4.08 “Meet Kevin Johnson”

Michael‘s post-island fate is revealed, along with an explanation of how and why he joined the crew of the freighter.

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Stephen Williams

Flashback

After the two of them escaped from the island back to New York, Walt distanced himself from his father because Michael told him about his murder of Ana-Lucia and Libby. Michael fell into a deep depression and repeatedly tried to take his own life, but his attempts were unsuccessful every time. Libby also haunted him in disturbing visions. He turned Walt over to his mother to raise, feeling unfit to do so himself, but he refused to tell her anything about the island or his escape from it. He swore her to secrecy about the two of them and told her she couldn’t tell anyone that they were alive.

After one suicide attempt where he tried to shoot himself, he was confronted by Tom, who explained that the Others had been keeping tabs on him since he left the island. Tom gave him a piece of particularly shocking news: Michael couldn’t kill himself because the island wouldn’t let him. No matter how many different ways he tried, Michael would always be unsuccessful at committing suicide, because he “still had work to do.”

At his apartment later, Michael tested Tom’s assertion by pointing a fully-loaded gun at his head and pulling the trigger. But it was no use; the gun refused to fire every time. It was then that a news report came on his television about the discovery of the faked wreckage of Oceanic 815.

Confused and devastated by the news report, Michael returned to visit Tom at the hotel where he was staying, and asked about what he’d seen on television. Tom explained that the Oceanic 815 wreckage was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Charles Widmore, because Widmore wanted the location of the true wreck to be a secret that only he knew, because Widmore wanted to find the island and keep it for himself. Tom said that Widmore dug up a cemetery in Thailand to get the 324 corpses needed to pull off the hoax, he bought an old airplane and painted it to look like Oceanic 815, and funded a freighter expedition to drop the plane and its corpses into the Sunda Trench — a place so deep that none of the remains would ever be identifiable. Tom went on to explain that Charles Widmore’s freighter, the Kahana, was going to be departing from Fiji in a few days, and that Widmore had finally acquired the coordinates of the island. It was Tom that set Michael up with the fake Kevin Johnson ID, and arranged for him to join the crew of the freighter as a deck hand. Tom explained that this job was Michael’s chance at redemption, because he could be responsible for saving the lives of everyone on the island from Widmore’s invasion. It was an undercover mission where Michael’s sole purpose would be to kill the entire ship’s crew.

Michael ventured to Fiji and reported for duty at the docked freighter, where he discovered a large crate had been delivered for him. Tom called him and explained that inside the crate was a bomb, which he was to detonate two days after the ship was far out at sea.

While out at sea, Michael met Frank, who shared a conspiracy theory with him about the Oceanic 815 wreckage being faked. He explained that he signed up for duty on the freighter because Charles Widmore believed his theory.

After meeting several of the crew members and deciding they were good people Widmore was deceiving about his purpose for the trip, Michael wrestled with the decision of whether or not to destroy the freighter and kill everyone on board. But after he met Keamy and his bloodthirsty mercenaries, Michael made his choice. He went to his bunk and opened the crate Tom had sent. Inside was a briefcase, which he carried to the engine room and opened to find several blocks of explosives inside. His vision of Libby returned and warned him not to do it, but he did it anyway. Yet instead of a detonation, a little printed message popped out that said, “Not yet.”

Michael was frustrated by this deception, but he shortly received a call over the ship’s radio that turned out to be from Ben, who explained that the bomb was a fake because Ben wanted to demonstrate the difference between himself and Widmore. Ben claimed he was unwilling to take innocent lives — like some of those on the freighter — whereas Widmore wouldn’t hesitate. Ben asked him to compile a list of names of everyone on the ship, give it to him when he called again, and then sabotage the radio room, as well as the engine. Ben claimed this was how he would save his friends’ lives, by preventing the freighter from ever reaching the island. Though he agonized over the choices he’d made and all the ways he’d been manipulated by the Others, Michael eventually agreed.

Now

An uneasy meeting is held at Locke’s Barracks house, where he’s convened Sawyer, Hurley, Claire, Ben, Danielle, Alex, Karl, and even Miles. Locke tells them everything he knows about the freighter, including the fact that they’ve come for Ben. Sawyer is gung ho about just turning Ben over to them, but Ben points out that if he’s captured, the people on the freighter will kill everyone else on the island. Ben also reveals, much to their shock, that his spy on the freighter is Michael.

After the meeting, Ben gives Alex and Karl a map to the Temple, which he says is a sanctuary that’s effectively the last safe place on the island, and he asks them to go there, for their protection. The rest of the Others are already there, and Ben believes that the people coming for him would use Alex to get to him if they could. Karl and even Danielle agree with Ben’s suggestion, and the three of them set off for the Temple.

On the freighter, Sayid and Desmond are awoken in the night by a blaring alarm. They run up to the main deck where they find several members of the crew trying to run escape from the ship. Captain Gault puts a stop to it, telling everyone to sit tight until the engines are fixed and then everything will be okay. He calls on “Kevin Johnson” to clean the deck, and Sayid and Desmond stay behind to talk to have a much-needed conversation with Michael. Michael’s not interested in talking right now, but when Sayid presses him to explain why he’s on the ship, Michael’s response is, “I’m here to die.”

The next morning, Sayid and Desmond find Michael in the engine room, trying to help fix the damage. Michael warns them that the shouldn’t be there, but Sayid grabs him and demands answers. Michael tells him his entire story, including how and why he left Walt behind in New York to join up with the freighter, because Ben convinced him he could save his friends’ lives by sabotaging the ship (see below). Sayid is nonplussed to discover that Michael is working for Ben. He grabs Michael and drags him straight to the captain’s quarters, where he rats Michael out as a spy.

While traversing through the jungle toward the Temple, Danielle, Alex, and Karl are attacked by Keamy and his men, who are on the island now, presumably brought by Frank in the helicopter. Karl and Danielle are both shot and killed by an unseen sniper, leaving Alex alone and terrified. She shouts into the jungle at her unseen attackers that she is Ben’s daughter, and therefore more valuable to them alive than dead.

