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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    4.03 “The Economist”

    The fourth member of the Oceanic 6 is revealed when Sayid strikes a bargain with Frank to visit the freighter, but to accomplish this, he’ll need to reach out to a distrustful Locke.

    Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
    Directed by Jack Bender

    Flashforward

    In the off-island future, Sayid was revealed to be the fourth member of the Oceanic 6 (after Jack, Kate, and Hurley). Sayid’s life had changed radically by the time we caught up with him, several years in the future, where he was working as an assassin, taking out people whose names were on a list given to him by his employer. After he killed a man named Mr. Avellino on a golf course in the islands of Seychelles, he traveled to Berlin, where he met a woman named Elsa and struck up a romantic relationship with her, even developing real feelings for her. But their pairing was not as random as it appeared, on either of their parts. They were both playing each other, hoping that the other would lead them to the men they worked for. In Sayid’s case, that man was none other than Benjamin Linus, who was also off the island in the future, just like the Oceanic 6. Elsa’s boss was never revealed, but Elsa herself lost her life after she revealed her subterfuge and attacked Sayid, nearly killing him. Sayid was later patched up by Ben, who he informed that their enemy would be looking for them now. Ben shot back that he was glad for that, but that Sayid shouldn’t have fallen in love with Elsa, which was a mistake he’d made once before. Sayid bitterly pointed out that Ben used that incident to recruit Sayid into killing for him.

    Now

    At the site where Frank landed the helicopter, Miles argues with Jack about both Ben, who he was sent to find, and Charlotte, who Locke’s group has taken captive. Sayid steps forward and asks Frank to fly him off the island to the freighter, so he can verify that it’s real and can carry the survivors to rescue. But Miles won’t hear of it until Charlotte has been released, so Sayid proposes that he can get her back without needing to resort to violence. It’s a trade: Charlotte’s safe rescue for Sayid’s passage to the freighter.

    Sayid finds Naomi’s photo of Desmond in her belongings, and suggests that the Freighter Folk aren’t being entirely truthful about their intentions — namely, that they’re solely here to find Ben. Jack asks Juliet to hike back to the beach and ask Desmond what he knows about Naomi, hoping that Des might be able to shed some light on their visitors. Meanwhile, Sayid takes charge over the mission of retrieving Charlotte, and Miles says he’s coming along. But Jack secretly asks Kate to accompany them as well, because he believes Locke can’t be trusted.

    In the jungle, Locke leads his group back to the place where Jacob’s cabin once stood, but finds that it’s no longer there — though the ring of ash surrounding the site remains intact. Hurley and some of the others want to release Charlotte before they reach the Barracks, but Locke refuses, stating unequivocally that he’s in charge.

    While they wait at the helicopter, Jack and Frank watch Daniel conduct a strange scientific experiment involving some kind of miniature rocket. He calls the freighter and asks Regina to “fire the payload,” after deploying a beacon to guide it to his location. But there’s a problem: Regina reports that the payload has reached the beacon, but nothing has arrived on the island. Thirty-one minutes later, the tiny rocket finally arrives, and Daniel is distraught over the odd time discrepancy. Juliet arrives just then with Desmond in tow, and Desmond grills Frank on why Naomi had a picture of him and Penny. When Frank and Miles both are less than forthcoming, refusing to acknowledge that they’ve never heard of Penelope Widmore, Desmond declares that he’s going with Sayid to the freighter when the helicopter takes off, so he can find someone there to give him his answers.

    Sayid, Kate, and Miles arrive at the Barracks and go looking for Locke, but all they find is Hurley, alone, locked in a closet in one of the houses, claiming that the others went somewhere else and left him behind. He reports that they “said something about stopping by Ben’s house” before they took off, so they go to inspect it. Sayid finds a secret door that leads to a hidden room — a room containing dozens of changes of clothes, suitcases, international currency, passports, and other supplies one might need when regularly traveling around the world. While he and Kate continue to inspect the house, Locke, Danielle, and Sawyer suddenly appear. They’ve been trapped, and Hurley was in on it all along.

    Sayid is escorted to the Others’ rec room, where he is locked up along with Ben. Locke visits him there, and Sayid asks that Charlotte be turned over to him. He explains that he’ll be allowed to visit the freighter if he can deliver Charlotte back to her friends, but Locke, predictably, has little interest in this.

    Kate is kept in Ben’s house by Sawyer, who questions her desire to leave the island with Jack. He explains that he’s decided not to leave, because he has nothing to go back to. He asks her to stay with him.

