Introduction: Glass Onion
The relationship between Sun and Jin Kwon has been one of the most tumultuous and heart wrenching couplings on LOST. The story of the poor Korean fisherman who marries the daughter of a rich, powerful businessman began as the classic tale of love overcoming class-boundaries, but has instead ended up taking us to some dark places in both souls. Besides Jin’s spiral downwards into a bullying, controlling strongman for his wife’s father (his employment being a condition of their marriage in the first place), we have Sun, the Island’s version of the “matryoshka doll” with her multiple, hidden transgressions.
However, the island has changed these two just as it has all of our castaways, as they were also given the opportunity to begin their lives again. Sun asks Jin back in season one, "I want to go back to the beginning…Can't we just start all over?” Indeed, we have witnessed the layers of their marriage being peeled away before us, and as their secrets and lies are brought into the light, so has the awareness of the deep love they hold for each other once again grown apparent.
In our very own island Expose’, it is Juliet who finally reveals the news of Sun’s past affair to Jin in one of the biggest “oh no she di-int!” scenes ever in LOST. It was an intense and unexpected moment, and I am sure audiences wanted a little bit more than just a brisk slap from Sun in response. (Personally, I think Sun could have at least hit her on the side already bruised from her scrap at the Tempest.)
During some much-needed guy time, a broken-hearted Jin and Bernard then go fishing and discuss the ins and outs of marriage. Well, Bernard was the one doing the discussing, but this little scene had a much larger purpose. For the first time in the show, the idea of Karma is actually mentioned, although it was simplified into more of a “good things happen to good people” concept.
In this private catharsis, or purge of the soul if you will, Jin comes to terms with the husband he used to be and realizes his own role in driving his wife into the arms of another. The time on the island has helped to restore him to the man he truly is, and in turn he forgives Sun’s infidelity and returns to her side.
It is important to note that the real concept of Karma is quite complex and has more to do with how your actions in this life affect you and how you will return in the next life. More on this in a bit...
Wow. Please remind me never to take a cruise on any ship named the Kahana. The abundance of cockroaches and lima beans (same thing in my opinion) makes the freighter an uncomfortable ride. The repeated sounds of pipe banging by some crazy person somewhere on board, the blood-stained walls, and the sudden rise of suicides makes Room 23 seem like a pretentious nightclub.
If this effect is supposedly from the freighter having such close proximity to the island, why are we seeing people take their own lives and other insanity versus the “consciousness shifting” time travel as we did with Minkowski and Desmond? Was there instead really a “problem” in the kitchen that possibly affected the food, as Frank seems to suggest? Why do Sayid, Dr. Ray, Captain Gault, and some of the other crew members seem as of yet unaffected? Perhaps this is also related to the errand that Frank was sent on with the helicopter, because at this point it sure looks like they could use some Help.
Or at least, maybe some Hot Pockets...
I believe there was a clue of sorts given to us by Dr. Ray as he was showing our Islanders to their god-forsaken quarters in the “quiet part” of the ship. When Desmond mentioned that the ship is not moving (the engines were sabotaged according to the captain), Dr. Ray responds “If you say so”. The ship is moving because the Island is now drawing them closer, and as they continue to slowly drift towards it the freighter creep-show will only worsen. Although all of this could still be the work of the “saboteur”, I personally don’t think the Island wants that freighter there, nor the people on it.
With a Little Help from My Friends
Thank goodness for friends in low places. Michael Dawson as Kevin Johnson was a reveal many of us had been betting on, and it looked as if Desmond and Sayid were relieved, if not shocked, to see him as well. We now wait to find out exactly how he ended up as the undercover janitor on this Hell Voyage after we last saw him departing the island with Walt roughly a month ago in LOST time.
Michael was provided with a boat obviously unsuitable for ocean travel, and told by Ben that if he followed a bearing of 325 degrees he would “find rescue”. I believe there is something worth noting about how Ben chooses his words, as he did not say Michael would “find home” or “reach the mainland”.
We already know how important following a specific bearing is. What if Ben sent Michael to a certain place and TIME, where he would then either meet up with the freighter, or perhaps some of Ben’s own people? Ben could have easily had Walt recaptured and once more employed Michael as his spy on board the Kahana. The latter almost seems like a more likely explanation as Walt’s presence on the freighter would not need to be addressed whatsoever.
Whatever the case may be, I do hope that Michael’s true purpose of working for Ben is to eventually redeem himself to the castaways and help facilitate their rescue.
Ticket to Ride
During the brief exchange Desmond and Sayid have with Captain Gault we learn that there was indeed a second crash site for Oceanic Flight 815 found at the bottom of the ocean off the Sunda Trench. I am not sure I buy everything the good Captain was saying, especially the part about Ben being somehow responsible, though I also do not entirely believe he was lying as the “mysterious” note suggested. My thinking is that Gault himself believes what he is saying to be the truth. However, whoever told him could have been lying, for as far as I can tell so far Charles Widmore is no better a man than Benjamin Linus.
