Thursday, October 05, 2006

Suffer the Children

Remember what Goodwin said about the children being in a "better place"?

I'm not so sure they'd agree -- at least where Otherville is concerned. It's far from clear what's happening there. But I'm beginning to suspect that, despite suggestions of an idyllic life for adults, the kids are not alright.

The first indication was Alex, who frustrated the Others' plans for Aaron by surreptitiously springing Claire from Caduceus. Then there was Walt, whose refusal to conform may have been more than the Others "bargained for." Now there's Carl, who told Sawyer to run the other way.

His direction can be taken at least two ways that both suggest subversive motives. One possibility is the escape was a ruse and Carl tried to increase Sawyer's chance of eluding capture by directing him away from the waiting Others. Another is that the break out was in earnest and Carl sought to enhance his own prospects by using Sawyer as a decoy.

But the big clues are actually the little things. Where, for example, were the children after the earthquake? I didn't see a single minor come running out of the houses. Maybe they were all in school but that's something else we didn't see. Where was Otherville's little red schoolhouse?

That brings me to Carrie, the Stephen King novel about an alienated teen with telekinetic powers -- Juliet's favorite book. Didn't Adam sound a bit defensive in dismissing her choice? And what to make of Ben's possible boycott? Methinks these Other gentlemen protest too much.

Perhaps that book strikes a nerve because the Island is now a prison of sorts for special children like Walt. I don't mean in the literal sense that kids are kept in cages, though you have to wonder about any group that would lock up the likes of Carl, whether as punishment or ruse.

I envision something like the Village from the Prisoner. That analogy kept occurring to me as we witnessed escape attempts by Sawyer and Jack. For those unfamiliar, the Prisoner was a classic television show from the '60s about a secret agent who is kidnapped and held in a mysterious seaside village from which he tries repeatedly and unsuccessfully to escape.

Looks to me like the Island has become a place where children with special abilities are held and studied against their will. I sense, morever, that nails that stick up in Otherville tend to get hammered down. Carl could well be sent to the Room that Walt mentioned and Ms. Klugh refused to discuss.

I'm guessing, however, that some kids have managed successfully to break out of Otherville. Perhaps, in Lord of the Flies fashion, they pursue a more primitive existence near the Black Rock in the Dark Territory. The Others presumably were impersonating this less civilized faction.

I further believe we've met this second group on at least two -- possibly three -- different occasions. The first encounter was with the tailies. Remember, Ben ordered Goodwin and Ethan to provide lists in "three days" but the tailies were raided the very first night they spent on the Island.

The second meeting may have been when Jin and Eko watched the parade of barefoot Others. The one with a teddy bear is obviously a child -- presumably the boy who was grabbed the first night -- and the others could easily be adolescents. I've always wondered why we didn't see their faces...

The third possibility is the Monster itself, which these other Others may now control. Here again, Ben's time frame of three days provides a clue since Smokey appeared to the fuselage survivors their first night. Maybe it was sent because Ethan couldn't reach the Island's far side by nightfall. Still, I find it odd Ben made no mention of any plan to do so.

If this theory is correct, we can add "kids vs. adults" to the growing list of conflicts that increasingly define the Island. And what do you suppose happens when these special lost children grow up without the Others' discipline to guide them? Is this why the Others are the "good guys" despite their harsh measures?

The possibilities strike me as endless...


Anonymous said...

I had another take on Carl. I think he's a plant, pure and simple. His "escape" was intended to show Sawyer, right from the start, that an escape is not possible by letting him "try" and fail...and see the consequences of failure. Sure, Carl got a bloody nose, but we've seen The Others do some pretty exgtreme things as part of a larger strategy.

Not my best post, to be sure, but just another perspective. You've got a nice blog. Keep up the interesting analysis.

bigmouth said...

We don't necessarily disagree -- that may well have been the Others' plan. My point is that Carl's direction for Sawyer to run "that way" seemed odd. I got the sense Carl did something he wasn't supposed to do.

Contrast his bloody nose with Juliet's congratulations from Benry. She followed orders and earned Jack's trust. By contrast, I think Carl tried to exploit the situation to facilitate his own escape.

Regardless, even if Carl was in on the plan, don't you find it odd that they'd use someone so young as bait? Seems so callous...

Mang said...

I find it especially strange that Sawyer would listen to advice guiding him to escape toward the buildings. This seems counterintuitive, incrementally so given that he knows neither the source nor his motives.

Does this reveal Sawyer as a more compliant and trusting 'conman' than we are lead to believe, or perhaps he simply did not have enough time to analyze the situation and react properly.

bigmouth said...

Mang, that is a very interesting point, especially when we consider how compliant Kate has been of late. Is there something funny in those fish biscuits they've been noshing?