''Lost'': Making a life and taking a life
Dim the houselights. Cue the backing band. Let's bring him out:
Ladies and gentlemen . . . Mr. Elton John!
It's the circle of life,
And it moves us all,
Whether you're Claire giving birth
Or you're Boone napping in dirt
Of you're Jack getting hitched
To Ed's hot chick (Carol Vessey, baby!),
In the circle! The circle of life!
Sorry, folks. Couldn't resist. My kids were watching The Lion King before I sent them off to bed, so maybe I have too much ''Hakuna Matata'' on the brain. Then again, this episode of Lost pretty much rounded the circle-of-life bases, didn't it? Birth. Death. Marriage. And that sweet nectar of existence, sex on the beach. Or near sex on the beach. Okay, noncommittal make-out on the beach.
Anyway: great episode. I mean, aside from some of the corniest lines ever uttered on this otherwise exquisitely scripted drama. Like this one Kate to Claire: ''This baby is all of us.'' Ugh. I'm still trying to unravel the symbolic sociological significance of that one. And the whole ''Babies know this, babies know that'' debate between Kate and Claire. Look: I have two kids. They knew zip out of the womb, apart from (a) It was much warmer and cozier inside the womb than outside, and (b) I am freaking hungry. The whole Claire-Kate ''They know they are wanted/don't know they are wanted'' stuff I'm throwing a flag on that. Illegal use of poetic license and psychobabble. People just don't talk that way during labor. No, the typical conversation goes like this:
Birthing Partner: ''You're doing great ''
Mom: ''Shut the hell up, you patronizing ass!''
Birthing Partner: ''Okay. Sorry.''
Mom: ''Don't be sorry. Just pass me an ice chip to suck on, you useless ''
Birthing Partner: ''Doctor? Another epidural, please.''
By the way, that just may have been the cleanest baby ever born in the history of mankind. No blood. No gray gunk. What, was the womb packed with Styrofoam bits? And how about Claire up and walking around the next morning, no worse for wear, as if the only thing that kicked her butt the night before was a bad burrito or something?
Look, I'm taking the realism of the labor scenes to task because the Jack-trying-to-save-Boone scenes were just so painstakingly detailed. I commend the writers for investing a lot of time in researching how to handle blood transfusions and collapsed lungs when all you've got to work with is some plane-crash leftovers and spiny sea urchins. But they couldn't have spent 20 minutes more chatting with a delivery-room nurse? Surfing the net? Talking with their own mothers?
Regardless: Congratulations, Claire. You did not give birth to a lizardy green alien thing. (Remember that moment on that so-bad-it-was-awesome show V? They don't make TV like that anymore, do they?) Just a healthy baby boy. Gotta say, I wasn't really surprised by that. I figured after all the weirdo build-up the pre-island prophecy by the psychic; Tom Cruise's cousin's people's apparent interest in Claire the show was going to zag (for now) and give us some normalcy and poignancy before putting her through the creepy wringer again.
As for Boone's death, it was compelling and poignant, though I'm not sure I totally bought the hero moment they gave him i.e., letting Jack ''off the hook'' and making the choice to die. Even though I've praised the realism of these scenes, I didn't necessarily trust the bits where Boone became lucid enough to communicate information and his final wishes, if only because I just don't know what is plausible and implausible in situations like those. I guess if I were a doctor, I could better judge what's dramatically contrived and what's not.
Will I miss Boone? Honestly, I don't think so. The incest thing had no legs, and Boone's too young to support season after season of flashbacks. The significance of his death is tempered by his expendability. That said, it is a meaningful death for the show, as its repercussions will be felt for a good long time among many characters, none more than his stepsister, Shannon, who during all the birth-and-death drama was enjoying a nice night of beach blanket bingo (if you know what I mean) with Sayid. They're taking it slow. I guess if you've been boinking your brother, relationships are tricky, loaded things.
I loved the Jack stuff. His bitchy, cranky bedside manner when he was in issue-wracked savior mode, his drunken weaving from blood loss. My favorite scene of the night was the one where Jin came running in with the alcohol bottles and had to explain to Jack and Charlie through his wife, Sun, with whom he's estranged, the situation with Claire. The emotional dynamics of the moment were so varied and rich: Jin's wounded pride; Sun's yearning; Jack's stress; Charlie's my-girlfriend's-in-labor/Boone-is-dying discombobulation. Great writing, acting, directing, editing; great scene.
Jack's flashback: Okay, so he was married once, to a woman named Sarah (Ed's Julie Bowen). Seems she got in a bad car wreck and he saved her life on the operating table. Toasting him at their wedding rehearsal dinner, Sarah told Jack that he was her hero and ''You are the most committed man I know'' and ''You fixed me.'' (All of which adds up to ''This marriage is doomed,'' if you ask me.) As he took in her praise, Jack squirmed like a four-year-old that needs to pee super-bad. Jack's dad showed up, and the two spent time dipping their feet in the pool and discussing Jack's jitters. (Feet in the pool? ''Cold feet''? Get it?) ''Commitment is what you're good at, Jack,'' Dad says. ''Your problem is letting go.'' Of course, Jack's dad isn't exactly Father Knows Best, and I was kinda surprised there was no verbalized acknowledgement by Jack that all of his anxieties over being a good husband and good father are most likely a direct consequence of his honked-up upbringing. Regardless, I don't think we've seen the last of Sarah, and I'm cool with that. Three words: Carol Vessey. Sigh.
About the previews for upcoming episodes. Looks like the long-simmering tension between Jack and Locke is going to explode. Can't wait. But wait, we must: Lost won't return until May. Which means I won't return until May. But before I go, a correction/clarification:
As many of you pointed out, I was wrong last week about the voice on the radio on the plane: Boone didn't hear, as I thought, ''We are the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.'' Upon further review, it does sound a lot more like ''There were no survivors of blah blah blah . . .'' But my question to you is this: How would that voice know? Could it be that said voice would know because said voice is also a survivor, currently somewhere else on the island, who has wrongfully assumed that no one else survived?
What do you think? What did the voice mean? What do Boone's death and Claire's baby's birth mean for the other characters? And is an obsessed Tom Cavanagh going to start stalking Jack?