5.09 “Namaste”

Sawyer must act fast to bring Jack, Kate, and Hurley into the Dharma Initiative. In the present, the fate of Ajira 316 is revealed.

Written by Paul Zbyszewski & Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Jack Bender

The story begins as we rewind briefly to the final moments of Ajira 316, flying over the Pacific at night. Everyone on board experiences the first signs of turbulence, as the Oceanic 6 wait anxiously for what they know is coming. In the cockpit, the copilot tells Frank Lapidus that he recognized Hurley back in the main cabin, as a member of the Oceanic 6.

The turbulence gets worse, so Frank switches off the autopilot and goes to manual. The big flash of light comes, the Oceanic 6 disappear, and suddenly the plane is going down — and now it’s  daytime! Frank manages to just barely pull the plane out of a nosedive into the island. They spot a dirt runway in the distance — the very runway the Others were building on Hydra Island back in Season 3 — and Frank brings the plane in for a treacherous landing.

Frank awakens after the impact covered in cuts and scrapes, to find his copilot has been impaled by a tree limb sticking through the front window. Back in the main cabin, Caesar awakens Ilana, but she finds that her prisoner, Sayid, is gone. Unlike the rest of the Oceanic 6, Sun was on the plane when it crash landed, and is there still. Frank helps her to her feet, though she’s unhurt. Ben turns up alive and well on the plane, also.

Thirty years before Ajira 316 landed on Hydra Island, we return to the scene that ended the last episode, where Sawyer is reunited with Jack, Hurley, and Kate. Hurley’s delighted to find out that Sawyer’s still alive, and when Sawyer teasingly calls him “Kong,” Hurley admits that he actually missed Sawyer’s nicknames. Jack acknowledges Sawyer cordially. And Kate and Sawyer embrace in a rather chaste fashion.

Sawyer is amazed that Locke really did it — he got them to come back. He asks where Locke is, and Jack tells him Locke’s dead. Hurley asks why Sawyer and Jin are wearing Dharma jumpsuits, and Sawyer explains that they’re part of the Dharma Initiative now. Jack asks if Dharma came back to the island, and Sawyer says no, he and the others went back to Dharma. He drops the bombshell on them that they’re in 1977.

A few minutes later, Jack sums up Sawyer’s story: they jumped through time back to the 70s, and have spent three years as members of the Dharma Initiative. Both groups notice with curiosity that that three years have passed “since the helicopter” for both of them. Hurley notes that Jin’s English is “awesome.” Sawyer thinks fast, saying he’s going to have to figure a way of bringing the three of them into the Dharma Initiative if they hope to survive in 1977. Jack asks what they’ll do about everyone else — there were other passengers on the plane that brought them here. He explains that Sayid and Sun were both on the plane as well.

Hearing this, Jin takes off in his Dharma van, saying he’s headed for the Flame station, that if a plane crashed anywhere on the island, “Radzinsky will know.” After Jin dashes off, Kate asks Sawyer who else from the original survivors is still here.

Juliet marches into the Security control room, where Miles is on duty. She’s looking for Sawyer after the strange way he left in a rush without offering any explanation this morning. They go to the security feeds, where they see Sawyer’s security van pull up in front of Sawyer and Juliet’s house.

At the house, Juliet finds him in the bedroom, looking for 70s clothes he can give to Jack, Kate, and Hurley, to help them better fit in. She asks him what’s going on, and he tells her, “They’re back.” He’s got them waiting out at the North Point until he returns. Juliet sinks onto the bed, confused about how Jack and the others could have gotten back. Sawyer says he has to bring them into the Initiative before they screw everything up. She points out that a sub is arriving that afternoon.

Sometime after the Ajira crash in ’07, the survivors have made it down to the beach. Sun is there, pondering Jin’s wedding ring, which she holds in her hand. Ilana approaches her, and asks if she lost someone on the plane. Sun says no, that she was traveling alone. Frank calls everyone to attention, tells them that the radio is dead but he believes that help will come once they realize that the plane went down.

Caesar speaks up and argues with Frank’s calm approach to the situation. He wants to know where they are, and why there are buildings nearby, with animal cages, and a larger island off the coast. Caesar quickly wrestles control from Frank, convincing everyone to help him search the buildings.

Ben, standing in the background, listens to their exchange before quietly sneaking off. Sun sees him go and follows him into the jungle. He sneaks up on her from behind, and asks why she’s following him. She asks where he’s going. He says he’s going “back to our island,” and asks if she wants to come.

In ’77, Jin arrives at the Flame station, the hub of all of Dharma’s communication on and off the island. Radzinsky is there, assembling a scale model of the Swan station. Jin races inside, checking readings and video feeds. Radzinsky is furious, and stops him from messing with the equipment — equipment he believes he alone is qualified to use. Jin says that he has to check the radar for a plane crash. When Radzinsky argues the ridiculousness of this, Jin threatens him into submission. Radzinsky checks with the other stations for any signs of a plane crash on the island, and the two of them wait for responses to come in.

In 2007, Ben and Sun are trekking through the jungle when they find the three outrigger canoes. When Sun questions his actions, Ben says that he’s taking one of the outriggers to the main island, and she can come with him, or she can stay behind. It makes no difference to him. She asks if the main island is where Jin is, and he says he doesn’t know, but it’s where he would start looking. Frank finds them, having gone looking for Sun after she disappeared from the group of survivors. Sun explains that she’s going over to the main island with Ben. Frank questions her trust in Ben, reminding her that the Freighter was filled with commandos sent here to get Ben. Ben counters, “And how’d that work out for everyone?” Sun asks Frank to come along, but he refuses, feeling responsible to stay with the Ajira passengers and see to their safety. Ben steps forward, telling Frank of the Dock on the main island, and the Barracks just beyond. He says his people may be there, and if anyone can help the Ajira survivors, it’s them. But Sun sneaks up behind Ben and knocks him out with an oar.

Juliet checks in on Amy in 1977, who’s asleep in a hammock, watching over her newborn. Amy stirs and Juliet explains she just came for the submarine manifest, something Amy would normally oversee but which obviously she can’t since she just had a baby yesterday. Amy reports that everything went well with this new batch of recruits, except that two of the recruits dropped out at the last minute because they didn’t want to take the sedative required for the trip. Juliet picks up the baby boy, and asks if Amy and Horace have decided on a name yet. “We’re going to name him Ethan,” Amy replies, to Juliet’s veiled astonishment. Amy asks when Juliet and “James” are going to have a baby of their own, and Juliet replies that she doesn’t know. “The timing’s got to be right,” she says.

Out at the North Point, where Jack, Kate, and Hurley await Sawyer’s return, Kate asks Jack if Eloise Hawking told him that it would be thirty years in the past when they got back to the island. He says no, she left that part out. She asks what they’re supposed to do now, and he says he’s not sure yet.

Sawyer arrives, and fills them in on the plan. A “second batch” of Dharma recruits is arriving on the sub today, and he’s arranged to smuggle the three of them in as part of that batch. It won’t be a problem, he says, because all recruits are sedated for the trip and none of them meet one another until they arrive. But they have to work fast, he says, because the sub will be here soon and there are no more recruits scheduled to come to the island for six months. Jack asks his friends what they think of following Sawyer’s plan, and they all agree it’s their best bet for survival.

Back at the Flame, Radzinsky hears from the last station to check in, the Looking Glass, and no one is reporting anything arriving at the island except the submarine. Radzinsky tells Jin to go home, and he’ll call him if anything changes. An alarm goes off just then, and a computer readout says, “Pylon Breach, Grid 325.” Radzinsky explains that a Hostile has entered the perimeter and tripped a motion sensor. Jin runs from the building, secretly hoping that it might be Sun.

Running through the jungle, Jin soon comes face to face with not Sun, but Sayid! They’re happy to see one another, though Sayid is very confused and still wearing his handcuffs from the plane. Jin asks where Sun is, and Sayid says he doesn’t know. Radzinsky catches up with Jin and raises his rifle to bear on Sayid, believing him to be a Hostile. Jin has no choice but to play along, and he takes Sayid into custody.

Sawyer drives his van back to the Barracks with Jack, Kate, and Hurley all on board. The three of them are now wearing the 1970s clothes that he brought them from his and Juliet’s closet. Hurley is still trying to wrap his brain around the idea that Sawyer and the other remaining survivors are now part of the Dharma Initiative. He reminds Sawyer that Dharma eventually gets wiped out; he saw for himself the pit where they were all buried. He asks why Sawyer hasn’t warned them that the Purge is coming. Sawyer replies that he’s “not here to play Nostradamus,” and that “Faraday’s got some interesting theories on what we can and can’t do here.” Jack speaks up at the mention of Faraday, asking if he’s here too. “Not anymore,” Sawyer mysteriously replies.

At the Processing Center in the Barracks, there’s a big welcome celebration going on for new recruits. Sawyer explains that Jack, Kate, and Hurley’s names have been added to the list of new recruits by Juliet, so all they have to do is go inside the Processing Center, watch the orientation video, and get their jumpsuits and work assignments. He worked out their work assignments himself. Miles drives up, surprised to see Jack, Kate, and Hurley back on the island. Sawyer asks what he’s doing here, and Miles replies that Jin called with “a 14J at the Flame.” Sawyer radios Jin, who reports that he has a hostile in custody who breached the perimeter. As he talks, Radzinsky locks Sayid away in a closet. Sawyer doesn’t understand, saying this is a blatant violation of the treaty between Dharma and the Hostiles. Jin steps away from Radzinsky and whispers into his radio, “It’s Sayid.”

Night has fallen by the time Sun and Frank reach the Dock on the main island in 2007. The Dock is damaged since we last saw it, in a state of disrepair. When a few trees shake on the shore, and sounds like those the smoke monster makes can be faintly heard, Frank is stops in his tracks. But Sun pushes on, dismissing it as “probably just an animal.”

They find the Barracks abandoned and in the same state of ruin as the Dock. A now-familiar sign hangs free that reads “Processing Center.” They hear a few Whispers in the dark, and then a light comes on inside one of the houses. The front door opens, and out steps Christian Shephard. He identifies himself, and Sun asks if he knows where her husband is. He replies, “Follow me.”

In 1977, Jack and Kate are inside the Processing Center, watching the orientation video and waiting for their names to be called. Pierre Chang appears on the video, welcoming them to the Dharma Initiative, and warning them to stay inside the safety of the Barracks. Kate wonders aloud how they’ll pull this off, just before Phil (who we met in last week’s episode; he’s one of Sawyer’s security guys) calls out Jack’s name.

At the “Uniforms” booth, Pierre Chang enters, frustrated that Jack’s file isn’t in with any of the other recruits’. He mumbles something about “them” being “disorganized on the other side.” Chang asks who drove Jack’s shuttle from the sub. “Mr. LaFleur,” Jack replies, and Chang approves, remarking that LaFleur is a good man who runs a very tight operation. He apologizes for the disorganization, explaining that the woman (Amy) who was supposed to be handling uniforms processing had a baby yesterday, so he was pulled out of his lab to assist. Jack’s work assignment is something called “the Shed.” Jack doesn’t understand what this means; Chang explains that based on Jack’s aptitude test, he’s to be a janitor.

After nearly everyone has been processed, Kate is approached by Phil, who asks her name. She gives it, but he can’t find it on his list. He asks who her recruiter was, and she fumbles for an answer. Juliet enters, explaining that she just got a new list from Amy and that Kate is on it. Phil hands Kate off to Juliet, and the two share a conversation of formal greeting, as if they’ve never met before. “Welcome to the island,” Juliet concludes.

At the Flame station, Sawyer arrives to see Sayid. Outside, away from Radzinsky, Jin reports that he found Sayid wandering around the jungle after he inadvertently set off the perimeter alarm. They both go inside, and Sawyer demands the key to the closet. Radzinsky hesitates, saying that Sayid saw his model of the Swan as they brought him inside, and could have seen the survey of the site where they’re planning to build it. He concludes that Sayid is a spy sent by the Hostiles, and he wants to kill him, here and now.

Sawyer blows him off and demands the key again, wanting to talk to the prisoner. Jin retrieves Sayid, who can’t hide his surprise at seeing Sawyer again. Sawyer sits him down and interrogates him, asking Sayid to identify himself as a Hostile. He says that under the terms of the truce, if he doesn’t identify himself as a Hostile, Sawyer has the right to kill him. Sayid catches on quickly, replying that his people don’t call themselves Hostiles, but he is one. Sawyer is satisfied and orders that he be taken back to the Barracks as a prisoner until they can figure out what to do with him. But Radzinsky objects strongly, arguing that he’ll go directly over Sawyer’s head about this and speak to Horace. Sawyer tells him to go right ahead.

In ’07, Christian takes Sun and Frank to the old Processing Center, which is in shambles just like everything else. He walks to a far wall, where several “class photos” are hanging, and he retrieves the one from ‘77. When Sun asks again where Jin is, Christian replies that Jin is “with your friends.” He shows her the “class of ‘77″-style photo, in which are all of the second batch of Dharma recruits — including Jack, Kate, and Hurley. “I’m sorry,” Christian tells her, “but you have a bit of a journey ahead of you.”

After the “class of ‘77″ photo is taken (the same one Christian Shephard shows to Sun thirty years later), the new recruits are dismissed by Phil. Phil gets a call from Sawyer, who says he’s coming in with “the 14J,” aka Sayid. When the van arrives, Sayid is escorted by Sawyer and Jin down into the security HQ, underground, and placed into a holding cell. Sawyer says Sayid will wait here until they figure out what to do with him, and orders Phil to bring him something to eat. After Phil leaves, Sawyer makes eye contact with Sayid, offering him a reassuring-but-concerned look.

That night, Jack passes Phil outside and asks where James LaFleur lives. Phil points out LaFleur’s house, but warns him not to call him “James,” because LaFleur doesn’t like it. Jack knocks on the door of Sawyer’s house, and a smiling Juliet answers. Jack is stunned to find her there, but she embraces him warmly, saying it’s good to see him. After an awkward silence, Jack says he was looking for Sawyer, but “I guess I came to the wrong house.” No, she replies, this is the right house. She invites him in.

Sawyer is reading a book in the living room, and Juliet leaves the two of them alone to talk. Jack says he has so much to discuss he doesn’t even know where to start, but he settles on Sayid. Sawyer says he had no choice but to arrest Sayid, the situation forced him to improvise. Jack asks where they go from here, and Sawyer says he’s working on it. Jack shoots back that it looks like he’s just reading a book. Sawyer says that back when Jack was calling the shots, Jack never thought about anything. He “pretty much just reacted.” Sawyer, on the other hand, likes to handle things by thinking first. He blames Jack for a lot of people being killed, because he didn’t think before he acted. Jack argues that he got people off of the island, but Sawyer counters that despite that, here Jack is, right back where he started. Sawyer says he’s going to think, because thinking’s what saved Jack, Kate, and Hurley earlier today, and it’s what’s going to save Sayid tomorrow. He shows Jack out, telling him that all he has to do is go home, rest, and let Sawyer do his thing. “Ain’t that a relief?” he says. Jack actually looks sincere when he replies, “Yeah.”

As he watches Jack walk away from his front porch, Sawyer turns and makes distant eye contact with Kate, who’s also out on another front porch. They wave at each other, but say nothing, before Sawyer goes back inside his home.

Down in security HQ, Phil is on duty as a young boy enters and says he’s here to deliver some lunch to the prisoner. He goes to the cell and asks Sayid if he’s a Hostile. When Sayid evades the question, the boy asks him his name. “I’m Ben,” the boy says. Sayid is stunned, replying, “It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

  • Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were transported through time to 1977. Everyone else remained on the plane.
    Question: What happened when Ajira 316 went through the bright light? [5.06]
  • Nope. They remain in the present.
    Question: Where are Sun, Sayid, Ben, and Frank? Did they travel back in time as well? [5.06]
  • Ajira 316 survived its encounter with the Oceanic 6’s “window” that allowed them to return to the island. Most of the passengers appear to have survived, but several were injured.
    Question: What became of Ajira 316, and the rest of its passengers? [5.06]
  • The specifics aren’t entirely clear, but what we know for sure is that after the Oceanic 6 (all but Sun) disappeared from the plane, Ajira 316 found itself losing altitude above Hydra Island. Frank worked fast to bring the plane to an emergency landing on the Hydra runway.
    Question: How did Ajira 316 wind up on the island? Did it land? Did it crash? [5.07]
  • One assumes the runway was built so that Ajira 316 would have a place to land. How the Others and/or Jacob knew it would be coming three years prior to its arrival on the island remains to be explained.
    Question: Why were the Others building a runway on Hydra island? [3.22]
  • Sun.
    Question: Which passenger did Frank leave Hydra Island to go to the main island with? [5.07]
  • Sun wanted to go searching for Jin, and asked for his help.
    Question: Why did Frank steal a canoe to go to the main island? [5.07]
  • Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s baby is Ethan Rom. How and why he came to use the last name “Rom” is unknown.
    Question: Who is Horace and Amy’s baby boy? Is he someone we’ve met on the island in the present? [5.08]

  • Why was Sun left behind in the present, when all of the other Oceanic 6 were transported through time to the past?
  • Presumably, the Hydra Island runway was ordered built by Jacob, who knew that Ajira 316 would be coming to the island in 2007 and would need a place to land. So how did he know it would be coming?
  • What’s become of Daniel Faraday in 1977?

