Hello my dear friends -
"This Place is Death" served up the climax of "very bad things" that came to pass on the Island once the O6 left. The time flashes hit with increasing frequency, forcing Charlotte to, uh, resign her post as President of the Bloody Nose Club just as Sawyer became a card-carrying member. Locke, thanks to a tip from the fading Ms. Lewis, completed the first part of his mission to bring back the Lostaways who departed: he successfully turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel, but not before being reprimanded by Zombie Dad for letting Ben do it the first time around. Now the stage has been set for us to see exactly what transpired when Locke returned to the outside world.
Speaking of the outside world, I'm going to kick off this post with a look at the L.A.-based events, so let's head to the Long Beach Marina...
I GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH YOU
AND I'M SURE YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE
It was indeed Ben that Sun was gunning for (pun intended). After we were treated to our first glimpse of two-and-a-half-year-old Ji Yeon thanks to an ill-timed phone call, Sun busted out of her car and went straight for the man who had finally wrangled all but one of the Oceanic Six together. He's like, "Cool your heels, sweetie. I didn't kill your hubby, and I can prove it." Kate -- still fuming from the realization that Ben was the mystery client paying lawyers to pursue her -- did the right thing by getting Aaron out of there. As Kate's leaving, Sayid also decides to wipe his hands of the situation. He warns Ben and Jack that he plans to create an extra-special Breakdancing Move o' Death for the next time he runs into either of them, and then ends with, "Jarrah, OUT!"
That left Sun and The Mad Doctor as the only ones willing to take a ride with Ben in the Reincarnation Van.
During that ride came my fourth favorite scene of the episode. Sun and Jack were all, "I'M going to shoot Ben first... No, I'M going to shoot Ben first! OK, let's both shoot him at the same time, because that's how much he sucks!" and Mr. Linus was having none of it. He swerved off the road and delivered an intense verbal smackdown to his stunned passengers. "Dammit, Jack... just because you shaved your beard doesn't mean you're not a frickin' crackhead. As for you, Sun... well, once a floozy, always a floozy. If you both don't shut up, as God is my witness, I will find a way to bring Smokey to L.A. and sic him on your ungrateful asses!"
I enjoyed Ben's little tirade not only because it was hilarious, but also because it gave me hope that Ben is indeed trying to do the right thing after all... that he's a "good guy." Yes, I'm still positive that he has his own agenda for bringing back the O6, but his van rant proved to me that he at least believes he's trying to help the 815ers, too. Ever since we first met him in "One of Them," we've seen Ben dole out critical information only when he has absolutely no other choice. Now he's at the peak of his frustration because he knows he has to be exceedingly careful about what he chooses to share with those upon whom his own return to the Island depends. Unfortunately, he's lied to them so much that they have every right to question his motivations.
GIVE ME SOMETHIN' TO BELIEVE IN
'CAUSE I DON'T BELIEVE IN YOU
Ben finally stops the van and reveals the "proof" that Jin's alive. He gives Sun her husband's wedding ring.
BEN: John gave it to me.
JACK: [interjecting] You said John never came to see you.
BEN: That’s true, Jack, I went to see him. [To Sun] Jin gave it to him before he left the island.
SUN: Why did he not tell me himself?BEN: I don’t know. Maybe he never had a chance before he died.
There are a few important things we can take away from this scene, assuming (and yes, it's a huge assumption) that Ben's not lying:
1) Ben knew that Locke had left the Island long before Locke ended up in a casket.
We were already aware that Ben has off-Island Others working for/with him, so perhaps he's had these people monitoring the O6 ever since they returned home. My guess would be that when Locke started visiting members of the O6 and pleading the case for them to return, Ben's people saw it and reported back to him.
2) Ben went to see Locke -- not the other way around.
