Originally aired November 23, 2005
“Collision” — another episode that benefited greatly from a bit of distance, at least for me. Part of my problem with “Abandoned,” I think, is that despite being Shannon’s death episode, it lacked a certain emotional depth. It was shocking when she was shot (if you didn’t know about Maggie Grace’s contract issues), but not sad exactly. This episode? This episode is sad. Shannon’s death finally is real, Sayid’s grief is palpable, Ana Lucia (at least for me, but I know this isn’t a popular opinion) is sympathetic. The emotional reunions at the end of the episode are tempered with this incredible melancholy. And it is only now, when I am less distracted by trying to figure out what the heck is going on and what’s going to happen around the bend, that I was truly able to be touched by the power of this episode.
KABLAM KABLAM KABLAM! Ana Lucia’s at a firing range doing a little target practice for when she needs to kill some innocent people later on. KABLAM!
Next on her agenda: therapy. Ana Lucia meets with her therapist to discuss, you know, stuff. Danny has left her. So that’s sad. But maybe she’s best off alone. Felt pretty good to hold a gun again. Apparently, Ana Lucia’s made nice progress over the past 4 months, and she’d like to know when she can return to work. Turns out “she” left that up to Ana Lucia’s therapist, and he thinks she’s ready. Here’s your police badge back, Ana Lucia! Try to not screw this up!
Ana Lucia heads into the Captain’s office, all decked out in her police uniform, and yo, I gotta say, I would not want to tangle with officer Cortez. She looks like she means BUSINESS. The Captain gives Ana Lucia her assignment: Evidence. And Ana Lucia is all pouty. I don’t wanna work at a desk! I wanna drive a car! No, says the Captain: Ana Lucia was involved in an officer shooting. And then, in Spanish, Ana Lucia asks the Captain if she’s putting her on desk duty because of the shooting, or because she’s her momma. OH! The Captain is Captain Mommy! I see now. Captain Mommy tells Ana Lucia that if she were to put her in a car, everyone would know that she received special treatment, so Ana Lucia wants a transfer. Captain Mommy gives in to her petulant daughter a car. NEVER GIVE IN TO TEMPER TANTRUMS, CAPTAIN MOMMY.
Lost note: So, there’s this dude in the scene named Raggs who does a bunch of nothing. And it would seem that his whole purpose is to get the name “Raggs” in there, because, see, once? There was a writer’s assistant on Lost? Named Matt Raggs? And it’s a shout-out. So now you know.
Ana Lucia and her partner Big Mike are driving around in Ana Lucia’s tantrum car 8-A-16, and Big Mike offers to kick Danny’s ass for her. Sounds like this Danny character is a treat. ANYWAY, Ana Lucia notes that they are in Westwood, a safe neighborhood in Los Angeles, and Big Mike confirms that it was Captain Mommy’s idea. A call comes over the radio for a domestic disturbance and Ana Lucia radios back that they’ll take it. Oh dear.
A trashy-looking woman holding a baby shrieks at a trashy-looking man holding a television set. So, they’re responding to a call at the Spears/Federline house (Joke courtesy of 2006.) Shawna, here, is accusing Travis of stealing her television set. An accusation that he doesn’t dispute. But! In his defense, she hit him. Well, sure! He’s stealing her television! A word of caution to any would-be television thieves: I will hit you.
Ana Lucia takes a different tack, and pulls her weapon on Travis, orders him on the ground, and sends the woman with the baby upstairs. Whoa, A-L. Intense. Big Mike orders her to holster her weapon and gives her the bish-you-crazy eyes. Cuz’ she is.
