Wednesday, December 23, 2009

5.05 This Place Is Death

Follow along! The episode guide for “This Place Is Death” is in Finding Lost — Season 5, pp. 56-65.

This episode has always felt like more than one to me. First, the Rousseau story. Then the story of the survivors trekking across the island to get to the Orchid and dealing with the time flashes along the way. And finally, Ben getting Sun and Jack over to the church. It always feels like it took a lot longer than 42 minutes, but they’ve just packed so many storylines into one episode that it feels very dense.

Fun things I noticed:
• Yunjin is SO good in that first scene on the cellphone. When Ji Yeon tells her she misses her, her voice catches and she’s barely holding it together. I bet every parent in the audience knew exactly how that felt. She’s so brilliant.
• At the end of that phone call, when she says, “Annyong,” does anyone else think of Arrested Development or is that just me?
• Montand says, “Next thing you know he’ll be talking about a submarine.” Oh how I wish Jin had said, “Don’t be silly. We blew up the submarine.” Hahaha!
• I know a lot of people thought the girl who plays Rousseau was a bad choice of actress for it, but I think she’s near-perfect. I totally believe she could grow up to look like Mira Furlan – gaunt because of lack of food, face drawn and lined because of the sun, eyes wilder because of losing her mind. I think this actress is great.
• Okay, okay, my bad: back in “Solitary” I was playing “Nitpick that nitpick” and said that she’s wearing a chocolate sweater, but in “This Place Is Death” it’s grey. And now we see that she had TWO sweaters, and the chocolate one is the one she had one when she killed Robert. That made it even more effective for me, though, remembering that she’d be wearing that same sweater when she met Sayid.
• You know, Charlotte says the Orchid is a way off the island, so it’s often made me wonder why they didn’t all push their way down that well and all try to turn the wheel. ;)
• Does Christian not help John because he’s ephemeral and can’t actually touch him (which would be strange, since he touched Aaron… but that could also be an indication that Aaron is different) or is it a spiritual reason, that he can’t help John because he has to do this himself?
• Ben pushed the wheel; John pulls it. I have no idea if that has any meaning. I’m just saying it.

Things that have new meaning:
• I think that is TOTALLY Hurley’s voice reciting the numbers when Montand is listening to the recording. Listen especially to the way he says “forty-two.”
• I said at the time that Juliet’s “thank you” to Locke is such a huge moment for him, since NO ONE ever thanks him (mostly because they think he’s bonkers) but now that we’ve rewatched the series, I think that even more.
• Charlotte’s final words are the first words she will ever say to Daniel. :::sniffle:::


Marebabe said...

At the beginning of this episode, Sun is scary, and Ji Yeon is absolutely darling. I noticed in the end credits that the little girl playing Ji Yeon is named Jaymie KIM. I know that in Korea, the last name Kim is very common, like Smith or Jones. But I think it’s rather a fun coincidence that we have a family of characters all played by actors with the same last name. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the little girl is some relation to either Daniel or Yunjin Kim.

Is anyone else bothered by the inconsistency in the subtitles? Did anyone else even notice it? I’m referring to the fact that sometimes the subtitles are in regular type, and other times, for no apparent reason, they’re in italics. If I were in charge of putting subtitles on the screen, I would use regular type whenever the audience can plainly see the person speaking, and italics for a voice heard over a telephone or walkie-talkie, or whenever the person speaking cannot be seen at the moment. But in this episode, in scenes with both Korean and French dialogue, it was completely random. Why did they do that?

Nikki, I agree with you, that Melissa Farman, who plays young Danielle Rousseau, was an excellent choice. She has to look real grim, intense, and/or frightened most of the time. But if you can catch her in a lighthearted moment, as when she and Robert were disagreeing about whether Danielle’s baby would be Alexander or Alexandra, she’s as cute as a bug’s ear!

Nothing arrests a group’s attention like the sound of a gun being cocked. Also, music boxes like Danielle’s that wind up with a key will only play for a couple minutes at a time, tops. So, on that terrible day, she wound up her music box, and then immediately had to confront and kill Robert. I would think that listening to her music box after that would give her no pleasure. Combined with her intense loneliness and fear, it probably helped her sink into depression and madness, even though she told Sayid that she missed the music after the mechanism broke.