Is Lost juggling dozens of storylines this season, or what? And doing it remarkably well. Even in the midst of all that was going on in this episode, I found myself wondering when we’ll see Locke again, and what’s doing with Desmond. And Faraday, too. Hm.

The title “Namaste” is a word we’ve heard many times before, always on Dharma orientation videos and in other Dharma-related contexts. It’s a word that originates from Sanskrit, and it goes far beyond its common use in India and Nepal. It’s a gesture of great respect used all over the world, and is even used in yoga as a spoken-word common greeting between the yoga instructor and his or her students. It has many different meanings — all related to respectful greetings — but literally translates as “I bow to you.” I figure all this must have some relevance to the events in this episode, but I’ll leave it to others to speculate on the specifics of that.

Why did Ajira 316 crash? We assume it’s related to the pseudo-wonky “science” of the Oceanic 6 time-jumping their way back to the island, but all of them (except Sun) jumped through time before the plane went down. So what was it that made the plane go down?

And speaking of, why was it daytime outside the plane after the time flash took the Oceanic 6? Is it because the island’s normal progression through time seems to operate independently of the rest of the world (remember Faraday’s rocket in Season 4)? Or did the plane time-jump as well, only to something a little more current? I also noted the presence of all of the wrecked Dharma signage still lingering around the Barracks when Sun and Frank arrived; I don’t remember seeing all of that Dharma stuff around when the Others lived there in recent years. So are the Ajira passengers really in 2007? (I’ll come back to this in a few minutes.) Or is something else afoot?

The runway we saw the Others building waaaaay back in early Season 3 finally has revealed its purpose in the overall story. But in true Lost fashion, this only leads to new questions: did the Others know that the runway would be needed for the future arrival of a commercial jet? And if so, how? The simplest answer would be that they were directed to build it by Jacob, who somehow knew that Ajira 316 was going to need it in the future.

I still think we’re going to get to the end of the show and find out that Jacob is really a character we already know, like maybe Jack. The way the castaways are becoming integral parts of the history of the island — and there’s probably more time-hopping to come, in that regard — only reinforces this theory. Heck, maybe they’ll at the end of the show they’ll wind up really far back in time, and we’ll find out that the Others are their descendants! I’ve always wondered about the so-called “destiny” of the original group of survivors, whose arrival on the island (aside from John Locke) always seemed so random. It’s feeling less and less random with each new episode.

Who’s the man? That’s right, Frank Lapidus is the man. He’s one heck of a pilot, managing to land Ajira 316 on the island, and not crash, after all. I’m glad Frank is back in the game. He’s a fun character. Looks like he and Sun are heading off on their own buddy cop adventure… either to travel back through time to 1977 and join their friends, or find a way to bring their friends back to the present.

Okay, here’s one of the biggest questions I came away from this episode with, and I’m sure it’s bugging you too: Why didn’t Sun time-jump off of Ajira 316 with the rest of the Oceanic 6? I can tell you why, from a storyteller’s point of view: because it gives her a dramatic new hurdle to overcome before she can be reunited with her husband Jin. But how this will be explained in the show, I have no idea. My best guess is that it has something to do with the Oceanic 6 having to return to the island in order to save it, as Richard told Locke back in “Because You Left,” the Season 5 premiere. If I’m right, then for reasons yet to be explained, Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were all required by the island to return, to join their fellow castaways. (The island even has a part for Desmond to still play, as Eloise Hawking recently told him.) This would mean that Ben was not required, and neither was Frank, even though like Desmond, he was with the Oceanic 6 when they left. And whatever the island has planned for Mr. Resurrection himself, John Locke, it’s in 2007, not 1977. (This is not surprising since it’s been hinted that Locke is meant to be a key player in the war between Ben and Widmore, and that war is happening in 2007.) But I have no idea why the island wouldn’t require Sun to return when it still needs all of her friends. Any guesses out there?

Funny that Jack failed to mention that Ben was among the Ajira 316 passengers, when he was telling Sawyer and Jin who else was with them. Maybe he figured it wasn’t the right time for that conversation. Or maybe he was just too chicken to tell them.

We finally got to meet the famous Radzinsky. We heard all about him four years ago, in the Season 2 finale. We know that eventually he’s going to be in the Swan station with Kelvin Inman, and the two of them will work together to keep pushing the button every 108 minutes for many years. Until Radzinksy, for reasons we don’t yet know, decides one day to kill himself. After the small taste of Radzinsky’s persnickety personality we got in this episode, I’m suddenly starting to empathize more with Kelvin’s general bad attitude, as we saw four years ago when Desmond first met him. Years of being stuck alone with someone like Radzinsky would probably make me grumpy too.

Radzinsky’s assembling of the Swan station model was likely a bit of foreshadowing. We know from his later comments to Jin that the Swan hasn’t been built yet, but the plans are underway, and they’ve already selected a site for it. And that the Others probably aren’t going to like the site they’ve chosen for the Swan (maybe because it’s far away from all the other stations, and therefore closer to Others’ territory?). It seems inevitable that the rest of this season will see the construction of the Swan. The fact that Radzinksy was instrumental in its design and construction is entirely new information, though.

There have now been two mysterious commercial airplane crashes in the Pacific Ocean over three years’ time. Shouldn’t this raise a flag for authorities and/or conspiracy nuts off the island?

Why does Dharma require new recruits to take a sedative before getting on board the submarine and traveling to the island? Is it to help keep safe the location of the island, or is there more to it than that? You’ll remember that Juliet had to undergo the exact same procedure before boarding the very same sub, back when Richard Alpert first recruited her to the island. (And is it just me, or are the present-day Others starting to feel more and more like the 70s Dharma people? They use a lot of the same procedures, and their numbers are made up of numerous non-natives.)

So Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s little boy is none other than Ethan Rom. Wow! Admittedly, he was one of very few viable candidates, given the timeframe of his birth, but still… I wasn’t expecting it. This means that Ethan was not a native of the island; he was born into the Dharma Initiative. Which makes his story very, very similar to Ben’s. But now we have new questions about Ethan: How did he survive the Purge? He would have been a teenager at the time. Until now, we’d been led to believe that Ben was the only Dharma member to survive the Purge. Did little Ethan strike up a friendship with teenage Ben, that eventually saved him from Ben’s plan to wipe out Dharma? Were there any other members of Dharma that survived the Purge and went on to become Others? And why is Ethan’s last name Rom instead of Goodspeed?

Just because I like to keep the timeline straight in my head… The fact that the “second batch” of Dharma recruits was introduced in this episode means that every Dharma member that’s been on the island since 1974 and before was all part of the first batch. From this, we can deduce that Roger and Ben Linus were part of that first batch of Dharma recruits, since we’ve met up with young Ben again and he’s older now. This is further verified by small details like Horace’s hair, which was much shorter when Roger and Ben first arrived on the island, than it is now in 1977. Not to mention the mysterious Olivia, Horace’s presumed first wife, who we saw teaching young Ben in school back when he and his dad first came to the island, and now she seems to be out of the picture.

Where is Daniel Faraday? Sawyer said he’s “not here anymore.” Are we to take that to mean that he’s not on the island anymore? That he’s not in the Dharma Initiative anymore? Or what? If he’s off the island, then is he off the island in 1977? Or is he back in 2007? We have yet to see him confront Pierre Chang with what he knows about the future of the Dharma Initiative, as we know from last year’s Comic-Con video that he will at some point. Nor have we seen how he wound up at the Orchid station as it was being built. Plus, he has to warn Charlotte not to return to the island after she leaves, if he hasn’t already. So if he’s off the island, we have to assume he’ll be back.

How awesome was it seeing this new and improved Sawyer interacting with his old pals, confident, cool, and in command? Sawyer was never a character I found myself rooting for very much (sorry, ladies), but I’ve warmed to him greatly since he joined up with Dharma. I find him a more likeable character now, and I think a lot of that has to do with how intelligently the writers are writing him post-Dharma. He used to be the angry redneck character who blew his fuse and spouted off at people at the drop of a hat; now he’s reserved, smart, and dependable. Three years of stable living, a good woman at his side, and all those books he’s read have done the guy a world of good. He’s even won the respect of the always-cranky Pierre Chang.

The Sun/Ben/Frank scenes in the jungle were pretty anticlimactic, since we already knew that Sun and Frank escaped to the main island on one of the canoes, and Ben wound up in the makeshift infirmary inside the Hydra station. We just didn’t know how they all wound up where they did. But it wasn’t hard to see Sun’s turn on Ben coming a mile away.

Was that a Swan logo on Pierre Chang’s lab jacket in the orientation video? Odd that he’d be wearing a logo for a station that hasn’t been built yet. Continuity error?

Who’s the “them” that Pierre Chang told Jack was “disorganized on the other side”? Most likely, the recruiters working for Dharma on the mainland.

Looks like Christian Shephard is still doing his help-people-find-their-path thing (which is very similar to Matthew Abaddon’s job of “helping people get to where they’re supposed to be”). He did it with Locke. He told Michael when it was okay for him to “go,” aka die. He seems to have helped his daughter Claire find her path in some way. And now he’s helping Sun (with Frank in tow). His assistance doesn’t seem to be rooted in any one particular time period, either. Locke was in the distant past when Christian last came to him, but we’ve also seen him many times in the present. Which makes sense, considering that he functions as the mouthpiece or oracle of the all-powerful Jacob. But we’re still no closer to knowing who and what Jacob is, and what it all means.

The “ghost or not a ghost” debate about Christian got a few more votes in the “not” column in this episode, as he was seen opening doors, turning on a light, and physically handing a picture in a frame to Sun. Dead spirits are typically believed to be too incorporeal to manipulate so many objects in this way. But then again, this is Lost, where absolutely nothing is “typical.”

I wonder what the significance is of “14J.” It’s the designation Dharma security gave to a Hostile intruder, but I’m talking more specifically of its significance to the overall mythology. Remember, names and titles always have special meanings. Nothing on Lost is ever named carelessly.

I’m willing to be that young Ben’s final exchange with Sayid was the start of a major new storyline between them. It’s no surprise that young Ben was interested in meeting the “Hostile” currently in captivity; we already know that his father’s poor treatment of him has driven him to an interest in the Others, and a desire to join them. He’s even made contact already with Richard Alpert, after wandering into the jungle late one night (as we saw in Season 3’s “The Man Behind the Curtain”). On the other side of the coin is Sayid, and his recent history with grown-up Ben, where he was manipulated into serving as Ben’s assassin against Widmore. We’re all thinking the same thing now, right? Sayid is going to try and kill young Ben, and prevent all of his own future sins in one fell swoop.

If there was a motif in this episode, it was undoubtedly subtext. It was everywhere. It was in Sawyer and Juliet’s quiet exchange on their bed after he tells her that Jack, Kate, and Hurley are back. You could see in her quiet reaction that she understands full well that the happy life she’s found with Sawyer is never going to be the same again; and Sawyer seemed to sense her sadness, even though he kept the conversation all about how to keep their friends safe. There was subtext in every exchange between Sayid and one of the survivors, as he was forced to masquerade as a Hostile, and in his final scene with young Ben. But my favorite instance was the scene where Kate and Juliet were reunited. Juliet totally saved Kate’s skin, and then played all warm and friendly in bringing this “newcomer” into the Dharma Initiative. While Juliet was being super nice, underneath that, you know she was saying, “Hey, been a long time. Glad you’re back and everything, but make a play for Sawyer and I will bust you up.”

The power play at the end between Sawyer and Jack I’m sure is far from over. For the most part, Jack seems content to let Sawyer take the reigns for a change, knowing that he has his own destiny on the island to find now. Maybe Jack was never meant to be the group’s leader at all, and he’s probably considering that notion right now. Sawyer’s doing a fine job so far. But then, the question of who is the proper leader on the island is also a source of unending conflict between man-of-destiny Locke and destiny’s-old-flame Ben, too. Plus there’s Charles Widmore, who was once the island’s big cheese and wants to be again. So many people on the island want to be in positions of power. In the end, only one of them is likely to emerge victorious.

When Caesar woke Ilana up after the crash, she was mildly delirious as she thought someone she knew was calling to her. It sounded like she said “Shara,” though I’m not positive. Any guesses? Is this someone we’ll find out about in Season 6?

My best guess about the Hydra runway situation is this. We saw in “The Incident” that Jacob visited Ilana sometime in the past and asked for her help. Based on her actions at the foot of the Tawaret statue, she and Bram and their friends appear to be working to do just that: help Jacob. So my guess is that Jacob’s bedside appeal for Ilana’s help happened sometime prior to 2004, when he ordered the runway built on Hydra island. This theory assumes that Jacob has precognitive abilities, in order to know the circumstances of Ilana’s arrival on the island three years later, but it’s the only explanation that fits the facts as his reason for building the runway. So… if Jacob has the ability to see the future, then he must have known that his nemesis would eventually assume Locke’s identity and arrange his murder. This can only mean that Jacob’s plan for Ilana has a purpose beyond protecting himself from Fake Locke and Ben. Hmm…


5.08 “LaFleur”

After their final time flash strands them in the ’70s, Sawyer takes charge and leads his friends into joining up with the Dharma Initiative.

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Kyle Pennington
Directed by Mark Goldman

The episode begins at the end of “This Place Is Death,” where our band of left behind castaways on the island were watching John Locke descend into the well. Sawyer, as you’ll recall, was left holding the well’s rope, which now went into the ground where there was no well. Juliet says that this time flash took them back to a time before the well was dug. Miles sees something on the horizon and says they’re back “way before” the well was dug. The others follow his gaze to see the back of the four-toed statue, its entire body intact, and standing incredibly high in the sky.

Down in the well, Locke turns the wheel, and there’s one last flash. Another time jump occurs, and everyone notices that it felt different than the other flashes. Sawyer sees that the well has been built out of stones, but the hole itself still hasn’t been dug. The headaches and nosebleeds are all gone; Locke was successful in stabilizing the island. Sawyer sums up the plan from here: “Now we wait for him to come back.”

Three years later, it’s nighttime on the island when two members of the Dharma Initiative — a man named Jerry and a woman named Rosie — put on some music and dance, inside a Dharma security station. They’re interrupted by another security worker named Phil, who warns them that “if LaFleur finds out” what they’re up to, it would mean trouble. On one of the monitors, they spot Horace Goodspeed at the sonic fence. He’s heavily drunk, and carrying a backpack full of dynamite. He lights a stick and throws it into a tree, which explodes. Jerry and Phil send Rosie away, and reluctantly agree that they have to go and wake LaFleur.

They venture out to LaFleur’s house at the Barracks, and the man’s identity is revealed as none other than James “Sawyer” Ford. And his Dharma jumpsuit labels him as Head of Security.

Minutes later, Miles exits a Dharma house of his own, wearing his own Dharma jumpsuit that designates him as part of the security team. Sawyer waits for him in a van, and Miles readily defers to Sawyer’s authority. Sawyer says they’re headed out to the Flame station, where Horace is blowing up trees. It’s revealed that Horace is the leader of the Dharma Initiative, and that he’s never before been seen drinking. They find him passed out on the ground, and when Miles questions one of Sawyer’s orders, Sawyer asks if he’d prefer to be the one to tell Amy where they found Horace.

Back at Horace’s house, the Amy in question answers the door, and she’s nine months pregnant. Sawyer carries Horace in and deposits him on the couch, and explains what happened. Sawyer presses Amy to find out what drove Horace to this, and she finally reveals that the two of them had a fight, about someone named Paul. Sawyer recognizes this name. Amy suddenly experiences labor pains, and Sawyer rushes her off to deliver the baby.

Three years ago, we pick up with the group of survivors after the final time flash. They find Daniel back where they left him with Charlotte, only he’s sitting alone, totally distraught. He mumbles, “I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to tell her,” when Juliet asks him what happened. He finally explains that she died, and then when the last time flash happened, she disappeared. “She moved on, we stayed,” he says. Sawyer asks if that means that all the time jumping is over, and Daniel says yes. Wherever and whenever they are now, they’re there for good.

Sawyer declares that they’re going back to the beach, and Miles gripes about this, wondering who put him in charge. Juliet agrees with Sawyer, though later she quietly tells him it was a stupid idea, but it was better than arguing or doing nothing. Their tones of voice indicate that they’re both doing a little open flirting.

Gun shots in the distance stop everyone in their tracks, and they hear a woman crying. Tracking the sound to its source, they spot two Others, who’ve shot and killed a man on the ground, and are preparing to kill the woman who was accompanying him. The pair were having a picnic from the looks of things. The woman is Amy, but the dead man on the ground is someone we’ve never seen before. Sawyer wants to intervene, but Miles doesn’t. He asks Daniel to back him up, but Dan says it ultimately doesn’t matter what they do. “Whatever happened, happened,” he says.

Sawyer and Juliet rush in and save Amy, shooting the two Others dead. After Sawyer has calmed her down, Amy asks, “Who are you?”