Back at police headquarters, Ana Lucia is still trying to justify pulling her weapon, but Big Mike is all, WHAT. EVS. when Raggs runs up to tell Ana Lucia that they’ve got “her guy.” Cut to: interrogation room, scowly dude sits at a table as Ana Lucia and Captain Mommy and a bunch of lawyers stand on the other side of the glass. Seems the cops arrested scowly dude, Jason McCormick, after he assaulted an old lady in Echo Park (or Eko Park). So, you know, he’s a nice guy. Seems his fingerprints matched the ones from her crime scene, he confessed, the DA is ready to press charges, just as soon as Ana Lucia positively identifies him. So, identify him! Go on! Identify him! There’s the guy! Just say: “Yep! That’s the guy!” Any day now! So we can all go home already! But, nope, Ana Lucia announces that she’s never seen the guy in her life. Captain Mommy dismisses everyone else, and asks why Ana Lucia is doing this: this guy confessed to being the one who put 4 hollow-tipped bullets in A-L. DANG. But Ana Lucia isn’t budging. Nope. Not the guy.
Ana Lucia hangs out in a bar, where the guy she just let free ALSO happens to be at! What a COINCIDENCE! Jason leaves the bar, and Ana Lucia follows him out to the parking lot. There, she calls out to him, and when he turns and clearly doesn’t recognize her, she announces that she was pregnant. And then shoots him to death. KABLAM KABLAM KABLAM! Wait: not quite dead enough yet: KABLAM KABLAM KABLAM! Yeah, I think you got it, Ana.
On the island, Ana Lucia takes that whole shoot first, take questions later attitude with her, and, as we saw, shoots poor Shannon dead. Sayid takes this poorly. He lunges at Ana, but Mr. Eko steps in and stops that nonsense. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT (all the while, Libby screaming Let go! LET GO! at no one in particular) and Ana Lucia manages to snatch Sayid’s gun which she levels at them and orders everyone to stop. Ana Lucia is a bit of a loose cannon, though, and maybe not the best person to have the gun, which she’s waving around all willy-nilly and freaking people out. She orders Mr. Eko to tie him up. Mr. Eko: No. So, Ana Lucia orders Libby to take apart Sawyer’s stretcher to tie Sayid up. But! The Sawyer! He will die! If we don’t get him back! Ana Lucia: Shut it.
Libby suggests that maybe Ana Lucia is making a bad decision, and they should just head to the Fuselage camp. They’ll understand! It was an accident! And Ana Lucia is like OH PLEASE. I killed one of them. Mr. Eko, however, has decided that he’s had just about enough of this nonsense, so he hoists Sawyer up over his shoulders and is all: I’m Audi TT. And Ana Lucia’s all: he’d let you die. But Mr. Eko explains that he’s doing this for himself, not for Sawyer. So, there.
The rest of them all hang out with Officer Hair Trigger, and Bernard is finally like, hey, what’s the plan, yo? My wife is like, just over this hill, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to see her. Libby would also like to know what the plan is. Sayid, all tied up to the tree, explains that she has no plan, just guilt, and a gun. True and true.
But then? Ana Lucia comes up with a plan that involves Michael going back to camp to retrieve some ammunition, clothes, DHARMA Ranch, and bringing them back to her. And then she’ll let Sayid go. Seems fair to me! But Libby’s all, you can’t live out here alone. But? See? Ana Lucia is already alone. Sniff.
Sometime after Michael leaves, Bernard, Libby, and Jin all grab their things and explain that Ana Lucia just isn’t the best judge of character. You know, after the whole Not Ed incident. Bye Ana! Bye Sayid!
Alone at last, Ana Lucia decides to make a little chit-chat with Sayid, asking where he’s from, his favorite color, which Jonas Brother he likes best, that kind of thing. She wonders if he has any children, and Sayid realizes she’s considering killing him. Ana Lucia wonders if she should, and Sayid is like, you know? Maybe so. Because here’s the thing: I tied a dude to a tree too and tortured him for being a big jerkface. And he’s not the only guy I’ve tortured! There have been plenty. Who knows: maybe you were meant to kill me!
And in response, Ana Lucia tells Sayid her own story: she and her partner went on a burglary call. When a young man came out of the house and Ana demanded he raise his hands, he told her she was making a mistake: he was just a student, and he’d show her his ID. That’s when he shot her. Ana Lucia thought she was dead. She feels dead.
