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March 28, 2012

Back to the Island 2.16 – The Whole Truth

Filed under: back to the island,reviewage — lexifab @ 11:58 pm

It’s late, I’m tired and I spent the evening crafting necessary correspondence rather than diving into the tricky exposition scene about magical Tibetan counterinsurgency that I need to get done. Well, it won’t be any less nonsensical in the morning I guess.

March is proving to be a month of major disruptions to my routine and April’s not looking much less wayward. I’m about as productive as a Footy Show brains trust this month. I have a short story half-written that will only be readable once a laborious formatting effort has been applied (i.e. fundamentally unsaleable and possibly unreadable). I’ve written a few hundred words on the novel. And there’s this Lost review, which is at least finished.

Back to the Island 2.16 – The Whole Truth

“Sun, my advice – and it’s just that because I’m the last person to ask about this but – you should tell him. And when you do, tell him everything. The whole truth.” – Jack Shepherd

Summary: Way back when, Sun and Jin’s on-the-rocks marriage more or less ended when they learned she couldn’t conceive. On the Island, she’s pregnant.

The Best Bit: Sun and Jin’s complicated relationship is one of the strengths of the show. It’s never quite straightforward – because both are wilful, and proud – but at the same time they are deeply in love with each other. Their problems usually stem from the fact that they keep secrets from each other, a plot device which in most television series has me throwing things at the screen. You know what it’s like – if only this jerk had talked to that jerk, none of this would have happened. But what makes the Sun-Jin thing work is that for much of the time, they keep their secrets with the intention to preserve their relationship (or at least stop it getting any worse). It’s that self-destruction in selflessness – and the fact that they are both capable of learning to own their mistakes – that makes theirs a compelling relationship. (Of course it’s not always selfless. They both act selfishly at times, but rarely foolishly).

And oh, these two are so gosh-darned sweet. When Jin admit his vulnerability, Sun tells Jin that he was the sterile one all along. His pride could probably have done without hearing this news. She tells him she’s never been with anyone else. Jin could justifiably express some doubts as to the credibility of her combined claims. Instead he takes her at her word and accepts her pregnancy as a miracle.

Then she accidentally lets slip an “I love you” and he says it right back to her in halting English. Awww, sugars – no way this will end in tears, right?

The Worst Bit: There’s no real worst bit in this episode, so I’ll just note that the Henry Gale plot continues, with Ana Lucia using her cop wiles to get him to produce a map to the spot where his balloon supposedly crashed. “Do Jack and Locke know about this?” asks Sayyid. “Jack and Locke are a little too busy worrying about Locke and Jack,” replies Ana Lucia. Great line.

The Mythology: Sun’s pregnancy test kit is a product of Widmore Labs. That name will show up again. Other than that, and the ongoing question of Henry Gale’s Other-ness, it’s an unusually mythology-light episode.

The Literature: Sawyer, who gets through books pretty fast for someone who suffers eye strain, is reading “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume. It’s about exploring faith and surviving puberty. Sawyer calls it predictable, and who am I to argue?

The Episode: ‘The Whole Truth’ is all character – there’s not an action sequence to be seen. The main plots with Sun and Jin is lightly counterpointed by short scenes with the Island’s other married couple, Rose and Bernard. Bernard is trying to find a pearl to give to Rose; she thinks he’s forgotten her birthday. It’s an elegant parallel, but understated to the consistency of a souffle. There are also meatier scenes though. Sayyid seems to forgive Ana Lucia for shooting Shannon, having decided to transfer his rage to the Others and, by extension, to Henry Gale. Henry meanwhile continues to alternate creepily between terrified naivety and sinister manipulativeness. He makes just this transition in the final scene, in which he crunches rice cereal and speculates what he would do if he were as bad as they think he is, which is to say send Ana Lucia, Sayyid and Charlie into an ambush. It’s a cold note to finish on.

There’s nothing really extraordinary about ‘The Whole Truth’. There are no great dramatic revelations, no blustery confrontations, no wild shootouts. In many ways nothing much happens. There’s a pregnancy, that’s true, but it’s revealed with steady deliberation rather than crashing like a brick through plate glass. And yet Jin and Sun, Sayyid and Ana Lucia all undergo small but important transformations, changing their perspectives. ‘The Whole Truth’ is a solid eight – a thick band of back muscle anchored to the spine.

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