Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1.10 Raised by Another

Follow along! The episode guide for “Raised by Another” is in Finding Lost, pp. 64-68.

Who’d have thought that a first-season flashback for someone who’s not one of the Oceanic 6 – someone who doesn’t even appear in season 5 – would have such resonance for the end of the series?! I loved rewatching this episode. Where most of the season 1 episodes so far have offered up questions that have been largely answered – with a few major exceptions, of course – so much of this episode still hangs in the air like a giant question mark over the whole series.

Fun stuff I noticed:
• I pointed this out in my season 3 guide for “Par Avion,” but there’s a huge inconsistency in this episode with what we later know to be true about Mrs. Middleton. Claire talks about her like they don’t get along, and at one point she says if her mom finds out she’s pregnant, she’ll disown her, and Thomas says she pretty much already has. Fans took that to be an indication that she’s in a coma, but I don’t buy it – she hasn’t DISOWNED Claire while in that coma, she’s in a coma. Before the coma, Claire and her mom fought a lot, which is consistent with Claire’s attitude here. But Claire was a black-haired goth girl who worked at a tattoo parlour in that episode, and she definitely wasn’t pregnant. Now she’s a blonde who works at the Fish N Fry. If they’d kept her hair blonde in that episode, we could say that maybe she was actually pregnant at the time of the accident, and that the scene of her finding out she’s pregnant happens only a few days before the car accident. But the hair colour throws that off. Later, when she’s visiting the psychic, she mentions that she hasn’t told her mother the truth yet, and asks if maybe she shouldn’t. She wouldn’t be that concerned if her mother were in a coma.
• Kate allows her feet to be rooted to the spot, which is unlike her. Yet at the same time, sand is always shifting, showing how temporary her rootedness will be.
• I wasn’t going to say this, but I can’t resist: how bad were the accents on Claire’s friend and the woman who wanted to adopt Aaron? Wow. OK, enough accent talk. ;)
• So why do YOU think Hugo’s nickname is Hurley? My bet is on one too many chilli dogs at a carnival.
• Despite Jack being wrong-o on this one, he’s right on the insanity of pregnancy dreams. When I was pregnant with my first, I began having nightmares right before she was born that I was forgetting her everywhere, or that I’d forget to feed her. In one, I walked into a grocery store with the baby and grabbed a head of lettuce, and stuck the baby in the spot where I’d grabbed the lettuce from. Only when I got home did I realized I’d left her there. Like… WHAT?!
• Ethan, for the record, really is from Ontario. He was working together with me on our scheme with Sawyer that he mentioned in “Confidence Man.” We’re all connected, us horrible Canadians. (His last name, incidentally, is the same as the ROM, or Royal Ontario Museum, which is the massive museum in downtown Toronto that recently got a controversial makeover by architect Daniel Libeskind.) And as I point out in my book, his full name is an anagram for “Other Man.”
• Claire’s phone looked HUGE.
• Sawyer’s sunglasses were awesome. My 4-year-old daughter has a very similar pair.
• Hurley notices that Ethan’s name isn’t on the manifest, but since he only knows Sawyer as Sawyer, and we later find out Sawyer was listed as “James Ford” on the manifest, why didn’t he immediately suspect Sawyer, too?

Things that have new meaning:
• In Claire’s dream, she sees Locke, who says she gave Aaron away. At the time it referred to her wanting to give him up for adoption, but now it’s prescient of the fact that she abandoned Aaron (and interestingly, Locke is the only one who’s seen her since the abandonment) and happily went on her way.
• Locke has one black eye, one white one, like the stones found on Adam and Eve; could it be an early foreshadowing that Locke would embody both sides of the good and evil spectrum? That Locke was white, and the Man in Black was, well, black?
• Malkin warning Claire that no one else can raise Aaron casts an ominous cloud over Kate raising him for the past three years. What will happen to Aaron now that they’ve gone against what the psychic said? Was the psychic nothing more than a fraud?
• Claire asks the parents if they could sing “Catch a Falling Star” to the baby, and in “Whatever Happened, Happened,” we see Kate singing that to baby Aaron. Also, Mrs. Littleton must have told Claire that Christian sang that, since in “Par Avion” we learn that she thought he’d died when she was 2.
• Locke looks VERY interested as Sayid is talking about other people being on the island. This is the first time Locke hears about the existence of his people.

