Thursday, August 6, 2009

1.19 Deus Ex Machina

Follow along! The episode guide for “Deus Ex Machina” is in Finding Lost, pp. 119-124.

This was the episode that clinched it for me – Locke’s flashbacks are the best. From this point on, with two fantastic Locke episodes in the can, every time I heard that a flashback was going to be a Locke one, I was very excited. This episode ramps up Locke’s destiny talk, as we hear about things that were meant to be, or supposed to happen. Locke’s loss of faith leads to his inability to walk, and his comment to Boone, that they were meant to crash on this island, is a precursor to the one he’ll eventually give Jack, telling him they were destined to be here.

Fun things I noticed:
• Did Desmond hear the bang of the trebuchet?
• Bonneville of death is back!
• If the island can heal bullet wounds in about 3 hours, then why is Sawyer getting headaches over a little farsightedness?
• I actually loved Jack in this episode… he makes the joke about Sawyer – “If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get a new nickname” – and then he continues to eff with him throughout. Him sitting and asking Sawyer a bunch of questions about STDs and when his last outbreak occurred is hysterical, and he actually laughs at one of Sawyer’s jokes. And then he diagnoses Sawyer with “hyperopia” just to freak the poor guy out. Could these two guys BE more fun together? Oh... I can’t help it… you know what time it is? It’s time for FUN!!!

(Hey, I warned you when I posted this the first time that I’d be posting it often!!)
• The guard’s name is Eddie, which is the same name as the cop that Locke accidentally befriends in “Further Instructions.” He needs to stay away from anyone with that name (including beautiful vampires who sparkle in the daytime…)
• It’s so sad watching Boone agree to go along with things, knowing now it’ll lead to his death.
• I remember watching this the first time when Boone threw the statue out of the plane and thinking, “Uh oh… there goes Charlie’s sobriety.”
• The voice you hear on the other end of the radio isn’t Sam Anderson’s, but they can be forgiven for that.
• John dumping Boone off and leaving is the beginning of Jack’s true hatred for him.
• I said in “The Variable” that Eloise just beat out Anthony Cooper for Worst Parent Ever, but now I’m on the fence again. What he does is HIDEOUS. I think Terry O’Quinn is just stunning in this episode…

Things that have new meaning:
• I found Locke’s description of how Mousetrap works very intriguing. In my book I’ve explained how it could be applied to this episode, but it can also be applied to Locke’s character arc through the rest of the series – piece by piece it comes together, and then you spring the trap. If Locke’s entire life had been shaped from babyhood (with Alpert at the infant’s side in the hospital) to his death, then it’s like a higher being was putting his life together, piece by piece, until the trap was sprung. And, like the little plastic mouse, Locke was trapped.
• The trebuchet falls apart the same way the structure does over the Swan station in “The Incident.”
• You know, I’ve often wondered if Emily Locke is really out of her tree, or if part of Cooper’s con is that he isn’t actually John Locke’s real father? Could there have been something different about Locke’s conception? She tells Locke that he’s special (check), that he was part of a design (check), and that he was immaculately conceived (er…) Is there a chance she’s not bonkers?
• Emily was in the hospital for schizophrenia, which is genetic. Is it possible Locke has some of the symptoms? They include hostility and violence, delusions, hallucinations… (despite the common belief, schizophrenia is NOT actually a multiple personality disorder… if it were, I’d obviously be focusing on that in light of the Man in Black).
• As we see in this episode, the light that comes on isn’t exactly the bright beacon we saw in “The Little Prince.” I’ll talk more about the inconsistencies between this season and that episode in the next guide for “Do No Harm”… the writers made a huge consistency error in season 5. Oops.


Marebabe said...

Nikki, seeing the picture you selected to illustrate this episode, I was sharply reminded of the thrill of seeing Lost for the first time. When that light came on in the hatch window, I got chills. And I think this was one of the first times that Lost got a late start, and therefore ended a couple minutes after the top of the hour. No problem for people parked in front of their TVs, but terrible for the folks who depended on their DVRs to record it. What an outrage, to have the last few minutes (or seconds) cut off a show like Lost! Very often, as in this episode, the punch line would be delivered literally in the last 10 seconds. I'm a big fan of the teasers for next week, too! My all-time favorite was the teaser for "Everybody Hates Hugo", when we saw a close-up of Jin as he said, in perfect English, "Everything's going to change." Awesome!