    Sayid returns to the helicopter with Charlotte, but no Kate or Miles. Kate decided to stay behind, he explains, and Miles was traded to Locke in exchange for Charlotte. Frank is less than pleased with Sayid’s “cheating,” but agrees to honor their bargain. Before he takes off, Daniel warns him to follow the exact bearing they arrived on to get off the island, no matter what. Since there’s room for one more passenger and no one else is interested in going just now, Sayid suggests they take Naomi’s body back to the freighter. So Frank, Desmond, Sayid, and their cargo take off in the chopper and watch the island go by as they head out to sea.

    • Why did Naomi have a picture of Desmond if she wasn’t there to rescue him?
    • What’s the significance of the time difference of thirty-one minutes between the island and (presumably) the rest of the world?
    • What was Ben doing with international travel supplies? How often has he come and gone from the island in the past, and what business was he conducting off the island?
    • How did Sayid end up working as an assassin in the future?
    • How did Sayid end up working for Ben in the future?
    • How did Ben get off the island? Did he escape on the freighter along with the Oceanic 6?
    • Did anyone else get off the island besides the Oceanic 6?
    • Who is the Economist that Elsa worked for?
    • What was the incident that Ben used to recruit Sayid into killing for him?
    • Why does Ben have a list of people he’s having Sayid kill in the off-island future?
    • How will killing the people on Ben’s list protect Sayid’s friends (presumably meaning the rest of the Oceanic 6)?

    There’s only one word to describe Sayid’s future scenes: awesome. Come on, who doesn’t want to see Sayid go all Jason Bourne, jet-setting around the globe and assassinating mysterious targets, international super-spy style. Just wicked cool. That scene on the golf course totally blew my mind the first time around.

    Interesting, is it not, that Kate used the phrase “playing house” to describe shacking up with Sawyer in one of the Barracks houses. This is the same phrase Juliet later used to describe her living arrangements with Sawyer when they are in 1977 in the Dharma Initiative.

    In retrospect, Locke just becomes more and more of a sad, misguided character. Watching him take charge in this episode, determined to protect his charges at all cost from the invading Freighter Folk, I was reminded that once again, he was being duped the whole time. Ben had convinced him — along with some help from “Walt,” who may or may not have been another avatar of Jacob’s nemesis — that the people coming to the island were coming to kill them all. And while it’s true that Keamy and his men would later prove to be willing to mow down anyone who got between them and Ben, they weren’t actually there to target the survivors. Locke was once again acting on his faith in what he believes to be the island and/or Jacob, but which more and more appears to be Jacob’s nemesis, manipulating Locke all the way to his bitter end.

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    4.02 “Confirmed Dead”

    The freighter sends four very unique individuals to the island, but the survivors quickly discover that rescue isn’t their reason for coming.

    Written by Drew Goddard & Brian K. Vaughan
    Directed by Stephen Williams

    Flashback

    An unspecified amount of time ago, an undersea salvage operation located what appeared to be the wreckage of Oceanic 815, in the Sunda Trench, off the coast of Bali. There were even bodies found with the plane.

    Daniel Faraday, in Essex, Massachusetts, watched the footage of the supposed discovery on his television set, while in a strangely fragile state of mind. He was unable to stop himself from crying, though he didn’t know why. Daniel would later travel to the island on board the Freighter, for unknown reasons, where his mind was seemingly healed and he was revealed to be a brilliant scientist.

    Around the same time that Daniel watched the news footage on TV, Miles Straume met with a client named Ms. Gardner, who wanted him to talk to her murdered son. He asked for $200 before venturing up to the boy’s room, where he deployed a strange device made from vacuum parts. The device seemed to enable him to talk to the boy, and he asked the kid to move on, but not before demanding to know where the boy hid a stash of drug money his mother knew nothing about. Miles took the money and went back downstairs, and reported to Ms. Gardner that it worked and her son had moved on.

    In Tunisia, Charlotte Lewis traveled to an archeological dig site with a friend, where she found a newspaper telling of Oceanic 815’s discovery on the ocean floor. She told her friend she didn’t believe the discovery of 815 was legitimate, before she used a large wad of cash to buy entrance to the “closed” dig site. The site was built around the skeleton of a polar bear, buried in the dirt. Charlotte dug into the ground around the partially-buried bear and found a collar that was around its neck when it was alive — a collar with a Dharma Initiative logo on it. The logo was for a Dharma station we’ve never seen before, and Charlotte was very excited to see it.