A few minutes later, Amy is crying over her companion’s body. Sawyer and Juliet confer in private, looking over the two men they killed. Juliet notes that Amy’s companion is wearing a Dharma jumpsuit, which places them somewhere in the 70s. Sawyer asks if she recognizes the two Others they killed, and she says no, they’re from before her time.

Sawyer lies to Amy about who they are, saying they were shipwrecked on a ship headed for Tahiti. Juliet says that more Others will be on the way soon to look for their men, and they should get out of there. But Amy begs them to bury the Others for the sake of “the truce,” and to carry her dead companion — her husband, Paul — back to camp. Jin volunteers to carry Paul.

As they travel to the Dharma Barracks, Sawyer tells his friends that there are going to be a lot of questions asked of them, and that they should let him do the talking. He has a cover story already worked out, and he used to lie for a living as a con man, so he can handle it. Juliet calls out to Daniel, who’s walking near the front of the group, to stop, because they’ve come upon the sonic fence that surrounds the Barracks. Juliet covers by saying it looks “like some kind of sonic barrier,” and asks Amy to turn it off. At first Amy plays dumb, but eventually she agrees, moving to the control panel. When she announces it’s off, Sawyer tells her to go first. She successfully passes through the fence’s pylons without incident, so everyone else follows her. But they are immediately taken down by the sonic fence, which is still operational. After they’re unconscious, Amy pulls a pair of earplugs out of her ears, revealing how she passed through the fence unharmed.

Three years later, Amy is in labor, but the Dharma internist doctor tells Sawyer that she’s breech, and needs a Caesarean to get the baby out. The doctor says that Amy was about to leave the island on the submarine for her delivery, since all Dharma deliveries are carried out on the mainland. But she’s two weeks early. And this doctor isn’t qualified to conduct a Caesarean birth.

Sawyer takes off, looking for Juliet. He finds her working on one of the blue Dharma vans, where she is now a member of the Dharma motor pool. He whispers to her that Amy needs her help, that she’s the only person on the island who can deliver the baby. Juliet is reluctant to help; they’ve lied about who they all are to the Dharma people, and she’s watched so many pregnant women die on this island… But he convinces her to go.

Back at the medical building, Juliet quickly takes charge, issuing orders to the internist doctor. The doctor balks at her sudden authority, but Amy says she wants Juliet to handle the delivery. Sawyer shares a brief moment with Juliet, telling her he believes in her, that she can do this.

Outside, Sawyer waits anxiously. Jin approaches — speaking much better English after three years as part of the Dharma Initiative — and reports to Sawyer that his ongoing, regular searches for “our people” are still coming up empty. He asks Sawyer how long he is to go on searching. Sawyer replies, “As long as it takes.”

A very emotional Juliet suddenly emerges, proclaiming, “It’s a boy!” and that both mother and baby are perfectly fine.

Three years ago, Sawyer wakes up after being knocked out by the sonic fence. Horace is watching him, waiting for him to awaken, and immediately begins questioning him. Sawyer weaves his intricate lie, explaining that he and his friends were on a salvage vessel headed for Tahiti, looking for a famous old slave ship called the Black Rock. Horace says he’s never heard of the ship. Sawyer continues, saying that their ship wrecked, they washed ashore, and they were looking for the rest of their crewmembers when they came upon Amy and Paul, under attack in the jungle.

When he complains about the welcome they received after saving Amy’s life, Horace says that the Dharma Initiative has strict security protocols that have to be observed. And as such, Dharma’s submarine is scheduled to depart tomorrow, and that he intends for Sawyer and his people to all be on it. They’ll drop them in Tahiti, he says.

Outside, everyone else sits around a table, conversing at night and speculating on what Sawyer is saying to Horace. Juliet is particularly bemused to be back here, seeing nearby the house she lived in for three years. Daniel agrees that all of this is very odd, saying that “the record is spinning again, we’re just not on the song we want to be on.” Just then, a woman walks by with a little red-headed girl, and Daniel is taken aback. It’s Charlotte as a child.

Sawyer comes outside and tells them they’re being forced to leave the island. Miles asks why that’s a bad thing, but they’re all interrupted by a loud alarm blaring. A Dharma member ushers them quickly inside a house, as all of the other Dharma members retreat to their homes for safety.

Richard Alpert strides into the compound and places a burning torch into the ground. Horace walks outside to speak with him, and addresses him as “Mr. Alpert.” Richard is there looking for his two missing men, and he reminds Horace that there is a truce between his people and Dharma, which killing his men has violated.

Horace quickly goes to the house where Sawyer and his people are hiding, and asks him just how well they buried the bodies of the men they shot. Sawyer says he’s going to handle this, and doesn’t give Horace the option of declining. He goes out into the courtyard and addresses Richard by name. After confessing to killing Richard’s men, explaining that it was self-defense after he came to the aid of a helpless woman, he says that the truce hasn’t been broken, because he’s not Dharma. When Richard asks who he is then, Sawyer replies, “Did you bury the bomb?” The hydrogen bomb named Jughead, he explains. He also says that he knows that a man named John Locke entered his camp back twenty years ago and said he was the leader of Richard’s people, right before he vanished. When Richard demands to know how Sawyer knows all this, Sawyer replies that he’s waiting for Locke to get back.

Richard believes Sawyer that he’s not Dharma and the truce was not broken. But, he says, his people need “some kind of justice” for the two men who were killed.

In the medical building, Amy stands over her husband’s body, and Horace approaches. She asks if Richard is still out there, and he says yes, that Richard needs to take Paul’s body back with him, in order to uphold the truce. He gives Amy the ultimate choice, saying he’s willing to accept the consequences if she can’t go through with it. But she agrees, saying that Paul would want them to maintain the peace. She removes a pendant necklace from beneath Paul’s shirt, and leaves. Horace tells Sawyer that when the submarine leaves tomorrow, it will be back in two weeks. He’ll allow Sawyer and his friends to stay until it returns in two weeks, and they can look for their missing people until then.

Later, Sawyer meets Juliet down at the dock, where the submarine stands waiting. He tells her that he bought them another two weeks to wait for Locke to get back. She asks what they’re supposed to do if and when that happens. Her question is rhetorical, because she just wants to leave. She’s been trying to get off of this island for years, and the fact that it’s 1974 now isn’t going to stop her. She just wants to leave. He says that if she leaves, who’s going to have his back, the way she did when they shot the two Others? He asks her to stay just for two more weeks, until the sub gets back, to wait and see if Locke returns. She reluctantly agrees.

Three years later, Sawyer picks a flower and takes it home — to Juliet, who’s cooked dinner for the two of them. The two of them are clearly living together. He tells her she was amazing today, at the delivery. She thanks him for believing in her. They embrace, and Juliet says, “I love you.” Sawyer replies, “I love you, too.”

Later, Sawyer is reading a book while waiting on a snoring Horace Goodspeed to wake up. When Horace rouses, Sawyer tells him that he has a son, but he missed the kid’s birth. The two are clearly friends now, despite their rocky first meeting. Sawyer asks why he got drunk and started blowing up trees. Horace confesses that he found Paul’s necklace — the one Amy took from Paul’s body three years ago — in the back of one of her dresser drawers while looking for a pair of socks, and the two of them got into a fight over it. Sawyer says that that was pretty silly, and Horace agrees, but he can’t help wondering… Is three years really long enough to get over a lost love? Sawyer tells him that he loved a girl about three years ago, but he never really took a run at her. Does he regret it? He says that now, after all this time, he finds that he can barely even remember what she looked like. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because she’s gone and she’s never coming back. Yes, he says, three years is plenty long enough to get over someone.

The next morning, Sawyer and Juliet are still in bed when he gets a phone call from Jin. It’s the day Jin found Jack, Kate, and Hurley in the lagoon, as seen at the end of “316,” and he’s calling to tell Sawyer the news. Sawyer tells him to meet him in the north valley, far from the Barracks. Juliet wakes up and asks where he’s going, but he just says everything’s okay but he has to go, though he’s visibly shaken.

Driving a blue Dharma jeep, he meets up with Jin’s van, and out comes Jack, Hurley, and Kate. His eyes and Kate’s meet, and the look on his face shows that three years wasn’t long enough to get over her, after all.

  • Yes, Dharma is the source of the polar bears.
    Question: Tom mentioned that “bears” were once the occupants of Sawyer’s jail cell. Did he mean polar bears? Is that how polar bears came to be on the island — brought there by the Dharma Initiative, to be used in their experiments? [3.01]
  • Horace Goodspeed is the leader of the Dharma Initiative on the island.
    Question: What is Horace’s position in the Dharma Initiative? [3.20]
  • The survivors left behind have become permanently stuck in the 1970s, where they’ve joined up with the Dharma Initiative in order to survive and stay on the island to wait for Locke to return with the Oceanic 6.
    Question: Why was Jin wearing a Dharma jumpsuit and driving a Dharma van? What’s happened to the survivors left behind on the island? [5.06]

  • Olivia, Horace’s original companion on the island, seems to be out of the picture now. What happened to her? (Was she his wife? Girlfriend? Sister? This was never explained.)
  • Since Amy was able to carry her baby to full term and deliver successfully (with Juliet’s Caesarian help), then the problem that present-day Others have with bearing children is something that began after 1977. What happened to the cause this childbirth problem in the present?
  • Who is Horace and Amy’s baby boy? Is he someone we’ve met on the island in the present?
  • How and when did the Others and the Dharma Initiative come to a Truce? What were the circumstances that spurred this agreement?
  • Sawyer, Jin, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel have wound up in 1977 after all that jumping through time. Are they the only members of the original Oceanic 815 group of survivors left alive now? Did anyone else end up in 1977 with them? What about Rose and Bernard? What’s become of them?

Whew! The stories just keep coming fast and furious this season, don’t they? Now that the Oceanic 6 and island-time-jumping storylines have come to a conclusion, Lost wasted no time launching into a major new story arc.

Holy crap, we actually got to see the four-toed statue in full! Alas, we only got to see it from behind. But still… One would have to guess that, like Miles said, that last time flash took them waaaaay back in time. There was a civilization living on the island sometime, long ago. Who were they? Were they the Others/Hostiles? Or some civilization that predated even them? I’m guessing the front of that statue would offer a mighty big clue, or they would have shown it to us by now. Do you suppose a face we know is depicted on it? Richard? Jacob? Someone else? I’ll come back to the statue with lots more thoughts in a minute.

“LaFleur” presented us with another time jump. All of the main characters on the show are now three years ahead of the days when we followed them day-by-day — whether thanks to off the island activities, or on. This conveniently gives all of them plenty of new fodder for future flashback stories. Will the rest of this season and all of Season 6 play out with a return of flashbacks only?

Interesting, is it not, that the island survivors have now spent as much time apart from the Oceanic 6, as the O6 have spent apart from them — three years. Is it coincidence that the same amount of time passed for both groups, or is it something more? I would imagine it mostly was a decision on the writers’ part to have both groups separated for the same amount of time, to make it easier to follow the character developments from this point forward.

Equally interesting is the fact that both groups felt the need to lie, to conceal the truth in order to survive. The Oceanic 6 lied about their time on the island, and the survivors left behind lied to the Dharma Initiative about where they came from.

I couldn’t quite figure out which Dharma station the security station was, where the workers watched Horace Goodspeed wander around drunk, tossing dynamite into trees. My first thought was that it looked like the Pearl, with all of the video monitors. But it seems more likely it would be the Arrow, since it was one we’ve never really seen before. We only caught a glimpse of one part of the Arrow station back in Season 2, when the Tailies were taking up refuge there.

Did you notice that Rosie — the girl dancing with Jerry in the security station — was wearing a Geronimo Jackson t-shirt? Charlotte referenced Geronimo Jackson during her time-trip delusions that occurred just before she died.

Jerry’s crack to Paul, “What’s going to happen? The polar bears are going to figure a way out of their cages?” is a nice little wink to continuity, going all the way back to the pilot episode. We didn’t know then, but we know now, that the polar bears belonged to Dharma. And the cages in question are over on Hydra island, where Kate and Sawyer were held captive by the Others in Season 3.

Where did Horace get dynamite? Did Dharma bring some with them as part of their armory, or did he requisition it from the Black Rock? If so, then either he was lying to Sawyer about having ever heard of the old slave ship, or three years later, Dharma came across it at some point.

Horace and Amy obviously married after Amy lost her first husband Paul to an attack by the Hostiles. But Horace Goodspeed also had a different wife when he first came to the island, back when he recruited Roger Linus. Her name was Olivia Goodspeed, and she taught school for the Dharma kids. What happened to her? Did she die as well? Or did they divorce? And was she still around in the “Three Years Ago” segments, when Sawyer and the others first encountered Horace?

Last season, Locke had a vision of Horace Goodspeed building a cabin in the woods — very likely the cabin where Jacob now lives. Was he building the cabin for Amy, or for Olivia?

The fact that Horace is the leader of the Dharma Initiative is a major revelation. We knew from his appearance in “The Man Behind the Curtain” that he held a position of some authority within Dharma, but I didn’t see it coming at all that he was their “fearless leader.” I always assumed the person in charge was Pierre Chang or Alvar Hanso, or maybe someone else we haven’t met yet.

I never got a terribly good look at it, but I believe Horace’s jumpsuit identifies him as “Mathematician.”

Poor Daniel. His mutterings of “I’m not going to tell her” are a clear reference to Charlotte’s story about him coming to her as a little girl and telling her never to come back to the island or she’d die.

“Whenever we are now, it’s for good,” according to Daniel. Is this true? Will the present day castaways never be able to return to what they know as the present, on the island? What about the Purge? Now that all of the left behind survivors are part of the Dharma Initiative, and I’d be willing to bet most if not all of the Oceanic 6 will soon be joining up as well, what will become of them when the Others enact the Purge, and kill every member of Dharma? I’d be willing to bet a future storyline will be about them trying to either stop or escape from the Purge. Sounds perfectly epic enough for something like this year’s season finale, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe even the series finale next season, for all we know.

Why were the Others/Hostiles executing Amy and Paul, if they have a truce with the Dharma Initiative? Did Amy and Paul trespass into Hostile territory, or violate the truce in some other way?

How did Amy survive her pregnancy, since we know the island kills pregnant women? The Dharma doctor told Sawyer that they send all pregnant women to the mainland to deliver, but that could have merely been because of the meager medical facilities they had available on the island. Is it, as Sawyer suggests to Juliet, a time before the island started having fatal effects on pregnant women? If so, then what caused this phenomenon to begin? One possible answer could be lingering aftereffects of the Purge. We know that the Purge was carried out by releasing chemical toxins into the atmosphere via the Tempest station, and that this took place in no small part due to the scheming of Benjamin Linus to take over leadership of the Others. How ironic would it be that the problem that vexed him so greatly later in life — the Others’ inability to have children on the island — a problem he recruited Juliet specifically to address, was originally caused by his own actions during the Purge?

Why did Amy want Juliet to conduct her delivery? Did she already know that Juliet was qualified, despite the lies Sawyer & Co. told the Dharma people about who they really are? Does she know that Sawyer and his friends are lying? Or does Amy trust Sawyer and Juliet simply because she’s known them for three years now?

How great is it that Jin can speak normal English now, finally? Actor Daniel Dae Kim can finally interact with all the other characters without translations, gestures, or broken English. I loved that little side-effect of the three-year island time jump.

A big question you should be pondering right now: Who is Amy and Horace’s baby boy? The chances of him being someone we’ve already met are pretty good. Given that he was born in 1974, he would be right at 30 years old if we’ve seen him on the island prior to now (since all of the island action up to this season took place in 2004). Could it be a major character with a heretofore unknown history of being born on the island? Maybe Jack or Sawyer? Desmond would be a provocative choice, since we don’t know anything about his childhood. Can’t be Daniel, because his mother is Eloise Hawking. And Miles is more likely to be the child of Pierre Chang. Sayid is an Iraqi national. Hurley is Hispanic. That leaves secondary players like Ethan Rom, Goodwin, or Ajira 315 newcomer Caesar. That last one becomes more likely when you consider that Juliet delivered the baby by Caesarean. Could his parents have decided to name the little guy after his delivery method? If he is Caesar, then the grown-up Caesar knows a lot more about the island than he’s letting on to the other Ajira survivors, and it was probably no accident that he wound up on that flight.

Actress Elizabeth Mitchell was given a big moment to carry as an actress, in the scene where she emerges from the delivery room. Since the writers chose not to show us the delivery or even the baby afterwards, Mitchell was solely responsible for conveying the weight of Amy’s successful delivery. And carry it she did, splendidly. That was a great scene.

Are we meant to assume that Horace’s opinion of Sawyer as “not Dharma material” changed largely due to how smartly Sawyer handled the situation with Richard? Or is there more to Horace accepting Sawyer and his friends into the Dharma Initiative, that’s yet to be revealed?

Why would Richard be the one coming to the Dharma Barracks to speak to Horace, when this episode falls into the timeframe when we know that Charles Widmore was leader of the Others? Why didn’t Widmore come talk to Horace? And this clearly wasn’t the first time Richard had been around them — both Horace and Amy knew him by name.

Richard claimed that the sonic fence can’t keep him out, or any of his people. And he proved it by marching into the Barracks. So how do they get around it? Do they also utilize earplugs, just like Amy did? Or is there more to this?

