Lost: Down the Hatch – Smoke and Mirrors

Chris Kirkman

Chris Kirkman

“Lighthouse” Recap and Analysis …

Previously, on Lost: AlterniJack lands in LA X, but finds out that he’s lost his dead dad. Again. Back on the Island, Sayid dies and gets a rejuvenating dip in the dark zombie pool of infected undeath and is no longer pining for the fjords. Dogen and the temple guards try to convince Jack to slip Sayid a poisoned mickey, but he doesn’t go for it. Meanwhile, out in the jungle of mystery, Jin steps in a bear trap as a crazy-eyed Claire emerges from the jungle and starts taking out Others like she’s playing Duck Hunt. Yep, it’s all as insane as it sounds.

This week, on Lost: I’m down with the sickness. No, not that sickness – I’m not going to be ruining anyone’s day with an ax to their chest. It’s a miserable cold, or at least I hope. That means, however, that I’m jacked up on several cold meds that are making me loopier than an infected Aussie. It also means that we’re going to move pretty fast this week, so hold on to your butts.

The episode opens flash sideways-style on a really bad photoshopped picture of a young Jack standing with his mom and dad, but lucky for us it gets better as it goes along. We soon find out that AlterniJack is raising a somewhat-brooding piano virtuoso son who looks as though he attends Hogwart’s. We also learn that this Jack is a little bit less of a douche than his Island counterpart, although he’s also a little bit more of a momma’s boy. By the end of this look into Jack’s mirror, we see AlterniJack turn things around with his estranged son and they get a little weepy and head off to eat pizza together, probably with the rest of the cast of Party of Five.

AlterniJack’s boy, David. He may be dressed like he’s just out of quidditch practice, but he’s got the practiced broody brow of a student at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Back on Island Prime, Miles and Hurley play a rousing game of tic-tac-toe in the dirt until Hurley gets hungry and heads off into the Temple to find the kitchen. Before he can sniff out an Apollo bar, he runs into Jacob who tells Hurley that he needs his help guiding someone to the Island and that he’d better get a piece of paper, cuz it’s sort of a long, complicated mission. Instead of paper, Hurley writes it all down on his forearm like he’s going to be calling out football plays, no-huddle style.

Sure, let’s build a tic-tac-toe board out of bamboo poles, lotus blossoms and some wrapped wire, because drawing in the dirt with a stick is just too damn hard.

Anyways, Hurley heads through the Temple to find a secret passage marked by another of those danged heiroglyphs, but is stopped by Dogen until the ghost of Jacob shows up and tells Hurley to tell Dogen that Hurley can do what he damned well pleases because he’s a candidate. Dogen leaves in a huff. Then Jacob tells Hurley that he needs to bring Jack with him because it’s important, to which Hurley tells Jacob that getting Jack to do something is like getting lucky at an abstinence ice cream social. Jacob tells Hurley exactly what to say, so he goes to Jack and says that Jack “has what it takes” and then Jack makes that face – you know which face I’m talking about – and off they go into the jungle of mystery just like that.

Meanwhile, Jungle Claire has pried Jin loose from the bear trap she set and takes him back to her “camp” – which is built, interestingly enough, like the geodesic dome in the Swan, only out of sticks and fronds and tarp. Soon she drags one of the Temple Others that she supposedly shot two episodes ago into her dome and ties him up, telling him she’s going to get medieval on his ass until he tells her where Aaron is. While she goes off to sterilize some needles to sew Jin’s leg back up, the Other tries to convince Jin to let him go because Claire is clearly a few fries short of a Happy Meal and they’re both going to die horrible, gory deaths.

Claire returns, sews Jin’s leg up and tells him that she knows the Others have Aaron because her dad and her “friend” told her so. Ominous. Then she gets down to the business of threatening to smash the Other’s face in with an ax, until Jin tells her that Kate took Aaron. Claire stops for a second, shrugs, and then totally ruins the Other’s day by putting the business end of her ax into his chest.

Oh, Jungle Claire, how awesome are you?!