Kate said...

I loved Jack in this episode too, good 'ole Jacky--actually having some fun for once! The Sawyer plotline was priceless. I especially appreciate the Harry Potter reference that Hurley gives out when Sawyer first gets his glasses.


**Locke's Mom: "Don't you understand, John? *deranged smile* You were immaculately conceived!"
Me: *blinkblink*.... "BAHAWAHAH!"

** I was actually surprised, having just recently rewatched the episode in Season Four (Cabin Fever I think?) where we see Locke's birth, how much the "old" Ms. Locke looks like the young one! Or, I guess in light of the filming timeline: vice versa. But they really did have so many similar qualities and TOTALLY had the same weird sort of spunky/loopy air to them. And they looked a lot alike, particularly the lips and eyes. It was uncanny...

**"Teresa falls up the stairs, Teresa falls down the stairs." CREEPY STUFF.

**I felt sadness for Boone too, knowing he was all chipper about being "the sacrifice the island demanded"...poor Boone. Although I do recall when I was first watching this show that I was actually really happy when the plane fell and hoping he'd kick the bucket--not that I didn't like him, but ever since Hearts and Minds I really didn't want any reminders of the nausea I experienced. This time I was over it though, poor Boone! :(

**I don't get how Boone, stretched over the cockpit controls when the plane fell, ended up lying flat on his back in the middle of the cargo bay by the time John got the door open... The laws of physics seem to object to that sort of thing usually. Does Boone have powers too? :O

**Sawyer in glasses---awwww!!

**Locke having his freak-out at the hatch: TERRIFYING. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY TERRIFYING.

Joan Crawford said...

This is the episode that makes me love Locke. Poor little guy - you ARE special!
Who is John's brother he mentions when talking about playing mousetrap?
Brother...I dunno, talking about a "Set - up" and playing it with his "brother"...kinda like Jacob and The Man in Black (not Johnny Cash, silly).
Yes, good point Nikki! Why are Sawyer's eyes such an issue for a cancer curing island? Maybe the island wanted Jack to assert some authority over Sawyer? Maybe the island thinks Sawyer in wonky glasses is the cutest thing ever?

Joan Crawford said...

Hehe, I can see Desmond down in the hatch, eating cereal when he hears the huge bang and he goes "PEN-EH?!"

JW said...

Loved this episode. The actor who plays Anthony Cooper is great and has a chemistry with Terry O'Quinn.

I also love seeing Locke in the past, because putting a wig on O'Quinn makes him look ten years younger. It's hard to believe that the off-island and on-island stuff here were filmed at the same time.

And yes, the Jack and Sawyer stuff was fantastic, from Jack predicting Sawyer's response to his help to Sawyer's lame insurance joke.

And Nikki, I'm sure you're well aware of this theory (because it's pretty much stated in the show), but I think the reason John's mother told John he had no father was because Anthony paid her to say such, so (like any good con) John would think he was the one making the decisions and not be guarded. Granted, her other statements seem to be wildly ahead of their time for the series.

Lastly, as Katey says, the dream was very creepy. Lost has such great dreams... if you're into creepyness.

Marebabe said...

@Nikki: I got to thinking about your observation that the island can heal a bullet wound in about 3 hours, so what's up with Sawyer's eyestrain headaches? The most dramatic examples of illness that the island didn't miraculously heal are Ben's spinal tumor and Jack's appendicitis. But there are many others, like Scott's (or was it Steve's?) heat rash, Charlie's heroin withdrawal, Claire's heat exhaustion, Aaron's fever and rash, etc. We still don't know why, but some people get miraculous healings on the island, and some don't. There always seems to be plenty of doctoring for Dr. Jack to do.

JennM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JennM said...

