Wednesday, December 2, 2009

4.08 Meet Kevin Johnson

Follow along! The episode guide for “Meet Kevin Johnson” is in Finding Lost — Season 4, pp. 94-103.

I said it in my book and it bears repeating: while all of the characters have found themselves pushed to the limits, no one has been abused more than Michael. His time on the island was hell, spent trying to get his son to listen to him, and when they FINALLY bonded the kid was taken from him, forcing Michael to become a monster he could never forgive. Now the poor guy has hit an all-time low and the island won’t even let him off himself. Worst life ever. I know a lot of fans hated Michael for what he did, but I could just never bring myself to feel hatred for the poor guy. I can’t help but think of younger Michael, so in love with his baby son and having him taken away from him. The guy never recovered from that blow, he’d never done anything terrible in his life to that point, and he’s had nothing but misery ever since.

Fun things I noticed:
• I’ve always been annoyed by that scene at the beginning where the Lost writers reveal a ton o’ freakin’ obvious: The freighter folk are here for Ben. Yeah, we knew that. Oh yeah? Well.. my man on the boat is MICHAEL. Um, yeah. Figured that out, too. You mean the Michael who shot and killed two people and then put us all in danger and left us, THAT MICHAEL? Yes, Sawyer, thank you for narrating for the viewers at home who’d fallen asleep during season 2. Sheesh.
• I still wonder if the timing is off on this? Michael’s mom says he was gone for over 2 months, which means if they disappeared September 22, let’s assume he got back around Dec 1. When he visits her the Christmas decorations are up already, so it must be mid-December or slightly earlier. But if he returned on December 1 he somehow lost Walt, fell into a depression and moved to the brink of suicide (exceedingly fast, since it would normally take a much longer time for that to happen), got into a car accident, was all banged up, HEALED, and got back to his mother’s, ALL… in just over a week. Then he goes to get the gun, can’t kill himself, sees the thing on Oceanic on the news, is on the freighter instantly and next to the island, all within another week.
• I love how Tom asks him if he’s got the time… after he’d just pawned the watch. Did Tom maybe go to the pawn shop and reclaim it?
• I know I mentioned earlier that I only saw one helicopter on the freighter and someone else said no, in this episode you clearly see two… but I still only see one. But there are definitely two copter pads in this ep.
• In case you weren’t watching S4 when it first aired, it was after this episode that the show went on hiatus due to the Writer’s Strike.
• Did anyone else notice that on the DVDs, there are 3 eps on the first disk, 4 on each of the next two and 3 on the last one, which is exactly how we've been watching them?? That was completely by coincidence!

Things that have new meaning:
• Now that we know Rousseau will be dead by the end of this episode, and having so recently watched her first encounter with Sayid in “Solitary,” I’m more saddened by the fact that we never really got any reunion scenes between her and Alex. Yes, there was the touching one where she touches Alex’s face and they realize they’re mother and daughter, but back at Chez Ben they’re just acting nonchalant and hanging out, not acting like this is a recently life-changing experience (much like Hurley and Claire are back to life as usual about 12 hours after finding out Charlie was dead).
• Seeing Rousseau die at the end of this episode is more sad now that we’ve seen the younger version of her come to the island and we know how lovely she was before she went mad. :(


Marebabe said...

A great line from John Locke: “No more secrets.”

I was so proud of the props people for having bullets with FRESH primers in Michael’s pistol. It’s a small detail, but one that I’ve seen done wrong in countless TV shows and movies. Basically, if you see a little dimple in the primer of a bullet, it means it has already been fired, and there’s no way that bullet is going to go anywhere until the brass cartridge is reloaded with gunpowder, a new hunk of lead, and a new primer. I learned about this by helping my husband reload tens of thousands of rounds of ammo. And it’s possible to load a brass cartridge with no gunpowder at all, so that it looks like a lethal round, but is in fact quite safe for actors to use.

Scott said...

Nikki, I'm with you, I've looked in vain and have only ever seen one helicopter. There are a couple of scenes where they're really cagey with camera angles, but unless Naomi was taking one for a test spin something is amiss.

The Question Mark said...

@ Nikki: I too have always loved Mike and wished that he could find some happiness with his son, especially after everything SUSAN put him through.

This was a great episode for Michael fans; too bad the poor guy dies at the end of the season! :(

Fred said...

@Nikki: When I read this: "The freighter folk are here for Ben. Yeah, we knew that. Oh yeah? Well.. my man on the boat is MICHAEL. Um, yeah. Figured that out, too. You mean the Michael who shot and killed two people and then put us all in danger and left us, THAT MICHAEL?" I heard it with the voices of Stewie and Bryon in my head.

@Marebabe: "No more secrets!" Oh if only. And I mean the writers too in that sigh.