I don’t blame Locke for letting Ben move the Island. Ben knew how to do it, and Locke didn’t. And besides, Ben offered. If it was really so important for Locke to be the one to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel, then he should’ve been given detailed instructions on exactly HOW to do it, and told most emphatically that he, and no other, should be the one to do it. And there’s another thing, Nikki, which bugs me the same as it bugs you: if Ghost Christian could actually hold Aaron, and cause a rocking chair to rock back and forth, and light and pick up the kerosene lantern, then why couldn’t he help Locke stand up? Goodness knows, the man needed some help right then.

The other day when I rewatched this episode was the first time I got to see the meeting of Sawyer and Jin, because when it originally aired, right at that joyful, huggy moment, our cable transmission got all glitchy and fuzzy for about 10 seconds, so I missed it. But I knew I would get to see it someday on the DVD.

Susan said...

I have to say that, as much as I hate Sawyer, I loved the Jin/Sawyer reunion. Poor Jin gets to be part of 3 reunions this season and none of them include Sun!

When Ben slams on the brakes to yell at Sun & Jack, I have to wonder if he is really angry or just manipulating them. With Ben you never know.

Batcabbage said...

Nikki, it's not just you. Every time Batkitty and I hear 'Annyong' we simultaneously say it back. Just can't help it, it's a compulsion. I get sad when I think of Arrested Development. The best comedy to come from the US in years, and it's canceled. Tobias sums up the problem beautifully in a blooper reel. Damn, I miss Mrs Featherbottom.

@Marebabe: I can't say for sure, because we watched this ep over the weekend and don't exactly remember, but from what I can tell, italics in subtitles are usually used when a character off-screen is talking without cutting to them. Is that what's going on in this episode?

RE: The Christian-not-helping-Locke-because-he's-intangible. I thought this at first too, but he does pick up a lamp, so maybe it's not that he's intangible. Unless it's a ghost lamp. Ooooh, Ghost Lamp! The riotous new comedy from Miramax starring Rob Schneider as the Staple... er, the Ghost Lamp!

JennM said...

If it is Hurley repeating the numbers—which I think it definitely could be—there is still the mystery of how they got cursed, oand/or how they got in that guy's head to be repeated by Hurley.

Sorry, some of the stuff about the numbers may have been answered already, and I could be last to the table. I am just not sure that I understand how, if the recording is Hurley, he ever would have thought of them to say them in the first place. And then, how did they get in the guy's head? AND THEN, how did they get "cursed?"

The numbers have always been a point of centention with me. They drive me crazy with wanting to know everything about them, and yet at the same time I can barely understand them, their inception, or their significance.

Nikki Stafford said...

Yep, Batcabbage is right. Italics are used when the speaker is not shown. So in the case of the marina scene, you saw italics for Sun's voice when we were seeing Ben out of the windshield of her car, but we weren't actually seeing Sun saying those words. We saw the italics again when we could hear Ji Yeon or Sun's mom speaking, but couldn't see them. :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Batcabbage: Mrs. Featherbottom! HAHA! Love her. Tobias was always my fave. How about when he was leaving the blue handprints everywhere? Or when he had "analrapist" written on his business cards because he was an analytical therapist?

That show was brilliant. I totally wanted to rename this "Bob Loblaw's Law Blog" after seeing that episode. ;)

Batcabbage said...

Nik: Oh my god, 'analrapist'. "It wasn't the pronunciation that bothered me." LOL! Every time we have sausages here we say 'Would you like a banger in the mouth?' And the blue hands! "I just blue myself." Oh, man. That's it, I'm going to have to rewatch Arrested for about the fortieth time. Oh, and one last Mrs Featherbottom thing. Remember when he/she jumped off the balcony? "We shan't be telling your mother about this, shan't we?" Crying with laughter.

Marebabe said...

