Ian Rogers’ Oceanic Update: Memoirs of a Ghost Whisperer, or All My Friends Are Dead People

Are the dead lonely? Maybe, but I think Miles, the man who can speak to them, is even lonelier.

Such a power might seem like a gift at first — you can ask those questions of the dead that you never got the chance to ask when they were alive — but in the long run, it makes for an extremely isolating lifestyle.

When Miles was introduced in season four, we knew him as a sarcastic loner working as a ghost whisperer for hire. In this episode we learned that he’s had this power since he was a child, and that his father was Dr. Pierre Chang, star of the Dharma Initiative’s orientation films. Or as he tells Hurley: “That douche is my dad.”

At some point in his childhood, Miles and his mother were kicked off the island by his father. I’m going to take a guess and say that Dr. Chang did this to protect them from the eventual Purge of the Dharma Initiative by the Others, although I don’t know how Dr. Chang could have come upon that information.

Maybe Kate tells him. In the two or three days she’s been living in the seventies, she’s had a real problem keeping up the cover story that Sawyer and Juliet have maintained for the last three years. As if I didn’t need another reason to loathe her. Was I the only one who wanted to throttle her after she went and told Roger Linus that his son was going to be okay? That she had a feeling things would work out in the end? Geez, why not just come right out and tell him you had something to do with Ben’s abduction? Sheesh.

“Some Like It Hoth” was definitely one of the weirder episodes. At times it was extremely serious, like Miles dealing with his daddy issues (which aren’t exactly helped along by the fact that his younger infant self is on the island, too), and other times it was quite light, like when we learned that Hurley is rewriting the screenplay to “The Empire Strikes Back,” so he can help George Lucas avoid what he sees are mistakes in the rest of the series (e.g., those blasted Ewoks).

One of the other lighter moments, but one that also reveals some important information, was the discussion between Miles and Hurley about their respective abilities. Miles can hear the dead, but, as he points out, their brains have stopped working so all he gets is a sense of who they were and what they knew before they died. Hurley, on the other hand, can have actual conversations with the dead. Miles responds brusquely and Hurley tells him, “You’re just jealous that my power is better than yours.”

We learned a bit more about the Swan station in this episode, including that it was constructed in “hostile” territory. This might explain why the Others left it unoccupied after their Purge of the Dharma Initiative. Also, the electromagnetism of the station has clearly always been a problem. In the seventies it’s causing people’s fillings to fly through their heads like bullets, whereas in our present time it actually threatens the entire world if a certain button isn’t pushed every 108 minutes.

I liked seeing the Orchid’s construction site again. In much the same way I’ve liked seeing all the Dharma stations in their heyday, a nice compliment to the rundown versions we first saw back in seasons two and three. I also liked Dr. Chang naming Hydra Island for the first time on the show, and mentioning offhandedly that he feels the experiments taking place there (e.g., polar bears) are “ridiculous.” Shows that not everyone in the DI feel that everything they’re doing is for the greater good.

And who is Bram? The mysterious passenger on the Ajira flight who was helping Ilana at the end of “Dead Is Dead.” It seems like he isn’t on either Ben or Widmore’s side. Is there a third faction involved? Why did he want to keep Miles from going to the island? Who is he working for? And what the heck does lie in the shadow of the statue? (My theory: Bram is working for the modern-day version of the Dharma Initiative. The one that’s still sending food drops to the Swan station.)

Okay, time for some Easter Eggs:

First of all, during Miles’s “audition” for Naomi, he is asked to tell what he knows about a dead body lying in the back of a restaurant. Miles says the man was on his way to deliver some papers and pictures to a guy named Widmore. Pictures of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane. This man was probably killed by Tom (aka Mr. Friendly), since the materials in his possession are almost certainly the same ones he showed to Michael in the season four episode, “Meet Kevin Johnson.” Tom told Michael that Widmore had faked the 815 crash that was reported around the world, the one where the plane conveniently ended up in a deep ocean trench where it could never be recovered. The question now is, were those documents merely a record of Widmore’s ruse, or was the operative retrieving intelligence that it was in fact Ben who faked the crash?

The lesson on the chalkboard that Jack wipes off in the classroom is on Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs. Another nod to the history of the island.

One final bit that I liked: In the scene where Roger Linus, Ben’s dad, goes off on Juliet and Kate for losing his boy, he storms out of the infirmary saying he’s going to talk to security. Juliet, sensing that this is the beginning of the end of their happy little life in Dharmaville, turns to Kate and says, “Well, here we go.”

With only three episodes left to go this season, I guess you could say that again.

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2 Replies to “Ian Rogers’ Oceanic Update: Memoirs of a Ghost Whisperer, or All My Friends Are Dead People”

  1. One of the major recurring themes on “Lost” has been, of course, that of reconciliation.

    Miles hates his Dad. Meets him (in the past) on the island. Eventually tells him of the purge that will occur. Dr. Chang (Miles’ father) forces his wife and son (baby Miles) off of the island, in effect sacrificing himself for them.

    Ta-da!

    Reconciliation!

    Another great column, Ian. In 70 minutes we get to find out what the kooky physicist has been up to all this time…

  2. I’m guessing it hasn’t been Mad-Libs.

    Or maybe it has. Daniel is a bit of a wack-job. Like all good mad scientists.

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