'Lost' (S3): What's up, ''D.O.C.''?
Teasing this week's "Lost" episode, which revolves around Sun. Plus: An imagined chat with Joseph Campbell, revisiting Walt's comic book, and brainstorming a Henry Gale spin-off
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‘Lost’ (S3): What’s up, ”D.O.C.”?
In which Doc Jensen spills a bean or two about tonight’s Sun-centric episode, ”D.O.C.”
1. ”D.O.C.” stands for ”date of conception,” although given the deadly baby-making dynamics on the Island, it could stand for ”dead on conception.” Tonight’s episode deals with both ideas. Of course, ”D.O.C.” also looks like ”Doc,” which is fitting because fertility doctor Juliet has a big role in the story. (Hmmm…Maybe ”D.O.C.” should also stand for ”deceitful or credible?”) ”D.O.C.” also sounds like ”Dock,” which could refer to the animal mutilation practice of ”docking,” which has also been applied to humans as a form of corporal punishment. Example: the brand Juliet received for killing Danny. Docking is something of an eye-for-an-eye punitive practice, and as the Others have indicated, they seem to adhere to an eye-for-an-eye ethos. All of which makes me wonder if the Others are hell-bent on killing Charlie for the murder of Ethan. We shall see. Speaking of death…
2. Tonight, we will make a return visit to the Medical Hatch, and discover a secret room that Kate and Claire missed on their last visit.
3. Tonight, Jin will do kung fu.
4. Better yet, tonight, Jin will do kung fu on someone you thought was dead, but is very much alive.
5. As for whether or not Jin’s kick-ass martial arts compensates for the fact that he allegedly shoots blanks, if you know what I mean — well, tonight will settle that question, too.
6. The very last scene of the episode, you’re going to hear something that makes your head spin. After it stops rotating, and you’ve wrapped your mind around the cause, the first thing you need to do is send me an email at JeffJensenEW@aol.com. Next week, I’ll offer an extended survey of your reactions.
THE POWER OF MYTH IN LOST! FIRST IN AN OCCASIONAL SERIES!
In which Doc Jensen imagines barging into a conversation between journalist Bill Moyers and the late Joseph Campbell to ask the famed mythologist a few questions about the tropes and archetypes swirling within the Lost matrix.
[Quotes taken from The Power of Myth, pages 153-154; written with respectful admiration for both Moyers and Campbell.]
DOC JENSEN: Now here’s something interesting, guys. Here in season 3 of Lost, the show has doted heavily on themes of troubled father-son relationships. But recently, it has veered sharply toward issues of motherhood, and in particular the physical ordeal that is unique to the female experience — childbirth. What do you make of that?
JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Well, in heroic narratives, ”the male usually has the more conspicuous role, just because of the conditions of life. He is out there in the world, and the woman is in the home. But among the Aztecs, who had a number of heavens to which people’s souls would be assigned according to the conditions of their death, the heaven for warriors killed in battle was the same for mothers who died in childbirth. Giving birth is definitely a heroic deed, in that it is the giving over of oneself to the life of another.”
BILL MOYERS: ”Don’t you think we’ve lost that truth in this society of ours, where it’s deemed more heroic to go out into the world and make a lot of money than it is to raise children?”
CAMPBELL: ”Making money gets more advertisement. Motherhood has lost its novelty, you might say.”
DOC: It’s also interesting to note that it’s an interesting time for a show like Lost to dote on themes of parenting and creating new life. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Joe, but the world has kinda gone downhill since you died in 1987. It’s enough to make you wonder: Why would anyone want to bring a life into this world?
MOYERS: ”That’s a wonderful image, though — the mother as hero.”
CAMPBELL: ”It has always seemed so to me. That’s something I learned from reading these myths.”
DOC: Motherhood as heroic endeavor, as a heroic labor, if you’ll pardon the pun. That’s an idea that really resonates with me, having seen tonight’s episode of Lost.
MOYERS: ”It’s a journey — you have to move out of the known, conventional safety of your life to undertake this.”
CAMPBELL: ”You have to be transformed from a maiden to a mother. That’s a big change, involving many dangers.”
MOYERS: ”And when you come back from the journey, with the child, you’ve brought something for the world.”
CAMPBELL: ”Not only that, you’ve got a life job ahead of you.”