  • Walt went to live with his grandmother after learning of his father’s murderous sins. Michael had a harder time reentering society, falling into a deep depression over what he’d done and attempting again and again to kill himself.
    Question: How will Michael and Walt reintegrate into society without revealing anything about the crash of Oceanic 815? [2.24]
  • The Oceanic 815 wreckage found in the Sunda Trench is a massive hoax, meant to deter rescue searchers from ever finding the true location where Oceanic 815 went down.
    Question: How can the wreckage of Oceanic 815 have been found elsewhere if it’s really on the island? [3.18]
  • It does indeed. Charles Widmore is the mastermind behind the fake wreck.
    Question: Since Widmore knows that Oceanic 815 didn’t really crash in the ocean, does this mean he is responsible for the faked wreckage in the Sunda Trench? [4.06]
  • Frank signed up for the freighter mission to the island after finding that Charles Widmore shared his belief that the Sunda Trench wreckage of Oceanic 815 was a fake. Frank had no idea that Widmore himself was responsible for the hoax.
    Question: How did Frank join the freighter’s crew? [4.02]
  • Widmore raided a cemetery in Thailand to acquire the 324 corpses he needed.
    Question: Whoever staged the fake wreck of Oceanic 815 — where did they get their hands on 324 dead bodies to plant among the wreckage? 4.07
  • The “errand” is in actuality the true mission that the freighter has been sent for: finding and retrieving Ben Linus, and taking out anyone who gets in their way.
    Question: What is the errand Frank is taking Keamy to the island for? [4.07]

As you may or may not know, the appearances in this episode by Cynthia Watros as Libby were meant to be the first of several. Watros had signed on for a multiple episode arc in order to resolve the lingering mysteries about her character. But when the writers’ strike occurred — the same event that condensed Season 4 from 16 episodes to 14 — the Libby storyline had to be scrubbed until later, making this episode her sole post-Season 2 appearance. Sadly, the show’s producers have stated repeatedly that Watros has expressed no interest in returning a third time to finish things up, even though they continue to extend an open invitation to her.

As some of my readers have pointed out, there seems to be a discrepancy with the timeline in this episode. Michael and Walt left the island at the same time that the Swan station imploded, the electromagnetic shockwave of which destroyed the Others’ ability to come and go from the island at will. Yet here we see Tom off the island after the Swan detonation, confronting Michael in New York City, and we know that he returned to the island because Sawyer shot and killed him there. It was impossible for him to have left the island and returned within this timeframe. Likewise, Ben should have been unable to contact Michael from the island at this time, because the Others’ communications abilities with the outside world were ended with the Swan’s detonation as well. A pair of inconsistencies that can probably be chalked up to oversights on the part of the writing staff. Unless you can come up with a logical explanation…?

The Michael stuff was interesting, but I remember the biggest takeaway I got out of this episode was the tragic, shocking deaths of Karl and Danielle. Danielle especially deserved a better fate after all she had been through, all she’d endured. Living on the island had turned her into a warrior, and she should have gone out fighting instead of being cut down by some faceless sniper (who I’m thinking was most likely Keamy himself). If anyone on the show deserved a happy ending, it was Danielle Rousseau, but she was a tragic character from the start, and ended tragically as well.

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4.07 “Ji Yeon”

Sun decides to move to the Barracks, an action that Juliet believes is such a mistake, that she goes to shocking lengths to keep her from leaving the beach. On the freighter, Sayid and Desmond finally meet the ship;s captain — as well as Ben’s spy.

Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Stephen Semel

In this episode, Lost played a clever game with viewers. Since the identity of the final two members of the Oceanic 6 were still in question (because no one knew at first if baby Aaron was counted as one of them), it was possible we were still waiting to learn which two survivors were still to be added to the list. What appeared to be a pair of parallel flash-forwards featuring Sun and Jin, were at the end of the episode revealed to be diverging storylines; Sun’s scenes were flash-forwards, but Jin’s were flashbacks.

Flashback

Jin’s flashbacks showed us a time not long after he and Sun became married when he was performing a menial task for his new employer, Mr. Paik.

Flashforward

Sun’s flash-forwards depicted the end of her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter, Ji Yeon, in Seoul. After Ji Yeon was born and Sun returned home with the baby, Hurley arrived at her door for a visit and the two of them visited a grave with Jin’s name on it. Sun’s anguish at the gravesite leads us to believe that Jin’s death is genuine, but the date of Jin’s death seen on the headstone is fake, making him out to be one of the passengers who supposedly died when the plane crashed.

Now

At night on the freighter, Frank takes food to Sayid and Desmond, but finds a woman named Regina guarding the door to their room. Regina’s odd behavior suggests she might be suffering from the same time displacement illness that previously afflicted George and Desmond. Sayid reiterates his desire to speak to the ship’s captain, and Frank delivers several cans of lima beans, explaining that just like the radio room, the kitchen was recently sabotaged.

As morning arrives on the freighter, someone slips a note under the door of Sayid and Desmond’s room. They pick it up and find that it has a short message: “Don’t trust the captain.” Later, somewhere on the ship somebody starts banging on pipes, and the sound reverberates to the room where Sayid and Desmond are waiting. The doctor comes in and says the captain is ready to meet with them. He takes them up to the main deck, where they notice the helicopter is missing, and the doctor says Frank took Keamy somewhere in the night. He doesn’t know where, but there’s no place nearby the helicopter could have made it to but the island. Just then, Desmond spots Regina on the deck, wrapped in heavy chains. Before he can stop her, she jumps over the side of the ship. Desmond and Sayid spring into action and call for help from the many men working on the deck, but no one comes to their aid. Captain Gault arrives out on deck and introduces himself after ordering everyone back to their posts.

Captain Gault takes Sayid and Desmond aside and they ask why he refused to do anything to try and rescue Regina. Gault replies that he doesn’t want to lose any more people, since some of his crew are suffering an extreme case of cabin fever. He believes the illness is related to their proximity to the island, but he can’t move the ship right now because the saboteur has made it impossible. Once the engines have been repaired, Gault will move the ship to safer waters. He can’t do any differently because he’s acting under strict orders from his employer. And then Gault lowers the bombshell on them, telling them that his employer is Charles Widmore. Desmond knows that name all too well, and his reaction reminds the captain that Desmond and Widmore know one another.

