‘Lost’: You can’t handle the truth!

“The Whole Truth”
Originally aired March 22, 2006

This is what you call a difficult episode to recap, especially in hindsight. I mean, it’s easy enough to tell you what happened: Sun discovers she’s pregnant, Jin was infertile, who’s the daddy? Ana convinces “Henry Gale” to draw her a map. Uh-oh! Is it a trap? But it’s difficult to try to remember what it was like to watch the episode when it first aired: we know now that title of the episode was meant ironically. Neither Sun nor “Henry Gale” are telling the whole truth–in fact, all they tell are partial truths and bald-faced lies.

And so, not only is this episode impossible to discuss while feigning ignorance of what happens next, it’s an incomplete story. “The Whole Truth” is only part one of a story that isn’t finished until the next season in “The Glass Ballerina,” or even “D.O.C.”

SO! We’re all going to pretend to have no idea that Sun was carrying on an affair and that the paternity of this baby is in question, or that “Henry Gale” is actually some dude named Ben who is the leader of the Others, who are not, in fact, DHARMA, but someone else altogether. And that the map he drew is accurate, if his story isn’t. We’re just going to strap on a fake beard and pretend we don’t know any of that. Right? Right.

james harden rockets eyeroll impersonation kid

In their swank pad in Korea, Sun and Jin are all about to get to the bidness, if you know what I mean, and I think you do …

snl sex hands

when Jin asks Sun if she remembered to take her temperature. Hey, Jin! Way to ruin the mood, dude. Apparently, they’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year now, and Jin thinks it’s time to consult a doctor. Sun blanches, and wonders why Jin’s all worked up about having a baby that he’ll never be around to see. And Jin’s like YOU DID NOT GO THERE. And Sun’s like, I WENT AND TOOK THE GRAND TOUR. She then makes a nasty comment about Jin coming home with blood on his hands, and Jin points out that it’s because of what her father makes him do. Poor little rich girl cries, because that’s totally true, and Jin feels all bad and explains that he hopes that if they gave her father a grandchild, he might be inclined to give Jin a safer job. Which, you know, it’s bad enough when people have a kid to try to save their marriage, but having a kid to get a better job? That’s low.

But here’s the problem. Sun? Has been meeting that guy that her mom tried to hook her up with that one time? Jae Lee? You know, the good-looking rich bald dude? for English lessons. And it’s all on the down-low, so don’t tell Jin.

Sun’s a sport and goes to see a fertility doctor, per Jin’s request, and the doctor’s all be sure to say hi to your very important and dangerous father for me! before he then explains that Sun is totally and completely infertile. SOREE. Jin accuses Sun of knowing about this before they got married, and Sun is like YA, BECAUSE I WANTED TO TRAP A POOR GUY INTO MARRYING ME. GAH. And this sets Jin off and he throws things and the doctor looks terrified.

Sun goes back to her English lessons with Jae Lee, and is speaking English really well now! Jae Lee is a great teacher. Sun reveals to Jae Lee that she’s infertile, and Jae Lee expresses his sympathies. But Sun is like, AW NAH. It’s all good! Jae Lee asks why Sun’s taking English lessons still, and she explains that she’s going to America. Jae Lee’s like: O! You’re leaving Jin? I tried to run away to America because I thought I was in love, and it didn’t work out at all. THE POINT IS, you can’t run away from your life. And Sun’s all: what? I’m supposed to stay for Jin? PUH-LEEZE. And Jae Lee is like, I didn’t say you should stay for him and then he kinda lifts his eyebrow to suggest that, you know, she should stay for fun sexytimes with him. But he doesn’t say that out loud. It’s implied. As is the eyebrow lift that didn’t happen.

Right. So. Sun is out walking Bpo Bpo when who should pull up in a car next to her but Dr. You’re Infertile and Never Going to Have Kids, M.D. When Sun refuses to get into his car to talk to him, he hops out, and reveals that, um, yeah, maybe? he kinda? sorta? lied to her? And it’s not Sun who is infertile, but her husband. And Sun’s like THAT’S UNCOOL. And Dr. Liarpants is like, well, yes, I agree, total uncoolness, right. But your husband? He scares me. And I was worried that if I told him he was infertile, well, that he’d burn down my office or something. Thought you deserved the truth! SRY!

Now, on the island, Sun busies herself in her garden, when Jin comes stomping in and demands that she come back to camp with him. See, ’cause she was in the garden when she was attacked and dragged into the jungle and left unconscious that one time. As a result, Jin’s a little jumpy about her being out there alone. Sun refuses, because just because they’re married doesn’t mean that he’s her boss, JOIN THE 21st CENTURY, JIN. JEEZ. So Jin tears up her garden, and then again asks: Shall we go back? THAT WAS JERKY, JIN.

