"I suppose that's why they call it sacrifice, John."
Best episode of the season so far, bar none, and the first contender this season to possibly make my Top 10 of all time list. This episode was so... meaty, not only lots of new questions, but quite a few answers and it seems like there was something in it for everyone to enjoy. Kinda reminded me of "Lockdown" in that regard.
Lots of Smokey, as I predicted, but not from Locke's journey underground. So what did we learn?
1. What happened to Danielle's team. Her story's still incomplete, but the main thing we got was that going down the Cerberus Vent did something to her team. We still need to see what happened to them down there and why Ben took Alex away. Incidentally, considering the black smoke was in the air the day she shot her boyfriend, I wonder if that's the day she gave birth as well. Convenient of the Island too to send Jin a couple weeks into the future to see it right after he left.
2. We FINALLY saw the Temple. Lots of new hieroglyphs just like we saw on Smokey's door in Ben's basement.
3. We got the two minute synopsis of Charlotte's story. Seems her backstory was one of the things cut out of last season. But the cool thing is it looks like we'll be able to see it first hand through Daniel's eyes, much like we saw Danielle's through Jin's. Now when's Libby going to pop up, eh?
And remember the phrase "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before bedtime." Methinks Daniel's going to bribe the young Charlotte with a Baby Ruth or something.
4. Just as I predicted last week, Ben had Sun's wedding ring, although he got it second hand from Locke, not from Jin himself. Seems Sun's on board now too - convenient way for Locke to get around his promise to Jin.
5. We found out not only how Locke got off the Island, but that he really WAS supposed to be the one to turn the wheel in the season finale. That was something that always bothered me. Of course, that also leads to more questions....
Unlike last week, I have so very much to talk about with this episode. So many interesting questions too. Where to begin? Let's start with:
1) Is Jacob really Christian Shepherd?
Okay, up until now I always assumed that Jacob was either:
1) Assuming Christian Shepherd's form
2) Animating Christian's body to get us ready for the Zombie Season
But his "Say hello to my son" to Locke calls all that into question. And if Christian Shepherd really is Jacob, did Flight 815 crash on the Island just to bring Jacob home? And if Christian Shepherd really is Jacob, that means that Aaron is Jacob's grandson. Now that's a pretty strong motivation for the Others wanting Aaron so badly.
It also makes a lot of other things fit too - why Jack is so important, why Claire was in Jacob's shack and gives us a reason why everyone on Flight 815 was important - Jacob wanted them on that flight. Also possibly gives us a reason why (and how) certain people survived. When the body of the God of the Island and his son, daughter and unborn grandson are all on board, it probably ups your chances of survival.
Which brings us too...
2) What is Ben's true goal in all this?
I kept going back and forth on this, but Jacob made it pretty clear: Ben is Dr. Doom. And Dr. Doom only cares what's best for Doom. We saw it when Ben shot Locke and left him for dead. But after he really did seem to be trying to set everything right last season and this, I questioned whether he was evil or just genuinely trying to do what was best for the Island.
But the fact that Jacob not only called Ben out in front of Locke, but also told us that Locke was really supposed to turn the wheel last season, I have to wonder. And since Ms. Hawking is working with him, does she really have the best intentions for them all too?
Does Ben just want to be important? Does he see Jacob as the great father figure he never had and feels betrayed by his insta-love for Locke? And perhaps more importantly, does Ben kill Locke in the end?
If Ben does eventually die on the show, I think Hurley should run him over with his father's van.
3) What would have happened if Locke had turned the wheel instead of Ben?
We might get a bit of an answer to this next episode when we see whether Locke turning the wheel stops the Island Losties from flashing through time, although we know Daniel at least has to keep time traveling because 1) he eventually will go back and see Charlotte as a young girl and 2) we know he visits the Orchid. Of course, if the Island does stop flashing they could all end up being trapped in the DHARMA era. That would be so cool (and possibly provide a lot of answers), but I digress...
But if Locke had turned the wheel instead of Ben, would simply the Island and everyone have blinked out with no skipping? Did Ben's evil energy (or something) set all this off? I'd love to see the next Ben/Jacob meeting. Methinks he's going to be grounded - no Magic Box for a month or something. :)
4) What happened to Danielle's crew down the Cerberus Vent?
