TV Club

Season 6: Flower Power

Gents: Allow me to begin with a complaint this time instead of building up to one. I wish that I were writing about next week’s episode, “Ab Aeterno” —Latin for “from the beginning of time,” if your computer isn’t close by—which promises to be all about Richard, the enigmatic, forever-young guy. Whenever I feel like I’ve had all the soap opera horseshit I can stand from Dr. Jack and Sawyer and Kate and Juliet and Jin and Sun, Richard reliably appears on-screen and calms me. I guess I’ve always had a weakness for guys who wear eyeliner.

But back to “Recon,” which, I admit, was as engaging as any Lost episode I’ve ever viewed. In sideways Los Angeles, Sawyer is a police detective named James Ford, who uses “LaFleur” as a code word during an undercover operation. “LaFleur,” you’ll recall, is the last name that James took when he and Juliet, Miles, Faraday, and Jin joined the Dharma Initiative in the Season 5 episode, “LaFleur.” What strange botanic symbolism is afoot? There’s the Orchid station; there’s Bernard’s wife, Rose; in “Recon” there’s the big honking sunflower that James Ford brings to Charlotte’s apartment; and in “LaFleur” (the episode), I believe James picks a flower for Juliet. Chad, can you command your Lost database to determine what this flower power means, if anything?

Did either of you appreciate the Bullittreference? In sideways Los Angeles, James tells Charlotte that he became a cop in part because of the movie Bullitt. It’s a crap movie except for Steve McQueen’s ultra-cool performance as a cop and the action sequence in which he and his hot 1968 Ford Mustang GT romp through the streets of San Francisco in pursuit of a 1968 Dodge Charger. It was, up until that time, the greatest car chase ever filmed. In obvious homage to Frank Bullitt, Det. James Ford also lives simply, subsisting on frozen dinners at home. But what the hell does the Bullitt reference really mean? Likewise, what’s the meaning of that copy of Watership Downin James’s apartment? (I know Sawyer was reading Watership Down on the beach in Season 1’s “Confidence Man,” but what was the point of showing us the book then? And what is it now?) And I’m not even going to bother asking why James is watching Little House on the Prairiealone in his apartment. Having heard enough of Michael Landon’s dialogue, I command both of you not to speculate.

There’s a lot more to graze on, but before I sign off tonight I want to point out that Smokey Locke gave a little support to my theory that a coming episode will tie everything together by explaining that the island is connected with the origin of the universe itself. In trying to win Kate’s trust, Locke tells her he knows how she feels, giving her this speech about how his “mother” was crazy, and that he had “some growing pains,” and something or other could have been avoided if things had been different. Could Locke’s astounding (even by Lost standards) lack of specificity mean that we’re supposed to understand his speech as pure allegory? Is his “mother” really Gaia?

A couple of last-minute housekeeping items: Nobody got shot in the torso! Well, maybe nobody but the pile of dead people on Hydra Island. … Open warfare almost always follows “recon.” … Like Dr. Linus in last week’s episode, James is only half-good. He’s a cop, but he’s still set on killing the man who conned his parents. … And finally—and the credit for this one must go to my wife—when James showed up at Charlotte’s with that flower and the six-pack and she shut the door in his face, I wished he’d said, “Leave the flower. Take the six-pack.”

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