Upon my second viewing of Lost’s second season, I came away with a similar opinion to the first time around: it wasn’t as all-around amazing as the first season, but it introduced some interesting new twists. Knowing all that we know now, the developments of season two don’t seem as earth shattering. That being said, there was still a lot to enjoy.
- The Original Cast – We didn’t spend as much time with Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the other “cool kids” (and the writers continued poking fun at the fact that everyone acted like the other survivors didn’t exist or matter). We continued to piece together their back stories: the dissolution of Jack’s marriage, the truth about Kate’s criminal past (she murdered her “step” father), the stranglehold that Locke’s despicable father had on his life and relationship, the not so innocent side of Sun, the softer side of Sawyer’s nature, the crazy side of Hurley, etc. Over the course of the season, we saw Sayid mourn and recover from Shannon’s sudden death, Kate and Sawyer develop more of an attraction for each other, Jack and Locke clash over leadership direction, Sun and Jin celebrate over the news that she is pregnant, etc.
- The Newbies – Ah, the now infamous tail section survivors of Flight 815: Ana Lucia, Mr. Eko, Libby, Bernard, and that other chick who got taken by the Others before we got to know her. Ana Lucia was always super annoying, but she didn’t bother me as much this time around – probably because I felt sorry for the gruesome death for which she was headed. Mr. Eko was actually more annoying this time. He was always speaking in cryptic, mysterious ways, and wandering around looking creepy. I’m still bugged that we never got all of Libby’s back story before she died. The fact that three of these survivors died within a season of first appearing makes them feel like an after thought, or like filler until the writers could get to the good stuff. Sure, initially it was fascinating to think that there were other survivors, and it was heartwarming to see Rose and Bernard’s reunion. But introducing this group didn’t give us any clues about the mysteries of the island.
- Desmond – With a skipping record player, we met the beloved Desmond. In the beginning he was a bit loopy from being closed up in the hatch by himself for so long. And then he disappeared for the whole season! The writers redeemed themselves by centering the season finale around him and his back story. We learned that he arrived on the island during a boat race around the world. He had embarked on that race to regain his honor (after being dishonorably discharged from the Queen’s army), and to win back Penny. Instead, he ended up stuck in a hatch pushing a button every 108 minutes to, presumably, save the world. He is one of the more fascinating characters on the show, and we saw a lot more of him in season three.
- Henry Gale/Benjamin Linus – We didn’t learn his real name until, I believe, the beginning of season three. But from the very beginning, he was uber creepy! The scene where he is eating cereal at the table with Locke, and laughingly talks about what he would do if he were an Other (lead them to a secluded spot, have my people ambush them…), perfectly demonstrated Ben’s manipulative, disturbing personality.
- The Hatch – We learned that the Hatch was one of many stations set up by the Dharma Initiative, a group who lived on the island and performed scientific and sociological experiments. I liked how we were introduced to Dharma via the warbled, unsettling Orientation film strips. All season we wondered along with Locke and the rest whether or not it was really necessary to push the button. We found out it was in the season finale, when the electromagnetism went berserk when Locke didn’t push the button and destroyed the computer. Thankfully, Desmond seemed to save the day by turning a failsafe key – but we had to wait until the next season to find out what happened to the Hatch and everyone in it. The Hatch’s main purpose was to set up Locke’s struggle between reason and faith. After his temporary skepticism, the incident at the Hatch made him a believer once more.
- The Others – We only saw them lurking around the jungle, barefoot, wearing ragged clothing. And then we saw them living in huts on the beach. But, we also had some hints that they were pretending to be savages: the medical station where they treated Claire, the fake beard and stage makeup in the locker, and the civilized people (Ethan, Goodwin, and Ben) who infiltrated the survivors’ camps. We didn’t know how long they had lived on the island, but we pieced together that they thought of themselves as Good, and they were taking the Good people from the flight survivors and leaving the Bad ones behind.
