Monday, February 8, 2010

"Lost" Fifteen Favorites: "Cabin Fever"

“Those things had to happen to me. That was my destiny. But you’ll understand soon enough that there are consequences to being chosen. Because destiny, John, is a fickle bitch.”


Way back in September when I started my 15 Most Legendary Episodes of HIMYM series, I floated the idea of doing something similar for the final season of Lost. And I’m here to deliver on my promise. You’re not just going to get a list divided in three parts. I’m planning on doing a full “Classic” recap-style post for each of the fifteen episodes on my list. And this time, the list is ranked. We’ll end with my favorite episode sometime around May 23 (the episode’s identity won’t be at all a secret if you’ve ever actually read this blog), the date of the Lost series finale *tear.* So, without further ado, episode 15- “Cabin Fever.”

I believe “Cabin Fever” was one of the first episodes of Lost that I watched completely spoiler free. I first got into the show in the winter right before the beginning of Season 4. I figured that with the Writers Guild strike still on, there wouldn’t be much else new on TV. Because I was finally unspoiled for “Cabin Fever,” I delighted in every twist and turn and surprising reveal. It was a really fun experience. On rewatch, this episode has a lot of other good qualities to earn itself a spot on my Fifteen Favorites list. It’s got John Locke’s origin story and some brilliant work by Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia as Ben and Hurley.

Locke’s history is really fascinating, and his flashbacks provided most of the surprising reveals of the episode. The beginning of the episode reminded me of the beginning of the season 2 premiere, “Man of Science Man of Faith. Locke’s mother Emily, just a teenager, turns on a record player and dances to the music as she prepares for a date with “him.” It was the imagery of turning on the record player that really made the comparison for me. It turns out that John Locke himself was born several months premature after Emily stormed out of her mother’s house and was promptly hit by what looked like a pick-up truck. What is it with random vehicle-caused deaths in “Lost?” It’s like Joss Whedon and sudden gun shots to the head!

It turns out that Locke has been connected to the Island throughout his entire life, although events in season 5 make me wonder how significant that really is. Richard Alpert kept an eye on him from birth, trying to guide his path. Locke wouldn’t have any of it though, first failing Richard’s test by choosing a knife as an item that was already his, and second by refusing to go to Mittelos science camp in Portland. I guess this should have been a sign that Locke was never destined for greatness like he thought he was. The fact that young Locke had a drawing of the Smokemonster in his living room was quite intriguing. I remember yelling with surprise each time either Richard Alpert or Matthew Abbadon (who was posing as an orderly at the facility where Locke recovered from his back injury and suggested he go on a Walkabout) appeared on the screen.

On the Island, Locke, Hurley, and Ben are looking for Jacob. Locke seems to think Jacob will tell them how to save the Island from the murderous Freighter Folk. Ben is mostly moping about not being the Chosen one anymore. When Locke has a dream of Horace Goodspeed that sets him on the path to finding Jacob’s cabin, Ben tells Locke “I used to have dreams!” Hurley is pretty much just along for the ride. Locke forced Hurley to join the expedition at gunpoint because Hurley was the last person to see the Cabin. Locke’s dream about Horace leads the group to the mass grave of former Dharma Initiative followers who were killed by the Others in the Purge.

While Locke starts searching for Horace’s body, Hurley and Ben have a very interesting conversation about just who is responsible for the Purge. After the most kick-ass act break of the episode (HURLEY: “What happened to them?” LOCKE (points to BEN): “He did”), Hurley is understandably a little twitchy around Ben. Ben explains that even though the Others were responsible for the Purge, it wasn’t on Ben’s orders. Ben wasn’t always the leader of the Others, you see. This was mysterious at the time, but season 5 would eventually reveal that the leader of the Others before Ben was none other than Charles Widmore. That was back when I thought Ben and Widmore’s little feud actually mattered *sigh.* Locke finds what he’s looking for, at least. A map and blueprints for the Cabin.

I’m going to interrupt Locke, Ben and Hurley’s story for a moment to comment on the third plot of the episode. Desmond and Sayid are still on the freighter, and things have gone from bad to worse. In the wake of Ben sicing the Smokemonster on his band of mercenaries, Keamy has gone even more nuts than he already was. He’s determined to torch the entire Island in retaliation. Nobody who isn’t under Keamy’s command thinks this is at all a good idea. Even Gault, the Captain of the Kahana, is against it. None of that is going to stop Keamy, though. He’s determined to carry out “Secondary Protocol.” Lapidus and Michael see Keamy strapping on what turns out to be a dead man’s switch.

Sayid realizes the situation is dire, and he wants to use the Kahana’s Zodiac boat to start shuttling Losties off of the Island. Captain Gault agrees to ready it for him and try to hide what he’s doing from Keamy. When it comes time to board the Zodiac, Desmond does something that really, really annoys me. He tells Sayid he’s staying on board the Kahana. He spent three years on the island, and he’s not going back. This leads to Des spending the next few episodes hiding in the shadows watching what’s going on aboard the Kahana with a worried look on his face. It’s kind of lame.

When Lapidus hears of Keamy’s plans, he tries to refuse to fly the team back to the island, but it doesn’t really go well. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. Keamy kills both the ship’s doctor and Captain Gault. Lapidus reluctantly takes Keamy and his goons back to the Island, but he has a plan. He wraps up the sat phone, programmed to show the location of the chopper, in a backpack and throws it out of the helicopter right over the beach camp. Jack, oaf that he is, thinks this is a signal from Lapidus to follow the chopper. Follow the chopper to certain death by a crazy, homicidal mercenary is more like it.

On the Locke, Ben, Hurley side of the Island, things are getting even weirder. The group finds the Cabin, but Ben and Hurley refuse to go inside. Inside the Cabin, Locke does not encounter Jacob. He finds another manifestation of Christian, Jack’s father. This one isn’t dressed in a suit, which is quite unusual. He also encounters Claire, which is even stranger. While Locke is having his strange encounters in the Cabin, Ben and Hurley are sharing a chocolate bar. It’s a hilarious and completely silent scene. It’s one of my favorites of the entire series. The end of the episode is quite the cliffhanger. Ben asks Locke what Jacob suggested they do. Locke’s answer? “He wants us to move the Island.”

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