Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

Lost 5.4: The Little Prince February 5, 2009

Filed under: Lost,Television — Emily @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

Viewers were given plenty of food for thought on this week’s episode of Lost. Before I get to my analysis, here’s a quick rundown of what we learned this week:

The Characters:

  • Sun – She has hired someone to run surveillance on Ben, and she now has a gun in her possession (courtesy of a box of chocolates – how quaint) that she intends to kill him with.
  • Kate – She does her own spying, to find out who Mr. Norton’s client is. After following him to hotel where he meets with Claire’s mother, she thinks that is the person trying to gain custody of Aaron. However, apparently this was only a charade to mislead Kate, because his real client is Ben. As many viewers have suspected, Ben is manipulating Kate to give her a reason to go back to the Island.
  • Sayid – The massive dose of horse tranquilizers didn’t seem to phase him much, as he was quick to recognize that a supposed orderly was actually a hired assassin (hired by whom – Ben probably?) and deftly disabled him. I am guessing that Ben is orchestrating all of these events to bring the gang all together on the docks in Long Beach.
  • Charlotte – It was all but confirmed that she has been to the Island before, and that she was there for a significant amount of time, when Daniel explained to Miles that the reactions to the time flashes seem to be worse (like really bad jet lag) for people who have spent more time on the island. I still wonder if she is somehow Annie, Ben’s childhood friend.
  • Miles – When Miles develops a nose bleed, Daniel suggests that Miles may have been to the Island before and just not remember it. I read elsewhere that given this new development, it seems likely that Miles is Dr. Marvin Candle’s son – especially since we saw Dr. Candle with his wife and baby in the season premiere. Even if Miles is Dr. Candle’s son, we are still left to wonder how he ended up leaving the Island, and why he doesn’t remember that he’s been there before.
  • Ben – In the midst of manipulating everyone and everything, Ben is driving around in a Canton-Rainier Carpet Cleaning van. I figured that name must have some significance since it was shown several times. Sure enough, it’s an anagram for “reincarnation.” Perhaps this is in reference to Locke, whose body is most likely in the back of that van, and who will be brought back to life if all goes as planned. By the end of the episode, Ben had managed to gather Sayid, Jack, Kate, Sun, and Aaron at the docks. Now they just need to get Hurley out of jail and prevent Sun from shooting Ben.
  • Jin – I was ecstatic when those French folks rolled over the body and we saw that it was Jin. I had held out hope that he wasn’t really dead, and I am happy that I was right. Now he finds himself in a bizarre situation: newly stranded on the same island, but with a young Danielle Rousseau and her shipmates. He probably thinks he is hallucinating, since he doesn’t have Daniel around to explain what is happening. But backing up, I guess we are to assume that when the freighter exploded, he had jumped overboard, and within minutes, the Island moved, taking him along with it in time.

The Time Flashes – These jumps through time are playing out like a “Lost’s Greatest Hits,” and I’m loving it!

  • First Locke, Sawyer, and the gang find themselves a few years back, on the night that Locke was pleading for a sign and a purpose, and the light shone up out of the hatch as if in answer. Seeing that light again, even though we now know that was just Desmond going about his business, was still interesting. It reminded me how creepy it was the first time around. Moments later, Sawyer heads through the jungle to investigate a loud scream. Turns out it’s Claire, about to give birth to Aaron, and Kate is giving her a pep talk. I got all misty-eyed during this scene. It’s both sad and sweet – Sawyer probably thought he would never see Kate again, and now he is getting this glimpse into an amazing moment in her life. Unfortanately, his special moment is cut short when another flash occurs.
  • From night to day, next they found themselves jumping ahead again. They come across their campsite, but it has been abandoned. And there are a couple of boats pulled up on shore, containing a water bottle from an Indian airline. I’m guessing that there was another crash caused by the Island’s magnetic properties? The zodiac is gone, so they start paddling to the other side of the island in one of the new boats, but are soon after pursued by the people the boat belongs to. Thankfully, another time flash saves them from their pursuers and gunfire.
  • Now going from day to night, they are suddenly caught up in a heavy storm, still out on the water, but no longer being chased. When they make it back to shore, they discover wreckage that appears to be brand new. Locke flips over a container that says “Besixdouze,” French for B612, which just so happens to be the name/number of the asteroid that was the home “planet” to the Little Prince in Saint-Exupéry’s novel. (See below for my thoughts on these literary allusions.)
  • This was where things got really good. We are introduced to a group of French-speaking people on a lifeboat, and they come across a body that they then pull off of a piece of wreckage. Oh my goodness! It’s Jin!!! I’ve already mentioned my joy over this development, but I’ll just say again that this was a surprise for me. I’m so glad I don’t read spoilers. The episode ended with Jin having a conversation with a young, and very pregnant, Danielle Rousseau, before she was all crazy and Rambo-esque. Hopefully Jin will be reunited with his fellow castaways soon, so that he won’t think that he’s crazy.

The Little Prince

The most intriguing aspect of this week’s episode is the title, The Little Prince, taken from the French novel Le Petit Prince, by French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In this classic fable, a pilot (the Narrator) has been downed in the Sahara desert and is trying to repair his plane when he sees an apparition of a Little Prince. They strike up a conversation, and for much of the book, the Little Prince relates stories of his home planet and his journey through the universe, including how he fell in love with a rose and his encounters with a wise fox.