- The Dharma Initiative – At this point we weren’t sure if the Dharma people and the Others were different groups, although it seemed to be so. We did know that they were studying the electromagnetic qualities of the island, as well as sociological experiments on the people living in the Hatch.
Random Observations and Questions:
- Visions of Dead People – By the end of season two, Jack had seen his dead father, Mr. Eko had talked to his dead brother and the just deceased Ana Lucia, Kate had been spoken to by her dead step father (who had, it seemed, momentarily possessed Sawyer), etc. These instances, except maybe for the Sawyer/Kate’s step dad one, are like the more recent visitations (Alex telling Ben to do what Locke says, Jack’s father guiding Locke, Hurley’s conversations and chess matches with his deceased friends). But what about Shannon’s visions of Walt, and Hurley’s conversations with his imaginary friend Dave from the mental hospital? We knew that Walt had telekinetic abilities, so that probably explains why Shannon and Sayid saw him. And Hurley was going through some major stress related to his overeating and his crush on Libby, so his hallucinations of Dave were probably not island related as much as in his head. The vision that doesn’t make sense to me is from season four, when Kate saw Claire in Aaron’s bedroom, and Claire told her not to bring Aaron back. We don’t know if Claire is dead or alive, but since they didn’t show her die, I have to believe that she is alive on the island. One of the latest theories is that not-Locke (aka Jacob’s nemesis) has the ability to appear as anyone who has visited the island and who is dead: Jack’s father, Mr. Eko’s brother, and more recently Locke. So Kate’s vision of Claire could mean that Claire is dead and that was actually not-Locke in Aaron’s room. Or, it could be some other force at work, regardless of whether Claire is alive or dead. That’s a head scratcher.
- Why did the Others dress in ragged clothes and pretend to be savages, when they were really living in a civilized community? And why did they abduct the “good” survivors? How did they determine who was good and who was bad? The answer to the good/bad part of this question seems to lie with Jacob. He chooses people for a list, based on how worthy they are to remain on the island as an Other. And I guess the Others could maintain more control over the island visitors by creating a sense of mystery about themselves. Had the Flight 815 passengers known that the Others lived on a commune and had book clubs, they would have been less likely to cooperate. But still, it seemed like an awful roundabout way to distract.
- “What Kate Did” – This episode answered the burning question of what Kate did, but it also raised a couple of lingering questions for me. What was with the black horse? Can not-Locke appear as animals, too? The appearance of the horse doesn’t fit with the rest of the mythology. Another question: Why did someone cut part of the Dharma film out and hide it in a book? Who did that? Was this question ever answered?
- “Maternity Leave” – Claire, Rousseau, and Kate discovered the truth about Claire’s abduction. She was held captive and sedated, and was told that her baby needed a continued treatment of a vaccine to prevent him from getting sick. This could have just been a ruse, to convince Claire to let the Others keep Aaron, just as Desmond injected himself with the vaccine and stayed inside the Hatch to avoid “the sickness.” However, Rousseau thinks Aaron has the same sickness that infected her crew. In season five we saw her crew turn on one another from whatever sickness they contracted. I wonder now if their sickness is related to Not-Locke. Something else in this episode that reminds me of Not-Locke is when Ben, then known as Henry and being held captive in the Hatch, asked John whether he’s the genius or the guy living in the shadow of the genius (a comparison at the time between Locke and Jack, and Hemingway and Dostoevsky). If Ben has been involved in not-Locke’s plan all along, then perhaps he was already planting seeds of desire for leadership in Locke’s mind, to position him to a place where Not-Locke could get to him. I mean, think of all the times Ben tried to kill Locke. Maybe he was always following orders of not-Locke!
