"I wish you had believed"
Probably the best Jack-centric episode in a long while, eh? LOST totally surprised me tonight - I really thought the O6 weren't going to get back onto the Island until the season finale. The fact they're already there and we still have ten episodes left means lots more Island goodness than I expected (although next episode looks to be an almost total flashback).
I expected the show to pick up right where it left off, letting us see what happened to Locke when he spun the wheel. When the show opened with Jack sitting up in the jungle, I initially thought Locke (or just Locke's mind) had been thrown into Jack's body in the past. I've never been so relieved to have been wrong. So what did we learn this episode (and what can we speculate)?
1. Desmond was not required to go back with the others. Walt too, it seems. Frank seems to have been on the plane by either coincidence or someone's (Locke's or Ben's) machinations. Aaron was required, I believe, because Kate is now pregnant with Jack's moody, melodramatic seed. I'm willing to bet Kate is acting as a proxy for Aaron.
2. Charlie is probably responsible for getting Hurley on board - no doubt it's his guitar. Sayid found a proxy for the Marshall, probably turning himself in to get her on board (and interestingly enough, it appears she survived).
3. The L.A. DHARMA station is called "The Lamp Post" - pretty nifty symbol too - and it's how they found the Island. Here's a lightened image of the door:
4. It certainly seems probable now that the people who were shooting at Sawyer and company in the canoes were probably Jack and crew.
5. Ben seems to have settled his score with Charles and Penny. I really, really hope she's not dead, but the fact that Ben's still alive probably isn't a good thing for her.
6. It seems the plane landed in the Island's past, judging from Jin's sparkly new DHARMA van and jumpsuit. Did all the Losties go behind the scenes for DHARMA at some point? Cool.
Lots of questions this week, although the first one (that I'm not counting) really is what happens to the format of the show from now on? Are we going back to flashbacks given that there's so much that happened in the 46 hours between their meeting with Ms. Hawking and the flight? We still need to see:
1) What happened to Locke? It looks like next episode is devoted to this.
2) How did Hurley get Charlie's guitar and get out of jail?
3) How did Sayid pick up the Ana-Lucia/Marshall hybrid?
4) Where did Kate stick Aaron? I'm guessing with Cassidy.
5) What the heck happened to Desmond and Penny?
That's pretty much five episodes there: Locke, Hurley, Sayid, Kate and Ben (or Desmond). Will the other five be time-skipping goodness? And what happens now in the season finale? I had originally thought the finale would end with the O6 getting back on the Island. But if they're already here, I wonder what showstopper they're saving for us? Something with Smokey? Amelia? The Magic Box?
Food for thought, eh?
1) Why did they all have to be on the plane together to get back on the Island?
I have probably more of Jack in myself than I'm comfortable in admitting. I did like the concept around the Lamp Post, that DHARMA had a way of tracking the Island and that it did constantly move. This also makes the Donkey Wheel kinda like a manual override for what the Island naturally does. That's kinda cool to me. But I really don't want to have to accept that they all had to be on the plane because it's their destiny, and that a magical confluence of events occured to make them crash, although that seems to be (sorta) what it is. So let me get this straight - originally we were led to believe that Desmond was responsible for Flight 815 crashing when he failed to enter the Numbers in the Swan. Perhaps at this same time, the Island was open in a particular window and it not only led to the crash, but perhaps it contributed to them all surviving it.
But them all being on the plane together kinda throws all that out the window, doesn't it? While it doesn't rule out Desmond contributing to their crash, would Flight 815 have not broken apart if they weren't all on board? Or would no one have survived if they weren't all together on that flight? The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, mind you, but it certainly seems to diminish Desmond's role in all this (not to mention, like Jack, I still don't quite buy it all).
Also lots of planes, ships and balloons have crashed on the Island before without Jack and Company. Are we supposed to believe you can't reach the Island unless it's your destiny to be there? Because if that's true, why do you need equations and a pendulum - can't you just tap your shoes three times and relax because eventually, no matter what you do and what choices you make, you'll end up there?
This bothered me a bit, I suppose, perhaps more than it should given the way the story has gone the last few seasons and I'm hoping this will be addressed in the ultimate answer to the show. Hurley's "we're all pawns" remark seems to be quite apt here.
