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Lost: Fire + Water

Charlie: "Kate sees a horse: nothing. Pretty much everybody's seen Walt wandering round the jungle. But when it's Charlie, it must be the bloody drugs, right?"

I'm not really sure what happened in this episode.

Okay. So Charlie tried to save his brother, and was betrayed. In fact, Liam took Charlie's salvation, the piano, away from Charlie and sold it to save himself. And now, like Liam, Charlie has hit bottom and lost his "family." The piano and Aaron were both supposed to save Charlie, and both were taken from him. Bummer.

The dreams were fun, full of wildly transparent symbolism. The opening shot was of a large print of "Baptism of Christ." It was Christmas (more Jesus), and Liam was in a diaper. Charlie was given the piano. Their father, the butcher, was chopping meat and beheading a doll. Then Aaron was trapped in the piano that went out to sea. Charlie had the bandages saying "FATE" on his fingers again. We had a partial recreation of "Baptism of Christ," with the dove flying toward the ocean, and Megan and Claire as the angels. (Who was Hurley, though? Jesus? John the Baptist?)

But the Island sequences were outright confusing. Did Charlie just go bonkers? Was the Island just testing Charlie? Were the Others somehow manipulating Charlie to take the baby out to them on the boat? It even occurred to me that Charlie was actually receiving divine guidance in the form of dreams, and was just interpreting it really, really badly.

If Claire represented the Virgin Mary and Aaron was the Christ child, then Locke has usurped Charlie's role as their protector – Joseph, as it were. (Come to think of it, Locke took Virgin Mary away from Charlie twice here, in the form of Claire and the heroin statues.) I think Locke lost patience with Charlie the moment Claire and Aaron were in danger from him, and frankly, I can't blame Locke; he's a protective sort, and Claire and Aaron have been a primary target of the Others, after all. We saw Charlie's side of the story, but think of how it looked from the outside.

The truth is, I don't understand what the writers were doing here with Charlie. What is Charlie's function on the Island? If Charlie is indeed important to Aaron's survival and has now been completely ostracized from the group, then Aaron is now in more danger. In the final scene, Charlie hooded himself. Charlie and Liam talked about becoming butchers, like their father. Were these hints that Charlie will become a butcher, a killer? Or was it simpler? When Aaron finally does disappear, will Charlie be blamed?

Character bits:

I didn't think that Locke was attracted to Claire before, but I have officially reconsidered.

Kate and Sawyer were still acting like a twosome, while Jack and Ana Lucia spent quality time alone together in the jungle. Sawyer thought they were making love, but it was probably something to do with Jack's "army."

Libby appears to like Hurley and was flirting with him in the Hatch, even though he stepped on her foot on the plane.

Sawyer called Hurley "Jabba," "Jethro," and "Hoss." (Star Wars, the Beverly Hillbillies, and Bonanza?) Sawyer also tried to help Hurley with Libby by calling her name and walking off to make it appear that Hurley called her.

Why was Eko marking the trees that he liked?

Bits and pieces:

— I was mildly uncomfortable with the baptism scene that Locke so well described as "spiritual insurance." Let's hope it eased Charlie's mind.

— The painting "Baptism of Christ" was by Verocchio, but some of the figures were painted by his students and it is believed that the young Leonardo da Vinci painted the foreground angel, the one "played" by Charlie's mother Megan in the beach dream. It's an odd print to have in a private home. "The Last Supper" is much more common.

— Why did Locke lock :) up the Virgin Mary heroin instead of destroying it? Was it just his reluctance to discard anything when resources were limited? Heroin could certainly be valuable for medicinal purposes. Or to control Charlie.

— The Drive Shaft poster was for the Drive Across America tour. The stars and stripes were in red, white and black.

— The first dream sequence showed Aaron's crib floating in the ocean. Moses and the bullrushes.

— Libby pointed out what many have noticed: the washer and dryer in the hatch are newer than the other appliances. Think about what this implies.

— "Fire + Water" cancel each other out. Charlie was trying to do something good, and it had the opposite effect.

— The commercial was for "Butties" diapers. "You all every Buttie." Liam screwed up Charlie's chances to make money with a diaper commercial. More "saving the baby" symbolism.


Charlie (to Liam): "Now, clean yourself up. You're a sodding father now." He could have been saying that to his future self.

Eko: "Have you even considered that these dreams mean something?"
Charlie: "Like what?"
Eko: "What if you do need to save the baby?"

Ana Lucia: "She's hot, you're hot, it's what people do."
Jack: "I'm not 'hittin that.'"
I think Ana Lucia was checking out how strong her competition was for Jack.

