Lost: Down the Hatch – Meet Kevin Johnson
By Chris Kirkman
“Meet Kevin Johnson” Recap and Analysis …
Is it just me, or is “Kevin Johnson” one of the lamest pseudonyms you’ve ever heard? I think it just shows the Others’ utter disdain for Michael. But I digress. We got a strange bird this week – one of those hour-long flashbacks (and without the help of LSD!) combined with an OMG SHOCKER ending that left me scratching my head and kinda wondering why I should really care. Yeah, yeah, it was still a pretty good one, but I hope I’m not the only one that had the inkling of a thought that the writing staff was called out on strike about halfway through penning it.
But, hey, is this a review or a recap, right? It’s whatever I dang well want it to be, and get off my lawn. Right now what I want it to be is short. I never thought I’d say this, but thank the fates we’ve got another month before the next episode.
And … recap!
Previously, on Lost: It’s the future, or the present, or whenever, and Sun is the Oceanic Sixth. She has a baby. It’s a girl, called Ji Yeon. Oh, and Jin’s dead, by the way. Don’t get too attached. Meanwhile, back on the freighter, people can’t stop killing themselves. Sayid and Desmond find out that the Captain is pretty straightforward about the whole “working for Charles Widmore” thing, and throws out a black box from the supposed wreckage of Oceanic 815. On the island, Juliet’s a big old tattletale (still, she can tattle me anyday), Bernard’s the tropical Dr. Phil and Jack shows up for only about 15 seconds. Thank God. Oh, and in a little end-of-episode we-all-saw-it-coming, MICHAEL IS ON THE BOAT!!!!!!!
I think that just about catches us up.
And now, Meet Kevin Johnson.
This week’s episode-inspired drink recipe isn’t exactly inspired by the episode. I’m tired, cranky, worn-out and ornery, much like how I feel after I’ve been indulging a little too much in libations the night before. Yes, I’m talking about ye olde hangover, and I’ll bet it’s pretty much how Michael’s felt since he got off that damn island. So, in honor of my crankiness and Michael’s misery, I present to you the ultimate hangover cure – and ultimate pick-me-up when you have that not-so-fresh feeling.
The Classic Bloody Mary
Combine the vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco with ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass with ice. salt and pepper to taste. Add the lime if you so desire. And, of course, if you happen to be one of those people who keeps celery around, by all means throw a stalk in there. I usually end up just poking my eye out, but to each their own. And no whining about not liking tomatoes, either. I hate tomatoes, but I LOVE a Bloody Mary. Enjoy!
To make things a little clearer and to keep my sanity intact, I’m just gonna break this episode down into sections: The freighter, the long and winding flashback, and island life. Let’s get this party started.
Sayid and Desmond are still on the freighter, but Frank’s not. He’s out wasting gas and time travelling, apparently. Alarms sound and the Iraqi-Scottish duo spring up to the deck to find the good Captain beating the high holy crap out of a couple of the crew. He has a good reason, though. Apparently he subscribes to the age-old philosophy of “beatings will continue until morale improves.” Sounds good to me.
After spilling blood on the deck, the Captain orders Mr. Johnson to clean the mess up. Once everyone’s cleared deck, Sayid badgers Michael about why he’s on board. Michael simply tells him “I’m here to die.” Oookay, then. At least he’s not still bitching about getting his son back.
Sayid and Desmond go tooling around the boat and down to the engine room, where Michael’s “working” on the downtrodden engine. Michael asks the other guy in the room to go off and find him a flange vertex valve or some other piece of metal that I’m sure probably only exists inside the crankshaft of a ’69 Nova. Once alone, Sayid’s eyes go red and he switches into Terminator mode, throwing Michael into the wall of the room. And, lo and behold, a flashback spills out.
And … flashback!
Once upon a time, in a far away (is)land, there dwelt a man and his son. One day the son was kidnapped by some off-Broadway wannabes and the man was forced to lie, steal, maim and kill his way back to his son and float away from the (is)land in some rinky dink bass boat. And, lo, there was much angst.
