First, apologies to anyone who was spoiled by my post "I'm Here to Die..." I confused an on-line preview of the exchange between Sayid and Michael from Meet Kevin Johnson with their brief encounter at the end of Ji Yeon. The inference that Mike couldn't commit suicide turned out to be sound, but I would never have made the connection absent the preview, which was technically a spoiler. So sorry again to anyone who was spoiled -- I promise to be more careful about such things in the future!
That said, I'm glad I got at least one thing right because my prediction about physical time travel and Taller Ghost Walt was totally incorrect. Time travel may yet explain his adolescent appearance to Locke, but it will probably be via astral projection from the future, as predicted by a poster named Netprophet. That actually raises a disturbing possibility I'll return to momentarily. Before going there, however, I want to register my frustration with this episode -- and not because I guessed incorrectly.
For Michael's return to be plausible, he needed to explain how he and Walt made it back to civilization in that rickety little boat. The two presumably found rescue just as Ben promised, but how could he be sure? I understand that Walt's growth spurt limited what the writers could depict. But it would at least have been nice for Mike to mention where that compass heading of 325, which also appears on Rousseau's maps, deposited them. The episode left so many juicy questions unanswered -- it felt like kind of a tease
Speaking of Rousseau, she'd better not be dead -- that would be a golden opportunity wasted. Rousseau's flashback, particularly how Montand lost his arm, ranks right up there with an explanation of the Four-toed Colossus on my list of things I'd like to see. I'd also welcome a little mother-daughter bonding -- or frankly any emotion at all from Rousseau. She's seemed oddly detached since being reunited with Alex. My guess is that Karl is dead but Rousseau is not. Let's hope the latter, like Michael and Locke, still has work to do.
Locke brings me back to the aforementioned grim possibility concerning Walt. Michael saw the ghost of Libby just before activating the bomb, and earlier this season the ghost of Charlie appeared to Hurley. Lost seems to be going the route of HG Wells in depicting spirits as higher-dimensional beings capable of transcending time and space. We've already seen evidence that Walt can project his astral self in the same way. But what if the Taller Ghost Walt who appeared to Locke is actually dead in the future?
Such a speculation is obviously whackadoo because I seriously doubt a show on network television would ever be so dark. If I had to bet, my money would now be on Michael being in the coffin with Sayid as his mercy killer -- i.e., the former will ask the latter to kill him. Still...Walt dying in the flash forward but living on as a ghost would be the kind of bold narrative twist that, say, Stephen King might pull. Come to think of it, the coffin did seem a little on the small side...
Finally, on the subject of the King of Ka, I wanted to highlight a telling reference to the Shining. Recall that Mike is wasting time by bouncing a ball against the wall just like Jack Nicholson in the film version when Minkowski draws the comparison. I'm intrigued because the Shining strikes me as a perfect analogy for what's happening on Lost. Like the Overlook Hotel, the Island was once the site of some trauma that left a powerful psychic imprint upon it. Living and dead alike are driven by this imprint to repeat terrible events of the past.
Of particular relevance, both the Shining and Lost feature psychic children whose powers are intensified by proximity to the Island/Hotel. This booster effect makes the children more sensitive to the imprint but simultaneously gives them the power to resist it. That's why Walt eventually soured on the Island in a way Locke never did, even during his crisis of faith after finding the Pearl. The former is little Danny Torrance, and the latter his father, Jack. Like the Overlook Hotel, the Island needs a new caretaker...
Here are some other thoughts and questions I had about Meet Kevin Johnson:
* The scene with Michael throwing the ball also reminded me of the Great Escape, in which Steve McQueen similarly bounces a ball against the wall after being sent to solitary confinement in the Cooler. An early Simpsons episode parodied this scene brilliantly when Maggie was confined to the Box (i.e., a playpen) by the matriarch of the Ayn Rand School for Tots...
* I find it fascinating that Widmore and Ben each blame the other for the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage. Widmore strikes me as the most logical choice. But I still think it's possible neither one is involved -- the wreckage was staged by Chronology Protection Agents like Ms. Hawking.
* Alternatively, I know it's whackadoo but...is it possible Ben and Widmore secretly collaborated on the cover-up and are now lying about it to their respective people for some unknown reason?
* Tom mentioned that the bodies in the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage were taken from a cemetery in Thailand. Didn't Jack's flashback to when he got his tattoo take place in Thailand? Which reminds me -- I read that Bai Ling was arrested recently for shoplifting. She always struck me as a little nutty...
* Also regarding Tom, it was nice that we got the pay-off to hints that he was the long-rumored gay character on the show. As suggested previously, however, there were so many other mysteries, I would rather have seen resolved.
* What did Tom mean when he said "some of us" can come and go from the Island. Is this a reference to loyalty? Or is there some physical or mental characteristic that suits people for such trips?
* Did anyone else think of Wiley E. Coyote -- and the Acme Co. -- when that flag popped up on the bomb? My first instinct was to be annoyed at such a farcical touch. Then it occurred to me that the bomb is a perfect metaphor for the Swan -- right down to the button labeled execute. Did Ben enter that code after all?
* There was another reference to Kurt Vonnegut. But are they confirming the Slaughterhouse 5 explanation for being unstuck in time or hinting at something deeper? As a poster named Turing's Ghost never tires of reminding me, Vonngeut leaves open the possibility that Billy Pilgrim's experience is a fantasy induced by his brain injury.
* Such ambiguity resonates with another another book conspicuously referenced on the show. The Swan Orientation Film was hidden behind Turn of the Screw, which similarly raises the possibility that the narrator is simply crazy. Would you be disappointed if Lost went the same ambiguous route?
* Another whackadoo speculation to ponder: Alex is pregnant with Karl's baby.
* Finally, be sure to check in periodically at Eye M Sick during the break. I'll hopefully have some new theories and speculations to share, and I welcome your replies!