‘Lost’: EPIC FAIL

Lost
“The Hunting Party”
Originally aired January 18, 2006

OH NOES, LOSTIES! After having finally caught myself up on my schedule (yes, I have one, even if it seems like I’m posting all willy-nilly) with “The 23rd Psalm,” along comes Houston’s own Miles Storm by the name of Ike, hand in hand with the new television season, and suddenly I’m WEEKS AND WEEKS BEHIND. Siiiiiiigh. So, apologies for this being rather late. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to cram 12 more recaps in before the new season starts. Easier said than done, yo. I, like Jack, am worried that I’m going to be a big fat failure.

But! According to Grand Pooba Joseph Campbell, we must face the possibility of failure before we can reach a higher goal. If there is no possibility of failing, then there’s nothing really at stake, and there is no journey, no real change. In fact, what appears to be the ultimate fail–death–can actually be the agent for the greatest change. So, to be able to succeed, we must face failure. And Jack? Our hero? Despite being Dr. Perfect, the most gifted young surgeon of his generation, and blindingly hot, he’s sometimes also a big fat failure.

For instance, sometime after Sarah’s miraculous recovery, and their subsequent wedding, Jack and Christian consulted with a potential patient and his beautiful daughter. Seems the patient, Alexander Cambias, father of Zach and Ethan Cambias, and founder of Cambias Industries before he went crazy and gave his company to Ryan and faked his own death and then came back to Pine Valley to start killing all the women of Fusion as a means to get back at Zach for some imagined slight, but THEN he accidentally killed Dixie Cooney even though she didn’t work at Fusion and that was sad, but it was ok because she came back as a ghost and got to see Thad again, and then Cambias changed his name to Dr. Zimmerman and started conducting genetic experiments in cloning or something and made a bunch of Niki Sanders clones until he developed a brain tumor that required him to pay a visit to Dr. Jack and Dr. Christian.

Unfortunately for Alexander Cambias, Christian says no; what Alexander Cambias wants is a miracle, not surgery. And Alexander Cambias’ beautiful daughter Gabriela, who translates for her father, informs Christian that they didn’t come for him, they want Jack–Dr. Miracle Worker. Will he perform the operation?

Lost note: Visually, this scene is similar to the one in “Not in Portland,” when Batmanuel presents Juliet with the scans of the young woman’s uterus that resembles a 70-year-old’s. In both instances, Jack and Juliet are presented with impossibilities and are asked to perform what is essentially a miracle.

Apparently, YES! Alexander Cambias sleeps in a hospital room as Dr. Jack looks really hard at some charts and monitors. Gabriela enters, and notes that Jack has been running tests on Alexander Cambias for a month, which seems like a long time to run tests, but what do I know? She then confesses that she doesn’t believe in miracles, and Jack’s all, Haha, me neither. Gabriela asks if his wife does, you know, the one that he cured? She must be totally awesome to not mind that Jack is still not home at 4:30 in the morning. And Jack’s like D’OH! I lost track of … (time–which is implied but not said. And, yeah, that’s right. Jack LOST TRACK OF TIME.)

So he goes home, and Sarah is in bed, because it’s like 5 a.m. or something, and Jack’s all SO SORRY, and Sarah’s like, yeah whatevs, that’s what happens when you’re a Miracle Worker. Oh, BTW: I took a pregnancy test, but don’t worry, it was negative. And Jack kinda tries to talk to her about it, but not really, and she angrily leaves. Later, J.

At the office, Jack presents Gabriela some papers to sign, and tells her that it’s still not too late to go back: that Alexander Cambias could live for another year or so! And Gabriela’s all, Go back where? Home? NO WAY. Jack’s at least giving Alexander Cambias a chance.

Christian saunters in with some forms for Jack to sign, and as Gabriela leaves, Christian warns Jack: “Careful. There’s a line, son. You know it’s there. And pretending it’s not — that would be a mistake.” Meaning, that everyone and their dog can sense the sexual tension between Jack and Signora Hottie. And Jack’s all YOU WOULD KNOW. But Christian calmly replies that it might be OK for some people, but not Jack.

