Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2.15 Maternity Leave

Follow along! The episode guide for “Maternity Leave” is in Finding Lost, pp. 259-265.

“Maternity Leave” was the episode that introduced the on-island flashback, which would be used in later episodes, and we saw the Others living without rags for the first time. I remember how confusing it was when Tom showed up and talked to Ethan (and we heard about someone ordering lists for the first time) and how loopy Claire was when they gave her the drugs. But Alex! Rousseau! And BENRY!!! Oh, what a great episode it is to watch in retrospect.

Fun things I noticed:
• Oh, how many moms have carried a screaming baby into a walk-in clinic or doctor’s office only to be told it’s nothing, just wait it out, and be forced to leave completely heartbroken that the baby’s suffering won’t be helped by any medication, nor will you be getting any extra sleep that night? Oh Claire, honey, I know how you feel…
• I’ve said it many a time before, and I’ll say it again: Emilie de Ravin’s eyes are STUNNING. I never noticed them that much when she was on Roswell (then again, I hated her on Roswell) but MAN they are gorgeous.
• You know, in these later seasons, I really do miss John Locke’s Cliff Claven-like “Obscure Moments in History.”
• While Claire undergoes hypnosis, Kate holds Aaron nearby, and yet later in Eggtown she won’t pick him up.
• I still love Sawyer’s smarmy line when Kate says he doesn’t get to ask why. “Yes I do, watch… Why?”
• Claire tells Ethan the needle hurts. As someone who had an amnio on my second child (and therefore AFTER this episode) I can say that… YES, YES it hurts a LOT. Especially when you have an uncooperative baby who moves to the top of the womb, right in the spot they’re going to stick the long, LONG hollow needle, and so they have no choice but to come up from the bottom, through all that stomach muscle, and as they go to pull it out the muscle wraps around the needle and they have to YANK it out. Yes. It hurts A LOT. Ahem… sorry, where was I?
• Aaron’s entire existence seems to be about being taken. He was going to be given away, then Claire kept him, then she was kidnapped while pregnant with him, and he was about to be taken from her womb, and then he was taken by Rousseau, then he was taken by Charlie… and he’ll ultimately be taken right off the island – away from Claire – by Kate.
• It’s so sad knowing that Rousseau will only be reunited with Alex for a few days… and that both of them will die. Wah.
• Jack comes to the beach and refills his water bottles in that tank there, and yet back at the hatch (where he will be in a few minutes) Locke is running the water CONSTANTLY while cleaning one lousy bowl. You’d think they’d be preserving that water JUST a tad, considering what they’d been through. Why isn’t Jack filling the bottles with the water from the taps and carrying it to the beach, rather than taking water from the vat on the beach and returning to the hatch with it?
• On the Ack Attack, Rachel made a joke about Ben saying, “hhhhhhhwhat?” and I remember laughing my head off at the time because it’s something I’ve always noticed about him (it’s a very “theater-speak” way of saying it… and it’s actually the correct pronunciation… I remember a teacher in elementary school who always insisted that we said hhwhere, hhwhat, etc. and wouldn’t respond to a question unless we pronounced it like that, and I know I probably still do it sometimes). In the hatch, Locke says they think he’s an Other, and he says, “An Other hhhhwhat?”
• And he also says, “Why would I lie?” Another round of laughter from those who’ve seen him later. Oh Ben. Like you need a reason…
• That baby playing Aaron has got to be one of the cutest babies EVER. Seriously, if you could see my son, you’d see how much he looked like that baby when he was one, and how much he looks like a 2-year-old Aaron now. Oh, cruel fate that kept me from having my baby on the show!!!