Questions that still need to be answered:
• What is Malkin’s role in the bigger picture? We know that he’ll be the one to get Claire onto the flight, and later it’s his daughter that lures Eko to Australia and gets him on the flight, too. Is Malkin an off-island Other? Does he have something to do with all of this? Could he be with the Shadow Seekers in some way?
• What is the larger role for Aaron? This episode suggested he would be a very special child. It’s because of him that Kate has come back to the island, and he’s Jack’s nephew and Christian’s grandchild, so he has many island connections. Is it possible he’s the Adam skeleton, as some have suggested?


JW said...

1.10 Raised by Another:
This episode just gets more and more meaningful with each passing season, doesn’t it? It’s great to see Claire bear again (especially Claire with Charlie). I missed her. And I just love the speech her self righteous boyfriend gives her about not being ready to be a daddy, and how Claire’s ruining his life, because it’s fun to hate the bastard. Plus, the speech makes my wife all angry at the TV, and it’s fun to watch that. (I did make the mistake of snickering, which got me a glare and the statement, “You better watch it. Right now isn’t a good time for you to be a man.”) And what an ending to the episode!

Fred said...

With having to wait a week, there is just too much time to write on the various episodes. I've limited myself to just picking one or two favorites. wow, Nikki, I like that idea about 'rooted in sand' for Kate, nice metaphor, considering the island itself isn't even rooted.
"Raised by Another" emphasizes a truism, beyond merely its episodic focus on Claire’s unborn child, of many of the LOST characters, whose childhoods revealed in various flashbacks were either marked by deceased parents, or one parent’s absence. While Locke and Sawyer spring easily to mind as fulfilling such a requirement, we need not forget Walt, Jin, Claire, Hurley, and Kate (for her childhood Kate believed Sam was her actual father, not Wayne). LOST captures nineteenth century literature, especially Oliver Twist, and the twentieth century success of Harry Potter with the theme of ‘raised by another’. Both Oliver and Harry have romantic aura surrounding their journey to adulthood and recovery of their parent’s heritage, given the masses who did live in nineteenth century London and elsewhere and died in obscurity. While the Twist narrative focuses on orphan criminals, Harry Potter focuses on the cultivation of the inherent good in an innocent child and his confrontation with evil (Harry’s first success over corruption begins by his choosing Gryffindor over Slytherin, despite the Sorting Hat suggesting the latter as a better fit). Even before he is born, Aaron Littleton is surrounded by the possibilities of danger, as warned by Malkin in the episode, and that only by Claire raising Aaron can he be taught to be good (Malkin’s warning is suggestive that goodness does not lie naturally within, but has to be nurtured without, a point that resonates given the childhoods of many of the main characters in LOST).
So what do we make of Claire’s dream, which opens the episode, in which she comes across Locke, who says, “He was your responsibility, but you gave him away. Everyone pays the price now.” A first reading suggests Claire’s wish to give the baby up leads to the crashing of Flight 815, that she might raise Aaron by herself. This seems to be the implication when she and Charlie consider whether Malkin had really seen the crash of Oceanic 815, or whether it had all been coincidence. Being somewhat superstitious, Claire puts faith into her belief Malkin had foreseen the air disaster (afterall, from her perspective, he had foreseen her pregnancy and Thomas’s leaving her). But let us consider an alternative reading. Aaron Littleton is a figure of prophecy, and as such shares much with literary figures as Harry Potter, and Luke Skywalker. In Claire’s initial dream, the sound of a sword being drawn out is quite clear, a reference perhaps to the sword given Harry by the Sorting Hat to defeat the Basilisk. The association of the identity of the hero with the sword is made in the sword in the stone and King Arthur, and the light saber and Luke Skywalker. Perhaps the sound of the sword being drawn is an inference to regard Aaron Littleton as ‘hero’. Reading Claire’s dream in this way, Locke’s figure becomes more a Merlin type figure, a source of prophecy and not endangerment to Claire and Aaron. (But all youthful heroes require a mentor/teacher: Obi Wan Kenobi for Luke, Dumbledore for Harry; such a figure has not appeared (at least yet) for Aaron, but it might be one of the two figures, Jacob or ‘Esau’).

Fred said...

