Tuesday, March 31, 2009

S5Ep10 - He's Our You

Hello my dear friends -

When I learned that the name of the series' 96th episode was "He's Our You," I got chills. Something about those three words just totally freaked me out. I immediately thought that the hour would revolve around parallels between two groups: the 815ers vs. the Others/Hostiles, the 815ers vs. Dharma, Ben's network of people vs. Widmore's, or some other combination of the aforementioned factions. I also figured that either Ben, Horace, Ageless Richard, Locke, Widmore or maybe even the elusive Jacob would be the character of focus.

What's embarrassing to admit is that although it was clear from the very first second of airtime that this episode was going to be Sayid-centric, it still didn't click to me that the title would be in reference to another interrogator/torturer. It wasn't until Sawyer actually said the line at Oldham's Teepee of Terror that the lightbulb went on in my head.

Since my brain is obviously not in tip-top shape this week (and since I have less time than usual to write this post), I'm especially thankful that there really wasn't that much to pick apart in this episode... except for The Ending, of course.

Let's start with the flashbacks (yay for the return of the old format!) and then finish up with the Island events.


Over the course of Season Five we've seen countless parallels to past episodes. Characters are saying (sometimes word for word) and doing the same things that different characters said and did (in earlier seasons) more and more frequently. I usually don't mention things like this because, 1) there's just too many to call out, and 2) while I think they're neat, they typically don't advance the plot, provide clues, or serve any purpose other than enabling us to say something like, "Hey, that's exactly what Goodwin said to Ana Lucia in Season Two!"

But in light of Mr. Eko's fate, I feel that I should bring up the fact that the beginning of "He's Our You," which showed that Sayid has always been comfortable with taking lives, was extremely similar to the beginning of "The 23rd Psalm." In that Season Two episode we saw Young Eko kill a man to appease gang leaders who'd ordered his brother to do so.

Fast-forward to Eko's last day on the Island, where he was whipped all around and ultimately killed by Smokey, presumably for being unrepentant about his past. Is a comparable end in store for Sayid? I certainly hope not.

Anyway, the bulk of the flashbacks were obviously meant to bang into our heads -- as if we weren't already aware -- that Sayid is a killer. I was slightly annoyed that the whole question of The Economist's identity seemed to be brushed under the rug when Ben and Sayid met up in Moscow and Ben announced that all of Widmore's men had been successfully offed. That statement seemed to imply that either 1) The Economist was eventually found and killed after Sayid's fling with Elsa went awry, and that this man wasn't necessarily anyone of consequence, or that 2) The Economist is Widmore.

At the beginning of February I ranted on and on for 3.5 sections about why The Economist was probably an important character and why it didn't work for him to be Widmore (the main reason being that Widmore has never been particularly hard to find, whereas Sayid was going to great lengths to get face-time with The Economist). So I guess I'll just have to roll with explanation #1 unless anyone out there has a different idea they'd like to share (but before doing so, please first refresh your memory of my original arguments here).

Back to the flashback... After Sayid put a bullet in what turned out to be his last assignment for Ben, Ben's just like, "High five! I'm outta here to do vodka shots with the Ruskies -- have a nice life!" Once Sayid got over his jealousy of Ben's extremely sweet hat, he replied, "So that's it? What am I supposed to do now -- go build schools in Central America, or something equally as random?"

Many people were expecting a huge showdown between Ben and Sayid... you know, something that would explain Sayid's extreme distrust of Ben by the time the events of "Because You Left" rolled around. I for one was certainly assuming that we'd get to see some sort of falling out between the two men. Then the Santo Domingo scene started up and I thought, "Oh goody, now we'll get some answers..."


... or maybe not. Ben simply flew down to inform Sayid about Locke's death (though he of course neglected to mention that he was the murderer) and the guy staking out Hurley's mental institution. He was confident that was all he'd have to mention in order to motivate Sayid to fly to L.A. It turns out that Mr. Linus knew Sayid better than Sayid knew himself.

However, that doesn't solve the mystery of why Sayid would tell Hurley to do "the opposite" of anything that Ben says, or why he'd comment to Jack that "the only side Ben's on is his own." It's not like Ben said "Hey, those people you killed -- it was all for nothing, I just didn't like those dudes -- you weren't really protecting your friends." He didn't cop to being behind Nadia's murder or anything. He didn't trick Sayid in any way, actually (aside from not giving him the full information about Locke's demise).

At this point, though, I'm not so sure we're going to get any other clue as to why Sayid was so anti-Ben by the time he headed back (unwillingly) to the Island. Unless you count the little speech he gave Ilana before Ajira 316 took flight...


Ah, Sayid. You just don't learn. You really have to stop falling for mysterious babes. Your silky, glorious, wondrous mane will just be wasted on them. Ilana certainly paid no attention to it when she kicked you in the face with her dominatrix boots...

Let's just get to the heart of the matter with Ilana, shall we? Was she hired by Ben, Widmore, or somebody else?

- The argument for Ben: As mentioned earlier, Ben knows Sayid. He watched him fall for Elsa. He knew his weaknesses. He needed a Plan B in case Sayid wouldn't come to the Island on his own. Who else would know that Sayid killed that guy on the golf course? Ben definitely orchestrated Ilana's involvement in Sayid's capture... but whether she actually knows the identity of her ultimate boss is another story.

