Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3.02 The Glass Ballerina

Follow along! The episode guide for “The Glass Ballerina” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 17-22.

At the time, fans were already starting to grumble about season 3, saying it was focusing too much on the Others and the people on the boat, and not on anyone on the beach. Watching it now in retrospect, it doesn’t feel like that to me (but then again, at the time, I remember really enjoying the first six episodes, unlike so many other fans). But people were annoyed that we had our requisite Jack opener, and then moved to a Sun/Jin flashback rather than someone else’s. This episode was interesting to watch. Now it seems a little ho-hum, because we already knew that she’d had an affair with Jae Lee, but at the time, this was a confirmation of what so many of us simply suspected but didn’t know for sure. I love that end scene where Jin beats the snot out of Jae, yelling about his honour and how he can never do this again, and Jae Lee thinks he’s talking about Sun when he’s actually referring to what he’s done to Paik… or is he?

Fun things I noticed:
• I’ve never understood why NO ONE ever noticed the other island. Not Jin, Michael, or Sawyer as they were on the raft, or Sayid, Jin, and Sun as they were sailing around the island in a boat. Did they just happen to always be in a different spot than that island? It’s not that far.
• I’d never noticed that huge scar on the back of Jae Lee’s head before! How did I miss that? I’m assuming it’s on the actor, not just the character, and looks like he’s been cut across the back of his head from ear to ear. Eek.
• Sawyer’s face and then fake indignation when Pickett suggests Kate could take her dress off never fails to make me laugh.
• At the time this episode aired (for anyone who watched the episodes all later on DVD) many fans speculated that Sun actually went into the hotel and threw Jae Lee out of the window. But Damon and Carlton said no, it definitely wasn’t Sun.

Things that have new meaning:
• The scene of little Sun playing the piano and the metronome ticking away now makes me think of young Daniel playing when his mother comes in and closes the piano lid.
• Ben’s “You never made soup for me” is different now in light of knowing that he was obsessed with Juliet. I remember at the time thinking they’d been a couple, as did many fans.
• I pointed out in my book that Sayid’s plan is the same as that of the Others – take two so that one of them will comply so you don’t hurt the other one. But it’s interesting in retrospect to think just how MUCH Sayid thinks like the Others.
• Now we know that Kate and Sawyer were working on removing the rocks so the Others could build the runway for the Ajira flight in S5.
• And… the love continues between Juliet and Sawyer. Would Sawyer have a memory of Juliet holding a gun to Kate? Would Juliet remember him tossing her water before giving Kate a passionate kiss?
• Ben tells Jack that he’s lived on the island his entire life. Then in “The Man Behind the Curtain” we saw that he wasn’t actually born on the island. But after seeing S5, is it possible he’s referring to his rebirth? Did whatever happen in the Temple with Alpert erase some earlier facts from his memory, and he truly believes that he was born on the island?
• Ben tells Jack that if he complies, he will “take” him home, as if he’ll accompany him. But instead, he accompanies Jack BACK to the island, as if the island is home.


Anonymous said...

Sun has since confessed, of course, but on first viewing I wasn't so sure Sun and Jae Lee had actually consummated their affair. Granted, they were both buck nekkid in bed together, but then Sun says she can't do it because she's married. I figured there had only been some mild foreplay at that point, she had second thoughts, and that was that.

And oohhhh, how disappointing to discover what a bad little girl Sun was! All this time we presumed her father had raised her to be absolutely perfect. Of course, it's clear that honesty isn't on Paik's list of virtues...

Gillian Whitfield said...

This is one of my favourite Sun/Jin episodes. It was one of the first episodes I saw too (I think the third one).

I LOVE that scene where Jin beats Jae Lee senseless. It's so well done. But I still haven't noticed that the actor has a scar.

I love that scene where Ben shows Jack the Boston Red Sox tape after rattling off all the things that have happened since 815 crashed.

Marebabe said...

At Jae Lee’s funeral, everyone was wearing black. Isn’t white the funeral color in Asian cultures? Or maybe it’s only for some and not all?

Didn’t the writers have to come up with Christian’s favorite saying – “That’s why the Red Sox will never win the Series” – BEFORE their historic win in 2004? I’m not sure of the timeline, but I think the writers got very lucky with how real world events blended into the story they were telling. I also think it was extremely coincidental that Ben had the tape cued up and ready to show Jack the moment of the Sox win, because I don’t think Mikhail could’ve possibly discovered Christian’s favorite quote regarding fate. Could he? Maybe Mikhail isn’t just a good hacker. Maybe he’s a genuine mind-reader!