Two out of four polar bears,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m beginning to struggle with this show. What I loved so much about season one was that is was about the characters. This season, it seems to be more about the Island and how freaky things happen on it. I’m not saying that it’s completely a bad thing, but I am much more interested in people and their reactions to things than I am in black smoke, hatches and buttons.

    This week’s story is a perfect example of what I am talking about. I love Charlie and have loved watching him grow and change from a self-obsessed, delusional (rock god?), heroin addict to a “husband” and “father.” But, this story just seemed to come out of nowhere and the flashbacks didn’t help me understand it any better. It seemed to me as though the Island was having some kind of effect on him rather than something internal or character driven having an effect on him.

    He was completely off the rails. Sleepwalking? Using? What? And, I don’t feel as though we got any answers other than he isn't using but no one will believe him. All we got is Charlie’s alienation from the rest of the group. While I understand why Claire is struggling to maintain a relationship with him, why are the others acting so oddly? The scene at the end where they all walk away from him broke my heart.

    And I don’t trust Locke at all right now. Punching him. Saving the heroin (for what possible motive?). I’m feeling very unsettled.

  2. Chris, don't lose hope yet. Lost is inconsistent (with some moments of brilliance) from the mid-second season until about the middle of the third. The end of season three, as well as season four and five, are wonderful.

  3. Josie -- thanks for the encouragement. I will keep with it, I promise. But, the second season has just felt so different to me. The long, three episode beginning that just kept going over and over the same scene; the hatch and the button storyline that is beginning to feel forced; the Others who seem to just hover offstage. None of these has grabbed me in quite the same way as the stories last season did. And, stories from last season seem to have been dropped with no explanation. For instance, why has everyone moved back to the beach from the caves?

    The episodes I have enjoyed have been the character driven ones, unless that character is Ana whom I have yet to even slightly thaw towards. What I would consider the top moments of this season (the reunions, Hurley handing out the food, Sun finding her wedding ring, the recitation of psalm 23) have been far too few and too far between.

    But, I see the next episode is about a con. I can only assume we have another Sawyer episode and I will stick with anything to watch that man! :-)

  4. ChrisB, you're not alone in the Sawyer love. Huge favorite with the fans. I can't believe I hated him at first.

  5. The truth is, I don't understand what the writers were doing here with Charlie. What is Charlie's function on the Island?

    That's a really, really good question. I decided to fast-forward through this episode, just occasionally dipping back in for the non-Charlie bits (including the "Are you hittin' that?" conversation, which always makes me laugh).

    I think some of my discomfort is just due to the drug-addict angle. It's unpleasant to watch. And Lost combines the drug-addict angle with the religion angle with Charlie; they twit that and make Eko, an ersatz drug pusher, into an ersatz priest. I wonder if they linked religion and drugs (opiate of the masses) on purpose, or if that's just a weird coincidence. It's a pity, if so. Separating religion from the drugs would have been more effective in terms of highlighting different worldviews and praxis (praxes? What is the plural of "praxis"?).

  6. Ah, they don't "twit that." They just twist it.

  7. I got off on seeing Charlie fuck things up for himself. It's not schadenfreude, well maybe a little (I find him affably annoying), but it's more cathartic than that. Just purely from a soap opera perspective it was a (mixed/ambivalent) joy for me. I can't be objective about this episode... I can see why people didn't like it, but I did. Seeing Charlie lying there on the shore with that one wave hitting him, and then a little later Aaron + Claire getting baptized for real... I don't know, something inexplicable about it clicked for me. Oh yeah, also the Liam thing. Abandoning the original family to serve a new one... it's interesting to me, even if Charlie's feelings were on the nose. I'm a fan of any family themes that have a dark (but undeniable) take on it. The inherent selfishness of taking on a role as provider. Fuck Liam, I can't believe there was no gesture made about paying him back / restoring him with a piano down the road. Not that far off from original Sawyer's "Once you get over it..." response. But at least that asshole was clear about not giving a shit. Charlie-san... it's a pathetic display, but he's right. What about his family?

  8. I understand that this was supposed to be the ‘island metaphor” for Charlie to come to terms with his addiction - he comes out of this episode a very different person… but man, this was a frustrating episode to watch and not one I particularly liked. I haven’t been rating these, but this would be my first two start episode.

  9. I've been watching Lost for the first time with my mom, and it's been a great ride so far. However, this is the first episode that felt unpleasant all the way through. I assume the baptism scene was supposed to be a silver-lining for the episode, but it just made me feel uncomfortable.

    I recognize how messed up Charlie's behavior appears from an outsider's perspective, but I do believe his attempts at help were earnest, and seeing him get beat up physically and emotionally just hurts man. Then he goes ahead and sets the forest on fire, and I'm left with nothing but pity.

  10. Was the MIB screwing with Charlie's headspace?


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