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'Lost' Wednesdays: 'I just lied to a samurai'

February 24, 2010 | 11:12 pm

Despite everything, "Lighthouse" has ended up being a pretty divisive episode of "Lost." Some of the show's fans and critics loved the episode for tossing out some big picture kind of stuff. Some of the others, though, thought the episode was mostly a lot of wandering around with no real point to it. To see the basic breakdown, go to this Metacritic rundown, where there are a few people who really loved it, a few people stuck in the middle, and one or two who really, really didn't like it

Now, to be fair, maybe the reason I was so taken with this episode was because I watched it to be a part of "Instant Dharma." If you haven't seen the episode yet, you can click on the embedded video above or on the link. I was on the show with host Maggie Furlong, AOL's TV Show Girl, and freelance writer Jenna Busch. It was a fun time, and I hope I don't come off as too much of a doof. (Though it's obvious I have no idea what to do with my hands.)

But I have to say that this episode resulted in far more e-mails, tweets and comments than any other one so far. So I'll toss in a couple of links to stuff I thought was interesting, but, for the most part, I'm going to stick to your thoughts on the episode, since they were so copious and well thought-out this week.

Naturally, once again, the thing most of you wanted to talk about was the new list of names on Jacob's wheel (which is really the old list of names, just with further numbers added so we get a better idea of the scope of Jacob's extra credit geometry project). I got a number of links to sites that had screencaps and lists of names from you, but I most liked this set of screencaps from Sledgeweb (sent in by a reader), which shows just about everything in that scene with crystal clarity. If it's just a list of candidates you want, well, Lostpedia has that, and I have to say it's a deeply exhaustive list.

But with all of that done with, let's turn to what you had to say.

In comments on my review proper, plenty of people pointed out that the number 108 has the name "Wallace" written by it. So the logical conclusion we should draw from this, I guess, is that Wallace is the person who is coming when Hurley and Jack turn the lighthouse wheel to that number. But since no one knows who Wallace is, no one knows who would be coming (sure doesn't seem like Desmond or Charles Widmore, as I suggested). Some other suggestions from you guys: Eloise Hawking and Walt. Both are good suggestions, and I can't believe I blanked on Walt. I can't wait to find out how he's connected to everything.

There's also some argument over my interpretation of Jack as the ultimate egotist, a guy who'll "blow up a hydrogen bomb to get the girl," as I put it. 

Writes TC: "Jack is the most worthy and noble character of them all. He didn't blow up the hydrogen bomb to get a girl. In blowing up the hydrogen bomb, he was giving up the girl. If the plane never crashes, the history and love between Jack and Kate never happened. Everything Jack has ever done even though the consequences may not have been what he expected or positive, he has done to help the other survivors survive."

While I would disagree that Jack is worthy and noble -- I still think the guy is way too self-centered -- TC's point is well-taken. If Jack's plan had worked like he thought it would (as it did in at least one reality), he would have never known Kate. At the same time, this can still be read as self-centered, as argued by The Evil Marshall D, who writes: 

"Jack wouldn't blow up a bomb to get a girl, he'll blow up a bomb to FORGET a girl. The entire 'Jack does everything he does to help someone else' doesn't hold water. Frequently, his rash actions gave no time for thought. HE invites Kate to go to the lighthouse...remember that exchange ('She's not invited, Dude...' 'Well, I'M inviting her...'). Yeah, that was considering other people.

"Locke asked him on the outside to return to the Island and initially, he bowed up. Then it's all, 'We've got to go back, Kate...' He wasn't thinking of the Island people left behind for most of the three years he was outside. He admitted it to Hurley last night: 'I came back to the Island because I was broken.'

"Jack is not bad, but not all that noble, either. He's simply a control freak."

Some of you are wondering if Jack could have had a kid we didn't know about in the original timeline. And while I suppose it's theoretically possible, it definitely seems like the show would have brought up Jack's son before now in one of his former flashbacks. I think the son is entirely an invention of the alternate timeline, perhaps a way for the show to further diverge that timeline from the one we know and love.

Dean has some other good thoughts about Jack. He writes: "I think that your last paragraph about Jack is interesting and I think it explains a lot about what you referred to in the beginning regarding Kate originally being put as the main character. Everything that we have come to know as Jack (caring about himself, being stubborn, doing things that stop the audience from getting what they want, etc) are all the same qualities that Kate has. This is why even though I cannot see the show without either of them at this point (except for the fact that Kate seems to have little to no relevance now and I hope Claire kills her because it would be awesome and shocking...especially since I do not see her living as number 51) it is clear that if you take out all of Jacks off-island plot and Christian they are the same character. The Lost team might have even originally had Kate's father play a role and have her question her decisions off the island but they changed it to Jack after they needed more plot for him."

That's a good point, Dean, and it may explain why Jack and Kate remain so drawn to each other, even though their attempt at a relationship on the mainland ended so, so disastrously. This also may be why so many fans are down on Jack and Kate: The two often serve the same function within the show's universe.

A number of you suggested possible other ex-wives for Jack to have beyond Sarah (whom I was serious about) and Rousseau (whom I was not). My favorite is probably Juliet, but I have to agree with my "Instant Dharma" co-conspirators when I say that it seems more likely that the show is keeping Juliet for Sawyer, and having Jack and Sawyer fight over another woman in another reality would seem trite. Other suggestions included Libby, Kate (though it's really hard to see how that would happen) and -- my other favorite -- Penny. But if Jack had been with Penny, I can only imagine a certain time traveling (possibly alternate universe skipping?) Scot would have something to say about it.

Reader Wayne Mitchell writes in to ask just what I thought of Jack's appendix scar being on the wrong side. And I have to say that I thought it was on the right side, since, well, everyone has only one appendix, and he was looking in a mirror, which would automatically reverse everything. Unless I'm remembering the scene wrong. Had I known, I would have kept the episode on my DVR.

Reader Kathy Nichols writes to me to play off of my comments about lighthouses being religious symbols. She says:

"It occurred to me while reading your piece that the lighthouse has been used as a symbol in Christianity to 'light the way,' and I believe that the Jehovah's Witnesses have a magazine called The Lighthouse. So ... I guess that kind of ties in with the quasi- religious themes.

"Also, did you notice how maniacal Hurley looked at time during the lighthouse scenes? The light shining in his face (I guess from the mirrors, or reflecting off the ocean) made him look rather diabolical. Quite unlike the usual placid Hurley."

I have to admit I hadn't had that thought about Hurley, but it's entirely possible the show wanted to make him seem slightly diabolical. I also like Kathy's thoughts about lighthouses as religious symbols. Many religions use lighthouses or beacons as a symbol of a guide, something to which someone who is lost (literally) can cling to to know they will be home soon. I can't imagine the choice of this structure is accidental.

And that's all for this week's "Lost" Wednesday. Be sure to come back over the weekend for the "Lost" weekend, and keep those comments, e-mails and tweets coming!

--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)

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