How and when did the Dharma Initiative and the Others come to their truce? Inquiring minds want to know.

What exactly did Richard’s people do with Paul’s body once he brought it to them? Did he just need it as proof that the truce was maintained? Or did they have a specific purpose in mind for it? Maybe they intended to reanimated it somehow, as Christian Shephard and John Locke have both been brought back to life. Then again, maybe they’re cannibals and just wanted supper.

Would it really be 1974 off the island, if anyone on the island left it now? The Oceanic 6 returned to the island and traveled back to 1974, even though they originated in 2008. Is the island in its own pocket bubble of time? I don’t understand why it would be, since up until this season, it’s always seemed to run concurrent with time off the island. Did Locke or Ben change things somehow, when they turned the wheel? I’m hoping Dan will explain how all of this works at some point.

So Sawyer managed to convince Juliet — who desperately wants to leave the island — to stay for two extra weeks. Yet three years later, we see them happily in love and living together. Did they really fall in love in just two weeks’ time, and that’s how he was able to get her to stay permanently? Or was there another reason she stayed?

Watching Sawyer three years in the future, a happy member of the Dharma Initiative, with Juliet blissfully at his side, is a really rewarding thing to see. He’s come a long way from the angry, social malcontent we first met back in Season 1. He’s settled comfortably into a position of leadership, he’s found lasting love, and he’s allowed the better angels of his nature to surface. Juliet and her calm, cool demeanor have been good for him.

It goes without saying that Sawyer and Juliet’s romance is about to get very complicated, with the arrival of Jack and Kate. But I am hereby announcing that henceforth I’m fully rooting for Sawyer and Juliet staying together. They’re such an unlikely pairing that I was surprised at what a sweet, genuine couple they made, and the actors really made me believe in their feelings for each other. I probably like seeing them together so much because those feelings for one another are based on a mutual belief in each another, that the other person can be better, or more than they once were. And Kate and Jack have always been better suited to each other, anyway, if they can ever get over their respective baggage.

But wait, there’s a fifth player in this growing love triangle, quadrangle, or whatever shape it is now: Ben. He believes that Juliet is his, as we saw in last season’s “The Other Woman.” Which is probably going to place Sawyer squarely in his crosshairs at some point. But Sawyer is in a position of power on the island now as head of Dharma security, where Ben will be completely unknown by the Others, and therefore entirely on his own.

I still don’t get why Richard told Locke back in “Because You Left,” the Season 5 premiere, that “the only way to save the island” was to get back the people who left. The island seems to have been saved; there are no more time flashes, and haven’t been for three years now. So what difference does it make to the safety of the island that the Oceanic 6 returned? The island seemed pretty darn safe to me three years before they got there.

The one castaway we never caught up with after the three-year time jump was Daniel Faraday. Yet we know from the season premier that he also winds up as part of the Dharma Initiative. So where was he? And what department did he wind up in? All of the others are basically “working grunts,” which we can understand Horace accepting them as, since they have no science backgrounds. But Daniel is a scientist, and could easily fit in among any of the scientific research studies Dharma is conducting on the island. Is that why we didn’t see him? Is he stuck conducting experiments off in the Swan or the Orchid or someplace?

Paul’s necklace bore an Ankh amulet, which was an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for life and fertility. It’s also known as “the key of life,” “the key of the Nile,” or “cross with a handle.” It was popular among the Hippie subculture of the 60s, which could explain Paul’s affinity for it, since Dharma was big with the “peace, love, and world unity” vibe. Then again, this is Lost, so it probably has a much deeper significance and meaning than that…

Which brings me back to the four-toed statue. Granted, we only saw the back of it, but it has a decidedly Egyptian appearance about it. The statue even holds something in its right hand that looked an awful lot like an Ankh symbol. The statue’s right hand can clearly be seen clasping something hoop-shaped, which could easily be the top loop of an Ankh. It also holds something in its left hand, which isn’t quite as easy to see (stupid trees!). Its head looks strikingly like the back of a traditional Egyptian pharaoh’s headdress, but there’s a small crown (or maybe a flat-top) on the very top. The statue also wears what looks like a textured loincloth, but then again, for all we know, it could just be a miniskirt. The gender of the statue is impossible to determine, and I would imagine this was intentional on the part of the show’s producers.

I have a million questions about this thing! Who built the statue? When? What’s with all the Egyptian influences, if the island is way over in the Pacific Ocean? (That’s pretty much the opposite side of the world from Egypt.) Did it deteriorate naturally over time (which would make it crazy old), or was it intentionally destroyed during some kind of conflict, leaving only the sandaled foot that exists today?

Theories, anyone?


5.07 “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”

Locke’s fateful mission off the island to recruit the Oceanic 6 into returning is revealed, along with the circumstances surrounding his death.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender

In the here and now, we see new character Caesar rifling through a Dharma office somewhere on the island. Among the objects he finds are vintage magazines about Hydrogen bomb tests, a map of the island, a time travel chart, and a sawed-off shotgun. He pockets the gun just before he’s interrupted by Ilana, the federal agent who escorted Sayid onto the plane. When she asks about what he put in his bag, he lies and retrieves a large flashlight.

She tells him that they’ve found a man that no one recognizes from the plane. He was standing in the water, wearing a suit, when they found him. Ilana takes Caesar to meet this man, and outside, they pass Ajira 316 — which looks almost completely intact. Outside the crash site, on the beach, the survivors are gathered around a hooded man who’s kneeling on the ground near a campfire. Caesar asks him who he is, and he pulls back his hood. “My name is John Locke,” says a very alive and well Locke.

The next morning, Locke looks across the shore at the main island. He spots a number of canoes on the shore, and Ilana tells him that they were already there when the plane crashed. One of them is missing now because the plane’s pilot (Frank Lapidus) and another woman took one of the canoes without telling anyone. He asks if they have a passenger list, and she says he’ll “have to talk to Caesar.” Ilana questions him about how he got there. She says she doesn’t remember seeing him on the plane. He says he doesn’t remember being on the plane, but he does remember dying.

From here, the show enters into an extended flashback, which reveals the entire story of what happened to John Locke from the moment he turned the frozen wheel to how he died. After turning the wheel, Locke ended up in Tunisia, in the exact same place where Ben was sent after he turned it. Locke is still injured from his fall down the well on the island, and he’s unable to stand. He throws up before noticing that cameras have been erected on poles, all facing the spot where he’s now laying.

By nighttime, Locke is going into shock. A pickup truck approaches, and a group of men get out and hastily load Locke into the back. At a local hospital, a doctor forces some pills down his throat, puts a bit between his teeth for him to bite down on, and resets his leg. Before he passes out, Locke sees Matthew Abaddon watching him from a distance.

Later, Locke is awoken by Charles Widmore, who tells Locke he had a compound fracture, but Widmore had a specialist flown in to repair it. He reveals his identity to Locke, and tells him that he first met Locke when he was 17 years old. Locke says that event was only four days ago for him. Widmore says that the cameras that Locke saw in the desert are his, that he’d had them placed there in case Ben Linus tricked anyone else into leaving the island the same way he tricked Widmore.

Widmore reveals that he was once leader of the Others, and that his people had protected the island for more than three decades. But he was tricked by Ben into turning the frozen wheel. He tells Locke that it is now three years since the Oceanic 6 left the island, and that it won’t be easy to convince them to return. But Widmore intends to help him do it. Locke asks Widmore why he’s helping him, and Widmore says it’s because he’s special. The island needs Locke. He then says that a war is coming, and that if Locke isn’t on the island when it comes, then the wrong side is going to win.

Later, Widmore supplies Locke with a fake I.D., using the name Jeremy Bentham. He explains that he selected the pseudonym because the real Bentham was a famous philosopher — just like Locke’s namesake. Widmore gives Locke the locations of all of the Oceanic 6, telling him that he’s been watching all of them. Locke still doubts Widmore’s motives, asking why he sent a freighter loaded with explosives to the island, if he’s such a good guy. Widmore replies that Ben Linus had to be removed from the island, so that Locke could fulfill his destiny. Locke tells him that Richard Alpert said that he has to die to get the O6 to return, but Widmore says he’s not going to let that happen, because the island needs Locke, and has for a very long time.

Matthew Abaddon arrives in a car, and Widmore says that Abaddon is to be Locke’s driver and protector. Anything he needs, Abaddon will get for him. He takes Locke to the airport, where he flies to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There, Sayid is working as a volunteer for a Habitat for Humanity type organization called Build Our World. Locke tells Sayid that it was a mistake for the Oceanic 6 to leave the island, and that they have to come back. Sayid says that it wasn’t a mistake, that it led to his reunion with the love of his life. He and Nadia had nine months together before she was killed, and those were the best nine months of his life. Locke tells Sayid where to find him in L.A. should he change his mind. Sayid replies that if Locke wants to do some real good, he’s welcome back here anytime.

Next up is Walt, who Locke and Abaddon find at Fieldcroft School in New York City. While they wait for school to get out, he asks Abaddon to find his lost love, Helen, for him. Walt exits the school with other children and spots Locke across the street immediately, as if sensing his presence. He crosses the street and Locke asks why he’s unsurprised to see him. Walt replies that he’s been having dreams about Locke, about him standing on the beach wearing a suit, surrounded by people who want to harm him. Walt asks about his dad, Michael, but Locke doesn’t tell him the truth, that his father is dead. He merely says that the last he heard of Michael, he was working on a freighter. Walt asks why Locke has come to see him now, and after a moment’s hesitation, Locke appears to decide on the spot not to ask Walt to come back to the island. Instead, he merely says he wanted to make sure that Walt was okay. When Abaddon questions this decision later, Locke tells him that Walt’s been through enough, and he couldn’t bring himself to ask this of the boy. In the distance, the camera reveals that Ben Linus has been watching this entire scene.

In Santa Rosa, California, Locke meets with Hurley in the same recreation yard where Hurley spoke to Dead Charlie. Hurley is unsurprised to see him, assuming that Locke is dead, too. When Locke proves that he’s very much alive, Hurley sees that Matthew Abaddon is with Locke, and he freaks out, and runs away.

Back in the car, Locke asks Abaddon just who he really is. Abaddon asks Locke if he remembers that it was him, working as an orderly at the hospital, who suggested that Locke go on an Australian walkabout after his paralyzing accident. Locke says he does remember. Abaddon explains that his job is to “help people get to where they need to be,” and that this is what he does for Charles Widmore.

In Los Angeles, Kate flatly refuses to go back with Locke. Locke doesn’t understand why she would refuse to help everyone else on the island, when they need the help of those who are off the island. Kate dismisses him, suggesting that he’s desperate to stay on the island because he had never loved anyone. Locke tells her she’s wrong, that he once loved a woman named Helen. She asks what happened, and he says it didn’t work out, that he was “angry and obsessed.” “Look how far you’ve come,” Kate replies coldly.

Back at the car, Locke asks Abaddon once again about Helen. Abaddon says he couldn’t find her, that she’s moved, possibly married with a new name. Locke finds this hard to believe, when Widmore so easily tracked down the exact locations of all of the Oceanic 6. Finally, Abaddon takes Locke to a graveyard in Santa Monica, where Helen is buried. She died of a brain aneurism in 2006. Abaddon tries to console Locke, telling him that Helen is where she’s supposed to be, that this is where her life’s path led her, just like Locke’s path leads back to the island. He insinuates that Locke’s having to die, as Richard told him he must, isn’t fate at all, but ultimately a choice that Locke must make. When they return to the car, Abaddon is shot and killed. Locke jumps into the front seat and takes off, causing a terrific car crash with two other vehicles.

He awakens in a hospital, and Jack is in his room, waiting for him to wake up. He was brought to Jack’s hospital after the car crash. Locke immediately tries to convince Jack to come back to the island with him, that Jack is the linchpin, and if Jack agrees to return, the others will come too. He claims that someone is trying to kill Locke because they don’t want him to succeed, and that’s why he was in this accident. Jack tells him the whole thing is ludicrous, that Locke is just a delusional old man, looking for meaning amid a life that has none. As he goes to storm out of the room, Locke says, “Your father says hi.” He explains that he deduced it had to be Jack’s father who came to him on the island with Jacob’s instructions, because he knew it wasn’t Hurley or Sayid’s father. Locke even knows the man’s name as Christian, but still Jack claims not to believe him. He tells Locke to leave him and all of the others alone.

Wallowing in failure at his hotel, sometime after he’s been discharged from the hospital, Locke writes his suicide note, throws away the cell phone Widmore gave him, and makes preparations to hang himself. He has the noose around his neck when there’s a knock at the door and when Locke doesn’t answer, it’s broken down to reveal Ben Linus. He claims he knew Locke was here and what Locke was up to because he’s watching all of them, keeping them safe. Locke accuses him of killing Abaddon, and Ben admits to it, but says that Abaddon would have killed Locke eventually, if Ben hadn’t taken him out. He says that Widmore is the true bad guy, that he’s using Locke because he’s important. Locke believes himself a failure since he couldn’t convince any of the O6 to return, so he can’t be “important” or a leader. Ben reveals that Jack had just booked a plane ticket from L.A. to Sydney, and Ben believes Jack is hoping the plane might crash back on the island. So whatever Locke said to Jack, according to Ben, it worked.

Ben manages to talk Locke down, untying his rope and telling him, “You can’t die, you’ve got too much work to do.” Ben says he’ll help Locke, and suggests they go see Sun next, since Locke hadn’t made it to her yet. Locke says he can’t, that he promised Jin he wouldn’t tell Sun that Jin is alive. Ben says he doesn’t know what to do once they have everyone back together, but he’s sure they’ll figure it out. Locke says they have to take everyone to see Eloise Hawking, and he asks if Ben knows her. Ben says that he does, and suddenly he grabs the rope and uses it to strangle Locke to death!

Ben strings Locke up to look like suicide, cleans up the crime scene, and then takes Jin’s wedding ring and Locke’s suicide note. Before leaving, he says to Locke’s hanging body, “I’ll miss you, John. I really will.”

Back on the island in present day, Locke walks into the Dharma office and finds Caesar reading various files. Locke tells him that the logo on the files belonged to the Dharma Initiative, who lived on the island and did experiments here back in the 70s. Caesar takes the opportunity to grill Locke on what he knows. He says that he watched people disappear on the plane, before the crash, but others were hurt in the crash. When Locke asks about the passenger list, Caesar tells him that Lapidus took it when he left. He takes Locke to another part of the Hydra facility, where a number of injured people are resting. Among them is a sleeping Benjamin Linus.

Caesar asks if Locke knows this man. Locke nods. “He’s the man who killed me.”

  • Presumably, they know one another because they’re both Others.
    Question: How does Ben know Ms. Hawking? [5.02]
  • Because Ben supplanted him as leader of the Others.
    Question: Why does Charles Widmore want Ben dead? [4.06]
  • Essentially, yes. Ben took Widmore’s position as leader of the Others, and exiled Widmore from the island.
    Question: What did Ben take that was once Widmore’s? The island? [4.09]
  • Using the Exit transports one not only through space but time as well.
    Question: Why didn’t Ben know the date when he arrived in Tunisia? [4.09]
  • Apparently, it was Charles Widmore.
    Question: If Ben was telling the truth about not being directly responsible for the Purge, then who was the leader of the Others at that time, who did make the decision? [4.11]
  • It was given to him by Charles Widmore as a means of protecting him.
    Question: Why did “Jeremy Bentham” use a pseudonym? [4.13]
  • Locke spoke to Kate of “anger and obsession,” suggesting that such things were in his past. But she pointed out he was still just as angry and obsessed as ever, and hadn’t changed at all.
    Question: What did “Jeremy Bentham” say to Kate to convince her he was crazy? [4.13]
  • The survivors left behind were dislodged in time, jumping randomly from time to time throughout the island’s history, until it began to take a physical toll on them, endangering their lives.
    Question: What “very bad things” happened on the island after the Oceanic 6 left? [4.14]
  • Sayid was right, though he didn’t know how right he was. Locke was indeed murdered — by Sayid’s former boss, Benjamin Linus.
    Question: Did Locke, aka “Jeremy Bentham” really commit suicide, or was he murdered as Sayid believes? [4.14]
  • I think one of the biggest takeaways we get out of this episode is that Ben and Widmore are engaged in an endless Cold War against one another, constantly spying on each other, each of them watching the Oceanic 6, and anybody else with connections to the island. All of it is in service of each man’s desire to regain control of the island. And they’ll do absolutely anything to get back to the island — manipulating, killing, or using others. I think this notion of the Oceanic 6 being in danger comes from the dangers they were placed in at the hands of both Ben and Widmore, and not any one particular villain.
    Question: If Locke’s death was a murder and not a suicide, does that mean that all of the Oceanic 6 are in similar danger? [4.14]

  • How did Ajira 316 wind up on the island? Did it land? Did it crash?
  • How did Locke wind up standing in the ocean just off the shore of Hydra Island, apparently resurrected after killing himself in Los Angeles?
  • How exactly was Locke resurrected?
  • Why did Frank steal a canoe to go to the main island?
  • Which passenger did Frank leave Hydra Island to go to the main island with?
  • What is the “coming war” that Widmore told Locke about? Is it between Widmore and Ben? Or two other parties?
  • If Abaddon’s the reason Locke went to Australia for his walkabout, and Abaddon works for Widmore… does this mean that Widmore knew Oceanic 6 was going to crash on the island, and he arranged for Locke to be on it?