Speaking of angst, he’s sitting in a rundown apartment now, apparently in Manhattan because, really, there is no other default city quite like it, and scribbling something or other on a piece of paper. Having finished that bit of business, it’s off to the run-down car that all directors assign to characters that are supposed to be at the end of their rope, and then straight off to the docks. Michael cranks the radio and cries a little as The Mamas and the Papas ironically sing about everything getting better. Then he guns the gas and rams the car full speed into a shipping container. Apparently not a Mama Cass fan.
He lives, though, and later wakes up in the hospital a little worse for wear. The door opens and in from the shadows walks Libby. This, of course, sends Michael into a hissy fit before he wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. The actual nurse comes in and asks if she should contact Walt for him. Apparently, the note he was writing was to his son, telling him that Michael loved him. A good, old-fashioned suicide note.
Sometime later we see Michael making his way to a house around Christmas time. A woman answers, and we all assume it has to be his mother, probably because she’s now looking after Walt whom Michael asks to see. Mama Dawson throws her hand on her hip, gets her sass on and tells him that there’s no way she’s gonna let him in after how much she traumatized the boy. He was gone for two months and won’t tell her where, nor will he let her tell anyone that they’re still alive and not at the bottom of an ocean trench like the other 300-something passengers on Oceanic 815. Michael simply asks her to tell Walt that he stopped by and that he loves him. Apparently Michael can throw in league with the devil himself, gun down one not-so-innocent latina and one innocent Libby and give up all his friends to the bad/good/whatever guys to get him and his son off the island, but he can’t stand up to one sassy black lady. Okay, so I have to admit that all that killing and lying and whatnot is probably an easier task, so I’m going to let this one slide. At any rate, as Michael leaves with his heart black as coal, he turns and sees Walt in an upstairs window. Walt doesn’t respond, but simply shuts the blinds. Ooh, burn.
Michael goes to a pawn shop and asks to sell off Jin’s Rolex (that damn watch has been through more than Butch’s dad’s from Pulp Fiction). The counter jockey looks at Michael suspiciously, then offers him a few hundred for it. But oh, no, Michael doesn’t want money. He wants a gun. With bullets. And he gets one since apparently the pawn shop doesn’t pay attention to the seven day waiting period.
Michael makes his way to a secluded alley (why are there always convenient secluded alleys in Manhattan?), pulls the gun from paper sack, loads it and points it at his temple. Before we hear a click and thunder, a man walks up and asks for the time. Well, whaddaya know, it’s old Tom. Michael hasn’t forgotten his old friend and soon stands and takes a shot at Tom. Tom’s having none of that, though, and soon disarms Michael. They get into a good tussle and then Michael plays dirty, breaking a bottle over Tom’s head, then tries to slit his throat with the shards (this never works in real life, people, just so you know). Tom has a gun of his own, though, and he simply points it at Michael.
Mr. Suicide wants it and begs Tom to pull the trigger. Uh uh, says Tom. The island’s not through with Michael just yet, and it won’t let Michael die. He hands the gun back over to Michael and tells him to give it a try if he doesn’t believe Tom. Tom tells him that when Michael is ready, he’ll be at the Hotel Earle, and the Others need his help.
To make a long story short, Michael musters the guts to pull the trigger one more time in his apartment later. The gun, of course, goes click. He’s gonna try again, but stops when a news report interrupts, telling everyone of the discovery of the wreckage of Oceanic 815. Michael’s brain flips sideways and soon he’s making his way over to Tom’s hotel.
Inside the penthouse suite, Tom’s enjoying some food and the company of his gay lover, Arturo. Yes, people, in case you missed the random memo that went out in an interview during the second season, Tom’s gay. I guess the Lost writers thought there was a lack of sexual diversity on the island and decided to expand a bit. Of course, by doing so, the only resulting moral we can glean from this whole backstory is that if you’re gay on or off the island, some redneck is eventually going to shoot you. Anywho, Mike wants some answers and Tom spills the beans. The wreckage was staged by Charles Widmore, who has somehow discovered the island and it’s magical properties, and who also doesn’t want anyone to find out about the place. The wreckage and the bodies were also put there so that no one would miss any of the survivors after he kills them all and claims the island for himself. Tom backs all this up with a neat little dossier full of photos of empty Thai graves and a receipt for a 777 from Planes ‘R Us. Shockingly, Michael buys the whole thing.