Seabiscuit said...

Well, I got some late birthday money and found s3 on sale at Blockbuster for only $20! yay!

Rewatching the s3 miniarc, I find Suliet in s5 to be even more unbelievable and completely stupid in light of what Juliet did to both Sawyer and Kate. Tasering him, standing by and doing nothing while Sawyer was beaten ruthlessly, threatening to murder Kate to make him behave, etc. And none of it was ever addressed or resolved, the writers just expected us all to develop selective amnesia and threw in a few hokey "love" scenes and expected everything to be hunky-dory. I found it insulting to my intelligence. And I was ready to give Suliet a chance because I thought that resolution and exploration of their animosity would make an interesting story. (that, and that Kate needed a break from the triangle)

Ugh. And it's hard watching Juliet in her glory days as an enigmatic, compelling character, and not just the one-dimensional love interest she was reduced to before her death. I was near tears watching her interaction with the book club, Ben, Jack, etc. What did they do to you, Jules? ;.;

Anyway, this was a lovely episode, one of the few Jin/Sun centrics that interested me. OK it's the only one. :p Sun was quite the little liar even as a child, wasn't she? (even little Kate owned up to stealing the lunchbox) And Jin, despite being a bit of a sexist bastard, still loves his wife enough to run towards the sound of gunfire when he realizes she's in danger.

And the surprise kiss Sawyer gave Kate sure was a whopper. For all she was taken completely off guard, she had no problems ticking her tongue in there, did she? And their talk later that night where Sawyer proved he did indeed have a plan up his sleeve while she smiled in pure admiration was just pure joy to watch. Josh and Evi's chemistry is nothing short of amazing, and I'm sad that Darlton have seen fit to ignore it for so long. :(

Seabiscuit said...

(Ugh, that Suliet rant came out too harsh. Sorry about that. :( )

JS said...

Juliet is badass from the start. She does not hesitate.

When Juliet is reading from the file, and Jack asks her if Sarah is happy, how the heck would they know? There is no happiness report!

Ben says "your fellow americans". I guess his nationality is "Islander".

What's great about showing Jack the Sox winning the series is, if you didn't see it yourself, at the time, you wouldn't believe it. I still can't believe the Red Sox won, and I live in Massachusetts, and am from NYC. Typical response when I tell people in Mass I am from NY? Yankees suck. I'm not a Yankees fan either.

JS said...

I did find myself wondering during the episode - what happened at the hatch!!!

tiasabita said...

I totally forgot Jae was going to drop onto Jin's car hood! I jumped just as high out of the chair this time as I did the first time! This may sound dumb and maybe it's already been covered but did Jae jump due to his sense of shame? He did have the pearls he offered Sun wrapped in his hand. But did he maybe get pushed? Did Mr. Paik know that Jin would not be able to follow through and pushed Jae himself?

Oops - you can see Jae's jeans on while he and Sun are talking in bed before he jumps out of bed and seems to be zipping his pants up to go to the door!

If the Losties, and especially Jin, know that the Others have a boat why do Sayid, Sun and Jin not suspect the Others will approach the beach and the sailboat from the water? Why do they expect approach only from land?

My husband is English and according to him a good cup of tea cures just about everything. I had to laugh at Sun 'putting kettle on' to presumably make a hot, relaxing drink in the middle of an impending ambush!

Did Colleen seem a little threatend/jealous by Ben and Juliet having a private conversation?

Katey said...

I really love your idea that Ben thinks he's been the island his whole life because of his temple rebirth thing. Richard did tell Kate and Sawyer that he would never remember anything from before, and, in order to mold him into their future leader, I can definitely see him telling young Ben after he's awoken from whatever happened in the temple, that he was born on the island to make him more prone to the island-mumbo-jumbo.

Susan said...

A lot of people thought Sun pushed Jae Lee out of the window and the producers debunked it, so I'm guessing Mr. Paik didn't do it either. If you think about it, Jae thought Jin knew about the affair and was threatening him about it, so maybe he couldn't take the shame and fear, so decided to end his life.

Fred said...