- The argument for Widmore: Um, did you notice the true look of shock on Ben's face when he saw Sayid on the plane? Ben definitely didn't hire Ilana, and it was obvious she would never knowingly work for "somebody like that." Besides, Sayid met Ilana shortly after (perhaps even less than an hour) he left Ben and the others at the marina. There's no way Ben could've pulled together a scheme like that -- at that point in time, he didn't even know what flight led back to the Island as they hadn't gotten that information from Hawking yet. However, Widmore could've been working to ensure Sayid returned... perhaps because he knew Sayid would attempt to kill Young Ben. Or maybe it was just because he had as much motivation as Ben did to get the O6 back to the Island.

- The argument for someone else: Who Ilana ultimately works for is unimportant... we'll probably never find out, or we're just going to have to take what she said at face value. In light of the ten bazillion other mysteries on the show, this one's not worth wasting any time on. And yes, this means that it was truly "fate" for Sayid to be on that specific flight.

I'm leaning toward the last theory... Ilana seemed pretty clueless about the Island once Ajira 316 landed. I'm not sure how big of a role she'll play in the overall story going forward. I mean, think about how many characters there are to keep track of already, right? (However, I do think fellow newbie Caesar is a character whose backstory will matter in the future.)

Besides getting Sayid on the fateful flight, Ilana served one other purpose in "He's Our You" -- namely, she lent an ear when Sayid needed to sum up why he hates Ben so much: "He's a liar. A manipulator. A man who allowed his own daughter to be murdered to save himself. A monster responsible for nothing short of genocide."

So how do you really feel about the man, Sayid?


Despite the fact that all of the flashbacks kept reinforcing Sayid's murderous nature and building a case as to why he'd want to do away with Ben, he sure seemed sympathetic to Lil' Linus at the beginning of his Dharma prison stay. Who wouldn't take Ben's side over Evil Roger's, though? It was tough to watch Young Ben get his face slammed into the cell bars by his father, wasn't it? However, I'm glad they included that scene, because it definitely went a long way toward helping me understand why Ben was so desperate to join the Hostiles. We knew his dad was mean and all, but Ben's previous flashback didn't really drive home the point as forcefully as "He's Our You" did.

Oh, and that book that Ben passed Sayid? A Separate Reality? I didn't even bother looking into what it was about, because it was clear to me from its title that the joke was on us crazy fans. I actually said out loud, "OK, now they're just messing with us." What have we been arguing about since this season began? Whether or not the Losties can change the past and thereby affect the future outcome of events. I took the book's presence in this episode as a little nod to all of that mayhem, and nothing more. As in, I don't think it's any sort of clue whatsoever.

Back to the captive Sayid...

Sawyer tried to get his old buddy to act like he's a rogue Hostile, but Sayid would have none of it. So before he could even shout "Don't tase me, bro!", Sayid got zapped and taken to Oldham. By the way all of the Dharmites were talking about him, I sincerely expected Oldham to be some menacing, ultra-violent freak straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. If this guy was Dharma's version of Sayid, then surely some nas-tay torture scenes were in the immediate future.

Or not. Oldham's "tools of interrogation" weren't pliers or screwdrivers or sharpened twigs... he just poured some truth serum on a sugar cube and shoved it into Sayid's mouth. The result was that Sayid could tell no lies... and took on the qualities of a bashful, giggling eight-year-old girl in the process. Seriously, what was up with that?

Anyway, it didn't matter that Sayid spilled his guts... no one could possibly believe someone who claimed to be from the future -- especially when Radzinsky kept interrupting him every two seconds (much to Sawyer's relief). Poor Oldham hung his head in shame and slunk back into his teepee. Sayid was then returned to his cell.

(And yes, you do know Oldham from somewhere. But no, I have no idea what the deal was with his old school phonograph. And no, I don't think he's Jacob.)

-- or --

-- or --

Then a group of Dharmites called a meeting to discuss what to do about their captured Hostile. Radzinsky immediately suggested killing him (surprise, surprise), and when Evil Amy's head snapped to attention, I was like, "Yeeeah, see! She's a Hostile, too!" But a few minutes later when she took the reins from Radzinsky and led the argument for killing Sayid, then I had second thoughts. Until I realized that if she was truly a Hostile, she would know that Sayid wasn't, so therefore she'd be suspicious of him and want him dead or gone. You can't fool me, Evil Amy!

(Random comment about this scene -- is Horace throwing off Kevin Spacey vibes to anyone else? It's something about his eyes. Pay attention in the next episode and let me know if you see the resemblance. Horace Goodspeed is Keyser Söze, dammit!)

Sawyer had no choice but to go along with the vote... but then ran over to the jail and made a last-ditch attempt to convince Sayid to escape. Once again, Sayid was like, "N. O. P. E. What does it spell? NOPE." Frustrated, Mr. LaFleur stomped over to Kate's place and demanded to know why The Returnees came back. But just before we got to hear what motivated Kate to board Ajira 316, a flaming van crashed into a nearby house and all hell broke loose.