I just now looked at those scenes with subtitles again, and noticed a few more things. Basically, if the person speaking can be seen, but the viewer can't actually see his/her face, then the subtitles are in italics. There was a moment, right before Danielle shot Robert, that Robert was speaking and we could see him FROM THE BACK, and the line was in italics. I guess maybe the person in charge of subtitles wasn't drunk, after all.

I noticed that, in all the hub-bub and confusion when they were calling for Nadine, and when Montand was being dragged away by Smokey, there were quite a few lines spoken in French that were not given subtitles. I wish they had been included, even though it's not too hard to guess at the kind of things being said in those intense moments. Anyway, I think I've beaten this subject to death now. Time to move on. :)

Marebabe said...

@Nikki & Batcabbage: I've seen a few episodes of Arrested Development and liked them fine, but somehow stopped watching it after 3 or 4 episodes. But reading your comments just now, I've decided to get the DVDs and watch them all! That's going to be the way I enjoy TV shows in the future. I'm getting ready to break up with network TV, after Lost, Fringe, FlashForward, 24, Eureka and V all come to an end (which might ALL be within the coming year). If I hear/read good things about a show, I'll wait for the DVDs to come out.

Batcabbage said...

@Marebabe: That's great! I can't sing Arrested Development's praises highly enough. Yeah, it's kinda weird, and yeah, there's heaps of in-jokes, but they're so funny you'll be at a loss as to why they ever canceled such an excellent show. So glad you're gonna pick it up!

Oh, and don't worry about beating a subject to death - that's why we're all here, after all! :)

Fred said...

@Jenn: I agree with the idea Hurley may be the likely candidate to record the numbers. How and especially why is a bit of a mystery yet. But it fits with a central theme to LOST, that destiny may be of one's own doing. We've seen that with the compass and Locke, and even bringing back the Oceanic 6 (Daniel says the idea of going to the Orchid to stop the time movements makes scientific sense, but bringing back the Oceanic 6 is where science leaves off). So how much of destiny on the island is the gradfather paradox, but with the Futurama take on it. In Futurama, Fry kills his own grandfather, then sleeps with his grandmother to ensure he will be born. If Hurley records the numbers, then he effectively ensures his earlier self will hear the numbers form Leonard Sims at Santa Rosa, and the cycle goes on. Jin appearing and disappearing ensures Rousseau's version of the sickness on the island is even more reinforced than just Montand, and the rest of the crew undergoing a change. Same with Jack not operating on Ben, ensures Ben becomes the Ben we know, as he does by Sayid shooting Ben's younger version. LOST may be full of these little and big circles, some of which we have still to unravel or have shown to us. Why this is important, I have no idea. But it fits with Ms. Hawking's Oroborus that is incomplete (a "loop's hole"). So what if one of the loops did not complete. What if Locke pocketed his compass and then lost it before meeting Richard in 1954?

One thing that does bother me is the frozen wheel. We've seen being in close proximity to "purple" radiation, as in Daniel's lab, moves the mind forward in time. This was confirmed when Desmond turned the failsafe key and he first relived his life (learning that what happened happened), but also having access to future possibilities for Charlie. So why doesn't turning the frozen donkey wheel in that close a proximity to the exotic material under the island make anyone who turns it all-knowing of the future? Maybe that is the case with Ben, when he was taken into the Temple.

Then also why have the wheel off its axis? If Ben did it on purpose, did he do it knowing it would kill all those survivors left behind? Certainly it got rid of all the "socks" and Charlotte. But how would that figure into his wanting to return the Oceanic 6? If he had wanted to kill off all the survivors, he could have got rid of them all very easily. Afterall, it was Ben's man who was in the car outside Santa Rosa watching Hurley. So perhaps there is another reason, which goes into LOST theories: the idea of twins.

By turning the wheel, do you duplicate yourself, leaving behind a twin that is bad, and all knowing? We saw with the Chang video the appearance of the second duplicate bunny from the future, and that the two can't touch one another. One solution would be eject one from the island, while the other stays. But if the wheel is knocked off its axis, does this duplication process go awry (i.e. no duplicate is formed)? If Locke finished the process, then a duplicate of him would arise. Anyway, it's just something to throw out there, based on the idea of twining and dopplegangers as being something that might be important to the mythology of LOST.