Back at the beach, Sun isn’t feeling well. It’s funny, the Lostpedia transcript describes her as being “in pain.” That ain’t pain. That’s nausea. Nausea? MUCH MUCH WORSE. Rose and Bernard are busily arguing about how Bernard forgot Rose’s birthday, when they come across the very green Sun, which is not the same thing as a black-hole sun. Anyway, they urge her to seek medical attention, but Sun’s like NO.

Instead, she heads over to Sawyer who is occupying himself with a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Interrupting his journey into womanhood, Sun asks if she can take a looksee at his medical supplies. Sawyer refuses, and tells her that if she’s looking for something specific, she can tell him, and he’ll find it for her. And so after some push and pull between these two — Sawyer refusing to let Sun go through the stash, and Sun refusing to tell him what she wants — Sun finally asks Sawyer for a pregnancy test. D’OH!

Sun heads into the jungle with her Widmore (!) pregnancy test, but before she can use it, who should come stumbling out of the jungle but Hurley, munching on an Apollo bar. The two appraise each other, each clearly not expecting to be discovered, and quickly go their separate ways.

the whole truth lost widmore pregnancy test

Lost note: Another Widmore reference! And what, exactly, was someone doing flying with a pregnancy test? Either that’s some sort of HUGINORMOUS clue, or it was a weak deus ex machina. And so far it hasn’t been much of a clue. I mean, aside from the Widmore thing.

But apparently, Sun didn’t want to keep it entirely to herself, because Kate is now reading the pregnancy test instructions to her, and telling Sun that it’s going to take two minutes before she’ll find out whether or not she’s in a family way. Kate wonders who on earth flies with a pregnancy test (RIGHT?), and then admits to Sun that’s she taken a pregnancy test back in the day (HMM.)

Sun is grateful that Kate’s not asking a bunch of pesky questions, when her results come in: SUN’S PREGNANT! HOORAY! HOORAY! HOO–wait, why aren’t you hooraying, Sun? And this reminds me of this time when I was at my grocery store and I was chatting with a cashier who I had come to know and she told me her daughter was pregnant, and I was like Congratulations! But she was like CONGRATULATIONS?! IT’S A DISASTER! And I was like, oh! Yeah! Of course! A disaster! And that’s kinda what Kate’s feeling right about now.

Lost note: We learn later that Kate took a pregnancy test while married to that poor dupe Kevin. It was negative. She then ran away.

Kate and Sun take the test to Jack to verify its accuracy, and he’s like, Dude. You’re pregnant. Sun asks Jack to practice a little doctor/patient confidentiality, and Jack agrees, but urges Sun to tell Jin the truth. The WHOLE truth. And Sun is like, BACK OFF WITH YOUR SANCTIMONIOUSNESS, DR. SANCTIMONIOUS.

In the meantime, Bernard is trying to find an oyster with a pearl in it for Rose, to make up for forgetting her birthday, but Jin informs him that he’s not going to be finding any oysters in these parts. Sad. Raw oysters are delicious.

Sawyer wanders over and calls Jin “Daddy-o” and “Papa-San” but Jin doesn’t understand a thing, and Bernard and Sawyer’s speech becomes a bunch of gibberish and backwards speak, and Jin has a confused.

Lost note: The gibberish is actually backwards speech, again. What do they say?

BERNARD : Well how do you know?

SAWYER : Oh, I got my source!

BERNARD : Well, aren’t you gonna tell him that?

SAWYER : Not my place!

BERNARD : You should tell him! Or…?

SAWYER : Hell no! Let Sun-shine tell him!

Rather than hang out and listen to a bunch of crazy talk, Jin returns to Sun’s garden to repair the damage he created earlier. Which is where Sun discovers him. He explains that what he did before was a mistake — that he needs her, he can’t understand anyone else and he doesn’t want to fight anymore. SAD.

Sun tells him that she’s pregnant, and Jin is filled with joy! Yayayayay! Yeah, well, um, there’s something else … and so then Sun tells Jin the “whole” truth: that he is infertile, not her, and Jin’s like, um, WHAT? But Sun swears up and down that there isn’t another man, and Jin is like, you know what? I am going to believe you. It’s a miracle! We’re having a miracle baby! Hooray!