Sure, we can speculate as to all of the possible ways the crash of Flight 815 could have been staged. We have scenarios ranging from planting fake wreckage and movie-set-like props to computer effects. It is even feasible that the crash site’s location 4 miles down makes any verification at all difficult, although it seems from the fact Gault has the black box that some type of recovery effort may have been made.
We even learned in The LOST Experience that the Hanso Foundation, under the control of one Thomas Mittleverk, has been subjecting villages in Sri Lanka to some type of vaccine with deadly results. He was also purchasing shipping freighters modified by Paik Heavy Industries (Sun’s father’s company) to be some kind of “Proprietary Medical Vessel” with large sections of the ship marked off for quarantine. If one were to need 324 dead bodies, this would be one way of possibly obtaining them and moving them.
But what if we for a moment entertain the possibility that there are actually two very real Flight 815’s, and that one crashed in the ocean near Bali, and one crashed on the Island? I do not mean two planes in two timelines, nor parallel timelines. What I am suggesting is that there are two identical copies of the same Oceanic airplane in this timeline.
How could this even be possible?
Two words: The Orchid.
Sidestep: Across the Universe
In summer 2007 outtakes from a new orientation film were released for a DHARMA station named the Orchid, a fake botanical research lab used instead for some type of “highly volatile and potentially dangerous” studies. Something called the Casimir effect is also mentioned, which in quantum physics could theoretically be used stabilize a wormhole and allow for travel faster than the speed of light.
The most revealing part of the Orchid film was the sudden appearance of a second #15 rabbit, and the reaction of the staff. Phrases such as “Oh God, it's fifteen!” and “Don't let them near each other! When did you set the shift?” tip us off to the fact that something is terribly wrong with the appearance of this doppelganger. When the assistant responds “Nine minutes, but we're still learning how to...” one can speculate that they are referring to learning how to control a wormhole of some kind. And since we all know that two of the same bunny cannot exist in the same time and space, we can understand the urgency of the situation.
Let’s now travel to the desserts of Tunisia, where Charlotte Lewis finds the skeleton of a polar bear, which from its collar seems to have originated from the Hydra Station near the Island. Was DHARMA doing experiments with polar bears in the dessert? Probably not. In addition, the LOST producers kindly gave any doubters a huge hint and suggested watching the Orchid orientation video to understand more about how that polar bear ended up in the sand.
If we take what we have learned from the Orchid and then apply it to Flight 815, it is very possible for some type of duplication to have occurred. What if the system failure, combined with the properties of the island and the “bubble” that seems to surround it, created the same conditions that created an additional copy of bunny 15? What if for that moment the entire Island became one big Orchid Station, and as the plane hit the barrier, a bend in space-time was created? I am thinking one version of the flight ended up being teleported miles away and crashed into the ocean to later be found by the rest of the world. Meanwhile a second version of the plane crashed onto our Island. I believe that many of the references in the show to twins, doubles, and mirrors might relate to this exact phenomenon.
It is possible that Ben might not even know this is what really happened, although I am willing to bet he is fully aware of the Island’s capabilities. Whether or not he can control this effect is a question left to be answered, however I will make a point to remind everyone of his secret “international closet of mystery” with all of those passports and currencies from around the world.
This episode ended with a maddening twist that more importantly revealed to us yet another level of storytelling. We have literally watched a representation of one of the very concepts LOST tends to deal with. Past, present, and future are broken out of their linear interpretations and reordered to tell the narrative in a different way. The outcomes, however, are still the same. Once more we can imagine time set before us like a wheel, where we can view all points in existence at once, or we can pick and choose which moments to watch in whatever order we please.
The episode begins and ends with Sun, standing in a mirror, alone. Once more we are reminded of her duplicitous nature, and once more we sense there are secrets being kept. We also now know that for some reason Jin is not present at this point in the future, nor is he there for the birth of their daughter. The debate as to whether he is dead or alive will continue as we see the events of the island rescue unfold. At this point in time my own personal feeling is that Jin is very much still alive on the island.
Conclusion: Hello Goodbye
Redemption, death, and rebirth. Not since the simultaneous arrival of Aaron and departure of Boone has the cycle been driven home to such a degree. The episode is layered so heavily with symbolism and opposites becoming one I could write another entire essay.
Instead, I am going to return to dear Bernard, and the concept of Karma. During his time on the Island, Jin was able to redeem himself, and no matter what we find his fate to ultimately be, he will never really die.
He lives another life in Ji Yeon.
Special thanks to Nigel for the screen caps.
*I write about LOST because I love the challenge of deciphering the clues and adding the pieces together. My thoughts are based solely on the show, the LOST Experience, and random research, as I try to avoid spoilers, promos, and even future episode titles. I love to guess what is going on, but I also like to do so in a way that leaves some of the conclusions still up to you. I do not know the answers and am often wrong. Whatever the truth turns out to be, it has been the journey that has meant the most to me.*