“Hearts and Minds”
Originally aired January 12, 2005
What can a man say about woman, his own opposite? I mean of course something sensible, that is outside the sexual program, free of resentment, illusion, and theory. Where is the man to be found capable of such superiority? Woman always stands just where the man’s shadow falls, so that he is only too liable to confuse the two. Then, when he tries to repair this misunderstanding, he overvalues her and believes her the most desirable thing in the world.
— Carl Jung, Women In Europe (1927). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P. 236
Last week I described “Whatever the Case May Be” as a “meh” episode, and I lumped “Hearts and Minds” in with it. Upon a second look, that may not have been very fair. “Hearts and Minds” was an episode that didn’t really stand out in my memory, but having rewatched it quite closely, I understand why: this is a transition episode. The writers are orienting us, preparing us for the next part of their story. This is why upon my original viewing I was irritated with the episode — it felt as though nothing much happened in the flashback, aside from the “shocking” taboo-breaking moment, which to me, at the time, felt too deliberate and obvious. That, and I wanted to get on with the island story already; I felt as though the writers were stalling, or tap-dancing, as they are fond of calling episodes that kill some time in the overall season schedule (cough “Stranger in a Strange Land” cough).
But, hindsight is 20/20, and I realize now that this episode, while perhaps being a tap-dancing routine, is at least a really good tap-dancing routine. While we may not get any further with opening that hatch, we do receive a lovely exploration of Boone’s character, what’s up with his hostility toward Shannon, and an explanation for why he is so willing to put up with Locke and his crazy mumbo-jumbo.
Boone is a spoiled rich momma’s boy. He hangs out at country clubs with blondes that resemble his sister, he was just handed one of his mother’s wedding businesses to run, and he has the resources to drop everything and fly to Australia at the drop of a hat. Which is exactly what he does when Shannon calls him sobbing and in obvious distress, interrupting Boone’s afternoon playing tennis with Anonymous Blonde. Shannon’s in Sydney, and Boone’s on the next flight to go get her.
And as soon as he lands, he heads straight to Shannon’s place and is greeted by a burly Australian (is there any other kind?) named Bryan. When Shannon enters the room, instead of “Hey, Boone! Good to see you! How was your flight?” or, alternatively, “YOU’RE FINALLY HERE TO SAVE ME FROM THE BURLY AUSTRALIAN!” she’s all “What are you doing here,” which TICKS BOONE OFF. He’s just spent 15 hours on a plane and this is the reception he gets? NOT COOL. But Shannon tells Boone that she and the burly Australian were just on their way to go meet some friends, and maybe Boone should come back by tomorrow to inspect the giant bruise on her forehead that she deliberately shows him by brushing her hair away.
So Boone heads to the local police who are also burly, and asks for their help, but 1. They’ve got their hands full dealing with Sawyer who has been arrested recently …
And 2. They can’t do anything about his sister’s situation without evidence or a complaint from Shannon. And, by the way, why do Shannon and Boone have different last names? (Rutherford and Carlyle respectively) Is she married? Well, no — she used to be (really? intriguing … ), but isn’t anymore! and they’re step-siblings! so no blood relation! which will be extremely important later! and none of this matters! Boone just wants to help his sister. But that help won’t be coming from Officer Burly.
Nope, the help Boone needs is going to come from his wallet. Boone heads to a boat dock where Burly Australian is hosing things down (I don’t know either) and offers Burly Australian $25,000 to get out of Shannon’s life. But, we’re in love, mate! protests Burly Australian. In love to the tune of $50,000. Which will buy a lot of both shrimps and the barbies on which to throw them.
His step-sister now bought and paid for, Boone goes to collect her from the Burly Australian. However, Shannon’s not packed or ready to leave in the least. Burly Australian arrives on the scene and announces that the whole thing was a set-up: that Shannon’s just collecting from Boone’s momma what she was owed from her father’s estate.
