Thursday, October 8, 2009

3.03 Further Instructions

Follow along! The episode guide for “Further Instructions” is in Finding Lost — Season 3, pp. 26-31.

Our first foray back to the people on the beach is a good one, seeing old faces that had been gone since the end of season 2 (which for us is one week, but at the time was a few months) and it’s great to check in with Charlie and Locke and OH MY GOD IT’S NIKKI AND PAULO… Oh god, my eyes, MY EYES! Oh, it BURNS… Argh, I’d forgotten that they were introduced so early in the season. Rewatching this episode, I actually groaned loudly when they were on-screen. Kill me now.

Fun things I noticed:
• Charlie says to Locke, “You don’t call, you don’t write,” and he used the same joke with Eko late last season.
• Every time I watch that scene of everyone in the commune madly packing things to get away, Jan’s voice sounds SO much like Skinner’s mother on The Simpsons. I swear I look it up every time, as if I expect to somehow change the answer. (It’s not.)
• I’ve always been annoyed by the fact that Jan and Mike fell for Eddie’s story, too, yet they blame John for not seeing something they didn’t see, either.
• Nikki: “When were you planning on telling us this, Hurley?” Me: “DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!” SERIOUSLY HATE THAT LINE. Like, he’s JUST come back from the other side of the island, without Jack or anyone, and the FIRST thing out of his mouth is to tell them exactly that, and THAT is her response? Oh, gee, I guess I could have told you sooner but the battery on my special island cellphone had died. HATE HER.
• Come on, Desmond, you’re supposed to throw your arm in a HIGHER arc when hurling stones. It allows the bottom of the t-shirt to ride up higher the rock to sail further away.

Things that have new meaning:
• The first time we see John Locke he’s lying on the ground the same way Jack was in the pilot, as if to suggest the show’s taking a turn and it’s focused on him now. (Wrong… season 3 will see a whacked-out Locke that didn’t make a lot of sense to me, though thankfully he gets better in later seasons again.) But for now, he’s the guy who has to go and save Eko because Jack’s not around. So this opening was clearly meant to evoke Jack waking in the Pilot episode. Only instead of Vincent, you get naked Desmond. I’ll take that any day.
• For my season 5 book I read Carlos Castaneda’s A Separate Reality (see FLS5, pp 149-160), and he takes drugs to “see.” Locke does a similar thing when he tastes that mixture and then hallucinates something crazy, then sees the polar bear jump out of the fire at him.
• Boone says, “Claire, Charlie, Aaron… they’ll be fine. For a while.” Charlie’s dead, Claire’s gone, and Aaron’s all alone without a mother. I wonder if the writers knew about all those things this early on? Boone also says that Desmond is helping himself, and notice that he gets away from the island, but doesn’t have any of the guilt about going back to it.
• Jack removes the watch we’ll later see Christian give him in “The Watch” mobisode.
• Boone tells Locke there’s nothing he can do for Jack, Kate, and Sawyer… “yet.” Could he be referring to John Locke dying to “save” them, which is eventually what he’ll do?


Marebabe said...

Oddly enough, a couple things in this episode reminded me of tornadoes. (I live in Kansas, in the heart of “Tornado Alley”.) So I started thinking about the possibility that there might have been a brief one that occurred when Desmond turned the failsafe key. Remember near the end of “Live Together, Die Alone” when Bernard, Claire and Aaron had to dive out of the way of the plummeting hatch door with “quarantine” written on it? And then in this episode, Locke almost got clobbered with Eko’s falling Jesus stick. Stuff falling out of the sky happens quite often after a tornado picks things up. Sometimes things get carried many miles away, but even freakier is when things fall straight down almost exactly where they were originally. The amount of time it takes is often the most astonishing part. And then there’s the fact that Desmond was running starkers through the jungle. There are tales of people and farm animals being picked up and set down by tornadoes, completely unharmed, except that every item of clothing, including laced-up boots and animal harness, has been removed. I realize that nobody has ever talked about a tornado on the show, but as far as I can remember, nobody except Olivia (in Ben’s classroom) and Bernard (the black rocks in the lava field in “S.O.S.”) have mentioned the Island’s volcano either. I’m keeping an open mind. Maybe this in another (very obscure) reference to “The Wizard of Oz”.