So John Locke is alive after all. Told you so. Still, he really did die; it wasn’t faked or an induced coma or any other kind of ruse as I suggested a while back. And I don’t even want to think about how long it must’ve been before someone finally found him hanging there. (The fact that Jack’s beard was only starting to grow when he turned up here is evidence that at least a few good weeks passed before he found Locke’s obituary and tried to kill himself on the bridge.) And since it was at Ben’s hands, we might take that to explain why Ben was so cagey about answering Jack’s earlier inquiry regarding Locke being dead, a few episodes ago.

There were the usual references to the cursed numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) throughout this episode. Widmore gave Locke a number to call to reach him, telling him to “press 23″ to speak to him personally. According to her tombstone, Helen died on April 8, 2006, aka “4/8.” Jeremy Bentham’s birthdate, according to his passport, was listed as “15 Feb 48.”

Ajira 316 crash landed on Hydra island, the tiny island off the main island where the Dharma Initiative’s Hydra station was. (This is the station where Jack, Kate, and Sawyer were held captive by the Others back in Season 3.) This was confirmed in the final scene, where the Hydra logo could clearly be seen on the blue file Caesar was reading. That office Caesar was so interested in had to have been part of the above-ground portion of the Hydra station.

The objects Caesar found were most interesting. The magazines referring to the Hydrogen bomb tests are an obvious reference back to Jughead, the atomic bomb that the U.S. military attempted to detonate on the island. But Lost is fond of foreshadowing, so I think H-bombs will somehow play a part in the island’s future, possibly even in this “war” that’s coming. Oh, and in case you missed it, the issue of Life magazine that was on top of the stack was dated April 19, 1954.

The map of the island was the exact same map (or at least a copy) as the one that Daniel Faraday used to find The Tempest in Season 4’s “The Other Woman.” It’s also very similar to the one Ben gave to Danielle, Alex, and Carl to help them find the Temple.

And might that sawed-off shotgun be used in the near future to shoot from a canoe… at another canoe? A la the events we saw flash-forwarded in “The Little Prince.”

So, Ajira 316 did crash after all. But it looks as though it crashed onto Hydra island. If that’s true, then how did Jack, Kate, and Hurley end up over on the main island? Also, there’s the fact that Ajira 316 looked to be more or less in one piece, unlike Oceanic 815, which was torn into three pieces. We know that Oceanic 815 crashed because Desmond stopped pushing the button, triggering the super electromagnetic reaction that pulled the plane off course and onto the island. Aside from the giant magnet, what made Ajira 316’s crash so different that it was able to stay whole? And why did it end up on Hydra island instead of the main island, anyway?

Seeing the plane crashed there on Hydra island, I couldn’t help being reminded of an important landmark on that same island — the supposed “runway” that the Others were having Sawyer and Kate help build during their captivity there. I seriously doubt this is a coincidence on the part of the writers.

The mystery of the canoes back at the Oceanic survivors’ beach camp is revealed. They came from Hydra island, of course. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, because we saw back in Season 3 that the Others had canoes that they used to travel from one island to the other.

Ilana said that the plane’s pilot and another woman took one of the canoes without telling anyone. We know that the pilot was Frank Lapidus. So who was the woman? Sun? Seems like the most probable answer, though one should never assume anything on Lost. If it was Sun, she was obviously wasting no time in her desire to get to the other island and find her husband. But Frank’s motives for helping her remain cloudy. It’s possible that she merely asked him for his help, knowing that it would be difficult to paddle to the main island alone. Caesar said that Lapidus took the passenger list when he ran off. Why would he do this? If he’s with Sun, the Ajira passenger manifest would not help them find Jin.

It looks like we now have ourselves an entirely new group of castaways slash plane crash survivors. Interesting how quickly Caesar and Ilana have risen to leadership roles among them. And it looks like Locke and Ben are the only two pre-existing characters among them (that we know of so far). Now we know why the writers were so cavalier about killing off so many of the Oceanic redshirts at the beginning of the season.

Clearly the cameras at the Tunisian “exit” spot were placed after Ben left the island. But if Widmore left the island the same way, and ended up in the same spot, then why did he wait until after Ben left to put up the cameras? We can safely assume it was Ben’s nighttime visit to Widmore in London that prompted the move, but why didn’t he have the cameras there all along, since he left the island back in the day?

Locke’s scene with Widmore was one big info dump. Here’s what we learned:

  • The Tunisian desert is the “exit,” the spot where turning the frozen wheel always sends people who use it to leave the island. Why this is, remains to be seen.
  • Charles Widmore was once the leader of the Others. Presumably, this happened after the events we saw in “Jughead,” where Richard Alpert was maintaining order, and there was no other leader apparent.
  • Widmore was tricked into turning the frozen wheel and leaving the island by Benjamin Linus. And he’s been trying to get back ever since? Possibly. This means that Widmore was the leader of the Others for more than twenty years. I think we can safely assume this deception was done as part of Ben’s plan (which also included the Purge of the Dharma Initiative) to take over leadership of the Others.
  • The group of people we know as the Others protected the island for more than three decades while Widmore was among them. Are they truly indigenous to the island, or merely visitors like everyone else, who just managed to get there first?
  • Everybody with any kind of unique connection to the island or its past believes that Locke is special, and is needed by the island. Why is he so special, and in what capacity?
  • Widmore believes a war is coming to the island. Very likely it is to determine the possession and future survival of the island. I’m going to hereby stake my claim that this war is what Season 6, the final season of the show, is going to be all about.

Widmore somehow knows an awful lot about what’s taken place on the island, while he’s been away. He told Locke that he was “deeply invested in the future of the island,” but I wonder where he gets his intel. His quip, “I haven’t tried to kill you. Can you say the same for him?” leads one to believe that he already knows the answer to that question. Yes, Ben has indeed tried to kill Locke once before. How could Widmore possibly know this?

We’ve known all along that “John Locke” was the name of a real-world famous philosopher, but this episode marks the first time that this fact is mentioned in canon with the story. Widmore suggested that Locke’s parents chose the name for him because of an appreciation for philosophy. (This seems unlikely, given what we know of Locke’s parental heritage.)

The passport ID that Widmore gave Locke listed Jeremy Bentham as a Canadian, with a date of birth February 15, 1948. The passport’s “date of issue” is December 12, 2007, which gives us a decent idea of when this episode takes place.

Widmore clearly wants to be seen by Locke as the good guy in his struggle with Ben. This was driven home by his statement about helping Locke and saving his life, “Can you say the same for [Ben]?” So… Is it possible that he is the good guy? With all the time we as viewers have spent with Ben, it’s been easy to see him as a flawed antihero type, with Widmore being the true Big Bad. But since almost everything we know about Widmore comes from Ben’s perspective or Desmond’s (who also had a serious personal issue with Widmore)… could Widmore actually be the better of the two? Ben didn’t exactly go a long way toward proving himself the hero in this episode, despite all of his protestations the last few weeks about how hard he’s worked to “protect” the Oceanic 6. He killed Abaddon and then he killed Locke! On the other hand, we’ve seen Widmore kill people, too. I doubt that in the end it’s going to come down to a struggle between good and evil with Widmore and Ben. I think instead what we’re seeing are two very powerful and very motivated men doing everything in their power to possess the island. Both of them are capable of good, and both are capable of evil.

Interesting, is it not, that Locke is once again denied use of his legs while off the island? This was driven home by the bitter moment when Abaddon unfolded a wheel chair for him, much as he did the last time these two met. And interesting also, that once Locke is back on the island again — even though he was dead and his leg still broken when he died — he’s completely healed and whole, just like when Oceanic 815 crashed and he found he could walk. Is this evidence of Locke’s unique relationship with the island? It sure looks like it. The island certainly won’t let Locke die — it’s saved him from death at least twice now. And as Ben told Locke in Season 3, Locke is special “because I’m in a wheelchair, and you’re not.”

This marks the second time Ben has attempted to kill Locke. This time he succeeded, but the death wasn’t permanent. We can easily say that the island brought John back to life because he’s Mr. Special, but I still hope to find out how and why this was accomplished. In any event, the island clearly isn’t done with Locke yet, and once again, Ben’s attempt to kill him was all for nothing. Ben can’t outwit the island or alter its plans.

Given that the island has needed John Locke for so long, and that Richard Alpert has been watching Locke for most of his life, waiting for him to be ready to assume the role that the island (or destiny) had chosen him for… I can’t help wondering if there’s more to Locke’s lifelong delays than just general life circumstances. We’ve seen Ben try repeatedly to keep Locke from fulfilling his destiny, so could he have been involved in Locke’s life long before he came to the island, attempting to keep him from ever making it there? For that matter, since it was Widmore who told Locke that the island has needed him for a long time, could Widmore have been involved in keeping Locke away from his destiny?

And while we’re on the subject of Locke getting to the island… Matthew Abaddon suggested that Locke go on an Australian walkabout. In this episode we learned that Abaddon was responsible for helping people get to where they were supposed to be. And that Abaddon worked for Charles Widmore, in this capacity. Does this mean that Widmore and/or Abaddon had prior knowledge of Oceanic 815’s ultimate fate? Did they see to it that Locke got on Flight 815 to ensure that he made it to the island, at long last? If so, how could they have known that the plane would crash? It was undoubtedly an accident, due to Desmond’s actions on the island at the Swan station. Has Widmore or Abaddon ever traveled through time, and seen the future, and that’s how they knew 815 would crash on the island? Or maybe that psychic who told Claire to get on the plane back in Season 1 was on Widmore’s payroll.

Strange to find Sayid helping to build a church (there was a steeple, that’s how I know) for something called “Build Our World” in the Dominican Republic after two years of killing for Ben. No doubt he was trying to find a way to atone for his sins, but now I’m eager to find out how he went from good will doer in a foreign country back to full-on assassin mode, where we saw him when he rescued Hurley from the mental hospital.

There is no Fieldcroft School in New York — or anywhere else. It’s made up, though I do wonder about the significance of the name. A Google and Wikipedia search for the name “Fieldcroft” generated no results. Could it be another anagram?

There’s one fact in this backstory that does not add up. In the final scene of Season 4, when Ben meets Jack at the funeral parlor, Ben asks Jack if Locke told Jack that Ben was off the island. Jack nods an affirmative. But in this episode, during the brief meeting between Jack and Locke, no mention was ever made of Ben, off the island or otherwise. Discrepancy? Footage that got cut for time? Or just plain error on the part of Lindelof and Cuse?

So was it just me, or did it look like Ben really had no intention of killing Locke until Locke mentioned Eloise Hawking? If he’d wanted Locke dead all along, he could have just let him hang himself, instead of working so hard to talk him down. Maybe Ben thought he could get some choice intel out of Locke before killing him — and it looked like he did, when Locke revealed the bit about Hawking. But it could also be interpreted that Ben changed his mind on the spot, that maybe he felt threatened by Locke’s knowledge of Hawking. Ben probably knew that Locke’s knowledge of Hawking is something that could only have come from Jacob, and just like the last time he tried to kill Locke (when he shot him and left him in the Dharma grave trench), perhaps he just couldn’t stand the thought of someone else being Jacob’s chosen one. I’m sure some explanation of this will be forthcoming.

Ilana and Caesar made reference to “the ones that disappeared,” and Caesar later expanded on this, telling Locke that people disappeared from the plane in the middle of the white light, one at a time — before the crash. Yet the plane didn’t even look like a crashed aircraft. So the ones who are here, on Hydra island, were survivors of the actual crash. But they know that there are others who disappeared. Who were the ones that disappeared, and why? It looks like it wasn’t just the Oceanic 6, but was it? Ben wasn’t included among them… And if the woman who disappeared with Frank Lapidus really was Sun, then she couldn’t have disappeared, either.

Okay, here’s my big, wild thought of the week, and I’ll end with this… Since we know from Eloise Hawking that the island is always moving, could all of this mean that turning the wheel doesn’t actually move the island at all, but is merely a means of exiting the island? If that’s true, then it could be that Ben was lying to Locke and Hurley when he led them to the Orchid station back in the Season 4 finale. It was never his intention to move the island at all, just to exit it himself. On the other hand, Jacob (via Christian Shephard) specifically told Locke to move the island. And Christian later confirmed that this was done using the frozen wheel, when he met Locke at the bottom of the well. Further, we know from the first scene of Season 5 that the frozen wheel and whatever is behind it is a pocket of energy that taps into time itself. And I think we can safely assume that when Ben turned the wheel, he accidentally dislodged it, which caused the unpredictable, random jumps through time. Do the math on all of these facts, and it’s looking more and more like Jacob didn’t want Locke to move the island physically (since it’s always moving anyway), but through time, and that’s what the frozen wheel really does. But that leads to a new question: why did Jacob want this? What does moving the island through time get Jacob, or anyone else?

I still don’t know if Locke’s planned suicide was a decision made out of his own feelings of failure, or if he was going to do it as a last-ditch effort to fulfill Richard’s prophecy on the only way he’d be able to get the Oceanic 6 back to the island. Locke was certainly wallowing in his own feelings of uselessness, but I wonder if he might have hoped that this final, desperate act would succeed where he couldn’t while alive.

The thing that struck me the first time I watched “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” was how anti-climactic it felt. Sure, there was the twist of Ben murdering Locke, and we got some interesting answers about Widmore, but otherwise, almost nothing happened that could be described as “exciting” or “surprising.” It was more of a character piece than anything else. I do like the way the writers chose to wait until the Oceanic 6 returned to the island to go back and explain just what happened to Locke after he left the island. It was a perfectly self-contained storyline, worthy of its own episode. But it’s also a perfect example of how the questions are often a lot more interesting than the answers. So much time was spent in the last year alluding to these wildly dramatic and pivotal things that happened when each of the Oceanic 6 met “Jeremy Bentham,” but when we finally saw what happened, the events in question felt pretty ho-hum.


5.06 “316”

Jack learns how to return to the island, but it involves exercising the one thing he’s never been good at: faith.

Written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse
Directed by Stephen Williams

Wearing a suit and tie, Jack Shephard opens his eyes, awakening in the jungle on the island. Beat-for-beat, it’s almost an exact replica of the very first scene in the first episode of the show. (It sounded to these ears like composer Michael Giacchino even used the same musical cues he used in that original scene, or at least similar ones.)

Jack retrieves a torn-up note from his inside jacket pocket. Scribbled on the note are the hand-written words “I wish…” but the paper is ripped beyond that point so we can’t read any further. A voice shouts in the distance, calling out for help. Jack runs to the edge of a waterfall, to find Hurley struggling to swim in the water far below. Jack dives into the water and rescues Hurley, but then spots an unconscious Kate laying on the rocks at the edge of the water. He wakes her up, and she asks if they’re back. Jack says yes, and she replies, “What happened?”

46 hours earlier, we are back at the church where Ben, Jack, Sun, and Desmond are meeting Eloise Hawking, right where the last episode left off. Hawking tells them it’s time to get started, and leads them through the church, beyond a closed door, down a spiral staircase, and into an underground tunnel. At the far end of the tunnel is a door with a Dharma logo on it! She opens the door and leads them inside: it’s the room with the giant swinging pendulum we last saw her in. There’s a wall filled with longitude and latitude numbers, automatically changing on their own. Jack also notices a black & white photograph of the island taped to a chalk board; its imprinted with the words “9/23/54 – U.S. Army – OP 264 – Top Secret – Eyes Only.”

She tells them this is the Lamppost, a Dharma station constructed to allow the Dharma Initiative to find the island. It’s how they found it in the first place. Hawking explains that this station was built years ago over “a unique pocket of electromagnetic energy” — energy which is connected to similar pockets all over the world. But the Dharma Initiative was only interested in one of these pockets: the island. Dharma had gathered proof that it existed, they knew it was out there somewhere, but they couldn’t find it. The pendulum was built here by “a very clever fellow” who figured out that finding the island was not a matter of figuring out where it was supposed to be, but where it was going to be.

Jack asks what she means by this, and she says that the island is always moving. “Why do you think you were never rescued?” she asks him. She says that while the movements of the island seem to be random, this man who built the pendulum and his team created a series of equations that predict where the island is going to be, at a certain point in time. She says that windows provide a route back, but they never stay open for very long. She hands Jack a binder that contains all of the information he’ll need to reach the coordinates he needs to be at, at the appropriate time, to return to the island. And she says that their window closes in thirty-six hours.

Desmond stops the proceedings, shocked that the others are all going back to the island willingly. He explains he was sent by Hawking’s son, Daniel Faraday, to find her and ask for her help for all of the people still on the island. Hawking seems to take this in stride, saying she is helping, by helping Jack and his friends get back. Desmond tells them they’re all crazy for wanting to go back, and storms out. But before he can leave, Hawking tells him that the island is not done with him yet. He says that he’s done with the island, and warns Jack not to do anything that Hawking tells him to, since he once listened to her and wasted four years of his life on the island pushing the button, at her behest. He says that all of them are being used as pawns in a game by more powerful people — people like Ben, Hawking, and Charles Widmore.