See, when Shannon’s daddy died (because Dr. McWeepy decided to save the pretty girl instead of the old dude when they both came in from a car crash), Boone’s momma informed Shannon that she and Shannon’s dad had a living trust, and everything he owned is now hers. Too bad! So sad! So Shannon’s been pulling this con on Boone over and over, where she supposedly gets involved with an abusive boyfriend, and Boone has to come bail her out with his momma’s money. A tidy little trick, but one, perhaps, with a limited shelf life. Burly Australian then beats the snot out of Boone. Which is totally daggy.
So Boone is icing his face in his very expensive hotel room (a view of the Sydney Opera House! Are you kidding me?) when a drunk Shannon shows up at the door. Apparently, Burly Australian took off with the money. The money that Shannon knew Boone would bring because he’s in love with her.
NUH-UH, Boone weakly argues, but this all goes out the window when Shannon starts nibbling on his ear. And then they have sex. Which? By the way? Is STILL ICKY, step-siblings or not. Just wrong. After the deed is done, Shannon tells Boone that when they get back to Los Angeles, Boone should just tell his momma that he saved Shannon, again, and then they’ll just go back to the way it was. Boone pouts.
And that’s what’s up with Boone’s perpetual grouchiness with Shannon.
On the island, Hurley is grouchy because the island diet is having some, err, deleterious effects on his digestive system. He first approaches Boone, wondering why if he and Locke have been hunting all this time, they haven’t been coming back with any pork. Boone’s all touchy, because of course he and Locke aren’t hunting at all, and he gets all snippy with Hurley about it. But Hurley’s not kidding: people need food — this is not a game.
Hurley takes his malaise to Jack: because there hasn’t been any pork lately, Hurley’s been subsisting on fruit. And too much fruit? Not good for your tummy. Jack urges Hurley to get some fish from Jin, who apparently has been catching plenty. But Hurley’s convinced that Jin hates him ever since he refused Jin’s offer of some sea urchin. Like Hurley offended his family. Or something.
But, desperate for protein, Hurley approaches Jin with a makeshift spear and asks him to just show him where to find the fish. Jin, clearly amused by Hurley, allows him to tag along. But Hurley? Not much of a fisher. Jin pulls fish after fish out of the water, and poor Hurley comes up empty-handed, and sore-footed when he steps on a sea urchin. OWWWWW! HURLEY’S GOING TO LOSE HIS FOOT! Hurley begs Jin to pee on his foot — PEE ON IT!! — a suggestion that Jin attempts to decline.
Some time later, foot still aching, Hurley chatters at Jin, asking if he speaks English, because there’s a rumor that he does. All the while, Jin is chopping open an urchin and offers it to Hurley to eat in an act of some sort of perverse revenge on the creature that stung him. Hurley, seeing that he has to make an effort to try Jin’s food, slurps it down, and then promptly throws it back up. Guess he won’t be a sushi convert any time soon.
Hurley, thoroughly defeated and wounded by his attempts to fish, heads back to the caves (where he discovers that Michael has found his own bag … quite a coup). This is where Jin finds him, and offers him one of his fish, already cleaned and ready to go. Now if Hurley only had a little wasabi …
Symbolism note: Jin’s fish. Jin’s abundance of fish, which appears to be what is keeping the survivors alive in the absence of boar, is interesting. Fish represent many things: Christianity, baptism, salvation, and saviors, including in Eastern religions. But almost universally, across all cultures, the fish is a symbol related to fertility and fecundity. This is particularly interesting in light of Jin’s new-found fertility, and Juliet’s revelation that men’s sperm count on the island is 5 times higher than off the island. Jin’s got plenty of fish here on the island!
While Jin’s been fishing and doing his part to help feed the camp, his wife Sun has been busy at work on her garden. Kate apparently has been assisting her, gathering fruit seeds in the jungle. This is where Jack finds her and watches her for a while, not unlike Sawyer did in last week’s episode. Unlike Sawyer, Jack doesn’t get a rock to his head for his trouble.
Kate takes Jack to Sun’s garden, pointing out how she’s growing herbs in one spot, and starting a grove in another. Jack is thoroughly impressed, and applauds the forward-thinking, what with the boar running out and all. Kate then suggests that perhaps Locke’s chosen not to catch any more boar; after all, why should he feed everyone else at his own expense? This, apparently, has never occurred to Dr. Jack, who’s all wha?
