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Finding Lost Season 4
the unoffical guide
By Nikki Stafford
ECW PRESS Copyright © 2009 Nikki Stafford
All rights reserved.
SEASON 4 – January–May 2008
Cast: Matthew Fox (Jack Shephard), Evangeline Lilly (Kate Austen), Terry O'Quinn (John Locke), Josh Holloway (James "Sawyer" Ford), Jorge Garcia (Hugo "Hurley" Reyes), Naveen Andrews (Sayid Jarrah), Yunjin Kim (Sun Kwon), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin Kwon), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume), Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke), Emilie de Ravin (Claire Littleton), Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday), Ken Leung (Miles Straume), Rebecca Mader (Charlotte Lewis)
Recurring characters: Sam Anderson (Bernard), L. Scott Caldwell (Rose), Alan Dale (Charles Widmore), Jeff Fahey (Frank Lapidus), Blake Bashoff (Karl), Mira Furlan (Rousseau), Tania Raymonde (Alex), Lance Reddick (Matthew Abaddon), Fisher Stevens (George Minkowski), John Terry (Christian Shephard), Marsha Thomason (Naomi Dorrit), Zoë Bell (Regina), Kevin Durand (Keamy), Grant Bowler (Captain Gault), Marc Vann (Dr. Ray), Anthony Azizi (Omar)
4.1 The Beginning of the End
Original air date: January 31, 2008
Written by: Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse
Directed by: Jack Bender
Guest cast: Michael Cudlitz (Mike Walton), Billy Ray Gallion (Randy Nations), Steven Neumeier (Lewis), Grisel Toledo (Nurse)
When Desmond returns to the beach with Charlie's final message, the survivors must decide if they believe the rescuers are hostile, or if they're really going to rescue them. Hurley's flashforward reveals that he will be one of the rescued, but on the island, he leads some of the survivors away from Jack's camp and over to Locke's.
It had been eight long months since the season 3 finale. Fans spent the summer and fall speculating on who was in the coffin, why Jack wanted to go back to the island, who might have been left behind, and whether the survivors were about to be rescued. But nothing could have prepared us for the words that were uttered by Hurley at the beginning of Lost's season 4 premiere: "I'm one of the Oceanic 6!"
Whoa, dude. I didn't see that coming.
"Through the Looking Glass," the season 3 finale, gave the show many potential directions to go. Jack and Kate clearly get off the island, and Jack is feeling guilty about what happened before they left. Fans wondered if a few survivors were sacrificed, or if all the survivors but Jack and Kate were left behind. With Hurley's proclamation that he's one of six survivors, the entire game changed. Have the so-called Oceanic 6 lied about what happened? At the end of season 3, I asked in my episode guide (see Finding Lost—Season 3, page 192) how the survivors were going to explain the deaths of so many people on the island, or why they left the others behind. But when Hurley tells Ana Lucia's partner in this episode that he'd never met her, one wonders if they're just going to pretend the people who didn't come back had died in the crash.
The opening of "The Beginning of the End" echoes the openings of other Lost season premieres. There's a new location we haven't seen, and jarring events that disorient the viewer, making us wonder if we'd tuned in to the right show. Season 2 opened with a man we hadn't yet met working out in a 1970s-style bachelor pad, which turned out to be inside "the hatch," while the sounds of Mama Cass played in the background. He looks in a mirror to shave, and we see in his face the uncertainty of who he is and what he's doing. Season 3 opened with an unknown woman having a very bad day, and gradually we realize she is one of the Others, also living on the island. She looks in a mirror while listening to Petula Clark, and we see her trying to keep it together, but she falls apart and begins to cry. So by season 4, we were prepared to see another new character we didn't know, with some 1960s tune playing in the background, glancing into a Lewis Carroll—type mirror that is about to take the series in a new direction. Instead, the episode opened with a stack of mangoes on the sand, which for one brief moment makes us think we're on the beach and this won't be a discombobulating opening. But this shot is followed by a ktla-style car chase through Los Angeles. When the car door opens, and our beloved Hurley steps out and says what he says, we know we're seeing another flash-forward, which is the new direction of season 4.