If that is the case, then did the polar bear that ended up in Tunisia have a duplicate running round the island? And is Desmond a duplicate of the one who turned the key? Is that why he was naked? Or did the implosion simply blow his pants, and shirt, and underwear off?

Marebabe said...

@Fred: I read your twinning theory with great interest, but I especially loved the kicker at the end. WHAT IF the Desmond who was prancing around naked on the Island was a newly-formed twin? I now have something new to ponder. Thanks for that!

Verification word: flegib - that's "big elf" backward.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm corn-fused as to why Sun blames Ben for Jin's "death." If she somehow knows that Ben killing Keamy led to the explosion, why does she not blame Keamy for setting up the device, or Widmore for having the "secondary protocol" that led to the activating of the explosives in the first place? Still, I think that's a moot point; I don't see how she COULD know what really happened, as Locke was the only witness to Keamy explaining the heart monitor's purpose and then being killed by Ben.

So, does she think Michael caused the explosion in his capacity as a saboteur in Ben's employ? I really don't get why she blames Ben.

If I were Sun, I'd be putting the blame on Kate. It didn't make sense for Kate to insist that SHE go get Jin, then taking precious time to transfer Aaron to Sun, when Sun could have gone more quickly and would have been the only one Jin would understand when she told him to hurry and come onto the deck as there was a helicopter waiting.

crazyinlost said...

@Nikki & Marebabe-IMO, Locke had to reset the island totally on his own, w/o any help at all, in order for the reset to work.

Batcabbage said...

You know what's completely weird? Not once today when I've been waiting with baited breath for the latest rewatch posts from the lovely Nikki did it ever enter my head that it's Christmas Eve! So to everyone here at the rewatch blog, and to Nikki and her family, MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM BATCABBAGE AND BATKITTY!!!!

EvaHart said...

I thought exactly the same thing about why Sun blames Ben, it doesn't really make sense unless she knew about him killing Keamy which is paractically impossible. It would make much more sense for her to blame Widmore, the guy who actually sent the boat filled with explosives.

I know many people were glad to see Charlotte go this epsiode and although I agree she was unecessarily angry most of the time, it is now easy to see why she was like that.
She has been waiting her entire life to get back to this place, and when she finally gets there she is met with hostility, practiaclly kidnapped and then shot. Fine she didn't come to rescue them, but I think she would have tried to help them get off the island anyway.
Then later she is attacked by Juliet (fine she did attck kate first) when her and Dan are trying to help everyone at The Tempest. Also all the time she is at the beach she is frequently asked what is happening on the freighter despite the fact they are not actually there anymore. So in my opinion its no wonder she is annoying most of the time.

It's quite amazing how such a simple thing as a nosebleed can be turned into something so sinsister in the last few episodes ending with Charlooes death in this epsiode. I often have nosebleeds and in fact the week just after this episode aired I had a couple which was quite a creepy coincidence and also made quite amusing by my friends who also watch Lost telling me to find a Constant. In fact if I remember correctly I was in Covent Garden at the time- probably only a few metres away from where Charlie was busking!

Another Charlotte point, I know many people have speculated that it is actually Jin who taught her Korean, which would be brilinat, but I think maybe he taught her just a few words, so when she left the island she learnt Korean to try and stay close to the isalnd, as it is something that is assocaited with her childhood.

Does anyone know if what Charlotte said to Jin in korean after she collapsed has been translated? I would have thought it was proabaly the same thing as she said in english- This place is death but you never know.

Anyway enough Lost talk, Merry Christmas everyone!

Nikki Stafford said...

Cop: Do you remember his last words?
Flashback to Tobias: "I just blue myself."
Michael: "Um... no, I can't recall."

I was DYING.

There are so many awesome moments in this show. "Loose seal!!" or "The money is in the banana stand!!"