Sayid asks her what happened to the guy, and Ana Lucia lies and says they never found him. LYING LIAR.
Ana grabs a big ol’ honking knife and swings it at Sayid, but only to cut him free. She then drops the weapons at his feet, and tells him to go ahead and kill her — she deserves it. But Sayid, all sadness, points out that it wouldn’t do any good to kill her, seeing as they’re both already dead. (BECAUSE IT’S ALL PURGATORY. BUT NOT.)
And on the Fuselage side of the camp? It’s all: Hey! This is some delicious fruit! Let’s play some golf! At least for the moment, there’s a lot less torture and shooting.
Jack and Kate challenge each other to a few holes of golf, and Jack promptly smacks one into the jungle. Which, it should be noted, is NOT where the hole is. Jack heads into the jungle to retrieve his ball, and that’s where he encounters the terrifying-looking Mr. Eko wearing Sawyer like a shawl. Mr. Eko asks for the doctor, just as Jack is about to whack him with his golf club. Won’t do you any good, Jack. It’d be like hitting a telephone pole.
In the hatch, Locke is occupying himself with a crossword puzzle (and I know we haven’t gotten to that yet, but do fresh puzzles come in the food drops? or were the other hatchlings just not really so much into them?) with clue 42 Enkidu‘s friend. Hey! I know that! It’s Gilgamesh! Jack and Kate come bursting in with Sawyer, hollering about how they need to get him to the shower to lower his fever. Jack sends Kate off to find some antibiotics, and Locke’s all, YO? What’s going on? But the timer is going off, so Jack shoos him away.
And as Locke scurries off to reset the timer, Mr. Eko enters the hatch and is all WHAT THE HECK IS THIS NOISE, but, you know, with his eyes. And this is how Mr. Eko and Locke meet. Cute.
Mr. Eko explains to Locke that there was an accident: a tall blond girl was shot and killed. And when Locke wonders why the rest of them didn’t come back with Mr. Eko, Mr. Eko simply says they can’t right now. So how about Mr. Eko takes Locke to them? One glance into the armory loaded with guns, and Mr. Eko is like: Yeah, no.
In the meantime, Jack can’t get Sawyer to take the medicine. But Kate can! Kate’s the Sawyer Whisperer.
Michael emerges from the jungle and finds himself in Sun’s garden: O HAI. JIN IZ OK. TAKE ME TO UR JACK.
Jack is busy shrieking at Mr. Eko, who sits silently and thinks about taking a rock to Dr. Shouty’s head. Or, at least, that’s what I would be doing if I were Mr. Eko. And that’s when Michael comes in and explains that they have a problem. During the commercial break, it can be assumed that Michael explains that Sayid has been tied to a tree by a crazy gun-wielding woman who shot and killed Shannon, because Jack’s is all about arming everyone and rescuing Sayid. As he hands Michael a gun, Mr. Eko finally speaks up, and asks Jack what it is that he is looking for? Peace? Revenge? Justice? And Jack’s like, she murdered someone! But Mr. Eko explains that Ana Lucia made a mistake. And Jack’s all ZOMG, ANA LUCIA?! But, you know, with his eyes. And Mr. Eko offers to take him, and only him, no guns, out to her.
Kate whispers to Sawyer that he’s going to be ok, he’s home now. YES, HE IS.
Right, so, cue the reunion montage and CUE THE TEARS. Michael heads out to the beach, where Vincent sees him and tears into a run to greet him (SNIFF).
Bernard, Libby, and Jin emerge from another place in the jungle, and all the redshirts go running up to them. Bernard spots Rose and (TEARS WELLING) they embrace (SNIFF SNIFF).
Jin is greeted excitedly by everyone, but he only has eyes for Sun who is busy with laundry or something and doesn’t notice him at first, (OPEN WEEPING) but then does (SNIFF) and they run and embrace and kiss and they’re so happy.