It seems as though Ben was able to mastermind elaborate schemes even as a pre-teen. And thank God that someone gave him the memo about wearing a hooded jacket if he wanted to seem more foreboding and mysterious.

He crept into the holding area, made Sayid promise that he'd let him tag along to Hostile Land, and then led Sayid to freedom.


And then came the climactic scene of the night. After knocking Jin unconscious in the jungle (did anyone else laugh at how impressed Little Ben was by Sayid's ninja moves?), Sayid did what I really didn't think he'd do, despite writing this in my last post: "there's a part of me that wonders if Sayid's not above bumping off Little Ben and thereby saving some other iteration of himself the frustration of dealing with ol' bug-eyes in the future."

Yep, he did it. Sayid shot Little Ben, and it looked like he got him right in the heart. After allowing himself a split-second to grapple with and mourn over his decision, He of the Black Tank Top ran off into the darkness.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I really, really, really hope that this act of revenge doesn't mean that it's curtains for Sayid. He's one of my favorite characters, and although it's definitely hard to swallow the attempted murder of a young boy, we know that Sayid thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he would be preventing the Purge. He thought Alex wouldn't be shot in the head by Keamy. Hell, he probably thought Keamy's team would never even come to the Island... they were after Ben, let's not forget.

But of course the real question is, could Sayid have actually killed Ben, or would that be impossible?

In the interest of not causing my head to explode, I'm just going to summarize the various outcomes we could potentially see in the next episode... or at least the major ones:


1) Little Ben dies. And just like Marty McFly who starts disappearing on stage while playing "Earth Angel" in Back to the Future, Sayid is going to evaporate into thin air at any moment. Because how could Sayid have returned to the Island if Ben was never around as a grown man to order him to kill the guy on the golf course, which would then cause him to be arrested by Ilana? In fact, maybe all of the other Returnees will vanish, as they, too, would've never known about Ajira 316 without Ben's help.

2) Little Ben dies, and a new iteration of events will unfurl from that point forward. Meaning that there IS more than one "reality," so to speak. However, what happened up to that point for each of the characters is set in stone, so no Lostaways are going to disappear. I'm hoping this idea is self-explanatory, because it will just get more confusing if I say anything else. This theory may explain the seemingly different condition of the Barracks Frank and Sun visited in "Namaste."


3) The Island won't let Little Ben die. The Hostiles witness this, and that's how Ben is chosen to be their next leader. Everything plays out as it always did.

4) Jack or Juliet or some other doctor-type person in Dharma saves Ben. Everything plays out as it always did.

5) Little Ben is aware of all of the time-looping/traveling going on, and had a bulletproof vest under his hoodie. That's why there wasn't any blood. So he doesn't die, and everything plays out as it always did.

We don't have much longer to see what will become of Little Ben, so I'll refrain from writing out any more theories about how this situation could play out. Instead, I'll leave you with a few of my admittedly conflicting thoughts.

- Last week I was in the camp of "the Losties can change the past." But now that Ben's been shot and I've thought through the far-reaching ramifications of his death for this show, I'm realizing how tough it would be to wrap up all of the story lines in this series in just 1.5 more seasons if the future kept changing based on what the 815ers did in 1977.


- If absolutely NOTHING can be changed in the past, then really, what is the point of all of this? Why would Ben and Hawking be so freaked out about the O6 returning to the Island if "whatever happened, happened"? Why would Ben and Locke have uttered "this isn't what was supposed to happen" and other similar lines throughout the series? To me it seems obvious that something must have changed at some point, and that's why Ben, Hawking and others are desperately trying to make things right.

- Which brings me back to something I've been saying since the premiere: since "the rules" supposedly don't apply to Desmond, isn't it most likely something he did differently that had disastrous consequences? Like delaying Charlie's death, which enabled Charlie to unjam the communications to/from the Island, which led to the freighter team's arrival... which led to Ben moving the Island... etc., etc.

- And if it's something Desmond did that changed the way things were "supposed" to be, how can anything be righted if he's not back on the Island? Get the brotha back!

Alright folks, I gotta wrap this up or else it's never getting posted. I know I neglected a few scenes, but I think we all know how awesome Hurley's Dharma Chef logo was without me pointing it out, right?


SAWYER: How you doin’?
SAYID: A twelve-year-old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I’m doing?

SAYID: How did you find me?
BEN: I looked.

SAYID: You're going to be killed.
HORACE: How exactly would you know this Sayid?
SAYID: Because I am from the future.
OLDHAM: Maybe I should use half a dropper...? Oops.

SAYID: I appreciate the offer, but I am fine right here.
SAWYER: They're gonna kill you. They just took a vote. Even the new mom wants you dead.

SAWYER [to JACK]: Three years, no burning buses. Y'all are back one day...


Thanks to everyone who sent along birthday wishes for my Grandma. We had a great time celebrating her 85th. On the five-hour drive back from Michigan (during which I gave a shout-out to the DeGroots as I passed Ann Arbor), I was able to snap a picture of this highway sign, which I'm sure has caused many a Lost fan to swerve off of the road (especially those of the female persuasion). Sorry for the poor quality, it was torrentially raining. Alas, my husband wouldn't take the exit and help me investigate whether or not our favorite con man was anywhere in the area...

