Wednesday, November 18, 2009

4.01 The Beginning of the End

Follow along! The episode guide for “The Beginning of the End” is in Finding Lost — Season 4, pp. 7-18.

I’ve rewatched season 4 so recently that I was already saying the lines in this premiere before they happened. The arrival of the freighter folk, the split in the camps… this really is the beginning of the end.

Fun things I noticed:
• In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” there was an awesome moment in the penultimate episode of season 6, where Willow is all black-eyed and veiny and telling Buffy, “I’m the slayer now” and she’s about to zap Buffy into another dimension, when all of a sudden she’s zapped across the room. The camera turns and zooms in on Giles, who says, “I’d like to test that theory.” I thought those were the greatest 6 words of any television series ever. And then, in this episode, Hurley yells, “I’m one of the Oceanic 6!” and I’d found a new six words that I adored. What a GREAT line.
• I can’t remember if I included this in the final edit on my book or if I took it out (I kept waffling) but that scene between Rose, Claire, and Sun is SO forced it feels like a deleted scene. I still can’t figure out why it’s in the show. From Sun saying she can’t believe she’s going to give birth in a hospital and Claire doing that forced, “OH THANKS!” and Sun going, “Oh no!” and LOLing to Rose telling Claire to give her man some extra lovin’ and Claire doing that forced, “ROSE!” and them all LOLing, I think I’m going to gag every time I watch it. Ugh.
• When Hurley gets closer to Jacob’s cabin the wildlife sounds change and it sounds like he’s near some swamp or bayou. And it’s super creepy.
• Hurley screams louder when he sees John Locke than he does when he sees the eye in the window. Ha!!
• I still don’t get why Rose is so happy about the rescue. It’s like the events of “S.O.S.” never happened.

Things that have new meaning:
• I still find the Hurley cannonball scene one of the most glorious and devastating moments of the series. Never again will we see utter happiness followed by utter desolation. This will be the happiest we ever see Hurley, and he’ll never find that sort of happiness again. (Come on, Season 6… make our Hurley happy again…)
• Watching the Abaddon scene again in the context of what we’ve seen in S5 changes it completely. I now look at him as Widmore’s right-hand man, the one who will ferry Locke around and eventually be gunned down by Ben; the man who first sent Locke on his journey to the island.
• I remember first watching this episode and being a little confused about why Sayid is SO hostile… and of course now rewatching it right on the heels of season 3, it’s a little more obvious.
• Charlie says, “They need you.” Abaddon says, “Are they still alive?” And in retrospect, it’s still not clear who “they” are: The people they left behind? The Others? The freighter folk? The Dharma Initiative circa 1977?
• In “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” I nitpicked in my S5 book about the title card that says, “Santa Rosa, CA” before showing Hurley in the mental institution. In earlier episodes, it seems Santa Rosa is just the name of the mental institution, and not its location, and that would make sense that it’s just outside L.A. so Hurley’s parents could visit him and Jack could drop by “on his way back home from a consult.” But when the card says it’s in Santa Rosa, CA, that’s over 7 hours away from L.A. I think the actual production card was wrong.
• Now we know what Hurley means when he says to Jack that he’s afraid he’s going tell. It was Jack who orchestrated the lie, and Hurley who wouldn’t go along with it at first.
• Jack: “We’re never going back.” Me: “Oh, you are going waaaaaaay back.”


Marebabe said...

I used to wonder why they even bothered to have that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of Randy Nations shooting video at the end of Hurley’s high-speed car chase. Then I listened to the commentary for this episode, which was done by Jorge Garcia and Evangeline Lilly. Apparently, there was a whole scene featuring Randy that ended up being cut. He was working in a stereo store, and when he saw the commotion of Hurley’s wreck outside, he grabbed a camcorder and started shooting. I must say, he was pretty quick!

I love that majestic and wonderful old tree in the scene with Hurley and Charlie outside the hospital. I think the tree is probably the reason they went for a wide shot, because it’s so beautiful. Does anyone know what kind it is?

JW said...

I remember when this first aired, I wondered if I liked it so much simply because there had been no Lost on TV in forever. Rewatching it now, I realize it's just a fun episode.

but that scene between Rose, Claire, and Sun is SO forced it feels like a deleted scene

It's like a fanfic! This is somewhat unrelated but when I saw the original ending to Titanic (1997) on the DVD, I thought the same thing. ("Oh, so teenage fanfic writers are now writing these things, huh?") My apologize to teenage fanfic writers. :)

By the way, Ben's snarky firewood line still rocks.

tiasabita said...