And they discuss naming the baby after his father and her mother and telling everyone, and it’s all happy happy! Sun then wants to spend a little time alone in the garden, and Jin’s all, you know what? SURE. And the whole thing is so poignant and sad in retrospect I can’t stand it and I’m am CRYING. (But not because Jin is dead. Because he totally isn’t.)

OK. So all that is going on while Locke and Jack play Prison with “Henry Gale” down in the hatch. But Locke’s had enough, which is why he is outside Ana Lucia’s tent. Ana Lucia has gone for a jog, which is just an excuse for Locke to reuse Desmond’s line about running like the devil is chasing you. Anyway, Locke tells Ana Lucia about their hatchguest, and suggests that her police experience might come in handy in questioning the little guy. When Ana Lucia asks if Locke got Jack’s permission for her to do this, Locke gets all huffy BECAUSE JACK’S NOT THE BOSS OF HIM. GAH.

Lost note: It’s in “Man of Science, Man of Faith” that Desmond asks Jack’s excuse for running like the devil’s chasing him. So! Who’s the devil? And why is he chasing Ana Lucia and Jack?

Mastermind move, Locke! Wait until Jack is in the shower to let Ana in to chat with “Henry Gale,” and then when Jack gets out of the shower and is in nothing but a towel, tell him about it. That way, Jack can’t do nothin’ about it. Brilliant!

Inside the armory, Ana Lucia is playing Good Cop, Good Cop with “Henry Gale.” He’s not exactly wanting to tell his story one more time, so Ana Lucia tells him that she’s willing to listen to him, after what she did to Nathan, what with the mistaking him for an Other and getting him killed and stuff. So, he tells her and she reduces it down to this: “So let me get this straight — you and your wife travel around the world and crash here in a smiley-face balloon? Then she dies. You get captured by a French chick who brings you here, and then they lock you up.” Which is kinda awesome. Ana asks “Henry Gale” to draw a map to his “balloon” and he refuses, arguing that there’s no point, he’s “dead already.” But Ana assures him that if he doesn’t draw it, he’s certainly dead.

Ana exits the armory, tells Jack and Locke that she’d like some more time to talk to him –tomorrow, to give him time to think over his options. And then she heads straight to Sayid who is working on Mr. Eko’s building project with Charlie. Ana reveals that “Henry Gale” drew her a map to the balloon, and suggests that they go investigate. Field trip!

lost the whole truth benry's map

Walking through the jungle, walking through the jungle, walking through the jungle. Oh! Look over there! A cliff! Ana makes a funny about the map proving that they’re on the right island, but it doesn’t go over with Sayid. Ana Lucia then notices that Charlie is packing heat. Well, well, Hobbit! What’s this about? After some sniping about who should handle the firearm, Charlie hands the gun over to Sayid. Let’s camp!

Lost note: And while Ana Lucia’s comment about being on the right island was intended as a joke, there is indeed the other island out there…

That night, Ana blathers on about boo hoo nobody likes her wah, and how Sayid has reason to hate her, and so long story short, yeah, sorry about killing your girlfriend. But Sayid is like, no worries. I blame the Others!

And then the next morning, they get to where the balloon is supposed to be, but lo and behold, NO BALLOON.

Back at the hatch, “Henry Gale” has been busy highlighting interesting lines in his assigned reading, including: “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain.” When he reads this aloud to Jack, and wonders what the difference is between a martyr and a prophet, Jack muses that either way, one ends up dead. And then he offers “Henry Gale” some breakfast. Outside the armory!

“Henry Gale” catches a glance of the computer, and wonders aloud what it is, but Jack lies and says that it’s nothing. Jack then offers “Henry Gale” some cereal, and “Henry Gale” in a Sayid-like moment wonders about the cereal, where it came from, how old it is, you know, all the questions that NORMAL people would ask when confronted with a pantry full of corn flakes and ranch dressing on a remote tropical island. “Henry Gale” is like, is this my reward for drawing that map for Ana? And Jack and Locke are all, whaa? And “Henry Gale” is like, uh, yeah. You know what would be hilarious? What would be hilarious would be if I were an Other, and I drew them a map to a location where my people would ambush them. And then my people would trade your people for me! That? Would be totally hilarious. But since I’m not an Other, you guys have nothing to worry about. Got milk?

And that was the moment when I knew that little bug-eyed “Henry Gale” had wormed his way into my heart. Yay, “Henry Gale” with his thinly veiled threats and creepy “who’s the prisoner now?” mind games!