Out in the jungle of mystery, Jack and Hurley run into Kate because, well, ABC is paying Evangeline Lilly a lot of money and they might as well roll her freckled butt out every other episode.

Well, this was four minutes of the show that they couldn’t figure out what else to do with. Inside the writer’s room: “Hey, do we have Kate doing anything? No? Okay, have her and Jack have a little moment for those viewers who still give a crap about those two.”

Jack and Hurley continue on their merry trek through the jungle until Jack finds one of Shannon’s old asthma inhalers. Wow, we must be near the caves deduces Jack and, sure enough, they are. They go inside and Hurley finds the bodies of – lo and behold – Adam and Eve, whom I talked a bit about in my analysis for last week’s episode, “The Substitute.” Hurley gives an inside nod to all us whackos formulating theories when he tells Jack that he bets that they went back in time again to dinosaur times and they died and those skeletons are some of them. As usual, Jack isn’t really listening and instead decides to talk about himself and how he found these caves when he was following his dad’s ghost five seasons ago back in “White Rabbit.”

When his dad wasn’t in the coffin, Jack smashed it to pieces – a recurring theme with the good doctor which will soon be repeated later in the episode.

Jack and Hurley soon leave the caves behind and finally wrap up their “old school” trek through the jungle of mystery when they arrive at the Lighthouse, the sight of which makes us all go holy crap and get tingly with excitement, as usual. Jack kicks down the door because he never really had much respect for antiquity, and we’re off to the races.

Speaking of old school, that lighthouse isn’t even round. Awesome.

Once up top, the duo find a seemingly ancient wheel set on a pivot, with four mirrors along one edge. Hurley checks the game notes on his forearm, grabs a chain and starts pulling, rotating the wheel and the mirrors to a new heading.

Hurley tells Jack that they must have used mirrors because electricity hadn’t been invented yet. Oh Hugo, we love you.

He tells Jack to let him know when they get to 108°. As the wheel rotates, Jack notices a fleeting image reflected briefly in the mirrors and checks behind him, seeing nothing but open ocean. As Hurley continues to move the wheel, Jack sees another image and asks Hurley to stop and check it out. The wheels have turned too far and Hurley sees nothing. Jack glances down and notices that every degree heading has a name next to it, and he soon sees his name next to 23°.

There are other names on the wheel, of course. We’ll get to those. Keep your pantyhose on.

Jack demands that Hurley turn the wheel to his name, and when he refuses, Jack takes over. With the wheel set to 23°, Jack stands in front of the mirror and he and Hurley stare at a house reflected there. Hurley wants to know what it is.

It’s Jack’s childhood home, that’s what it is.

Jack figures that Jacob has been watching them all using this Lighthouse all this time, and demands to talk to Jacob so he can ask the little ghost WHY. Hurley tells Jack that it’s not like that, that Jacob just shows up whenever he feels like it, so Jack does what Jack can’t help but do – he picks up something heavy and starts smashing things like a three-year-old.


After Jack has gone all rageguy on the Lighthouse mechanism, they go outside where Jack sits on a cliff edge and broods for a good while. Hurley, in the meantime, stands by the Lighthouse, telling Jacob it’s mission unaccomplished and that Jack smashed up the mirrors and now whoever is trying to find the Island is totally screwed. Jacob says it’s totally cool, that he’s sure they’ll find some other way. This doesn’t sit well with Hurley since Jacob seems so nonchalant, until Hugo figures that maybe Jacob wanted Jack to see those images in the mirror. Jacob tells Hurley that sometimes you can just hop in the back of a cab and tell someone what they’re supposed to do, but sometimes you have to let some people – he’s not naming names, mind you – throw temper tantrums and then go off and sulk and stare at the ocean before they figure out what they’re supposed to do.

Hurley tells Jacob that next time he’d better be in on all the secrets. Jacob simply tells Hurley that he couldn’t risk them not coming out here because he had to get them as far away from the Temple as possible because someone really, really bad is about to drop in and that it’s too late for the people there.