And in the jungle, Sayid lifts Shannon’s lifeless body and holds her to him for a moment (SNIFF SNIFF) before lifting her to take her back as Ana Lucia watches.
Mr. Eko leads Jack into the jungle, and they eventually come to Sayid, carrying Shannon. (SOBBING) Jack and Sayid say nothing to each other, and that’s when Ana Lucia appears, and Jack and Ana Lucia regard each other in surprise, shock, and sadness.
(UNCONTROLLABLY CRYING MESS NOW. GOING TO GET TISSUE.)
…pulling it together…
Collision: “an isolated event in which two or more bodies (colliding bodies) exert relatively strong forces on each other for a relatively short time.” Collision as the title of this episode refers to a couple things: the coming together of the Tailies and Fuselagers and Ana Lucia’s own emotional crisis. So much is colliding within Ana: tremendous anger and need for vengeance combined with overwhelming guilt and the need for forgiveness. Ana Lucia has justified committing murder; having killed her shooter in revenge, and two Others as a means of protecting the Tailies. But now she’s committed a murder that she can not defend or justify, and it causes her to reflect on what she has done in the past. Not come to terms with it, just yet, but at least reflect upon it.
And Ana, unable to forgive herself, can not imagine that the Fuselagers will be able to grant forgiveness, so she decides the only answer to this problem is to exile herself. Just as she was filled with the need for revenge, she expects that the Fuselagers will seek vengeance as well. Therefore, to survive, she must be alone. But Ana! Don’t you know? Live together, die alone! Oh, right, you weren’t there for that … ANYWAY. And it’s Sayid, of all people, the person she has the most to fear from, who convinces her to not head out into the jungle on her own.
The episode that this is most reminiscent of is, interestingly, “Outlaws”, the episode in which Sawyer hunts down the boar that has been harassing him, and then chooses to not kill it. This is also the episode in which Sawyer kills Frank Duckett, an innocent man. The similarities between Sawyer and Ana Lucia are fairly obvious here: Ana and Sawyer are both driven by the need for vengeance; Sawyer kills an innocent man, and has to live with his guilt somehow; Ana Lucia kills an innocent Shannon and has to live with her guilt somehow. They both turn to self-imposed isolation as a means of dealing with their own guilt: Ana Lucia literally wants to head out into the jungle on her own; Sawyer is a jerk to everyone he encounters as a means of pushing people away. Sawyer chooses to not kill the boar; Ana Lucia chooses to not kill Sayid.
And isn’t it interesting that the two people Christian Shephard had contact with that later end up on the island: Ana Lucia and Sawyer?
There’s, however, a B storyline in “Outlaws” that is particularly relevant to this episode. “Outlaws” takes place shortly after Charlie has shot Ethan to death, and he is struggling with his guilt over the act. It’s Sayid to whom Charlie confesses this.
SAYID: When I was in the army in Tikrit, in Iraq, the man who lived next door was a policeman. One day his car was rigged with a bomb. It killed his wife and 3 young children instead. They caught the man who did it. I volunteered to be on the firing squad, and I did my duty without a single ounce of remorse. Then, for no reason, I found myself waking up at night, replaying what I did in my head.
CHARLIE: It looks like you’re the one who needs checking up on.
SAYID: All I’m saying is that what happened with Ethan will be with you for the rest of your life.
CHARLIE: Any suggestions?
SAYID: You’re not alone. Don’t pretend to be.
How interesting that Sayid’s story is so similar to Ana Lucia’s: a police officer is targeted, children are killed, and Sayid executes the culprit without remorse. In both episodes, Sayid speaks of being haunted by the men he has tortured and killed. And perhaps most interestingly, Sayid urges Charlie to not punish himself through isolation. Sayid never says such a thing to Ana in this episode, but, in the end, this is what the effect of his revealing his tortuous past does: Ana chooses to not be alone, or pretend to be.
It’s funny — Sayid goes so far as to suggest that Ana Lucia was meant to be his executioner, that she was sent here to make him pay for his crimes. But perhaps, instead, it is Sayid who is meant to deliver Ana Lucia to her fate: to begin to come to terms with her guilt, with her past, and attempt to redeem herself. This moment is Ana Lucia’s fresh start, her tabula rasa.