SURGERY FAIL.

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Jack takes out his anger on some innocent lockers until Christian comes to assure him that it’s not Jack’s fault. Alexander Cambias was old, the surgery was long, his heart couldn’t take it. Jack sets out to go tell Gabriela, but Christian took it upon himself to do the honors, and orders Jack to go home.

So, he heads to his car, and who should be waiting for him, but the sobbing Gabriela who is looking for a little medical attention from Jack. They kiss, but Jack pulls away and heads home, leaving her sobbing in the parking lot. ADULTERY FAIL.

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Jack comes home to find Sarah cleaning up after having her mother over. Jack tells Sarah that Alexander Cambias died on the table, and when she asks how the daughter took it, Jack blurts out that he kissed her. Jack then starts rambling about how their marriage is falling apart because he’s never here and works too much and they never talk, but it’s going to be OK, and he’s going to fix it! And he hugs her, but she doesn’t hug him back, and that is when she drops the bomb–she’s leaving him. Because shes been seeing someone else. OOOH, TWIST!. And as she tells him goodbye, she adds that he’ll always need something to fix. MARRIAGE FAIL.

fail

And he has a good long mancry.

jack lost the hunting party cry

And on the island, Jack’s not having much more luck. Waking up from a nap in the hatch, Jack notes two things: the alarm is going off, and Locke is nowhere to be found. That’s because Locke has been whacked on the head and left in the armory by Michael who now has a gun on both Jack and Locke. And if Jack doesn’t get into the armory with Locke, he’ll shoot Jack’s computer. Which, by the way, isn’t what Jack thinks it is. Jack tries to talk some sense into Michael: they can go after Walt together! But, yeah, Michael’s not interested. Has to do it alone. And he locks Locke and Jack away. Bye, Michael! See you on the flip side!

So, Jack and Locke are stuck inside the armory, the timer going off, and no one is coming to relieve them for four hours. Hope Sawyer comes down to get his bandages changed!

And, fortunately, after a little goo-goo-eye-making with Kate, he does. It doesn’t take long for Kate and Sawyer to release Jack and Locke from the armory, and for Jack to begin locking and loading. He’s going to go after Michael who is going after Walt, and everyone’s coming along! Except for you, Kate. You’re not invited. Cuz you’re a girl. Go push the button.

Kate, having been dismissed from the boys’ club, heads back to the beach and discusses something with Hurley, and when they’re done, Kate heads in one direction, and Hurley explains to Jin that Michael has disappeared, and everyone is going after him. Jin’s all, Me too! But Sun’s all, I don’t think so. Later, Jin tells Sun that he didn’t like it when Sun told him what to do, and Sun’s like, OH YEAH? Try 4 years of it, yo. And Jin agrees that it must have kinda been terrible for her.

the hunting party lost geronimo jackson hurley charlie

Hurley and Charlie, in the meantime, have hatch duty, where they discuss the merits of Geronimo Jackson and talk about girls. Sayid enters so that Hurley can tell him that Jack, Locke, Sawyer, and Kate went after Michael. End scene.

Out in the jungle, Locke notes that Michael is going a different direction than where the Tailies came from. For what it’s worth. They take a break for Sawyer, who, it should be noted, Jack allowed to come along even though HE’S SEPTIC, but Kate? Because she’s a chick? Forget about it.

ANYWAY. Locke asks Jack what he plans to do once they catch up with Michael, and Jack announces he’s going to bring him back. Well, what if he doesn’t want to come back? Jack will talk him into coming back. Locke points out that Michael might just be past the point of reason (you think?). And this angers Jack: are they supposed to just let Michael go? Write Michael off? But Locke asks who they are to tell anyone what they can or can’t do … FOOD FOR THOUGHT, DR. FAIL.

don't tell me what I can't do locke lost

Lost note: Ah, yes. The whole “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” One of Jack and Locke’s favorite things to say. Locke yells it a good 3 times in “Walkabout,” and then again in “Deus Ex Machina.” Jack yells it in “Do No Harm.” And then, just for good measure, Benry says it in “The Brig.”