And, speaking of bad people, we segue nicely back to Crazy Jungle Claire and her makeshift Thunderdome. Claire asks why Jin would say that Kate had Aaron and, fearing for his life, Jin tells Claire that he was lying to save the Other. Claire says good, cuz if Kate had Aaron, Claire would be forced to kill her. I’d pay good money to see Claire try and get all choppy on Freckles. Anywho, Jin tells Claire that he’s seen Aaron with the Others at the Temple, and she gets all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and asks how to get there.

Right about this time is when Locke – a.k.a. Esau, MIB, Ol’ Smokey – walks into the Thunderdome and says a big howdy. Jin is appropriately shocked, asking “John?”

Claire rolls her eyes a little bit as if Jin is being just the silliest sillyhead on the Island and says, “That’s not John. This is my friend.”

Ohhhhhhhh My Buddy, My Buddy… My Buddy and me like to get all choppy, My Buddy and me, we’re the best psychopathic friends that can be!

Cue the THONK!

Oh, it’s gonna be good times at the Temple next week.

So, I reckon there’s one big white elephant in the room that all of you want me to talk about, so I might as well get to it. I’m speaking, of course, about Kate’s larger role and whether she will ever return to the mainland to raise baby Aaron and be a good, loving mother and become celibate.

I’m just kidding, let’s talk about Lighthouses …

So … I guess you all want to see some names and images, huh? I dare not disappoint.

First off, it looks like Kate made the list after all, but she doesn’t get a special number since she’s at 51. Her name isn’t crossed off, though. Also on this section of the wheel is 58 – Burke, our lovely, deceased Juliet. Kwon, of course, is up there at 42, and 48 is Stanhope, which would probably refer to Goodwin who got stabbed by Ana Lucia.

Other names on the Lighthouse wheel include our mysterious 108 – Wallace. Covered up a little bit by the stupid ABC logo is 101, Faraday. Charlotte Lewis is at 104, Ben is at 117 (covered up a bit by shadow in this pic), and Dawson at 124. That’s Michael, naturally.

15 and 16 are Sawyer and Sayid, as we saw last week. 20 is Rousseau. 14 is Pryce, who was an Other seen primarily in season three. He was run over by Hurley in a Dharma bus in the season finale. Awesome.

I’ve tried to clean the following images up as best as I could from personal screenshots, but here are the other two locations that Jack glimpses in the Lighthouse mirrors.

The temple where Sun and Jin were married.

The church at Sawyer’s family’s funeral.

Interestingly enough, both of these locations are where Jacob first encountered and touched Sawyer, Sun and Jin, guiding them toward the Island subtly. In Jack’s mirrored reflection, we see his childhood home. However, in “The Incident” from last season, we see Jacob’s interaction with Jack when they run into each other in the hospital snack room. Were those flashes of interaction with the other Candidates simply indicative of the fact that Jacob had been guiding them for most of their lives? Or was Jack’s reflection special, somehow? Has Jacob really been involved in Jack’s life since he was a little boy? Could Jacob actually be … Christian? That must be the cold meds talking.

No drink recipe this week, folks, I’m too sick to experiment …

But I will say, however, that if you really want to forget that you have a cold at all, you can’t go wrong with Vicks Formula 44 Custom Care Cough & Cold PM. This is practically the Jaeger shot of cough and cold meds, and I’m about to take a big old swig and take the short bus to Sleepytown. Just make sure if you down a couple of shots that you don’t go and just jump behind the wheel of the Dharmamobile, if you know what I’m saying. Stay healthy out there.

At any rate, two things about these reflections are puzzling to me. First, Kwon is at 42° and Ford is at 15°. Jack is at 23°, which would mean that if the wheel were turning clockwise, we would see Sawyer’s reflection, then Jack’s, then the Kwons. If it was turning counter-clockwise, we’d see the opposite – but nevertheless, we would see Jack’s reflection in between those. Perhaps he just missed the reflection the first time since the wheel was turning so fast, or perhaps the powers-that-be weren’t really paying attention. And maybe I pay too much attention.