This one makes me more than a little nervous. Neither Undead Christian Shephard nor Ageless Richard ever mentioned one word to Locke about needing to involve Ben in the mission to get the O6 back to the Island. In fact, it seems like Ben was never supposed to turn the FDW or leave the Island in the first place. So to hear that he tracked down Locke and most likely inserted himself in whatever plans Locke had made spells trouble in my mind. While I've said before that I think Desmond's interference with Charlie's death might have been what kicked off the disastrous turn of events on the Island, I'm now starting to wonder if ignoring Ben from the start would've also resulted in a better outcome for everyone. If Lost is a story about each of the 815ers coming to terms with where they've gone wrong in life, then perhaps the key for Locke will be learning to trust himself rather than Ben. So when is he going to start doing so?
3) Locke may or may not have visited Sun.
Sun's "Why did he not tell me himself?" could be interpreted two ways:
1) Why didn't he tell me himself... when he visited me?
2) Why didn't he ever come talk to me?
If Locke tracked down Sun and relayed how Ben killed Keamy -- causing the freighter Jin was on to explode -- that might explain Sun's level of rage and determination to bring Ben to justice. However, I don't really see why Locke would visit Sun just to tell her that.
Based on Ben's comeback to Sun that perhaps Locke didn't say anything to her about the ring because "he never had a chance before he died," I'm inclined to believe that Locke and Sun didn't meet after he left the Island. I think he wanted to hold true to his promise to Jin (which I'll revisit later in this post) and therefore thought it would be safer if he just stayed away from her entirely. She'd have enough reason to hate Ben without Locke sharing the full story behind the freighter's explosion.
Perhaps the question we should be asking is: what did Locke tell Ben about Jin?
ALL THAT'S LEFT OF THE DREAMS I HOLD
IS A BAND OF GOLD
Locke could have kept Jin's secret. He could've told Ben that Jin washed up on the beach and that they buried him. If Locke intended to die in an attempt to convince the O6 that they needed to return, and if he shared that plan with Ben beforehand, then he could've said something to Ben like, "Hey, once I'm gone, make sure Sun gets this ring so that she has some closure." Ben could actually have no idea that Jin's really still alive. He probably doesn't care either way -- he just knew he could use the ring as leverage to get Sun's cooperation.
Locke could've told Ben the truth in the hopes that Ben would do the dirty work. Remember when John was supposed to kill Original Sawyer/Daddy Locke in "The Brig" but (with Richard's help) got Sawyer to do it instead? I think Locke might be pulling a similar stunt with Jin's ring. He could've spilled everything to Ben and given Ben the ring as a means to motivate Sun to return with the group. Then the Island (which is what Locke cares about above everything else) would be saved... while he never directly breaks his vow to Jin. For Ben and Locke it's a win-win situation.
I'm banking on the hope that we'll eventually get to see all of Locke's off-Island adventures... so for now, let's return to the scene outside of Hawking's Headquarters...
Sun decides that she will stick with Ben, and they (along with Jack) prepare to go talk to "the woman who can help them" return to the Island. Then, wouldn't you know it, Desmond strolls up at the exact same moment and asks if they're also looking for Faraday's mom. I would've loved it if this scene was in slo-mo and there was a soft breeze blowing Des's hair back from his face as he walked toward the group and then the camera panned to Ben as his mouth drops open, ever so slightly (still in slo-mo). I can picture it perfectly in my mind.
Did you notice that upon seeing Desmond, Ben suddenly appeared remotivated? He almost ran into the church to show Hawking who'd come for a visit.
All I can figure is that:
- Ben knows of Desmond's "uniqueness" regarding the rules of time travel on the Island, and thought that his presence might more than make up for the fact that four of the Oceanic Six weren't along for the ride. Or...
- Ben hadn't been aware that Hawking was Faraday's mother, but now that he knows, he has even greater hope that his mission can succeed as Hawking will be extra-motivated to save her son. Or...
- Ben did know that Hawking was Faraday's mother, but didn't realize that Daniel must have convinced Desmond -- while still on the Island together at some point in the past -- to attempt to save those who had been left behind. Ben is obviously willing to accept any extra help he can get and is heartened to hear that he's not the only one working to prevent the destruction of the Island (and those on it); across space and time, Daniel is, too.