Gault takes Sayid and Desmond to his quarters, where he shows them a surprising item he holds in his possession: the black box from Oceanic 815. He explains that it was found on the bottom of the ocean in the Sunda Trench, along with all 324 dead passengers, and procured by Widmore. But, he says, this was obviously staged, and speculates on the resources required to pull off a fake-out of that magnitude. “Where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies?” he muses. He explains that this is just one of many reasons the freighter has been sent to get its hands on Benjamin Linus, implying that Ben was responsible for the fake wreckage.

That night, the doctor takes Sayid and Desmond to their new accommodations: a room infested with mice, with a big blood stain on one wall. The doctor calls out to a janitor named Kevin Johnson who’s working just down the hall, and asks him to clean the room. “Kevin” slowly comes toward the room, and as he draws near, Sayid is stunned to find himself face-to-face with former castaway Michael Dawson! Michael introduces himself to the two men under his new pseudonym, and Desmond, having never met Michael, doesn’t react. But Sayid, though he maintains pretenses in front of the doctor, has murder in his eyes at the sight of his former friend who not so long ago betrayed the rest of the survivors.

At the beach, Sun expresses concerns to Jin over Desmond and Sayid’s long absence. Jin wants to talk about baby names, and states his belief that their child is a girl. He wants to name her Ji Yeon, but Sun wants to get off the island before they settle on a name.

The next morning, Kate and Jack return to the beach and Kate tells Sun and Jin all about what happened at the Tempest station. Frustrated, Kate plants doubts in Sun’s mind about the freighter ever following through on its promise to rescue the survivors. Sun visits Daniel and asks him point blank if the freighter is going to rescue them or not. Daniel says it’s not his call, so she returns to tell Jin. She tells him in Korean to pack enough food for the two of them for two days and meet her at their tent in a few minutes. She’s decided they’re going to defect to Locke’s camp at the Barracks.

Juliet finds Sun rifling through the food stores, but Juliet quickly figures out that Sun is up to something, and Sun admits her plan. Juliet is adamant that Sun can’t go to Locke’s camp because he doesn’t want to leave the island, and it’s vital that Sun does before she gets much further along in her pregnancy. But Sun is unwilling to take Juliet’s word for it, because she doesn’t trust her. Kate later explains to Sun and Jin how to get to the Barracks, but Juliet shows up as they’re about to leave and tries to recruit Jin’s help in keeping Sun there, explaining that Sun has just three weeks to get off the island, or her pregnancy will kill her. But Jin is unconvinced, choosing to believe his wife over Juliet. So Juliet plays the last card she has: she tells Jin that Sun cheated on him before they came to the island. Sun slaps her for breaking their pact of secrecy, but the act only convinces Jin that it’s true. Angry and hurt, he returns to the beach alone.

Sun catches up with him as he’s packing supplies to go fishing, and she wants to explain herself, but Jin refuses to listen. Bernard happens by and asks if he can come along on Jin’s fishing trip, and Jin agrees. They go out about a hundred feet off the shore using the canoe that brought Karl to the beach, and have a private talk. Bernard and Jin have a long talk about things like marriage, right vs. wrong, and karma.

Juliet visits Sun alone and apologizes for breaking their trust. She says she did it because she had to keep Sun from staying on the island at any cost. Sun is still bitter about Juliet’s betrayal, so Juliet takes the time to explain in exacting detail precisely what’s going to happen to Sun starting in three weeks. It’s a terrible story, and Juliet becomes emotional as she tells it. She points out that Sun is her patient and she refuses to lose another pregnant woman on the island. Sun says nothing, but her reaction makes it clear that she finally believes Juliet.

That night, Jin returns to the tent he shares with his wife, carrying a fresh dinner made from the fish he caught. Sun is surprised but relieved to see him, and Jin explains that he knows the man she cheated on was a very different person than who he is now. He takes the blame upon himself for her indiscretion, and forgives her. Jin pledges to go with her to Locke’s camp if she still wants to, but she doesn’t. She’s decided Juliet is right, and they have to get off the island as soon as possible. He promises to protect her and the baby no matter what, but then asks one last question: he needs to know if the baby is his. She tells him truthfully that it is indeed his child.

  • With this episode, we learned that the Oceanic 6 — the survivors who escaped the island — are Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron.
    Question: Who are the Oceanic 6? [4.01]
  • Ben’s spy on the freighter is none other than former castaway Michael Dawson, who is working under the pseudonym Kevin Johnson.
    Question: Who is the double agent on the freighter who’s working for Ben? [4.02]

  • What is the errand Frank is taking Keamy to the island for?
  • How did Michael end up on the freighter? It seems likely that he is the spy working for Ben, so how did that working relationship come about?
  • Who was banging on the pipes on the freighter, and why? Was it Michael?
  • Why did Ben’s spy (presumably Michael) warn Desmond and Sayid not to trust the ship’s captain?
  • Whoever staged the fake wreck of Oceanic 815 — where did they get their hands on 324 dead bodies to plant among the wreckage?
  • Is Jin really dead in the future? If so, how did he die?

”Ji Yeon” is the one and only time Lost‘s writers played a trick on us, the viewers, by mixing flashbacks with flash forwards. It was a clever twist, but I think they were wise enough to know right away that they could only get away with playing this card a single time, without causing a riot among fans.

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4.06 “The Other Woman”

When Daniel and Charlotte disappear from camp, Juliet receives an ominous request from Ben. Meanwhile, Locke learns who sent the freighter to the island.

Written by Drew Goddard & Christina M. Kim
Directed by Eric Laneuville

Flashback

One week after she first arrived on the island, Juliet started seeing the resident psychologist, Dr. Harper Stanhope, an abrasive woman that Juliet never managed to get along with. Not helping matters was the fact that Harper was unhappily married to Goodwin, whom Juliet eventually became romantically involved with. Goodwin’s primary job on the island was at the Tempest station, an electrical station built by the Dharma Initiative that provides power to the island. Ben quickly picked up on the vibe between Juliet and Goodwin and began manipulating the two of them, because he had a crush on Juliet himself. He forcibly broke Juliet and Goodwin apart by sending Goodwin to the tail section of Oceanic 815 the day it crashed on the island. Harper also learned of her husband’s affair and although she admitted that their marriage was long over, she warned Juliet not to continue with the relationship because there would be consequences — thanks to Ben. Those consequences came true when Ben took Juliet out to the place where Ana-Lucia killed Goodwin to show her his body, and Juliet realized that Ben meant for this to happen all along.