Is there something about pearls in thhis show that is significant. Bernard is shucking oysters to find a pearl to give to Rose--Jin tells him there are no pearls. A station is called the Pearl. Jack's mother's name is Margot, French for, . . . wait for it, Pearl. And, now, Jae dives out of the hotel window clutching pearls.

Great line by Ben after he shows Jack the Red Sox, "I'll take you home." But he doesn't (so far), in fact he takes him back to the island. Is that home?

Marebabe said...

@Fred: Your observation about pearls is a VERY interesting one, and one that I had never before considered. For one thing, I didn’t know that the name Margot means pearl! I did some super-quick and superficial research, and here is what I found. In the dictionary, there was this choice item: "Cast pearls before swine – to offer a good thing to someone who is incapable of appreciating it." And don’t we have swine running around on the Island? I’m just saying!

There are several New Testament references to pearls, which I found in Wikipedia. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, very fine, very admirable, and very valuable. Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a “pearl of great price” in Matthew 13: 45-46. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." The circle is a symbol of God because it has no beginning and no end. The circle or pearl was considered to represent Love, or Knowledge. The combination of equal amounts of Love and Knowledge is a symbol of Wisdom, with the 2 circles intertwined, like owl eyes. Some other pearls are Truth, and Faith. The twelve gates of the New Jerusalem are reportedly each made of a single pearl in Revelation 21:21, that is, the Pearly Gates. "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl: and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass."

So, to sum up, on Lost Island, we might just have a group of people who are being offered a good thing, but don’t have the sense to realize it. There is a Temple on the Island, which was built by the ancients for some religious purpose. Truth and Faith are words that really jumped out at me, because of their significance in Lost. And might the endgame have to do with reaching the ultimate reward, Paradise? I’m with Fred, all these pearly references must be in the narrative of our story for a reason!

Jazzygirl said...

Ah this episode has always made me LMAO because as a Bostonian, it just FITS so well that Jack WOULDN'T believe the Sox won. Who would've? LOL! I'm not a baseball fan but living here, you couldn't NOT get into the spirit after THAT win! I think the writers got very lucky with this one and were probably crapping themselves at how well it supported the storyline. I'm sure they had some other "thing" to use to prove the connection to the real world and this was just....sublime.
Overall I enjoye this ep. And yes, what a cunning little witch Sun was from the beginning! LOL!

SonshineMusic said...

Usually I think they do a good job with the younger versions of the cast, but I just do NOT buy this as young Sun. Never have.

@Nikki: Sawyer's face and then "How dare you?" line to Pickett is probably my favorite moment in this show.

Alex: "You can keep it. It looks better on you anyway" to Kate about the dress. HA!

And Sayid's "That would be part of the lying you mentioned." always makes me laugh. I love his dry humor.

Did you see that guy totally flirting with Juliet? apparently Ben isn't the only Other that wants her.

Aww... Sawyer's Eyes! ::sigh::

And did you notice that Juliet calls him James right from the very beginning?

I find it a little hard to believe that they would have sound equipment that could pick up Sawyer's voice so clearly and with no ambient noise.

The way Ben squats down to "introduce" himself to Jack (btw, HA!) is very condescending, like you tould do with a small child by trying to come down to their level.

Anonymous said... I the only one who doesn't like Juliet and never has? Her only redeeming quality, IMO, is her love for her sister. Whom, I might add, she had no trouble abandoning in order to take a job. I find Juliet very self-serving in a cold-hearted, ruthless way, and that opinion didn't change even after she took up with "LaFleur" (whose personality went completely down the tubes at that point).

EvaHart said...

I refuse to believe that Sayid and Jin would leave Sun on the boat and not consider that the others could come from the water, especially after Jin's experiences with the others at sea. Walt???

On the subject of pearls, I always thought that the book The pearl by Steinbeck fitted in well with Lost. In the book the main chracter finds an amazing pearl which at first is thought to be a struck of luck, but in the end only brings misfortune.
I think this fits perfectly with Locke when he finds the Pearl Station. At first he is happy but as time goes on, what he finds in the station destroys his faith.

The Question Mark said...

@ Fred & Marebabe: excellent Pearl comments. speaking of the Pearl...