They head up a cliff, and Sawyer cracks wise about Mt. Vesuvius. And this is when Locke decides to start grilling Sawyer about his choice of name, revealing that he knows James Ford is his real name. That’s when they hear gunfire, and Jack decides to run towards it. Good plan, Dr. Danger. They find some shell casings and note that Michael is close. Sawyer is anxious to find the people that Michael was shooting at, in hopes of getting a little revenge for being shot by the Others, which Jack for some reason finds distasteful. WHAT. EVER. Jack.

Night now, and Locke’s lost Michael’s trail. Whoops! These things happen. Not good enough for Dr. Jack, though, and he accuses Locke of not wanting to find Michael enough. And Locke’s all: YEAH, I DIDN’T WANT IT ENOUGH. But Jack continues yelling at him about how if they don’t find him, they’ll never see Michael again, and it’ll be on all of them.

And that’s when a sorta familiar voice pipes in to agree with Jack, but to urge Jack to listen to Locke: Mr. Friendly! Mr. Friendly has come to have a chat with the Losties, whom he knows by name. He urges everyone to lower their weapons and assures them that Walt is fine and that he’s a very special boy. He then asks Jack how long he’s been on the island, and when Jack responds around 50 days, Mr. Friendly responds:

Oooo, 50 days. That’s what — almost 2 whole months, huh? Tell me, you go over a man’s house for the first time, do you take off your shoes? Do you put your feet up on his coffee table? Do you walk in the kitchen, eat food that doesn’t belong to you? [he looks at Locke] Open the door to rooms you got no business opening? You know, somebody a whole lot smarter than anybody here once said: “Since the dawn of our species man’s been blessed with curiosity.” You know the other one about curiosity don’t you, Jack? This is not your island. This is our island. And the only reason you’re living on it is because we let you live on it.

Lost note: The “somebody a whole lot smarter than anybody here” that Mr. Friendly references is Alvar Hanso. The quote is from the original Hanso Foundation website. It has since been changed, but you get the idea. It’s interesting, this ends up being something of a red herring, leading the audience to believe that Mr. Friendly and his people are somehow tied to The Hanso Foundation. As we learn later, maybe not so much. Of course, maybe Mr. Friendly got the quote from someone else? Benry, mayhaps?

And Jack’s all Yeah, I don’t believe you. You’re probably out here with just one other guy and a gun. So Mr. Friendly proves him wrong, by yelling “Light ’em up!” and it’s revealed that Locke, Sawyer, and Jack are standing in a torch ring and are surrounded by Others.

the hunting party lost light them up others fire forest

Whoops. Mr. Friendly then informs Jack that his people and Jack’s people have a misunderstanding, and that “right here there’s a line. You cross that line, we go from misunderstanding to something else.” He then urges Jack to give up his weapons, turn around, and go home. And when Jack refuses, that’s when Mr. Friendly has Alex (Alex!) bring “her” out: Kate.

“Jack, the decision you gotta make right now is this — can you live with the fact that I shot this woman right in front of you when you could have saved her life by giving up and going home? Or are you going to give me your guns, turn around, and walk away? It’s your call, Jack.” Your call, indeed, Jack.

And after a tense moment, Jack and the rest drop their guns. Mr. Friendly releases Kate, the torches go out, and he and the Others disappear into the night.

Lost note: Does this scene remind you of anything? How about Steamy-Alex-Benry? But what a difference in outcomes! Steamy holds a gun to Alex’s head, gives Benry the same “on the count of three” business, and Benry, so full of confidence that Steamy would never pull the trigger, loses his bet, and his daughter. (How could I have forgotten this scene?)

Jack is HELLA MAD at Kate now. Boy howdy. But you know what? Maybe if he’d let her come in the first place, she wouldn’t have been captured by the Others, and they wouldn’t have been able to use her as a pawn. Ever think about that, Dr. Self-righteous? But he’s not talking to her, and Sawyer urges Kate to not beat herself up: he would have done the same thing. NO DOUBT.