Until next time,
- e

Monday, March 23, 2009

S5Ep9 - Namaste

Hello my dear friends -

Not to kick things off on a depressing note, but did you realize that we are now officially past the halfway point of Season Five? Only eight hours of Lost remain this year. The bright side of this is that it's pretty fair to assume, based on everything we've seen so far in 2009, that what's left to be dished out on the show between now and May 13 is going to be awesome.

The latest installment, "Namaste," was my favorite kind of episode: fast-paced and interesting to watch, but not especially intense or confusing. From what I've seen around the blogosphere, most fans are in agreement that this was very much a set-up episode. Let's start with what happened in the "present time" (meaning early 2008)...


How cool was it that we actually got to see Ajira 316's landing on Alcatraz Island? Even though we already knew that the main characters ended up safe and sound, it was still very tense to watch... or at least it was for me. But I shouldn't have been worried, because Clean-Shaven Lapidus is all business, all the time. Granted, he was clued in to the fact that the plane would probably be taking a little detour, and I'm pretty sure he hadn't broken out his margarita mix for a mid-flight cocktail just yet, but regardless... I still applaud how quickly he was able to think under pressure and avert a mountain collision.

Then we got confirmation that the Others had in fact finished most of the runway on Alcatraz in time for 316's arrival (it still wasn't long enough... but it's the thought that counts, right?). As a refresher, when Kate and Sawyer were held captive and forced into physical labor by the Others in Season Three, they were shown clearing away and breaking up boulders and whatnot. In that season's finale, Sawyer asked Juliet what the end goal of the project was, and she responded "we were building a runway ... for the aliens."

At the time, most of us -- like Sawyer -- laughed it off as a joke and didn't think twice about her comment. But upon a review of that exchange, it's clear Juliet wasn't kidding about the runway part:

SAWYER: So, when you pulled us out of those polar bear cages and put us on the chain gang, what the hell'd you have us breaking all those rocks for anyway?
JULIET: We were building a runway.
SAWYER: Runway, for what?
JULIET: The aliens. [Smirks] I don't know what for, do you think they told me everything?

We last saw the runway near the end of 2004, when the Others had just begun working on it. Contrary to a few comments I've seen on some message boards, Ben did not order the runway project to be "moved up two weeks." I reviewed the transcript for "I Do," in which Juliet and Pickett had a conversation about something being moved up two weeks, and I really don't think they were talking about the runway:

[Kate is shown breaking rocks. Juliet and Pickett stand off to the side, talking in hushed tones.]
PICKETT: I don't understand. It's supposed to be two weeks.
JULIET: Our schedule's been moved up.
PICKETT: That's an order?
JULIET: It's coming from him.
PICKETT: It's stupid.
JULIET: It's not my call. It's the way it is, Danny.
PICKETT: Alright.
[Juliet walks over to Kate.]
JULIET: [To Kate] I would like you to put this on, and come with me. Please. [Hands Kate a hood]

I forgot how much I hated Pickett! Anyway, I'm pretty sure they were talking about Jack having to operate on Ben earlier than expected. That's why immediately after that conversation, Juliet takes Kate to see Jack, whom she tries to convince to cooperate with the Others in order to save Sawyer. I don't think we were meant to read anything more into the "two weeks" comment.

Either way, the two bigger questions are:

1) Can we safely assume that the Others continued to work on the runway during the three years the O6 were off of the Island and the Left-Behinders were back in the '70s?

I think we can, because, um, how else could the runway be there for Frank's convenience in 2008? And I think could still be the case even if the Losties altered the course of events back in 1977 (more on that later).

2) Who ordered the runway to be built, how did they know it would be needed, and why exactly did they decide the project should begin in 2004?

Apparently the producers answered the first part of this question in March 19th's audio podcast, so if you want to know, go listen to that (and please don't leave it/refer to it in the comments, as I won't publish anything spoilery). I can only assume the answer will be revealed on the show in due time, too. My guess for now is that someone who is aware of the time loopiness that's going on and has retained at least some knowledge from all of it would realize the need for a landing strip... and the most obvious person is Ben -- especially since he was on the plane that used the runway and was the leader of the Others in 2004.

Overall, though, I'm just impressed that what most of us had deemed to be a throwaway comment from the middle of Season Three was tied back into something fairly major in Season Five.


Let's rewind just a bit to something that happened mid-air when Frank was struggling for control of the plane. While his ill-fated co-pilot was hollering "Mayday!" into the radio, a spooky, deep, automated-sounding voice reciting The Numbers could be heard in the background at the same time. If you didn't catch it, the audio from that scene is here (it's quick!). This is most likely the same message that Sam Toomey and Leonard Simms heard when they were stationed at a Naval listening post in 1988. If right now you're like, "Who the hell are Sam and Leonard?" then I ask you to think back... way back to the first Hurley-centric episode... Season One's "Numbers." And then read the first full paragraph here and I'm sure it will all come back to you.