After Jack leaves, Kate remains behind, burbling on to Sun some business about traveling to Bali, and when she cracks a joke about being careful what one wishes for, Sun smiles. Kate catches Sun’s slip up and calls her on it. Sun admits that she speaks English, but it’s a secret from Jin, so would Kate please keep her mouth shut about it?
Blah blah, hasn’t Kate ever lied to a man she loved blah obvious point about Kate’s shadowy past blah blah.
Jack, in the meantime, is approached by Sayid, compass in hand. See, earlier, Locke found Sayid in the jungle, creating a makeshift compass with a magnet, needle, and bowl of water. Sayid was doing a little orienting in an attempt to make some sense out of Danielle’s maps. It’s not helping. Locke notes that he hasn’t seen someone make one of those compasses since he was a Webelo. Locke gives Sayid his own compass, because apparently he doesn’t need it anymore, what with being all connected with the island and stuff.
But according to Sayid, the compass doesn’t work. Going by where the sun sets and rises, north is one set direction. But that’s not where the compass points. Jack, as confused by this as Sayid, asks him where he got the compass, and Sayid reveals that Locke gave it to him. Things that make Jack go hmm.
So when Jack sees Locke hanging out on the beach, he makes a point of going over and chatting with him — something they haven’t done in a while, both being so busy with their respective hobbies: weeping, and digging around in the mud. Jack asks Locke about the boar hunting, and Locke suggests that the boars are migrating out of their area, seeing as they’re smart animals. Smart enough to relocate when dangerous predators enter their environment. And, of course, the survivors are the most dangerous predator of all …
Jack? Still not sure what to make of Locke when he approaches Charlie to check on how the whole withdrawal thing is going (it bites). He then asks Charlie what he makes of Locke. At first, Charlie thought that Locke was Nutters McNutterson, who’d probably shot all his co-workers at the post office. But then? Locke saved Charlie’s life, so he’s now the one person that Charlie trusts to save them all. No offense, Doctor Crybaby.
Lost note: Going postal? Isn’t this what Danielle essentially did to her team?
So, what is Locke up to? Mostly digging up the hatch in secret, but he does take a little time off from that here and there to whack people upside the head. But I’m getting a-head of myself again (GROAN).
Sayid has begun to woo Shannon, offering her a pair of shoes he found as a gift for helping him with the map translations. And Boone isn’t pleased. Boone growls at Sayid to keep away from Shannon, to Sayid’s great amusement, when Locke arrives and tells Boone that he’s found some new tracks. Time to go hunt.
Once in the jungle, Locke urges Boone to put aside his differences with Sayid because they’re going to need him on their “side,” what with his competency and general awesomeness. Boone warns Locke that people are beginning to wonder why they never come back to camp with any boar, and Locke’s all who cares. Plenty of other food to go around — we need to focus on the weird metal door in the ground. Because that’s obviously more important than feeding a bunch of increasingly hungry people in the middle of nowhere.
Symbolism note: The shoes. Shoes often are a symbol of the soul. And while it’s probably nothing (maybe merely a means to get the joke in the script about the island’s mysterious powers making Shannon’s feet swell), one could view Sayid giving Shannon the new shoes as a symbol of Sayid giving Shannon a fresh start, another chance at a real relationship, at being in love. He’s offering her a new soul/soles.
Boone complains that the glass is unbreakable and the door appears to be sealed with concrete, but Locke appears to be interested in something that he’s mixing in half a coconut “for later.” Boone is less interested in this than he should be, and goes back to complaining about the hatch, and how they’ve been coming there and just staring at it for the last couple days.
Locke then launches into this story about Michelangelo, and how his dad didn’t appreciate the divinity in his son and beat him up and then something about staring at a block of marble for four months that later became the statue of David when Michelangelo sculpted it with the laser beams that shot out of his eyeballs. Boone worries, sensibly, that they are going to stare at the hatch for four months. But Locke assures him that they just have to figure out how to open a door that has no discernible way to open it. (Use your laser beam eyeballs, Locke.)
