Quote: "No matter how bad you want to... no matter how many ways you try to make it happen... the Island won't let you."
Whoa. Okay, I certainly didn't expect Karl and Danielle to get shot, especially the latter considering we haven't heard her story yet. I actually screamed "NO!" and jumped off the couch when she went down. Of course, Danielle may not be dead - again because of the story angle, but also because the episode wasn't hyped as "two people will die" (*sigh*). Here's hoping Danielle pulls through.
As far as the rest of the episode goes, there's so much to talk about I'm going to do this review a bit differently. Instead of questions, let's go through five categories of stuff that happened:
1. Things I loved about this episode
A) Dead people on parade - Libby, Tom, Naomi, Minkowski. Great to see them all get more face time, especially...
B) Tom - He was finally revealed as being gay, gets to hang out with Arturo in a swank setup in Manhattan and really gets his best episode of the entire show, all this despite being dead! M.C. Gainey deserves big props for his performance too.
C) Sayid's return to form - If there's one thing I love about the original Losties this season, it's Sayid's return to the competent, lethal soldier we've come to know and love. He pursued Michael until he cornered him, got him to spill the beans and then, when he found out Michael was working for Ben, turned him into the Captain.
Turning Michael in to the Captain may have been the wrong thing to do in terms of what we know about the future, but it was exactly what his character should have done. And I love how Sayid, who previously said the day he worked for Ben would be the day "he sold his soul," is really making his own bed with Ben by setting in motion the events that will eventually turn him into Ben's personal assassin. Delicious.
D) The Island - I'll address this below, but I loved how the Island (or Jacob) is able to manipulate things in the outside world.
2. Things which seem really implausible to me
As much as I loved this episode there were a few things which just didn't seem to make sense. And while I enjoyed the episode overall, they were distracting enough that they took away from what was a riveting story from start to finish.
A) How the heck did Michael get back to New York? - He had no money, no identification, a tiny boat and likely a limited amount of food and gas. The only thing I can think of is that one of Ben's men met him in Fiji and out him and Walt on a plane to New York. But that certainly wasn't part of Ben's original bargain and Ben certainly hasn't been inclined to give freebies.
B) The timeline - Michael left the island at the end of November and ended up in New York shortly (days) afterwards. He spent about two to three weeks in New York before Tom contacted him and put him on a plane to Fiji. Fine. But Tom is supposed to be able to bounce around the world between offering Kate a new dress (Tale of Two Cities) and playing football with Jack (Par Avion)? Really?
C) Michael on the freighter - I brought this up last week, but don't evil magnates conduct background checks? How the heck did Ben get Michael onto his arch-rival's ship AND manage to ship him a bomb without any questions begin asked? If Charles Widmore is the super-villain of the show, I've very disappointed with his sloppiness.
D) Ben doesn't kill innocents? - Really? So everyone in DHARMA was evil? Or does it just not count unless Ben does the actual killing himself? Maybe Ben just uses it as self-justification to help him sleep at night, but I laughed out loud when Ben said that to Michael.
To be fair, Ben could have alerted certain people in DHARMA to what was going to happen (like Annie) beforehand. But still this is a stretch. And I guess this would rule out Charlotte as one of the "innocent people" on the freighter, considering Ben tried to kill her himself, eh?
3. Questions that were answered
My nitpicks aside, the show did tie up a lot of loose ends. We learned:
A) What happened to Michael and Walt - Self-explanatory
B) How Michael got on Widmore's ship - Ditto
C) How Ben knew who Charlotte was - Michael presumably sent him her name
D) That the time difference between on-island and off-island was negligible when Michael left - It was pretty negligible when Daniel did his first experiment too, but it's nice to confirm it again even further in the past
E) Widmore staged the fake plane wreck and got the bodies from a cemetery in Thailand - This is still a bit of he said/he said between Ben and Charles, but the evidence Tom provided for Michael looked pretty definitive in terms of the show. Ben was right, and Charles seems to be the bad guy here.
F) Aaron really is the final member of the Oceanic 6 - We learned this in the preview clip rather than the episode, but it's still nice to see it confirmed.
4. Questions that were raised
A) So is Libby = Charlie that visited Hurley?
Whether it's the Island or Jacob, it appears that It has an incredibly long reach, is able to not only impersonate dead people, but also influence events on the other side of the world. In some respects, I imagine this is why all of the Oceanic Six begin going downhill. Hurley started seeing visions, so maybe they all starting feeling the pull to come back eventually. And it seems teh Island can do more than simply contact people and mess with their minds. I guess the only question is why it takes two and a half years to make Jack see the light?
B) Is the Temple really a DHARMA Station?
I'd be shocked by this if true, since I thought the Temple was a sacred place of the island natives. But I think what may have happened is that DHARMA took over that sacred place to study its properties and that's part of the reason why the Others killed all of them. If there's one sure-fire way to piss people off in this world, it's messing with their holy land.
C) Who shot Danielle and Karl?
My guess: Frank brought a chopper of guys with guns to the Island.
D) So why does Walt appear older on the island?
He certainly wasn't older in the episode (from both his grandmother's behavior and the fact we didn't see him up close). So does he eventually get sent back in time?
E) Did Daniel really inactivate the gas? Did they do it on their own?
I'm kinda puzzled by this now. If Daniel and Charlotte are working for Widmore and he wants to kill everyone on the island, why did they inactivate the gas? Was it for self-preservation? Were they really doing it on Charles' orders? Were they really afraid Ben was going to use it instead? But Ben doesn't kill innocents, right? =)
5. Other Tidbits
This episode had so many little touches that I loved:
* Michael pawning Jin's watch - The ODI has a translation of the back.
* Mama Cass showing up with a new song, "It's Getting Better"
* "I brought some extra blankets"
* The EXECUTE button on the bomb
* A reference to "The Shining"
* "You have work to do" - Island life is so hard! =)
Summary: Implausibilities aside, a pretty good finish to the original first half of the season, doncha think? And I was pleased that none of our main cast members died. I now hope that Danielle will prove to be alive, get bandaged up and get locked up together with Alex where she'll have ample time to tell her (and us) her story. I'm also glad Michael wasn't killed so soon (raise your hand if you thought the Captain was going to shoot him at the end. I did). I'm giving this a 4/5 - it certainly filled in a bunch of gaps and would be rated higher if it wasn't for the logical stretches it seemd to take. Now we have five long weeks until the next one. Thank God baseball season is starting. =)