I enjoyed the little wink-wink to “The Lord of the Rings”, when Charlie (formerly Merry in LOTR) said, “Trees, yeah, I’ve heard they’re wonderful conversationalists.” Merry had some extremely long talks with Treebeard.

When Locke was driving along in his truck, I loved the Mississippi Delta blues that he was listening to right before he picked up Eddie. Hated the cop that stopped him. Kudos to Locke for remaining relaxed and pleasant in the face of such a belligerent jerk. I’ve often read comments from fans of Lost stating that they hate this character or that character. But I didn’t mind Nikki, Paulo, or even Achara as much as this pig of a cop. He’s right up there with Randy Nations!

Speaking of Nikki (in the show), I’m slightly more tolerant of her character than you are, Nik! Seriously, the only time she REALLY got on my nerves super bad was when she had her first spoken line on the show: “When were you planning on telling us this, Hurley?” Back off, sister! I totally agree; Hurley had JUST GOTTEN BACK from his captivity with the Others. He’d hardly had time to catch his breath, let alone tell the tale of what had happened. Sheez-Louise!

I’m always amused when I see Locke’s wacky paste that he mixed up for his sweat lodge meditation. It looks like the prop department just dipped into a can of ready-to-spread chocolate frosting. And at the moment that Locke pops out of his sweat lodge, we see a quick flash of a snarling beast that always looks to me more like a wolf than a polar bear. I did a freeze-frame on it, and it still looks like a wolf. But we know from the dialogue later on that it is indeed supposed to be a polar bear.

Gillian Whitfield said...

I LOVE the airport scene in this episode. It's so awesome. I always think that Boone will say "The Magical Mystery Tour is DYING to take you AWAY" (notice I capitalized "dying" and "away") in that scene.

I. HATE. NIKKI. AND. PAULO. I want to take them by the hair and whack them back and forth until they are senseless. And then, I will pour them into acid. But that's not all. I will throw them off of the cliff in Mount Doom in Mordor , thus destroying them (that's not too morbid, is it?).

SonshineMusic said...

@Gillian: your comment about Nikki and Paulo just about made me die. I wholeheartedly concur. WHAT were the writers THINKING?

@Nikki: I noticed that about the similarities between Jack waking up in the Pilot and John waking up here. My thought was, is this like a new beginning? From this point forward the entire series shifts. It isn't as much about the individuals as about the various groups and how they interact and how The Island affects them. Just a thought.

Did I miss something? Why is nobody at all worried about Locke, Eko and Desmond? Charlie comes back, thinks it's weird the others haven't and no one seems to care.

Boone's comment: "So you can bring the family back together again." caught my attention this time. What is "the family"? I think it has much greater implications than just cleaning up his mess by saving Eko or even his going to save Jack, Sawyer and Kate. Is this connected to his role with the MIB? Is it at all connected to the whole, "he who will save us all" thing?

Eddie really gets on my nerves.

Did Charlie not hear about Walt and Locke and Michael and that whole polar bear escapade?

Eddie's comment: "Your family's got too many secrets" made me laugh. HA! Because it made me think about the Lostie "family" (maybe I was still thinking about that Boone quote) and how they all have these deep dark secrets.

Charlie Pace one-liner of the day: "Hairspray? Now, I hate to be the one to point this out to you, but..." Hee hee.

And my exact reaction was... asdflkjsdflkajsd Nikki & Paulo XP
I cannot STAND

Nikki Stafford said...

Sonshine & Gillian: I wholeheartedly agree re: N&P (but you already knew that).

You know what I wish would happen to them? I wish they'd be accidentally buried alive. THAT would be awesome.

Sigh... hey writers, wanna give me some wish fulfillment? I'll give you til, oh, the 14th episode of the season.


Susan said...

Marebabe re the annoying cop: there's a theory on Lostpedia that he was working with Eddie and was acting the way he did in order to have Locke trust Eddie more (or something like that).

In Locke's vision I like how people who are together in real life are together in his vision, for example Sayid with Jin and Sun, Kate and Sawyer together, Jack and Ben together. I also liked Boone's running narration on everybody's current state.

I actually enjoyed Charlie's little revenge against John. Sometimes Charlie can be really immature, but other times he is hilarious. I especially liked the line about John's zero-tolerance policy on drugs.

OK Ana Lucia kills Shannon by accident when she hears someone stumbling through the jungle and shoots before finding out who it is. So WHY WHY WHY does Locke just throw his knife at the first sound he hears in the jungle. If it weren't for the canteen, Hurley would be a dead man (with Dr. Jack away and not able to help him).

