Analysis: 4.13 There's No Place Like Home - Part 2

Part 1 of this 2-part analysis for There’s No Place Like Home Season 4 finale will deal primarily with the first half of the show – the cut off point being the moment Sawyer jumped out of the helicopter. Whilst I will not pretend ignorance of the events that followed this halfway point I will keep my focus on this first section.

We started the end of Season 4 at the end of Season 3, directly after Jack’s “We have to go back” declaration. Kate hit the brakes and took him literally, reversing to step out and let him know what she really thought.

The news that ‘Jeremy Bentham’ was dead, and what that meant (or didn’t mean) to Kate is, of course, only more profound once we know ‘Jeremy Bentham’ is John Locke. Ostensibly John Locke had appeared in 2007 to tell Jack and Kate that leaving the Island had been a mistake, that terrible things had happened because of it and they needed to go back for reparations. And Jack and Kate were not the only ones visited.

I wonder if Locke mentioned to Walt that in taller 2007 form he would appear on the Island. There’s possibility that, when Locke visited Walt and told him that the Oceanic 6 needed to go back to the Island, Walt used his special powers to travel back to Locke in the mass grave and inform him that, no matter what happened, he needed to prevent Jack from calling The Freighter to perhaps try and prevent the Oceanic 6 from ever escaping. . .

We know that Locke failed to stop Jack calling The Freighter – course correction has a knack of making sure of that so paradoxes are averted! – but it would form a nice closed loop on the ‘tall Walt appearance’ mystery neatly enough.

On the Island, Keamy confirmed that his mission was to bring Ben back to Widmore, alive. This ties in, potentially, with the situation Ben has found himself in. We have to assume that Widmore has been on the Island. During The Shape Of Things To Come he referred to the Island as his, and that Ben had taken it from him. Is it possible that Widmore on the Island once turned the wheel under The Orchid and found himself off the Island, leaving the way clear for Ben to claim ownership in his absence? And does Widmore require Ben to be with him, off-Island, in order to get back and that was why he sent Keamy to get him?

It’s a long-shot, I grant you, but if that’s not the precise nature of Widmore’s history and intention I certainly think it’s along those lines.

Potentially the nature of Island-life is to have a new leader replace the old one, constantly. Maybe Locke had a sense of this, and maybe, maybe he had a hunch that he already knew who his intended replacement would one day be: Jack. I am reminded of the scene in Season 1, the episode White Rabbit, where Locke convinced Jack to step up and become the leader of the Oceanic survivors.

Maybe that was why Locke was adamant Jack should stay, why he tried to make Jack ‘man of science’ Shephard believe in miracles, and why Jack’s departure was apparently so catastrophic. If the template for an Island leader involves daddy issues and crises of faith then Jack certainly fits the bill.

Locke: “Lie to them, Jack. If you do it half as well as you lie to yourself they’ll believe you.”

Jack would take Locke at his word – and with his ultimate declaration of “We have to go back!” and his surrender to Ben to do his bidding at the episode’s end, it appears Jack’s man of science façade has crumbled and given way to a man of faith ready to re-build himself and repent for what he has done. There’s an Island Chief in him, I tell ya!

This ever-changing role of Island Chief is set against the everlasting permanence of Richard Alpert. (If he does live eternally, it makes sense that he’s not the chief; once the chief, always the chief – and how limiting would that be?) He was on hand to help Sayid win his (ace) fight against Keamy, even if he didn’t deliver the fatal bullet. We knew Keamy wasn’t quite dead since The Freighter didn’t explode.

Ben did kill him though. With ruthless anger he stabbed him in the neck, citing the death of his daughter. Was this a more revenge-driven, non-plotting Ben we saw? One that had already realised Jacob had sentenced him to step-aside for Locke and permanently leave the Island? Is that why, when Locke told him he had just killed everyone on The Freighter, he replied, “So?” That was dark, very dark. And part of me does put it down to what Ben described as good command decisions getting compromised by bad emotional responses. But Ben, the man who always has a plan, had sown the seeds for his return to the Island. . .