Why open the season with Hurley? The first three seasons gave us Jack-centric flashbacks, and while it was probable the season wouldn't open with him, simply because season 3 ended with him, giving the flash to Hurley was an interesting choice. Hurley flashbacks have always seemed at first like standalone episodes, but later they take on greater significance. Season 1's "Numbers" was a comic episode that revealed that Hurley was a millionaire who had played some throwaway numbers that he later believed were cursed. When those exact numbers became an integral part of the show, all fan eyes turned to Hurley, wondering if he was more important than we'd originally thought. Season 2's "Everybody Hates Hugo" showed us the fallout of Hurley winning a lottery, and while again it seemed like the sequel to "Numbers," it also revealed Hurley to be something more than the funny guy with the one-liners. Instead he was a broken man with real fears, and those fears had followed him to a mysterious island. Now Hurley worried the friends here would regard him as a fake and turn on him the way his friend Johnny had. In "Dave" we saw the extent of Hurley's depression and psychosis when the writers explored what his life had been like in the institution — and we meet his imaginary friend "Dave," whom he believed had followed him to the island. That episode addressed one of the big fan theories — that the island and all the other characters are a figment of Hurley's imagination — and pretty much laid it to rest. The season 3 episode "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead" again seemed to have no significance beyond Hurley's character, and was more of a look at how Hurley had been abandoned by his father and how Hurley was trying to put an end to his curse. But that episode took on greater meaning when the vw van he discovered on the island became a key feature in the events of the season 3 finale.
All of those episodes now seem to have been leading up to this one. Again, we see Hurley's paranoia, his return to a mental institution, his conversations with someone who couldn't possibly be there (or could he?). When we see what Hurley's future holds, it's sad, because Hurley is the Everyman on the island, the regular guy like the rest of us, the innocent person who's been used as a pawn. A lottery win once ruined his life, and now that he's been rescued, fate has once again bitten his hand. Hurley is the perfect character with which to begin this season, because, other than Claire, he's not only the closest person to Charlie and the one who will be most affected by his death, he's also the guy who didn't go with Jack. The question now is, how will the two be reunited?
For three seasons we've watched Jack and Locke bicker, fight, argue over science versus faith, and want to kill each other. But their feud escalates to all-out war in this episode, when Jack confronts Locke for killing Naomi in "Through the Looking Glass." When we last left Locke, he'd just been shot and left for dead by Ben, only to have a vision of Walt, who told him to get up because the rescuers were not who they said they were. Without asking any further questions, Locke threw a knife into Naomi's back, and held a gun to Jack as Jack dialed the satellite phone. Unable and unwilling to pull the trigger, Locke slinked back into the jungle, warning the others they were making a mistake. Now he stands before the survivors, insisting that everything he's done that seems crazy to them — accidentally killing Boone; blowing up the Flame station along with all of the books that explained what exactly Dharma was; blowing up the submarine that would have been Jack's ticket off the island; killing Naomi — has been done in their best interests. Despite the fact that Rose wants to stay on the island, she refuses to go with Locke because she thinks he's crazy. After all, he'd just killed someone in cold blood right in front of her.
But facing off against Locke, in this corner, weighing 175 pounds of pure self-righteousness, is Jack, the "sane person's choice." Jack is a doctor who has been their leader from the beginning. He's led them into traps, and he's led them to safety. He was initially reluctant to accept the mantle of leader, but now that he's taken on the job, he wants others to accept his leadership without question. He refused to believe that pushing the button was anything other than a pointless Sisyphean task, and he was wrong. When Kate insisted there was a second blood trail they needed to follow, he brushed her off. And once again, he was wrong. He bartered with the Others — the people who had killed or kidnapped many of their number — to get himself a one-way ticket off the island and he called the freighter without listening to any of the warnings of the naysayers around him.
Locke might very well be the bad choice in this situation, but when Jack, the white knight, holds a gun to Locke's head and pulls the trigger, everything changes. Jack, the doctor who has taken up the Hippocratic oath to "do no harm," intends to do the ultimate harm. (Things between these two have come a long way from two guys arguing about a button in the hatch.) Rose refuses to go with the cold-blooded killer, Locke, but the only reason Jack isn't one too is because Locke had only one bullet in the gun, which he fired into the ground in the previous episode, showing us he really never intended to kill Jack. What makes the standoff between these two men so fascinating is that we know where Jack's story is going — we've seen his flashforward and the miserable state he'll be in in only a few short years. Despite all the times Jack's been wrong, people continue to follow him because they think he has their best interests at heart. The reason is that in the midst of the craziness on the island, Jack is the only person who seems to make sense. When he tells Kate in this episode that there's no way Naomi would be worrying about making a dummy trail if she was bleeding to death, it makes perfect sense. And yet, Locke will probably continue to be proven right — his insistence that the rescuers aren't really rescuers might actually be true if Charlie's final message to Desmond was correct, and his suggestion that the island is a living thing that won't let them leave also will prove true, since we see Jack become obsessed with returning to the island. Knowing Jack's future adds dramatic irony to how fans see his present, and this makes his decisions even more foreboding. And yet, when we see Hurley and Jack meeting in the future (clearly prior to Jack's nervous breakdown), Hurley apologizes for having gone with Locke, as if Locke really was the wrong choice. The fact that Jack appears to be silently threatening Hurley in this scene adds to the suspicion that Jack isn't the white hat everyone thinks he is.