    Frank Lapidus was working at a travel agency in the Bahamas when the television report about Oceanic 815 came on. He got a look at the body of the pilot — Seth Norris — in the cockpit, from his TV, and he knew immediately that something was wrong. Frank was longtime friends with Norris, and knew that the image shown on TV couldn’t be him, because he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring. Frank called the special Oceanic hotline set up for friends and family members of the crash victims, and tried to tell them that the pilot of the plane they were showing on TV couldn’t possibly be Seth Norris — and Frank knew this because he was originally supposed to be the pilot of Oceanic 815.

    Naomi Dorrit was an experienced soldier, hired by Matthew Abaddon — or rather, Abaddon’s mysterious employer — to command the freighter mission. The two of them met before the freighter set sail to discuss the team that had been assembled, and Naomi wasn’t pleased about any of them. She asked what she was to do if they found survivors of Oceanic 815, but Abaddon insisted that there were no survivors of the crash. He explained that all four of these team members were selected for a specific purpose, and her job was to protect them.

    Now

    The helicopter sent to the island by the freighter carries four passengers: a physicist named Daniel Faraday, a biologist named Charlotte Lewis, a medium named Miles Straume, and the pilot, Frank Lapidus. The chopper nearly crashes on the island, causing the three main passengers to jump, but Frank manages to set it down safely. As a result, each of these four “Freighter Folk” lands in a different spot on the island, separated from one another. Daniel is the first to be found by Jack and Kate, who witness his parachute falling to the ground near their position at the downed cockpit of Oceanic 815. Daniel carries a gun, though he tried to keep them from seeing it. Daniel reveals his name to them and explains that he’s there to rescue them.

    The rain stops and Daniel asks for Jack’s satellite phone. He contacts George Minkowski on the phone, but George refuses to talk on speakerphone where Jack and Kate can hear. Daniel explains that he can use the sat phone to track the GPS markers each of the Freighter Folk are carrying, and asks Jack and Kate for their help in finding his friends. Later, they come across a steel crate that fell from the chopper and inside, Jack finds biohazard gear, including gas masks. Daniel’s a terrible liar, so Jack asks why he has a gun. Daniel finally admits that he and his friends aren’t really there to rescue the survivors. Jack asks what their true purpose is, but the sat phone picks up Miles’ GPS just then, and Daniel leads them to it.

    Out in the jungle, Locke leads his group to the Barracks, but decides to detour to Jacob’s cabin first. Hurley chimes in that the cabin isn’t in the direction they’re going, but then shrugs it off when Locke presses him about it. Ben and Locke both take special note of Hurley’s words. Sawyer, displeased as usual at Locke’s erratic behavior, asks where Locke is getting his orders from, and Locke casually explains that his orders came from Walt, who told him he had to stop Naomi from bringing her people to the island. When he reveals that Ben had shot him and left him for dead, Sawyer wants to know how he’s alive and well. Locke raises his shirt and shows him that the bullet went straight through, in the exact spot where his stolen kidney used to be, and that if it was still there, he’d probably be dead now. Everyone is awed by this.

    At the beach, Sayid and Juliet talk about the coming freighter, and why Ben said earlier that the Freighter Folk intend to kill them all. Juliet points out that Ben’s a liar, though there’s always the chance he could have been telling the truth this time. The two of them decide to gather their remaining weapons and be ready, just in case.

    Out at the bluffs, Jack, Kate, and Daniel find Miles’ unconscious on the rocks, still tethered to his parachute. When Jack attempts to revive him, Miles suddenly jumps up, gun in hand, and says he knows that Naomi’s death wasn’t an accident because her final words — “tell my sister I love her” — were a code. He demands to be taken to the place where Naomi lies dead. When they arrive, Miles “talks” to Naomi. Meanwhile, Daniel notes that “the light out here doesn’t scatter quite right.” Miles reports that Jack and Kate were telling the truth, that they didn’t kill Naomi. Charlotte’s GPS blips onto the phone’s screen just then, but Jack and Kate suddenly refuse to help anymore unless Miles and Daniel put down their guns. When Miles argues, Jack explains that his friends are in the woods nearby holding guns to Miles & Daniel’s heads, and right on cue, Sayid and Juliet appear with weapons pointed at the two of them.

    Out in the jungle, Locke’s group stops at a creek for water. Ben tries to talk to Alex, wanting to tell her something, but Karl uses a gun to threaten him into being quiet. Ben tries to get Karl riled up, but Sawyer comes to his rescue. So Ben turns his attention to Sawyer, playing with Sawyer’s unrequited feelings for Kate until Sawyer starts hitting him. Locke stops him, pointing out that they need Ben because he’s been on the island longer than any of them, but Sawyer’s had enough of the mind games and washes his hands of Ben for good, leaving him in Locke’s care alone.