And when I was in Chicago in September, 12 people went by us in the park and they were all riding Segways. I literally had to stop and bend over to catch my breath, I was laughing so hard.

Susan said...

Fred: Wow. There hasn't been much so far that would confirm your idea (except the two Locke bodies) but it would be AMAZING. It also fits in with the Bad Twin thing.

Studiorose: My idea for why Sun blames Ben is that the freighter people were there on the island to get Ben, so it's his fault. Just like it's her dad's fault for putting Jin and Sun on the plane. She seems to blame people only indirectly, when she could have blamed Widmore and Keamy for being the ones willing to kill, and she could have blamed Jack, Kate, Desmond, or Jin himself for Jin staying belowdecks.

tiasabita said...

I'm so far behind but am loving reading all your wonderful comments in advance. I can watch the eps (hopefully this weekend) with enlightened opinions! I agree with Jenn and Fred that It's got to be Hurley's voice repeating the numbers on 316 - the first few numbers are disguised to keep us guessing but like Nikki mentioned, the '42' is his voice without doubt! It's just weird and mysterious but at the same time sensical enuf to be true! It's like when Kate emerged from the shower in Jack's flashforward - her voice was disguised just enuf to make you wonder who it could be but then the last couple words you thought, 'OMG, that's Kate', then she appears! Can't wait to see the exact circumstances under which Hurley makes the recording!

Whatever holiday you celebrate this week may it be safe and happy!!

Fred said...

@Marebabe: here's one to ponder, which I read on another website. Miles can communicate with the dead, right. Okay, we all agree on that. So why doesn't someone take him to Adam and Eve? Mystery over, right. It just seems so easy a solution.

Marebabe said...

"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"

Merry Christmas to All!

Marebabe said...

@Fred: That's an intriguing notion. The only thing that would prevent such an easy solution might be "rules" concerning which corpses he can communicate with. Maybe there's an expiration date, (totally accidental pun!) and Miles needs a relatively fresh dead body. We'll hafta wait and see. (After 5 years of this, we've all gotten very good at "wait and see"!)

Susan said...

Fred that's a great idea. I think our Losties, however, have not only forgotten about the bodies but probably didn't particularly care about them either. We are the ones who want to know!

Marebabe said...

@Fred & Susan: I just thought of something. The Adam & Eve skeletons were found in the caves right before a big group of the 815ers moved in. What did the new tenants do with the skeletons? I don't imagine anyone would like keeping them around. Maybe their graves were the first of the ever-expanding Island cemetary.

Anonymous said...

Has Miles actually admitted to anyone that he can talk to the dead? Seems like that's something he keeps close to the vest, like Charlotte and her ability to speak Korean. As I recall, the first person he tells is Hurley, and not for some time in the future...uh, past.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I also wondered if Sun got a separate delivery of chocolates with bullets hidden underneath, or did she have to settle for the one clip that came in the gun?

crazyinlost said...

@Susan-I really like your idea about why Sun blames Ben. He wasn't the one who 'pulled the trigger', but ultimately it was all Ben's fault. And definitely it is ultimately Sun's father's fault for forcing Jin to work for him. She obviously holds grudges for a long time.

The Question Mark said...

@ Nikki: I loved Melissa Farman as young Rousseau. As I pointed out when this ep first aired, she looks kinda like the Mona Lisa. LOL She's got a cuteness and innocence to her, & you can't help but feel sad knowing she'll never have it again.
But when she points the rifle at Jin and you can see the fire in her eyes, the actress does a great job of morphing her character into the Rousseau we know & love.

RE: Christian-can't-help-Locke:
I think that maybe MIB inhabitated Christian's body after the crash of 815, and has been stomping around the Island as John Terry ever since. So, he can pick up lanterns & babies & whatnot, but maybe he can't touch Locke because he's not allowed to touch a body he plans to inhabit, perhaps?

Rebecca T. said...

I too loved the actress they found to play young Danielle.

I'm rewatching this as my mom and dad are seeing it for the first time. As Smokey was dragging Montand along my sister and I warned mom to close her eyes as she hates gruesome things like arms being ripped out of their sockets. She didn't and while I'm cringing her response as "he" calls for help? "Give him a hand." Un-Be-Lieveable.

