Episodes (Flashbacks) – Rating (out of five stars):
1. A Tale of Two Cities (Jack) – ****
2. The Glass Ballerina (Jin/Sun) – **** ½
3. Further Instructions (Locke) - ****
4. Every Man For Himself (Sawyer) - *** ½
5. The Cost Of Living (Eko) - ****
6. I Do (Kate) - ***
7. Not In Portland (Juliet) - ****
8. Flashes Before Your Eyes (Desmond) - *****
9. Stranger In A Strange Land (Jack) - **
10. Tricia Tanaka Is Dead (Hurley) - *** ½
11. Enter 77 (Sayid) - ****
12. Par Avion (Claire) - ****
13. The Man From Tallahassee (Locke) - *****
14. Expose (Nikki/Paolo) - ****
15. Left Behind (Kate) - *** ½
16. One Of Us (Juliet) - **** ½
17. Catch-22 (Desmond) - ****
18. D.O.C. (Jin/Sun) - **** ½
19. The Brig (Locke, on-island flashbacks) - *** ½ (but ***** for The Brig scene)
20. The Man Behind The Curtain (Ben) - ****
21. Greatest Hits (Charlie) - **** 9/10 (oh, so close)
22. Through The Looking Glass (Jack) - *****
Best Episode: Flashes Before Your Eyes (yes, you read that correctly)
Runner-Up: The Man From Tallahassee
Worst Episode: Stranger In a Strange Land (it’s not even close)
Runner-Down: I Do (Mal aside, what an awful end to the mini-series)
This season's been an interesting one. It started fabulous, with a terrific opening five minutes and solid first three episodes. But then it stagnated before the break and really didn't find its groove, aside from "Flashes Before Your Eyes," until "Enter 77." Since then, Season 3 has been an incredible roller coaster of entertainment and the show has revealed a ton of info.
What I’d like to do is go over some of the more prominent plot points from the season and recap what happened to each character. Then I’m going to just give my overall impressions of the season as a whole.
What We’ve Learned
We’ve certainly learned quite a bit more about the organization of DHARMA and their stations on the island. We found their living quarters in the Barracks, their zoological research station in the Hydra, their communications station in Flame, the sub dock in The Looking Glass, and (finally) their Radio Tower. We learned they traveled by sub, there's a secret room in the Staff where all the medical supplies disappeared to after Claire escaped, and that the beach cable connects the Looking Glass to the DHARMA grid. We learned the Looking Glass has a homing beacon for the sub that stopped working when the Swan blew and that the Others are using the station to jam the radio tower transmission.
We also learned a bit of their history. We know now that DHARMA at least knew a bit about the Monster, such that they constructed a special fence to keep it out. We know they they didn’t get along with the Others and that they were purged from the island with help from Ben on the inside.
We know that Kelvin was indeed a DHARMA operative (not an Other) and that he (and Radzinsky) likely became trapped in the Swan after the purge. We know that DHARMA worked on polar bears and sharks in the Hydra station and that they escaped after the purge.
What we still don’t know about DHARMA is what “the incident” was and why they viewed the Others as a threat? Was the incident the last straw that made the Others purge them all? Also was the Monster part of DHARMA or part of the island? Was the Monster the “Cerberus” security system mentioned on the Blast Door Map and could the “catastrophic malfunction” of that system be the incident instead?
The bottom line, though, is that no matter how noble DHARMA’s intentions were, the Others perceived them as a threat and killed them all for what they thought was the greater good.
2) The Others:
Even though this season was supposed to be about the Others, I think we actually learned more about DHARMA than we learned about the Others themselves.
We know their ultimate objective right now seems to be trying to figure out why women die in childbirth on the island. But they have several other projects, including building an airstrip on DHARMA island (mentioned in the finale). They’ve taken over all the DHARMA stations and the Barracks. They had been able to communicate with the outside world up until the Swan blew and it seems they had several projects and people working for them out there.
We know Ben’s plan was to manipulate Jack into doing his surgery (and possibly into goading Kate into having sex with either Jack or Sawyer). We know Ben and Tom were monitoring the Losties from the Pearl Station before Ben got caught by Danielle. Ben was brainwashing Karl because he was afraid Alex was going to get pregnant.
The only Other we know that’s a true island native is Richard Alpert, who first met Ben when he was just a child. We know Ben is not an island native, but he has a special connection to the island since he can see and talk to Jacob. It’s interesting that Richard seemed awed that Ben saw a vision of his dead mother on the island and it makes me wonder what he’d saw if he knew Jack saw his dad, Kate saw her horse, Eko saw his brother, etc...
The Others seem to follow Ben because of this ability, but have grown greatly distrustful of him since his surgery. We also know that the native Others seem to respect Locke because the island healed him. We know the Others have been on the island a very long time, judging from the foot statue, the ruins, and the unseen Temple Richard mentioned in the finale.
