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Here's the rewatch blog for Claire's first centric, "Raised by Another," the 9th episode of Season 1. This episode, what with all of the emphasis on dreams and deception, is one of the trippier episodes of the entire series. This episode brings up an important storyline in Lost, that of Aaron, that was fairly unsatisfactorily ended, and never followed through on. These blogs will attempt to document how dominant themes, issues, and plotlines were developed in this episode, and how they'd be followed up on in future episodes.
The opening scene of this episode, Claire's dream, is one of the trippiest and weirdest scenes in the entire series. We get a fairly blatant black and white reference with Locke's eyes in this scene. This whole scene, at least to me, seems to represent Claire's fear in giving birth to Aaron on the Island, because that was not the way she had envisioned it. This is represented by Aaron's crib being filled with blood. This "crib of death" reminded me of Claire's crib, with the squirrel baby, in Season 6. Both cribs were sufficiently creepy. This also foreshadowed Locke building Claire's crib later on in the series.
In her first flashback, we are introduced to Claire's boyfriend, Thomas. It's worth noting that Thomas' paintings would later end up Widmore's office during "Flashes Before Your Eyes," even though the Widmore scene takes place chronologically before this Thomas scene. This can likely be explained by the fact that Jack Bender does all of the paintings in Lost, and one of his paintings showed up in multiple scenes. This could also explain why the Hatch mural resembles Thomas' paintings too.
One of the main themes of the episode is dreams. Dreams have always been an integral aspect of the show. On the Island, characters' dreams often give them guidance on what to next in the given situation. Locke, the receiver of many dreams in the series, has a dream later in the season that leads him to the drug smuggler's plane. In Season 2, Hurley has a dream where he sees Jin speaking English next to a man in a Mr. Cluck's costume. In Season 2, Eko has a dream that leads him to the Pearl, which puts doubt in Locke's head about the validity of pushing the button. In Season 5, Ben tells Locke that he used to have dreams, and that they used to help him out. In a lot of cases, Locke's and Eko's dreams could be theorized as having been influenced by the Man in Black. Eko's dream led to the implosion of the Swan, because it put doubt in Locke's head about the importance of the Swan. The Swan's detonation led to the Island being detected, and Widmore arriving. If you look at the effects of Locke's drug plane dream, or his dream where Horace tells him where the cabin is in "Cabin Fever," they directly help the Man in Black's plan. By finding the cabin, Locke is told to move the Island, which helps the Man in Black because it sends Locke on the time skips, which will establish himself as the leader of the Others. I discuss the significance of Locke's drug plane dream in a previous review, in one of the comments: (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Djr7/Rewatch_Blog:_Walkabout...Don't_Tell_Me_What_I_Can't_Do
...so I won't repeat that argument again. Nonetheless, dreams are a very important part of Lost, and get their proper introduction in this episode.
This episode begs the question of whether or not Richard Malkin was a real psyhic, and how much he really knew about Aaron and the "danger" surrounding his birth. In "?," an Eko centric from Season 2, he tells Eko that he's a fraud and not a real psychic. But, from this events of this episode, it would appear that there is something more to Richard Malkin than meets the eye. By putting Claire on Flight 815 (he says "It has to be this flight," echoing Eloise's words to Jack almost exactly about Ajira 316) did he know that she would end up crashing on the Island? He was adamant that Claire be on Flight 815 specifically. So, in his plan to get Claire to raise Aaron, did ensure that she would have to raise him by having her crash on the Island? Going back to his meeting with Eko, Malkin told Eko that he wasn't a real psychic. He told Eko that he gives people hope by showing them that miracles can happen. But he says miracles don't exist, and that his daughter's resuscitation after drowning, and her "coming back to life" wasn't a miracle. But later in the episode, Charlotte Malkin comes up to Eko and seems to prove the existence of her miracle by giving Eko information on Yemi that no one else would know. So the question remains...was Malkin a psychic? I don't have any doubt that he know putting Claire on the plane would make her crash on the Island, forcing her to raise Aaron. Whether or not he's a psychic is less clear.
I also found the scene where Claire's pen stopped working multiple times very interesting. The implication, of course, is that Claire can't give up Aaron, and the universe is trying to stop her. Is is possible that Claire's destiny was always to raise Aaron, and the universe was course correcting to prevent her from giving him up? Daniel Faraday always stated, "Whatever happened, happened." Is is also possible that "Whatever will happen, will happen" applies in Lost as well? This episode seems to point towards that truth.
So what was the deal with Aaron? This episode made it seem like Aaron's birth would be a game-changer for the show. So much hype and mystique was heaped onto Aaron early in the show. But as the seasons went on, his importance somewhat fizzled out. A lot of people thought Aaron would grow up to be a character we already knew, like Jacob or the Man in Black. Aaron wasn't even seen in the final season, other than in the FST Afterlife when Claire gave birth to him. Aaron seems to represent a storyline the writers once deemed important, then shelved when other storylines became too overwhelming.
I also noticed that in this episode Hurley continues to be a grounding presence on the show. While lots of crazy and intense stuff is going on, Hurley is always doing his own things. Whether it's bulding golf courses or interviewing people, you can always count on Hurley to take your mind off the important parts of the episode. Nonetheless, his reveal that Ethan wasn't on Flight 815 was very dramatic nonetheless. Juxtaposed against Ethan's uber creepy stare towards Charlie and Claire, it made for a very effective end to the episode.
And that's it, folks. Thanks for reading and commenting as always. Stay tuned for the review of "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues," Jack's second centric. I'll see you in another life, brother.