Dad noticed (and I noticed for the first time) the way Smokey wraps around Montand's shoulder right before it rips out of the socket. Nice effect.

Why did Smokey come after the French expedition with such a vengeance? Were they not important? I just find it odd how quickly and so violently they died.

I love the Sawyer/Jin reunion.

I realized that the flashes intensify as they get closer to the Orchid/well because that is where the disturbance is originating. Just found it interesting.

@Fred: Love the doppelganger theory. I'm going to have to contemplate that a little bit.

Susan said...

SonshineMusic:Why did Smokey come after the French expedition with such a vengeance? Were they not important? I just find it odd how quickly and so violently they died.

That's a good question that never occurred to me. Perhaps it was because they were trespassing in its favorite territory. As for not being important, probably
Danielle is the only important one because she is carrying Alex, who plays some important roles later on in her life.

crazyinlost said...

@Sonshine&Susan-yes, I agree they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That area the 'Dark Territory' has ruins and tunnel openings, and when the losties went to the B.R. in s1, they were attacked in the same way in that area. Where the losties are camped on the beach must not have any ruins/tunnel openings since they were pretty much left alone on that part of the island.

Ambivalentman said...

Like a lot of you, I was wondering why Christian didn't want to help Locke. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with whether he can touch stuff -- it's pretty obvious he can. I think it has to do with his mission: there are somethings a person just has to do on his/her own. Maybe it's spiritual, as Nikki suggested, or maybe it's just practical -- tough love from the Island, perhaps. After all, the Island sure loves to put Locke down with injury.

The Island wants Locke to be "solid like a rock."

Batcabbage said...

RE: The Christian not helping thing. Having just watched all of season 5 (holidays are awesome), I'm beginning to think more and more that Christian is either a manifestation of, or an agent of Man In Black. The reason he doesn't touch or help Locke is because it's part of the rules regarding the loophole. Man In Black isn't allowed to physically interfere with the course of events, but he can imply, divert, obfuscate, cajole, flatter, tell-people-what-they-want-to-hear. That's the loophole. No direct physical involvement, but influencing people's actions to shape events to his own ends. Locke's whole journey hasn't been to save or lead the island, he's been a tool of the Man In Black the whole time, in order to achieve MIB's main goal - killing Jacob. Just a theory, of course, but it's one that's becoming more appealing to me as season 5 goes on.

On a different note, I've been seeing ads for season 6 here recently. SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!

JS said...

@Batcabbage - I agree with your theory and have been mulling similar thoughts for a while. MiB is "destiny", and he influences others to do what they are supposed to do - fulfill their destiny. Jacob is "free will", and also pushes things along, though making people feel they are doing it because they decide to.

RE: the numbers - the "curse" (not really a curse) "started" (in 1977)with Hurley seeing the swan hatch door and perpetuating them through recording, which Leonard and fellow sailor hears, chases after and gets killed. The numbers aren't cursed, I think the lotto winning is just a coincidence (if that is possible on LOST). Now, why they add up to 108, and need to be input every 108 minutes, happen to be part of a very important equation is the real mystery.

I have also re-watched the entire season. My husband is concerned I will be in withdrawal until Feb 2nd. Silly goose, I have 5 seasons of LOST on DVD to occupy my time!

Verification word: messemi - a self proclaimed slob.

Anonymous said...

I just had a thought about this episode because I am just now watching it..LOL Anyway, When Sun get's the call from Ji Yeon, I noticed that she had a recent picture on her cell phone as the background. But when she met with Kate she said she only had the baby picture with her to show Kate. Why didn't she show her the most recent pic from her phone??

Austin Gorton said...

At the end of that phone call, when she says, “Annyong,” does anyone else think of Arrested Development or is that just me?

Oh yes.

It's totally off topic and way late, but I just had to add my love to Nikki's and Batcabbage's love of Arrested Development, one of the greatest comedies of all time.

"Analrapist", lol, gets me every time...