What we haven’t seen is where they’re conducting their biological research and tests – where are they working on the blood samples they took from Kate, Jack, Michael, and Sawyer? Where are they processing any samples they take from the women? Plus, what were the Others doing with Walt and what role did Bea Klugh have in all this? What was she protecting that was so important for her to kill herself?
Next season looks to have and all out Others revolt against Ben although it seems from the finale that both the Others and the Losties may have to unite against a common enemy – which I think would be very cool.
Jack – He stalked his ex-wife and got some tattoos in Thailand that mean “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.“ He bonded with Juliet in captivity, but he still really loves Kate. And, most importantly, either in our the future or an alternate one, he gets off the freakin' island! Whoa.
Kate – She got married to Mal Reynolds and got Cassidy to help her see her Mom. She also did the nasty regularly with Sawyer (despite still being in love with Jack), and now is likely pregnant with from his Super Island Sperm. But, most importantly, either in our the future or an alternate one, she gets off the freakin' island! Whoa.
Sawyer – He’s a daddy (and a good one at that, setting her up a trust fund). He finally got some Kate tookus (and likely gave little Clementine a potential sibling). He also finally got his revenge on Anthony Cooper and revealed to Sun that he and Charlie were behind her kidnapping. Sawyer had most of the best lines of the season.
Locke – Off island: He grew some good hemp on a commune and got pushed out a window by his Dad.
On island, he was a busy bee: The island was pissed he blew up the Swan and got him to save Eko with his trippy vision inside an IT-style sweat lodge. He discovered Mikhail using the Pearl video cameras, then followed Eko’s stick to the Flame. He blew up the Flame, tried to kill Mikhail, held Ben at gunpoint, and blew up the sub. Then, having to face his dad after he came out of the “magic box,” he got Sawyer to kill him.
He beat the crap out of Mikhail to get Ben to take him to Jacob (which I imagine is going to come back to haunt him since dollars to donuts Mikhail is still alive), heard Jacob say "HELP ME," then got shot and dumped in a mass grave by a jealous Ben.
But the island healed him, sent a vision of Walt to prevent him from killing himself, and got him out of the grave. He killed Naomi before she could call her ship, but couldn't bring himself to kill Jack.
Desmond - Des has some of the most significant developments of any character on the show. By turning the failsafe key, Desmond got both the power to see into the future and an unexpected trip back in time. We learned how he met Penny, after a failed relationship in which he backed out of marriage at the last minute (his cowardice again) and a failed stint in a monastery (which also is why he calls everyone "brother"). And for those of you who doubt it, the writers have specifically said he did indeed travel back in time in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." Lemme repeat that:
The writers have specifically said he did indeed travel back in time in "Flashes Before Your Eyes."
Furthermore, Ms. Hawking (a nod to Stephen Hawking to be sure), the old woman he met in the jewelry shop seems to be playing a larger role in his destiny. She also appeared in a photo with Brother Campbell which was sitting on his desk at the end of the episode. This suggests she may have arranged him to get thrown out of the monastery and meet Penny, setting off the chain of events that led him to the island.
Desmond's power could be the deus ex machina that resolves everything in the show.
On-island, aside from saving Charlie's life over and over again, Desmond also found Naomi and helped Charlie turn off the jammer in the Looking Glass. Question here is, who is Naomi really working for? Penny didn't know her, yet she certainly knew of Desmond. Is she working for Penny's evil Dad? That's really one of the biggest questions out of the finale.
Mr. Eko (remember him?) - We learned Eko committed yet another heinous crime in his past, attempting to steal and sell vaccine for the village on the black market and brutally murdering three (evil) smugglers inside a church.
But it was his confrontation with the Monster that was the most interesting. Beforehand remember, Eko returned to the drug smuggler's plane and saw that Yemi's body had vanished. This vanishing bodies trick is curious. Remember Christian Shepherd's body was missing as well. And what about Kelvin Inman's body that no one seems to have discovered (although he could still be alive). Does the Monster sweep them all up? Did the Others collect them? Does the island take them? And since all these bodies have disappeared, why didn't Adam and Eve poof away as well?
The Monster than confronted Eko as Yemi, who asked Eko if he was ready to confess his sins. Eko replied that he has not sinned saying:
"I did not ask for the life he was given. But it was given nonetheless. And with it, I did my best."
And then the Monster went all WWF on him.
What would the Monster have done if Eko confessed and said he was sorry? Would it have let him live? Everyone on the island has sins and some (Kate, Sawyer) are likely not very sorry for some of them. And remember Eko's last words were "you're next," referring to Locke and the others. More Monster action next season, please.
