Follow along! The episode guide for "The Moth" is in Finding Lost, pp. 45-49.
Oh Chah-lie. Now, as we head into season 6, I miss him so much. In season 1, he was sweet and lovable and funny (and when you watch this episode with the commentary on, Dominic Monaghan is HILARIOUS). But when he stops using, and becomes all hostile in season 2, I really disliked him a lot. By the middle of season 3 he was as holy as Jack, and I couldn’t stand him... and yet he’ll redeem himself in “Greatest Hits,” just in time for... well... you know.
Fun things I noticed:
• It’s interesting that Locke chooses Charlie, of all people. In retrospect, we see how important Charlie will be to everyone, but his importance lies in him unjamming the frequency so they could be “rescued,” which is counter to what Locke wants. Similarly Locke encourages Jack to become the leader of the people, which again runs counter to Locke’s best interests. Early on, it seemed Locke was making decisions that weren’t good ones for himself. When I was reading Ulysses, I noticed the Stephen Dedalus/Leopold Bloom relationship was much like the Charlie/Locke one here: Bloom wants to be a father figure to Dedalus, even if the kid doesn’t want him to be his father.
• Locke describes a moth coming out of its cocoon and says struggle is nature’s way and that’s what will make the moth strong. This is consistent with John; in season 5, when he has the chance to tell his former self what will happen, he tells Sawyer he doesn’t want to because he needs that journey to become the man he is today.
• As a mother to a budding lepidopterist (and I only know what the word means because of my daughter), I found Locke’s assessment of moths versus butterflies very interesting. My 4-year-old daughter has been obsessed with monarchs since she was 3, and so last year and this year we go tromping through the woods collecting monarch caterpillars and raise them through the larvae stages into their chrysalis, and watch as they emerge 10 days later. Then we wait the requisite 24-48 hours and take them outside and let them go (last year one of them didn’t come out of the chrysalis right, and I ended up on speakerphone to the nearby Butterfly Conservatory with a scientist, who was talking me through how to get the poor thing out with a pair of tweezers and a needle... afterwards he explained that we were actually doing a good thing; that 80% of butterflies will survive in captivity, as opposed to 10% in the wild). It’s pretty amazing (I have 5 chrysalises downstairs right now, along with one still in the egg and three hatched caterpillars) and I’ve read scores of books on the subject in the last year. We’ve tried to raise countless moths, but we’ve yet to actually have one make it out of the cocoon. The butterflies seem to be able to make the journey no problem, but those moths never do. At first I thought Locke was wrong when he said moths were stronger, because if the things can’t get out, how does that make them stronger? But it links back to Charlie because, like other drug addicts, only the strongest one will kick the habit, and similarly, only the strongest moth will make it out, whereas the butterflies obviously have an easier go of it. OK, now back to your regularly scheduled Lost discussion. ;) And now you know that weird aspect of my life; when I’m not watching Lost, I’m standing in a field with my daughter searching through milkweed plants for tiny monarch eggs.
• This episode has the first instance of Sceve. To read the full controversy surrounding these two, check out pp 97-98 of my first Finding Lost book.
• Sucks to be the only doctor on the island... first he has to talk Kate through how to give him painful stitches, and now he has to talk Charlie through painfully relocating his shoulder. Yeeowch.
• I think I noted this in my book, but Charlie emerges from the ground like a vamp on BtVS, and it looks like a rebirth of sorts.
Things that have new meaning:
• Jack says he wishes he had Kate’s faith. Now we know one thing that sets Jack apart from the others is that he doesn’t seem to have any faith in anything. And interestingly, Kate’s always been more on the side of Jack – she doesn’t seem to believe in any of the destiny talk, either.
• Locke tells Charlie that life is a series of choices, and you make those choices based on instinct. This is a really interesting scene, considering that Locke is so firmly on the side of destiny over free will. Here he seems to be a proponent of free will, but notice how he says those choices are based on instinct, not a thought process. That would seem to be more of a fate thing again.
• The Charlie episode has a subplot of Sayid trying to open a radio signal, which is weird now that we know Charlie will eventually die doing the very same thing.
• Sayid has his little speech about how maybe they were all destined to be on the island, but that runs counter to what we later know of Sayid. Despite him being religious (and as I’ve said in the past, typically on this show they put the religious characters on the side of destiny), he mocks Locke in season 3 for following a few words he’d seen etched on the Jesus stick, and he firmly believes in free will. AND YET... in season 5, he’ll believe he came back for a reason, and that his destiny is to kill Ben Linus.
• Now that we know the island manipulates certain situations to make things happen, I wonder if it actually created the cave-in? Notice it happens just as Charlie is proclaiming himself to be a god, and it forces people to come together to get him out.
• Charlie dies in the episode “Through the Looking Glass,” based on the Lewis Carroll book where Alice steps through the mirror and enters a strange and scary world. And looking back at this episode, Charlie is sitting in front of a mirror when he holds the bag of heroin for the first time, and presumably makes his own metaphorical step through the looking glass into the strange and scary world of drug abuse.
• Jack says he’ll always remember what a hero Charlie was. Charlie says, “For the rest of our lives?” and I thought, “Which, for you, is only about 3 more months.” :::SOB:::
• Locke says, “I’m proud of you, Charlie. I always knew you could do it.” And that’s how we’ll feel about Charlie when he dies. :(