Ben happily agreed to allow Kate and Sayid to take the helicopter (cue Kate’s gobsmacked expression). And he encouraged Jack to go, and take everyone, and ensure he was not on the Island within the hour. And let’s not forget, as a back-door plan, Ben had Walt off-Island already. My point is, the Island doesn’t like letting people leave and never returning – not until it is done with them. And so Ben letting everyone go, knowing he was leaving too, was perhaps just him booking his return ticket home. And speaking of returning home. . .

Charlotte: “Would it make any sense to you if I told you I was still looking for where I was born?”

A little more clarification on that matter would not have gone amiss! Taking Charlotte’s cryptic question and coupling in the remark Miles made about how Charlotte had spent a lot of time “trying to get back” we must draw a conclusion: Charlotte was born on, and then subsequently left, the Island. I get two interpretations of this. Potentially she was born on the Island, perhaps as part of the Dharma Initiative, and taken off the Island as a baby before ‘the purge’ (thus her interest in finding the polar bear with the Dharma collar, and being included in The Freighter mission to disable The Tempest).

For those that like their explanations a little more ‘out there’, taking into account it is Miles that knows Charlotte was once on the Island, I’m going to go ‘out there’ and suggest that perhaps Charlotte once lived on the Island in a former life. Yeah, as in she was reincarnated and somehow remembers her former life on the Island. . . As much as I don’t like the idea, it ties in with Miles and Charlotte’s comment to Dan. I hope it’s not true, but you read it here first if it turns out to be so!

Talk of Dharma, naturally, brings us to the big Station reveal of the episode: The Orchid. Here we were given an ‘official’ version of the Orchid Orientation film, reciting once again all that business about the Casimir Effect and Negative Shifts. Or time travelling bunny facilities, if you like to keep it simple.

Quite why the tape started rewinding I don’t know. Maybe it was built-in to the tape by Dharma originally – just another one of their twists on presentation to keep test subjects on their toes. Ben did say all Dharma ever did were “silly experiments”. But the tape did start rewinding at the crucial moment as ‘Edgar Halliwax’ stated: “For the briefest of moments the animal will seem to disappear, but in reality. . .”

Yes? In reality. . .? What? Evidently, it’s the same phenomena as would later move the Island. The rabbit, in the Orientation film, was apparently about to be sent about a second into the future – so where it seemed to disappear really it was just skipping a second, unless it was moved in space as well as time in which case there’s no controlling where it might turn up (as the original Orchid Orientation film previously released can attest).

The halfway point of Season 4’s finale came aboard the helicopter, rapidly running out of fuel, when Sawyer did the heroic thing and jumped out of it to lighten the load. (Speaking of which, who didn’t feel for Hurley and his visibly hurting expression when Frank remarked he’d feel better if the helicopter was 200 pounds lighter? I thought I heard my heart break for the big, lovable bastard.) For those that don’t know, just before he made his jump, Sawyer whispered this to Kate:

“I have a daughter in Alabama. You need to find her. Tell her I’m sorry.”

It’s reasonable to conclude that Kate, in keeping her promise to Sawyer, was either having secret meetings with a private investigator or, like I have suggested previously, had already met up with Cassidy (the mother of Sawyer’s daughter) and was keeping that relationship under wraps (understandable, given the danger the Oceanic 6 exist in).

Poor Jack didn’t stand a chance. In Something Nice Back Home he argued that Sawyer made his “choice” to stay on the Island, but some choice! Sawyer left a hero-sized hole in Kate’s heart Jack could never fill. In the meantime it was Jack that doggedly soldiered on, sticking to his promise that he had made to the Oceanic people about getting them off the Island. Unfortunately, even though Sawyer’s sacrifice meant they did make it to The Freighter, Jack and the rest were not quite home and dry just yet. . .

Part 2 of this Analysis will follow.

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