The second thing that puzzles me is the representation that appears in the mirror. We see important locations for all three, but, as I mentioned before, Jacob only touched the Kwons and Sawyer at those locations. Also, are those images static snapshots in time, or are they in “real” time? In other words, does the Lighthouse show the turning points in people’s lives, enabling Jacob to know exactly where and when he needs to show in order to guide them toward the Island? This is my initial instinct, as the Lighthouse is a device that allows a user to view only a specific moment, a brief imprint of an important temporal junction point. Sawyer and Jin and Sun were all making choices up to that point, but these particular moments were some of the most formative, creating a large temporal and quantum imprint because of the crucial branches that stemmed from that one moment and any choices made afterwards. In more literary terms, the Lighthouse points to the main fork in the road that represents an individual’s life.

We’re going to return to talking about alternate realities in just a bit with a special treat from Hobotrashcan.com founder, Joel Murphy. But first, I still have some Lighthouse business to attend to; namely, how insanely cool history can be.

The image at left is our Lighthouse from Lost. The image at right is the 1900-year-old Tower of Hercules in A Coruña, Spain, still standing and in operation.

The Tower of Hercules is based on the Phoenician design of the famous Pharos, the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Pharos was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the design of the actual lighthouse mechanism at top would have been similar to that of the Lighthouse in Lost – the use of mirrors to reflect sunlight during the day, and a pit to burn a fire to illuminate the mirrors at night. The ruins of the Pharos now lie on the floor of Alexandria’s harbor, underwater.

I mention all this only to strengthen the tie between the antiquities found on the Island and those of other ancient civilizations around the world, particularly the Egyptians. Plus, it’s also pretty rad.

When Jacob tasks Hurley with the mission of getting Jack to the lighthouse, he tells Hurley that he needs his help guiding someone to the Island. When Hurley gets there, Jacob’s instructions state that he should turn the Lighthouse wheel to 108° – and that particular heading has the name Wallace next it. Since we have never encountered another character on Lost with the first or last name of Wallace, who is this mysterious future visitor?

The options, as I see them, are:

Chuck Widmore, Des or Penny, Walt, Little Aaron

Logically, any of these five could be the person that Jacob mentions is coming to the Island. Of the five, Charles Widmore has the strongest desire to return to the Island, but the last name of Wallace is puzzling. The same goes for Desmond or Penny, even though Desmond would be an obvious strong literary choice. I think Des still has a large role to play toward the end of the season, but time will tell. Little Aaron could be headed to the Island in the custody of someone other than Claire’s mother, but Aaron is the least likely to be the Wallace in question since he’s only three and he can’t exactly sail his own ship or even drive, at this point.

That leaves Walt. When we last see Walt, he visits Hurley in Santa Rosa and asks Hurley why they’re all lying about the Island. He also asks about his dad, Michael. We’re uncertain under whose custody Walt currently lies – in fact, Walt could have changed his last name since leaving the Island. Perhaps that last name could be Wallace. Walt may have a great desire to return to the Island to try and find his dad, but also because he sometimes felt the same pull toward the Island as Locke. And, literally, having Walt show up on the Island for a final face-off against Locke would parallel the beginnings nicely – namely, Walt and Locke’s past bouts at backgammon, a battle against black and white.

It’s also important to note that no one may be coming to the Island – Jacob may have said that to Hurley just to give Hurley a fake mission to care about. The whole thing could be a red herring.


The Alice references in Jack’s tales are starting to get out of hand.

Okay, after six seasons, when Jack isn’t off growing a weird beard or getting strange tattoos in Thailand, you’ve pretty much caught on that something very Lewis Carroll-like is going to pop up in his storyline. This episode was no exception. Here are the important Alice references from “Lighthouse”:

The actual books, naturally. AlterniJack finds the annotated version of Carroll’s Alice books – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in his son David’s room.