Things that have new meaning:
• Kate’s the one who comes to Claire’s rescue when Rousseau approaches her in the camp, then helps her talk to Libby, and then goes into the jungle with her, which foreshadows that Kate will be the one to protect Aaron later.
• Ben says, “What, you don’t have any Stephen King?” which is SUCH a delicious moment in retrospect, considering we find out in “A Tale of Two Cities” that he despises Stephen King and gets thrown out of book club as a result. Dostoevsky is EXACTLY the sort of book that Ben would savour. And he will.
• So what WAS that vaccine they were giving Aaron? We still don’t know that. Is it possible he was being primed in the womb as their next leader? Or was it a vaccine that they really thought would protect him against whatever was killing the babies on the island? (But given that they don’t KNOW what is killing the unborn babies, how could they have a vaccine for it?) Or is it just a placebo and this is nothing more than a mind game?
• Eko chopping down trees reminded me of the way Horace was chopping them down in Locke’s dream.
• Sun says to Claire with some animosity, “A mother should not leave her child.” Oh, REALLY, Sun??
• Tom refers to “him” when talking about the list… does he mean Ben or Jacob?
• What was in the water canteen that Ethan gave to Claire?
• Interesting that Eko appears to Ben and tells him that he regrets what he did, and confesses his sins, and yet later, when Yemi asks for that same penance, he refuses. AND interesting that Eko is killed by the smoke monster… the very thing that Ben controls, and Ben knows that Eko killed two of the Others. Did he send Smokey after Eko on purpose??
• Claire tells Aaron they’re meant to be together. If it’s destiny that they’ll always be together, does that mean definite reunion in season 6?

**I'll be posting The Whole Truth and Lockdown tomorrow night.


Gillian Whitfield said...

I remember the first time I saw this episode, I was 14 at the time. It freaked me out SO MUCH the first time I saw it. I'm fine with it now.

According to Jo Thornley, who's my cousin, I say "what" like Ben from time to time. I just wonder how he said "wake up".

I cannot believe that I forgot about Sun dumping Ji Yeon with the Paiks. Then again . . . I only saw season five once. But still . . .

Marebabe said...

Nikki, I agree that this was a fairly confusing and mysterious outing. Among other things, exactly why did the surgical team think they needed to kill Claire when they did the C-section to deliver her baby? Or was Alex mistaken about that? Claire seemed perfectly willing to give up her baby at that point. And what was up with the injections? I’m really leaning towards the theory that they were a normal saline placebo. We still don’t know for sure what really happened to Claire, or what the Others’ motivations were. We need answers!

I loved the old-school Muzak that was playing in the exam room scenes with Ethan.

Susan said...

OUCH! Nikki I had some painful moments during my pregnancies but nothing to compare to yours!

As far as the vaccine goes, my vote is for mind game. We've seen no real disease, unless you count monster possession (Montand etc).

I saw Sun's remark as more of a foreshadowing when Claire abandons Aaron in season 4.

I love seeing the start of Ben manipulating John. John can be so gullible sometimes. No matter how much Ben cons him, he still keeps coming back for more.

Anonymous said...

The linguist in me can't resist.. "hwhat" isn't the "correct" pronunciation any more than British "wot" is. It's the pronunciation in certain accents, yes, but no accent is more correct than any other. Sorry to say, but your teacher was wrong to try to make you say it that way. It's really like trying to make lefties write "right".

That said, in Old English those words actually were spelled with the 'h' and 'w' reversed from how we spell them today. But that was 1000 years ago and a lot has changed since then.

variabull said...

Isn't that the bloody crib from Claire's "Raised by Another" dream in which she saw the duality of Locke (black/white eyes). She must be a Voyant.

Claire's memory trips seem alot like Desmond's future trips in "Catch 22".

O'Keefe in the exam-room is one thing, but in the OR, its just creepy.

Why did they cast a 40 year old actor to play the 27 y.o. E.R.?
So did Ethan attend a really bad "offshore" medical exam gloves, narcotics for the pregnant. Didn't Claire get the X-Files "implant" at this time so they could make her sick later? Is Alex mistaken or lying to motivate Claire to leave.

Was the Oceanic airliner mobile left over from the Dharma days. The L1011 Tristar heyday was the 70's and 80's (the one ABC chopped up for the Pilot was in service between '72 and '98). The Boeing 777 began replacing Tristars in the mid 90's. Is there some intended symbolism? 4 x 3 = 12 stars/tribes/Israel with one leader star (Aaron)?

Why do the walls of the nursery show the outline of where the decorations were after just 6 weeks. Mildew problem? Was there a pink femine nursery also? AH/MDG 1985 is printed next to the Staff station on The Swan's blast door map. What happened to AH/MDG (Alvar Hanso Medical Group???) to close it down? Still intact and functional, it would seem that it was a different kind of incident (biological??) than the electromagnetic type that happened at the Swan.

variabull said...

I am toying with the idea of making a Lost pilgrimage to Oahu. Have any of you done this?
I'd stay in Kailua and take the Kos tour. Any other suggestions.

celandinehaleth said...

What slapped me in the face this time was when "Henry" asked Locke if he was the genius or "the one in the shadow?" That was just nasty then, but it means something different now.