And the episode is a lesson in forgiveness and recognizing the humanity in the Other. Ana Lucia is all too willing to kill the Other. It is when she realizes that Shannon is not an Other that she comes to this crisis within herself. Similarly, Mr. Eko urges Jack to remain calm, that seeking out revenge is not going to settle the matter. Forgiveness is the only answer. But this falls upon deaf ears until Jack understands that the person who killed Shannon is not some stranger, not an Other, but someone he knows. Suddenly, the equation changes for Jack. And forgiveness becomes an option. This is particularly interesting in terms of how the relationships between the Losties and Benry will evolve over time. The Others are feared and reviled throughout the first half of the series; but after the O6 leave the island, they are taking their orders from Benry. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.
Speaking of perspective: The crossword puzzle! With the Gilgamesh! And the Enkidu! What to make of that?
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest known works of literary fiction. It is from Ancient Mesopotamia, and might be based on an actual ruler from 27 B.C. 27 B.C.!!. In the Epic, Gilgamesh is the son of a goddess and through some creative math is two-thirds god and one-third man. He’s also a really tough King. But he has this RILLY RILLY irritating habit of sleeping with other people’s brides before their husbands do, which isn’t cool. So the goddess of creation creates this half-wild man named Enkidu, but I don’t really know why: to give Gilgamesh what-for? Because instead, Enkidu harasses some shepherds who then complain to Gilgamesh that this half-dressed nut-job is coming into their camps and acting like a total idiot. FINE, says Gilgamesh, and he sends a temple prostitute (!) out to go sleep with Crazy and sure enough, after sleeping with her, is like, alright. I’m cool.
So, there’s a wedding one day, and they don’t have a very discriminating guest list because the Crazy Man from the Woods and his ho are invited. And who should come along but King Firsties who wants to sleep with the bride. Enkidu is all Yeah, no, and prevents Gilgamesh from raping the bride. As a result, Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. And then? Somehow they’re friends. Kinda like (SPOILER ALERT) in Pineapple Express.
O.K.! SO! The two of them have ADVENTURES! They kill the Demon of the Trees together.
And Gilgamesh has a bunch of weird
Right, so, then, in a completely uncharacteristic turn-around, Gilgamesh turns down the goddess Ishtar (goddess of love and war; not terrible Hollywood mistake). She’s all wounded and has her father send down the bull of drought, or something. Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the bull, but Enkidu’s all HEY! ISHTAR! EAT IT! And throws a chunk of bull at her, which is totally uncool. And then he starts having bad dreams.
The gods? Don’t think that Enkidu’s behavior is cute, and he becomes sick. In response, Enkidu begins cursing the temple prostitute that helped civilize him, because he regrets becoming fully human. The prostitute is all HOLD ON THERE, JERKY. I DIDN’T MAKE YOU THROW A PIECE OF BULL IN A GODDESS’ FACE. You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. And then she tells him that 1. he’s going to die and 2. Gilgamesh is going to be RILLY RILLY sad because of Enkidu’s death. Rilly.
Enkidu dies. Sad, sorta.
Gilgamesh, upset, decides to pay a visit to this dude and his wife who were the only people to survive The Great Flood so as to learn the secret to immortality so as to retrieve Enkidu from death. No, not THAT Great Flood. THIS Great Flood. So, Mr. Immortal is like, here’s the deal. You stay awake for 6 days and 7 nights and Gilgamesh is all alrigzzzzzzzz … I KNOW. RUDE. So, Mr. Immortal tells Mrs. Immortal to bake a loaf of bread for every day that Gilgy sleeps to prove to him how long he slept because they didn’t have bread makers back in the day. And when Gilgamesh wakes up and sees 7 loaves, he’s all DOOOOD. And Mr. Immortal’s all I KNOW. GAH. But Mrs. Immortal begs Mr. Immortal to have pity, and so Mr. Immortal’s like FINE. And he tells Gilgamesh about this plant at the bottom of the ocean that’ll make him all young again. Gilgamesh ties rocks to his feet, gets the plant, brings it back up again, but then LEAVES IT ON THE BEACH WHILE HE TAKES A BATH!!! and a snake comes along and eats it. So, you know, FAIL.
