Lost

Season 4 Episode 11

Cabin Fever

4
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 08, 2008 on ABC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (51)

9.3
out of 10
Average
1,106 votes
  • Revelations about who Locke was --- or are they?

    9.0
    Considering how exciting the flashbacks of Locke have been in the series, I was understandably excited to hear that we were getting another one in this episode. For the most part, it tells us things we already know about him--- his birth mother abandoned him, he was raised in foster care, he was a loser, he loved backgammon, and he had given up on ever walking again. However, 'Cabin Fever' shows us that even from the beginning of his life, Locke was special--- or was he? Later events will suggest that even now he might have been manipulated, and that manipulation is still going on even on the island.

    We see that from the beginning of his life, he defied the odds. Born three months premature, he then fought off a series of illnesses to come out of the incubator. When he was given up for adoption, Richard Alpert was there watching him. Why is not clear yet, but he visits Locke at the age of five, saying that he represents a school for very special children. There, Locke clearly drew a picture of a man being attacked by a pillar of smoke suggesting that somewhere in his DNA, he knew something about the island. Richard then presents Locke with six objects--- a baseball glove, a Book of Laws, a vial of sand, a compass, a comic book, and a knife. He then says to him: "Take the ones that already belong to you." This would seem to be a test for the island. Locke takes the vial of sand, and the compass. Richard seems pretty excited. Locke then leans in, looks at the Book of Laws.--- Alpert looks like he's going to burst--- and then John chooses the knife. Considering how closely Locke is associated with knives (and later events) we would think this is the right choice. (especially cause we've still got no idea what the Book of Laws is) Whatever the reason, Richard turns away, and Locke is left behind.

    Question: what is Richard doing in John's past, again appearing ageless. Back in season 4, the popular theory was that he was time traveling to the past exploring for candidates to be the chosen one. However, later evidence suggests that didn't happen. Richard was looking for Locke, but because of events that preceded what happened in this episode. It still doesn't explain why he looks exactly the same in 1956 than he does in 2004 (in fact, it makes it even less comprehensible) It does suggest why Richard may not have thought Locke was special but thought Ben was.

    In high school, Locke is still getting stuffed in lockers, and even less popular. Again, he gets an offer from a science camp in Portland (not that different from what Juliet was offered), but Locke refused to give in, even though he's good at science. Locke's repeating of his motto "Don't tell me what I can't do," seems to show just as when he was an adult, Locke never trusted his own instincts. He did what was popular rather than what he was good at. And in the end, all it brought him was more pain.

    The most telling flashback takes place in the hospital and involves a man we've seen before--- Matthew Abaddon, now disguised as an orderly. We then see him try to boost Locke's confidence, and plant the seed of the idea of the walkabout in his head. It's still unclear who he's working for, or why he seems so certain to try and put Locke on the path that will lead to the island. There were all sorts of theories about him after this--- one suggesting that, like Richard, he doesn't seem to age. I never bought this theory because a) it's only been, at most, five years between when we see him here, and 'The Beginning of the End', and b) Lance Reddick is such a skilled actor, he could be playing late twenties to early forties and you still wouldn't be sure unless the show told you. (I never could tell how old Cedric Daniels was on The Wire.)

    On the island, Locke is still trying to find his way, but he seems to be getting waylaid. He then has a dream of Horace Goodspeed, who tells Locke he's been dead for twelve years, and seems to imply that he was the one to build the cabin that houses Jacob. Again, later evidence would suggest that this is highly unlikely, if only because the Dharma Initiative never seemed to have a clear idea just how special the island was. Otherwise, why would they have been fighting the others. Nevertheless, Locke does find a map in Horace's pocket that does seem to lead to the cabin. However, if this is true, how did Ben find Jacob in the first place? This would seem to be an indication that Jacob hasn't lived in this cabin always (and there's a strong implication he never did)

    Eventually, Hurley is the one who finds the cabin, but we're still not sure how. Locke walks in the front door for the first time, but Jacob isn't there--- Christian Shephard is. Now since we saw him here last time we saw the cabin, that's not so strange. But Claire is also in the cabin, and she seems so at peace, the theory that she was dead would seem to hold some merit. Furthermore, rather than answer questions, Christian keeps asking them, finally forcing him to ask the question they need to know Given what we know now, it seems pretty clear that Jacob never asked these questions, especially because Christian is no longer wearing the suit he was buried in. Locke is still being manipulated, and he doesn't know how.

    Ben probably could provide some answers, but for the first time since we've known him, he seems more passive than we've ever seen him. Is he upset that he has been usurped by Locke, or (more likely) has the death of Alex has taken all the fight out of him? Something's deflated him, and when he decides not to go into the cabin, it seems that he has nothing left to fight for.

    Of course, all of this could be irrelevant based on what's happening on the freighter. What remains of the mercenaries have made it back, and somehow Keamy has survived, and he's is royally ticked. But for some reason, being attacked by the smoke monster hasn't made him want to run; he's just moving on to his secondary protocol. This causes Captain Gault, who is watching his ship fall apart, to mutiny. He helps Sayid and Desmond begin a plan to get everybody off the island. Then he tries to attack Keamy and tell him that this is too dangerous. But Widmore must be paying him a huge sum, because all he does is start killing people again, first the doctor, and throwing him overboard (and no, I still haven't figured out how he managed to show up on the beach yesterday), and then by shooting Gault. Frank clearly wants to rebel, but he's clearly no longer a willing participant, and he does his best to try and save the people on the island. (He would have been a bigger hero if he crashed the plane into the ocean, but maybe he knew there was still something he could do.) Keamy is going to kill everyone on this island, just as Ben prophesized --- unless they can do what Christian said and--- wait for it--- "move the island." Yeah, I thought it was lunacy, too, but given everything we've seen on the show so far, it doesn't sound that crazy, even then.

    As any episodes that focus on Locke and Ben are, this was one of the high points of the season. Considering that a lot of the information we later learned was red herrings is what keeps me from ranking among the best ever. Still, the fine work of even a muted Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn's usual fine work makes this well worth watching. Locke probably was chosen, just as this episode says, but he kept denying his destiny. But if he'd known what being chosen truly meant, he might have thought twice about what he was being made to do.
    Score:9.2
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