This episode was all about division: Jack's group versus Locke's; whether the people on the phone are rescuers or invaders; if the rescue we see in the future is a good one or a bad one; whether making that call was the happiest moment of their lives or the worst. "The Beginning of the End" was a fantastic way to come back to the series after such a long wait, but the real standout of the episode was Jorge Garcia's performance. Never before has he shown such range, from happiness at discovering they're about to be rescued, to despair when he has to tell Claire what's happened to Charlie.
The key moment in this episode is when Hurley tells Bernard that he's always wanted to cannonball into the water, but never has. He's been afraid to. After all, he played the lottery and won, and it led to his downfall. He allowed himself to fall in love with Libby, and she was dead before anything could happen between them. Hurley lives in a constant state of paranoia, sure that if he allows himself any happiness, something terrible will happen to balance things out. His paranoia certainly isn't unfounded. All his life he's been held captive by his circumstances, his weight, his cursed money, a mysterious island, or the Others.
But in that one moment, he realizes he'd just been a hero: he came charging out of the jungle in a vw van (as one does on a desert island) to save the day; he's watched the "good guys" triumph over the bad; he's just gotten word that Charlie made it to the station and fulfilled his task (he was worried Charlie might die) and that they're all about to be rescued. As he stands with Bernard, he thinks nothing can go wrong. His money is gone, the Others have been defeated, his friends are safe, and he's about to go home. As he says to Bernard, "I'm gonna be free." So ... he cannonballs. The look on Hurley's face as he floats under the water is one of pure, unadulterated joy, and one that we've yet to see on him or anyone on this show. It's a look of complete happiness, something it seemed none of the survivors were capable of.
And then, the moment his head comes back out of the water, everything falls apart around him. Charlie is dead, the bad guys have been replaced by new bad guys, they're not going to be rescued, and everything terrible is about to start over again. Garcia handles the whole scene beautifully. If you watch the scene from his point of view, it's possibly the most deflating moment of the series thus far, and makes Hurley's about-face at the end of the episode more understandable.
In the season 3 finale, Ben looked at Jack and said, "If you make that phone call, it will be the beginning of the end." The title of this episode suggests that Ben was right, and if so, we're all in for a rollercoaster ride this season.
Highlight: Ben's snarky remark when Kate announces Naomi is really dead: "Better call the boat, tell them she's getting a really big bundle of firewood."
Timeline: The events immediately follow the ones in "Through the Looking Glass," and the episode takes place on December 21, 2004.
Did You Notice?:
Going into season 4, we know that the series will end after season 6, so technically, this is the first episode of the last half of the series (i.e., the beginning of the end).
The Camaro that Hurley crashes at the beginning is the car his father had been working on when he was a kid.
As the police officers are trying to subdue Hurley in the parking lot, you can see a man standing in front of the store where the car crashes, video-taping what is going
The cop who interrogates Hurley is Mike from "Collision," who kept yelling at Ana to holster her weapon when they were responding to a domestic call.
When Hurley hallucinates that Charlie is swimming up to the one-way glass, if you pause the scene just before the glass smashes, you can see "They Need You" printed on Charlie's hand in marker.
At one point you can see Juliet digging graves on the beach for the Others who were just killed. She might be working with the survivors to get off the island, but the Others were once her friends, and this moment is the only one where we see how difficult it must have been for her to watch them mowed down, one by one.
When Abaddon visits Hurley in the mental institution, you can see several interesting things in the background. There's a chalkboard behind Hurley at one point, upon which is drawn a shark, a palm tree, a raft with a makeshift sail, waves, and a sun. Behind Abaddon you can see the word "Victory" written on the wall. Considering the significance of Abaddon's name (see page 153) this word is worrying.
When Abaddon leaves and the camera moves to the door closing, there appears to be a dark shadow (or, perhaps, black smoke?) on the door. Some fans speculated Abaddon was a manifestation of the smoke monster.
When Locke went to Jacob's cabin, the camera pauses on a painting of a dog sitting in the corner. The painting is there again, but when we first see it, it's on the wall to Hurley's right, and when the camera pans back to it, it's on the wall facing Hurley, as if the painting is as ephemeral as the cabin itself.
The man rocking in the chair in Jacob's cabin is none other than Jack's father, Christian Shephard. (Jorge Garcia later revealed in an interview that they filmed the scene in the chair with everyone else off the set, so Christian's presence would come as a surprise to the rest of the cast.)
Hurley's eye is framed by the broken glass in the window. In season 1, we always had a close-up of the eye of the person whose flashback we were seeing. This is a clever way to show Hurley's.
Locke tells Hurley that Charlie had written "Not Penny's Boat" on his hand, but Locke wasn't around to hear Desmond tell anyone that. Hurley must have just mentioned it to him off-screen.
Excerpted from Finding Lost Season 4 by Nikki Stafford. Copyright © 2009 Nikki Stafford. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
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