Rousseau's team had also heard a transmission of the numbers -- it was actually what led them to crash on the Island.

So why it is a big deal that Lapidus and his co-pilot heard it as well?

It's a big deal because we know that by the time Oceanic 815 crashed in 2004, Danielle's French transmission (the one the Lostaways heard in the pilot episode) had replaced the Numbers Transmission. So what is going on?

I think there are two possible scenarios:
1) The plane was just picking up a broadcast from an earlier point in time because weird crap like that tends to happen on and around the Island. It could be comparable to when Sayid and Hurley heard what seemed to be a radio transmission playing big band music from the 1940s as they were monkeying around with the two-way radio found by the Tailies in the Arrow Station ("The Long Con," Season Two).

2) Something the Losties did during their time-skipping or Dharma-infiltrating changed the past, and as a result, Danielle's transmission was never recorded.

I'm leaning toward the latter explanation. Especially after seeing how different the Barracks looked in this episode. Once again, more on that issue later.

However, there's actually something even more puzzling -- on this same topic -- that is really throwing me for a loop. And that's how different the Numbers Transmission sounded when we heard it for a brief moment during "This Place is Death" compared to what came over the radio in "Namaste."

In a scene where Jin and Rousseau's team were walking through the jungle, we heard the numbers through Montand's receiver. Many people thought that the voice sounded like Hurley's, especially during "23" and "42." Thanks to reader EB for this link, where a Lost fan put together a quick audio/video clip of the scene in question (the audio will replay twice... just keep listening).

Regardless of whether or not you think it's Hurley rattling off the numbers, it's definitely not the same voice that could be heard through Ajira 316's radio. Though I believe there were a few other goofs in this episode, I don't think the production crew would make this kind of mistake -- someone obviously went through the effort of recording two different transmissions.

So what does it mean? Before you leave a knee-jerk explanation for me, think it through... because I have thought it through and can come up with no reasoning that makes sense as to why Montand would hear one voice that sounded like Hurley in 1988 and Frank would hear a different one in 2008. If it was Hurley (or someone else who sounded like him) that recorded the message in the '70s, shouldn't Montand and Frank both have heard the same thing?


After Ajira 316 comes to rest on Alcatraz Island, Caesar approached Ilana to see if she was OK. As he calls her "lady," I guess we can assume that they didn't know each other before the flight. Some people thought she said "Sarah?" when she first woke up (the only Sarah we know of on the show is Jack's ex-wife... unless you count the fake name Ana Lucia used during her little fling with Jack's dad), but others heard "Jarrah?" -- as in Sayid's last name. I think that makes more sense, as she was accompanying him.

From "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," we know that Caesar followed through with his plan to search the Hydra buildings, while Ilana chatted up No Longer Dead Locke. In the meantime, Frank took off after Sun, who took off after Ben, who must at least be in semi-favor with the Island, as his injured arm had already healed.

While those three were having their stand-off near the outriggers, I kept thinking, "Something's gotta happen because we know Locke finds Ben alongside the other injured passengers." However, I was not expecting Sun to treat Ben to a Kwoncussion-by-oar, of all things. Her expression afterward, combined with her "I lied" reply to Frank, was my favorite part of the episode.

Sun and Frank made it to the other Island and found the pier in shambles. When something started moving in the brush, I was like, "VIIIINNNNNCEEENNNNTTTT!!!!! YESSSSZZZZZ!!!!!" But alas, our favorite yellow lab did not grace the screen with his presence. There were whispers, quiet monster-sounds and even some wisps of smoke/fog all throughout the Main Island scenes, so I think it's fair to assume that ol' Smokey was nearby.

One person who was definitely there was Zombie Dad -- and Sun and Frank could see him! How eerie was it when that door creaked open and he was standing still in the shadows? I would've busted out in the other direction immediately, but Sun was all, "Hey freaky dude, where's my husband?" and then proceeded to follow him like it was no big thang. I am sure this was not meant to be a funny moment, but I was laughing because Sun was all, "Whatever, I've seen everything at this point."


From what I can tell, the scene in which Zombie Dad shows Frank and Sun the 1977 Dharma Recruits picture is the hottest topic of debate from "Namaste." Why? Because the Barracks seem to be in much worse shape than they should have been.

This has sparked disagreement amongst Lost fans about when exactly Ajira 316 landed. I was surprised that there was any controversy about this, because I thought the "Thirty Years Earlier" note that was shown after Ajira 316 touched down should have killed any questions about the year in which the Frank, Locke, Sun et al had returned. Sawyer told the Returnees that it was 1977. 1977 + 30 = 2007... except that we know it's got to be at least half-way through January of 2008 since Locke/Bentham's passport wasn't issued until December 12, 2007...

... and then we know that Jack told Ben that it had been a month between the last time he'd talked to Locke and Locke's death. But it would've been lame if they noted "Thirty Years and One Month Earlier" or "Slightly More than Thirty Years Earlier" or "Three Hundred Sixty-One Months Earlier"... so we've gotta just roll with it!