When Michael goes to see his mum, there are red flowers at her door. It's after this scene that Michael plans to kill himself by pawning Mr. Paik's watch for a gun. tom says the island won't let him. Is the island the one setting the rules of the game. It seems that way.
And there are so many parallels between Michael and Sayid. First, Michael is Ben's man, as is Sayid. Second, Michael dumps his phone after talking with Tom, while Said dumps his phone after talking with Ben. Third, both of them are on a mission to get rid of someone(s). Fourth, Sayid has lost Nadia, while Walt is lost to Michael. This big difference is the appearance of Libby with Michael. Who sent Libby to Michael? Is it the island? Is it Jacob? Or Esau? It's very unclear, but obviously, Libby's appearance suggests Michael should not act for Ben (she tells him not to push the button on the C-4). This would seem like an act of free will, which might suggest Jacob, if Jacob stands for free will.

Also Michael is to disable to radio room. This would prevent anyone calling out for a constant, like Desmond does. Lucky he has Sayid on his side, for the moment.

I am also wondering if Ben expected Rousseau and Karl to be killed, and that Keamey would have spared Alex. If so, it was a gambit that failed in the next episode.

glf said...

Yes tragic Michael – what a tortured life and then the Others come to him for help and are all preachy and pompous to him after they took Walt off him – two faced I call that!

Yes I think that the timing is WAY off and just plain sloppy of the writers. And how on earth were they able to settle back incognito and get the Mother/Grandmother to go along with it? There was way too much that happened to Michael in the time period (especially healing after the accident) to get on him freighter in time – they could have simplified the story or had them experience a time difference when they left the island (which we’d been primed for with Daniel’s experiments and comments on ‘your perception of time…’).

Why did Ben bother sending Michael the fake bomb – what was the point of that – coz in the long term it didn’t really play out.

In S5 we’re told that Miles can only read dead bodies (although he talks to a spirit in an empty room early in S4 – clang!). Did he read Michael’s mind here or just his body language?

Yes – there only ONE helicopter (but two pads). Def no 2 helicopters – a prop oversight/ or just all production could afford?

tiasabita said...

I like how Tom mentions Sun's name first when he's reminding Michael of his responsibility to help his friends.

Michael pinned a note to Walt on his shirt but he didn't have any ID on him. How did he expect Walt to ever get the message? Could the authorities maybe get Michael's name from the car registration?

Yes, Michael is certainly a tortured soul.

celandinehaleth said...

Hmm, when Michael hears Libby call him "Mr. Dawson" he starts to correct her, then doesn't when he recognizes her. I wonder if the assumed name he was using was "Jeremy Bentham", or if it is significant, whatever it was?

Pamalamb said...

There is something I don't understand about this episode. After the fake bomb, Ben called Michael and told him that he didn't really want Michael to blow up the freighter, just disable it so it couldn't reach the island. But the freighter did reach the island. Later they say the engines are disabled. Did Michael disable the engines too late? or if he had disabled them earlier, how did they get so close to the island?

Ben told Michael he didn't want him to blow up the freighter because there were innocent people aboard. Since when did Ben care about whether or not he hurt innocent people? Do you think he was refering to Daniel and/or Charlotte and he knew something about their connection to the island?

Susan said...

One of the biggest shock moments of the series -- Rousseau getting killed. I did not see it coming at all.

Pamalamb, good question about Ben caring about innocent people. By the end of the season his response to the deaths of innocent people will be "So?"

crazyinlost said...

I'm sorry, but I'm in the 'lost all respect for Michael' camp. He so easily didn't need to go it alone in S2 and could've gotten lots of help from the other Losties, but he had to be all sneaky and conniving and muderous!

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now. It was interesting watching the two 'smart-mouths' knowing they will become buddies over the next 3 years.

"Bobby Brady" is obviously looking older. Grew alot in the last month I guess!

Oh, Mr. Friendly! He's actually more creepy all cleaned up, IMO.

Love the little 'ding!' that sounds from Michael's TV at the same exact momemt M pulls the trigger.

Sayid to M, "So you're telling me you're working for Ben Linus?" Sayid, what happens to you? Oh, yeah, you lose your "twoo wove".

Michael, "What are you guys doin'?"
Keemy, "We're shootin' things."

I really like Kevin Durand, as an actor.

I thought it was great they tried to show the development of the Danielle/Alex relationship, only to be cut short. But the scene between the two when they're in peril, love how trusting Alex is towards Danielle, like, "Mommy, save us", and then the BOOM!-LOST

JS said...

Michael has made poor choices, but like Eko, this is the life he has been given.

I think it is interesting Libby appears to Michael - that is the killing he feels guilty about - and never AL. I don't know if it is Smokey making Libby appear - I am not sure all the off island ghost appearances are Smokey. I think he is imprisoned on the island. But that will be contradicted by Christian’s appearance.

