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May 6, 2008 | Comments ()


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I Will Lose My Mind If You Won't See Me

"Lost: Something Nice Back Home" (S4/E10) Recap / Daniel Carlson

Lost Recaps | May 6, 2008 | Comments ()


“Who’s Rodrigo Santoro?” a coworker asked me while reading the paper. “Was he on ‘Lost’?”

“Yeah,” I said, “he was the guy who played Paulo on the underrated diamonds-and-buried-alive episode last season.”

“Ugh, I hated that episode.”

“Why?”

“Because nothing happened,” she said. “It’s like they said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a great big story but we’re gonna stop and do something that has nothing to do with it and doesn’t reveal a damn thing.’”

“You just gotta be OK with that,” I said. “Watching ‘Lost’ is like watching Memento if it was six years long.”

“Don’t even get me started on Memento,” she said. “Frogs falling from the sky?”

At that point I turned my attention to other matters. Still, I think my larger point is a valid one: “Lost” tells you everything you need to know, you just have to take the ride. The characters and their relationships are in a constant state of flux, and the story details are always relevant to the larger mythology of the island. And of course, the greatest thing about the flashforwards is the way they invert viewer expectations and shift the focus of the tension within a given scene. The tenth episode of the show’s fourth season, “Something Nice Back Home,” was great at this. Jack’s illness worsened and his appendix had to be removed on the island, but since he’s guaranteed to live to see the future, the scenes involving Jack on the island aren’t about whether he’ll survive the surgery but how his condition plays itself out between the (currently) two main women in his life. The question isn’t whether Jack will recover, but what will happen to Juliet when he does.

Anyway: The episode opens with a close-up of Jack’s eye. A lot of the episodes open like this, but it’s always somehow more meaningful when the eye in question is Jack’s, since it was that shot that opened the pilot episode. Juliet attempts to revive a bleary Jack from a deep and apparently sweaty and disgusting afternoon nap, and outside his tent, Bernard is shouting at someone. Jack awakes and stumbles with Juliet’s help out to the shore, where Bernard is harassing Daniel and demanding to know (for what will by no means by the last time) what’s really going on, but Daniel and Charlotte plead ignorance. Bernard wants to know why the jury-rigged sat phone is no longer working, but come on, Bernard: You let on right away that you knew Morse, so there’s no way Daniel’s gonna let you hear him communicate with the ship again. Jack calms everyone down and tries to remind that he promised them they would all be safe and find rescue, but he barely makes it through the speech before passing out and pitching forward into the sand, causing no small amount of panic.

First flashforward: Jack’s in bed when the phone rings. It’s a nurse reminding him about a patient consult that’s been rescheduled. Jack moseys downstairs in what’s clearly the same house Kate was living in a few episodes ago during her courtroom flashforward, so it’s no surprise that Jack heads back up to the bathroom to surprise the woman waiting in the shower. Presumably it was episode director Stephen Williams who tried to milk the suspense by altering the voice of the woman in the shower the same way Ben’s voice was futzed with at the end of “The Economist” when he was talking with Sayid. The show wants a visual reveal, not an auditory one, but since this isn’t a comic book, they have to figure out how to delay the inevitable. But of course, as soon as Kate appears in the shower door, her voice is back to its airy self. Later on, Jack reads a bedtime story to the toddler Aaron from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ending with some quotes about the nature of the self that are probably lost on the boy but haunt Jack, who’s living with the kid of his half-sister who may or may not be dead on a deserted island. Kate tells Jack he’s a natural with the kid, and they have a nice little moment in the hall outside Aaron’s room that all but guarantees they’ll implode. I mean, they have to: Eventually Jack grows a beard, becomes an alcoholic, and starts flying around the world praying for a crash.

Back on the island, Jack regains consciousness and starts stumbling around while everyone watches him warily. He blows off Kate’s orders to rest and walks away, insisting that he’s fine. Meanwhile, out in the jungle, Sawyer is still hiking with Claire and Miles as they make their way back to the beach. They’re making their way through the patch of trees recognizable as the place where Rousseau and Karl were killed, too. Claire says she’s still got a bit of a headache from the explosion that almost killed her, but at least she’s “not seeing things any more.” This piques Miles’ interest, but Sawyer looks at him and growls, “Back off, Donger.” Awesome. As they walk, Miles slows down and has a vivid sensory experience of Rousseau being gunned down, and he feebly asks, “Who’s Danielle and Karl?” This rightly spooks Sawyer and Claire a little, but not as much as when Miles starts pawing at the loose soil and finds the corpses of Rousseau and Karl right below the surface. Sawyer tells Miles it was his commando buddies that did this, but Miles pleads ignorance. “I didn’t sign up for this,” Miles says. Aaron starts crying, and they all set off again for the main camp.