I just realized right this second that there are six seasons of Lost, and (even though we discover that there are more) six Dharma stations, according to the videos. Too bad the DVDs didn't say something like "Season One-The Arrow" or "Season Three-The Swan". That would've been kinda cool. Maybe each DVD could've come with an introduction by Marvin Candle. LOL

The scene with Jin beating Jae Lee is one of the most intense moments of the entire series for me, especially due to the fact that Jin doesn't seem to know about the affair. If Jae Lee had slipped out any information (screaming "I love her", for example) then things would've REALLY got interesting. Also, seeing poor Jae Lee wail and cry with fear like that was very unsettling. All in all a superbly-executed scene by both actors.

Fred said...

Marebabe & Evahart: great on all those other references on pearls. One thing I always thought was the creators of LOST (Damon and Carlton) tell us viewers what books to look at, but like Evahart noted, Steinbeck can be expanded to his other works, not just Mice and Men. (Interestingly, when I Googled, Mice and Men, I got some sites for genetics--is that appropraite for LOST?). And Marebabe, wow!! What you brought in and the tie to "pearls before swine" is so apropo of LOST.

Now to keep looking for more pearls.

The Shout said...

Nik, I'm with you. Loved the 6 episode 'mini-season' first time round and watching again it acts like a bridge between the previous lostie based previous 2 seasons and the grander design to come.

Sawyer in particular comes out of it a much changed man. There is a wonderful look between him and Juilet at the runaway site. They are definately checking each other out. A very bitterweet seen in hindsight.

Nikki Stafford said...

studiorose: You're definitely not alone in your dislike of Juliet; in fact, I used to think I was very alone in that I liked her. I liked her from the beginning, always have, and after Not in Portland, I loved her. I think she's a great character, playing a role because she's being forced to in the beginning, and I believe Sawyer forgives her, in a way, because he appreciates that she was conning him, but that she wasn't doing it of her own free will.

But I don't want to get into the finer points of Juliet too much. Then it always turns into shipper talk and I don't want to go there; nor do I see Juliet as just part of some relationship. I'd rather think of her as a person, and not part of a relationship.

Fred: Excellent Pearl analysis, and great followup, Marebabe! To take the much simpler route of the fantastic biblical material you point out, I've noticed all the references before, and it's always made me think of "pearly gates," which again points to the island as some sort of afterlife. But Marebabe put it much better. :)

Teebore said...

But it’s interesting in retrospect to think just how MUCH Sayid thinks like the Others.

Which is, they're both capable of shutting off their emotions and doing what's necessary to accomplish what they believe to be right.

Count me amongst those who were never bothered by the pace or the focus of this "mini season."

My impatience with the show didn't really manifest until "Stranger in a Strange Land" and even then, I was really only tired of the (seemingly endless) Jack flashbacks. Considering that was his last until the brilliant flash forward finale, I was happy. ;)

Katey said...

Yeah, Teebore, you can count me in on that group too. I was never really annoyed at all with the "mini season" as you called it. In fact, I was way more annoyed when it went back to the main group before the trio had all gotten back! I thought it was ridiculously fascinating being inside the Others' system!

SonshineMusic said...

I have to admit I have never really been a Juliet fan. I like the way the character is played and the way you never really know what she is thinking or if she's really told you what she knows. But I don't like the character.

I feel kind of the same way about Jack. I respect the actor and I like the way the character is played, but I don't like the character himself.

I didn't get into Lost until after S3 was already out on DVD so I had no issues with having a hiatus between episodes, but I loved the Others plot line from the beginning, so I really loved the visit to New Otherton and, like Katie, actually found myself a little annoyed when we went back to the beach (esp. with P&N the gag-me twins).

I just wanted to respond to Seabiscuit's comment none of it was ever addressed or resolved, the writers just expected us all to develop selective amnesia

I think so much happens between this point in the series and S5 that things have changed. It's not that either of them forgets about the other things, but they have gone through other things together that have changed their perspective. (I'm not shipping here, just commenting on your comment) I don't think it's unbelivable that they would find a bond after the various things they survive together in S4 and 5.

JW said...

@Marebabe: I remember when the Red Sox came back to win the Series (which was a miracle), I was thinking of how it tied into Lost. Yes, good observation. The writers really got lucky!

I also remember watching this episode and thinking, "Holy crap, Joe Buck is now part of Lost!"

Did whatever happen in the Temple with Alpert erase some earlier facts from his memory, and he truly believes that he was born on the island?

I seem to recall that Ben owns up to this lie later. (I could be mistaken.)

As for Juliet, I've always been a fan of her. I also like Nikki and Paulo and didn't know they were so disliked until reading Nikki's books.