Jack makes reference to “Kitty” and “Snowdrop” – Alice’s two cats from Looking Glass, one of which was white, the other black. Through the Looking Glass contains many references of opposites, such as the cats, that ties in nicely with the LA X reality versus that of Island Prime.

There’s a key under the rabbit. Jack pulls up a rabbit statue in front of his ex-wife’s house in order to get the key so he can go inside. This refers to the famous white rabbit that Alice follows into its burrow in Wonderland. “White Rabbit” was also the fifth episode of the first season, which showed the events that Jack described to Hurley in this episode – following the ghost of his father to the caves.

Mirrors are everywhere. There are mirrors all over AlterniJack’s house, and we see him inspecting his appendectomy scar in one of them. Shortly after that, we see Jack on the Island looking at his reflection in the pool by the Temple. Then, of course, we have the mirrors in the Lighthouse, which might provide a glimpse into another time or even another world.

I would delve further into the parallels between the alternate reality versions of the survivors and the themes in Through the Looking Glass, but I just don’t have the time.

Here’s the part wherein I ramble on about various things for a few sentences.

About the bearings in the Lighthouse – The bearing given to Michael in “Live Together, Die Alone” was 325°, which would allow him to escape the Island with Walt. From what I saw of the names on the Lighthouse wheel, I couldn’t see what name was at 325°. It’s interesting to note that Michael’s name, Dawson, appears at 124°.

The auditions sign says “Welcome All Candidates!” Again, I love the detail on this show.

23. This episode aired on February 23rd, Jack’s number, and the episode flash sideways were all about Jack. This was also the 108th episode and unless you were asleep during the show, you saw that number pop up a few times, as well.

LA X is what the world is like without Jacob. Basically, the AlterniSurvivors are all living the lives they would have lead if Jacob had never appeared to them at that crucial juncture and “pushed” them toward a certain choice.

Damon and Carlton like poking fun at us. I’m speaking of Lindelof and Cuse, executive producers, creative team leaders and the writers of this particular episode. They spoke through Hurley in the caves, talking about the wild time travel theories that surrounded Adam and Eve since the first season. They’ve also had fun lately with the biblical references, joking just a bit about the early theories that the Island was purgatory. Also, I found it pretty funny that there’s a whole underlying “smoke and mirrors” theme, particularly after this episode. The smoke, of course, is MIB.

Eresid. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the parallels between the mirrors in the Lighthouse and the magical mirror of desire in the Harry Potter books – especially since I already made a Hogwart’s and a quidditch reference in the column (I’m so ashamed). This parallel was mentioned to me by my friends Joelle and Rebecca, both big Potter geeks. I, myself, am unabashedly ignorant of most everything Potter-ish, so if you non-Muggles want to take this conversation further in the comments section below, please be my guest.

Speaking of magic, in relation to my speculations about Jacob, MIB and the Island’s possible alien, futuristic or multidimensional origins in my analysis for “LA X,” we should all remember Arthur C. Clarke’s third law of prediction: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Yeah, that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

Island Prime Jack had his appendix taken out in season four, by Juliet, in “Something Nice Back Home.” AlterniJack was confused by the scar, not remembering exactly when his appendix was removed. Remnants of memories of an alternate life? Quantum entanglement? Or simply an object that serves to remind us of how very different this LA X timeline really is.

I mentioned earlier a little special treat for those who follow the column every week. Wait no longer, because here it be.

The ability of the Lighthouse to glimpse at a moment when choices can create whole alternate realities ties well into the multiverse theory I mentioned last season and expanded upon in this season’s analysis for “LA X.” To help carry the load a little bit this week, and to provide a little something different for all of you, the main Hobo himself, Joel Murphy, has contributed a mini-review of the DC Crisis animated flick I mentioned last week, and how the themes and plot relate to what’s going on with Lost. The forum is all yours, Joel!

That’s really me and Joel up there, fighting over who gets to take control of the Hobo Radio podcast.