I wonder, how does Frank know every person on the plane but not know Michael - he studied the manifest names, but no accompanying pictures?

Only Michael and Locke are told ahead of time that they are going to die in service of the island. The major difference being Michael wanting to die and the island not letting him, and JL needing to die in order to advance the interests of the island.

I am confused about Miles' power. I think you say this later in your books Nikki, but what is his power exactly? Talk to all dead people? That would have short circuited a lot in S5. The inconsistencies are his conversation with Claire and his "reading" of Michael. Was he reading the ghosts around Michael? Or if he wasn't picking up vibes but did his research, why wouldn't Naomi have known? I think they back tracked on his powers because talking to all dead people (rather than just from bodies of recently dead that he comes in contact with) would have given him quite a bit of information that would have short circuited S5.

This was a tough one to end the half season on. But we are so richly rewarded with the first episode back!

Hunter said...

@Nikki I think you're forgetting that, to the grandmother, Michael has been gone since he left to pick up Walt. I believe (can't remember exactly) that they were in Austrailia for at least a week. So that's a little extra time for Michael to have all of his whacky fun. Still not enough, but extra nonetheless.

Teebore said...

Yeah, the timing is definitely off on this one, too, just like "Bentham". And like "Bentham", I think I' just going to have to accept that the writers aren't perfect and move on...

Darlton have said that the freighter folk and their subplots took the biggest hit due to the writer's strike. I imagine we can probably consider some of the plot lines involving the freighter itself part of that as well.

Perhaps Regina and Minkowski were intended to have larger roles, and Michael's machinations on the boat would have been more than one episode long, or have been better elaborated upon.

I do think Ben's whole "I wouldn't kill the innocents on the boat" bit is simply him playing up the "we're the good guys" angle to Michael. He doesn't REALLY care about the innocents, but being "one of the good guys" is the con he's pulling to manipulate Michael.

Fred said...

@Teebore: Darlton have said that the freighter folk and their subplots took the biggest hit due to the writer's strike.Perhaps Regina and Minkowski were intended to have larger roles, and Michael's machinations on the boat would have been more than one episode long, or have been better elaborated upon.

Oh so true. Can we have a director's cut on the DVD? While the TV episodes numbered only 14, those buying the DVDs would get an additional 6 or 8 episodes. why, oh, why don't the powers that be do that?

Jenn said...

@ Susan

I agree. While the news that the freighter folk were there for Ben was NOT shocking, Danielle's death was certainly more than enough of a shock to make up for it!

I still, still can't believe that she's was killed off like that—so suddenly. I liked her since her very first appearance in season 1, and I was soooo surprised. I'm still shocked! LOL

SonshineMusic said...

Loved Claire's line about Ben, "Wait, so he's one of us now?" The whole other/us idea again and how the writers play with us and our concept of that so often.

When Ben was talking to Alex and said her mother would protect her and Rousseau looked at him I had this sudden, weird, vivid image of a sitcom with Ben as the father, Danielle as the mother and Alex as the teenage daughter. Very bizarre.

Now wait, when does this occur, because isn't Tom, um... DEAD by now?!

Michael asks: "You people can come and go?" Tom says: "Some of us."
Who some? Dead people? Like Charlie and Richard and Tom and Christian?

The first two people Michael meets on the freighter will die before it blows up,(Minkowski and Naomi) but the third will still be alive in season 6 (Miles). Just found it odd.

I love how the "execute" button on the bomb looks like the button from the hatch.

Marebabe said...

@Sonshine: Michael asks: "You people can come and go?" Tom says: "Some of us." Who some? Dead people? Like Charlie and Richard and Tom and Christian?

What a concept! Here we've all assumed that Richard always looks the same because he's somehow immortal. But what if it's because he's dead? Holy Moly! It would be just like Darlton to throw in a twist like that. We've been promised an episode on Richard's backstory in S6. Right now I am officially guessing that he's going to die in that episode. Yep, that'll melt our brains in a most gratifying way.

crazyinlost said...

@SonshineMusic-"Now wait, when does this occur, because isn't Tom, um... DEAD by now?!"'
I was thinking that he must have literally just got of the sub from the mainland, literally minutes before he was thrown into the thick of the fight, but then I went, wait, they dont HAVE a sub anymore, so he doesnt have a way to get back in forth, so this whole conversation is just moot!

Virgina Katz said...

We see Michael watching the news about finding the fake Oceanic flight 815 at the bottom of the ocean, do we ever get an explanation from Oceanic about this after the "6" are found alive?

The Rush Blog said...

I do find it interesting that so many "LOST" are unable to forgive Michael for his crimes, yet either forgive the likes of Sawyer and Kate . . . or make excuses for their crimes. Very interesting.