When Desmond is gone, Hawking opens Jack’s binder and shows him a list of coordinates of where the island will be in two days’ time. She explains that an airplane will be flying over those exact coordinates at the right time, and that they all need to be on it. The flight is Ajira Airways flight 316, L.A. to Guam. She says that they must recreate the circumstances that got them to the island the first time, with as many of the same people as possible. The less accurate they are in recreating those original circumstances, the more predictable the outcome will be.

Hawking then takes Jack aside, to another room in the church, where she hands him John Locke’s suicide note! She reveals that Locke hung himself, and he did it to help Jack get back to the island. Locke is to act as a proxy, a substitute on this new flight for Jack’s father, Christian Shephard, who traveled, dead, in a similar coffin back on Oceanic 815. It’s another way of helping the Oceanic 6 recreate the circumstances of their original trip to the island. What’s more, Jack needs to find something that belonged to his father, and give it to Locke, to further solidify Locke’s status as the proxy.

Jack balks at this, but Hawking scolds him and insists that he believe in this if he wants to get back to the island. It’s a leap of faith, and he has to take it, like it or not. Jack leaves and finds Ben waiting for him in the chapel. Sun has gone, but will meet them at the airport. Jack asks who Eloise Hawking really is, but Ben changes the subject, telling him the story of Thomas the Apostle, aka Doubting Thomas. Thomas had to touch Jesus’ wounds before he would be convinced that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. Jack asks if Thomas was convinced, to which Ben replies, “Of course he was. We’re all convinced sooner or later.” Ben leaves, saying he has one last thing to do before he goes to the airport. He has a promise to keep to an old friend, a loose end to tie up.

Jack finds his way to a bar to get a drink, contemplating whether or not he’s willing to believe in Hawking’s assertions. But his phone rings, and he leaves immediately after taking the call. He journeys to an elderly retirement home, where he visits his grandfather, Ray Shephard. Jack was called by the facility because his grandfather was caught trying to escape “again.” In Ray’s room, Jack finds a bag that Ray packed, hoping to take it with him when he escaped. He promises Jack that sooner or later, he’s going to succeed in making it out of there, because “any place is better than here.” In Ray’s bag, Jack finds a pair of his father’s shoes, and he asks if he can have them. Ray agrees. Jack explains that he may be “going away for a while,” and when Ray asks where he’s going, Jack replies, “some place better than here.”

Jack returns to his apartment, his father’s shoes in hand, where he finds a severely distraught Kate waiting for him. Something’s happened to her and Aaron, and she no longer has him. He asks what’s happened and where Aaron is. She replies that she’ll go back to the island with him if he never asks her about Aaron ever again. One needy and passionate kiss later, and the two of them descend to his bed.

The next morning, over breakfast, Jack tells Kate the story of his trip to Australia to pick up his father’s body. He says that he had to make all of the arrangements for the trip back to the states, and that he thought it was unimportant what his father was wearing when he died, so he put a pair of white tennis shoes on the body. Kate leaves in a hurry, promising to see him at the airport. Ben calls Jack, tells him he got sidetracked, and frantically asks Jack to pick up Locke’s body from Simon’s Butcher Shop. The scene shifts to Ben’s perspective at a pay phone at the pier, and we see that he’s injured and bloodied from some experience that happened to him between last night and this morning.

At the butcher shop, Ben’s friend Jill lets Jack in. Jack’s carrying a backpack, and Jill asks what’s inside. When Jack doesn’t answer, she apologizes for being nosy, and she takes him to the freezer, where Locke’s coffin is waiting. Jill exits to retrieve Ben’s van, leaving Jack alone. Jack opens the coffin and replaces Locke’s shoes with Christian’s. He tells Locke that wherever he is now, he must be laughing at what Jack’s doing, because he’s finally taking a leap of faith. But Jack puts the suicide note in Locke’s jacket pocket, telling him that he’s already heard everything Locke had to say, and that Locke is getting what he wanted — Jack is going back to the island.

At the airport, the check-in clerk asks a lot of questions about “Bentham’s body,” which Jack distractedly answers, taking responsibility for the body and all of the funeral arrangements when they reach Guam. Jack spots Kate at the back of the check-in line, and they exchange a smile. As Jack finishes his check-in, the next person in line — a man we’ve never seen before — tells him he’s sorry Jack lost his friend.

Sun shows up behind Jack at the security gate, and Jack is almost surprised to see her. She says that if there’s even a chance of finding Jin on the island, she has to take it. They spot a familiar and unexpected face being escorted past security by a female federal officer: Sayid is in custody and being taken on board the plane in handcuffs!

What’s more, Hurley is at the airport as well. Jack runs into him at the gate, but not before we find out that Hurley has purchased seventy-eight tickets for seats on this plane. He refuses to tell Jack how and why he’s there, and suggests that all that should matter to Jack is that he’s there. Jack boards the plane and finds there Kate, Sayid, and Sun. Kate is wearing sunglasses to hide puffy eyes, evidence of recent crying. Hurley boards right behind Jack, and just before the plane is ready to leave the gate, Ben runs in and makes it onto the flight as well. Hurley objects strongly to Ben’s presence, but Jack calms him down.

A flight attendant approaches Jack and hands him Locke’s suicide note, explaining that security found it and retrieved it for him. Jack returns to his seat to find Ben sitting across the aisle from him. He asks what’s going to happen to the couple dozen other passengers on the plane. Ben replies, “Who cares?”

The plane takes off as all six island-bound passengers watch and wait with trepidation. Jack wanders up to Kate’s seat after the captain turns off the fasten seatbelt light, and expresses his astonishment that all of them came. He asks her if she thinks it could mean something that they’re all together again. Kate replies that they may be on the same flight, but none of them are “together.” Just then, the captain comes over the speaker to announce himself and their flight details, and it turns out to be none other than Frank Lapidus!

Jack goes to the flight attendant and asks her to tell Frank that he’s on board. Frank wastes no time exiting the cockpit to see Jack, and explains he’s been working for Ajira for eight months. But he quickly spots the other members of the O6 in the main cabin, and realizes that this flight isn’t bound for the destination he thought it was.

Later, as the flight is flying over the Pacific Ocean at night, Jack is jittery, watching and waiting for something to happen. Will the plane crash? Will a magical portal open up and swallow them? His mind is racing and he’s watching every little tic of the plane for signs that it’s beginning. Ben, sitting across from him and reading Ulysses, criticizes Jack for not being able to relax. Jack asks if Ben knew that Locke killed himself. Ben says that he didn’t. Jack pulls out the suicide note and tells Ben he can’t seem to get rid of it, that it’s almost like Locke needs him to read it. Ben cuts to the heart of the issue, saying that Jack can’t read it because he’s afraid that it was his fault that Locke killed himself. Ben assures him that it wasn’t.

Finally, Jack opens the note and reads its single line: “Jack, I wish you had believed me. -J.L.”

The plane begins to shake with some very familiar-looking turbulence. The captain tells everyone to fasten their seatbelts, but the flight attendant is flung across the cabin as the turbulence becomes more violent. Kate takes an apprehensive look back, as if expecting the rear of the plane to tear itself free, just like what she experienced on Oceanic 815. But before the plane can crash or even take any damage, a bright white light envelopes the passengers…

And Jack wakes up in the jungle, just as we saw at the beginning of the episode. After rescuing Hurley and awakening Kate, the three of them theorize about what happened. None of them noticed the plane crash; one minute they were on the plane, then there was the bright light, and now they’re back on the island. Then they wonder where everyone else is — Sun, Sayid, Ben, etc.

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a blue Dharma van — a van identical to the one Ben’s father died in, and that Hurley hotwired years later. Only this van is in perfect condition, and shows no signs of age. Someone in a Dharma jumpsuit steps out of the van and aims a rifle at Jack, Kate, and Hurley. But they recognize this man.

It’s Jin!

  • The island is constantly drifting throughout the South Pacific.
    Question: Where are the survivors of Oceanic 815? Where is this island located, exactly? [1.01]
  • The island is unique in all the world, because it is always moving, making it very hard to locate. It also seems to be camouflaged from view somehow (perhaps due to the electromagnetic energy beneath the island?), including satellite imagery.
    Question: Michael’s question is a good one: how is it that an island so big has never been discovered by the rest of the world? [1.24]
  • Locke’s body is serving as a substitute on Ajira 316 for Jack’s father’s body on Oceanic 815. The circumstances of the original crash must be recreated in order for the Oceanic 6 to return to the island.
    Question: Why must Locke die to convince the Oceanic 6 to return? [5.01] & Why is the safety of Locke’s body so important to Ben’s plan to get everyone back to the island? [5.02]
  • Beneath the church is an off-island Dharma station called The Lamp Post. It was created and used by the Dharma Initiative as a means of finding the island. It works because the church sits atop a pocket of electromagnetic energy that’s connected to the pocket beneath the island.
    Question: What kind of facility was in the church’s basement? [5.02]
  • Ms. Hawking has determined that a window of opportunity for returning to the island will open for about 12 hours, after which it will close. It’s never made entirely clear why the Oceanic 6 can only return during this one particular window, but Ms. Hawking has insinuated that the results would be catastrophic if they miss it.
    Question: How does Ms. Hawking know that Ben has only seventy hours to get the Oceanic 6 back to the island? [5.02]
  • Jack had to have his father prepared in his coffin before he could put him on the Oceanic 815, and the only shoes he had available to dress him in were a pair of white tennis shoes. He figured it wouldn’t really matter since no one would see his father’s feet in the casket.
    Question: Why was [Christian Shephard] wearing a suit, and white shoes? [1.04]

  • Who is the “very clever fellow,” working for the Dharma Initiative, who figured out how to find the island?
  • Why wasn’t Eloise more concerned about her son Daniel when Desmond asked her to help him?
  • What did Eloise mean when she said the island “isn’t yet finished” with Desmond?
  • Ben’s “loose end” was him seemingly attempting to fulfill his promise to Widmore to kill Penny. Did he succeed in killing her?
  • What happened to Aaron? Why does Kate no longer have him?
  • Why did Kate change her mind and decide to go back to the island?
  • Why was Sayid in federal custody, and being escorted onto Ajira 316?
  • Who was the woman who captured Sayid?
  • Why did Hurley change his mind and decide to go back to the island?
  • Why was Hurley carrying a guitar case? Is there really a guitar inside?
  • What happened when Ajira 316 went through the bright light?
  • Where are Sun, Sayid, Ben, and Frank? Did they travel back in time as well?
  • What became of Ajira 316, and the rest of its passengers?
  • Why was Jin wearing a Dharma jumpsuit and driving a Dharma van? What’s happened to the survivors left behind on the island?

What a jarring way to begin the episode! We were expecting the Oceanic 6 to find out how to get back to the island — not get there so soon! But it appears that they’re back, or at least some of them are. Methinks all of them really are, but the writers are going to throw lots of obstacles in their way for the rest of the season to keep them from reuniting very easily with one another and the castaways who were left behind. Hawking warned Jack that the less precise they were about recreating the circumstances of their first trip to the island, the more predictable the outcome would be. And unpredictable it was!

The episode, with all of its juicy revelations and new mysteries, was nonetheless entirely Jack-centric, focusing on his longtime struggle between science and faith. Jack has always believed in what he knew or could prove to be true, but this entire journey requires him to take a leap of faith. This is something he was never able to do on the island, no matter how many times John Locke encouraged him to. Even now, with his decision to go back to the island at last, he still struggles to believe in the words of Eloise Hawking. But as the episode progresses, we see him slowly opening his mind to ideas like destiny and providence. He finds his father’s shoes at his grandfather’s place, right after being told he’d need something of his father’s to give to Locke; it’s as if the shoes were waiting on him. Jack wondering aloud to Kate if it could mean something that all of them managed to get back together in time for this flight, even though they shouldn’t have, points to this newfound faith. And Frank Lapidus appears at just that moment almost as if to confirm Jack’s newly spiritual suspicion. Plus there’s Locke’s suicide note, which he himself realizes seems to be stalking him. But what does poor Jack get in the end for finally making his leap of faith? A posthumous tongue-lashing from Locke: “I wish you’d believed me.” But no sooner do they get back to the island than Dr. Jack is out of mopey-dopey mode and back in life-saving-hero mode, diving into the water to save Hurley. Lickety-split, the doc’s got his mojo back, and all it took was a little faith to get him there. As Ben predicted earlier, sooner or later, this Doubting Thomas was convinced.

Before I go any further, I need to interject here that I am hereby obsessed with and captivated by Fionnula Flanagan, the actress portraying Eloise Hawking. In the scarce few scenes where we’ve seen Ms. Hawking over the years, she’s given us playful, menacing, studious, and now helpful. And she’s always portrayed tremendous intelligence and wisdom, despite being given little more to do than recite exposition. Every time she’s on the screen, the weight of the drama and intrigue kicks up about five notches. I want to know everything about Ms. Hawking — her entire life story. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her, even though this episode was clearly a culmination point for the character; there are still so many questions to be answered about her! They should make her a regular. Or give her her own spin-off: Ms. Hawking: The Living Flux Capacitor.

It is awfully convenient that the one place in all the world where the O6 could find out how to get back to the island just happened to be located in the same city where all of them found themselves at just the right time. But as a storyteller myself, I’m inclined to give the Lost writers the benefit of the doubt.

There’s so much to talk about regarding the Lamppost station… The fact that it was built over an electromagnetic energy source, when the island itself is known to be home to electromagnetic funkiness. The classified U.S. Army photograph taped to the wall, depicting surveillance video of the island. We know the Army has been to the island at least once before, as we saw in “Jughead,” when they tried to use it as a test site for detonating an atomic bomb. This photo was dated September 23, 1954, which would have been right around the same time as the Jughead incident. The photo would seem to indicate that the Army is aware of the island’s existence, and has been trying to find it for a very long time. One must ask: was the Army really interested in blowing up the island as a test site for atomic technology? Or were they trying to intentionally blow it up, because they know what it is?

Who is the “very clever fellow” who built the pendulum? Since it was almost certainly a member of the Dharma Initiative, that all but rules out Charles Widmore, Richard Alpert, or Jacob. That pretty much leaves only Pierre Chang as a possibility. But here’s another thought: what if it was Daniel Faraday, during his time traveling adventures? That would make Hawking’s description of him a bit of a wink, referring to her own son in that way. In any case, I hope to find out a lot more about this station, who built it, and that “series of equations” that Hawking referred to.

We’ve seen lots of people come to the island. Many of them, like the Oceanic 815 survivors, the French science team, Yemi’s beechcraft, the real Henry Gale, and probably the long-dead crew of the Black Rock, all arrived there by accident. But others have come and gone intentionally, at their will, primarily using the Others’ submarine but probably using other means of transportation as well. That would include people like Richard Alpert (who left the island several times to investigate young John Locke, and later to recruit Juliet), Juliet (who was brought to the island on the submarine), Tom (who left the island to convince Michael to work for Ben), and Ben himself (who we’ve seen evidence in the past of being able to come and go as he pleases). This begs the question: all of these Others who came to the island of their own choosing — did they make use of the Lamppost to facilitate their travels? If so, Ben was definitely lying when he said he didn’t know about the Lamppost’s existence. He would have had to, to get back to the island after leaving it. But then… there’s always the chance that use of the Lamppost is not a universal rule. The freighter made it to the island without using the Lamppost, though it found the island with great difficulty. I guess I’m trying to wrap my brain around why it was so crucial for the Oceanic 6 to use the Lamppost in this instance, since we know there are other ways of getting to the island. Not to mention why it was so important that they recreate the exact circumstances of their original trip to the island. There was also Hawking’s wording, that seemed to suggest that this particular “window” that Jack & Co. would use to get back, was specific to them in some way. Thoughts, anyone?

So Eloise Hawking, who was very likely once the Other named Ellie, knew all about the Lamppost station, even though she was not Dharma. Charles Widmore, also an Other, has been trying to find the island for most of his life. We know that Hawking and Widmore know each other. So does Widmore not know about the Lamppost? Hawking alone seems to have ownership or authority over the Lamppost. Is she denying him access to it somehow? Or does he legitimately just not know of its existence? He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to ignore such a useful tool when it’s so readily available.

Why was Hawking so cavalier about helping or not helping her son? Shouldn’t she have been more concerned about her son’s welfare? She didn’t seem all that worried, and kind of shrugged off Desmond’s exasperated pleas for help on behalf of Dan and the other survivors. Was it simply that she — who we’ve seen to be prescient before when it comes to matters of time — was unsurprised by this news? Or is there a dark side to her relationship with her son?

The island is not done with Desmond yet. Why? He wasn’t on Oceanic 815, so there was no need for him to be on Ajira 316. So what does the island want with him? And how will he get back, assuming the island’s needs for him require his return there. Maybe it needs him to do some stuff out in the rest of the world. And maybe most important of all… Just exactly how does Hawking know that the island isn’t done with Desmond yet? She seems to be an authority on all things related to the island, almost as if she’s in tune with how the island thinks. So why isn’t she on the island herself?