Now

At the beach, Jack and Juliet discover that Daniel and Charlotte have ventured alone into the jungle, carrying the satellite phone. Jack recruits Sun and Jin to help look for her, and as it starts to rain, Juliet stops alone in the jungle when she hears Whispers. She’s found there by an Other named Harper, who gives her a message from Ben: Daniel and Charlotte are headed for a Dharma station called the Tempest, which contains some kind of noxious gas. Ben wants Juliet to stop Daniel and Charlotte from deploying the gas, because if they do, it will kill everyone on the island. Jack finds the two of them talking, but the Whispers return and Harper vanishes. Juliet immediately sets off for the Tempest with Jack in tow, but she doesn’t want to talk about what she’s doing or why. She merely asks for his help, and he agrees.

Daniel and Charlotte stop at a creek to rest, but they’re found there by Kate, on her way back from the Barracks. They try to hide their intentions from her, but Kate knows they’re lying. Ever impulsive, Charlotte knocks Kate out and they leave her behind.

Jack and Juliet find Kate a while later, and she reports that Daniel and Charlotte were carrying gas masks when she saw them. Juliet disappears, heading off to stop them on her own.

Kate helps Jack track Juliet to the Tempest, and Kate tells him why she stayed behind at the Barracks. She tells him what she found out from Miles, that the Freighter Folk know she’s a fugitive, wanted for murder.

At the Barracks, Claire visits Locke and asks to talk to Miles, hoping to get some answers out of him. She suggests that she might be less intimidating than Locke is, so Miles might be willing to talk to her. Locke flatly refuses, but Claire points out that everything Locke is doing is based on Charlie’s message about the boat not belonging to Penny. “Don’t you want to find out whose boat it is?” she asks. So Locke goes straight to Ben and puts the question to him. Ben agrees to spill what he knows if Locke will let him out of his prison cell to live like a regular person. Locke takes Ben upstairs where he shows him a video tape that reveals the owner of the freighter to be Charles Widmore, Penny’s father. Ben says that Widmore has been trying to find the island for a very long time, and that he intends to possess and exploit it. He gives Locke a file on Widmore that he says contains everything he knows about the man. Locke is satisfied with the answers Ben’s provided, but wants one more: the identity of Ben’s spy on the freighter. Ben says he’ll tell him, but he might want to sit down first.

Juliet arrives at the Tempest, a large steel structure, and enters, gun drawn. She goes into the main area of the facility and finds Daniel feverishly typing on a terminal. She approaches and tells him to stop, but he argues that he’s not trying to release the gas, he wants to render it inert. Charlotte comes up behind her and the two fight. Juliet gets the upper hand, but Charlotte backs up Daniel’s claim that they’re trying to make the chemical agent safe. She suggests that Ben could use the gas to kill everyone on the island if he chose to — because they know he’s used it before — and the two of them are trying to take this weapon away from him. Daniel finishes his work on the computer system and succeeds in rendering the gas inert, and Juliet realizes that she was once again manipulated by Ben into coming here, not to stop them from releasing the gas, but to stop them from taking away his weapon.

Jack and Kate find the Tempest station just as Juliet and Charlotte are exiting. Juliet explains the situation, but Kate is skeptical, so Charlotte offers to take her inside to prove it’s all true. Alone, Juliet tells Jack that Ben manipulated her again, sending someone who could “get to her” (Harper) to put her on this mission to kill Daniel and Charlotte. Juliet says that the Freighter Folk have come to wage war against Ben, but Ben is always so many steps ahead of the game that she knows he’ll find a way to win. She warns Jack not to be near her when that happens, because Ben believes that Juliet belongs to him, and he knows that Juliet has feelings for Jack. In response, Jack kisses her, and says that Ben knows where to find him. Juliet hugs Jack, seeing in him someone who cares about her enough to get her off the island and away from the man who’s ruined her life.

At the Barracks, while playing a round of horseshoe, Sawyer and Hurley are stunned to see Ben walking around outside, free from his imprisonment. “See you guys at dinner,” Ben happily says to them as he passes by.

  • The Dharma Initiative built a station called the Tempest, which was their power station as well as a containment unit for some kind of poisonous gas. Presumably, Ben rigged the gas to release, taking out every member of the Initiative.
    Question: How did the Others orchestrate the mass release of a poisonous gas on the island to kill every member of the Dharma Initiative? [2.20]
  • The freighter was sent on its mission by Charles Widmore. Everyone on board works for him.
    Question: Who owns/sent the freighter to find the island? [4.02]
  • Charles Widmore.
    Question: Who are the “people who have been trying to find the island” that Naomi and her freighter represent? [3.23]
  • Ben has clearly known about Widmore’s search for the island, and his plans to use the freighter to find it, for a long time now. So we can intuit from this that Ben made the decision not long ago to have the Looking Glass jam all transmissions, to keep Widmore from being able to follow radio transmissions to find the island.
    Question: The survivors have been able to receive transmissions on the island before now, such as Rousseau’s distress call and the radio station Sayid and Hurley once picked up. Why are transmissions being jammed now, seemingly out of the blue? [3.19]
  • Widmore does indeed know about the island, which explains his interest in the Black Rock. But how he knows so much about the island has yet to be revealed.
    Question: Why is Charles Widmore so interested in the Black Rock? Does he know about the island? If so, how? [4.05]
  • It would appear that just like Naomi, Keamy, and others associated with the freighter, Matthew Abaddon is an employee of Charles Widmore.
    Question: Who is Matthew Abaddon? [4.01]
  • All of these individuals can thank their knowledge of the survivors still being alive to their enigmatic and powerful employer: Charles Widmore. How he knows that Oceanic 815 didn’t crash in the ocean remains a mystery.
    Question: How does Matthew Abaddon know that the Oceanic 6 were not the only survivors of the plane crash? [4.01] & Question: How did the Freighter Folk know that the Oceanic 815 survivors were alive? [4.02]