- In “Two for the Road,” Locke asks “Henry” why he tried to kill Ana Lucia but not him. Henry/Ben answers that the man in charge (Jacob, we now know) is a brilliant man, but not a forgiving one, and he wouldn’t be too happy that Ben failed in his mission (when Rousseau caught him), which he claims was to bring Locke back to their camp. I wonder if Jacob really wanted Ben to bring Locke back to the camp. Probably not. This was more likely Ben’s way of manipulating Locke, either for his own purposes or perhaps for not-Locke.
- Season finale: “Live Together, Die Alone” – Desmond’s backstory. We see that his Hatch partner, Kelvin, was the man who asked Sayid to torture his commanding officer. Then, we learn that Radzinsky was Kelvin’s partner. He’s the one who came after Sayer, Juliet, etc. We saw many connections like this in season two. When Desmond turned the failsafe key, what happened to the hatch (did the electromagnetism reset, did destroying the Hatch negate the effects of the magnetism, etc.)? Why did the sky turn bright white like during the time flashes? And why did this flash seem to only affect Desmond, who ended up going on a journey through time? I don’t have any good answers to these questions.
- I liked how the finale developed Desmond’s character more and introduced us to his relationship with Penny. Their love story is so much more epic and touching than the Jack/Kate/Sawyer stuff, which has always seemed juvenile.
- “Man of Science, Man of Faith” – This episode had the single greatest opening scene of any season, and perhaps of any show! We didn’t know who this man was who was going about his morning routine. Our first assumption was that it was one of the crash survivors, and we were seeing a flashback. But then, with a skipping record and a loud “BOOM,” we realized this man was living in the Hatch! The rest of the episode introduced us to Desmond, to the Hatch, and to Jack’s struggle between science and faith.
- “The Other 48 Days” – Despite all my complaining about the addition of the tail section survivors in season two, I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating episode that showed what was happening at their camp while Jack and company were creating a near tropical paradise on their side of the island. The question remains, why did the tail section folks have such a horrific time of it in their first 48 days, while the other group survived relatively unscathed? For one thing, they must have had more “good” people in their camp, since the majority of them were taken, whereas only a couple were taken from Jack’s group. Whatever the case, this episode, which consisted entirely of chronological flashbacks starting with the crash of Flight 815, gave us yet another new perspective of the island and its inhabitants.
- “Lockdown” – This episode was the first one in which Michael Emerson was really given a chance to be super creepy, plus show off his acting abilities, as Henry Gale. It was fascinating, especially the second time around, to watch him manipulate Locke and bide his time, rather than escaping when he had a clear shot. This episode also gave us clues about the greater scope of the Dharma Initiative, when Locke discovered the mural when the hatch doors closed. Psychologically gripping, plus plenty of exciting plot development, this was a great episode.
- “S.O.S.” – I really enjoyed this episode, which finally gave us a Rose and Bernard flashback. Their backstory was very touching, from the way they met when Bernard helped Rose get her car unstuck from the snow, to his romantic proposal at Niagara Falls that turned into Rose tearfully telling him she had terminal cancer. I’ve wondered over the years why these characters weren’t given more screen time. My guess is that they both have either family obligations, or other television or theater work, that prevents them from having more active roles on Lost. Whatever the case, their episode was probably my favorite in terms of the flashbacks of season two.
- “Live Together, Die Alone” – Two hours of Desmond flashbacks! How great is that? He disappeared for most of the season, so I was thrilled when he showed up on his boat. I just said that Rose and Bernard’s flashback was my favorite of the season, but Desmond’s was great as well. But, I liked the parts of his flashback on the island more than the off-island parts. It was interesting to see how he came to be on the island, and how he ended up pushing the button in the hatch for three years. Meanwhile, the current events on the island were interesting as well. It was tense watching Michael lead Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley into a trap, and wondering what was going to happen when Locke didn’t enter the numbers and push the button. And we got our first glimpse of the giant four-toed statue that was so pivotal in this season’s finale. How strange that we didn’t hear anything else about it for three years.
I’ve now moved on to season three, but I’m slowing my pace a bit. I need to make these episodes last awhile, since I have to wait so long for season six!