Maybe Sawyer's eye problems WERE a cure. The Island was actually helping him see more clearly, (metaphorically) by requiring him to wear glasses.
The same could be said about Charlie's withdrawal—it was part of the cure.
Just a thought

Marebabe said...

@Jenn: That's an interesting idea. Actually, that's often how things work in the real world, the one in which you and I live. Some people get miracled right out of their wheelchairs, and some people have to work through their healing. There's another thing I've learned about the real world: things are not always as they appear. So, yes, maybe Sawyer's need to wear glasses was part of a cure for him.

Fred said...

Couple of points:

John's brother: John was raised in foster care, and since he was given up at birth he would have been an only child. Any "brother" was probably a child at the foster home. What I didn't get from his talk with Cooper was how much time he spent at any one--the golden retriever story implies more than 5years ("sister" Jeanie dies, then 6months later the golden retriever shows up,stays 5 years till step mother passes on).

Notice when Jack asks Sawyer about brain tumours, that Sawyer finally informs him his uncle died of one. So sad, as this was likely the uncle that told Sawyer not to write the letter (final episode, season 5). If the island doesn't like you, then it gives you cancer--I suspect it gave Sawyer's uncle cancer to allow Sawyer to follow the path he eventually did.

The private detective, Locke hired, says before he hands over the fill on Cooper, "this probably won't have a happy ending." How true on so many fronts. If only Locke had not pursued his father, he'd have lived a mediocre life, . . . uh, maybe it was worth it.

That dead parachutist reminds me of the dead parachutist from Lord of the Flies (also Naomi in future episodes). For a mysterious and well hidden island, people do seem to arrive by air (don't forget Henry Gale).

When Boone says he can't even spell 'trebuchet', Locke says it ends with a "T". How fitting that when the plane falls, tail end up, it makes a "T", at the end of Boone's life. And if this episode is called "Deus ex Machina" (God out of the Machine), does that mean god is a drug? Think, altered states/altered realities.

Robbie said...

Yeah Nikki you are right about the inconsistancy with the light. It was more similar to how it looked in the season 2 premiere.

Gregg Nations confirmed it was a mistake, don't know if you have read this:

"And thank God for the die hard fans. Without you guys we wouldn't even be here.

Sometimes you tell production you want something to be a certain way, but what comes back in dailies isn't exactly what you'd hoped for. It doesn't mean it's bad -- it just means it's different than what you imagined in your mind. Then you're faced with reshooting something, incurring the costs to do this, and would it be worth it. So in this case we're hoping fans are okay with this since the intent was there"

The Question Mark said...

@ Fred: Good point about Sawyer's uncle. Jacob most likely overheard the talking-to he gave to l'il Sawyer on the church steps and decided to remove him, which makes a lot of sense.
When Jacob met young Kate, she was with Tom, and "fate" seemd to kill HIM off, too. Had he remained in Kate's life, she probably would not have been on Flight 815.
Jacob was also nearby to witness Jack's relationship with Christian, and...well, we all know what ends up happening to Christian...:)
Seems Jacob is a man on a mission, trying to get all of these people to his island for whatever reason. I'm pretty sure he kept Locke alive by touching him after he was pushed out the window, so he's definitely doing more than just giving them calm words of solace.

Fred said...

Question Mark. Cool you picked up on the Thomas and Kate connection. It looks like Jacob is the one building the mousetrap. Locke did say Mousetrap involves two players, so maybe Backgammon is just a red herring, and we should all be looking at Mousetrap as a way into LOST. And the car hitting Nadia, I'd bet Jacob is involved.

If Mousetrap is to capture the mouse--is the mouse Eloise? Afterall, Daniel called his mouse Eloise (after his mother), and I haven't seen any other mice on the show. So what if LOST is all about getting Eloise back to the island, and whoever captures her, wins. Just some mild, latenight rambling.

The Question Mark said...

The car hitting Nadia, I totally forgot about that! Dude, Jacob is like, the Angel of Death, or something...

Anonymous said...

