'm playing a game of Twister with a really hot girl -- I'm totally turned on, yet really uncomfortable.

Here are a couple more things I want to address:

1) Desmond on Oceanic 815? What the fuck?

I think I get it! If Desmond was never on the Island, he wouldn't be able to press the button, yada yada yada. I think the implications of this are a lot more far reaching.

Firstly, Nikki Stafford, on a post Wednesday, showed an image from the pilot of Desmond wearing a wedding ring. Could he be married to Penny? Maybe he never left her because there was no Island to leave her for?

I don't think he's married to her, mostly because I don't believe his path would have crossed with hers (at least not in the way it did). Des met Penny during a wine pickup from the Moriah vineyards shortly after he was dismissed from the monastery. She was there on behalf of her father, Charles Widmore. If Jughead did detonate, Widmore would have to be dead since he was on the Island at the time (a lot of important characters would be dead: Ben, Richard, Eloise...). I'm not even completely convinced he's married at all -- could be he just likes bling, or that he's trying to keep all the women away so he doesn't have to get caught up in any more nasty sexual harrassment lawsuits (that wasn't really all that funny, huh?).

What I do believe, and I think there are a lot of others who agree, is that Desmond has developed some understanding of his gift and is a constant between the two timelines. In a sense, he will become Eloise Hawking, providing the guidance to reconciling the two timelines. Where and how he will appear in the 2007 timeline is to be determined, but as Hawking said: "The Island's not done with you yet."

2) More heady literature -- Soren Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling."

There has already been a lot of talk about this, as should be expected from the presence of any book that appears on the show. So, to avoid repeating the same stuff ad nauseum, let me briefly summarize what this book, and it's writer, are about before I add my two cents on its meaning.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “[Kierkegaard’s] work crosses the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, literary criticism, devotional literature and fiction.” Sounds like “LOST” to me. He attempted to renew Christian faith in his work, but is also considered the “father of existentialism.” Much like the show, this was a philosopher who dealt in contradictions involving fate and destiny.

The book found was Fear and Trembling, written under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio (John the Silent). The title comes from Philippians 2:12: “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” The book is about the difficulties of faith, from morals and ethics to being authentic. Kierkegaard asks the questions: “Can we do wrong if God commands it?” and “Do we have to absolutely obey God?” The story in question in that of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22, in which God requires that Abraham sacrifice his child as proof of Abraham's devotion. In Kierkegaard's philosophy, in order for a person to be willing to give up everything he must trust the "strength of the absurd," which will reward him later for his sacrifice.

Who is this book meant for? I would say Jack. This season is going to be about his redemption, his willingness to "let things go," and give in to the will of the Island for the betterment of everyone. He has been working out his salvation in each season of this series, but he has been doing it alone. If we keep with the bibical analogy here, most Christians are taught that you cannot do anything without God. Faith without works is dead and works without faith are vanity. Jack has been trying to do everything alone since the beginning: his "live together, die alone" speech is hollow for the most part because he doesn't believe it for himself. He's like the preacher that tells you adultery is evil and wicked, yet is shacking up with his secretary. In season 6, like Abraham, he's going to have to trust the strength of the absurd if he stands to be redeemed.

Next Tuesday looms closer...time is moving too slowly.

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