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Lost Exegesis (House of the Rising Sun) -- Part 2

Part 1 of the essay can be found here. Unlike that part, this one will have spoilers of future episodes.

Watership Down

I have to admit, I was wrong. In the White Rabbit entry I claimed that Watership Down was in four straight episodes. It is not. But have no fear, it will appear again. Nonetheless, we might consider that the book has been “invoked” by virtue of the rabbit on the bus outside the airport terminal where Sun decides to stay with Jin. As such, we will continue to explore this rather delightful tale.

In terms of plot, Part 2 of Watership Down doesn’t have much to do with House of the Rising Sun, but there are a couple of interesting resonances. For example, the rabbits, led by Hazel, form a new warren which they dig out underneath the roots of a massive tree. They call their new home The Honeycombe. So we have a convergence of bee symbolism, the World Tree, and “caves,” just like this episode.

The rabbits make friends with a large bird, Kehaar, who speaks with a thick accent and performs reconnaissance for them. They use this to their advantage when they realize they ...

Lost Exegesis (House of the Rising Sun) -- Part 1

It’s been a while since we had one of these LOST Exegesis posts! So sorry for the delay. It couldn’t be helped. And not just the nearly two months since the last one of these -- I had trouble accessing Eruditorum Press last night.  Anwyays, enough excuses.  It's been a while.  As such, please remember that Part 1 of the essay is spoiler-free. For those who’ve seen the entire series, the second part of the essay, titled “Through the Looking Glass” (and appearing next week in the second part of this massive post), applies foreknowledge to the episode at hand.

So, on to the episode at hand. House of the Rising Sun is complex. Not to say that it’s difficult to understand; on the contrary, it’s rather straightforward, at first glance. It’s here we discover that whatever preconceptions we had about Sun and Jin, they were a bit wrong – these characters are not crass stereotypes – she’s the spoiled rich girl, he’s the poor nice boy corrupted by her father, who would have guessed that? It may have been Walkabout when I fell in love with the show, but it’s House of ...

Lost Exegesis (White Rabbit) -- Part 2

Part 1 of the essay can be found here. Unlike that part, this one will have spoilers of future episodes.

Alice in Wonderland

Next up in the Intermission is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, and directly referred to in the dialogue and as well as being referenced by the episode’s title. Before we examine the manner of the title’s use, let’s take a brief look at Alice. Her adventures cover two books (the other being Through the Looking Glass) and are often issued as a twinset. LOST will certainly play with the Alice story in future episodes – the Season Three finale is titled after the second book, and Jack will read from the “Pool of Tears” chapter in Season Four.

Alice is ostensibly a children’s fairy tale ruled primarily an aesthetic, one that’s largely surreal and operates according to dream logic, what with all the talking animals and such. But the aesthetic is not completely arbitrary – rather, it relies primarily on finding new and strange meaning within the familiar, and in teasing out and secondary meanings for words that it can muster. The famous Jabberwocky poem, for example, is loaded with ...

Lost Exegesis (White Rabbit) -- Part 1

White Rabbit really does represent a rabbit hole for the series. The Pilot was, well, the pilot, the story to get you hooked. Tabula Rasa was what an ordinary episode of Lost television might look like, and Walkabout showed off all kinds of technical and emotional chops. And all of them played with certain intriguing aesthetics. This episode plays off each of the previous ones, demonstrating a certain structural and thematic continuity, while continuing to broaden the chasm gaping open upon the show’s Mysteries.

We should start with the Flashbacks and the Mirrors. Two episodes in a row now, we’ve begun with an Opening Eye in the focal character’s Flashback. This is an example of continuity, a way of visually juxtaposing two characters, in this case Jack to Locke. It also makes three of five episodes opening with the same image – this is now a part of the show’s overall language, a language that is largely symbolic or at least unspoken (which we’ll get to, I promise).

We’ll get to the Locke/Jack stuff in a bit, but first let’s take a longer look at these Flashbacks. Jack’s first is when he ...

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