Locke plays with Aaron’s toes as Charlie looks on all jealous and stuff as a means to set up the next episode.

And Jack heads over to Ana-Lucia, whom he heard had killed “one of them” (actually, it’s more like two, but who’s counting?), and wants her professional opinion as a former cop on how long it would take to train an army. Ooh, big talk, Dr. Crybaby.

Alrighty. So I was all jokey jokey about Alexander Cambias and Dr. Zimmerman, but in reality, Ronald Guttman’s character’s name was Angelo Busoni. Angelo, coupled with his daughter’s name, Gabriela = Angel Gabriel.

archangel gabriel greek

The Archangel Gabriel is a heavenly heavy. In the Book of Daniel, he appears to Daniel to show him a vision of the end of days; Gabriel appears to Elizabeth to announce that she will give birth to John the Baptist, and to Mary to let her know that she will be pregnant with Jesus. And he is credited with presenting the Qur’an to Muhammed. Gabriel is a herald, a messenger. So what is Angelo Gabriela’s message? What is she/he calling Jack to do?

In the monomyth, there is the herald character, often an old man (but not always) who provides the call of adventure to the hero. Think Gandalf or Merlin. Hagrid, even. In the tarot, the herald is similar to the hermit card, whom we’ve discussed a number of times: the hermit/herald provides guidance, understanding, and represents an inner search. “Some say that The Hermit represents the time we learn our true names; who we really are. The Greek philosopher Thales is reported to have been asked, “What is the most difficult of all things?” To which he is said to have answered “To know yourself.” The Hermit is given time to obey the Delphic Oracle’s demand: know thyself.”

hermit tarot card

And who is it that Angelo Gabriela say that Jack is? What adventure are they presenting to him? They are encouraging him to be The Miracle Worker. They are encouraging him to accept this role and become the “great” man that everyone says that he is. In the monomyth, this is the point where the hero must make a decision as to whether or not to accept the call to adventure: to cross the threshold. And very often the hero refuses the call. To cross the threshold is to face the possibility of danger, of failure. And as we discussed briefly in the introduction, that element of danger, of failure, of risk is key to the entire quest: without it, there is nothing at stake. “There’s a line … You know it’s there. And pretending it’s not — that would be a mistake.” Once the hero has crossed the first threshold, once he’s crossed the line, there’s no going back.

Jack goes for it. AND HERE’S WHAT’S INTERESTING! He fails. Angelo is not granted a Jack miracle; he dies. Maybe Jack isn’t the miracle worker after all! (Well, not really.) And after this failure, Jack can’t go back — there is no return to the ordinary world. We don’t know why Sarah had an affair — we can only assume based on what is told to us in this episode, that Jack and Sarah grew apart because he devoted himself entirely to his job and neglected his relationship with his wife. And by throwing himself into his work, by engaging in the quest to be “The Miracle Worker,” Jack leaves the ordinary world behind. When he attempts to return home, to return to the domestic sphere, he discovers that it is gone. You can’t go home again.

SO! Here’s what’s interesting. While Angelo/Gabriela represent the herald (and Gabriela actually serves a dual purpose: she is the “Temptress” as well, a female figure who is another step in the Road of Trials. “The hero must overcome his selfish desires to return to the rightful path and also build his character.”), Christian represents an anti-herald: the threshold guardian. Threshold guardians protect the gateway into the special world, and the hero has to defeat this figure to prove his worth and commitment and gain access to the other side. In this episode, Christian serves this role. He warns Jack away from the adventure: Christian tries to deny Angelo’s surgery, and he warns Jack away from getting too close to Gabriela. It’s a continuation of the role he played in “White Rabbit:”

I had a boy on my table today. I don’t know, maybe a year younger than you. He had a bad heart. It got real hairy, real fast. Everybody’s looking at your old man to make decisions. And I was able to make those decisions because at the end of the day, after the boy died, I was able to wash my hands and come home to dinner. You know, watch a little Carol Burnett, laugh till my sides hurt. And how can I do that, hmm? And even when I fail, how do I do that, Jack? Because I have what it takes. Don’t choose, Jack, don’t decide. You don’t want to be a hero, you don’t try and save everyone because when you fail . . . you just don’t have what it takes.