  • Harper insinuated that Juliet was favored by Ben because she “looked just like her.” Which “her” was Harper referring to? Ben’s mother? His childhood friend Annie?
  • How does Charles Widmore know about the island?
  • Why has Charles Widmore been trying to find the island?
  • Why does Charles Widmore want Ben dead?
  • Charles Widmore appears to know that there are survivors of Oceanic 815 living on the island (because everyone who works for him knows). How does he know this?
  • Since Widmore knows that Oceanic 815 didn’t really crash in the ocean, does this mean he is responsible for the faked wreckage in the Sunda Trench?
  • Why would Dharma build a station (the Tempest) with the purpose of containing a poisonous gas inside it? Did they intend to use it against the Others if a weapon of last resort was needed?

This is, without a doubt, my least favorite episode of the series. I absolutely hate it. Others may cite different episodes as their least favorites for perfectly valid reasons, but for me, this ep was just a waste of storytelling. As much as I appreciate the writers giving Juliet another star vehicle — particularly in a season where she otherwise had almost nothing to do — “The Other Woman” is a disaster. It’s not poorly written, acted, or directed; it was just a terrible idea. I hate the utterly out-of-left-field notion of Ben crushing on Juliet, and I especially hate the retconning that was done to the iconic Barracks scene when Oceanic 815 falls out of the sky. The idea that Juliet’s relationship with Goodwin was an extramarital affair on his part, and that Ben intentionally had him killed for it, added absolutely nothing to the animosity we already knew about between Ben and Juliet. Not only did the Ben/Juliet crush never get utilized in any future storylines, it was never even mentioned on the show again. Which makes me think the writers themselves realized that the entire business was a bad idea from the start.

Because even bad Lost is better than no Lost at all… A few good things did come out of the episode, though they were all plot points that had nothing to do with the Juliet story. Most significantly, the seeds were planted here for the Widmore/Linus feud that we would see a lot more of in future episodes. How delicious is it that Ben lied about not to know how Widmore knew about the island? As we saw in Season 5, Ben was directly responsible for Widmore being ejected from the island, so he could supplant Widmore’s position as leader of the Others.

One last thought: we now know how the Others/Ben caused the Purge. The chemicals in the Tempest were released into the air, and everyone not wearing a gas mask was killed. Ben and all of the Others were wearing masks, and Ethan Rom must’ve been wearing one too, probably having been spared by his friend Ben. But what about Jacob? Jacob’s already displayed superhuman abilities, such as an incredibly long life, precognition, and the power to bring people to the island. So these special abilities of his must explain why Jacob survived the toxic gasses released all over the island during the Purge. Yet when Ben stabbed him, Jacob appeared to have died just like any mortal would. So which is it? Is he mortal or immortal? Man or superman?

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4.05 “The Constant”

Desmond becomes unstuck in time while traveling to the freighter, and there’s only one person in the world who can anchor him before he is lost forever: Penny.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender

On its way to the freighter, the helicopter is forced to fly straight into a thunderhead, and the strange temporal properties of the island cause Desmond’s consciousness to flash backward in time to his days in military service in 1996, after he broke things off with Penny. But there’s an even bigger problem: Desmond’s memories have reverted to where they were in his past; he remembers nothing about the present. From his perspective, he’s flashing forward to the future, and he has no idea what any of the things going on, on the island or on the freighter, mean. He freaks out, and Sayid is forced to restrain him until they land on the freighter (which is named the Kahana).

At the beach, Jack and Juliet grill Charlotte and Daniel about what’s become of the helicopter, believing the two of them to be holding back crucial information. Daniel finally reveals to Jack and Juliet that their perception of the passage of time on the island is different than the way time passes outside of the island. He suggests that there may not be any problem at all, because the helicopter may not have actually been gone for a full day, even though it seems that way from the island. But he does warn them that if Frank deviated from his flight path of bearing 305, then there may be side effects.

When the helicopter lands on the freighter, it’s greeted without warmth from the crew, most notably from an aggressive, belligerent named Martin Keamy. Desmond continues to freak out over his memory loss, but Keamy and the Kahana crew seem unsurprised by what’s happening to him. They take him down to the ship’s sickbay to see the doctor. There, he meets George Minkowski, the man Jack and Kate first talked to over the satellite radio. He’s strapped down to a gurney, and asks Desmond if “it’s happening to you too.” George goes into a sudden catatonic state, and is unresponsive to Desmond, but then he wakes up and explains he was flashing around through time the same way that Desmond has been. The doctor enters and sedates George, despite George’s desperate protests. The doctor then turns on Desmond and examines him.

Out on the deck, Sayid trades his pistol for Frank’s satellite phone, so he can make a quick call back to the island. Jack answers there, and Sayid explains over speaker phone what’s going on. Daniel asks if Desmond has recently been exposed to high levels of electromagnetism (which of course he has, when he activated the failsafe and destroyed the Swan station). He explains that for reasons he doesn’t understand, some people suffer mental trauma when coming or going from the island.

Desmond returns to his past in the Scottish military, but remembers seeing a photo of Penny in his flash forward, so he goes to a telephone booth and calls her up, hoping she might be able to help him sort out his confusion. But she’s still hurt by the way he ended things with her, and wants nothing to do with him. He suddenly returns to the present on board the freighter, where the ship’s doctor is examining him. Sayid and Frank burst into the room, and give Desmond the satellite phone over the doctor’s protests, saying that Daniel wants to talk to him. The doctor sounds an alarm, so the phone conversation must be brief before they’re interrupted, but Daniel quickly tells Desmond that the next time he flashes back to the past, he needs to go to Oxford University’s Physics department and visit Daniel there, because he worked there in 1996. Daniel digs out a well-worn journal from his belongings, and uses it to give Desmond some important instructions: Desmond is to tell Daniel’s younger self to set his “device” to a very specific setting, and if that doesn’t convince Daniel of what’s happening to Desmond, then Desmond is to mention that he “knows about Eloise.” Keamy and his pal Omar break into the sickbay just then, but they’re too late because Desmond already knows what he must do.