So everyone goes into the church, and Lost fans who never watched any of the past "enhanced" episodes finally got their first confirmation that Ms. Hawking's name is Eloise (we'd still never heard her last name spoken until the end of this episode when Zombie Dad mentions it). I'm not going to repeat everything I wrote before about Ellie, the young woman who captured the Freighties in "Jughead" and who most likely grew up to be Ms. Hawking/Daniel's mother, but if you want to review those theories, the two relevant sections begin here.
Clearly, we're soon going to learn exactly how the group must go about returning to the Island. As the next installment is entitled "316," my guess is that Ms. Hawking has figured this number to be the bearing the O6 have to follow to catch an "opening" in space-time... a wormhole of sorts that will close once seventy hours have passed. Other bearings have been 325 (which Ben gave to Michael when he left via boat with Waaaalt) and 305 (which Daniel gave to Lapidus when he headed back to the freighter, and which was also referenced on Eko's Jesus Stick: "Lift up your eyes and look north John 3:05"). In "The Lie," Daniel told everyone that he'd have to calculate a new bearing if they were to attempt to leave the Island via Zodiac -- but he never did so as the flashes kept messing with everything.
Then of course there's the Bible verse, John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Seeing as how Lost's John has just left the Island and has often been viewed as a Savior-like character on the show (the parallels between John and Jesus will be even stronger if Locke does indeed "rise from the dead"), the next episode's title could be a religious nod as well. But I'm still going with "316" being the bearing needed to return to the Island.
Let me end my coverage of the Los Angeles scenes by saying how much I loved Desmond's "What's goin' on here, brotha?" look when he first saw Hawking. In the next episode I hope we actually get to hear his reaction to discovering that Daniel's mother is the same strange woman who tried to stop him from buying an engagement ring for Penny all those years ago.
Now, on to the Island...
THE MONSTER MASH
There must have been a Korean/English dictionary floating along with Jin during the time he was stranded at sea, because he sure was talking up a storm with Rousseau's crew. He was able to ask her what year it was and then confirm that there was a radio tower on the Island. It's fair to guess that without Jin, Rousseau may have never recorded her infamous transmission. Once she had to kill off all of her friends and her husband, she might have given up hope had she not known there was a radio tower within walking distance.
Another thing Jin clued everyone into was the fact that the bizarre noises they were hearing in the jungle were being made by the "monster."
Yes, Smokey was back in all his glory. We got quite a good look at him this time around, too. He finished Nadine off Oceanic Pilot-style and then gave Montand a scenic -- albeit bumpy -- ride back to his lair. A lair that's apparently beneath the unseen-until-now Temple.
Rousseau's group wasn't going to give Montand up without a fight, though. The snarky Frenchman found himself playing the role of the rope in a Smokey versus Science Team Tug of War match. The loser of this game was Montand's arm. In the span of a quick, gross cutaway, one of my five biggest pre-Season Five questions was answered.
Now there's a new mystery: what in the hell happened once Montand was dragged underground? Immediately after his arm landed with a quiet thud on the jungle floor, we hear Montand crying for help. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but all I could think at that point was, "Oh, no... this is just like that crap in The Ruins that left me sleepless for two nights." (For those of you who haven't read Scott Smith's disturbing bestseller or seen its film adaptation, in it there are evil vines that are able to impersonate human voices.)
The rest of the science team eagerly climbs down the hole to rescue Montand -- except for Danielle, who is stopped by Jin. So now we know why Danielle was the only one from her group who didn't get "the sickness." Jin saved her.
BUT IT'S PLAIN TO SEE
I'M NOT THE MAN I USED TO BE
OH, IT'S PLAIN
AND IT'S A SHAME
I'M NOT THE MAN I USED TO BE
Next, a flash carries Jin to a point in time just a few months later -- the Temple area is now deserted, except for Montand's decaying arm. Back at the beach, Jin finds that members of Rousseau's team have been shot and killed. He also comes across the music box that Sayid will end up fixing for Danielle in the future. Did you notice the instrument cases that were lying around? They were shown pretty prominently... which means we were meant to notice them.