Don’t be a hero. Don’t be a miracle worker. Do not cross the threshold. Do not cross the line. (Which is interesting especially in light of “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” wherein Christian urges Jack to offer hope, to take a chance. And in that instance, Jack does perform a miracle. Could it be that Christian somehow knew he would? Just a thought.) And whaddya know, but Christian is right in this instance. Jack fails and his life crumbles around him.

Thus, when Jack is called out on another adventure: to rescue Michael (and a question: in this instance, would Michael be considered the herald? It would be nice and neat, considering that Michael, like Gabriel, is the name of an archangel. But I think in this case, Michael serves more as a boon than a herald. ANYWAY.), he incorporates the lessons learned in his past experience to this one.

When Jack encounters another threshold guardian in the form of Mr. Friendly, who, like Christian, warns him away from crossing the line, trying to cross over to the other side, this time Jack heeds the warning. When Jack ignored his father’s warnings, he lost Sarah. Lesson learned, Jack is now unwilling to lose Kate just to play the hero. And in the end, in both instances, Jack fails at being the hero. Which, ultimately, is alright. Without the possibility of failure, there is no greatness. And Jack has plenty of time to do what it takes to become the Miracle Worker somewhere down the road.

An aside: Hey! You know who else performs miracles? Jacob. I’m just sayin’. Actually, it’s interesting, this whole question of miracles and healing. In other cultures, shamans are physical and spiritual healers: they perform the role of both doctor and priest. In his book The Masks of Gods, Joseph Campbell writes:

“The priest is the socially initiated, ceremonially inducted member of a recognized religious organization, where he holds a certain rank and functions as the tenant of an office that was held by others before him, while the shaman is one who, as a consequence of a personal psychological crisis, has gained a certain power of his own.” (1969, p. 231)

And from Wikipedia:

A shaman may be initiated via a serious illness, by being struck by lightning and dreaming of thunder to become a Heyoka, or by a near-death experience (e.g., the shaman Black Elk), or one might follow a “calling” to become a shaman. There is usually a set of cultural imagery expected to be experienced during shamanic initiation regardless of the method of induction. According to Mircea Eliade, such imagery often includes being transported to the spirit world and interacting with beings inhabiting the distant world of spirits, meeting a spiritual guide, being devoured by some being and emerging transformed, and/or being “dismantled” and “reassembled” again, often with implanted amulets such as magical crystals. The imagery of initiation generally speaks of transformation and the granting powers to transcend death and rebirth.

Will Jack, our Miracle Worker, our Man of Science, Man of Faith go through some sort of psychological crisis, experience death, and come out the other side to become the island’s Miracle Worker? The island’s Man of Science, Man of Faith? To become Jacob?

ALRIGHT. Before we sign off here, I need to point something else out. Back when this aired, I was all hung up on Sarah’s pregnancy, and the whole Jack temptation storyline, totally missing the forest for the trees.

abraham and sarah

See, Sarah is the great matriarch of the Jewish people’s, Abraham’s wife. So, back in the day, God was like, hey! Abraham! Guess what? One day, your kids are going to inherit all of Caanan. And Abraham was like Sweet! But the problem was, Sarah couldn’t have any kids. They tried and tried and TRIED, and Sarah just couldn’t get pregnant. Worried that Abraham wasn’t going to be able to fulfill God’s promise, Sarah told Abraham to have a kid with her handmaiden Hagar, which he did, but then Sarah was MAD. So she kicked Hagar and the baby, Isahmail, out. And then, lo and behold, when she and Abraham were both crazy old: boom, guess who gets pregnant? She has Isaac (meaning “he who will laugh,” because Sarah burst out laughing at the idea that she would be pregnant with a kid at her advanced age) and the covenant was fulfilled.