Tom then asks for Michael’s help, gives him a passport and informs him that he’s to infiltrate a freighter leaving out of Fiji. Michael wants to know why he should work for “you people.” Frankly, I never picked Michael as a homophobe. A borderline sociopath with some parental guidance issues, sure. But I digress. Tom plays to Michael’s guilt and tells him that this is his chance to set things right and do something good to redeem himself. By killing everyone on board the boat, of course.
Well, old Michael is soon on the docks in Fiji and the cavalcade of soon-to-be-dead people start popping up. First there’s Minkowski who welcomes him on board, then Naomi gives him a little props for knowing she’s from Manchester. She’s got a crate there for him, and will be delivered to his room later. Mike then bumps into Miles who calls his bullshit and tells him he knows that Kevin Johnson is a fake name. He tells Michael not to worry, though, as most people on the boat are lying about something or other. Tom gives him a call on his cell and reminds him that he needs to go through with all this if he wants to help out the people he screwed over on the island.
Out at sea, Naomi and Frank start arguing about the first trip to the island and Naomi tells him to shut his pie hole because she’s going first and he doesn’t need to know why. I’d like to know why, actually, other than as a paper-thin device to prep us for a knife-in-the-back cliffhanger last season. Frank gets tired of arguing and decides to go hang with Michael. They commiserate and Frank tells Michael all about his theory of Oceanic 815’s crash being faked. Michael tries to act surprised. Hey, looks like Frank may be one of the good guys. That means he’s probably going to die in a fire.
A little bit later Michael finds Mutt and Jeff out on deck firing submachine guns at dinner plates. It’s right about now that Michael finally gets the feeling that these guys are up to no good and heads down to his bunk to see what Papa Ben has sent to him. Inside is an ominous black case, which he promptly picks up and takes down to the engine room. He opens it. It’s a bomb, of course. I think they used this same suitcase bomb in Die Hard 3. No joke. Anyways, Michael does the whole arm the bomb thing and then lets his finger hover over the big, red execute button. C’mon, push it. Do it. Do it. Everybody’s doing it. He doesn’t want to … until he hears The Mamas and the Papas again. I’m telling you, he’s really got something against Mama Cass. The timer starts ticking down from 15, Michael says “I love you, Walt,” and then … a little flag pops up with a note that says “Did you know that the word gullible isn’t even in the dictionary?”
Obviously a little peeved at his mission being in limbo, Michael is working out some stress in his bunk with a little yellow ball. Minkowski walks in and tells him he has a phone call … from somebody named Walt. Before you can say “Give me back my son” Michael is in the radio room. Michael asks George for some privacy, puts on the earpiece and microphone … and is greeted by Ben’s voice. Total bummer for Michael, man. Ben tells Michael that he provided the bomb to teach a lesson – that Ben wouldn’t kill innocents and Charles Widmore would. Hell of a way to drive home a point there, psychopath. Michael tries to parry by throwing Ana Lucia and Libby’s death in Ben’s face, but Ben counter-attacks by saying that he never asked for their deaths and it was all Michael’s doing. Touché. Ben then asks Michael to get him a list of everyone on board, then disable the radio and the engine room and await further orders. If Michael will do this, says Ben, Mike can consider himself one of the good guys. Whatever that means in this crazy show.
MEANWHILE, back on the island, or Camp Locke to be exact, John has everyone gathered together with Miles so that Miles can tell them all why he’s really there. For Ben, he says. Duh, says Sawyer. Not so fast, says Locke. Betcha didn’t know that Miles’s orders after he gets Ben is to kill everyone on the island. Nope, Sawyer didn’t know that.
Later on down the line, Ben stops Alex and asks her to go with Karl and Danielle to The Temple so that she will be safe. He even drew them a map – a map that looks strangely like the one that Daniel Faraday used to find The Tempest. Coincidence? Meaningful? Only one artist on the production staff? You decide. At any rate, Danielle agrees that it’s a good idea to get the hell out of dodge, and so they leave.