Desmond returns to the past again and follows Daniel’s instructions, visiting Oxford University to meet an eight-years-younger Daniel Faraday. Younger Daniel doesn’t believe him of course, angrily assuming that his colleagues on staff at Oxford — who apparently think of Daniel as a crackpot scientist — are playing a prank on him. But when Desmond recites the information present-day Daniel told him to pass on, Younger Daniel takes him to his laboratory. There, Daniel conducts an elaborate experiment using high concentrations of radiation fired upon a mouse named Eloise, who is placed in a custom-built maze. The idea behind the experiment is to “unstick Eloise in time,” just like Desmond, but Daniel uses the precise numbers given to him by Desmond to make it work. As they watch, Eloise the mouse goes straight through the enormous maze as if she’s done it many times before — but Daniel then reveals that he only finished constructing the maze this morning and hasn’t taught the mouse how to traverse through it yet. He explains that he knows the experiment worked, because Eloise’s consciousness just traveled through time to the future, where she’d already been through the maze, and came back to now with memories of how to do it.

Desmond returns to the future, where Keamy takes the satellite phone out of his hands and forces Frank to leave Desmond and Sayid locked in the infirmary alone with George. Before they go, Sayid requests a meeting with the ship’s captain, and Keamy says he’ll pass along the message. When they’re alone, George pipes up, explaining that he knows who Desmond is, because he monitored repeated incoming calls from Penny that the Kahana crew was instructed to ignore. (These calls culminated with Penny’s conversation with Charlie just before he died in the Looking Glass station.)

In the past again, Younger Daniel notes that whatever effect is causing Desmond to jump back and forth through time is increasing in strength, making it increasingly harder for him to get from one to the other. Desmond notes that Eloise the mouse is dead, and Daniel explains that her brain short-circuited because jumping through time left her mind unable to tell the present from the future. In order to prevent the same thing from happening to himself, and to stop all of this jumping around once and for all, Desmond must find himself an anchor, or what Daniel calls a Constant. A Constant is something familiar that exists in both times, something with deep personal meaning to Desmond, that he cares about profoundly. Desmond knows instantly what his Constant is, the thing he cares about most: Penny. But Daniel cautions him that he’ll have to make contact with her in both time periods for it to work.

Desmond flashes back to the present, where he asks for Sayid’s help in calling Penny. George warns them that someone on board (who we know must be Ben’s mole) sabotaged all of the ship’s equipment used to contact the mainland. George offers to fix it if they can get him to the radio room, and suddenly the three of them notice that the door, which had been locked only a moment ago, was now standing open.

In the past, Desmond visits his nemesis and Penny’s father, Charles Widmore, who is attending a private auction where the only known artifact from the Black Rock, a journal written by the ship’s first mate (see below), is being sold. Widmore wins the auction after a fierce bidding war, and pays a hefty price for it. Desmond asks him for help in reaching Penny, because she’s disconnected the only phone number he has for her. To Desmond’s surprise, Widmore actually gives him Penny’s new address.

In the present, George carefully leads Desmond and Sayid to the radio room, but George goes into another time flash and dies before he can fix the radio. Sayid steps up to rig the radio himself, enabling Desmond to make a single call, but Desmond doesn’t yet know Penny’s phone number.

In 1996, Desmond rushes to the address Widmore gave him, and begs Penny to give him her new phone number. She’s uninterested, but he begs her for the number, promising not to use it for eight years. Penny’s incredulous over his bizarre claim and even stranger behavior, but he appeals to her on an emotional level, pleading with her to believe that the two of them might still have a future together someday. She gives him the number on the agreement that he’ll leave after he gets it, and he begs her that when he calls her in eight years, on December 24th, 2004, to please answer the phone. But she throws him out of the apartment, fed up with his seemingly crazed rantings.

In 2004, Desmond has the phone number and he recites it to Sayid, who punches it into the radio. Desmond’s memory rushes back suddenly when Penny answers and he hears her voice. The two of them can’t believe they’re actually talking to one another after Desmond’s three year marooning on the island, and they engage in a very emotional telephone reunion. Desmond is relieved that she still cares about him, and Penny reveals that she’s been trying to find him for the past three years. She somehow knows about the island, and that he’s been on it. The signal starts to die, and Desmond professes his love for her, and she reciprocates. Just before they lose the call, they pledge to one another to never give up on finding a way back to each other. Sayid apologizes that the power source went dead, but Desmond tells him it was just enough.

On the island, Daniel reviews his journal, which is filled with cryptic equations. But one page in particular catches his eye, a page upon which is written, “If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my Constant.”

    • The island seems to be surrounded by a strange time/space anomaly that not only shields it from the outside world, but makes traveling to and from it very dangerous.
      Question: Ethan told Juliet that her journey to the island would be intense, and then later he strapped her into a bunk in the submarine, explaining that “the last leg is always a little bumpy.” What is it about the island that makes journeying there so difficult and fraught with danger? [3.16]
    • Nope. Penny’s heart now and forever belongs only to Desmond.
      Question: Did Penny ever get married? [2.24]
    • Penny does know about the island, but how she found out about it and how much she knows is unknown.
      Question: Does Penny know about the island? If so, how? [2.24]
    • The unusual properties of the island cause it to somehow be out of phase with the rest of the world. The helicopter arrived safely on the freighter, but it was a day later than expected.
      Question: The helicopter hasn’t been seen on the island or the freighter for more than a day. What’s happened to Sayid, Desmond, and Frank? [4.04]
    • Though the details still aren’t entirely clear, the freighter knew of Desmond and Penny’s relationship largely because Penny has been sending regular signals for a while now, trying to reach Desmond on the island.
      Question: Why did Naomi have a picture of Desmond if she wasn’t there to rescue him? [4.03]
    • Minkowski had fallen ill from the same time-jumping affliction that threatened Desmond’s life, and was secured in sickbay to protect him and everyone around him.
      Question: Why was Minkowski unable to come to the phone when Miles called? [4.02]

    • How did the journal belonging to the Black Rock’s first mate get to Madagascar after the ship wrecked on the island?
    • Tovard Hanso found the Black Rock journal and kept its contents secret for over a century. Is this journal how Alvar Hanso found out about the existence of the island, and decided to place the Dharma Initiative on it?
    • Why did the Hanso family decide to sell the Black Rock journal in 1996 after years of keeping it a family secret?
    • Why is Charles Widmore so interested in the Black Rock? Does he know about the island? If so, how?
    • Why was the freighter instructed to ignore Penny’s transmissions?
    • How did Penny know about the island, and that Desmond was on it for three years?
    • What’s the meaning of the phrase in Daniel’s journal, referring to Desmond as his Constant should anything go wrong? What did he think might go wrong, and why did he choose Desmond as his Constant?