So, when this episode aired, I was hung up on the idea that Sarah couldn’t get pregnant, and that perhaps the reason she leaves Jack is so that he can go have a baby with someone else. Rewatching this episode, I realize JUST HOW WRONG I WAS. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear that what they were doing here was setting up a parallel between Sarah and Sun. Both women were carrying on affairs, both have reason to worry about becoming pregnant, and for both women, the pregnancy scares are something of a mixed blessing. For Sarah, it turns out to be a false alarm, but perhaps the impetus to end her marriage. For Sun, she’s caught in a catch-22: if the baby is her lover’s, then she runs the risk of losing her marriage, if it is her husband’s she could lose her life. Of course, this episode is long before we learn that Sun is pregnant, or that she cheated on Jin. But they were certainly playing with contrasts between Jin and Sun and Jack and Sarah, by having Jin and Sun resolve their marital conflicts in this episode, while Jack and Sarah fall apart in the flashback. Could this have been an early hint that Sun would not only become pregnant, but it would be Jin’s baby? Don’t worry, it’s positive?

Wow — a relatively short entry for once! Hope I’m not missing anything!

Where we have missed a lot is on the ARG, thanks to Ike. Stupid Ike.

Hans Van Eeghan released another video urging people not to use the cheats that Black Swan had been releasing, as it would contaminate the testing procedures. He also reveals that Black Swan is someone within the DHARMA Initiative. Of course, there was a Morse code message embedded in the video that played: “THE CHEAT IS IN THE SEQUENCE BUT THE SEQUENCE IS THE ANSWER.”

And DHARMA released Test 5, which was my nemesis as it involved math and sequences. The hardest one apparently was related to Morse code, and I totally didn’t get it and BAH. The groups for this test were: Hemera, Aether, Chaos, Chronos, Nyx, and Oranos (which is an alternate spelling of Uranus). They are all primordial gods, for what it’s worth. And I’m in Chaos. Which is kinda cool, if not “good.”

Soon after all this, some whispers could be heard on dharmawantsyou.com, that sound like, “Nothing resembles an honest man more than a cheat,” and they release a notice that some participants can progress to instructor status and create questions for others to answer or something.

The sixth test is released: a multiple-choice test again. According to lostpedia.com:

Based on candidate accounts, the question types and group associates are as follows:

  • Psychology and philosophy questions lead to the Apollo group (The Sun God; god of light, healing, music, poetry, prophecy, archery and truth)
  • Architecture and history questions lead to the Ares group (God of war, frenzy, hatred, and bloodshed)
  • Language and electronics questions lead to the Demeter group (Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons)
  • Medical and education questions lead to the Hestia group (Goddess of the hearth and home)
  • Biology and horticulture questions lead to the Poseidon group (Lord of the Sea; god of the seas, earthquakes, created horses)
  • Math and physics questions lead to the Athena group (Goddess of wisdom, crafts, and strategic battle)

Of interest is the fact that apparently the questions presented to the candidate, rather than the candidate’s answers, determine the their group assignment. This indicates that the group was chosen before the test started.

The cheat this time had something to do with holding down “C” and right-clicking to get a glimpse of the correct answer.

Once taken, the groups included: Ares, Apollo, Athena, Demeter, Hestia, and Poseidon, all Olympian Gods.

For what it’s worth, I was given architecture questions for heaven only knows what reason, and ended up in “Ares.”

SO! Then the final test was released, Test 7. When you click on the test, you are greeted with, well, just watch for yourself:

And because I didn’t cheat? White Swan for me, baby! Woo-hoo! Did you cheat? Guess you’re a Black Swan.

So, what does this all mean? Beats me. “Personalized Volunteer Assessment Dossiers” will be available to download on December 15th, apparently. Huh. So, what are they going to do until then? Any ideas?

Lost originally aired on ABC and is now available to stream on Hulu and IMDb.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.

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