One last and final point, to round things out.
With the story of Jesus, the quintessential hero, two elements of the LOST episode come to the fore. Firstly, Claire’s dreams or warnings can be associated with the visitations by the angels to Mary (even after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary are warned of Herod’s plot to kill all newborn males). Claire’s second dream at the caves, in which she imagines being stabbed by a needle, can be interpreted as a powerful force threatens to kill her child. Claire’s dream itself is an intertextual reference to science fiction tales about alien abductions, and may owe a lot more than imagined to the X-Files and its obsession with fertility experiments run by the government and aliens. Notice then how Claire responds to Jack wanting to sedate her, her reactions include her accusing Jack for failing to believe her, a point Locke will make in subsequent episodes. (A second reaction involves her reactions against being called ‘crazy’. Claire knows what such a word can do, how it can alter people’s perception of her, that she would become ‘that person’, or ‘other’. In fact, the ‘other couple’, Jin and Sun, who in the first episodes seemed outside of the group, is enlarged to later include Claire and Charlie, whose disputes and infighting become actions we and the survivors look on from the outside. The word, ‘insane’, can create a gap, one felt by Hurley and Libby, both of whom were at Santa Rosa). Secondly, Hurley’s attempt to identify the Claire’s attacker leads to his making a census—the census precedes Jesus’ birth and leads to the family’s move to Bethlehem. It is also possible to see Hurley’s census (or as Boone calls it, Patriot Act) as fodder for comedy—we are introduced again to the Scott/Steve joke, Hurley’s nickname, but why, and the comic scene between Hugo and Sawyer.
Finally, Malkin enunciates a principal theme in LOST: “This is what must happen.” There is an element in Malkin’s comment that agency must be applied to ensure particular outcomes: Claire’s faith in astrology (her wanting to do Kate’s chart) ties into this notion of fate. Nevertheless, earlier, Claire says to Rachel, “I don’t need somebody telling me what’s going to happen or how to live my life.” (I certainly hear an echo of Locke and Jack in this comment). Yet this is exactly what she does, going back to the clairvoyant twice, and finally acting on his advice. Before leaving this I want to consider one last hero raised by another, Oedipus, who comes back home and kills his father. Sound familiar? Locke?

Anonymous said...

Crazy pregnancy dream: We take our baby home and all is well. Until I go to change his diaper, which is when he turns into this horrible bloated cat monster thing with one bulging out eye and shriveled limbs. Eww. So, I call out for my husband and he shows up all relaxed and is all like
"Well, if that is what God gave us, we should be happy."
and I scream "Do you not see CatBoy!?!"

Haha, to this day, my husband calls our son CatBoy occasionally.

Anonymous said...

That comment above was me, Joan Crawford AKA CatBoy's Mom

P.S. My husband doesn't call him CatBoy to his face. That'd be mean.

Writing is my Passion said...

I loved this episode. The only Claire episode that surpassed this one was from season 2, "Maternity Leave". The most pivotal scene was the opening scene. I could not stand Thomas! At first I thought "He seems good enough".

Mrs Stewart's accent was worse than Claire's friend (I mocked her when Claire changed her mind at the law firm. "What? "Noh! Noh!") ;-)

Getting off-topic, now. Have any you seen "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" yet? It came out the day after my birthday. I won't give any spoilers in case you haven't seen it. But it was brilliant. It snatched "Best Harry Potter film" from Goblet of Fire for me. Half-Blood Prince was my favourite of the books.

Back on topic: That ending. "Hello there!" Still gives me chills. All I have left is "Whatever the Case May Be".

JW said...

By the way, Nikki, in your book you wonder why Shannon’s such a jerk with Hurley about the census. Maybe I have the wrong impression of her, but she just seemed to be acting like typical Shannon to me.

Jennifer said...

Has anyone else noticed that the actor who plays Thomas resembles the actor who plays Ben? WEIRD.

What is it about Claire and her baby? The psychic freaks out...Claire's dream featuring Locke...I like the idea that Claire's goodness (Malkin's words) would be the influence & protection that Aaron needs (holy nurture vs. nature!) So, in this past season, "Claire" tells Kate not to bring Aaron back: is it because the island doesn't want him back or is it that Claire is truly afraid for her son?

Anonymous said...

I said to my husband that it was too bad they used that actor for Thomas, as he would have made a good young Ben for Dead Is Dead.

I can't reconcile the two appearances of Malkin. He tells Eko he's a fake, but his behavior in this episode contradicts this. If he was fake, he would have kept her money instead of giving it back. He's almost obsessed, calling Claire in the middle of the night to insist she listen to him.

As for the discrepancies about her mom, obviously they didn't have her planned out at the beginning. Nikki I liked your suggestion of what they could have done to maintain continuity.

Susan said...

Oops forgot to put my name on that last comment.

The Shout said...

It's funny watching these early Ethan episodes back knowing what we now know - I actually feel sorry for him. The look on his face at the end of the episode comes across as one of concern rather than menace. I believe he acted for what he considers Claire's best interests and out of loyalty to his own people. I think i'll leave the discussion on whether his methods are justified till the next episode.