She soon eats her words as she and Karl die at the hands of snipers on their way through the jungle of mystery. You see how I just kinda put that out there, with not much lead up? Yeah, that’s exactly how the ending to this episode felt. We’re left for five weeks with only the impression of Alex with her hands up, screaming “I’m Ben’s daughter, don’t shoot!” Someone’s been watching the first season of Heroes, apparently.
Cue the thonk!
So, yeah. We got a lot of episode, a few answers that don’t really mean a whole lot, and five weeks to ponder why Michael doesn’t like The Mamas and the Papas. Hey, at least we can all keep thinking how this whole time travel thing works, right?
You’ll have to forgive me here, but there just doesn’t seem to be as much to talk about in the analysis this week as usual. No spooky cabin, no smoke monster, no flux capacitors. I will, however, offer up a few little things that have me intrigued or perplexed.
Thing the one
Forget all this other flashback answery shit, can somebody tell me exactly how Michael piloted the retarded second cousin of the SS Minnow all the way across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, up the east coast and straight to Ellis Island? Yeah, yeah, perhaps he was picked up by a fishing boat somewhere, or he was wearing a license plate (ooooh, a cookie for anyone that remembers that Lost reference), but still. Come on, powers-that-be, throw us a frickin’ bone here.
Thing the two
I can’t quite figure out how the time dilation is actually affecting the time on and off the island. On one hand, the time Michael spent off the island is indeterminate and could actually be weeks or even months ahead of the time perceived as having past on the island. On the other, just enough time passed normally between Micheal getting off the island with Walt, his suicide attempts, his draft into the Army of Others and his passage on board the freighter. It’s a tad rushed, but it has been a season and a half now. We also can still only speculate as to when, exactly, the six get off the island. From the flash presents, it’s unclear how long they’ve been back on the mainland. This current storyline with the freighter may end with no one actually getting off the island and their passage coming at a later date. Of course, they may get off the island by season’s end. It’s anyone’s guess, really, as I don’t think we have enough clues otherwise. Personally, unless they have a clear plan to end the series next season, I think the writers are going to paint themselves into a corner if the six get off the island this season. That’s just my two cents, though.
Thing the three
Who else doesn’t know quite what to think about Widmore at this point? Did he really set up the whole crash or was Tom blowing smoke up Michael’s ass? Was the Captain actually telling the truth and Widmore isn’t really behind it all? We’re between a rock and a hard place here, as we can’t exactly trust Ben, nor can we trust Widmore’s people. Right now, I’m tempted to actually side with Ben on this one and believe, as I have for a season and a half, that Charles Widmore is at the root of most of this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull a double whammy on me. Personally, I think I’ll be happy either way. I can’t say it’s quite the same with the whole Michael reveal. Everyone and their brother saw that one coming.
Thing the four
Who thinks Danielle is really dead? There’s just too much dramatic meat left on that bone for her to die just yet. We just got introduced to a brand new mommy/daddy dynamic with her, Ben and Alex, and it just doesn’t seem fair to kill her off. Danielle’s not an extra, she’s been an integral part of the story for four seasons now and there wasn’t adequate closure to her storyline. I’ll be sad if that’s the end of her.
Thing the five
I don’t really have a fifth thing, but I can’t in good conscience close up shop without acknowledging one non-Lost related happening this week. Tuesday’s episode of Jericho was the series finale, and a lot of us fans had to say goodbye to some characters that almost felt like family. It was a good fight, we sent in peanuts – as silly as that sounds – and CBS listened, but we can’t win again. Jericho is gone and will be missed. I admire CBS for giving the show another shot and only wish that more people could have done the same. They missed out one helluva ride. If there are any fans out there reading this, I only have one thing to say: Nuts!
And that just about does it for this week. Lost will be back in about four weeks, and so will I. Until then, keep thinking those deep thoughts and if your mind gets all crafty, tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. He is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at email@example.com.
If killing Ana-Lucia and Libby was solely Michael’s fault, then the deaths of Sawyer’s parents were solely Mr. Ford’s fault. And Sawyer had no excuse to murder Anthony Cooper.