Boone starts making noise about how they are going to have to tell everyone about the hatch, which Locke isn’t interested in. He’s pretty sure the others aren’t ready and won’t understand it — and Boone’s pretty sure he doesn’t understand it either. Which is Locke’s problem. Blah blah, I want to tell Shannon, blah she’s really special, blah blah blah tired of lying to her, blah she can keep a secret. Locke is like, so you’ve thought through the ramifications of telling her, ya? Yep! replies Boone. So be it, answers Locke, and then he whacks Boone upside the head with his knife handle.
Lost note: In “The Man Behind the Curtain,” Benry also pauses Locke at the entryway to Jacob’s home and asks: “Once I open this door, there’s no turning back. You sure this is what you want? So be it.” Consider this, and we can discuss the implications later.
When Boone wakes up from being sucker-punched with a knife hilt, he finds that he’s been hog-tied. Understandably, he freaks out, and demands that Locke untie him, but that’s not going to happen. Locke explains that there some things that Boone needs to let go of, and Boone will thank him for this one day. Uh-huh. Everyone remembers the first time they were knocked unconscious and then hog-tied by their mentor with great fondness later on down the road.
To make matters worse, Locke then slathers a bunch of goo on the back of Boone’s head to treat the wound that he inflicted a little while earlier. You know, it’s bad enough that Locke has hit him upside the head, and then hog-tied him, but to go and apply a bunch of gloop to his scalp? UNCOOL, LOCKE. Uncool. And then? Locke’s like, see you later! Camp’s thataway! and then tosses a knife just nearly within Boone’s reach to allow him to cut himself free. But not quite. Apparently, Boone has to muster up the motivation to free himself. And let me tell you, my motivation would be to collect the scalp of one very bald man, if I were Boone.
Boone drifts off to sleep again, apparently, because he wakes up when he hears Shannon screaming for help. Help, help, I’m tied up, help. Boone eventually is able to reach the knife (using the Luke Skywalker face to will himself to reach it, I might add), and cut himself free. He then discovers Shannon tied up to a tree and quickly cuts her free. Just in time, too! Because here comes El Monstruo! Run away! Hide in a tree!
Once the monster leaves, Shannon and Boone emerge from the protection of the tree, and Shannon immediately starts in on Boone: what did you do to Locke to make him do this to us? You’re not hunting, are you? Why are you hanging out with such a cuckoo-pants? Why’d he tie us up? Wah wah wah? And that’s when Boone starts spilling the beans: we found a piece of metal, a door, that we’ve been digging up in the jungle. And now that Boone has told Shannon the secret, cue the monster, who promptly yanks Shannon off the ground like it was picking a weed. Bye, Shannon!
Boone, frantic, runs around the jungle screaming until he finally spots Shannon’s body crumpled on the rocks in a river. She dead. Way dead. Boone cries.
That night, Boone finds his way back to the camp, where he finds Locke by a fire. And Boone is MAAAAAD. He comes at Locke, knife drawn, furious that Locke killed his sister. But Locke’s like, whoa there, Tiger. If your sister died in your arms like you said, where’s the blood?
And sure enough Boone is spic and span, with the exception of the gunk Locke smeared on his head. Boone’s really confused now, and Locke points to Shannon over in the distance: she’s alive, dude. But! She was dead! Boone protests. Is that what it made you see? Locke, quite curious asks. YOU DRUGGED ME!? Boone finally puts two and two together to get gloop, and Locke explains that he gave him an “experience” that he thinks will ensure Boone’s survival on the island.
But Boone’s still struggling with the fact that Shannon’s death wasn’t real, and Locke asks him how Boone felt when Shannon died. Boone realizes that he felt “relieved,” and so Locke’s like: Word. Time to get back to work on the hatch, yo.
And Boone, with a glance back at his sister with Sayid, follows.
“Hearts and Minds” was a euphemism for how the military used propaganda during the Vietnam War in an attempt to win over the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people as a means to win the war. (Of course, the phrase is older than that. John Adams used it in a quote regarding the American Revolution: “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations… This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.” And it can be traced back to the Bible, like most things, as well.) It’s all about control. If you can win over the native population’s hearts and minds, you control them. In the episode, both Locke and Shannon manipulate Boone as a means to control him: Shannon manipulates his heart, Locke (quite literally) his mind.