We know that Christian Shephard told Locke to go see Eloise Hawking when he got off the island. Clearly he did, because she was in possession of his suicide note.

We knew all this time that Locke died so the O6 could get back to the island, but until now, we didn’t know how or why. He wasn’t killed; he committed suicide. And he did it by hanging himself. And he did it to act as a proxy for Jack’s father, who was also dead on the original flight. Locke is very special to the island, and if it brought Christian Shephard back to life in some way or another (and I’m not saying it necessarily did exactly that), then surely it will do even more for Locke. I expect he’ll be brought back, but now he’ll be different from before. Transformed in some way. Elevated to a new state that will be of greater use to the island.

Ben almost seemed to be praying in the chapel when Jack found him after his private chat with Hawking. If he was praying, it was likely in regards to the “favor for an old friend” he was about to embark on. Who was this friend? And what happened there? His injury seemed to be unexpected, given his frantic call to Jack. So something clearly went wrong when he embarked on this favor for his old friend. Can’t wait to find out what.

Why did Ben tell Jack the story of Thomas the Apostle? I’m sure there was some significance to this, and the most likely explanation is that Ben is comparing Thomas to Jack — both men who were/are hesitant to take anything on faith. But I can’t help wondering why Ben told this story immediately after Jack asked him who Eloise Hawking really was. Was the story about her, somehow, too? Or as Ben’s final line suggested, was it about everyone?

Is there any significance to Jack’s grandfather in the overall story, and his need to escape from the retirement home? I tend to think there isn’t, that it was just a plot device to help Jack acquire his dad’s shoes. But this is Lost, so you never know…

Poor Aaron. Doesn’t look like he’ll ever make it back to the island to see his real mom again. Claire came to Kate in a dream and told her not to bring Aaron back, and Kate has complied. For reasons she kept to herself, she no longer had custody of Aaron, and she was suddenly ready to do an about-face on her feelings about going back to the island. The most likely and obvious answer is that for whatever reason, Kate gave Aaron up — very likely to his grandmother, Carole Littleton. But what prompted this move, why Kate seems to accept it so hopelessly, and why she’s suddenly ready to go back to the island, are questions that will be answered another day. Any wild and crazy theories?

Now we know why Christian Shephard is always wearing white shoes when we see him on the island. The real question is, what does that tell us about Christian and his status on the island? The fact that he can’t change his clothes could be significant in a ghostly sort of way, or it could just be that he doesn’t have access to any other clothes to wear. Something tells me it’s meant as a hint about his nature that will be further explained later.

Finally we know the significance of Ajira Airways. So what I want to know is, which one of the passengers was holding onto an Ajira water bottle? Remember the water bottle we saw two episodes ago, in a canoe that Sawyer and the other survivors found? It had to have come from Flight 316, which means that that particular time-jump was indeed a trip into the future (from the survivors’ perspective). So how did the water bottle wind up in a canoe, and who was shooting at the castaways from the other canoe after they got out on the ocean?

The man that Jack met at the airport check-in counter was a new character we will come to know as Caesar. The federal agent who escorted Sayid onto the plane was another new character named Ilana. I don’t know anything more about them than you do, but they’re both obviously worth keeping an eye on.

Sun made a bold move in choosing to return to the island in search of her long lost love. Why? Because of her daughter, Ji Yeon, of course. What will become of the little girl? Will her grandmother raise her? Or will Sun and Jin, once reunited on the island (and come on, you know they will be), seek once again to find a way off, so they can get back to their daughter and be a family together? If so, then the two of them are probably the only remaining major characters who would be interested in ever leaving the island.

What in the world did Sayid get himself into, and how did he just happen to find his way onto Ajira 316? Did he know of its true destination? A simple answer would be that, given he was in the custody of a federal officer, he was probably wanted for all those murders he’d committed and got himself caught somehow. Perhaps he was remorseful for all the killing he’d done, and turned himself in. Or maybe he was caught against his will. Either way, why on earth would a federal U.S. agent be transporting him to Guam? Hey, is that a flashback episode I see coming…? I loved Sayid’s thematic echo of Kate from the pilot episode, who was in handcuffs and in federal custody on Oceanic 815. Another recreation of their original circumstances? Perhaps.

Speaking of unexpected faces, what was Hurley doing at the airport? We know Ben was planning to get him out of jail, and had made arrangements to that effect. But Hurley had no desire to go back to the island, wouldn’t trust Ben or go with him, and he had no knowledge of Ajira 316. Who told him about it and convinced him to go? Did Ms. Hawking intervene and somehow persuade him to go? It clearly wasn’t Ben; even Ben was curious as to who told Hurley to come. My wife’s guess is probably the smartest one: somebody dead, like Charlie or Ana-Lucia, came to him and explained what he had to do. And Hurley’s learned by now not to ignore the advice of dead people.

Hurley’s purchase of seventy-eight tickets on Ajira 316 is pretty self-explanatory. Clearly he knew what was going to go down on the plane — or he suspected, at the very least — and wanted to spare as many people as possible the fate of ending up on the island like he knew he was going to (again). Ah Hurley, always with the big heart, always looking out for others.

Hurley was carrying a guitar case. Was this because Charlie carried one, and Hurley was doing his part to help recreate the circumstances of the Oceanic passengers? He also carried a Spanish-language comic book along (Y the Last Man by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan, no less), just as he did on the original flight.

Oh, and Flight 316 left from Gate 15. You don’t really need me to tell you that 15 is one of the cursed numbers, do you? Or that Jack’s seat on the plane was in Row 8, another one of the numbers? No, of course you don’t.

How funny is it that nobody on the plane asked Ben what happened to him, or if he was okay?

So what happened to that Ajira plane, anyway? It didn’t appear to crash like Oceanic 815 did. It seemed to be enveloped by the same bright white light that has been overtaking the island of late, when time-jumping occurs. Did they go through a “window” or portal, as Hawking said they would? And if so, what happened to the rest of the passengers on the plane? Is Frank Lapidus back on the island as well?

The way that Kate, Hurley, and Sayid all found their way onto the flight and presumably back to the island, practically at the last minute, despite their many protestations that they’d never go back, would seem to indicate that the island intervened and changed their circumstances so that they would have to return. We know the island can prevent people from dying, so it’s not a stretch to guess that it can direct people’s destinies in this way as well.

There’s no getting around the fact that if Hawking was to be believed about the accuracy of recreating the travel circumstances the O6 experienced the first time around, then Aaron should have been with them. He may not have been born yet, but Claire was almost nine months pregnant when Oceanic 815 crashed. Aaron was born just a few weeks later, so he was definitely on the first flight. I want to know what will become of the little guy now that his birth mother and adoptive mother are both out of the picture. Kate giving him up in such a short period of time has to point towards some major, highly dramatic turn of events. I can’t accept that we’ve seen the last of him, so I suspect that the next time we encounter him… he won’t be a little boy anymore. He’ll probably be all grown up. (Hey, maybe he’s Jacob!)

Probably the biggest revelation to come from the episode, mythology-wise, is Eloise Hawking’s statement that the island is always moving. Okay, I need a minute to take a breath and digest this. No wait, I don’t think I can. The island is always moving?!?! You’re kidding me!! It’s a game-changing eye-opener, without a doubt, and makes me want to go back and rewatch every episode we’ve ever seen where someone came to or left the island. Indeed, this fact does explain why the Oceanic 815 crash survivors were never rescued and why the island is so hard to find (such as the lengths Widmore’s freighter had to go to, to locate it). But in true Lost fashion, it opens a whole new can of worms: Why is the island always moving? If it’s always moving, why did Jacob want Locke to move it recently? Was he asking Locke to move it through time? But then… we saw it disappear when Ben turned the wheel. It physically vanished from the place it was at. I can’t get my head around this one. More explanation needed, pronto!

When Jack asked Ben how he could read while they were waiting for something to happen on the plane, Ben replied, “My mother taught me.” Was this more than sarcasm? We know Ben’s mother died giving birth to him, so she couldn’t have taught him anything? Could she? He saw her once since then that we know of, on the island (though this was long after he was old enough to read). Has he conversed with her again, on other occasions? And if so, could she be a manifestation of the smoke monster (since we know smokey can take human form), and might that explain the link between Ben and smokey? The bond that allowed him to summon the smoke monster to destroy Keamy’s men?

This isn’t a theory or an unanswered question, just me wondering something: That lake where Jack rescued Hurley and woke Kate up — was that the same lagoon-with-a-waterfall where Kate and Sawyer once visited? I think it was in the episode where Kate was trying to retrieve that little toy airplane from the briefcase… Can anyone tell if it’s the same location on the island? Looks pretty similar.

In the end, there were enough unanswered questions about the people who returned for the producers to have set up a new pilot for the show:

  • What happened to Aaron? Did Kate give him up? If so, why?
  • What happened to Ben that got him so bloodied up?
  • How and why did Sayid end up in Federal custody, and on the plane?
  • How and why did Hurley end up on the plane? And why was he carrying a guitar case?
  • What happened to all the other people on the plane?
  • What happened to the plane itself? Did it crash?
  • Where are Sun, Sayid, and Ben? Where is Locke’s body?

Finally, what happened to the island survivors since the end of the last episode, and our encounter with Dharma Initiative Jin? How much time has passed there? It seems pretty clear that we’re in the 70s, probably around the time of the early days of the Dharma Initiative. And the fact that Jin has had time to join up with Dharma somehow — probably as a member of their security force — can only mean that the island has been settled at this point in time for quite a while, with no more time jumping. Is this 1970s setting where the island ended up after Locke pushed the frozen wheel back in place? Did the time-jumping stop altogether, leaving everyone stranded here in the 70s? And will the show take place in the 70s, from now until its end?


5.05 “This Place is Death”

Jin witnesses some important events in island history. Locke takes the final step on his quest to leave the island. Charlotte confides a startling secret to Daniel. And Sun prepares to kill Ben.

Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Paul A. Edwards

On the Island

Some time after his rescue by seven-months-pregnant Danielle and her French science team pals, Jin is with them on the beach, at a makeshift camp they’ve set up, still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that he’s in the past. Danielle informs him that it’s currently 1988, and he’s stunned, but seems to be putting the pieces together that he has traveled through time.

[Side note: here are the names of the entire French science team, for the completionists out there. There’s Danielle of course, and her boyfriend/lover Robert (aka, Alex’s daddy). There’s Montand, the blonde jerkwad who got his arm ripped off. Nadine, the smoke monster’s latest victim. And finally, Brennan and Lacombe, who we never really learned much about.]

The French scientists hear the infamous cursed numbers being broadcast from somewhere on the island, and want to find the radio tower the broadcast is coming from. Jin is convinced by Danielle to help, though he wants to get back to the Oceanic 815 survivors’ beach camp. The group ventures into the jungle, where Danielle feels a labor pain, and she and Robert engage in a cute argument over the baby’s sex. (He thinks it’s a boy, to be named Alexander, she insists it’s a girl, Alexandra.) Someone notices that Nadine, the only other female on the team besides Danielle, is missing. And then everyone hears a faint rumble in the distance.

Jin recognizes this rumble as the sound of the smoke monster approaching, and he warns everyone that they have to get out of there. But the Frenchmen won’t hear of it, and insist on searching for Nadine. Nadine’s body falls out of a tree, and she’s been brutally killed by the monster. Jin tells them to run, but the monster appears and grabs Montand, dragging him away towards a hole in the ground. His friends and Jin all chase after him, and manage to stall his descent via a firm grip to a single hand. But he’s almost inside the hole, which rests just under a large stone structure, or ruins of some kind. Pulling for all they’re worth, it still isn’t enough as the monster snakes its smokey tendrils around Montand’s body and gives a final tug — tearing him free from his friends, and ripping his arm from his body.

Moments later, the sounds of the monster fade, and Montand is heard from under the stone ruins, calling out for help. He claims the monster has gone, so his friends decide to climb down and retrieve him. Danielle starts to join them, but Jin holds her back, reminding her that she’s pregnant and it’s not safe.

The first of many time flashes in this episode occurs, and Jin finds himself all alone at the stone structure. He finds Montand’s arm on the ground right where he last saw it, but it’s decayed a bit, so he’s moved forward in time by a matter of weeks or maybe a month. Jin sees black smoke rising in the distance, and he returns to the Frenchmen’s beach camp, only to find it better assembled than he last saw it. He finds Danielle’s musicbox — the same one Sayid fixed for her later in the first season episode “Solitary” — only here it’s still brand new. He finds two members of the team dead on the beach, having been shot. He watches from a distance as Danielle has her fateful final encounter with her lover, Robert (who’s now sporting a full beard). Both of them are aiming rifles at the other, but Robert seems to just be trying to defend himself. He begs Danielle to see reason, to stop killing everyone, but she believes that the monster changed him when he descended underground. She thinks he’s sick now, and he’s different. Shockingly, he tries to shoot her, but his rifle won’t fire, and she shoots him in the head.

She spots Jin and tries to shoot him as well, but he flees into the jungle, where another time flash saves him. Jin wanders back into the jungle, hoping to return to his own beach, but is stopped by a gun being leveled on him from behind. He turns around slowly… to find Sawyer, and all the rest. After a quick reunion with his friends, he asks where Sun is. Sawyer attempts to explain to him that they’re all traveling through time, but in spite of the English Jin has picked up recently, the language barrier still stands between them. He turns to Charlotte, remembering from an earlier encounter that she speaks Korean, and asks her to translate. Everyone else is shocked to learn that Charlotte speaks Korean, but she grudgingly obliges and explains everything that’s happened to Jin.

Later, as the group continues its jungle trek toward the Orchid station, Locke explains why he’s trying to reach the Orchid, that he intends to leave the island and bring the six who left back, including Sun. Daniel and Charlotte discuss whether or not Locke’s plan will work, and Daniel seems to think it’s a sound theory, that since the time jumping began at the Orchid, the Orchid might be the best place to stop it.

Two time shifts occur back-to-back, leaving the survivors dazed. Even Sawyer bleeds from the nose this time. Charlotte collapses, bleeding again, and she speaks to Jin in Korean, telling him not to let them bring Sun back. “No matter what!” she says. “This place is death!” Charlotte begins to hallucinate, seemingly experiencing moments from her past, much like Daniel’s last girlfriend did (as we saw in “Jughead”). Locke and Sawyer want to resume their quest for the Orchid, and express intentions to leave Charlotte behind. It’s cruel, yes, but if the time jumps continue, they’re all going to end up like her, so it has to be stopped.

After yet another time flash, Daniel refuses to go with them, saying he’s going to stay behind with Charlotte. Charlotte tells Locke that should they arrive at the Orchid at a time before it was built, they need only to “look for the well.” They’ll find it there. Straightaway, they find the Orchid station very nearby, but no sooner do they arrive than another time flash occurs and the Orchid station is gone. But following Charlotte’s instructions, Locke spots a large well nearby, surrounded by small stone pillars or ruins of some kind.

Back where Daniel and Charlotte were left behind, Charlotte seems to have a moment of clarity, and she reveals to Dan that she grew up on this island. Her parents were part of the Dharma Initiative, but her mother moved away and took Charlotte with her. She never saw her father again. Later, as she continued to grow up, Charlotte would ask her mother about the island, but her mother would tell her that it wasn’t real, that Charlotte had made it up. But Charlotte never believed that, always knowing that the island was real, and this is the reason she became an anthropologist. She’s spent her entire life trying to get back to the island.

Charlotte then tells Daniel that she remembers a crazy man who scared her, who came to the island when she was a little girl. This man told her that she had to leave the island and never come back, or she would die. Daniel is stunned when Charlotte says, “Daniel — I think that man was you!”

Back at the well, Locke prepares to climb down a rope dangling in its center, when Jin stops him and makes him promise not to bring Sun back. After witnessing what the island did to Rousseau’s people, and what it’s doing now to Charlotte, he doesn’t want Sun or his daughter to return here. He tells Locke to tell Sun that he died, that Locke saw Jin’s remains wash up on the shore and Locke buried him. He gives Locke his wedding ring to give to Sun, as proof that he’s dead. Juliet thanks Locke for attempting to save them, just as he climbs down into the hole.

He makes it about halfway down, when another time flash hits. Locke loses his grip on the rope and falls far down to the bottom of the well, where he cries out in agony. Up above, Sawyer clings to the rope, until he looks down and sees that the well is gone, and the rope runs into the ground. Wherever they are now, it would appear that the well hasn’t been dug yet.

Charlotte deteriorates fast, and Daniel tries to get her to hold on. He tells her that he has a plan to save her, that he went to Desmond and sent him to visit his mother in Los Angeles. She doesn’t understand how Dan’s mother can help, but before he can explain, her eyes go rigid, her body limp. She’s dead!

At the bottom of the well, Locke is badly injured. He’s broken his leg, with the bone sticking far out from his knee. He sees a shadow as someone approaches, and it’s Christian Shephard, who says he’s here to help John make it the rest of the way. He explains that around the corner from where Locke landed, there’s a wheel. And this wheel has slipped off its axis, and needs to be righted. Fixing it will allow Locke to leave the island. Christian says that it was John Locke who was supposed to move the island and leave it, not Ben, despite Ben’s insistence that Jacob meant it to be him. Christian tells him to go visit Eloise Hawking in L.A., and she will tell them all how to get back to the island. Locke says that Richard told him that he would have to die to convince the others to return, and Christian replies that this is a sacrifice Locke must make.