    It would appear that the prolonged exposure to radiation in his Oxford lab is the culprit behind Daniel’s memory problems. This was implied, though not confirmed.

    The Black Rock set sail from Portsmouth, England on March 22, 1845, on a trading mission to the kingdom of Siam. But she was lost at sea, and instead wound up on the island. Somehow, the personal journal of the ship’s first mate found its way to Madagascar, where it was discovered seven years later by an ancestor of Alvar Hanso — financier to the Dharma Initiative. Until 1996, the contents of the journal had never been revealed to the public or anyone outside of the Hanso family.

    The word momentous barely does justice to the many events that unfolded in “The Constant.” The biggest of course is Desmond’s emotional conversation with Penny by telephone, but this ep also marks the first time we’ve ever seen the freighter Kahana, as well as the Black Rock’s cameo at a private auction. Speaking of which…

    Thanks to the auction scene, we finally have enough pieces of the puzzle to put together for ourselves exactly how the Dharma Initiative wound up on the island. Magnus Hanso owned the Black Rock. A relative of his named Tovard Hanso, somehow found the journal in Madagascar, and through it, learned of the island’s existence and unique properties. In the 20th Century, Alvar Hanso used that information to plant his Dharma Initiative on this very special island. And there you have it. But with the journal holding such crucial information about the island, what could have made the Hanso family decide in 1996 that it was suddenly okay to let that information pass on to someone else, aka the highest bidder? I suspect the downfall of the Dharma Initiative on the island — better known as the Purge — had something to do with it. Perhaps with Hanso’s finances taking a hit from Dharma’s loss, he was forced to sell off his most prized relic to keep himself financially afloat.

    Since the Black Rock set sail in 1845 and subsequently wrecked on the island, this gives us a definitive date for the scene at the beginning of “The Incident,” depicting the beachside meeting between Jacob and his nemesis.

    “The Constant” is the hands-down fan favorite episode of all time and an absolute triumph of storytelling. Desmond’s time-skipping could have been wildly confusing, yet it not only made sense, but the writers never lost the hour’s emotional anchor (the Desmond/Penny relationship) in the face of so much scifi time travel exposition. The coup de grace is the beautifully-executed final scene, when Desmond makes his phone call to Penny. The slick editing in this scene elevated everything, allowing the actors to hit the perfect emotional note, and achieving a new artistic high for the series.

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    4.04 “Eggtown”

    Kate tries to get some important information out of Miles, but earns Locke’s wrath in the process. In the off-island future, Kate faces a high-profile trial for her crimes.

    Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Greggory Nations
    Directed by Stephen Williams

    Flashforward

    At the top of Kate’s agenda once she escaped from the island was dealing with her lingering status as a fugitive. But her court appearance was complicated by her newfound stardom as one of the six famous survivors of Oceanic 815, as the press fixated on her in particular because of her criminal past.

    In the courtroom, Kate pled not guilty, but the prosecuting lawyer, District Attorney Melissa Dunbrook, made a strong case against her thanks to help from Kate’s mother, Diane Jansen. Kate’s lawyer, Duncan Forrester, wanted to make the case about Kate’s character to garner sympathy, but Kate was against this idea. Forrester went against her wishes and did it anyway, bringing in Jack to testify on her behalf as a character witness. Though Kate argued against Jack’s presence in the courtroom, Jack was allowed to testify. Jack lied under oath, stating that Federal Marshall Edward Mars died in the crash, that only eight people total survived the crash, landing in the water. He further said that he himself was hurt badly and that he survived only because Kate took care of him, the same as she took care of the others. Jack’s lie was convincing, even though it traveled further and further from the truth the more he said. Dunbrook asked him if he loved Kate, to which he replied no.

    In a private meeting room, Kate met with her mother, Diane Jensen, for the first time since the crash. Diane claimed that her feelings about Kate and the crime she committed changed when she thought Kate died in the crash, but ultimately she had come because she simply wanted to meet her grandson. She offered to pull out of the case as the prosecution’s star witness if Kate would agree to this, but Kate refused in no uncertain terms, telling her mother that she wanted her nowhere near her son.

    Despite this, Diane decided not to testify against her daughter anyway, and the prosecution was forced to cut a deal with Kate’s lawyer: time served with ten years’ probation, and the agreement that Kate will not leave the state of California. Kate eagerly took the deal, telling the D.A. that she had no desire to go anywhere because she had a child to take care of.

    As she was leaving the court house, Jack caught up to Kate privately and Kate thanked him for lying for her benefit. He said that his claim that he didn’t love her was a lie as well, and Kate asked if he’d like to come to her house to visit. But when Jack made up an excuse, Kate saw through it and said that although she understood why he didn’t want to be around her son, but that she couldn’t be with Jack until he did want to see the child. She said that the offer would remain open, but he declined for the time being.

    When she returned home, a free woman, Kate’s “son” was revealed to be Aaron, now a toddler. Somehow, Kate had taken custody of Aaron and was posing as his biological mother.

    Now

    Locke takes up residence in Ben’s house, which is outfitted with a staircase leading down to the subterranean holding area that both Locke and his father were once held prisoner in. Now, Ben is the captive. Morning comes, and Locke makes Ben some breakfast and takes it down to him. Locke asks if Ben would be willing to share what he knows about the people from the freighter, including Locke’s other prisoner, Miles. But Ben has no interest in helping and would rather play his usual mind games, pushing Locke’s buttons. And it works — Locke ends the conversation with a temper-fueled outburst.