Down at the beach, Juliet brings Jack some water and asks what’s wrong with him. Jack says it’s food poisoning, but Juliet disagrees in a tone that says she knows he’s lying. She feels his side and determines it’s his appendix, and Jack drops the charade. He tells Juliet the pain started yesterday but that the appendix hasn’t ruptured yet. “Well,” she says, “I guess we’re just gonna have to take it out.” Even for someone who’s used to life on the island, Juliet doesn’t seem too phased by this. Before long, she’s written out a list of supplies to be retrieved from the medical station, the Staff. She gives the list to Sun, but when Sun explains she doesn’t know what all the items look like, Daniel offers to go along and help. Rose shoots that down, and Charlotte tells Daniel that the castaways don’t want outside help so he might as well not try. Daniel wheels on her and gives her his sternest whisper, chastising her for having a bad attitude and ruining everything. (He should lecture Miles if that guy ever makes it back.) Daniel tells Juliet that he just wants to help, and she agrees to let him and Charlotte go on the supply run, but not before she hands Jin a pistol with orders to shoot the legs out from under Daniel or Charlotte if they try anything funny. Juliet then starts organizing everyone else to create a sterile environment in a tent, or as much of one is possible. Kate asks why they don’t just move Jack to the medical facility, and Juliet, never one to resist a moment of drama, says that if they move Jack, his appendix could rupture and he could die. Quick jaunt to the jungle: Miles is creepily watching Claire as they rest by a creek. Sawyer walks up and tells Miles to cut it out, adding that Miles now has a restraining order and isn’t allowed to talk to Claire or go within 20 feet. Miles threatens to get all douchey about it, but Sawyer puts his foot down. Back out on the beach, Bernard’s telling Rose that Jack will come through his surgery just fine. Rose counters that she’s actually worried about why Jack got sick in the first place, since the island has a pretty good track record of healing people. She’s convinced that something weird is going on since Jack is the one who’s about to get them all rescued, and it’s almost like the island is taking it out on him. Bernard has no real idea what to say. Meanwhile, Juliet shaves Jack’s stomach in preparation for the really unhygienic operation she’s mere hours away from performing. Jack says he wants to talk Juliet through the procedure, using lidocaine to numb the area but leaving Jack conscious so he can watch himself being cut open in a mirror. Just for sheer emotional torment, he wants Kate to hold the mirror, too. Juliet’s not happy about the idea, but she doesn’t turn him down.

Second flashforward: Jack walks a woman through the lobby of his office, explaining the procedure she’s about to have. As they part, he sees his dad — his dead, missing from the coffin, stuck somewhere on Hell Island dad — sitting in the reception area. Christian then rises and walks out, leaving Jack watching in terror; it’s clear that no one else sees it happen, but you also have to wonder if it hasn’t happened before, given that Jack takes the sighting in panicked stride instead of running screaming from the building. Another doctor, Erika, walks up to Jack, and he turns his attention to the X-rays in her hands before being stopped by the receptionist, who tells him he’s got a phone call from a doctor out at Santa Rosa hospital about a “friend” of Jack’s. Later, Jack goes out to Santa Rosa, where he finds out that the friend in question has stopped taking his meds and refuses to believe in the reality of the world around him. Jack is led to a private room and finds Hurley there, sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. Jack asks why Hurley won’t take his pills, and Hurley responds that it’s because he and the rest of the Oceanic Six are actually dead, so it doesn’t matter. “We never got off that island,” Hurley says. Jack tells Hurley about life with Kate and Aaron, and Hurley contends that Jack must feel like he’s in heaven because of the way things are working out. Jack tells Hurley that his happiness doesn’t mean that the world is artificial, but Hurley doesn’t seem to care. He tells Jack that he’s been getting visits from Charlie, who has a message for Jack that Hurley’s written down. “You’re not supposed to raise him, Jack,” Hurley reads, which pretty much scares the hell out of Jack. Hurley asks Jack if the “he” in the message is Aaron, but Jack just tells Hurley to take his meds as he heads for the door. Hurley stops Jack with a chilling warning: “Charlie said someone’s gonna be visiting you, too. Soon.” Jack just turns and walks away because, well, after a tour on Hell Island, the idea of ghosts probably isn’t that extreme.

