Analysis: 4.7 Ji Yeon

If Ji Yeon hadn’t been such a beguiling trick of an episode then that sucker-punch ending might have hit faster and harder. As it was, the truth took a while to sink in. What truth? Why, the truth that Jin is dead. Not just dead in the ‘died on Oceanic 815’ sense that the real word believes, but dead dead. As in, he died on the Island. As in, we’re yet to witness the moment it happens but it will happen. Jin will die. Jin is dead. Indeed, for some Ji Yeon was such a tricky episode they perhaps can’t bring themselves to believe it. But I am certain. Jin is dead. Allow me to explain why.

Jin’s grave had his death-date as September 22nd, 2004. The date of the crash of Oceanic 815. Here is stone proof that the real world has Jin as one of the passengers that died. Probably there are about 300 other gravestones similarly marked. The truth is set. In flashforward land, the world considers Jin to be dead. He wasn’t with Sun because he is dead. He wasn’t there for the birth of Ji Yeon because he is dead. Jin’s gravestone in the flashforward, and his remark about being married for two months in his flashback, confirmed the discrepancy.

If you hadn’t already realised, that was the trick of Ji Yeon. We saw Sun in a flashforward. We saw Jin in a flashback. The flashback and the flashforward were played against each other in a neat manner to make you think they were both occurring within the same timeframe. The business with Jin buying the panda afforded a sick irony; pandas being creatures that are notoriously bad at reproducing linked in with Jin and Sun who for so long were unable to have children – the punchline being that Jin finally did get the daughter he dreamed yet was not around to see it. If that doesn’t break your heart then what does?

So the real world believes Jin is dead. The real world believes he died in the Oceanic 815 crash. That’s one hundred per cent definite. What makes me consider if Jin is dead dead depends on what I believe flashforward Sun thinks of her husband. And I think she thinks Jin is dead dead. I think Hurley does too. I think the pair of them know Jin is dead, and that means he died on the Island.

I think of Sun’s grief. “I miss you so much.” She took her newborn baby to Jin’s gravestone. If she knew that, really, he was actually just stuck on an Island then her behaviour here would be fairly weird. Sun was not talking like a woman that knew her husband was out there, somewhere, alive. And furthermore, Hurley journeyed all the way to Korea to be with Sun at Jin’s grave. If Hurley knew Jin was actually alive on the Island he would be riddled with guilt (“they need you”) not solemnity. “I guess we should go see him,” he remarked, before they went to Jin’s grave. Hurley is aware that people were left behind and alive on the Island – but here he displays conviction that Jin was not one of them.

“You will never lose me,” said Jin to Sun. This is the promise he made, but it’s a promise that a dead man can’t keep. I mean, honestly, I hope I’m wrong. I think Jin is great. I hope Sun either believes he is dead by mistake, or I’ve just misread the whole situation. But hope is a very fragile thing.

Here’s a terrible underlining. Sun has only three weeks to remain on the Island before she becomes fatally sick with her pregnancy. Juliet outlined her timeframe and things get bleak very quickly unless Sun gets off the Island pronto. That means Sun must leave, with the rest of the Oceanic 6, within three weeks. That means Jin will be dead within those three weeks. As I said, I hope I’m wrong.

Phew. All this talk of death is really depressing. Let’s try and lighten the mood. Here’s a joke for you:

Q. Why did the woman wrap a thick chain around her body and jump off a ship into the ocean?

A. Because she was plagued by traumatic, mental strain caused by close proximity to a mysterious Island!

Admittedly, it’s not the funniest joke in the world. Yet when we witnessed Regina (or ‘she who nervously reads upside-down books’) commit suicide in such a bizarre manner it’s hard not to smirk. But it’s clear that life on The Freighter is no laughing matter. If you’re not caught in the yo-yo of consciousness time travel before your brain bleeds out of your nose, like Minkowski and Brandon, then you’re going quietly insane enough to become a jittering wreck that eventually ends yourself, like Regina.

The bloodstain on the wall, from freshly blown off head I guess (very Radzinsky), allows us to appreciate that Regina’s suicide was not unique. “Some of my crew has been dealing with what might best be described as a heightened case of cabin fever,” said Captain Gault. It’s not certain what this ‘sickness’ is (I use that word deliberately; we may have our first inklings about the infection that Rousseau spoke of afflicting her team), nor why only some of the crew have been affected (Rousseau was apparently not affected by this ‘sickness’ which adds parallels to her story and the “cabin fever” effects).

As for Captain Gault, well, he apparently can’t be trusted. A subtle note told us so. So all of his talk about how Ben was responsible for staging a fake Oceanic 815 with the bodies of 324 people on board should be taken with a pinch of salt. He’s either been fed the wrong information by Widmore, or he’s deliberately trying to get the likes of Sayid and Desmond to ally with him. Given his crew members are rapidly dwindling I guess he needs all the help he can get. Trouble is, he’s got a pesky saboteur on board. . .

It’s handy that Ji Yeon had that surprise ending, as the ‘surprise’ that Michael was the saboteur on The Freighter wasn’t hard to see coming. In the 30 days since Michael left the Island he’s been busy. Somehow he has managed to ditch Walt, appropriate a new identity (hello Kevin Johnson!) and get a job on The Freighter.

Did he run into The Freighter in the boat he sailed from the Island? If he did, where has Walt gone? (Is he on The Freighter? Tapping on the pipes?) Or has Michael been to a mainland and willingly got himself on Widmore’s Freighter in attempt to right the terrible wrongs he committed and rescue his fellow Oceanic passengers? His story should be made a lot clearer in the next episode, but my hunch is that Michael will be a key element in the eventual rescue of the Oceanic 6 and Walt, somehow, is probably his key motivation.

Speaking of which, apparently we now have our full Oceanic 6 line up. Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid and Sun are definites. Our sixth is probably Aaron (although his status as an Oceanic passenger is dubious, I guess he must still count as an Oceanic survivor!).

So those are the ones that will make it, but this episode, lest we forget, was all about one of them that didn’t. The tortured fisherman. The devoted husband. The loyal friend. He can’t really be dead, can he?

Can he?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, as usual. Just so you know, I come here for my episode recaps as well as your other posts. Keep 'em coming! Thanks!!