    Charlotte Lewis wakes up, dangling upside down from a tree that her parachute has gotten tangled in. She’s hanging over a river, so when she frees herself, she falls into the water. Wading out of the river, she’s ecstatic at the sight of the island around her, until Locke and his group arrive at the river’s edge. The group stops to talk to her, and she tells them about the GPS devices and suggests they all sit tight until rescue arrives to cart them all back to the freighter. But Locke and the others are suspicious of her, pointing out that none of them want to be found by Charlotte’s friends.

    Juliet explains that she and Sayid grew worried when Jack and Kate didn’t return to the beach, so they went out to the cockpit and tracked them from there. As they walk towards Charlotte’s signal, carrying Naomi’s body on a stretcher, Sayid tries to interrogate Daniel and Miles about why they seem unsurprised to find survivors from Oceanic 815, when the rest of the world believes everyone on that plane died. Miles is cagy and sarcastic in response, but confirms that they weren’t surprised to find the survivors alive. Sayid tries to use the satellite phone to contact the other members of Daniel and Miles’ team, but the phone blinks to life, showing that Charlotte’s GPS is on the move. They give chase and quickly catch up to the signal, but it’s not Charlotte they find — it’s Vincent, who’s been given the GPS by Locke.

    Frank wakes up on the island and finds his sat phone broken. So he sends up a flare to signal his friends.

    Charlotte sees the flare and wants to go find her friend, but Locke refuses to allow it. Charlotte turns to go anyway, but is shot by Ben, who’s lifted the gun Karl had tucked in his pants. But it turns out Charlotte was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and she’s okay.

    Jack’s group tracks down Frank’s flare and asks him what happened to the helicopter. He says the chopper was struck by lightning, but it didn’t crash after all. He managed to land it safely, and the survivors are thrilled to discover he’s telling the truth. Sayid inspects the chopper and finds it to be intact. Miles asks for the sat phone back, but Jack wants to know the real reason Miles and his friends have come, in exchange. But Miles is unable to reach Minkowski on the boat when he calls in, because “he can’t come to the phone right now.” In a secluded spot, Juliet patches up a gash in the forehead Frank suffered when the chopper went down, and as they talk, he realizes that she was not on Oceanic 815. He calls out to Miles to tell him this, and Miles comes running. Miles finally explains what the Freighter Folk have come for, as he pulls out a photo of Ben. “We’re here for Benjamin Linus,” Miles says.

    As Charlotte recovers from her near death experience, Sawyer holds a gun to Ben’s head and slams him up against a tree. Locke tells Sawyer he was wrong, that they shouldn’t be keeping Ben alive after all, and asks for the gun so he can end Ben’s life at last. Ben tries to bargain for his life by offering answers about the island. Locke immediately asks him what the black smoke monster really is, but Ben says he doesn’t know. As Locke is about to pull the trigger, Ben shouts to the entire group a detailed biography of Charlotte, including her name, birth date, collegiate information, and facts about her family. Ben knows the names of her three companions as well, and he knows that they’ve come for him. Locke asks how Ben could possibly know all this, and Ben reveals that he has a double agent on their boat who’s been feeding him intel.

    • The woman who parachuted onto the island was a professional soldier for hire named Naomi Dorrit. She was commanding a mission to locate the island and either abduct or kill Benjamin Linus, on the orders of someone yet to be revealed. She did not work for Penny.
      Question: Who is the woman who parachuted onto the island, and how did she find it? Why did she come? Does she work for Penny? [3.17]
    • The presumed-fake Oceanic 815 wreckage was found in the Sunda Trench, off the coast of Bali.
      Question: Where was Oceanic 815’s wreck supposedly found? [3.18]
    • Most likely, they aren’t. This was another half-truth from Ben, who was trying to keep the Freighter Folk from finding him. The island doesn’t seem to be in any immediate danger from the freighter, though it remains to be seen the lengths the Freighter Folk will go to, to get to Ben.
      Question: Why are these people that Naomi works for such a threat to the island? [3.23]
    • The island isn’t under assault — Ben is.
      Question: What is the “assault” that the island is under, according to Ben? Is this related to the freighter? [3.22]
    • The Freighter Folk haven’t come to the island to rescue anyone. They’ve come to find Benjamin Linus.
      Question: If the people on the freighter aren’t there to rescue the survivors, then why are they there? [4.01]