I have to say the Eko part of this season is a big disappointment. John goes through all this trouble to rescue him, and in a couple of episodes he'll be dead. I realize AAA wanted to leave the show, but we see so little of Eko this season that his death for me wasn't a big surprise and didn't have a lot of impact.

The Question Mark said...

@ Susan: good call about Locke throwing knives into bushes willy-nilly. He could have seriously hurt Hurley, and he's very lucky that he didn't.

This week's Hilarious Charlie Pace Line:
"They're, like, the Einsteins...of the bear community."

Reagrding Nikki & Paulo, I have to admit I don't mind them at all. I actually love how Darlton slowly introduced us to the background survivors of Oceanic 815, made them unlikeable or annoying or both, and then killed them off in elaborate and often hilarious deaths. Nikki & Paulo are prime examples, as are Arzt and Frogurt. I just think it's too bad we didn't get to know a few more background characters.
Also, is it safe to assume that Scott (Steve?) and Sullivan (the guy with the rash) are both among the dead redshirts?

Marebabe said...

@Susan: I like that theory about the cop who stopped Locke being a part of the sting operation. It makes sense. And I absolutely agree that anyone with a weapon should make sure of his or her target before striking/shooting/whatever.

Batcabbage said...

Nikki: “When were you planning on telling us this, Hurley?” Me: “DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!” SERIOUSLY HATE THAT LINE.

I'm literally crying with laughter. I can't stop. I think I'm going to rupture something important. BEST. COMMENT. EVER!!! Also, Nik, when you said 'My eyes! It burns!' I pictured you saying it like Rainier Wolfcastle: "My eyes! The goggles do nothing!" Just take solace from the fact that they both die in the most horrible way ever (buried alive, my worst fear - well, my worst fear after Nikki and Paulo coming back from the dead in season 6. That would be just.... urgh).

Gillian Whitfield said...

The best part of this episode, was Hurley. I love his character. The whole scene in the forest when Desmond appears, butt naked is excellent. The fact that Des is naked isn't that bad either.

@ Nikki- I died of laughter reading your comment. That would be excellent if N&P were buried alive by the 14th episode. I think that's the perfect time. You know what would be a good plot twist? If everyone thought they were dead, but they were really paralyzed by spiders. ;)

JS said...

Question: What is the relationship between the bear village and the bear community? :)

Re: Nikki & Paulo - I am not so much annoyed by them as just baffled. They do not have a purpose, and do not match the depth or intensity of any other characters, nor do they provide comic relief. The do nothing to advance the story of the island, losties or others. MY THEORY - they were introduced so they could be killed off in a thoroughly awful and satisfying manner.

Fred said...

When Locke went into the bear cave, the body he found had a Dharma uniform on. The station identified was the Pearl. Is this where all the Pearl staff went? Man, what a crappy job. First all your notebooks end up in a pile in the jungle. Then you get carried away by a polar bear into a cave to die.

You know, I keep thinking of that green house at the commune like the Temple. Eddie wants in, but he's always denied. As viewers, we've wanted in to see the Temple, but so far the powers that be have denied us. Man, I hope it's not a hot house for something illicit. Also, green hosue on the commune, Orchid station on the island. Hmmmm.

Sagacious Penguin said...

This episode frustrated me a lot both when it aired and for a while afterward.

- The name "Further Instructions" seemed to truly signify the next phase in Locke's work for the island, as did the cool airport vision. So for the episode to turn out to be a jolly jaunt into the jungle to have a cup of tea with a Polar Bear and rescue a man who died two episodes later... Yeah that was weak, weak, WEAK.

- In retrospect, I too, look to the "bring the family back together" mission that the Island gives Locke as being something much bigger. Notice the emphasis on Eko's stick in the airport vision. The stick that, thanks to Eko's death, would lead Locke to the Others. If this wasn't the first step in uniting the Island's broken family... well I don't know what was. In future episodes, I'd love clearer significance to be traceable back to Locke's mission here as given to him by "Boone" or should we be calling him "Fboon?"