The first thing that popped into my head was: instruments = musicians = one of these French peeps was the one who ends up programming the musical code in The Looking Glass. Now, why a French person would choose "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys to base a code on is beyond me, so I doubt anything will come of this little idea. But as always, I thought I should mention it just in case. I have no idea how any of those guys could've gotten down to The Looking Glass in the two months or so before they were killed by Rousseau, and I also don't think the jamming of communications on and off of the Island would've begun in 1988 -- but stranger things have happened in this series. For the record, I still think Charlie was the one who programmed the code. Don't ask me how this could work or why I think this, because it's just a gut feeling I've always had -- nothing more.
Anyway, back to the beach. Hearing an argument nearby, Jin creeps toward the voices until he spies Danielle with her rifle pointed at her husband, Robert. Scenes like this one are, in my opinion, the best examples of Lost's brilliance. In Season One, Rousseau told Sayid how she had removed the firing pin from her husband's rifle before she killed him. So it's not like we didn't know what was going to happen as we watched everything transpire from Jin's point of view. Still, I was absolutely on the edge of my seat as the Rousseaus' last conversation went down. It was especially sad now that we got to see what a loving guy Robert had been before Smokey had his way with him.
What we could gather from Robert and Danielle's argument was that ever since the team entered Smokey's lair, they had all been "different." Different enough for Danielle to fear for her life (and rightly so, as Robert had intended to kill her and their unborn child in the process). Robert claimed that the monster was simply a "security system"... a piece of information that Danielle would end up passing along to the Lostaways in the Season One finale. But regardless of whether or not they learned anything useful about Smokey from their experience, the French science team members were adversely affected by whatever happened to them under the Temple.
Could they have been instantaneously brainwashed by Smokey or otherwise possessed by whatever else was down there? Is this what would've happened to Locke if he had successfully been dragged underground by the monster back in Season One? I really have no idea. Even though this was the first time we've seen the Temple, we have heard about it before. It's where all of the Others had been sent once Ben and Richard learned about the threat from Keamy's team; Ben thought it might be "the last safe place" on the Island. He had a map that showed the Temple as one of the Dharma stations. It obviously wasn't a place that all of the Others were familiar with, however, because Karl and Alex had no knowledge of where it was. Further, Ben had said that it was OK if Rousseau took cover there, but that "it wasn't for" any of the 815ers. Alas, as we know now, Karl, Rousseau and Alex never made it to the Temple that fateful day.
But back to 1988... after Rousseau shot Robert, she was about to do away with Jin, too, figuring that he also must be "sick" as he disappeared in front of her eyes a few months prior. Luckily, another flash saved Jin in the nick of time... and Danielle, as far as we know, went on to live the next sixteen years in isolation after having Alex stolen from her by the Others. Wouldn't you agree that Danielle is definitely in the running for the Saddest Life Story Award?
I'M SO EXCITED
AND I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT
Next, Jin finds himself alone again... but not for very long. My third favorite scene of the night was when Sawyer realized who it was that he'd just captured in the jungle. The joyous reunion hug he had with Jin was awesome and served as a much needed high point in an otherwise dark episode.
To get Jin up to speed on what was happening with the flashes, Charlotte displayed her fluency in Korean (shocking those who hadn't heard it before... which was everyone except Jin).
Shortly thereafter, our favorite redhead takes a turn for the worse, and the rest of the group has no choice but to leave her with Daniel and continue on to the Orchid in the hopes of stopping the torturous flashes. But before the group splits apart, Charlotte has a spine-chilling freak-out where she starts yelling in Korean to Jin and then ends with, "Don’t let them bring her back. No matter what – don’t let them bring her back! This place is death!"