This is the question I want answered most of all. The DHARMA sickness was a hoax, but whatever Smokey did to them down there - maybe they inhaled some bad Monster - made Danielle kill them. Did he simply possess them or was it something more?
Smokey can communicate as we saw with both Eko and Locke, but we really don't know his agenda, aside from the fact his original purpose was to defend the Island. Maybe he convinced them that Danielle (and Alex) had to die in order to save the Island (and themselves). In other words, they weren't being controlled, but were taking aim at Danielle of their own free will. The former is the simplest answer, but the latter makes a better story.
But we do know now that Danielle wasn't crazy when she shot them - it was truly self defense (and it pained her to do so). That was a simply terrific scene too.
I also wonder if Locke would have really been "okay" back in "Exodus," as he told Jack he would be when Smokey grabbed him. We still really don't know what transpired when Locke first saw the Monster back in one of the first couple episodes.
5) Did Ben not know that Ms. Hawking was Daniel Faraday's Mom? Does Ben even know who Daniel is?
Ben's reaction to Desmond statement that Hawking was Daniel's mom seemed to take Ben totally by surprise. Ben met Charlotte on the Island, but I don't think he ever met Daniel, at least in the present day. But given how much Daniel's going to be time traveling, it seems Ben MUST have met Daniel in the past, at very least as a boy.
Was the Other (Ellie) that Daniel recognized in "Jughead" really his mom, Eloise Hawking? If so, was Daniel born on the Island too? Will Daniel meet himself as a young lad in the past? And did Ben just put 2 + 2 together with a whole lot of things with Desmond's statement?
* Glyphs on The Temple. So how do they compare to those on Ben's door? Dark UFO has the biggie version.
* Em on Ji Yeon: "Now that's a cute kid!" And I wholeheartedly agree.
* When Ben told Sun to either come with him or "get on with it and shoot me," Em said "I so wish she'd have just shot him. That would have been so cool." No, Rule #1 of Lost is you don't kill Ben. :)
* Sawyer called Charlotte "Red." Has he done that before? Seems like low-hanging fruit.
* I wonder if the Others (or DHARMA) knew where to dig the well because they found this mysterious rope coming out of the ground there.
* Charlotte knowing Klingon was hilarious.
* Ben's outburst at Jack in the car was awesome. Evan, by text: "Jack is such an asshole."
* Day Danielle's team first explored the Island? November 15th, 1988.
* The arm coming off Danielle's guy may have been the grossest thing they've done on LOST, yet all I could think of was Monty Python. Then, when he said "I'm very badly hurt" from down in the hole (ala Austin Powers), I just about lost it.
* In contrast, Locke's leg actually made me squirm.
* Smokey wrapping a vaporous tentacle around Danielle's teammate was really cool.
* LOVED seeing Danielle's music box again. It's the one Sayid fixed back in "Solitary."
* So many good quotes this episode - great performances all round too, especially Charlotte, Locke and Ben. But I also really loved Sawyer & Jin's hug too - made me verklempt a bit.
* From Matt by e-mail, on Ed not being able to believe anyone would trust Ben at this point:
See this is why I'm so exasperated, Ed. You're hardly alone. It's like I'm running around saying "Soylent Ben is made of LIES" and everyone else watching is like, "yum, I'll have seconds!"Hilarious.
Back when "Jurassic Park" came out, there was one three-starred review that stuck in my mind. The reviewer (I think from the Albany Times-Union) basically panned the first hour, calling it boring. But then he said something along the lines of "But, oh man that T-Rex. Talk about charisma! He flashes his pearly whites and the movie comes alive for a rollicking hour!"
I feel the exact same way about Smokey. Any Smoke Monster episode is going to be better than average simply by default. But this episode also had a Danielle flashback, a Jacob appearance, Charlotte's backstory and some terrific all around performances. Loses a little from the compression of Charlotte's story and not being as self-contained as some episodes (like "The Constant" or "23rd Psalm"), but that's a nitpick. Best episode of the season and possibly one of the best of the entire show. Man, I can't wait for next week! 4.6/5