Nitpick: Why does Locke have a compass? He gave his to Sayid quite awhile ago, saying he wouldn't need it anymore; yet he consults a flip-top compass in this episode.

Or maybe it wasn't a compass; maybe it was a powder compact and he was checking the mirror to see if his nose was shiny. Yeah, that's probably it. Never mind.

Azá said...

Locke tells him Mom where the footballs are; aisle 8 and aisle 15... Having read your book's Nikki I thought back about episodes, but now rewatching them and seeing them again is great!

Totally freaked out about Locke's leg. Still can't figure why his leg just gives way - is it to do with time travelling Locke getting shot in the leg by Ethan in S05?

Desmond contemplating life down in the hatch when all of a sudden 'box-man' starts banging and Dessy toys with him. Know that we have known this for some time makes us chuckle, but I recall seeing that for the first time and thinking there is some sort of spaceship down there and it's prepping for take off :)

variabull said...

Sawyer has his vision tested. Locke is tested by a vision. Cool. Love those premonitory dreams. Kind of like time travel.

As for Anthony Cooper,in a roundabout way he does save Locke's life (Ben's through and through gunshot at the Purge Pit)

Abraham/Isaac. "Well then it wouldn't have been much of a test, would it brother? Perhaps you underestimate the value of sacrifice." Brother Campbell

As for Locke's sneaking a peak at a compass (lost his way) couldn't we assume that a guy that has "400 knives" might also have several compasses?

As for Cooper not being Locke's father, with the much closer than normal 6 degrees of seperation inherent in Lost, I have always suspected some sort of "You all zommbies" Heinlein stuff going on, but I don't know how yet.

Rebecca T. said...

@Nikki: Did Desmond hear the bang of the trebuchet?

I thought the same thing... actually my thoughts were more like How on earth did Desmond NOT hear that racket!? But he hears Locke pounding on the top and crying (right? Or am I remembering wrong?)

I've said it again (I actually did a little piece on my blog about it too) and I will probably say it again, but rewatching this episode made me even more convinced that Cooper is not actually John's father. She may be his mother, but I think Cooper is totally running a long con.

I love how many fakeouts and teases they give us about how Locked ended up in the wheelchair. I remember the first time, when the evil Bonneville of death hit him I went, Oh, Okay. And then, Oh, nevermind.

Cooper's comment, "I guess that makes me god" made me laugh because he certainly acts like he is.

I love Jack in this episode so much better than the usual "I can be your hero, baby" Jack who has to uber control everything.

I freakin' love that FUN video!

@Joan Crawford: Hehe, I can see Desmond down in the hatch, eating cereal when he hears the huge bang and he goes "PEN-EH?!"

Ah hahahahahahahahaha!

@ TheQuestionMark: well, we all know what ends up happening to Christian...:)

Actually, I don't think we really do know what ends up happening to Christian... at least, not yet. hehe

It's almost as though the Island wanted Boone to die. Taking away John's legs so that Boone would have to climb up into the plane...

I thought it was sweet how willing Sayid was to make the glasses for Sawyer. It's rather funny how everyone kind of bands around to help him when he's been such a jerk most of the time. Maybe this is one thing that has an impact on him in the next ep. when he is so willing to give up his alcohol stash for Boone.

Gillian Whitfield said...

This episode is awesome, sad, philosophical, and frankly, damn creepy.

Beautiful vampires that sparkle in the sunlight are overrated. And get waaay too much attention from the main character.

Anthony Cooper is definitely the worst father in the world. I don't really know if Eloise out-trumps Cooper or not. Murder vs. con & steal. Hard to tell.

JennM said...

I vote Cooper for worst parent hands down. His constant betrayals are cold, calculated, and self-serving. He carries out his cons with no thought or emotion, and certainly no consideration for John. Eloise at least seems like she's a bit sad about what's going on from time to time!

Austin Gorton said...

Did Desmond hear the bang of the trebuchet?

I've often wondered that too. It's frankly not a big deal, but I do wonder about it.

I've always thught the Theresa stuff was uber-creepy. Possibly one of the creepiest things on Lost, ever.

