Finally, everyone’s favorite ghost whisperer (seriously, nobody actually watches that show, right?) got his feature episode, in which we learn just how long Miles Straum has had his spectral communicative abilities, and a whole lot about his relationship with the island and how he got back there. That’s right. Back there. As I (and pretty much every other Lost blogger/amateur theorist out there) suspected, Miles was that wee Asian baby whom Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle/Edgar Halliwax had to tend to in the middle of the night in the season opener, soothing the child to sleep with that skipping Willie Nelson record (although his wife would have preferred jazz). We now know that Miles and his mother were forced to leave the island before the boy was four or five, and that by that time, he had already developed his ability to hear the voices of the dead. I loved the scene where, on the first day in his new non-island apartment building, little Miles finds the body of a man who had committed suicide in his apartment, and keeps screaming “He’s still talking!” when asked how he knew to find the man.
Over the years, Miles started using his ability to talk to the dead for money. Only, as he later explains to Hurley on their fateful road trip to what will soon be The Hatch, Miles can only hear the thoughts the dead were carrying when they died, as their brains cease to function. Hurley, on the other hand, has entire conversations with dead people. He even sometimes plays chess with them. I wonder if the differences between Miles and Hurley’s spectral connections have to do with the presence of bodies. Hurley, it seems, is visited by ghosts as we traditionally know ghosts (or the island’s special brand of ghosts, whatever that may be), but Miles really isn’t a ghost whisperer at all. He has a psychic connection to the dead, but only in the presence of their corporeal form. Without it, he can’t do his job, per the scene with Mr. Grey, who asks Miles to speak to his dead son (now ashes) and tell him he loves him. Miles tells the man that it won’t work without the body, but takes his money anyway, only to much later return it, not because he lied to give the man closure, but because Miles’ own daddy issues got the best of him. “If you needed your son to know that you loved him,” he says, “you should have told him while he was still alive.” Pair that with the scene of cute young punk rocker Miles (seriously, how cute is Ken Leung with a labret and snake bites?) visiting his mother on her death bed to ask about his father, and his recoiling from her touch when she tells him that his father had kicked them out, and was now dead, but that his body, cryptically, was “someplace you can never go,” and you have the emotional core of this episode: Miles’ aptly referenced Skywalker-like quest to know his father.
But there’s also, I think, a hint in that scene as to why the good Man of Many Names sent his wife and son away. I think he discovered his son’s ability to read corpses long before his wife ever did, and sent them away for two reasons: 1) So that little Miles wouldn’t inadvertently learn many of the islands secrets that he wasn’t supposed to know, and 2) to protect them from that knowledge, whatever it might be–especially if Chang himself were to die and his son were to read his corpse. It’s precisely to learn the island’s secrets from its numerous corpses that Widmore sends Naomi to recruit Miles for the freighter mission. She alludes to the many people Ben has killed, and, I think, specifically to The Purge. She tests him by having him read the corpse of Felix, Widmore’s ex-delivery boy, who was bringing him papers, photos, pictures of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane . . . you know, for when Widmore faked the wreckage of Oceanic 815. Miles isn’t so keen to go, but he’ll do it for $1.6 million, only to shortly thereafter be kidnapped by Bram, one of the beachies (Choke‘s Brad William Henke), who warns Miles that if he doesn’t know the answer to the increasingly Sphinx-like riddle, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” that it’s probably not a great idea to go to the island. (It is perfect, by the way, that that character’s name is Bram, pronounced Brom, because Henke’s physical appearance reminds me of Brom Bones in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”)
That right there blew my fucking mind: Ilana, Bram and those other beachies clearly found their way onto Ajira 316 with the intent to make it to the island. Why they’re there, I haven’t a clue, but I’m beginning to think that the war Widmore was alluding to in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” wasn’t the Ben vs. Widmore war we’ve been preparing ourselves for, but perhaps a war between whatever weirdo cult Ilana and Bram belong to and people like Ben and Widmore who have had a long history with the island. I do get the sense that it will be a war for control of the island, just not between who we think it will be between. Either Ilana and Bram are “Old Ones” like Alpert who are coming back to lay claim to their ancestral heritage (although, really, why leave the island in the first place, if that’s the case?), and are not pleased that Alpert has relinquished control to effective outsiders like Widmore and Ben, or they’re as new as we know them to be and are indeed part of some weirdo island-worshipping cult. Whatever it is, I’m excited to find out. That shit is gonna be crazy.
Other things to note about this episode:
- Kate is totally fucking everything up by trying to be nice and flirt with Roger Linus. Thankfully, Jack isn’t totally retarded and manages to quell Roger’s suspicions that Kate kidnapped his son and did away with him somehow. It’s only a matter of time, though, before Roger “Work Man” Linus flips his lid and has to die.
- Hurley still doesn’t understand time travel and has been writing The Empire Strikes Back to try and sell it to George Lucas . . . except that Empire was totally already in the works after A New Hope came out. Dude, Hurley, when are you going to get this whole whatever happened, happened thing down? (Husband Note: Maybe Hurley goes by the pen name Lawrence Kasdan, and both Body Heat and The Big Chill turn out to be lies. He also manages to write Raiders of the Lost Ark in this period.)
- Apparently, Daniel Faraday has been partying it up at Dharma HQ for the past three years in Ann Arbor, MI. At the end of the episode, he makes his glorious return on the sub, which is good, because he needs to build some shit (see first episode of season).
- In keeping with Miles’ emotional core in this episode, my favorite bit is when, after much goading from Hurley about taking this opportunity to get to know his father, Miles looks in at Pierre Chang’s house and sees him reading to baby Miles like a loving father should. Miles is overcome with emotion as he realizes that his father didn’t hate him and that, like Mr. Grey, he should have been aware of that love when it mattered. Chang gets a call, however, that forces him to leave baby Miles and exit the house, calling out to the man he doesn’t realize is his grown son: “Miles, I need you.” To which Miles replies, his voice breaking, “You do?” Even though it was really about going to get that Ann Arbor sub, those were, in that moment, the exact words Miles needed to hear from his dad.
To me, the issue isn’t so much why the beachies were on the plane and why they were all up in Miles’ business, but how they knew that Ajira 316 was going to bring them to the island at all. There’s some massive conspiracy madness happening, and it’s pretty hard to believe that they could have managed to know that all the members of the Oceanic Six would have been on that flight (with coffin-locked Locke in tow). But I’m okay with that. This is a show of smoke monsters old enough to have hung out with Anubis, science-relative time travel and electromagnetic displacement. There’s a lot that’s hard to believe. Cuz it’s a sci-fi show, dammit.
But I did the new group, because nothing makes a terrible situation worse than a group of religious zealots. Organized religion SLAM!
I am, however, surprised that it took them this long to make a reference to Star Wars. I expected it to be the first thing out of Hurley’s mouth when he was told that they were in 1977. Like Firefly and Futurama, Lost seems to exist in that world where both Star Wars and Star Trek are both equally revered, and that’s kind of geek’s paradise. What makes it more of a geek’s paradise? Hot chicks who can throw down a beating.