Teebore said...

The significance of Aaron and the validity of Malkin is, perhaps, for me the unresolved issue I would most like to see resolved that probably won't be (hope that makes sense...).

There was definitely a vibe throughout the first season, thanks in large part to this episode, that Aaron was especially significant to the story. Perhaps he still is, though probably only in a "he was the first child born on the island in some time" kind of way, and not in the "he's destined to play a big role in something" Harry Potter-esque kind of way, which was implied by the first season, at times.

And while Malkin declares himself a fraud in the Eko episode in season two (and some writers have said that was the final word on Malkin) I really hope we're not done with him. He seemed TOO genuine in this episode to be written off entirely as a fake.

Basically, thanks to this episode, I like to think that Aaron is destined for something special, and Claire being a part of his life is instrumental to him fulfilling that destiny, and that Malkin is somehow privy to that info. I just have to hope that the show intends to go in that direction, and deal with it if/when they don't.

Maybe Malkin was trying to prevent Aaron from being corrupted/used by Esau or Jacob?

Mike_D said...

The paintings that Claire's boyfriend Thomas has in his apartment as works-in-progress later shows up in Widmore's office when Desmond is talking to him....

Weird right?

humanebean said...

I had completely forgotten about Locke's appearance in Claire's nightmare. Seeing those one black/one white eyes freaked me right OUT. Also liked that he was turning over cards at a table in an episode focused on a psychic. Very resonant stuff in light of Season 5's finale.

As if I didn't love Charlie enough already, the sincere, tender support he offers Claire here breaks my heart when I think of how his drug-statue hoarding and nightmare-inspired Aaron baptism will turn her against him in later episodes.

There are at least 3 different globes on display in the psychic's home - perhaps significant in light of his involvement in at least two Losties getting on the plane.

When Thomas and Claire begin to argue, he mutters a line about her "daddy abandonment crap". You don't know the HALF of it, buddy! If YOUR father's drunken death spiral brought YOUR half-brother over to accompany the body onto a plane that would crash, stranding your unknowing selves on the same mysterious Island, these issues would seem more relevant.

Loved Sawyer's reply to Hurley's request for a straight-up gift of the manifest, "You sure know how to butter a man UP, Stay-Puft".

Nik - like you, I was struck by the close-ups on Locke when Sayid staggers back into the cave. "We're ... not .... ALONE". The look on Locke's face is far more chilling now.

Lastly, what exactly are the Chinese-looking characters hanging from Claire's necklace and on the front of Boone's T-shirt? (sorry if this is in the book, Nik, my copy is AWOL at the moment - think the cats are doing a rewatch of their own)

Azá said...

Nikki: have pretty much resonanted with a lot of your points in this episode :)

- Immediately had visions of the Adam and Eve stones and Locke's explanation of Backgammon when seeing his one black eye and one white one. I think it certainly could be an early foreshadowing that Locke would embody both sides of the good and evil spectrum :)

- When Claire asks the parents if they could sing “Catch a Falling Star” to the baby, I had visions of Kate standing on Cassidy's doorstep :$

- Noticed that Locke seems to almost fly from what he is doing over to Sayid as he's talking about other people being on the island.

- Wonder who was waiting for Claire in LA? Do you think it could have been Jack's mum? :o I think the Shephard family is a big, big part to the show.

- Speaking of which, we've gotta see the return of Aaron and I've just randomly thought (on the subject of Shephard's; I hope we find out who Jack's ex (Sarah) is pregnant with and who see was seeing...

Chelsea said...

My overall impression of this episode is that Emilie de Ravin is a great screamer.

The question of why exactly Aaron is so important is one of the biggest unanswered questions on the show, and one I really hope gets resolved/explained in the final season.

Great observations Nikki, thanks!

Ali Bags said...

Hi all - I'm a bit behind and haven't watched this episode yet but just want to let you know I'm on the North Shore of Oahu and it is just as wonderful as I have been imagining for the last 20 years! Will have to come back in winter to see the surf.

Anyhoo - I went on a Lost tour yesterday and the photos are here:

Everything does look a lot smaller in real life - the coolest bit was getting to walk past the same bush that jack walks past when he first sees the plabe crash in the pilot. That gave me the shivers.

The only problem is, I won't be able to watch Lost now withought thinking about where on Oahu they have filmed it.

Right - got to get back to subathing now.

Jeremiah said...

What if Sawyer told Hurley his real name and Hurley, being the blabber mouth he is, tells Kate? Does that fit?

A.G.Wooding said...