The light coming on at the end is one of those iconic Lost moments that always sticks with me.

If the next episode is the one in which Lost and I got hitched once and for all, the light coming on in the hatch in this one is the engagement ring. :)

Azá said...

Again we hear another line on the same thing as "See you in another life, brother" - "See you on the side" says Cooper to Locke.

How many times have we heard these kinda things?

Ali Bags said...

So many things in this episode that play important roles from now on - the skeleton in the plane, the virgin Mary statue, the voice on the end of the radio, the light in the hatch, Cooper's conning, the missing kidney....

Even if they do make production errors, the storytellers do a damn fine job.

Marebabe said...

@variabull: To say that Sawyer got his vision tested, while Locke was tested by a vision is not only a remarkably astute observation, it's poetry! Well done.

@Sonshine: Of course, very little is certain with Lost, but I have a reason to suspect that Anthony Cooper is indeed Locke's genuine bio-dad. To be a candidate for an organ transplant, one needs a prospective donor who is a good tissue-match with the recipient. They always look first at the patient's immediate family, because that is where you have the best chance of finding a suitable donor. I think that's why Cooper set out to con the son that he'd abandoned.

J.W. said...

The compass situation seems a bit awkward to me, too. I'm not sure why the writers basically tell us that John no longer has a compass and doesn't need one, only to show John consulting his compass shortly thereafter. While he could have had/found another one, it's a strange way of storytelling.

Nikki Stafford said...

@studiorose: Or maybe it wasn't a compass; maybe it was a powder compact and he was checking the mirror to see if his nose was shiny. Yeah, that's probably it. Never mind.

Actually, I think it was in case his head got shiny. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Teebore: I've always thught the Theresa stuff was uber-creepy. Possibly one of the creepiest things on Lost, ever.

I have to agree with you... especially when the mother is suddenly standing there and then her hand shoots up in the air to point... it's probably the closest this series has gotten to borrowing from the horror genre. It scares the bejesus out of me every time.

Joan: Hehe, I can see Desmond down in the hatch, eating cereal when he hears the huge bang and he goes "PEN-EH?!"

This comment made me laugh SO hard... you have no idea. ;)

Anonymous said...

Anthony Cooper: Definitely worst parent. Not only stole Locke's kidney, but then went on to (attempt to) murder him by pushing him out the window.

At least Eloise had the decency to look remorseful after she killed her son.

Nikki Stafford said...

JW: And Nikki, I'm sure you're well aware of this theory (because it's pretty much stated in the show), but I think the reason John's mother told John he had no father was because Anthony paid her to say such,

I agree, that's what we're told happened, but there's just something that's SO convincing about the way she says it. And how prescient it is. Hm...

Fred: Excellent observations, as always!

Robbie: Thanks for the Gregg Nations quote! I hadn't read it. Honestly, that guy is one of the hardest-working continuity people in the biz, I think.

And I meant to say this, but despite the huge continuity error, I love that they brought them together anyway. Really. I think it really works in The Little Prince, and the inconsistency has never actually bothered me, it's just a fun thing to point out.

Aza: For the "see you on the other side" stuff, I have a sidebar in my Finding Lost book where I list off each of them, and I've counted every one in subsequent books after that one. There's a lot of them -- see you in the next life, see you in another life, see you on the other side, etc.

variabull: Sawyer has his vision tested. Locke is tested by a vision.

Lovely, lovely observation!!

Fred said...

JW: I always saw John and the compass as Sayid giving it back when he thought it was malfunctioning. Also, a lot goes on between episodes that we are not privy to. We are sort of left to fill in the story line. So I think John gave Sayid the compass, Sayid found it was off by quite a degree, and then returned it to John. But good question, if John says he doesn't need it, then why does he consult it? Maybe he consults it when he moves into unknown territory, or where his gut feeling isn't really guiding him. (The problem with following the compass is that if it is pointing to the magnetic mass underground, you'd always be going in a circle as you moved round the island).

Benny said...

Did anyone else notice Jack shaving?
I guess they do shave before the Swan bathroom!