However, some people can't let this one go, claiming that the fact that it went from night to day when the plane's controls started failing meant that all of a sudden it was a different year. I would remind those people, though, that we have proof that when the 815ers crashed the first time around, it remained the same year on-Island as it did off-Island for them. From Daniel's experiment we know that there may be some small glitches in the passage of time on and off of the Island, but overall, I think the "Thirty Years Earlier" message was meant to help clear up the time line.

Perhaps one reason why some remain unconvinced that Sun and Frank could really be in 2008 is that the Barracks looked so drastically different than when we last saw them in 2004. At the end of last season, Keamy's group had blown up a few buildings, but otherwise things had been kept fairly neat and tidy by the Others once they took over the neighborhood after 1992's Purge. We had certainly seen no evidence of Dharma logos on doors or old Dharma initiation photos on walls or registration signs hanging off of their hinges. So what is going on?

There seem to be three schools of thought on this one. (Before anyone gets offended and flames me, these are not my personal thoughts... I'm simply conveying the gist of what I've read across various message boards.)

1) "Thirty years earlier" message be damned! They've GOT to be in a much later point than 2008 in order to explain the condition of the Barracks. Daniel said that "what happened, happened," so the Losties couldn't have changed the past!

2) Sun and Frank weren't even AT the Barracks, you fools! The Barracks are inland and within the sonic security fence, which we did not see those two cross. (Want proof of the Barracks' location? Check out Ben's map from the Season Three finale.) Sun and Frank only made it to the old Dharma Processing Center, which is right off of the pier and which the Others probably left alone after the Purge. So the Losties didn't change the course of time, Ajira landed in 2008, and people are freaking out about nothing.

3) The average viewer thinks "Barracks" when they see yellow houses. Millions of Lost fans who don't read any blogs or message boards aren't going to know the location of the various Dharma buildings in relation to the rest of the Island... when they see Sun and Frank amidst yellow buildings, they would assume they're at the Barracks, and therefore that's probably what we superfans were meant to assume, too. And since the Others had been living at the Barracks for twelve years until Keamy's men showed up, there's no way that any of the structures would've been in such disarray after just three years. The Lostaways changed something when they went back in time.

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue, except that I definitely don't agree with theory #1.
#2 does make a good point about the location of the processing center versus the rest of the Barracks. However, the first thing that came to my mind when Frank and Sun approached the Dharma buildings is that whatever the Losties did back in the 70s must have set off a domino effect of change. For those of you holding on to something the producers said on a past podcast about how the rules of time travel for the show wouldn't be like on Heroes where someone could go back in time and affect the future... I gently remind you that these are the same guys who said during Season One that, "As the show progresses, it won't venture too far into science fiction as its mysteries unfold. Nothing is flat-out impossible. There are no spaceships. There isn't any time travel." My point is, if I were one of The Powers That Be on the show - I would definitely be throwing out half-truths left and right in order to keep people guessing. What fun would it be if they just told us exactly what to expect all of the time?

All that being said, I still remain in limbo about whether or not I think the future has been changed.

Four more quick things about this scene, and then it's time to get our groove on in the '70s:
- I don't think the random chick behind Sun is Claire. I think it was a production error. And even if it was Claire... then what? I'm not sure that would really be important, either... we've seen her with Zombie Dad before, after all.

- There is not a missing person in the Dharma photo. I rewatched this scene, and the guy in question steps out from behind the woman in front of him a few seconds later. He was short. That's it.

- Now that it's been confirmed that Sun, Ben, Frank and Locke didn't end up in the same time period as the others, the question becomes, why? I've seen tons of theories floating around about this issue, but quite frankly, all of them have gaping holes. Since I get the sense that the majority of this season, if not the rest of the series will revolve around reuniting everyone,
I have a feeling we might get more clarity on this subject soon. It may also be one of those mysteries that never gets explained and we'll just have to deal with it!

- Zombie Dad told Sun, "I'm sorry, but you have a bit of a journey ahead of you." What does that mean? To the bullet point above, does Sun need to find a way back to the '70s, or does she need to roam around the Island until she finds a 60-something-year-old Jin, or does she have to wait a long time before Jin returns to the present? My brain seriously cannot handle trying to think of how any of these scenarios (or other variations) could play out. So on that note, let's rejoin the other 815ers in Dharmaville, where life was a lot simpler.


I'm glad we got to see a little bit more of the reunion with Hurley, Jack and Kate. As soon as Jin heard that Sun had been with them, however, he wanted no part of the hug-fest... he took off for The Flame to see if a plane had been spotted. Did anyone else notice how the group neglected to mention that Ben was also along for the ride?

Anyway, there's not a ton to comment on about the trio's induction into the Dharma Initiative. As I said at the start of this post, it was fun to watch, but didn't necessarily advance or create any theories. Therefore, allow me to cover the bulk of my observations from the 1977 scenes in bullet point format:

- The reunited Lostaways quickly confirmed that three years had passed (for everyone) since they'd last seen each other. Don't think too much about how that could work, or else you'll drive yourself crazy like I did. I would venture to guess that Locke definitely lost three years of his life, though... which is I guess a small price to pay for being brought back from the dead. And Ben would have lost ten months when he flashed from the end of 2004 to October 24, 2005 after turning the FDW.