Totally forgot what a wonderful Hurley-centric episode this was! As soon as I saw those mangos at the start I got all giddy! I loved your description, Nikki, in your book of Hurley's 'pure, unadulterated joy' as he cannonballed into the ocean only to have it quickly dashed. But how did he not see Des and the boat arriving as he jumped in? And I also loved Hurley hugging the dectective who threatened to send him to the nuthouse, just like he hugged Rousseau when she told him the numbers were cursed. He was relieved the detective thought he was crazy but also relieved that Rousseau thought he wasn't crazy.

Kate to Jack - 'Are we really going home?'
Jack to Kate - 'Yeah, we're really going home.'
Hell yeah you are - back to the beach!

I found myself asking how John knew about Dez and Charlie's adventure and how Sayid knew that John stabbed Naomi. In the book Nikki mentions the implication of each party knowing about the other and this is what must have happened although it still feels weird to me. Also it's implied that Jack must have seen Hurley's camaro before - ¿maybe at the welcome home party?

When Jack told Kate it felt like they'd been out there together for 100 years - this has to mean something! Maybe he's remembering something from the future/past? (If that has already been discussed forgive me!)

Marebabe said...

@tiasabita: Nice catch on Hurley hugging the detective in the same way he had hugged Rousseau. There's a certain symmetry to it, which appeals to my sense of order. :) Each time, he was overwhelmed with a sense of relief.

The Question Mark said...

@Nikki: regarding what you said about the area around Jacob's cabin sounding like a swamp/bayou...
When Hurley starts entering that area of the woods, you can hear a creepy whistling noise that sounds like no animal I've ever heard. In "The Man Behind the Curtain", you'll hear the same noise when Ben & Locke visit the cabin. The noise is spooky as all hell, and I know I've heard it somewhere before, so I was wracking my brain trying to figure out where, and then it hit me...
Pop in your DVDs of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and check out the scene where Smeagol leads Frodo & Sam through the Dead Marshes, and Frodo falls into the haunted water. the noises the ghosts make down there is the exact same noise we hear when Hurley approaches the cabin. If that's Hollywood's official stock noise for evil phantoms/spirits, then I am officially TERRIFIED of the Man In Black.

The Question Mark said...

Also, maybe I missed it, but did Hurley upset the ash circle when he ran, which is what allows the cabin to "teleport"?

Susan said...

Nikki and JW: I never noticed how forced the scene with Rose, Claire, and Sun is, but you're right, it isn't very well done.

OK this is the part where I really have to question the intelligence or sanity of the people who followed Locke. Some of them knew he killed Naomi, some of them knew he joined the Others, probably most of them knew he blew up the Flame and the submarine. Yet some of them go with him because Locke says that Ben says the boat people are dangerous. Others go with him because of Charlie's dying message, but as Sawyer says, "I don't even know what 'not Penny's boat' means."

I think it's more significant to note who didn't go with John -- Sayid, Desmond (who was with Charlie when he died) and Rose and Bernard (who don't even want to be rescued).

Locke: "All I did, all I have ever done, has been in the best interest of all of us." Me: HA!

While rewatching the first 3 seasons again, I had forgotten how much I missed Dan. Now that I know when he dies, I'll have to enjoy every scene that he's in.

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark: I followed your advice and checked the Dead Marshes scene in "Two Towers", and all I can say is, when you're right, you're right. Supremely spooky!

The Question Mark said...

@ Marebabe:
That noise will forever haunt my dreams! LOL
Actually, unless I'm mistaken, I think you can ALSO hear the exact same noise at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the Nazis open the Ark of the Covenant & all of those ghosts are floating around.

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark: You love it and you know it! ;)

Pamalamb said...

I just got Nikki's season 4 book in the mail today - what great timing! So now I'm all set for our rewatch.

Hurley to Jack: "You'd look weird with a beard dude" - Hurley how right you are!

Hurley telling Clare about Charlie's death is so sad and touching. There's no long explanation, no carefully chosen words, no words of consolation - He just says, with tears in his eyes, "Charlie's dead." He doesn't need to say another word!

It's so great to see him again. After watching him in "Confirmed Dead" I realized again what a great character he is and how great Jeremy Davis is playing him. I'm really looking forward to watching him in the rest of this rewatch; especially since I know what's coming in season 5.

Fred said...