It’s interesting, this issue of prisonerhood: “Henry Gale” is Jack and Locke’s prisoner within the hatch, but the question remains — did he actually intend to be? Did he wander into Danielle’s territory to be deliberately caught so as to infiltrate the survivors? If so, then who is really the prisoner? “Henry Gale,” who is kept “against his will” in the armory, or Jack and Locke who are also trapped inside this same hatch, pressing the button on the computer, lest the world blow up, and hiding “Henry Gale” from the rest of the survivors?

We actually have tons of prison/prisoner images and metaphors on the show: Sawyer had a stint in prison; Kate’s been arrested a few times; Sayid was held by the Americans, and in turn held his fellow Iraqis, including Nadia, in prison. Hurley is arrested and restrained in a mental health facility (as is Libby); Ana Lucia, who is a cop, imprisons Nathan on the island; and in the ARG universe, Alvar Hanso was being held a prisoner by his successor, Mittlewerk. Then there are all the metaphorical prisons in which people are trapped: Locke in his anger towards his father; Charlie in his addiction; Jack in his inability to let go, etc., etc. And, of course, the island serves as one giant prison, as does the lie that the O6 tells about their crash experience.

tabula rasa lost kate sheep pen
Kate the prisoner.

But is it a prison if you willingly return? Hurley returned to Santa Rosa on his own. Did “Henry Gale” similarly deliberately imprison himself with the survivors? If the O6 willingly return to the island, is the island a prison any longer? And if someone like Benry or Widmore can’t return to the island no matter how much they want to, then what’s the real prison? The island? Or the world? Or, as Michael discovered, even life itself?

Interestingly, prisons are somewhat liminal spaces: they aren’t (for all) permanent homes for the prisoners. The prison is a place where people are removed from their normal lives, held for a finite period of time, and deliberately placed in a state of “otherness.” (Another word for this experience might actually be “liminoid” if we’re to get all technical about it.) Of course, for some prisoners, lifers in particular, the prison ceases to be temporary and instead becomes permanent. Home. Sound familiar?

It could be argued that the state of pregnancy is somewhat liminal as well, for both mother and child. It is a separation from the ordinary, an in-between state. For the child, they are not yet a part of the outside world; but this is temporary. And for the mother pregnancy is not a permanent condition (thank goodness). The in utero state is a liminal one.

It is interesting that pregnancies don’t survive on the island — that they can’t progress beyond this liminal state in this liminal place. Something about the island kills both mother and child before birth, and Juliet, we learn later, believes that it happens at conception: conception being the moment when mother and this child enter into the liminal state. And now I’m going to step away from that lest we get into a weird political discussion that no one wants to begin here in a blog about a television show.

But, again, we’re talking about things that we don’t know yet. Like I mentioned in the introduction, it’s difficult to discuss this episode as a stand-alone story. Because Sun’s affair isn’t revealed until the next season (and some of us were gullible enough to BELIEVE Sun when she told Jin that she hadn’t been with anyone else…) the angst over the paternity does not yet exist, and the element of danger has not yet been revealed. All we are left with to ponder is the question of this miraculous conception, and Jin’s faith that it is, indeed, his.

lost the whole truth jin it's a miracle

Biblically speaking, there are a number of miraculous, improbable pregnancies, including Sarah’s pregnancy with Isaac, Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist, and the most famous miracle pregnancy of all: Mary’s with Jesus.


But particularly in the former two pregnancies, the parents involved assumed that they were incapable of having children, thus when they’re informed by angelic messengers that they are pregnant, it comes as a bit of a shock. Not unlike Sun’s news here. And while Sun’s pregnancy is just as miraculous as Sarah or Elizabeth’s, we don’t know that for certain for a whole other season. Sun’s reaction is based not on surprise that she’s pregnant, but in worry that it’s not Jin’s. BUT WE DON’T KNOW THAT YET, SO I CAN’T REALLY TALK ABOUT IT. Bah.

What we can discuss is this business of reversals. Just as Sayid and Sawyer and Kate have backslid a bit into the people they were before arriving on the island, we have another reversal here. At first, it seems it will be Jin who is the one that is going back to his old tricks, what with the stomping around on Sun’s garden (which, of course, is a symbol of fertility, growth, life). But Jin has a moment of clarity when he can’t understand Sawyer and Bernard discuss something of great importance to his own life, and he comes to see that he can not afford to drive sun away by behaving like the brute he was off the island. And yes, it’s when Sawyer and Bernard’s speech is reversed that Jin has his epiphany. See how that works?