- "I gotta find a way to bring 'em in before somebody else finds 'em and they screw up everything we got here." This is what Sawyer told Juliet when he finally spilled the beans that the others had returned. I think he obviously was talking about the fact that he didn't want the Left-Behinders' covers to be blown... but I think his words might take on another meaning as things go forward. Let's face it, who would you feel closer to: people you knew for three months, or three years? How much motivation will Sawyer have to return to his rightful year or give up the life he's created with Juliet -- despite what he knows about the fate of the Initiative?

- How HILARIOUS was it that Jack was assigned janitorial duty? I'm sure it took everything in him not to blurt out, "But I'm an MD, dammit!" And did Juliet make Kate sweat it out for a few moments there on purpose, just to mess with her? What would you have done? (For the record, I have no idea why Chang had on a Swan jacket in the Dharma orientation video the new recruits watched... when that station hadn't yet been built.)

- So Amy and Horace's baby is Ethan. I've seen a lot of people riled up about this as he clearly looks a lot older than 27 in 2004. I'm more interested to learn why/how Ethan survived the Purge when we know his father and the rest of Dharma did not. And why did he grow up to have such super-strength? One guess is that, unbeknownst to Amy, Horace actually agreed to give his son to Richard as yet another (extreme) goodwill gesture to make up for Sawyer killing two Hostiles. That would mean Ethan was "raised by an Other." Hee, hee. Anyway, how priceless was Juliet's expression when she learned who she was cradling? That was my second-favorite moment of the night. Also, I really, really do not like Amy. Something about her just screams "evil bee-otch."

- Sawyer told Jack that Daniel wasn't there "anymore." Since we know from the season premiere that at some point Faraday was in a Dharma jumpsuit as the Orchid was being built, the question now becomes... where did he go? One theory is that he left the Island in order to build The Lamp Post back in L.A... but the timing doesn't work. Dharma used The Lamp Post to find the Island in the first place. Another theory is that Daniel is physically there but is much like his old pal Theresa in that his mind is constantly jumping around. That would definitely suck, so I hope that's not the case. I have no other ideas as to where he could be, except that maybe he did leave the Island in order to keep himself from talking to Little Charlotte, and now he's chillin' in Tahiti or something.

- Sawyer isn't going by Sawyer or James anymore. It's Jim or LaFleur, thank you very much. And as that sketchy Phil guy told Jack, he actually hates being called James. Just one more reason to wonder whether Sawyer is going to want to shake up his present situation... looks like he's bid his past an emphatic "good riddance." And speaking of sketchy Phil... he definitely seems to be noticing that something's a bit off about the Returnees.

- The Sawyer/Jack showdown was another incredible moment of the night. I enjoy (and have always enjoyed) both of these characters, and scenes in which they go head to head never fail to be top-notch. In "Exodus, Part One" (which remains one of my top five episodes), I about lost it when Sawyer finally told Jack that he'd seen his father (Christian/now Zombie Dad) in Sydney right before he died. Their face-off in "Namaste" was at that level of intensity. Great, great scene. I personally thought that as Jack walked away, he truly was relieved to not be in control and to let someone else worry about what to do for a change. The question is, how long can he resist the urge to take charge?


This section's lyrical heading was taken from opening theme of The Muppet Show, which could clearly be seen in the top-left monitor of Radzinsky's video wall. Sure, Radzinsky may act like a badass, but really, how threatening could a guy who tunes into Kermit and pals be? Anyway, depending on how badly your brain aches after a given episode, those lyrics might apply to Lost every once in a while, too...

Back to Radzinsky, who many think looked like Minkowski or Crazy Leonard... but who I think more closely resembles actor Paul Giamatti. How can we not feel just a tad sorry for him, despite his rudeness to Jin, Sawyer and Sayid in this episode? I mean, we know that he's going to create the glow-in-the-dark Hatch Map and then end up killing himself in the Swan while stationed there with Kelvin, who will end up showing Desmond the blood stain on the ceiling as proof. In "Namaste," we got to see the model for that first hatch. Radzinsky started freaking out after a Hostile (Sayid) got a peek at his creation -- his main concern was that the mystery man might have seen where the hatch was going to be built.

The two main explanations I've read as to why Radzinsky would think this was such a big deal are:
1) Dharma was going to build the hatch somewhere outside of the area that their "truce" with the Hostiles allowed them to roam. Remember, there is a good chance that Amy and Paul were attacked (and Paul killed) by Hostiles solely because they were having a picnic outside the agreed upon boundaries. Which actually makes it hard to fathom how anyone in Dharma could think they'd be able to get away with building a huge underground structure in a forbidden location without the Hostiles catching on.

2) Dharma was specifically planning to build the Swan on top of/next to the buried Jughead bomb -- although they might not have known a bomb was there... they might have just detected crazy magnetic/radioactive forces and wanted to harness them for experiments. Radzinsky might have not wanted the Hostiles to mess with or know any details about Dharma's plans, even if the location was truce-approved.

Either way, the hot-headed, bespectacled spaz was not pleased when Sawyer wouldn't agree to just kill Hostile Sayid, and he threatened to tattle about the whole drama to Horace. Am I the only one who's starting to fear that this situation is not going to end well for Sayid?