With his broken leg, and Christian unable to help him, Locke struggles to reach the wheel. He pushes it back in place, turns it a little bit, and the white light begins to shine from behind it. Christian tells him to “Say hello to my son.” Locke asks who his son is, but he vanishes into the light before Christian can answer.

Off the Island

At the pier where Jack, Sayid, and Kate have met with Ben, Sun still sits in her car, watching. She gets a call from her daughter, Ji Yeon, who’s being cared for by Sun’s mother. Both of them want Sun to return home soon, and Sun tears up at their requests. She promises to be back soon, saying she’s finishing up the thing she came to L.A. for now.

She exits the vehicle and approaches Ben, pointing her pistol at him. Kate demands to know where Aaron is, and Sun says he’s in the car. Kate runs off to retrieve him. Ben tells Sun that Jin is not dead, and he can prove it. Sun hesitates, still pointing her gun at Ben, but wants to see his evidence. He says that they have to go to see a woman at a church to get the proof. Kate returns with Aaron in her arms and freaks out, believing Jack was in on Ben’s scheme to take Aaron from her as a means to get her back to the island. She leaves. Sayid leaves as well, threatening both Jack and Ben that “it will be extremely unpleasant for all of us” should he see either one of them ever again. But Sun agrees to go with Ben to the church, and Jack goes with them.

Later, as Ben drives his van with Sun and Jack on board, Jack tries to apologize to Sun for leaving Jin behind back on the freighter, just before it blew up. Sun is unimpressed, pointing to his newfound alliance with the manipulative Ben. Jack replies that if she doesn’t kill Ben, he will “after what he just did to Kate.” Ben slams on the brakes, and says the two of them should never stop thanking him for all he’s done to keep them safe, that they have no idea how much he’s done for them. Ben tells Sun that if she’s going to kill him, she should do it now. Sun relents, and Ben resumes the drive.

The van arrives at the church, and when the three of them get out, Ben produces Jin’s wedding ring and gives it to Sun. He says that Locke gave it to him. Jack protests that Ben said Locke didn’t come to see him; Ben replies that that’s right, that he went to see Locke. Locke gave him the ring to offer to Sun as proof that Jin is still alive. Ben tells them both that the woman inside this church is named Eloise Hawking, and that she can help them all get back to the island. He asks if Sun will come, and with her husband’s wedding ring in hand, she says yes.

Just then, Desmond shows up, asking what they’re all doing there, outside the church. Ben says the same thing he is. Desmond replies, “You’re looking for Faraday’s mother, too?” Ben seems surprised to hear that Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. He leads them inside the church, where Hawking is dismayed to see that Ben didn’t bring all of them. Ben says it was the best he could do on short notice, and Hawking supposes that it will have to do.

“Alright. Let’s get started,” she tells them.

  • The enigmatic Eloise Hawking.
    Question: Who is Daniel Faraday’s mother? [5.01]
  • The “sickness” Danielle spoke of was, in reality, the smoke monster. It took the rest of Danielle’s team and changed them somehow, so that they became completely different people. “Sick” was the word she used to describe them, but they don’t appear to have ever been infected by any sort of actual pathogen.
    Question: Danielle’s story about the rest of her science team was ambiguous. What exactly happened to them? [1.09]
  • Only what she witnessed first-hand when it attacked her and her teammates, and then took the rest of her team and altered them somehow.
    Question: What does Danielle know about the monster? [1.09]
  • Danielle believed that after her friends encountered the monster, it altered their personalities, making them dangerous to her and her child.
    Question: What is the sickness that took Danielle’s teammates “one by one”? [1.09] & Question: What is the infection Rousseau spoke of? Is it the same sickness that “took” her French crewmember friends? Could it be related to the injections Desmond was taking daily in the Swan station — the same reason the Hatch door was labeled “quarantine” on the inside? Is it even real? [2.15]
  • Danielle was prevented from getting close to the monster by Jin, while he was moving through time. When her friends went down beneath the Temple and found the smoke monster, she stayed on the surface.
    Question: Why was Danielle not infected by this sickness? [1.09]
  • Montand’s arm was ripped off by the smoke monster as it dragged him beneath the Temple.
    Question: How did Montand lose his arm in the Dark Territory? [1.23]
  • Presumably, the monster was taking Locke to the Temple — or rather, under it — just as it took Montand. I think we can infer that it planned to alter him the same way it altered Montand and his friends. To what end, is unknown.
    Question: Where was the monster taking Locke, and what did it intend to do with him there? [1.25]
  • After he had been changed by the smoke monster, Robert told her that the smoke monster isn’t a monster at all. He called it “a security system.”
    Question: Why does Danielle believe the monster to be “a security system”? [1.23]
  • Looks like.
    Question: Does the monster live in the Dark Territory, and that’s why it’s such a dangerous place? [1.23]
  • Charlotte grew up on the island because her parents were members of the Dharma Initiative, but after she moved away with her mother, her mother tried to convince her that the island wasn’t real. She returned to get back to the place where she was born.
    Question: What is Charlotte’s mission on the island? [4.02]
  • Because she knows it was where she grew up, and she needed to prove to herself that it was real.
    Question: Why has [Charlotte] been trying to get back [to the island]? [4.13]
  • To get the Oceanic 6 to return with him. Locke had been told by both Richard Alpert and Christian Shephard that the only way to save the people on the island (presumably from the time jumps) was to bring back everyone that left.
    Question: Why did Locke leave the island? [4.14]
  • The same way Ben did: by turning the frozen wooden wheel.
    Question: How did Locke leave the island? [4.14]

  • Why did the smoke monster kill Nadia, but leave Montand, Robert, and the others alive? Was it so it could “change” them, as it seemed to?
  • What exactly happened to Montand and the other Frenchmen beneath the Temple? Did the monster do something to them, as Danielle believed?
  • Why did the monster single out Montand to attack and drag beneath the Temple? Was he merely bait to get the others to go down there on their own, or was there some significance to the monster picking him over the others?

For the first time this season, an episode began without a flashback. Just felt the need to point that out.

Also from the (probably) pointless trivia file: Counting the flash that occurred when Locke fixed the frozen wheel, there were a total of eight time flashes in this episode. Eight, as I’m sure you know, is one of the cursed numbers.

Speaking of the numbers, who made that recording of them — the recording that Danielle and her people heard from their boat, which they changed course to investigate, and caused their shipwreck? Don’t forget, this is the recording that Danielle herself would later record over with her repeating S.O.S. message that Sayid, Sawyer, Kate, Charlie, Boone, and Shannon would hear in the very first episode of the show. I’m going to guess it was someone associated with the Dharma Initiative, just because the timing lines up, though I have no idea who or why such a recording would have been made.

This episode was positively overflowing with easter eggs for longtime fans, like Danielle’s musicbox. Or how about Montand’s quip regarding Jin: “First a boat. Then a helicopter. Next thing you know he’ll be talking about a submarine.” Jin very well could have mentioned a sub, since the Others possessed one, and like the boat and the helicopter, it was another means once used to reach the island. By Juliet, for example.

Nadine’s death at the hands of the smoke monster is eerily similar to the death of Seth Norris, captain of Oceanic 815. Both were yanked away and viciously killed by the smoke monster. Coincidence? Is the monster programmed to kill those it identifies as threats, or perhaps as leaders? Does the island require a death of some kind anytime a new group comes to it? I suspect we’re not going to know the answer to this one until Season 6, but I also firmly believe that Nadine and Seth’s deaths were presented to us in similar fashion on purpose. There is a method to the smoke monster’s madness, we just can’t see it yet.

Another similarity to something we’ve already seen came when Montand was captured by the monster. This was almost exactly, beat-for-beat, what happened to John Locke in the Season 1 finale, “Exodus.” In that episode, Locke was grabbed by the monster and dragged through the jungle toward a hole in the ground. Jack and Kate managed to save him by dropping a stick of dynamite into the hole, which forced smokey to turn John loose. So why is the monster dragging certain people underground? And what does it do to them down there? According to Danielle’s story from when the Oceanic survivors encountered her, Montand lost his arm to “the sickness” but survived. (Until she later shot him, of course. More on that in a minute.) So presumably, Montand was able to return from underground. Further, we saw his friends climb down into the hole after him, and we know that they survived as well. So why does the monster drag people underground, and what does it do with them there? Does it infect them, or change them, as Danielle believed? It seemed at first like she was crazy, but her assertions appeared to have been proven correct when her lover and father-of-her-child Robert tried to shoot her.

What the heck happened to them underground, in the monster’s lair? Since we know that the smoke monster can imitate human form, as it did with Eko’s brother Yemi, I can’t help wondering if the people Danielle shot were in fact… people. Is it possible they were facsimiles somehow created by the monster, and that’s why they seemed so different to Danielle? If so, then the four men all died underground, in the monster’s lair, and were almost immediately replaced. Something about the way that Montand began calling for help the second the monster’s noises faded away… And Montand didn’t even sound like he was in that much pain, after just having his arm ripped off. Was it really Montand calling to them for help, or was it the monster?

What else is down there, underground on the island? One would imagine there are all sorts of tunnels by which smokey accesses various locations around the island. Whatever it all is, it seems to be connected to the history of the island, with all those symbols and hieroglyphs. But I’m willing to bet there’s a lot more down there than we currently know. We’ve already seen two other locations underground with similar symbols: the frozen wheel well which we saw in this episode was surrounded by more ancient ruins, and the tunnel beneath Ben’s house at the Barracks, where he summoned the monster to wipe out Keamy’s men. It’s a natural conclusion that all of these underground places are connected to one another. The mind spins, wondering just what all that’s about, and what it has to do with the origins of the island.

My first thought when Jin spotted the plume of black smoke rising into the air, was its similarity to the black smoke the survivors saw before the Others came for Walt. Danielle told them she had seen that smoke one time before, when Alex was taken from her. But once Jin investigated, it looked as though this was merely smoke from the fire at the Frenchmen’s camp. It couldn’t have been the Others’ smoke from when Ben stole baby Alex from Danielle, because Danielle was still pregnant.

Danielle’s present-day story to Sayid was that her people were infected by “the sickness,” and she had no choice but to kill them. This appears to have been more or less true, but her referring to the effects of the monster as a “sickness” is quite a surprise.

I loved the little full-circle moment when Robert told Danielle that the smoke monster wasn’t a monster at all, “it’s a security system protecting that temple.” Danielle told Jack, Locke, Hurley, and Kate back in “Exodus” that the monster was “a security system.” Now we know where she got that idea. She also told Sayid that “there’s no such thing as monsters,” even though Jin repeatedly referred to smokey as a “monster” in this episode.

But this brings up the Temple itself, which is almost certainly the smoke monster’s lair. Did you see the symbols and hieroglyphics carved into the walls? Some of them matched symbols seen before, such as when the Swan station’s button counted down past zero, or when Ben descended to the wheel well beneath the Orchid station. Would this temple be the same Temple that Ben sent his people, the Others, off to last season for safety? Seems likely to me, though that would imply that Ben knows enough about the monster to know that his people would not be in any danger there. Why they wouldn’t be in danger there… is yet to be revealed, and probably relates to the Others status as supposedly indigenous to the island.

There’s one last Danielle-related matter to attend to, and that’s the obvious question of why she didn’t appear to recognize Jin when she met him sixteen years later. One could make the argument that her time alone on the island drove her mad, or that she’s suppressed her memories of the time shortly after the shipwreck, and genuinely doesn’t remember Jin as the man she encountered back then. But that seems too easy, and I ain’t buyin’ it. Young Danielle knew Jin’s name, for crying out loud, and he was the reason she didn’t contract the same “sickness” from the monster that her people did. No way would she forget someone like that. I think what we’re seeing instead is the effects of the Oceanic survivors’ travels through time. Even though Daniel swears history can’t be altered (and I’ve got a LOT more to say about that later), that “time has a way of course-correcting,” that doesn’t preclude them from making some small changes to the timeline, which have no real impact on the overall outcome of events. Perhaps in the original version of history, Danielle stopped herself from descending underground at the last minute. We’ll probably never know. The point is, Danielle survived unchanged, while her people did not, and that is true in either version of history. If this theory is true, then Jin was sort of inserted into Danielle’s story, but unable to make any real changes to it. And conveniently (not to mention sadly), Danielle is dead in the present, so there’s no way for Jin to go ask her older self if she remembers him from the past.

Did you notice that when Locke was climbing down the well and the time flash started up — the bright light that they always see in the sky seemed to be originating from down in the well? That would seem to make sense, given the frozen wheel’s significance to the island’s stabilization in time. But it was a nice little detail to see in action.

I still wonder where that wheel came from. Whatever power or energy is behind the wheel could eventually be explained as part of the island’s mysterious existence, but that wheel was man-made, and it was put there on purpose. Who, when, how, and why?

Is Christian Shephard really… Christian Shephard? I’ve always thought he was more of a manifestation of the island, a messenger from Jacob, or something similar. He’s clearly not a ghost, because he can physically manipulate objects — like baby Aaron in the jungle last season, the rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin, and now the lantern he carried in this episode. On the other hand, he couldn’t help John get up off the ground, and though he knew how to fix the wheel (“just give it a little push”), he insisted John had to do it, instead of doing it himself. If Christian is really himself… How the heck does he know so much about the island, about Jacob, about Eloise Hawking, and what Locke must do to save the island?

Now we have at least a partial explanation of why the island has been jumping through time, and just exactly what went wrong when Ben turned the wheel. Ben accidentally caused the wheel to slip free from its axis, and the wheel appears to very much be the island’s anchor — both in time and space. With the wheel all wobbly, the island was as well.

It’s confirmed at last: Eloise Hawking is indeed Daniel Faraday’s mother. Wowza.

So why was Ben surprised to learn this fact? And how could he not have known it already? We need some backstory on Faraday and Hawking, stat!

Daniel’s story arc for the season is starting to come into focus, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to see it. Let’s look at the evidence:

  • At Comic-Con 2008, attendees were shown a video of Dr. Marvin Candle admitting his real name was Pierre Chang, and recording this message for people of the future. In the video, he said that he knew that the Dharma Initiative was going to be destroyed in something called the Purge, and he asked whoever saw the video to help him and his people, to save the Dharma Initiative. The person videoing Chang was never seen, but Daniel Faraday’s voice could clearly be heard as he stopped recording, claiming that “this is never going to work.”
  • In this season’s premiere episode, “Because You Left,” one of the first things we saw was Daniel Faraday passing by Pierre Chang, disguised as a Dharma grunt, during the construction of the Orchid station.
  • “This Place Is Death” revealed that Charlotte was warned as a small girl not to return to the island or she would die — by Daniel Faraday!

Is the picture coming into focus? At some point this season, Daniel and the other survivors are going to time travel to the earliest days of the Dharma Initiative, and despite all his protests that history cannot be altered… I think the rest of this season, we are going to see Daniel Faraday on a quest to try to save the woman he loves by doing the impossible: changing history.

As sad as I am to see Charlotte go (and as poorly utilized as I found her to be of late compared to the force-to-be-reckoned-with she was last season), from a storytelling standpoint, it makes perfect sense. Charlotte dying is the one thing that could make Daniel throw caution to the wind, forget everything he knows about time travel, and attempt to change the past. And most of our lingering questions about Charlotte’s past were tied up with a neat bow just before her death.

I do still wonder just who she is, though, to the Dharma Initiative. Who were her parents? Is it possible she’s someone we’ve met before? I can’t possibly swallow that she’s Annie, Ben’s childhood friend. She’s the wrong age to be Annie, for starters, but Annie would also remember Ben, given all the time those two spent together in their youth. I don’t think she’s someone we’ve seen before as a child, but I am all kinds of curious to find out who her parents were — and why her mother left the island.

I would be remiss without pointing out that the fact that Charlotte was born and raised on the island tells us that whatever has happened to keep the Others from being able to procreate is a very recent development, probably well after the time of the Dharma Initiative. I wonder if it might have something to do with Jughead, the buried atomic bomb. Could it still be leaking radiation, or playing havoc with the island’s unique magnetic properties? I don’t think for one second that we’ve seen the last of that bomb.

The big question we’ll be facing next week, for episode 5.06 “316,” is just who will be going with Ben back to the island. Jack and Sun are a sure thing, while Hurley seems game, Kate is iffy at best, and Sayid is dead set against. I hope Kate brings Aaron along, because if she doesn’t, what will become of the little tyke? But I have a bad feeling about Aaron’s chances of returning to the island. And what about Desmond?

I also wonder what the consequences will be if Ben can’t get all six of them to return to the island. It’s as though there’s a balance that must be restored, and having everyone who left to return is the only way to restore that balance. Even though Hawking said that “it will have to do” to take back only the few of them that Ben was able to assemble, Ben himself has insisted all along that it has to be all six of them to go back. Christian Shephard was adamant when he told Locke the same thing in this episode, “it must be all of them.” It looks like Hawking is willing to settle for what she can get, but at the same time, I wonder about the consequences to the island and this notion of its balance should all of them not go back.