DOC: Interesting. On Lost, we have a bunch of people who’ve been dinted, dinged, and even horribly damaged by their parents, which in turn puts them at risk of being pretty bad parents themselves — assuming they would want to be parents at all — which has interesting implications for the survival of the human species. Maybe that’s why these people have been brought to the backwater mythscape of The Island — to create a new life-affirming mythology for mankind, one uniquely suited to address the world as it is today.
CAMPBELL: Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t watch the show. We only have one TV up here in heaven, and the only thing anyone wants to watch is American Idol and CSI spin-offs.
DOC: Ewwww! Are you sure you’re in heaven?
CAMPBELL: What are you saying? That I’m in purgatory?
DOC: Nah. That theory’s been debunked. The producers of Lost said so.
CAMPBELL: So if I live in a world where the only thing people watch is American Idol and CSI spin-offs, then guys…where are we?
DOC: Uhhh…never mind. Maybe ignorance is bliss, after all.
To be continued…
DO-IT-YOURSELF DOC JENSEN CRAZINESS
In which Doc Jensen challenges you to discover the extraordinary Lost resonances that can be found when one makes the link between Walt’s comic book from season 1 and the Superman vs. Flash debate in last week’s episode, ”Catch-22.”
Walt’s comic was called Faster Friends. You can read a short summary of the comic at Lostpedia.org. In light of everything we’ve seen since the destruction of the comic book in season 1, the comic book deserves revisiting, as it seems stuffed with Lost themes.
Now: since 1967, Superman and Flash have raced against each other several times in the comics. Check out these tidy summaries at this website — you’ll see that many of them reverberate with Lost ideas, from father issues, long cons, and time travel/black hole science. But the story I REALLY want you to check out is the one from 2004, which is the same year Oceanic 815 crashed. It’s about Wally West, the nephew of the Flash, who had assumed his uncle’s mantle following his death. It deals with his loss of memory (see: John Locke/clean slate) and struggle to discover himself. The title of this story: ”Fast Friends.”
Coincidence? Email me at JeffJensenEW@aol.com!
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HENRY GALE?
A creative response to a lingering Lost mystery that everyone seems to have forgotten.
Last year, Lost introduced a new character by the name of Henry Gale — and I’m not referring to Ben Linus. I’m talking about the guy that’s buried in the grave under the hot-air balloon in the tree, the one with the driver’s license that showed us the face of an African-American man and a Minnesota address and the name ”Henry Gale.” For several episodes, Ben posed as this man, or at least borrowed his name. The story Ben told may or not may not be the story of the real Henry Gale: according to the deceitful Other, Gale and his wife arrived on the Island via hot-air balloon, whereupon Gale’s wife became afflicted with the mystery virus and died. If this story is technically true, and Gale didn’t come to the Island alone, then…which one is buried in the grave, and where did the other one (Other one?) go?
The Gale micro-mythology captured my imagination and I’ve never forgotten it, even though it seems the show has. But who knows? Maybe Henry Gale is actually…the mysterious Jacob? Maybe we’ll find out in ”The Man Behind The Curtain,” the title of the Ben-centric episode airing in two weeks, a title which, like the name ”Henry Gale,” is linked to The Wizard of Oz.
But maybe it would be best if Lost never solves this riddle. Because if it doesn’t, it means that the elaborate theory that I’ve invented for Henry Gale could always remain possible! In a nutshell: It’s my belief that Henry Gale is/was a very famous, very successful private investigator who was trying to find Desmond Hume on behalf of Penelope Widmore. Pretty simple. But ever since I came up with this idea about a year ago, a whole Henry Gale backstory — a micro-mythology, if you will — has unfolded in my mind, worthy of its own spin-off series. In the pilot episode, we’d be introduced to Henry Gale and learn how he became involved in the Desmond/Penelope drama. The rest of the series would adopt a structure not unlike The X-Files: stand-alone private detective stories with a surreal twist (The Rockford Files meets The Twilight Zone) interspersed with mythology stories devoted exclusively to his hunt for Desmond. I imagined that the series could be a venue for exploring the extended family of Lost characters. For example, Penelope Widmore would be one of the main supporting characters on the show, as would Teresa Cortez, better known as Ana Lucia’s LAPD cop mom. I also imagined that Gale’s quest to find Desmond would lead him into conflicts with powerful forces that wouldn’t want Desmond to be found, including the Widmore Corp. and Mittelos Biosciences. The series would probably be pretty short-lived, and it would end with Gale getting in that balloon, crashing on the Island, and…surviving! As for the true identity of the body in the grave, and what happened to Gale…well, that would be a mystery that Lost itself would resolve.