And why does Locke manipulate him? Because he needs Boone on his “side,” whatever that means. It’s interesting that in this episode named after the machinery of military propaganda, we have a number of references to games, and picking sides. Hurley, upset that Boone and Locke haven’t been bringing back any food, assures Boone that “this isn’t a game, man.” This immediately cuts to Boone and Anonymous Blond (fine, her name is Nicole, apparently) coming off the tennis courts, and Boone making a comment that suggests that he just lost the match to his companion. Locke, of course, makes the comment to Boone about wanting Sayid on their “side,” which supposes that there will be a group opposite to them in whatever it is that they are doing. And who would that other side be? Well, probably not the “others,” seeing as I don’t think it would take much persuading of Sayid to rally his help against them. No, Locke seems to be preparing for some sort of split between himself and a fellow survivor. And we can only assume that this other survivor is Jack. Picking sides, opposite teams, war games, light vs. dark, good vs. evil, real vs. imagined …
I also find it interesting that Locke felt that he had to go to such extreme measures to win Boone over to his “side.” Locke imposes a vision quest on Boone — Boone has no choice in the matter. It’s interesting that what Locke says to Boone moments before he whacks Boone upside the head is so similar to what Benry says to Locke before entering Jacob’s house: are you sure you’ve thought through this? Fine, so be it.
By asking them if they’re sure they want to do X — walk through the door, tell Shannon about the hatch, it appears that whatever happens to them as a result is their choice. Of course, Boone when agreeing that he had thought through the ramifications of telling Shannon about the hatch, presumably did not think that one of the ramifications was to be brained by Locke and then given a bunch of wacky paste that would induce crazy hallucinations. I just don’t think he saw that coming. Whereas, it almost appears that Benry is the one who is most surprised by what happens when Locke enters Jacob’s home. He’s the one who doesn’t think through the ramifications of Locke’s choice.
So Boone’s vision quest (and let’s define “vision quest” shall we? According to Wikipedia.com:
At many Inuit and other Indian groups, the vision quest is a turning point in life taken before puberty to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness. This usually lasts for a number of days while the child is tuned into the spirit world. Usually, a Guardian animal will come in a vision or dream, and the child’s life direction will appear at some point. Once the child has grown into his- or her- self, s/he will return to the tribe and pursue that direction in life. If a child has not vision quested by puberty, the child is thought to be lazy. After a vision quest, the child may apprentice an adult in the tribe of the shown direction (Medicine Man, boatmaker, etc).
The vision quest may be a part of shamanism, more exactly, the learning and initiation process of the apprentice for achieving the ability for shamanizing, mostly under the guidance of an older shaman.
The vision quest may be said to make the initiate establish a contact with a spirit or force. Psychologically, it may have effected hallucinations.
… which sounds pretty much like Boone’s experience, even if it wasn’t his choice.) and Locke’s experience in Jacob’s home have other similarities. They are both moments in which the men’s realities are changed, their minds expanded.
Opening or manipulating one’s mind is a recurring theme on the show. Boone’s is induced by the gloop:
Locke encourages Walt to use his mind’s eye in “Special”:
We have the brain-washing video in “Not in Portland,”:
And then, of course, there’s the monster, who appears to tap into the mind’s depths, and manipulate the viewer into seeing something that doesn’t actually exist.
But whatever form this “mind-expansion,” as we can call it, takes, be it brainwashing videos, drug-induced, monster-induced, seeing invisible men in rickety old houses-induced, the desired result is the same: to lead the individual along a path. To show them their way (or the way that the manipulator has chosen for them).
One common denominator with the survivors is that they are all “lost,” both literally and figuratively. They are all looking for their “way.” This is literally demonstrated through all of their efforts to be rescued, and in this episode, we have a few instances of people attempting to orient themselves and seek a specific direction. Sayid and Jack attempt to figure out which way is “true” north and note the discrepancy between Locke’s compass and the sun; Locke gives Boone directions back to camp — 4 miles due west; and Locke gives Sayid his compass, suggesting that he is no longer needs something to orient him in the jungle — or in his life. Locke believes (although we know later that this isn’t necessarily the case for him yet) that he has finally found his path, his true purpose. Locke is no longer lost (for now). Which is why Charlie, for whom Rose prayed would find his own path through God’s help, has such faith in Locke. Locke, who is so certain that he is no longer lost, helps others find their way — he saves Charlie and Boone from their personal demons.