Jazzygirl said...

Yeah I was wondering about the marks on the walls too. And also...if it's cleaned out of equipment, they did that pretty damn fast, no? AND, when Juliet takes Sun there for an ultrasound, the machine is there, yet I didn't see it here. I suppose it could be in a different room, but still. And it seems odd to me that they'd use this facility instead of where Ben has his back surgery (is that the Hydra?). I mean, they took Claire, so why not TAKE her closer to where they live, instead of there? Maybe it's just some minor inconsistencies...or they just wanted to make it mysterious with it all being cleaned out, etc.
As for the vaccines...well they look like the same ones as Desmond had. Didn't they really think there was some sort of infection out there? Hence the quarantine signs? And yes, I suppose it would have to be separate from the Incident. We know Kelvin figured out there was no infection when he snuck out on Desmond but still. I always got the feeling they legit thought there was an illness. And I don't think they gave it Claire as a result of the miscarriages. I think they gave it to her because they did believe there was an illness and they wanted to be safe. Perhaps we'll never know.

Fred said...

@Nikki: why not use the water from the hatch? I think it's loaded with sulphur (something Kate mentioned when she took her shower). I personally wouldn't want to drink water that smelled like rotten eggs.

Laughed when Locke came to get Jack, and he's asleep on the couch--nice going man, on the job I see. Don't apply for a job at McCluck's, Hurley'd fire you.

@Variabull: I noticed the walls too. Did you also notice when Ethan takes Claire to the room, the hallway has a sidedoor with the stencilling "Escape Hatch" on it. Escape Hatch?? I'd just run screaming down the hallway and be outside in no time, then spend any time trying to open a hatch door with no handle on it.

This episode also made me think Libby was a plant. When she helps Claire remember, the images she comes up with include Ethan and the hospital setting. All Libby does is try to assure Claire she's confusing images from other moments. That somehow Claire is just imagining Ethan is part of her lost memories.

I also keep wondering if all Claire's dreams are not due to Aaron's special quality, like he's in touch with the island and he translates that through the womb to his mother. Maybe the shots are given to dampen this effect? Don't need mommy having any insights into her situation with Ethan.

Also what's Christian's role. He sang "Catch a Falling Star" to Claire as a young girl, almost like it would be a warning when Ethan takes her into the nursery and the mobile plays the song.Talk about planning ahead!!

Speaking of theatrical elements--when the trio get to the medical hatch the rian starts, thunder, darkness, all dramatic. When they leave it bright and sunny again.

tiasabita said...

I re-watched this episode on a very rainy, dark and slightly depressing day (today!) so maybe that explained how extra touched I was by Rousseau's palpable pain at not finding Alex in the medical hatch, or at least finding info that would lead her to Alex.

So I think I missed something - I was under the impression that Hurley had distributed all the food in the pantry back in season one when he couldn't decide how to ration it. I obviously am wrong cuz it looked like something other than fruit and fish on Ben's plate. And John scraped quite a bit of food into the trash - shouldn't they eat everything on the plate under the circumstances? And it looked like rice or something on the counter when John was washing dishes. Or maybe it was fruit and fish - what do yall think?

Joan Crawford said...

I was super annoyed at Jack in this episode in regards to his treatment of Claire. Poor girl - I am wayyy more of a freak about my babies being sick and I'm not even, you know, a survivor of a horrific plane crash and stuck on a magical island with people kidnapping me...JEEZ, give her a break Jack! His whole attitude was "Get over it, Nervous Crazy Mom, it is soooo not worth my time." I wish they had actually consulted some preggos and moms of babies when making Lost. This "I am back to a size 2 and chipper as a bluebird one day postpartum" and "My baby eats solids at 3 weeks old while I traipse about the island" stuff bugs me.
Yeah and Snarky Sun - everyone is the best mom in the world...until they have kids ;)

aett said...

Not to nitpick, but I don't think Ben was kicked out of the book club for hating Stephen King - that was also the episode where he told Juliet that she was HIS, HIS!

The Question Mark said...

I wanna start off by saying that there should be an on-screen counter for every time Claire uses the word "okay".

Now, something doesn't sit right with me regarding the Caduceus medical hatch. It doesn't feel right that they would abandon that hatch altogether, but then leave all of their costumes there, along with fake beard and theatrical glue. Are they TRYING to get the Losties to discover their secret?
Either Ben/Jacob or someone wanted them to find the fake beard and get suspicious, or else Tom screwed up MAJOR when the Others were evacuating the Staff. It just seems careless, and I think the Others are better than that.