The show would be called…well, I don’t have a title. But I do have the summary of the pilot episode, which I’m going to share with you today. Consider this a Lost theory in the form of fan fiction. (You’ll know what I mean by theory; check out who I have pegged as Gale’s daughter.) And if you have any ideas for a title, or future episodes — let me know! The ”Untitled Henry Gale/Lost Spin-Off Project” can never exist in reality, but it could exist here!
”UNTITLED LOST SPIN-OFF/HENRY GALE PROJECT”
PROPOSED CAST: Terrence Howard (Henry Gale), Marsha Thomason (Naomi Gale), Richard Roundtree (Henry B. Gale), Rachel Ticotin (Teresa Cortez), and Sonia Walger (Penelope Widmore)
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Henry Ian Cusick, Rene Auberjonois, William Mapother, and Nestor Carbonell
PILOT EPISODE SUMMARY
Meet Henry Gale, the last honest private investigator in Los Angeles. He can find anyone…except his missing wife. His screwed-tight principals and tight-lipped discretion make him a favorite among the high and mighty, but underneath his cool-cat veneer is a heart troubled by freaky father issues and a tumultuous relationship with his free-spirited, college-aged daughter, Naomi. The pilot episode takes place in summer 2003, one year before the disappearance of Oceanic 815, and tells a story that will change Henry’s life and set in motion a chain of events that will ultimately lead him to the Island.
After an opening scene establishing Henry’s profession and a minimalist credit sequence evoking Lost‘s stark, swirling title, the story proper begins with Gale receiving a call from a lawyer named Rene Descartes (Rene Auberjonois) requesting a meeting. Gale tries to decline, citing family business; he had promised to accompany his daughter, a budding pilot, on a flying lesson. But when Descartes offers $1 million just to take the meeting, Gale agrees. Though this initially seems greedy on his part, we later learn that Gale needs the money to pay off debts accrued by his father, Henry B. Gale, a gambling addict.
Gale arrives at Descartes’ office suite, a bustling workplace. (Easter Egg details suggest that the firm’s other clients include Apollo Candy Bars.) Getting down to business, Descartes explains to Gale that he represents the American interests of Penelope Widmore, daughter to a powerful British billionaire. Penelope has become convinced that her missing boyfriend, a struggling Scottish artist named Desmond Hume, has run afoul with some bad people. His last known whereabouts: Los Angeles. Why was Desmond in Los Angeles? According to Descartes, that’s what Penelope wants Henry Gale to find out.
After struggling to find any evidence of Desmond’s presence in Los Angeles, Gale reluctantly turns to his old friend Teresa Cortez, a commanding officer in the LAPD. In the process, we learn that Gale used to be a police officer, but he quit after his decision to testify against some corrupt cops made him quite unpopular within the department. With Teresa’s help, Gale gets the break he needs. Turns out that Desmond arrived in town one month ago in hopes of meeting with a diverse group of eggheads — art historians, cartography experts, and most curiously, scientists specializing in alternative fuels. In most cases, he was rebuffed, dismissed as a raving lunatic; one of them even filed a complaint with the police. Gale pays a visit to this person, a scientist, who tells him that Desmond purported to have ”proof of a vast conspiracy that is suppressing evidence about the existence of God.” Apparently, this conspiracy even had a codename: ”The Dharma Initiative.”
Gale is certain that Desmond is a nutjob and that his distant British client has very bad judgment when it comes to men. But in the parking garage following his meeting with the scientist, Gale is assaulted by two men that Lost fans know to be Ethan Rom (William Mapother) and Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) of Mittelos Biosciences. They threaten Gale to resign the case, ”or else there will be consequences on a magnitude more profound than merely the end of your life.” The two mystery men walk away, but not before issuing the following promise: ”You will be given the courtesy of one more warning. But it will not be as pleasant as this.”
Nonetheless, Gale presses on. (”No one tells me what I can’t do!”) Eventually, Gale learns that Desmond has succeeded in getting three of his ”experts” — a controversial super-string theorist known for his dubious conjectures about time travel and alternate realities; a philosopher noted for his radical perspectives on empiricism and consciousness; and a writer of obscure science fiction novels — to meet with him at a location near the waterfront. After reporting this information to Descartes, the lawyer abruptly orders Gale to cease his investigation. But the gumshoe is much too curious — and much too pissed off in the wake of his assault — to give up. He wants answers; he wants to know what the hell is really going on. And so he resolves to spy on Desmond’s waterfront meeting — and then make contact with the brooding Scot afterward and press him for explanations.
