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Raised by Another

January 25, 2010

This is the first Claire centric episode, and it holds a lot of resonance for what comes after. In fact, the title of the episode itself could reference both The Others and that she and Jack share the same father. In the episode, her boyfriend also references her “daddy abandonment issues.” This episode continues with bigger issues and more mysteries. And it’s also the one where Charlie makes explicit his desire to be Claire’s friend, her refusal due to his “trying to save me,” and Charlie’s acknowledgement to her of being a drug addict. All of these will continue to figure in as the series progresses.

The subplot in this episode involves Hurley making a list of passengers on the plane, getting the manifest from Sawyer (who comes up with my personal favorite Sawyer nickname for Hurley: Stay-Puft), and finding out at the very end for the cliffhanger that Ethan Rom was not on the plane. This is the first time where the subplot directly ties in to the main plot of the episode.

It also incorporates another “mystical” element with the psychic Claire sees in her flashback. I like the fact that a few episodes earlier, while Claire is sitting on the beach with Kate, a mention of astrology is made. Thus, this flashback plotline didn’t seem jarring or out of place. That’s another thing I enjoy about going back and watching these episodes again. Not only are things referenced sometimes seasons before they have relevance, but that through natural dialogue, small character quirks are revealed that have relevance a few episodes down the line. The writing and characterization on LOST is just so natural that it makes most of the rest of what’s on network television seem cartoonish by comparison. Granted, there are occasional awkward dialogue moments (usually involving Jack), but not enough to detract from everything else.

This is another reason I’m glad that as of yet, there’s not been a full-on exposition episode that explains things. The writers and producers trust their audience enough to show and not tell and let the audience figure out for itself what is going on. And in this episode, Claire’s nightmares help with that. Watching this on Blu-Ray for the first time all the way through on a 65″ TV, I just noticed that in Claire’s first nightmare, John Locke’s eyes were replaced by the dark and light backgammon pieces. Previously, I had obviously seen that they looked strange, but not exactly why.

And here rises a question…we know later in Season 5 that the “man in black” has taken over Locke’s persona on the island in that timeframe. We also know that in the flashes through time, one stopped with Claire giving birth. Could it be possible that the flashback storyline with the psychic might also indicate Claire’s openness to subliminal suggestion or some other mental ability (astral projection, invasion by others in the dream-state, etc)? This might hint that the Locke that Claire sees in her nightmare is Mr. X or whatever the internet name du jour for him is at the moment. But this again raises the question that if it is indeed Mr. X, he seem to be instilling in Claire that she needs to raise the baby (eventually, Aaron) by herself and not give away the responsibility. Of course, eventually, Claire disappears, and is finally discovered in Jacob’s cabin with Christian (who is, of course, her father). If my Christian theory that I’ve already discussed holds true, and he is also a manifestation of the same mysterious man in black, could this not suggest that part of his plan has been foiled when Kate takes Aaron off the island? If we assume that the man in black is the “bad guy,” and that Jacob is the “good guy,” and the MIB tells Claire that she needs to raise the baby herself, but she eventually settles in with Christian in the cabin, this might also indicate that the MIB WANTS Aaron off the island. Hopefully, with Emilie de Ravin being confirmed for the final season, we will get some resolution on how she and Aaron fit into the scheme of things once it gets closer to endgame. Something tells me, both will be important.

Island mythology: 1.5 out of 10. Although it’s not specifically stated in this episode, this is the first indication of the reveal later dealing with pregnancy problems on the island. And if my theory above holds true, it would add a bit more to the mythology. But even with both of these, nothing about the island itself is really revealed. I’m not going to give this a zero, but it’s close.

Philosophical concepts/themes: 3 out of 10. This episode does reveal (albeit subtly) one of the underlying themes of fate (the psychic foresaw Claire’s fate and therefore strongly encouraged her to be on the plane). This is also a precursor to Desmond’s later revealed similar abilities, and one of the ongoing themes of the show (psychic abilities, communion or communication with the dead, being “special”…basically, all of the pseudosciences encorporated under the tag “mental powers.” Another unexplainable fate-based phenomenon happens when two different pens refuse to work when Claire gets ready to sign the adoption papers, prompting her to put herself in a position where she eventually ends up where she needs to be. And the black/white dichotomy/struggle is again referenced briefly.

Character development: 6.75 out of 10. Claire’s background is more fully fleshed out, laying the groundwork for her and Aaron’s presumed importance later. Although not a lot of growth is shown, we come to understand (via her abandonment at the hands of Aaron’s father) why she is hesitant to trust or get involved with Charlie. She does relent at Charlie’s insistence near the end of the episode to return to the caves, so she is slowly beginning to trust him.

Importance of episode to the series: 8.25 out of 10. This is the first episode that directly deals with pregnancy and Claire and her baby. This of course leads to the reveals later of pregnant women dying, and Juliet’s later introduction as a fertility doctor, and has a bearing from that to Sun and Jin’s relationship. It’s also the first episode where an Other is fully introduced as to what he is, which of course later leads to the survivors meeting, fighting with, and later joining forces with (to a certain extent) the Others. All in all, even though it’s not apparent in this episode viewing chronologically, lots of things revealed here have major implications on what is to come.

Personal enjoyment of episode: 7.75 out of 10. It’s another solid episode that incorporates both interesting story/backstory and hints at things to come. Plus, the creepy look on Ethan’s face right before the ending puts a nice cap on the episode.

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