The choice of the title “The Little Prince” could refer to various characters on the show for different reasons, but most notably Aaron:

  • Aaron Littleton – Before I even thought of the literary reference, I assumed the title was referring to Claire’s son. He’s always been treated as something of a golden child, even before his birth (when the psychic told Claire that she needed to be the one to raise him, and that he was special.) In this week’s episode, Kate and Jack take drastic measures when they learn that someone wants to take Aaron away, that someone knows who he really is. Also, since his last name is Littleton, Aaron is literally a Little Prince, but so far there are no connections that I can see to the literary character, unless it’s just something that hasn’t been revealed yet.

I did have a new thought after watching this episode, now that we have the added dimension of time traveling: what if Aaron must go back to the island because he is meant to be there and is necessary to its survival, because he was there in the past (as an older version of himself)? What if Aaron is Jacob, Richard, or someone else on the Island? His family tree certainly seems connected to the Island, since his grandfather, Dr. Shepherd, has been hanging out in Jacob’s cabin, and Claire disappeared into the jungle to hang out with her father. The most intriguing idea is that Aaron is Jacob. Perhaps this is connected to the idea of reincarnation (also hinted at in this episode with the anagram on Ben’s van). I also think it is significant that we were reminded of Aaron’s island birth. Sawyer could have observed Kate in any number of moments, but the writers chose the birth of Claire’s son. Maybe he is the Island’s Little Prince. I look forward to seeing how this develops.

  • Ben – We’ve seen two people born in the middle of a forest on this show: Aaron and Ben. Perhaps there is more of a link between these characters than we know. Ben’s mother died giving birth to him, and at this point, Aaron has been separated from his mother, Claire. They both seem to be special, based on what other people have said about them or how they treat them. To me, these similarities are further proof that Aaron is likely a person of significance on the Island. But as far as connections to The Little Prince go, there is one obvious one with Ben. When Ben turned the wheel and moved the island, he landed in the middle of the Sahara Desert. In Saint-Exupéry’s novel, the narrator is a pilot whose plane goes down in the Sahara Desert. The narrator learns much from the Little Prince he encounters. Although it’s not a direct comparison, Ben has many encounters with Jacob on the island. Maybe these are also encounters with Aaron, the Little Prince, if Aaron is Jacob.
  • Locke – At the end of The Little Prince, the Little Prince tells the Narrator that he must return to his home planet, and explains to him that “while it will look as though he has died, he has not, but rather that his body is too heavy to take with him to his planet” (I gathered this info from Wikipedia, since it has been years since I read this novel and I’m foggy on the details.) This reminds me of Locke, who has to die in order to make everything right again. Will Locke be reincarnated in a different body, or has his body been left behind while he’s actually still doing the Island’s work? One famous quote from The Little Prince sounds exactly like something that Locke would say: “One cannot see well except with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eyes.”
  • Jin – The revelation that Jin is still alive also seems connected to the chosen episode title. A French crew is shipwrecked on an island, similarly to the French pilot stranded in the desert, and they encounter a man there, with no explanation of where he came from. So in this sense, Jin is like The Little Prince. The reference to the Little Prince’s asteroid, B612, on the French ship’s wreckage, may just be another reminder of the episode’s title, or it could be suggesting that the island is not of this world. I’m not quite ready to bring alien theories into the mix, though, since I’m still digesting the whole time travel aspect.
  • Jacob – Is Jacob the Little Prince? Is the Little Prince Aaron? If so, what’s the point? So many questions!

One more thought about Lost’s connections to The Little Prince. In the novel, the Little Prince tells of his life on his planet. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about the Little Prince’s daily existence that sounds an awful lot like the lives of some of the Island’s dwellers, most notably Desmond, Ben, and Richard:

“The Prince spends his days caring for his ‘planet’, pulling out the baobab trees that are constantly trying to take root there. The trees will make his little planet turn to dust if they are not pulled out. Throughout the book he is taught to be patient and to do hard work to keep his ‘planet’ in order.”

Desmond has to care for the Island by pushing in a sequence of numbers regularly, and Richard and Ben both work hard and are very patient to keep the Island functioning the way it is intended to.

Maybe these are just more literary allusions, presented to viewers to give us something to dissect, similarly to previous references to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Or, maybe they are intended to give us clues to future revelations. Whatever the case, I am fascinated.

Related Links:

  • Little Prince Theories – This page contains other theories related to The Little Prince. I haven’t even read any of these yet, but I’d imagine there are some similar ideas to the ones I’ve presented here.
  • Lost 5.3: Jughead – My review of last week’s episode

4 Responses to “Lost 5.4: The Little Prince”

  1. Chelsea Says:

    the quote is actually “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”

    but i agree that lost and the little prince seem to be connected… now i bet everyone is going to go out and read the little prince… i know i want to read it again… that book is amazing… 🙂

  2. Emily Says:

    Hi Chelsea,
    You made me curious about the different versions of the quote I mentioned. The version you included in your comment was from the first English translation in 1943, and the one I referenced was from another translation in 2000. Here’s an interesting page that analyzes five different English translations of the same phrase:

    I think I prefer the original French version over the rest of them: “On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. chelsea Says:

    hey emily… i guess i didn’t realize that it had been translated so many times and different ways. my grandpa always quoted the version i said… so maybe thats why i just assumed that was they only way…

  4. Eric Says:

    Very interesting theories. I think you are correct that Aaron is the little prince referred to in the title. The fact that Claire is still alive after giving birth is also something to consider.

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