The look on Jin's face was one of pure horror, which made the scene all the more unbearable.
THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO TRY
THERE'S NO PLACE LEFT TO HIDE
THERE'S NO GREAT POWER
THAN THE POWER OF
The group finds the Orchid, but then another flash brings them to a year before the station was built. Charlotte's clue about "looking for the well" helps Locke find the hole he must descend into. However, Jin heeds Charlotte's warning and blocks Locke's way until he promises that he won't bring Sun back with him if and when he returns. Locke give Jin his word, and then down he goes.
It came as no surprise to me that another flash occurred before Locke reached the bottom of the cave. My second favorite moment of the night was when Sawyer completely lost it as the earth closed up beneath his feet. I mean, was that heart-wrenching or was that heart-wrenching? I've always enjoyed the dynamic between Locke and Sawyer -- it was interesting before "The Brig"... and infinitely more fascinating after the two men were bound together by their roles in Original Sawyer/Daddy Locke's murder. Since we still have no idea where Rose, Bernard, Vincent or any random redshirts are, as far as Sawyer is concerned, Locke was the last of the Flight 815 survivors left with him on the Island. I was beyond crushed when he started digging furiously in the ground and hollering for the others to help.
On that note, I've really been struck this season by the complete one-eighty Sawyer's attitude has taken. Remember his "Every man for himself" motto and how he hoarded all of the goodies right after the crash? Now he's saying things like, "It don't matter what I want" and jumping out of helicopters and crying over ol' baldy. I love it.
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN
THAT THEY SHOULD TRY TO
BEST THEY CAN
So Locke lands with a sickening crunch at the bottom of the chamber and realizes that he's now all alone. Or is he? After a very nas-TAY shot of Locke's leg bone sticking out through his pants, we see a shadow moving toward him. There's no shame in my game, so I will freely admit to almost wetting my pants during that scene. I really had no idea who in the hell was going to materialize and was bracing myself for the show to finally delve into the world of goblins and demons and whatnot. At the very least, I thought we'd finally get to meet Jacob and that he'd be some gnarled, ancient, wizard-looking dude.
Alas, it was only Zombie Dad who peeked around the corner, holding an oil lamp -- just like Locke had done when he cautiously entered Jacob's cabin in "Cabin Fever." Was it just me, or did Undead Christian's voice sound a lot different than it did before? The whole thing was so damn weird, I really don't know what to make of it. The most important parts of their exchange were that Undead Christian scolded Locke for letting Ben move the wheel, wouldn't/couldn't physically help him to stand, told him that he must get everyone to come back and that he might have to sacrifice himself in order to do so, specifically instructed him to take the group to Eloise Hawking, and then casually passed along greetings to his son. I love how the scene ended with Locke shouting, "Who's your son?!?!"
There are so many theories about what's going on with Undead Christian that I'm never going to be able to cover them all, so I'll just stick to what I think:
- Christian is not Jacob. In fact, he's already told us that he's not Jacob. When Locke came upon Zombie Dad and Possibly Dead Claire in Jacob's cabin in the episode "Cabin Fever," Christian said that while he wasn't Jacob, he could speak on his behalf.
- I continue to believe that Jacob is just a weird spirit-thingy... like the spirit of the Island itself or something. He lets those who have died speak for him. Right now Christian is his main mouthpiece.
- Christian came to the Island in a casket... and Locke may be returning to the Island in a casket. So it's possible that Locke is going to take over as Jacob's right-hand man in the near future. I wouldn't like that at all, so I hope that's not what happens. But Undead Locke is better than no Locke at all, I guess.
While I can't wait to see exactly what Locke did while he was parading around in the outside world as Jeremy Bentham, I'm even more curious to find out when the Island went once the wheel was put back on its axis. I can only assume that there was one more time flash as Locke was sent careening to God-knows-where. Did the season premiere, as well as Charlotte's final scenes, give us some hints as to when the gang ends up?
