ep.0504 – The Little Prince
There was a time when Sawyer did little but sit around on the beach reading books that he’d pillaged from wreckage, or discovered elsewhere on the island. These interludes provided tiny clues into the subtext of the larger story at play, and frankly, I was beginning to miss the infusion of literary influence on LOST.
Then those sneaky writers go and pop in a title like The Little Prince. Sure, there’s plenty to discuss in regards to the story fitting in with tales from the island, but before we dive too deep in the obscure, let’s get one thing out of the way.
Jin! Alive! Jumping right ahead to the closing seconds feels, somehow, appropriate. After all, this was one hefty dangling thread from last season. Many suspected this arc would head in this direction, but toying with expectations is exactly what makes the LOST writers so successful at pulling the rug out from under us.
But more on that later.
The opening flashback is of particular interest, as we find ourselves back on Penny Widmore’s boat with Kate and Jack on the eve of telling the rest of the losties Jack’s intent to lie to the world. Kate share’s an additional request, the desire to present Aaron as her own.
What intrigues me about these flashbacks to Widmore’s rescue boat is that we seem to be moving backwards through time in this flashback space. The first time we were introduced to this period in time this season was Jack’s plea to lie in the season opener. Now we are given a glimpse at Jack pulling the strings with Kate the night before — seems perhaps he and Benjamin Linus are more alike? Or Ben has perhaps rubbed off on the good doctor?
Kate’s story introduces us to yet another player in the game, a lawyer named Dan Norton. What interests me in Norton is not that he turns out to be under Ben’s employ, but what he represents on a grander scale. Sure, we’ve long suspected that Ben has pulled strings and manipulated events, but how far does his reach actually extend? Norton’s execution of manipulating Kate suggests he may have more pull than anyone has really imagined.
And if said manipulation was intended to steer Jack and Kate in the direction of Claire’s mom, then what was the purpose? For what gain? Norton was also clearly involved in her settlement with Oceanic Airlines, but to what degree? Curious.
Back on the island, Charlotte awakens from her nosebleed collapse and the group (Faraday, Miles, Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, and Charlotte) head toward the Orchid in an attempt to realize Locke’s plan to leave the island. Here’s where things get spookily brilliant. During their trek, the group experiences another time jump, after which Locke sees a beam of light shoot out of the jungle and straight into the night sky. Later, Sawyer stumbles upon Claire giving birth to Aaron with Kate’s assistance. The significance of this night is resounding, because it’s actually the intersection of several key events from the first season — Boone’s death, Aaron’s birth, and Locke’s spiritual rebirth after pounding on the hatch in frustration.
From now on, let’s call the evening of November 1st, 2004 the nexus of the LOST trilogy. Exactly how it all fits together is elusive, but watching the events transpire in Season 1, it was impossible to deny that this night was of great importance. Revisiting it here in Season 5 just reinforces the scale of the scheme, as laid out by the writers.
Another thought, now that the island losties are jumping around time, could we presume that they might, in fact, be the sources of the voices that haunted previous seasons? That’s not the only question raised in The Little Prince. After all, who was shooting at the group while paddling on the canoe? And what does the titular French novel have anything to do with this episode in particular?
I’m lost when it comes to the former, but the latter seems to hold weight when taken in context of the entire show. To touch on just a little bit of thise, consider some of the key themes running through Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel. I’ve drawn up some LOST parallels with some of these themes below:
“It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important.”
Is this reflected in Sun’s absence from Ji Yeon? Or Jin’s absence from both Sun and Ji Yeon? Or consider the meta implications: the numerous daddy issue story lines permeating the series.
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
I immediately think of Locke’s sense of ownership over the island and the Others, but this could easily be extended to Jack and the losties, or better yet Alpert, or Jacob for that matter.
“One cannot see well except with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Some context, in The Little Prince the narrator is stranded in the Sahara when they meet the titular Prince (hello! stranded?) In the first 8 days (ahem, numbers?) of being stranded in the Sahara, the Prince demands a drawing of a sheep from the narrator. After many failed attempts, the narrator draws a box and explains that the sheep is inside the box. Since the Prince can see through the box, he exclaims that the drawing is perfect.
Need I mention the constant scrutiny Locke is placed under? He’s somehow special, and the island recognizes this, but why? Because he sees with his heart — he believes. He is a “Man of Faith” remember? That, and I recall Ben mentioning something about a box in a previous season (removing tongue from cheek).
+ The Prince focuses on caring for his planet…planet = island? Jacob? Locke?
+ The King can move the stars, etc. King = Jacob?
I digress. The brilliance behind literary infusion on LOST is that it can provide rabbit holes for us to get…ahem, lost in.
So yes, Jin returns, but even that isn’t enough to knock the wind out of any dedicated lostite, so the writers toss us the prelude to another long requested answer in the form of a very young (and pregnant) Danielle Rousseau and her research team, led by Montand. What happened to her in the early days on the island? Something tells me we are about to learn a bit more about our rifle wielding friend.