Lost: “Cabin Fever”


I’m going to keep it short because I’m preoccupied with another project at the moment, plus this episode is so remarkable I’ve been rendered speechless. It even resurrected my favorite recurring Lost catchphrase, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” That line is to Locke the one-time preemie/ex-paraplegic/perennial outcast what “B.A.D.: Balls, Attitude, Direction” was to an asthmatic Nicolas Cage in the Kiss of Death remake.

Okay, I’m not quite speechless, but I feel like I’ve run out of words to say about the Locke-centric “Cabin Fever.”

(Spoilers after the jump)

That’s mostly because of the final line in “Cabin Fever,” the trippiest line to ever conclude a Lost episode: “He wants us to move the island.”

Say what? During Locke’s long-awaited reunion with Jacob, the human manifestation of the island, as well as the actual leader of the Others (Ben admits to Hurley that he isn’t always the head honcho), Jakey Boy tells Locke that in order to save the island, he must move it? Just like how Jake has moved his wheelless mobile home to random spots all over the island?

How does one move an island? Sure, Superman was able to do it in The Passion of the Kent Superman Returns. But in the Lost universe, nobody has the strength to lift an entire island out of the sea like Supes.

However, one extraordinary ability that’s a reality in this universe is the ability to never age, without having to rely on Dick Clark youth cream, Botox or disturbing-looking Lara Flynn Boyle-style cheek implants. Take Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) for example.

Alpert, a recruiter for the Mittelos Bioscience Corporation—a front for the Others—has been seen at many different points in the series timeline. Ben encountered Alpert on the island when he was a boy, and then decades later, Alpert recruited Juliet to conduct medical research. Alpert’s never aged a day.

“Cabin Fever” reveals that Alpert’s even older than we think. He visited Locke shortly after he was born and then again a few years later, when he tried to recruit the kid while he was in foster care.

I can understand why Alpert wanted to recruit young Locke for what I assume was the same special school where young Ben received his education in “The Man Behind the Curtain.” It’s because Locke has a special gift. He can communicate with the island, whether in his dreams (as we see in his vision of deceased Dharma mathematician Horace Goodspeed, who’s played by the former Eugene Tooms, Doug Hutchinson, and by the way, why was Horace’s left nose bleeding?) or outside of them. Locke shares this gift with Ben, who’s able to summon and unleash one of the island’s creatures, the smoke monster, as if it were a pitbull. But why was the never-aging man from Mittelos (an anagram for “lost time”) dissatisfied with young Locke’s answer to the school’s bizarre recruitment test?

And what’s the reason for Batmanuel‘s inability to age?

I don’t think Alpert is even alive. My theory is that he’s like Christian Shepherd (John Terry), a dead man who’s been resurrected by the island to serve as one of its mouthpieces, to lure those who will listen—like Locke and Claire—to some sort of purpose or mission that has yet to be fully explained and has been hinted at in those trippy final words: “He wants us to move the island.”

Here’s an even wilder theory: I think Alpert is Locke’s real father, not “The Man from Tallahassee,” conman Anthony Cooper (Kevin Tighe). It explains Alpert’s interest in Locke and his visit to the hospital after Emily (played by Swoosie Kurtz in “Deus Ex Machina” and played here as a teen by Holland Roden) gave birth to John. A nurse even asks Emily’s mother (Rebecca Tilney) if Alpert is the baby daddy. When I rewatched the teaser, in which Emily’s mother disapproves of her daughter’s much older boyfriend, the first guy I thought of was Alpert.

Going back to the Shepherds, what’s up with Claire’s serene and slightly creepy expression while she’s chillaxing with her dad in Jacob’s cabin? Is she among the dead too now? Did Claire actually perish in that explosion that decimated her house on the Barracks?

Also in “Cabin Fever,” a power struggle breaks out between Keamy (Kevin Durand) and Captain Gault (Grant Bowler), who realizes his boss Charles Widmore is the greater of two evils in the Linus/Widmore feud and helps Sayid and Desmond escape the freighter. (But Desmond, who’s hopeful about reuniting with Penny, chooses to stay on the ship.) Keamy snuffs out Gault and emerges triumphant. The merc is also revealed to be the man who killed Ray (Marc Vann), the freighter doctor whose body washed ashore in “The Shape of Things to Come.” Keamy is currently a more menacing adversary than Ben, who’s been turning into a more vulnerable and humble figure, as we see in Ben’s great “Destiny, John, is a fickle bitch” scene and his unexpected acceptance of his destiny—he’s not the island’s “chosen one.”

Next on Lost: We learn why Claire doesn’t join her baby Aaron on the plane ride back to civilization, plus it looks like we get to glimpse the plane ride itself.

On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…

“Cabin Fever”: 42, which is fitting because “He wants us to move the island” is almost as enigmatic an answer to a crucial sci-fi question as “42.”

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