@Marebabe: When I saw Hurley and Charlie under the tree, it reminded me of the Buddha under the Bohdi tree. Under the tree, the Buddha attained enlightenment. Hurley resting and drawing under the tree seemed so much like that image of Buddha to me, that I thought, why not, enlightenment as Charlie comes to him. But Hugo wasn't in to it, and denied Charlie's existence, therefore denying the possibility of enlightenment--only later does Jacob explain the wonder Hurley is experiencing.(Trees seem very important in LOST, not only as refuges from the smoke monster. We saw Susan meet Michael under a tree, where he gave Walt a stuffed polar bear.)

I like when Hurley and Jack play "Horse," and Hurley sinks every shot, while Jack misses them all. Clearly, Hurley's luck is still with him. They only get to HO, before Jack quits. Same letters as HOHOs stand, where Hugo saw Charlie.

When Abaddon appears in the Santa Rosa asylum, he is seen seated before a chess game, on the white side. Does this mean, Abaddon is playing for the white (Jacob) side? Hugo sits aside the game, between white and black.

Charlie being alive and existing at the same time. Since Flashforward, the issue of quantum suicide comes forward. Hugh Everett proposed the many-worlds hypothesis to escape from the Copenhagen solution and Schrodinger's cat paradox. But I don't think that's happening in LOST. In "The Invention of Morel," Morel creates a machine that records every aspect of an individual, even his soul--the island can be like that, having recorded everything about an individual, so even when they die they are held in some electro-magnetic stasis. Also Morel's machine plays a single day over and over ad infinitum, sort of like what happened happened, even if you go back in time.

Purposeful funny or just what you'd expect. When Hugo is in the interrogation room, there is stencilled on the wall, "No Smoking." Or is that , 'no smoke monsters'. The same sort of play on smoking occurs when Jack goes to investigate the alarm on the smoke detector, and sees his dad in the waiting room (later episode).

I noticed there were 2 people in the cabin. Hugo saw one in the rocking chair, but a second person rushes to the window, looking wild eyed, like he was trying to escape--Jacob and MiB??? Or somebody else???

Anonymous said...

Small nitpick: During the scene outside the mental hospital, Ghost Charlie slaps Hurley to prove he's really there. In the next scene, they walk towards each other before sitting down - from at least six feet apart. Nowhere near slapping distance! And they were just standing there at the beginning of the next scene; you can figure out the precise moment the director must've said, "action!" at which point they walked toward each other and then sat down. (Marebabe, I agree - that tree is awesome!)

Nikki, I took the advice in your book for this and the subsequent two episodes and put myself in the shoes of the "boat people" instead of the Losties. Their behavior really does make sense when seen from their POV. They didn't expect the survivors to have serious doubts about their sincerity in claiming they were there to rescue them and were understandably surprised when they received reactions ranging from mild suspicion to outright hostility.

JW - A fanfic, indeed! That perfectly describes that goofy scene. And yes, why IS Rose so darned happy at the prospect of being rescued? Granted, it could be that she's just happy for Claire, Sun and the rest who will be better off by leaving, but it doesn't explain why she wouldn't go with Locke, who was doing his best to ensure they would never leave. If it's because he's a murderer, then why is she so proud of Bernard for taking out a couple of "others" during the camp raid?

Anonymous said...

I could watch this episode a million times (and am indeed getting pretty close to that number!) and still love it so much. Hurley's brief moment of total happiness as he does that cannonball is so pure, and then is ultimate sadness when he learns of Charlie's death is so heartbreaking!! Jorge Garcia is just such a down to earth actor and I love the way he is so clearly able to show his emotions, unlike so many others.

I also love that Sawyer is genuinely concerned for Hurley's well-being and asks if he needs to talk. It's that same sense of true friendship I get in the finale of Season 4 when Sawyer goes back for Hurley and Hurley is so happy to see him. Shades of the Sawyer we are to see in Season 5!

I totally agree that the scene with Claire, Sun, and Rose is so blatently over-acted and unbelievable. When Sun says "ROSE!" I cringe.

Love when Hurley screams when he sees Locke. One of the funniest scenes of all time. And when Charlie appears to Hurley and Hurley asks him if he knew he was going to die, I get goosebumbps. That line "I am dead, but I am also here" always gets me so excited, because it's opening a door I couldn't even fathom back then. So much foreshadowing!!

Nikki, I love your posts and look forward to them each week. I am promising myself to buy all your books this weekend, because you really write from the heart and I can tell you love this show as much as I do. I also love the comments on here by your regulars and they always make me think of something I hadn't realized.

Great job!!!

Austin Gorton said...

I still don’t get why Rose is so happy about the rescue. It’s like the events of “S.O.S.” never happened.

Yeah, this is one of the inconsistencies that drives me nuts in this episode.