- What strikes me most about the way the episode began, with Locke's pupil, THAT sound effect and such a clear reference to Jack in the first shots of the Pilot, was not that this was a new beginning, but rather that we are seeing Locke in VERY similar circumstances to Jack at that moment: Ripped from an event of catastrophic destruction and placed inexplicably on his back in the jungle with only minor injuries. He wakes with the same sense of WTF syndrome that Jack does. Whatever saved Jack (and perhaps many of the survivors) from being killed in the crash of Flight 815 clearly also just saved Locke, Eko, and Desmond from the Hatch implosion. People that should have been killed have survived -- something Sayid said of the Flight 815 survivors in Season 1 -- and they have been saved in PRECISELY the same manner. Could it have to do with very short span time traveling?

- I'm also not a fan of the flashback story here. When all of Lostdom seemed to be decrying the flashbacks as pointless in Season 3, I was using all the verbal gusto I could muster to counter-argue their worth. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they inform the characters and how, when used properly create brilliant juxtapositions of past and present events. That technique WAS what made me love Lost. But the Locke story here seems botched in multiple ways. First -- it's missing an end. The point can be made that we found out all we need to know, but the fact that we found out so precious little is simply compounded by the lack of closure in the story. Second, the themes aren't clearly focused (we're talking about three unrelated issues in the story: Locke's ability to mess things and people up, Locke's identity as either a hunter or a farmer, and Locke being amenable for coercion) -- too much is discussed disjointedly to tie clearly back to the island story in a satisfying manner. Lots of interesting things are brought up here, but in light of the single episode on its own most are lost, muddied, and buried.

- That said, the hunter/farmer issue which seemed very muddy at the time (He says he's a farmer in the flashback; but he's apparently a hunter on the island; but both seem good since clearly we didn't want him to shoot Eddie, but clearly we do want him to waltz badassfully into polar bear caves on the island) -- the issue may seem a bit clearer now, two years later after finally understanding what the island (the man in black) wanted from Locke all along: someone amenable for coercion. If deep down Locke truly is a farmer, a peace-loving man, the island has played him masterfully in convincing him that he is a hunter, positioning him right where he needed to be...

Teebore said...

The things that's always bugged me about N&P is that in principal, I loved the idea behind them, it was just that in the execution the characters were awful.

Which is to say, when the producers announced before season three they'd be bringing other "background" survivors that had been there "all along" into the forefront, I loved the idea. I thought it would be a great way to effortlessly refresh the cast (and flashbacks) from time to time and remind the audience that more than just the main characters are living on the island.

But then the characters they decided to introduce were N&P. Fumble!

So as much as I hate N&P, I do feel the need to occasionally point out that the idea behind their introduction wasn't a bad one.

Fred said...

@Teebore: I agree bringing N&P forward was a good idea, but one that failed. Still, we have to look at many other successes that did make the transition. Bernard and Rose are one example. And who doesn't love to hate Frogurt--annoying as he is, it just made his demise all the better. And there was Dr. Arzt, an other annoying sock from the background.

If they had kept to a 23/24 episode schedule for Season 4 and 5, we'd likely have seen a few more background characters. Oh, and the writers would have had to come up with so many cool ways to get rid of them.

tiasabita said...

All the N&P bashing is hilarious! I really don't have too much memory of them except in their 'buried alive' episode so I'm really looking forward to developing a nice, healthy hate for them myself! They were extremely irritating and not in a 'love to hate them' way like Arzt.

I also feel that the cop was in cahoots with Eddie. And it just broke my heart that John was again the poor, pitiful loser. When Eddie said something about 'everybody here is just wanting a dad' he really hit the nail on the head with John.

@Susan - I felt exactly the same way about John just randomly shooting in the jungle. Of all people!

I had to laugh when John rubbed mud on him and said he hoped the bear wouldn't smell him coming but wouldn't the bear have smelled the gas soaked rag on fire?

Jazzygirl said...

I really liked this one...mostly for the Boone scene. And yes, I also caught the comment that Boone made about reuniting the family. What family? And I found it very interesting what he said about Charlie, Claire and Aaron. They'll be fine...for a while. Well, technically this is true. Because after "a while" it all goes to hell in a handbasket.
Things I reacted to...Desmond naked in the lie, my first thought was Nikki. LOL I kept thinking "I wonder if she's watching WITHOUT her husband nearby so she can really enjoy this!" LOL! Then....I completely forgot N&P were introduced this early. I literally groaned an "oh noooooooooo!" What a way to ruin my mood of looking forward to S3!!