2) When in time did they land on the Island and are they in synch with the other Islanders?
Judging from Jin, it seems like they appeared in the DHARMA heyday - 70's or early eighties - but that could be deceiving. Jin could have time traveled in a DHARMA jumpsuit, driving the van. In other words, he could have "carried" both with him from a previous time and the O6 could have arrived in the Island's present. This would mean the Losties are in synch with the rest of the time travelers on the Island.
However, from the episode with the canoes, Sawyer and company disappeared from whomever was chasing them. So if it really was Jack and company (and judging from the Ajira Airways bottle it was) chasing them, that suggests that the O6 is not in synch with the Island Losties. Guess we'll know for sure if Jin disappears before their very eyes.
Of course, it would also be cool if they really were all in DHARMA's heyday (if Jin hadn't time traveled with the stuff). I guess we'll find out the answer to this one soon as well.
3) What's Desmond's future role in all this?
Hopefully it's not to avenge his wife. :P
Desmond is certainly going to end up back on the Island at some point, but he wasn't required to get the O6 back there. Which brings up an interesting point, mainly that Desmond is so special he can reach the Island on his own. And remember, the first time he crashed there it was 1) in a boat and 2) without Penny. Wonder what he's going to do with his son?
4) What's going to happen to Ben now that he's (presumably) back on the Island?
At the end of "This Place Is Death," Jacob sounded kinda pissed at Ben. I'm really looking forward to Ben getting smitten (smited? smote?) by an angry, ghostly Island God. Not killed, mind you, just taken down a notch or two. Remember, Michael Emerson still needs an Emmy.
And I say presumably because we haven't seen Sun, Ben, Sayid or Frank yet, but I have to believe they all made it. Frank better still be alive, dammit. Needs to grow his goatee back too. Also remember that Frank was originally supposed to be the pilot of Flight 815. He's kinda a proxy for himself this time.
5) So what do they do now?
Okay, they're back. As Captain Finnegan said at the end of "Deep Rising," as he and Famke Janssen wash up on the shore of a desert island that has monster-like roaring coming from a dense jungle, "Now what?"
*As an aside, "Deep Rising" is probably the guiltiest of my guilty favorite bad movies. Great cast, cheesy as all hell, love every second of it. And the ending is eerily similar to our favorite show. Now back to your regularly scheduled LOST review...*
We've spent nearly a season and a half building up to this - so what to the Losties have to do to put the Island to rights again? And what was their original purpose for crashing on the Island. We'll probably get these answers in about another season and a half. *sigh*
* The episode opened with Jack's left eye (the evil eye). First eye opening in a while.
* The waterfall was the same one Kate and Sawyer recovered the case from in "Whatever The Case May Be" aka "The One With The Toy Airplane."
* That photo of the Island Jack was looking at in the Lamp Post:
* In case you care, Kate likes her coffee light and sweet. Like her men - NOT.
* If there was a five-color warning system for levels of Kate annoyance, Em just might have been tipped into STAGE FIVE: RED by this episode.
* On Ben's phone, when he called Jack from the marina, there was a sticker that said "Long Beach"
* Nice of Hurley to buy up the extra seats. Of course, if I was the stewardess who noticed it, I'd have developed a quick case of food poisoning before the plane took off and recused myself. Of course, the Island would probably go all "Final Destination" on my ass anyway. :P
* Jack was in seat 8C
* Jack's graddad's name is Ray
* Ben was reading "Ulysses" on the plane. Of course he was.
* "Dude, you might want to fasten your seatbelt" might have been the best line of the season. Best delivered line at very least.
* BTW, props where they are due: The two places I get my screencaps from are the Lost Media Photo Gallery and DarkUFO's Screencaps and Easter Egg site. Both are terrific and worth browsing on their own.
A very good episode, not as good as the last one, but better than average. I will say the plot of this season has simply raced along. I think it's a good thing in general even though I think the characters (with the possible exception of Daniel) have suffered a bit. I'm a little sad there aren't any self-contained episodes anymore, just a lot of fast-paced plot stuff. I'm giving it a 3.8/5.0 - I gave it an "Excellent" in my poll although I don't think it quite reaches that status. Looking forward to next week's Lockapalooza though. :)