No, the reversion in this episode is on Sun’s part who has gone back to who she was before they arrived on the island: The Liar. She only reveals what she decides Jin needs to know, and only after she’s urged to be completely honest by Jack. Unlike the pregnancy test, which is accurate, Sun has a tendency to fudge the truth a bit. And so, like “Henry Gale,” and his map, she is as honest as she needs to be to get by. SIGH. But. AGAIN. We don’t know that yet…

The only other interesting thing to point out in this episode is the repeated stress on being dead already, on the despondency that it’s all meaningless, particularly in relation to “Henry Gale.” “Henry Gale” is reluctant to draw the map, and pouts at Ana that it doesn’t matter because he’s dead already. Later, he reads the passage to Jack about martyrs and prophets, both of which, Jack points out, are dead in the end. This “dead already” idea is interesting, and tied to another phrase that recurs on the series: “it doesn’t matter.”

This idea that Fate is in control: one is just a powerless pawn in a much larger game … which, of course, is ultimately ironic in relation to who we eventually learn “Henry Gale” actually is. But could the phrase “dead already” also be a subtle, even inadvertent, clue towards this cyclical nature of time, particularly on the island? If the island does and can exist in different moments on the time-space continuum, then, somewhere along the line, “Henry Gale” is dead already. They all are. But rather than this being a state of powerlessness, of being at the whim of Fate, being dead already (on this island at least) does not take one out of the equation …

Two quick things: First, do the happy dance:

kirstin wiig triangle happy dance snl

Here’s what’s fun! According to The ODI, there were a couple hidden images in that video for Ajira Airlines. Ajira means “island” in Hindi. And lookee here: ajiraairways.com has gone live. Is it a new ARG?

Speaking of, the second point of business: did you get your DHARMA results? I did! And they think I should be a construction worker. Whee!

The job allocations came with a strange letter from Hans Van Eeghen:


I am pleased to announce that registered recruits can now log in and download your personalized Volunteer Assessment Dossier outlining your full test results as well as your position within the Dharma Initiative.

I want to personally congratulate you on behalf of everyone at the Dharma Initiative for your hard work and diligence during our testing process.

We hope that you are happy with your results. We certainly are. The tests were extremely challenging and the aptitude and excellence displayed far exceeded our expectations.

Now that you are in possession of your results I am sure you are asking the obvious question: what’s next?

Our plan was that together we would commence a glorious adventure: the revival of the Dharma Initiative using the myriad talents of all our amazing new recruits. We imagined not just fulfilling long abandoned goals but taking the Dharma Initiative to a new level of greatness as an organization promoting the peaceful social and technological advancement of all humankind.

Then the financial crisis struck.

Sadly, our benefactors were not immune to this crisis. In fact, unconfirmed reports suggest that much of the money designated for the work of the new Dharma Initiative was tied up in highly leveraged mortgage derivatives. This, however, cannot be confirmed because, I am sorry to report, the principals representing the benefactors – my employers – have gone missing. Based on bills still coming into our office we believe they are somewhere in South America.

This stunning reversal of fortune has forced us to abandon our ambitious plans. In fact, absent this funding, the Dharma Initiative was forced to make the only sensible decision we had available: we sold the Dharma Initiative to the television show LOST.

While this might strike some of you as a shock, the reason for this was not simply that they were the only bidder. As the only remaining Dharma Initiative employee who had not fled the country, I felt that at the very least the show would be able to keep the spirit of the Dharma Initiative alive and in the public consciousness until such time as a reversal of the reversal of our economic fortunes occurs.

It is with a heavy heart that I must bid you farewell. Despite my fervent commitment to the mission of the Dharma Initiative, the realities of a broken marriage, heavy casino debt and some unfounded police charges have required that I change my present circumstances. It is with great excitement that I can inform you of my pending senior sales management job at a large multi-brand auto dealership in Dubai. I have enjoyed our brief association more than I can ever express, and if you are ever in the Middle East and need a car, please e-mail me for a special “Dharma rate”.

In the meantime, you will hear shortly from LOST showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. They will explain to you their future plans for the Dharma Initiative and how these plans might affect you.

Thank you again, personally, for your unflagging commitment and support. I hope our paths will one day cross again. In the meantime may the spirit of the island guide you.


Hans Van Eeghen

Head of Recruiting

The Dharma Initiative

Um, what? So, what happened here? Is this leading up to something else? Or was this the single worst ARG to ever happen to any television show ever? I’m disappointed. No, I’m deeply disappointed. What a waste of time and effort for the lousiest payoff ever. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to collect my steel-toed boots and hard hat and go fume in the corner.

dog construction worker costume

Lost airs at 8 p.m. (CST) Thursdays on ABC. Or it will when it returns in 2009 (!)

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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