Another thing that got me wondering: if the Others wanted Walt so badly, why didn't Ethan ever try to take him, too? Was Claire just higher priority because of her pregnancy?

@Nikki: yeah, Emilie de Ravin's eyes are gorgeous. I fell in love with them the first time I watched Lost :)

Anonymous said...

Marebabe, I think they decided to kill Claire so they wouldn't have to deal with her after they procured the baby. If they let her go, she'd go running back to camp with tales of horror and lead a team of baby rescuers straight back to the medical facility. She didn't get amnesia until Rousseau conked her with the rifle butt, so apparently the drugs that made her silly and compliant didn't erase her memory - thus, she had to go.

Justin said...

I was wondering if perhaps the drink Ethan gave her that tasted sour made her lose her memory.

Anyway, creepy needles aside, this has always been a favorite episode of mine from the second season. You can just feel the show getting back on track as it approaches the season finale.

Things I noticed:

Kate is much more involved with Aaron than I remember.

When Ben tries to lie to Mr. Eko, Eko deals with it better than anyone else: "Please, stop talking."

Libby says Claire might be mixing up events for Claire's first flashback in this episode, and I think she's right.

humanebean said...

Great episode and wonderful recap, as always, Nik!

These scenes of Benry's imprisonment, in particular Ben's pallor under those awful Armory lights, presage Jack's imprisonment at the Hydra Station under similar conditions in Season 3.

I've always wondered what drug it is that Ethan gave to Claire that she should be so utterly accepting of what Ethan tells her and yet so (relatively) lucid. And later it will contribute to her inability to recall these events. I've felt that this is largely what was being injected into her ...but I'm intrigued by Fred's notion that the injections might've been to dampen Aaron's 'specialness' somehow.

I don't think that they intended to kill Claire following the C-section. Ethan had said that they were going to let her go back to camp. (he wouldn't lie, would he?) Alex, though, clearly thinks that the baby's delivery will result in Claire's death ... perhaps because she has known of so many expectant mothers who ended up this way.

I, too, was curious about that Escape Hatch ... where does it lead to? But, there's a lot about the Medical Station that begs questions: why does the theatrical glue bottle have the Dharma Medical Station logo on it? Sure doesn't look like they re-used a bottle and slapped a label on it.

Great composition in the shot on the beach where Claire tends to Aaron. She appears lower left with Aaron's crib, two unidentified Losties are on either side of what looks like a cooking fire in the center background and another person is kneeling by a lean-to off to the right. Perhaps it's just me but this shot has an almost biblical feel to it - very Bethlehem nativity, an image we see again and again.

Interesting that Locke smashes plates after Benry asks him if he is "the guy who feels like he's always living in the shadow of a genius". We will see him do this many times but in light of the Season 5 finale revelations, it's hard not to view this as connected to the Man in Black's hatred of Jacob, particularly when one of Jacob's acolytes is the one doing the taunting.

Given all the drama centered around Claire and the Medical Station in this installment, it's a testament to Michael Emerson's towering presence that he steals the episode with so very few lines!

SonshineMusic said...

Evey episode with Ben is it is a red letter episode :) (Why, yes in fact I am a tad obsessed.)

@Nikki: I do love that smarmy line from Sawyer and I keep noticing the Hhhhhhhhhhwwwwwwats from Benry. Ha! Rachel Ack is hysterical and it's so true.

I do love how Sawyer gets all concerned about Aaron and offers any medicine he might have to help the baby. Hmmm.... maybe he will end up as his caretaker at some point as someone here suggested.

This is the episode that made me and my sister like Ethan and we've never really been able to go back to not liking him even when he's killing people and stringing Charlie up, etc. I try, but I just can't hate him anymore.

Alex ;-;

Claire telling Danielle about Alex always has made me cry, but this time it was ten times worse knowing their fate ;-;

Does anyone know the symbolism of Eko cutting off his beard like that? Maybe Nikki's book mentions it, but I'm so far behind reading it, I haven't had a chance to get to it.

I would just like to say that O'Quinn and Emerson on the screen together is freakin' magic.

@celandine: "in the shadow" DUH! I can't believe I missed that! Wow. That's pretty crazy.

And it really is amusing to hear Ben say, "Why would I lie."

Nikki Stafford said...