Seriously, since everyone in Dharma thinks Sayid is a Hostile, how could his return to the Island result in him living out any sort of normal life? Unless, that is, the group finds a way back to the present like now.

One thing that gives me a little bit of hope is that we still have yet to learn what it was that Ben did to cause Sayid to quit working for him, head down to Santo Domingo a and take up a life of volunteerism. That would lead me to believe that another reunion of Sayid and Grown Ben still lies ahead. In the meantime, however, we got to see the first time that Ben met Sayid. Man, that kid can play "spooky" like a pro. On a personal note, Little Ben is especially unnerving to me because he looks exactly like one of my nephews -- I can't take it. Therefore, I hope we don't see too much more of him because otherwise it will be hard for me to act normal at family functions.

Anyway, I think it's fair to guess that the reason Little Ben delivers a sandwich to Sayid is because he's already met with Ageless Richard in the jungle and is developing Hostile Wannabe Fever. What will happen now? Will Little Ben report back to Richard that one of his men has been captured? Will Richard realize something strange is going on -- especially since Sawyer already alluded to his group's time-traveling adventures? Will Sayid be released and have no choice but to become "one of them"? Is that perhaps what Rose, Bernard and Vincent chose to do?

Who knows, but there's a part of me that wonders if Sayid's not above bumping off Little Ben and thereby saving some other iteration of himself the frustration of dealing with ol bug-eyes in the future...

... And yes, I guess that means that -- despite what Faraday kept insisting -- I do think the Lostaways can change the course of events. I'm sure we'll see if that's the case sooner rather than later.


LAPIDUS: Where's everyone else? Jack and... Kate and Hurley--where'd they go?
BEN: They're gone.
LAPIDUS: Gone? Gone where?
BEN: [Shaking his head faintly] How would I know?

[Hurley picks Sawyer up in a giant bear hug, lifting him off the ground.]
SAWYER: Easy on the ribs there, Kong.
HURLEY: "Kong." I actually missed that.

SAWYER: We're in the DHARMA Initiative.
JACK: They came back to the Island?
SAWYER: No. We came back. And so did you. It's 1977.
[A moment passes as this news sinks in to everyone.]
HURLEY: Uh... what?

HURLEY: [To Jin] Dude, your English is awesome.

BEN: Why are you following me?
SUN: Where are you going?
BEN: Back to our Island. ...You wanna come?

JULIET: Have you and Horace decided on a name?
AMY: Yeah, we have. We're gonna name him Ethan.
JULIET: [Whispers] Oh, hey, buddy. [Gives him back.]

KATE: So the woman who told you how to come back... did she mention that it would be 30 years ago?
JACK: No. No, she left that part out.

SAWYER [To Jack]: Nice suit, doc. Not exactly Island wear.

HURLEY: And... you guys are all members of the DHARMA Initiative.
HURLEY: Well, you do realize those dudes get wiped out, right? I saw where all the bodies got dumped.
SAWYER: What about it?
HURLEY: Well, aren't you gonna warn 'em? Aren't you gonna stop it from happening?
SAWYER: I ain't here to play Nostradamus to these people.

LAPIDUS: Sun. I want you to think about this, okay? This guy is dangerous. Sun, that boat I came here on--it was filled with commandos whose only mission was to get him.
BEN: And how'd that work out for everyone?

[Sun knocks Ben out with an oar.]
LAPIDUS: I thought you trusted this guy.
SUN: I lied.

DR. CHANG: ... You've been assigned to the Shed.
JACK: "Work man." What does--what does that mean?
DR. CHANG: Based on your aptitude test, you'll be doing janitorial work.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Okay, ready? Everybody say, "Namaste!"
ALL: Namaste.
HURLEY: Nama-what?

BOY: Are you a hostile?
SAYID: Do you think I am?
BOY: What's your name?
SAYID: Sayid. What's yours?
BOY: I'm Ben.
SAYID: It's nice to meet you, Ben.


- Please don't leave spoilers in your comments. That includes anything from the "next on Lost" previews and podcasts as well as out-and-out spoilers. I won't publish them, anyway, so you might as well save yourself the effort and me the frustration. This has started happening a bit (I'm talkin' to you, all you "The baby is Ethan" writers!) so I figured I should remind everyone of my policy.

- If you're interested in the schedule for the rest of the season, it can be found here. Don't worry, episode titles are not listed.

- A few of you have asked if I'm on Twitter. The answer is: I am now. I'll probably leave any updates about the timing of my posts, and maybe even some early knee-jerk episode thoughts and reactions on Twitter rather than Facebook, as I am among the many who hate the redesign. But for those of you outside the U.S., fear not... I'll always keep everything vague and spoiler-free since I know you all see new episodes a few days later than we do.

- I usually don't even start writing my posts until the weekend... and I'll be spending this coming Friday - Sunday with my favorite person in the world -- my Grandma -- celebrating her 85th birthday. So my next write-up will be late, but it will still be published by Wednesday afternoon, April 1. (No, this is not an April Fool's joke.) Thanks in advance for your patience.

And as always, thanks for reading!
- e