Season 4 Episode 7

Ji Yeon

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 13, 2008 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (75)

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  • Despite the worst kept secret ever, this episode introduces some good elements for the rest of the season.

    While the first five episodes were generally well received, the past two have had more problems. Last episode gave us insights that didn't need to be there. This episode had some more controversial elements that have polarized the fandom. There was the return of Michael, a reveal that has been spoiled so many times that only someone who didn't follow news or know who the actors were could be surprised. Then there was the gimmick of having us believe on first viewing that Jin's flashback was a flash forward. Not knowing either would certainly enhance the enjoyment of this episode.

    Jin's subplot actually being a flashback left some viewers cheated. A valid criticism is that its screen time, however many minutes, doesn't advance the narrative so much as sets up the twist. I saw it coming from about 20 minutes into the episode. The hints are there, from the bad flashback hair, the bulky cell phone and that no one recognized Jin, despite the fact that he should be a major celebrity. If you don't see this coming, the episode should work a lot more. Such a criticism could be lobbed at Jack's flash-forwards in "Through the Looking Glass", but that episode provided the foundation for the Oceanic Six storyline that's being explored this season.

    Although last week's events were a pile of contrivance, they do help motivate this episode. While Daniel obviously wants to help, the freighties objective wasn't rescuing the castaways. Now their covert activities at The Tempest, while sparing most of the people on the island, are coming back to haunt them. Sun's choice to head to Locke's camp makes sense, and it wouldn't be hard to conceive of others leaving the camp when word gets out that the freighties have some secrets.

    Juliet's attempt to keep Sun on the beach, breaking doctor-patient confidentiality by telling Jin about the affair, could've gone soapy like some of the elements from his last episode, but it's played out a lot better. Losing nine women due to pregnancy took a huge toll on her and she didn't want Sun to doom herself to that fate by leaving the main camp.

    Jin's reaction shows how far he's come as a character. Of course he's going to be upset, but his conversation with Bernard, however limited Jin's side was, somehow convinces him to make it work (if Bernard and Rose's relationship can survive cancer, Jin and Sun's could survive and affair). The whole episode is a showcase for how he's changed. His English has come far enough for him to carry conversations and understand those with him. The most important improvement was his character. Should he have known that Sun cheated while an enforcer, he probably would've killed Jae. Now, he brings her dinner and forgives her and understands why she did it.

    Previously it was believed that only Minkowski was the only one sick on the freighter, but this episode shows that problems among the ship's crew ran deeper. Regina, no sooner do we meet her does she throw herself overboard (hopefully we'll see more Zoë Bell in flashbacks because that'd be a waste of a Grindhouse mini reunion between her, Fahey and Andrews). Then there's the blood stain on the wall of Sayid and Desmond's new quarters, clearly the result of a self inflicted gunshot wound. Whoever gave Sayid and Desmond the note and left the sick bay door open, almost certainly Michael, is trying to help them navigate the freighter so they don't wind up like Regina or Minkowski.

    Of course the biggest "surprise" of this episode was ruined sometime last summer when they revealed Michael would be back. It didn't make it easier when they had Harold Perrineau's name in the credits despite the fact that he hasn't appeared in a frame all season. This is where the super aware internet following can work against "Lost", as well as other shows. There was no way to keep Michael's return a secret from last summer to now because of the spread of information on the internet. Unfortunately, knowing he'll be back blows the reveal in this episode. If they were to edit out his name from the credits, his return could've been somewhat shocking rather than inevitable to those other than the oblivious viewer. However, the tease of him walking to Sayid and Desmond's new room is not deliberately evasive, which would've further annoyed those who saw it coming.

    With Michael's return come several questions. How did he go from being shipped off the island to working on the freighter's crew? Did they just pick him out of the water and give him a job? Why did he use the alias Kevin Johnson? Where is Walt? Michael's return, in addition to continuing his still incomplete story, also seeks to illuminate the freighties' mission and possibly the conditions that lead to the "cabin fever".

    An odd thing was the clanging of the metal that Sayid thought was coming from a person rather than a mechanical error. This is likely two things: either it's a person who has lost their mind and is hitting something for no good reason or Michael, possibly Walt, trying to give Sayid and Desmond a message, maybe in morse code. Michael may be more likely to deliver messages personally, but Walt can't.

    Captain Gault is an intriguing new element to the freighter saga. Although he is an intimidating character, his crew acting like they're in a malevolent dictatorship where one false move could lead to grave consequences, he is forthcoming with information as Sayid notes. It'd be like if Ben revealed who he was in great detail when Sayid first encountered him in the net. Perhaps this forthcoming persona is all part of a con to get Sayid and Desmond on his side, but considering their warnings, there is a bit of skepticism.

    Gault accuses Ben of coming up with 324 bodies to match those of Oceanic 815. This may be the source of his $3.2 million Miles is trying to extort out of him and the significance of that amount. At $10,000 a body, it comes to $3.24 million, rounded down to 3.2 possibly to mislead us. Last season showed us The Others have a lot of resources off island that could stage a plane crash, so it isn't hard for them to put this together even when they only have a few hours to do it. However, considering both Ben's and Gault's stories are marred by our natural distrust in them, neither side may true, despite that neither side contradicts the other yet.

    Despite the promise that it would be clear who the Oceanic Six are by the end of the episode, the episode explains only to five. So if it is true, the likeliest candidate of the two other island characters we've seen off is Aaron. The big problem with that is that Jack's testimony in "Eggtown" says that eight people survived the initial crash and two perished before they could be rescued, and Aaron obviously was in Claire's womb the day of the crash. However, considering their cover story deviates entirely from what really happened, it wouldn't be hard for Aaron be already born in their story.

    It's odd that only Hurley would make the trip to see Ji Yeon, as the six all have golden passes to fly anywhere free (the exception would be Kate, who at this point in the timeline would be on trial and kept in custody as a flight risk). However, it points to the bigger problem the Oceanic Six is dealing with and will leave Hurley and Jack succumbing hard to the guilt. Bringing them all together would just remind each other of whatever horrible thing they did that got them off the island. This certainly could be the major problem facing Jack in his flash forward.

    Many are ready to call Jin a goner because of the emotionally charged farewell at the end of the episode (including the touching "Life and Death" theme) in addition to Jin seemingly completing his redemptive arc. If he turned out OK, it might cheapen this episode's ending. However, Sun's sadness over not having Jin there could be simply because he was left behind on the island which, judging by Jack's desperate attempts to get back in the finale seems almost impossible to relocate. Sun's character flaw is her ability to lie to protect herself, so she might've lied and cheated her way into one of the Oceanic Six's slots in a desperate attempt to save herself from what kills pregnant women on the island. Jin's absence hits her hard when he's not by her side when it happens, knowing he'd be there giant stuffed panda or not. Also, none of her monologue by the grave is explicit enough to imply anything other than he isn't there. If anything, I just want to avoid another discussion of how anyone who gets a DWI on "Lost" gets killed off shortly afterward.

    Overall this is a good episode marred by elements it couldn't control. At its heart, this transitional episode does what it's supposed to do. By reintroducing Michael and removing the safety net for Jin, the stakes are being raised ever higher. One can hope the following six episodes can deliver on the promises of the first half.
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