Anonymous: LOL! I know... or there's that perennial favourite among parents: I versus me. For YEARS I'd say, "Can I have some cookies for my brother and me?" and my dad would say, "for WHO??" "...for my brother and I?" "That's correct. And... no."

But he was wrong, and so it took me years to unlearn that, and that the proper way to say it was using "me." Oh grammarians with bad grammar, I tells ya...

celandine: What slapped me in the face this time was when "Henry" asked Locke if he was the genius or "the one in the shadow?"

Wicked catch!!!

Fred: All Libby does is try to assure Claire she's confusing images from other moments.

I thought exactly the same thing! Rewatching this with little thoughts in the backs of our head is certainly turning up a bit of a variation on the show, isn't it?

Joan: wish they had actually consulted some preggos and moms of babies when making Lost. This "I am back to a size 2 and chipper as a bluebird one day postpartum" and "My baby eats solids at 3 weeks old while I traipse about the island" stuff bugs me.

Oh Joan, Joan... don't you see? The island CURED her of her pregnancy weight? It needed her to get back into her skinny jeans immediately following the birth. ;)

Yes, I think I've made snarky comments about all of the pregnancy stuff in each one of my books. Like... what were they feeding Aaron for a week on Penny's boat? Did she happen to have baby formula on there? The kid's 2 months old... you can't give him cow's milk or his stomach will be in knots. And yes, I'm sure the world believed that Kate had given birth. Let's just say one annual physical and that cover is blown. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Sonshine: Yes, I did cover the Eko thing in my book:

"Cutting the beard is a sign of mourning in the Old Testament, and since Eko cut two braids in his beard, they probably signified the two people he killed. Or maybe he was just trying to get Henry to soil himself."

The Shout said...

We later learn (in the Missing Pieces 'Jack, Meet Ethan. Ethan? Jack ') that Ethan had a wife who died in child birth,which gives his relationship with Claire an understated sadness in retrospect. Even though we hardly knew anything about The Others at this point, there is definately a feeling that not everyone is confortable with what they're doing or is reluctantly resigned to following Ben's wishes.

Jenn said...

I always thought of Eko's cutting of the beard as like a shedding of his old self—including old sins. I didn't know that cutting beards was also a symbol of mourning.
And, if all Eko was trying to accomplish was getting Ben to soil himself—I think it did the trick! LOl

Fred said...

@Niikii, @Jenn: Eko cutting off his beard is like confession. It is a profound moment in which an individual admits his sin. Ben Linus's remark is cut short by Eko as it should be. It is like Ben doesn't regard the people Eko killed as worth anything. But Eko does. Even though he did not know them he considers their deaths as profound.

Which leads me to a deep question. Is the whole of Ben's plot Machiavellian? This is the point of Harry Potter, when he realizes Dumbledore saw him as an ends to a means. I am saddened at the loss of Eko, he truly was a priest. Ben was more Dumbledore, using Harry as Snape points out to achieve an end.

Loretta said...

A little late posting but anyway, my thoughts...

I remember thinking Benry was creepy way back when in early 2006, but now looking back on this episode, I can't help but laugh constantly. "Why would I lie" indeed.

Also, it seems to me that Emilie de Ravin actually lost weight between season 1 and 2 (or maybe the orange tank top just showed it up more). I couldn't imagine a new mother having the bones in her chest stick out like that.

As for the injections... I'm assuming that they thought it actually was helpful for the baby. Claire being pregnant was a huge deal for them and, although they couldn't give two figs about what happened to Claire after the delivery, the child was precious. It was probably a sincere, if misguided, attempt to promote health.

Anonymous said...

And, oh yeah...this was yet another episode in which someone had knowledge that they shouldn't have and we never find out how they acquired it. So - how *did* Eko know that they had "a man in the hatch," anyway?

Juanita's Journal said...

Kate’s the one who comes to Claire’s rescue when Rousseau approaches her in the camp, then helps her talk to Libby, and then goes into the jungle with her, which foreshadows that Kate will be the one to protect Aaron later.

Protect Aaron from whom? Herself? That only happened when Kate finally handed Aaron over to his rightful guardian, Carole Littleton.

I was wondering if someone would make some kind of comment justifying Kate's kidnapping of Aaron. Come on!

RosieP said...

Why isn’t Jack filling the bottles with the water from the taps and carrying it to the beach, rather than taking water from the vat on the beach and returning to the hatch with it?

Why didn't Locke or anyone else who had been in the Hatch?