This was definately the episode where I fell in love with Lost. The final moments where Ethan is revealed to be an other just made me sick for next week's episode. That feeling has continued for about four years (with the exception of the end of Stranger in a Strange Land for obvious reasons).

Marebabe said...

@humanebean: Regarding Chinese characters, I'll share what I know, and what I've heard elsewhere but can't confirm. First, Claire's necklace. I recently read a comment somewhere (maybe it was right here on Nikki's Rewatch site!) that Claire's necklace charm is the Chinese character for Love. May or may not be true. I hope it is. It seems to me that that would be exactly the sort of thing Claire would like.

On Boone's gray shirt, you have 3 characters in a vertical column. They are numbers, which I've learned from playing Mah Jong solitaire. The top one is an 8, and the bottom one is a 4, no question. They are so distinctive that there's no mistaking them. The middle one is less certain, but I think it must be a 7. It's like people's handwriting, where they make certain letters differently, however it suits them. That cross-shaped character most closely looks like a 7 to me. I got all excited about the 4 and the 8, with them being 2 of Hurley's numbers and all. The 7 doesn't have any special meaning to me. I wonder about what meaning those numbers could have to the artist or manufacturer who made the shirt. Why those particular numbers?

SonshineMusic said...

@humanebean: You don't know the HALF of it, buddy! If YOUR father's drunken death spiral brought YOUR half-brother over to accompany the body onto a plane that would crash, stranding your unknowing selves on the same mysterious Island, these issues would seem more relevant.

Bwa hahahahahahah!

Charlie is the cutest thing ever in this group of episodes. From the peanut butter (which is one of my all time favorites) to here, I just lurved him!

I just realized that Kate and Claire have several similarities.
Their fathers abandoned them
Their mothers are ill/have turned against them (we don't see the full pic of Mrs. Littleton, but there is def major tension there). I thought there was more, but that's all that comes to mind at the moment.

I loved the introduction of the Others. It really just blew the top off of this bottle show of their little dramas and opened it up to chaos! :)

humanebean said...

Thanks, Marebabe, for the detailed explanation of the characters in question!

And, thanks to Sonshine Music for the maniacal laughter. We aims to please. ; ]

Jazzygirl said...

Just watched this episode and read all the responses. The first thing I have to say is WOW. Did anyone else get weepy eyed when Charlie was talking to Claire and telling her he'd be her friend? That he'd never leave her and watch over her? I remember way back when I first watched it, I thought Charlie was just trying to get close to the pretty girl. Because it seemed up til now that he was trying to impress the girls...Shannon, Kate, etc. Perhaps it's because I know what's going to happen but I saw it in a new light this time. And I did tear up a bit watching the beginnings of their friendship, knowing Charlie would die.
Yes, the psychic's role is questionable. However I don't believe he was a fraud. But I do have two different ideas:
He either definitely knew the plane would crash or there WAS a couple in LA, and I couldn't help but think it was Jack's parents. Or at least his dad. That Aaron would still be raised by family. And how frustrating that Jack is trying to take care of Claire and doesn't know she's his sister!
I also really hope they close this loop with Aaron. The psychic's words about great danger and implying that Aaron would somehow turn out evil if not raised by Claire's goodness...kinda freaky. So are we to assume Aaron could be some force of evil in the wrong hands?

PS. Saw Harry was the worse one for me. Deviated the most from the book out of all the movies. Very disappointing. That's all I'll say since this isn't the place to hash it out. :)

Casey said...

There is a rectangular cloth on the table Locke is flipping cards on in the dream. There are two crystals on the table next to him. Malkin has those same crystals and cloth on his table when Claire visits him.

Just noticed that after 5 years. I don't know if anybody else ever picked up on it, but it's new to me. I love that you can still find new surprises in the show after so long.

Benny said...

@humanebean/Marebabe: The Chinese characters on Boone's shirt represent the number 84. Taken individually, the first and last one are 8 and 4 respectively, while the middle one has no specific meaning. Taking the sequence as a whole, it means 84.

In that sense, some believe it's an obscure reference to Orwell's 1984. Given Boone's relationship with the plane over the Pearl (Big Brother station?), it's kinda funny.

Pete said...

I'm a bit late to the party here, but what if the "couple" in los angeles that Clare was supposed to be meeting is actually Jack and Kate, and Malkin was foreshadowing them raising Aaron after the O6 get off the island?

Also, wider speculation on my part, and someone else has probably already mentioned this idea, but what if at the start of S6, time is reset to the time of the 815 flight, but instead of them making it to LA as some expect, the flight still crashes but for some other reason?