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Lost: House of the Rising Sun

Sayid: "Is there a reason you didn't consult us when you decided to form your own civilization?"
Jack: "I'm only talking about moving to the valley."
Sayid: "What happened to 'live together, die alone'?"

The last three episodes have focused on telling one character's back story, and this time, it was Sun's turn. Sun does indeed speak English (as Dan and I both suspected) and she had a good reason for keeping her mouth shut, as it were.

The details of the Sun/Jin marriage and why Sun was desperate to get out of it were more implied than explained. Sun didn't want a man controlled by her father (security); she wanted the poor man who brought her a flower (love). I suspect that Jin may have married her because of her powerful father; he may also have done it in order to have someone to subjugate, since he is deeply invested in being the all-controlling, all-powerful husband. But we don't know for sure. We got Sun's side of the story, not Jin's.

It was implied that he either abused her or kept her a virtual prisoner (she told Michael, "He has a bad temper") but then we saw her strike him in the bathroom. The bathroom scene was fascinating. Why was he covered in blood? What sort of "work" did he do for her father? That scene was filmed with a shaky, hand-held camera, to convey that they were on shaky ground, I guess.

We never did learn why Sun and Jin were on the plane. One assumes that the Sun/Jin flashbacks took place in Korea, and it was implied that Sun had learned English so that she could run away to an English-speaking country. We can assume that the flower reminded her that she once loved Jin, and made her change her mind and stay with him. But was she originally planning to stay in Australia? During the airport scene (where we could hear Jack in the background), there was an announcement for Oceanic Flight 125 to Singapore at 11:15. Why were they on a plane to L.A.?

One more question. What was a watch belonging to Sun's father doing in the wreckage, anyway? Was he on the plane, too?

Another theme in the episode was lawlessness, and the lack of societal boundaries. Jin attacked Michael and could have killed him and at first, no one stopped him. The only remnant of "the law" was the marshal's handcuffs (another symbol), but handcuffing Jin to the plane wasn't a satisfactory solution. As Sawyer said, "Get eaten by boars, fall off a rock, not going to be anyone around to answer that 911 call."

The biggest development was the split, with some survivors following Jack to the interior, and others staying on the beach with Kate. This was also a philosophical split. Jack has accepted that they are there and it's time to start making the best of the situation – which means access to water and more permanent shelter. Kate still needed to hang on to the possibility of rescue. Interesting that Jack and Locke have had very personal encounters with the supernatural elements of the Island, while Kate and Sayid have not.

The reasons for the choices of the other characters were not as clear. Except for Charlie, of course. The scenes with Charlie, Locke, the bees, the drugs, and the guitar had obvious religious connotations. Locke is the Island's human connection; we could say that he is the Island's Prophet. Charlie was "tested" by the bees; he failed and got stung because he didn't listen to Locke. Locke then talked Charlie into giving up his drugs (sin) in exchange for a reward (the guitar, which was above like a heavenly gift). It will be interesting to see if Charlie stays converted while he goes through withdrawal.

Finally, speaking of religious metaphor, who were Adam and Eve? If they died on the Island forty to fifty years ago, exactly who "buried" them in the caves? The French woman, sixteen years ago? Kate said, "I don't want to be Eve." What did this imply?

Character bits:

Locke, Charlie, Sun, Jin, and Hurley went with Jack. Sayid, Sawyer, Michael, and Walt went with Kate. Pregnant Claire wasn't seen, and Emilie de Raven was not listed in the opening credits. I don't recall seeing Shannon or Boone, either.

We got a little beefcake and cheesecake, with Jack and Kate in their undies fleeing from bees. The two of them were becoming a couple before the split ("If you guys have finished verbally copulating, we should get a move on.") During the final scenes, they both looked pretty unhappy about being apart.

Sayid is from Tikrit, in Iraq.

Bits and pieces:

— The action began with a close-up of Sun's left eye.

— It has been eight days and eleven hours since Charlie played his guitar. Before getting on the plane, we assume.

— The pouch with the white and black stones that Jack found on the dead body reminded me of the famous short story, "The Lottery." A white stone was a yes vote, and a black stone was a no vote. A "no" vote meant death. They were also reminiscent of the backgammon set.

— I really liked the scene where Sun finally spoke English to Michael. The two of them seem to have a connection of sorts, and that was part of what was driving Jin nuts. I also liked the Michael/Walt scenes where they were talking about their birthdays.

— This week's song/episode title was "House of the Rising Sun," a tune by the Animals. Other than the obvious pun (after all, her name actually is Sun), there is: "And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy / And God, I know I'm one." Pertaining to whom? And the following, which may relate to Sun giving up her chance to be free of Jin:

I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm going back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain.

— There was another wonderful song after the split that related directly to everyone: "Are you sure this is where you want to be?" That could mean two things: the side that each survivor took, and actually being on the Island in the first place.

This show is freaking complex. It took me way too long to write this!

Three out of four polar bears,

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


  1. Interesting take on the Sun/Jin marriage, Billie. Being the cynic I am, I assumed he had married her to get a job with her father. After all, he went from only being able to afford a flower to money being no object really fairly quickly.

    I did not suspect Sun spoke English; in fact, I thought it was Jin (I still do). There is something between Michael and her and they seem to have a scene together every episode. I thought that Jin's attack was jealousy, not the watch.

    I continue to be fascinated by Locke. How long had he known the guitar was up on that cliff? And, I loved the fact that he had both of Charlie's albums -- or at least he said he did.

    Finally, I took Kate's comment about not wanting to be Eve to be metaphoric. The bodies seemed to really freak her out and the look on her face when Jack started talking about moving into the caves seemed almost horrified, as if they were desecrating a grave. I think that she (1) doesn't want to end up like that and (2) is not ready to be Eve to anyone's Adam just yet.

  2. i have begun re-watching Lost - been a while - and one thing in this episode that struck me as a, albeit a minor one, blooper. when discussing moving to the caves Jack talks about "46 people needing a half a gallon of water each day", and how it would be difficult to do. however, 46 people X .5 gallon X 8 lbs per gallon = 192 lbs. adding a few extra gallons of water you are still only talking about +/- 225 lbs. guys like Sayid, Jack, Locke etc. should have no problem carrying well over 60 lbs for a few miles, so it really should not be a problem for 4 of the survivors to make the trip once each day. like i said, a minor nit.

  3. Todd, for what it's worth, I don't think they have many water bottles. So it's not just an issue of weight, but of being unable to carry much volume at once.

    I love Charlie and Hurley ragging on Kate and Jack.

    Okay, I just love Charlie and Hurley.


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