    Kate has spent the night at the Barracks in Claire’s house instead of Sawyer’s. Sawyer stops by that morning and asks her to move in with him, but she shuts him down hard and sends him back to his house empty-handed. Kate goes to visit Locke and asks to know where Miles is being kept so she can talk to him. But Locke refuses because she won’t tell him why she wants to see Miles. So she asks Hurley instead, and he unwittingly tells her that Miles has been placed in a nearby Dharma boat house. Once there, she asks Miles if he knows her or anything about her. But Miles wants something from her in exchange — he wants to talk to Ben, and needs her to arrange a meeting.

    At the beach, Sun and Jin talk about where they would like to live after they’ve been rescued; Jin wants to go to America, but Sun wants to raise their baby at home in Seoul. Jack and Juliet return just then and introduce everyone to Daniel and Charlotte. But later, Jack can’t get through to the freighter on his satellite phone, even though Desmond and Sayid left to rendezvous with the boat yesterday.

    Kate and Claire talk about Aaron, and Kate expresses hesitation at interacting with the little guy. Nor is she interested in ever becoming a mother, as she believes she lacks a mother’s touch.

    That night, Kate visits Sawyer to ask for his help in getting Miles his meeting with Ben. Sawyer agrees to help, serving as a distraction while Kate brings Miles to see Ben in his basement cell. Once they’re face to face, Miles makes Ben an offer: he will report back to his employer — the mystery man who sent the freighter to the island to find Ben — that Ben is dead, if Ben will give Miles $3.2 million. Miles gives him one week to follow through, or the deal’s off. Kate brings the meeting to an end and demands the information she wanted from Miles: does he know who she is or anything about her? He does indeed; Miles recounts her entire criminal history to her, including her status as a fugitive and what she’s wanted for. But Locke finds the two of them and sends Kate back to Claire’s house.

    Locke later comes to Claire’s house, where he asked her about what was said between Ben and Miles. Once she tells him, he informs her that she’s no longer welcome at the Barracks and needs to be gone by morning. Kate goes to Sawyer and he offers to keep her safe from Locke, and the two of them make out.

    At the beach, Charlotte tests Daniel with a simple memory game. He gets two out of three correct, and she’s heartened at his “progress,” but Daniel’s not. Jack and Juliet approach and ask why no one has answered their calls to the boat all day long. Charlotte reveals that there’s a second number they can call, in case of emergency, and she dials it on Jack’s phone. But everyone is startled to learn that in the last twenty-four hours, the freighter has seen no sign of the helicopter carrying Frank, Sayid, and Desmond — and didn’t even know it had left the island.

    The next morning, Locke visits Miles, who’s tied up in the boat house again. Locke abruptly places a live grenade in Miles’ mouth and pulls the pin out, warning him not to try and talk to Ben again. He claims this is punishment for Miles “breaking the rules,” and leaves him there like that.

    Kate wakes up next to Sawyer, and the two of them talk about her pregnancy scare from when the Others threatened to kidnap her, back when they tried to take Sun. Kate reveals that she’s definitely not pregnant, and Sawyer’s relieved. But Kate’s disgusted by his reaction and declares that she’s going back to the beach. Sawyer mouths-off at her, saying that she’ll be back in a week or so for more of his particular brand of comfort, after finding a reason to get mad at Jack again. She smacks him and leaves.

    • In the basement of Ben’s house.
      Question: Where is the underground holding cell that Locke is being held prisoner in? [3.13]
    • Diane Jensen endured for four years after being told that she had only six months to live. She is not expected to last must longer.
      Question: What became of Kate’s mother? Did she die from her cancer? [1.22]
    • Despite fearing initially that she might be pregnant with Sawyer’s child, Kate found out definitively that she was not pregnant.
      Question: Kate was a potential target of the Others, just like Sun. Is she pregnant too? [3.22]
    • “He” is Aaron, whom Kate is acting as the mother of off the island.
      Question: Who was the “he” that Kate said would be looking for her? [3.23]

    • Why did Miles ask Ben for $3.2 million? That’s an oddly specific number for simple blackmail.
    • How and why did Kate end up posing as Aaron’s biological mother?
    • It stands to reason that Claire was not one of the Oceanic 6 if Kate is posing as Aaron’s mother. So what became of Claire on the island? Is she dead or alive?
    • What happened to Daniel’s mind? Why does he have trouble remembering things?
    • Daniel and Charlotte spoke of “progress” with his memory problems. Is this the reason Daniel came to the island? Was he hoping to be healed?
    • Why doesn’t Jack want to see Aaron in the future? Does he know that Claire is his sister, and Aaron is his nephew?
    • The helicopter hasn’t been seen on the island or the freighter for more than a day. What’s happened to Sayid, Desmond, and Frank?

    With the addition of Daniel Faraday and Charlotte Lewis to the residents at the beach camp, the total number of people living as part of the group of survivors now numbers 45. (Although several of them now live at the Barracks, I’m still counting the Oceanic 815 survivors and their friends as a single group. My count does not take Danielle, Alex, or Karl into consideration, as I don’t believe their loyalties were ever fully pledged to the survivors. The same could be said of Daniel and Charlotte at this stage, given that they are far from being trusted at this point, but I added them now because we know they eventually wind up casting their lot with the survivors.)

    It was pretty cool getting to see the end of Kate’s long-running fugitive storyline thanks to the Season 4 flash forwards. This was a story I never really expected to get any resolution to, because I couldn’t imagine a scenario where the survivors would be rescued from the island and things would turn out okay for Kate. But thanks to the extraordinary circumstances of the Oceanic 6’s rescue (or at least, the circumstances they fabricated), that theory was tossed out the window, as Kate managed to finally be disentangled from her many criminal issues. Just the fact that in only the fourth episode of the season, the writers were tossing this long-running storyline out the window was further evidence that the gloves were off and the show was never going to be the same. Kate instead received a whole new character arc, in the form of her mother/son relationship with Aaron.

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