The easy explanation is that she's happy for everyone else, but I think Rose not wanting to leave was significant enough that her joy here deserved a line at least establishing such.

At least her siding with the "rescue us" group instead of the "stay here" group was given a token explanation (even if it is, as studiorose points out, a bit hypocritical).

Fred said...

@Teebore: rose being happy at the prospect of rescue is an inconsistency. We can try to attribute it to her wanting to be rid of Ben and the Others, who have been nothing but pests of the worst kind for the survivors. Or we can think of it as her happiness for those who will get off the island. Sometimes LOST suffers from such errors of narrative or motivation, characters acting inconsistently moment to moment, or events not seeming to tie up with previous events. At times though, it's our fault as viewers, because we just can't hold in our minds the multiple plot lines occuring at the same time, especially when the timeline on the island is 1 or 2 days, but the viewing time is 4 or 5 weeks. (That's were Nikki's book is such a great help).

@Studiorose: I think from Pose's point-of-view Locke is the one who cold-bloodedly killed Naomi "for the sake of the island." Locke already had been going off, bush-crazy, if you want, and I think a lot of the survivors would have begun to distrust him--is he really looking out for me? would be a sample question on everyone's mind. It's not just naomi, there is still Boone to consider, and how Locke left him rather remain behind to see what he could do (not much, but I'd have expected him to stay behind and see how Boone faired, rather than run back into the jungle). Rose would have known this, and her feelings towards Jack as the leader (afterall, Jack saved Rose's life) and Jack's "generally" positive behaviour for the group would make him seem the likelier candidate to side with in a split in the group. As for Bernard, Rose would be proud of him, but she'd not see him in the same way as Locke. To her Bernard is not just someone she loves, but is someone she relies on, despite all his failings. She knows when push comes to shove, Bernard would sink the island over losing Rose; not so with Locke.

Susan said...

re Rose: Well put, Fred. Nicely explained.

I think we are also dealing with the fact that Lost is a story, and as much as we care about consistency, and so do the producers, at times they are more concerned with telling the story, and sometimes consistency has to go by the wayside. This happens on all tv shows (it seemed to happen on Star Trek on a weekly basis) but Lost is much better than most at trying to maintain consistency. So I try to overlook such things even though they drive me crazy ;)

crazyinlost said...

@tiasabita-I think Hurley was excited that the detective would put him away, 'cause he feels safer in the nuthouse, plus they'll give him drugs to help him not hallucinate anymore.

crazyinlost said...

@Marebabe-yeah, and he also hugged the flight attendant in Australia when she let him get on the plane. So your observation of relief inspiring hugs makes sense!

crazyinlost said...

Nikki, you picked my most favorite picture of Hurley for you post! Thanks! The smile on his face always seems so innocent and childlike IMO, especially right before what happens next.
I must say, though, for some reason this time watching Hurley run down the beach slo/mo, with his "moobs" bouncing up and down, all I could think of was "Bay Watch" (which I couldn't stand to watch, but couldn't avoid the ad's for it), and then I couldn't stop laughing and had to stop the recording and settle down.

Onward...Why does Hurley freak out so much when he sees Charlie? Doesn't he realize by now he "sees dead people"?

I still love the way Danielle gives Ben all these "looks".

Now THAT was Fisher Stevens on the phone!

Why does Whitmore (thru Abbadon) want Hurley? Was he the most accessable being in the hospital? Were they gonna torture him for info?

Locke, "Hello Hugo"

Hurley is drawing a picture of an igloo, lots of snow, and a guy in a parka...symbols of what's to come, or does he REALLY just want to be somewhere NOT HOT?

Jack actually pulls the trigger-twice!

When they are all at the plane, wouldn't those bodies in there stink to high heaven? Or are they past that point after a few months. Just seems like with all the rain and humidity they would still be gooey.

Austin Gorton said...

@Fred: Yeah, I've never had a problem with Rose siding with Jack over Locke; Locke is clearly crazy, as far as she's concerned, and killing Naomi in cold blood, no matter how much he claims the island wants it, is much different for Rose than Bernard killing Others. Even if he's participating in an ambush and attacking first, it's an ambush setup in the name of self defense.

@Susan: as a Star Trek fan, I also know all too well the sacrifice often made of character in the name of story. Which is one of the reasons why Rose's uncharacteristic glee at the thought of rescue bothers me as much as it does in this ep (which really isn't ALL that much).

Her glee at the thought of rescue doesn't seem to be all that necessary. The story doesn't REQUIRE Rose to be uncharacteristically happy, so why not stick with the established characterization? Or just not bring it up? Have Rose be happy at Bernard's survival and proud of how he's helped his fellow castaways, and leave it at that. Or drop in a line saying "I ain't leaving, but I'm happy for you folks that are." Or something.

