(It's been a crazy couple of weeks, with work, Sarah's birthday, family in town, and spring break. But things are back on track, beginning with Lost catch up).
It makes sense to discuss these two episodes together, because structurally they are similar. In both, the falshbacks and flashforwards really drive what is going on. The cliffhanger of Ji Yeon is resolved in Meet Kevin Johnson (which, of course, ends with another cliffhanger) and the misdirection of Ji Yeon is nicely counterbalanced by the straighforward narrative of MKJ. And we get two versions of who is behind the fake wreckage of flight 815.
Ji Yeon resolves the "Who are the Oceanic Six?" question. We know that it's Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron. I guess Aaron does count, though I think that's kinda lame. We still don't know how of why it's those six, or what really happens to Jin (or Claire, or anyone else). Coupling the Jin flashback with the Sun flashforward was a nice device, I thought. It kept us guessing while reminding us of the ass that Jin was, which explained why he was able to forgive Sun for her affair, which made it more affecting when we saw Jin's grave.
It was also a nice device when coupled with the Michael flashback of MKJ. There's no time travel or dimension hopping trickery that gets Michael as Ben's man on the freighter. Driven by guilt, Michael tries to redeem himself by doing Ben's dirty work (which, we remember, was what got him into trouble in the first place). Most of the episode was flashback -- a straightforward narrative as Michael relates his situation to Sayid and Desmond. There was a bit of supernatural weirdness, nevertheless. Libby appears to Michael twice, and we learn that "the island won't let Michael die." Just like it wouldn't let Jack kill himself by jumping off the bridge or Hurley kill himself in a high speed chase.
Still, mysteries abound. The biggest one emerging from these two episodes is who, exactly, put that fake plane at the bottom of the ocean? Ben would have you believe it's Whidmore and all indications point to Whidmore being both obsessed with the island and not a very nice guy. He has the documents to prove it, even. But we know Ben is a big fat liar. We were reminded of this, in a very direct and bloody fashion, by the end of MKJ. Karl and Rousseau lay dead or dying, while Alex surrenders to whomever killed them. Was it The Others? Did Ben know and send Rousseau and Karl to their deaths? He's certainly capable. He killed his father. He's lied and lied and lied to anyone and everyone to suit his own mysterious purposes. And we have Gualt's claim that Whidmore actually recovered the flight recorder of the fake 815. If Whidmore spent all that time getting that black box, then did Ben arrange the fake wreckage? Why? Of course, it could have been Whidmore's team that killed Rousseau and Karl. Didn't the chopper pilot have to "run an errand" in Ji Yeon? That could have easily been to insert some of those assault rifle wielding guys on the island.
Other things -- all the nice irony going on. Sayid turns in Michael for working for Ben, yet we know he ends up working for Ben in the future. Michael sacrificing his friends on the island (and killing two people) to save Walt, only to lose Walt when they get back to the world because he confessed to Walt what he had done. I like this stuff. It's what makes Lost literary.
Finally, this post talks about some connections between Lost and Stephen King, especially The Dark Tower. I think it's pretty interesting and hope to do a future entry in response. It looks like I will have plenty of time, since there isn't a new episode until the end of April. Aggh!