So, why Gilgamesh and the Enkidu in this episode? Well, the obvious reason is that this is the moment when Locke and Eko meet. And the comparisons with Eko = Enkidu and Locke = Gilgamesh are interesting. (If, you know, kinda skirting racist stereotypes …) But this allusion may go further.
I’ll be the first to admit, the thing that occurred to me upon first viewing this episode was the immortality thang. At the time, I was all fixated on the idea that the people on the plane were there for a reason, and that reason had something to do with this DHARMA Initiative. And that! Maybe! The people on the plane were some sort of DHARMA experiment that were immortal or something, and someone was essentially recalling them back to the island. Now. It should be noted, I no longer subscribe to this theory. Because, you know, the Others are obviously
But it doesn’t mean that immortality isn’t a piece of this puzzle somehow.
The question is how? What is the island’s property that keeps the mysterious Mr. Alpert looking so young?
The Epic of Gilgamesh also refers to the Great Flood. All over the world, the deluge myth is a popular story, wherein Gods, angry at Man’s follies, decides to wipe the Earth clean via a flood. There are a number of interesting theories for why peoples all over the planet, from the Chinese to the Native Americans, share this story: observing fossils, a large tsunami, more regular and severe flooding back in the day, asteroids, whathaveyou.
I, however, am much more interested in the flood as a symbol. As my boy Jack Tresidder writes in The Complete Dictionary of Symbols:
Floods symbolize transformation through dissolution in water. Stories or depictions of a great flood, which appear in the earliest mythologies, have a recurring symbolic theme of cyclic regeneration. Human sin, folly or disorder is submerged, often in a judgmental cataclysm, leading to a new, reformed or wiser human society.
The Flood represents washing away of sin, a new life, baptism. Now, we don’t have any floods in this episode (or even any rain, I don’t think), but, as is the case with any number of Lost episodes, “Collision” at heart is about redemption, starting over. From a violent event, a new beginning. (Not unlike the plane crash itself). This is the beginning of Ana Lucia’s journey towards enlightenment and understanding. And letting go not only of her anger towards the man who killed her unborn child, but anger towards herself for having committed murder. But all that is still a ways away.
Finally, aside from all the Gods and magical bulls and thieving snakes and immortality and bridal rape, at the heart of the Epic is a really lovely story of friendship. Enkidu and Gilgamesh’s bond is so strong that Enkidu’s death inspires Gilgamesh to try to cheat death and save his friend. We’ve discussed this theme of wanting to retrieve someone from death before: Orpheus and Demeter for instance, are quite famous for braving the underworld to retrieve someone they love. But Gilgamesh never even makes it down there, thanks to some bad decision-making.
Nevertheless, Gilgamesh’s response, the urge, the need to do something, to try to bring them back reflects the very human reaction to losing a loved one — that need, that urge to go back, to bring them back. To do something. And so on the island, we have many Gilgameshes — people who have lost someone they love and who are desperate to go back. Ana Lucia and Sayid both, in particular, have lost so much, and have taken so much. They are haunted not only by the people they have lost, but by what they have done. If only they could go back … (WE HAVE TO GO BACK!)
Not much to report on the ARG today. Tuesday, August 19th is supposedly the day that Volunteer Assessment on the DharmaWantsYou.com goes into full-swing, whatever that means. Keep an eye on the site, and I’m sure we’ll have more to talk about next week.
Finally, I had never seen this until I explored lostrofl.com [Ed. Note from the Future: R.I.P. lostrofl.com] a little bit, but? This video = genius.
Lost originally aired on ABC and is now available to stream on Hulu and IMDb.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.