Joel Murphy writes: Last week in this column, Chris recommended I check out Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (which should come as no surprise to anyone who listened to Hobo Radio 116, since you all heard how bossy he can be). I had a chance this week to watch it and I have to say it was a fun little film. While I will briefly tell you about my thoughts on the film as a whole at the end of this mini-review, I know that as Lost fans, your biggest concern is how this movie relates to what is currently going on in the show.

Interestingly enough, the plot actually ties in to a concept floating around back in the early seasons of Lost – the evil twin. The heroes of the Justice League are recruited by a good Lex Luthor to travel to a parallel dimension where evil versions of our heroes run a group called The Crime Syndicate, which controls the United States through fear. But it’s revealed in the film that these two earths are simply part of a larger multiverse – one with infinite earths. Kirkman did a great job explaining how this multiverse concept relates to Lost, but if you are still a little hazy, Owlman (the alternate earth’s evil version of Batman), gives a really concise explanation of the concept in the movie, which is as follows:

“Welcome to Earth Prime. Before there was thought, there was this place. One earth, with a single history. But with the coming of man came the illusion of free will. And with that illusion came chaos. With every choice we make, we literally create a world. History branches in two – creating one earth where we made the choice and a second where we didn’t. That’s the secret of the universe, you know? Billions of people making billions of choices, creating infinite earths. Some so similar to each other you could spend a lifetime searching for any distinction. Others so radically different, they defy comprehension.”

For Owlman, this realization is devastating. He realizes that this means his actions are of no consequence. As he explains, “Every decision we make is meaningless because somewhere on a parallel earth, we have already made the opposite choice. We’re nothing; less than nothing.”

He decides the only solution is to destroy the source. He believes that if he blows up the original earth – Earth Prime – that it will destroy all of the other parallel earths, which would be the only decision someone made that ever truly mattered.

This does tie in to what we’ve seen on Lost. The Oceanic survivors detonated the atomic bomb in hopes of altering history, but while that does destroy the island in a parallel universe, it doesn’t change things in the original Lost universe, which seems to indicate the decision didn’t really matter. Perhaps, like Owlman, the Man in Black’s plan to finally free himself from the island involves somehow destroying the island at its source. He could be using Sawyer, Claire and his other recruits to help him go back and destroy the island on Earth Prime.

The big difference I see between Lost and Crisis on Two Earths is that in Lost, I believe that ultimately these two universes will converge back into one timeline. I think the choices these characters make do ultimately matter and that they are all leading toward one definitive conclusion.

While Crisis on Two Earths may not answer all of Lost’s great mysteries, it is a fun little film. If you are a fan of the Bruce Timm DC Animated shows, I definitely recommend checking it out since this story was originally written as a bridge between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. The project was scrapped at the time, but they decided to dust off the script and turn it into a standalone movie. As such, it was stripped of the animated series continuity and the creators purposely hired new actors to voice the parts (which sadly means no Kevin Conroy as Batman). However, the actors they did get do a good job – James Wood and Gina Torres in particular seem to be having the most fun. Woods actually plays Owlman, so it’s his voice explaining to you how the multiverse works, which is a fun little perk.

End review.

In the context of what Joel has to say about Owlman’s revelations and how it affects him, it seems as though Jack is having a very similar crisis (no pun intended). Since seeing those reflections in the Lighthouse mirror, Jack is wondering if all the actions and choices that he’s made in the past are really his and hold any consequence. Is he free to make his own choices, or is he simply a puppet on a string? Even if he is in charge of his own will and own destiny, do his choices really matter when there can be so many outcomes and no way to tell which is the right destination? This is awesome food for thought, as is the idea that MIB could be recruiting for the destruction of Island Prime.

That about wraps it up for this week. I’d like to thank Joel Murphy for acquiescing to my review request and giving us all more to think about. I’m going to check out Crisis on Two Earths this weekend, as a matter of fact. For now, though, I’m going to down another swig of cold medicine and possibly lay down to die. If I’m not moving in the morning, would someone slip me into the Temple Spring? Just make sure the water’s clear, thanks. Until next time, keep thinking those good thoughts and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.


Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman 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 ckirkman@hobotrashcan.com.

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