That night, from a spot on a nearby rooftop, Gale snaps pics of Desmond and his three experts as they enter a waterfront warehouse belonging to a Korean concern known as Paik Shipping Co. But within seconds of entering the warehouse, Gale hears gunshots and sees a masked figure sprinting out the door. The detective investigates and discovers the bullet-ridden bodies of the three experts and a wig styled after Desmond’s long hair. Also on the floor is a pin shaped like a snake chasing its tail. Gale picks it up and studies it — and just then, the cops arrive.
At police HQ, Gale is interrogated, and rather rudely, too, as his former brothers in law enforcement consider him a traitor for participating in the corruption probe. Gale uses his one phone call to contact Descartes — but learns that the number has been disconnected. Gale’s instincts are telling him that this whole caper was rotten from the start.
After spending the night in the clink, Gale’s old police pal Teresa bails him out and stuns him with this revelation: the whole matter has been dropped. ”This is coming from the Powers That Be — and they don’t tell me anything,” says Teresa. Gale is baffled. Teresa tells him to let it go.
But he can’t. And the evidence of a bigger conspiracy continues to mount when Gale goes to Descartes’ office, only to find that it’s been completely cleared out. According to the building manager, Descartes’ firm was never even a tenant. But the man, named Mr. Moyers, refuses to offer any further information.
At wit’s end, Gale decides that his only recourse is to seek out Penelope Widmore (Sonia Walger). He assumes that she’s the spider at the center of this web, and assumes that it will be extraordinarily difficult to get access to her, seeing she must be all powerful and evil and all…but upon arriving in London, Gale finds that contacting Penelope is as easy as walking up to her door and knocking.
Over tea in her library (Easter Egg shot: Donald Barthelme’s novel The Dead Father), Penelope reveals many things. 1. She never hired him. 2. She doesn’t have a lawyer named ”Rene Descartes.” 3. The ”Desmond Hume” in Gale’s photos is not the Desmond Hume that she knows. 4. The Desmond Hume that she knows has been missing at sea for two years; 5. Prior to shipping off, Desmond mailed her a diary stuffed with pictures (including a snapshot of she and Desmond taken on the day they broke up) and filled with cryptic notes about electromagnetic energy, a science project called the Dharma Initiative, and an island in the South Pacific occupied by survivors of an airplane crash. 6. Accompanying the diary was a note that read: ”If something happens to me, this is where I’ll be. Come find me.” 7. Since Desmond’s disappearance at sea, Penelope has been reaching out to various experts in many fields, hoping that they might be able to help her make sense of the notes and drawings in Desmond’s diary. 8. However, none of the experts she had contacted were among those that died in the warehouse.
Penelope’s conclusion: Penelope has a powerful enemy — someone who knows she’s been trying to decipher Desmond’s secrets. Henry was basically hired as a means to send her a message: Stop what you’re doing. Now.
Henry is more confused than ever, and he’s more certain than ever that this Desmond dude is a total loon…and yet, he’s got a good feeling that Penelope is telling him the truth. He asks her if she has any idea who could be behind this. Penelope says that yes, she does — but she refuses to tell him. ”Trust me, Mr. Gale: you don’t want to get involved in this.” Gale says that he can’t just let it go. He feels humiliated for having been played for a fool, and worse, he feels he has blood on his hands and has an obligation to bring the killers of those men in the warehouse to justice. Unfortunately, Penelope says his quest is one that he’ll have to pursue alone — at least, for now. ”In light of recent events, I’d like to reconsider how I should proceed,” she says. ”I’ll be in touch.”
Before they part ways, Penelope cautions the detective: ”Be careful about obsessions, Mr. Gale. They always begin with the best of intentions… but they usually end in the darkest of places.”
Henry Gale returns home. We see the payoffs to the B and C storylines. Gale makes amends with his daughter for putting off their flying date. Then he visits his father’s bookie and pays him off. At the end of the episode, Gale returns home and finds an envelope under his door. He opens it and removes the glossy photo inside…
It’s a picture of his wife, tied to a chair. A gun is held to her head. And a sign is propped in her lap. The message: ”Your second warning. Stop.”
Music swells. Gale’s face tightens in fear and anger. Cut to black and title — BONG!
To be continued…if you want.
Until next week, when I’ll have Lost links and a big bag of reader mail to share with you — Doc Jensen
Questions? Theories? Email me at JeffJensenEW@aol.com, or simply fill out the form below!