WHY DON'T YOU
Alone with Daniel in the jungle, Charlotte starts whirring through the years in her mind, and she confesses that she's been on the Island before. She spent some of her childhood with the Dharma Initiative before leaving for England with her mother (while her dad apparently stayed behind). That's how she knew to tell the others about the pre-Orchid Station well.
The other critical bit of information that Charlotte remembered was that a "crazy man" came to her during those early years on the Island and warned her to never come back after she'd left or else she would die. She knew now that this man had been Daniel. That reveal was my favorite moment of the night. I truly didn't see it coming. If I didn't like Faraday's character so much I probably would've laughed at Charlotte's memory of him as a scary freak. However, I do adore him, so it was heartbreaking to watch his facial expressions as he realized that he's going to keep trying to save Charlotte in his future (but her past)... and that it's not going to work. (And by the way, if any of you out there are really digging this unconventional "love story" between Charlotte and Daniel and you haven't read The Time Traveler's Wife -- one of my all-time favorite books -- you really need to read it. Like right now.)
Moments later, after uttering a most rockin' final line, Charlotte Staples Lewis dies.
Do I think that Charlotte will "stay dead"? It's hard telling with this show. I'm really hoping we get to see the scene where Daniel talks to her when she's a young girl (and since the season kicked off with Daniel in a Dharma outfit at the Orchid, I think we will). I'm also guessing that they wouldn't have highlighted Charlotte's Korean language skills again (much less ever) if that wasn't some sort of clue. The leading theory on this point is that she was once involved with Paik Heavy Industries (Sun's father's company). So maybe Adult Charlotte will appear again in a flashback. But if the past is able to be altered with a little help from Desmond, and another iteration of time occurs where Charlie doesn't un-jam communications and the O6 don't end up leaving the Island... then maybe the helicopter team will never arrive. Which may mean that we'll never see Charlotte again -- but we'd be comforted by the knowledge that she doesn't become unstuck in time and die on the jungle floor at age 25, right?
I'll wrap up with some quick thoughts about who Charlotte's parents might be. When we first met this redhead, everyone -- including myself -- assumed she could be the daughter of Annie and Ben (without Ben even knowing this). Now that we've confirmed Charlotte was once on the Island and that her mom left but her dad stayed -- and that they were a part of Dharma -- I think that theory is still in the running. We never did find out what happened to Annie, remember. There's also the chance that Annie ended up with someone besides Ben and that Charlotte is that couple's daughter.
Another strong possibility is that Charlotte's parents are Horace (redhead) and Olivia Goodspeed -- the ones who brought Ben and his dad to the Island. We know Horace died in The Purge, but we don't know what happened to Olivia. None of these options would explain why Charlotte has a British accent, though. Nor would they really jibe with a comment she blurted out as her mind was going berserk: "You know what my mum would say about you marrying an American." So of course we have to include the possibility that Eloise Hawking might have been Charlotte's mom (making her and Daniel full or half-siblings) or that Charles Widmore may have been her father. And I know that this may be the craziest theory yet -- but the identity of Charlotte's parents might not even matter and therefore may never be revealed. Seriously, if we never find out who they were, would that really impact anything? Right now, no.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
JIN: You see helicopter?
MONTAND (In French): First a boat. Then a helicopter. Next thing you know he'll be talking about a submarine.
ROUSSEAU [to Jin]: Did you hear that?
ROBERT: What is that?
SAWYER [To Miles]: You heard the man, translate.
MILES: Uh, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.
LOCKE: We’re here.
JULIET: Thank God! What are the odds that we would end up in the same time as this thing?
[Another flash occurs, after which the Orchid station is absent]
SAWYER: You just had to say something.
SAWYER [to Locke]: You’re going down there?
SAWYER: What exactly are you hoping to find?
LOCKE: A way off the island.
SAWYER: You expecting a subway?
CHARLOTTE [in a mischievous, childish voice]: I’m not allowed to have chocolate before dinner...
Thanks for reading...
Until next time,