Out in the jungle, Jin, Sun, Daniel, and Charlotte arrive at the Staff station. Daniel tells Charlotte he’ll go first to make sure it’s safe, and Jin and Sun discuss the mild flirtation in Korean. When they do, Charlotte gives them a little smile, but Jin’s way too sharp to let that go, so he files it away for later. Jin and Sun keep speaking in Korean as they all search the station for the requisite supplies, and he does his best to calm her fears about being rescued. “I will get you and our baby off this island,” he tells her; the hell of it is, we know it will happen. While they’re rooting around for surgical tools, Sawyer, Claire, and Miles are still making their way to the beach. (Sometimes the island feels really huge.) Claire trips a little, and Miles offers to help carry the baby, which Sawyer wisely rejects. They hear a rustling in the trees ahead, and Sawyer just has time to raise his rifle and get in front of Claire when Frank Lapidus, the chopper pilot, comes running toward them. Frank tells them all they have to hide right away because Keamy and his crew are closing in; he’s even got sat phone radar to prove it. I’d thought Keamy and the rest were eaten by the smoke monster, but I guess they were just thrashed about. The trio takes cover right as Keamy and the rest of the soldiers appear, looking pretty beat up but better than dead. Aaron makes a little gurgling noise, causing Keamy to turn around and begin eyeing the treeline around him. He gets close to Sawyer and Claire, but Frank saves them by making the hard sell about wanting to get off the island and back to the ship before nightfall, since flying Daniel’s specific escape bearings at night isn’t something Frank is keen on doing. Keamy eventually quits the search and leaves Sawyer, Claire, and Miles hiding in the bush. At the beach, Juliet tells Kate she’ll be assisting in the surgery, which Kate rightly thinks is probably unwise, but Juliet tells her it won’t be too hard. Jack emerges from the tent, determined to at least make it to the operating area under his own power, but Kate rushes to his side to help. As they walk, Kate tells Jack she’s going to be his makeshift nurse, and in a nice in-house nod to the pilot, he reminds her it won’t be the first time. He also tries to deliver some version of a last request in case he doesn’t make it, but she shuts him up.

Third flashforward: Jack is sitting in his car outside Santa Rosa, staring at the picnic bench where Hurley said he sits and chats with Charlie. He looks like he’s almost ready to get out and see if anyone shows up, but instead he drives home. He wakes up Kate and asks her again if she thinks he’s “good at this,” meaning being a father. She tears up a little and says that he is. He takes a minute before looking at her and saying, “Will you marry me?” He pulls a ring from his pocket as she cries and says yes. He slides the ring on her finger, they embrace, and the fall they’ll eventually take gets that much worse.

Surgery time. Sun, Jin, Daniel, and Charlotte return to the beach after dark with the supplies for Charlotte, and Juliet and Sun head off to sterilize the instruments. Jin takes this opportunity to pull Charlotte aside and call her on her secret language abilities. “I know you understand me,” he says in Korean. He tells her he knows she heard what he and his wife were saying at the Staff. She says she doesn’t know what he’s saying and that Sun should translate, but Jin finally says, again in Korean, “If you continue to lie, I’m going to hurt your friend Daniel. I’m going to break his fingers one at a time.” Charlotte knows from Jin’s eyes that he’s serious. She replies in Korean, “What do you want?” Jin says he just wants Sun on the helicopter and off the island. Charlotte asks about the others, but Jin says he just cares about Sun’s escape. Charlotte nods, accepting his proposal, and he walks off. Over at the makeshift M*A*S*H, Bernard tells Jack he could use the chloroform to knock him out so he can dream about “something nice back home” instead of staying awake through the painful procedure. Jack refuses, and Bernard reluctantly lets it go. Then Juliet starts the surgery, and it’s easily among the more graphic things the series has done; combined with the earlier discovery of the corpses, this episode is right up there in terms of blood and guts. Jack starts squirming and barking those manly grunts that mean he’s in some serious pain, and Juliet finally overrules Jack and has Bernard knock him out to keep him from getting out of control. Juliet orders Kate out of the room as Bernard raises a cloth to Jack’s mouth and puts him under.

Fourth flashforward: Jack is in his office late at night, looking over X-rays and dictating notes into a recorder when he hears a faint beep coming from outside. He walks down the hall to the reception area and finds that the smoke detector — pretty randomly placed over the receptionist’s desk — is beeping, though whether it senses smoke or is losing battery isn’t yet clear. Jack drags up a chair and pulls the battery from the detector, and as soon as he gets down, he hears a voice call his name. He turns to see his father sitting in the darkened reception area, clad in a suit and looking patient as ever. Jack walks slowly toward Christian with a mixture of fear and determination, as if he’s expected this for some time now, but before he gets there, Erika appears again and asks if he’s all right. He’s on the verge of panicked tears as he tells her he was just fixing the smoke detector, and he asks her to write him a prescription for clonazepam so he can relax. She does it, but with a trace of reservation. She tells him to talk to someone about his stress, and he says he will. Jack heads home and finds Kate in the kitchen, talking on the phone about having the nanny stay for a couple extra hours so she can go somewhere. She hangs up when she sees Jack walk in and tells him she was talking to Noreen, one of the “moms from the park.” Jack doesn’t believe her, but he lets her go upstairs so he can grab a beer and take the first pill of the prescription he’s already had filled.