Mis-characterization in the name of story is one thing, mis-characterization for no apparent reason is another, especially when it's easily avoided/rectified, and that's what bugs me.

But frankly, I don't want to make a mountain out of this molehill; it isn't like this relatively minor bit of mis-characterization ruins the show or even this episode for me. It's really not that big of a deal, just one of those things that makes think, in the back of my mind, "hmm, Rose really shouldn't all that happy about the prospect of rescue" when I watch it, and then I move on.

Rebecca T. said...

@lisa11171: I also love that Sawyer is genuinely concerned for Hurley's well-being and asks if he needs to talk.

I absolutely love that part. Sawyer's just so cute there :)

There most definitely has to be some major significance to the fact that Hurley can find the cabin. And, in the shots of him looking at the cabin, there's a rip in the curtains that looks like a "J". Why, yes I am watching too closely. :P

Why did they suddenly decide to go to the cockpit. We haven't seen it since the Pilot (right?) so why return to it now?

You know, that life and death theme gets me every time. Giacchino is a veritable genius.

Ben: "Jack, with your permission, I'd like to go with John." HA!

Blam said...

I still remember how weird it was to see Hurley get out of the car when the ep first aired. The whole concept of these characters returned from the Island, whatever shape they were in, was just amazingly jarring. And we still weren't entirely sure at first if these were flashforwards instead of flashbacks — if somehow what we'd seen the past three seasons wasn't them re-living an earlier visit or visits to the Island, perhaps even merging with their previous selves with only shadow memories to show for it, thus explaining their interconnected personal histories, maybe the whispers, and perhaps much more.
These and other belated comments are brought to you by Severe Back Pain. When you need an excuse to stay in and catch up on reading, writing, or watching TV on a Saturday night, try Severe Back Pain. Severe Back Pain: From the makers of Kids! (Side effects from Severe Back Pain include severe back pain.)

Blam said...

Nikki: I now look at [Abaddon] as Widmore’s right-hand man, the one who will ferry Locke around and eventually be gunned down by Ben; the man who first sent Locke on his journey to the island.
Fringe, huh? [bang] That's for taking Abrams away from us. Man hasn't directed an episode since the frickin' pilot! [bang] And that's for Orci & Kurtzman. [bang] I got three more in the clip and plenty or reloads, so if you see the cast of effin' Star Trek send 'em my way. (to someone offscreen) Wait... Really? An Oscar? Huh. Eh, I guess we've done all right without those guys.

Blam said...

The Question Mark: Also, maybe I missed it, but did Hurley upset the ash circle when he ran, which is what allows the cabin to "teleport"?
I remember seeing a big "Look at me!" shot of the ash circle being smudged, but don't recall now if it was Hurley or John from the earlier visit who was the culprit.

Blam said...

Fred: When Abaddon appears in the Santa Rosa asylum, he is seen seated before a chess game, on the white side. Does this mean, Abaddon is playing for the white (Jacob) side? Hugo sits aside the game, between white and black.
Very nice observation! "Abaddon" is a name given variously to Hell, a demon, or the Devil himself in Biblical and extraBiblical writings, remember — but that's not necessarily contradictory to Abaddon being on the white side, which we associate with goodness and purity. It's only our cultural context that has us equate white with good and black with bad, so Abaddon's overt connection to Widmore as well as any that may be inferred to Jacob via the white side of the chessboard doesn't necessarily mean that we should consider him a traditional "white hat" instead of a representative of moral darkness as indicated by his name. On the other hand, Hell in its original conceptions as the Greek Hades or the Judaic Sheol were neutral underworlds/afterlives, not necessarily places for only the sinful, and of course much has been written framing Satan as on the side of humanity against and uncaring God.

Juanita's Journal said...

Now we know what Hurley means when he says to Jack that he’s afraid he’s going tell. It was Jack who orchestrated the lie, and Hurley who wouldn’t go along with it at first.

Actually, it was Kate who set the lie in motion, in order to keep Aaron for herself. Jack's willingness to help Kate led him to create the lie.

Rose's unwillingness to follow Locke smacked of hypocrisy to me. She refused to follow Locke, because of his murder of Naomi. Yet, she had just witness Jack's attempt to murder Locke. Strange woman. Or simply just a hypocrite.

Jacob equals white? Why? Because he is supposed to equal "good"? Why does Western society continue to equate white with good and black with evil? I never understood such thinking. Is this an example of Eurocentric bigotry?