Boone, however, just wants to save Shannon. And the thing is? Shannon doesn’t need any saving. In both instances, in the flashback and during his hallucination, Shannon is never in any real danger. It’s all fake. There is nothing to be saved from. Locke repeatedly tells Boone that it’s time to “let go” of some things — meaning Shannon, but also meaning that which connects Boone to his past, to his pre-island life and world.
What I find curious is it’s relation to what Shannon tells Boone after they’ve consummated their quite taboo relationship — that they should just go back to the way things were, and that Boone should just tell his mother that he rescued her again. Of course, this is an impossibility — now that they’ve slept together, everything’s changed. Boone can’t go back, because there’s nothing to go back to, and he can’t save Shannon because Shannon doesn’t need any saving. He can only let go. And once he does, once she dies in his vision, he is relieved and commits himself to Locke and his work on the island. This is interesting in light of Jack’s desperation in “Through the Looking Glass” to go back to the island, and his father’s constant urging for Jack to “let it go” in “A Tale of Two Cities”. Jack, like Boone, is desperate to save everyone, but what if there’s nothing to save them from?
But I think there’s something more to Boone’s vision quest. Ever heard of the anima? The anima is, in Jungian terminology, the unconscious or inner persona of the individual. For men, the anima is the feminine part of their unconscious mind, and it embodies all the ideas and feelings the man has toward women. Unsurprisingly, the anima is most shaped by the man’s mother. And over the course of a man’s life, the anima undergoes a set of stages before the man is able to reconcile with it and thereby have mature relationships with members of the opposite sex. The syzygy.
Still with me? Right, so if Shannon represents Boone’s anima in this instance (which I sorta think she does, what with her being a manifestation of his unconscious and all), what happens? Boone kills his anima. There is no unification with the opposite, the female, the anima. Boone turns his back on the female figure in his life (and really, this is not merely Shannon, but his over-controlling mother, Sabrina, as well) and turns toward a male/father figure: Locke.
Or it could be that Shannon represents The Temptress in Campbell monomyth parlance. On his journey, the Hero often meets The Goddess
This can also be a negative encounter when the goddess is replaced by The Temptress (see next section). Campbell cites the lure of the woman, leading the hero astray (the hero is assumed to be male). Other cultural mythologists broaden this to include all temptation, and sometimes lump this stage in with the Road of Trials.
Woman as Temptress, or Temptation From the True Path: In some Hero’s Quests, the hero will encounter the goddess, but before he can unite with her, he must prove his worthiness by overcoming the temptation of the Woman as Temptress.
Which is certainly what happens with Boone and Shannon: he rejects her as a figure of temptation, a distraction from his greater purpose. But for Boone, there will never be an opportunity for him to unite with his anima/the Goddess, as we all know. Nope, he chooses to follow the lead of the “father,” a path and decision that has tremendous consequences for everyone on the island.
Enough monomyth blah blah blah. To celebrate the third anniversary of the crash of Flight 815, Damon and Carlton did a surprise podcast. You can listen to it in its entirety here. There aren’t any spoilers, per se, but they clear up a few things that I suspect they don’t plan on revisiting in season four. I won’t go into details for those of you who worry that there might be spoilers afoot, but in brief: they discuss the fate of Mikhail, Nikki, and Paulo; they answer whether or not Kate’s potential pregnancy will be addressed (but don’t say if it’s positive or negative); and, most interestingly for me, the possibility of multiple futures. And boy, have I been wrong on that front, apparently. I do have a response and a possible answer, but I won’t get into it here, lest it spoil anything for anyone. That said, I don’t know why y’all keep reading me, because apparently I’m just making this all up as I go along. Fake it till you make it. I think that may actually be on the Odell family crest.
Lost originally aired on ABC and is now available to stream on Hulu and IMDb.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.