But things are about to get even crazier. Camping in the jungle, Claire wakes up to find Sawyer and Miles asleep and Aaron nowhere around. She sits up with a start and looks around, and that’s when she sees Christian Shephard — her father as well as Jack’s — sitting on the other side of the fire and gently rocking Aaron. “Dad?” she says. This is the most mobile dead guy in history.

Down on the beach, Bernard finds Kate and tells her the surgery went well and that she can go see Jack now. Kate heads in and finds Juliet stitching up Jack, who’s asleep but looking better. Juliet apologizes for yelling at Kate, and Kate barely has time to forgive her before Juliet adds that Jack kissed her the other day. Kate’s a little taken aback, but Juliet just keeps plowing emotionlessly ahead, saying that Jack’s kiss wasn’t born of love but was instead probably his attempt to prove that he cared about Juliet and not someone else. It’d be easier if Juliet were a little disappointed by this turn of events she relates so casually, or at least hurt, but she’s just so depressingly no-nonsense about it that it makes it worse. It’s almost as if she expected it to happen, and would’ve been surprised if it hadn’t. Kate thanks her for saving Jack’s life and leaves. Juliet says, “I know you’re awake,” and Jack opens his eyes. Neither of them speaks.

Fifth flashforward: Kate comes home to find Jack in the living room, a drink in his hand and open bottles on the low table before him. (It looks like Jack is mixing liquor, wine, and at least three bottles of Negro Modelo; have fun tomorrow, man.) Jack says he sent the nanny home but asks Kate why she’d been there so late in the first place. Kate says she needed the nanny to stay since she had errands to run. She asks why Jack is home so early, and Jack says it’s because he went to see Hurley the other day. This doesn’t make a lot of sense as an answer, but Kate goes with it. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Kate asks, to which Jack replies, “Because he’s crazy, Kate, and I didn’t want to upset you.” He asks her where she was, and Kate just says Jack will have to trust her and just leave it be. This answer would probably not work in any circumstance, let alone one in which your fiancĂ© has been drinking to erase the memories of the time you spent together on a ghost-infested island, so of course Jack doesn’t let it go. He keeps asking where she was, and she keeps refusing to tell him until she finally cracks and says, “I was doing something for him. … For Sawyer. I made him a promise.” It’s the last thing Jack wants to hear, and his world starts to crumble a little as he realizes that he can’t have Kate to himself even with Sawyer gone from the picture. Kate says what she was up to has nothing to do with Jack but that Sawyer wouldn’t want him to know what was happening. “But he’s not here, is he?” Jack asks her. “He made his choice. He chose to stay. I’m the one who came back. I’m the one who’s here. I’m the one who saved you.” This is what it’s all about for Jack. Kate tells him to keep it down and not act this way around her son, but Jack just shouts, “You’re not even related to him!” Kate gasps like this is way over the line, and she looks past Jack to see Aaron walking around the corner into the room. She picks him up and starts to cry as Jack walks away, fighting back tears himself. If it’s not over, I don’t know how they’ll walk that back.

Back in the jungle, Sawyer wakes up in the morning to find Miles poking absently at the dying fire. Sawyer asks if Claire’s off relieving herself, but Miles says she’s gone, that she walked off into the jungle in the middle of the night with a guy she called “Dad.” Miles says he would have stopped her if not for Sawyer’s restraining order, at which point Sawyer readies his weapon and prepares to give Miles a righteously deserved pistol-whipping, but he stops when he hears a baby crying. Sawyer grabs his rifle and runs off, calling for Claire. But he only finds Aaron, lying in a bush and bawling his little confused head off. Sawyer picks up the baby and keeps shouting Claire’s name, but it’s no use. As sure as the sun rises in the east, as sure as there will always be an England, Claire is going to get kidnapped. Maybe she went willingly with her ghost dad, but it doesn’t matter. That girl needs a whole team watching her.

As always, the episode gave a few answers while asking more questions, something “Lost” does effortlessly by now. But I can live with not knowing what Kate’s doing for Sawyer as long as Sawyer is still alive and (mostly) well back on Hell Island. Also, it’s interesting that there is/was/will be some element of choice involved as far as who leaves the island and who stays, and that’s going to be a battle.

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.




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