Benjamin Linus - Ben's gets more interesting the more we find out about him. We know he manipulated Jack into doing his surgery. He was a DHARMA kid who had a bad daddy and a special connection to the island - so special that the native others made him their leader. He orchestrated the purge and is convinced he's still a "good person."
However, despite this, he's deeply jealous of Locke's connection. If he was so obsessed with trying to save the island (or the world) wouldn't you think he'd want Locke's help? He seems like a character who's been corrupted a bit by power. Where his character goes next season is one of the more interesting decisions the writers have to make.
Sayid – What’s most interesting about Sayid is what we don’t know: What the heck is the “Basra incident” that Juliet mentioned? Otherwise he had his usual kick-ass, Mr. Fixit type season: After being pwned by the Others who took the Elizabeth (remember that, wonder where it is now), he found the Flame, went to the Barracks, told Alex her mother was still alive, and blew up some Others.
Off island, he got a taste of his own medicine from one of his victims.
Hurley – He has a bad daddy too. But he found a VW van with the corpse of Ben's Dad inside and he used it to save everyone! Dude!
Jin & Sun – Our favorite Korean couple actually had a pretty eventful year. Their flashback were generally pretty good: Sun had an affair with Jae Lee, was bribed by Jin's evil Mom, responsible for Jin becoming her Dad’s henchman, and had a sweet heart-to-heart talk with Jin's GOOD daddy. It's really interesting that Jin is the one character on the whole show who has a loving father and an evil mother. Jin, on the other hand, was sent to kill to kill Jae Lee by Sun's father but couldn't bring himself to go through with it.
On island, Sun learned that Jin is the father of her child and that she only has about two months to live before her body kill the baby and herself. She also learned Charlie was the one who kidnapped her and that Sawyer put him up to it.
Claire – Claire had a pretty eventful year too (for her). First of all, we learned she’s Jack’s half-sister - long-suspected, but finally confirmed. But we also found out quite a bit about what happened to her during her kidnapping. We know Ethan put an implant in her that can be activated remotely and inactivated with an injection. Question is: Could it be re-activated again and does anyone else have one as well?
Also, don't forget about the bird with the note. It might seem silly, but it may just become an important plot point later on.
Charlie – He really had nothing to do all season except try and survive Desmond's predictions. We did learn though that he saved Nadia's life though in his Greatest Hits flashbacks.
Nikki/Paolo - I'm only really including them here because they had a whole episode to themselves (a fun episode, to me) and that their flashbacks did reveal a few things regarding Ben's plan and the island timeline in general. The walkie-talkie they picked up didn't figure into the plot as I thought it would (except for insinuating they might be spies).
But there are two things to remember from this episode: The 8-hour spider venom (which could come into play in a later episode) and the buried diamonds (which may be useful later on).
Season Four thoughts
Next season is likely going to have to deal with the ramifications of Jack’s phone call. It seems like he made a mistake - i.e. Ben was telling the truth when he said Naomi’s people are evil.
I don’t think there are going to be only flash forwards from now on; there are still a lot of back stories to be told. Here are some of the flashbacks I’d like to see next year:
1) Danielle – I’ve been waiting for her story since Season One
2) Richard Alpert – The Others’ ancient history
3) Ben – What happened after the purge? What’s his deal with Jacob?
4) Mikhail – He’s got to still be alive. And I bet he has a great story to tell.
5) Kelvin Inman – I think he’s still alive too - maybe he can tell us what the incident was
6) Alex – What was her life with the Others like?
7) Karl - Ditto
8) Desmond – Why was he dishonorably discharged from the army?
9) Penny – What’s she doing to track down Desmond?
10) Sayid – What happened in Basra?
11) Sawyer – What was the Tampa Job?
Jack, Kate, Hurley, Locke, Claire, and Jin/Sun really don’t have much more to tell in their backstories anymore and would seem to be likely candidates for flash forwards should the writers do that again.
As far as plot questions, here are my top ten I'd like to see answered:
1) Who was Naomi working for?
2) Who or what is Jacob?
3) What is the Temple and how does it relate to the history of the Others?
4) Why were the Others building a runway on Hydra Island?
5) Why is Ben obsessed with solving the island's baby problem?
6) Do natives of the island really live longer (or not age at all)?
7) What's Locke's connection to Jacob and the Island?
8) Is the Monster responsible for the disappearing bodies?
9) Is the Monster responsible for the visions seen on the island?
10) What is the Monster and is it connected to DHARMA or the island itself?
All-in-all, a terrific season once it got going. There are now officially only 48 episodes left (although three of those may be two-hour season finales).
What do you think will happen? Did you enjoy the season? What questions do you want to see answered? Whose flashbacks do you want to see? Let me know what you think in the comments.