    • Who owns/sent the freighter to find the island?
    • Why did Daniel Faraday cry when he saw the television footage of Oceanic 815 found in the Sunda Trench?
    • Why is Daniel Faraday so interested in the island?
    • What happened to Daniel’s mental stability in the past?
    • How did Daniel join the freighter’s crew?
    • What is Daniel’s mission on the island?
    • Is there a scientific reason Miles Straume is able to contact the dead, or is his gift merely an inexplicable trait, like Walt’s odd abilities?
    • How did Miles join the freighter’s crew?
    • What is Miles’ mission on the island?
    • How did one of the Dharma Initiative’s polar bears wind up in the desert of Tunisia?
    • What’s the Dharma station represented by the logo Charlotte found on the polar bear’s collar?
    • Charlotte recognized the Dharma logo on the polar bear’s collar. How does she know about the Dharma Initiative?
    • How did Charlotte join the freighter’s crew?
    • What is Charlotte’s mission on the island?
    • If Frank was originally supposed to be the pilot of Oceanic 815, why was he replaced by Seth Norris?
    • How did Frank join the freighter’s crew?
    • What did Daniel mean when he said that the light in the jungle didn’t “scatter quite right”?
    • How did the Freighter Folk know that the Oceanic 815 survivors were alive?
    • Why was Minkowski unable to come to the phone when Miles called?
    • Why are the Freighter Folk out to get Ben?
    • Who is the double agent on the freighter who’s working for Ben?

    I love the boldness of this episode. It positively crackled with electricity, energy, and momentum. The producers set an end date to the show midway through Season 3, so by this point, they’ve charted their exact course intricately. Lost’s storytellers are so confident here, plowing dead ahead with exciting new storylines, and I think you can feel a faster pace in this episode as well — a portent of things to come. The character development and mythology elements have become so entwined at this point that they are inseparable. This is the show at its best.

    Sadly, this episode represents the one and only Charlotte flashback we ever got. Of the four flashbacks in this hour, hers was by far the one that really jumped out at me. A polar bear from the island in the Tunisian desert? Holy crap! I was hoping we’d eventually get a full hour devoted to Charlotte, outlining her entire backstory, but it never happened. Probably because of the writer’s strike that famously shortened Season 4. Instead, the most vital parts of her history were crammed into one brief scene in the Season 5 episode “This Place is Death.”

    At the time of this writing, we have yet to get a proper Frank flashback episode, either. Hopefully this will be rectified at least a little in Season 6. I’m still curious to know why he got bumped aside as the captain of Oceanic 815.

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    4.01 “The Beginning of the End”

    As the survivors prepare for the arrival of the freighter, Hurley joins forces with Locke to convince everyone that the freighter isn’t there to rescue them.

    Written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse
    Directed by Jack Bender

    Flashforward


    In the off-island future, Hurley was revealed as one of the “Oceanic 6,” six survivors of Oceanic 815 who escaped the island. Jack watched from his apartment as a high-speed chase unfolded on television, and seeing the vintage Camero involved in the pursuit, he realized who the occupant was: Hurley. Hurley crashed his car into a used car lot but was finally apprehended by the police chasing him, though he tried to get out of it by proclaiming himself “one of the Oceanic 6.”

    At the police station, the cop questioning Hurley — Ana-Lucia’s former partner, Mike Walton — reviewed a security tape showing that he had been at a convenience store, where he saw something off-camera that spooked him so badly that he ran, leading to the car chase that got him arrested. Walton asked Hurley about Ana-Lucia, but Hurley lied and said he’d never met her. The cop left to get a donut, and while he was gone, the room’s two-way mirror turned into an underwater window, where Charlie briefly swam up and placed his palm against the glass, causing it to shatter. Written on Charlie’s palm, and visible for only a fraction of a second, were the words, “They need you.” Hurley went berserk, believing the room to be flooding, so Walton returned and threatened to send Hurley back to the mental hospital where he was once a patient. Believing the offer to be genuine, Hurley gratefully accepted.

    In the mental institution, Hurley was visited by a man named Matthew Abaddon, who claimed to be an attorney for Oceanic Airlines. He offered to have Hurley placed in a better facility, but Hurley declined. When Hurley suspected that Abaddon wasn’t telling the truth about who he really was, Abaddon asked, “Are they still alive?” referring to the rest of the Oceanic survivors. Knowing that no one but his friends are supposed to know that there were any other survivors of Oceanic 815, Hurley freaked out and demanded that the hospital staff remove Abaddon from the facility.

    Some time later, Hurley received a second visitor in the form of Charlie, his deceased friend. Hurley was stunned and suspicious of his own mental faculties, as we learned that seeing Charlie was what sent Hurley into his panicked escape from the convenience store that started all this. Charlie explained simply that he really was dead, but he was “also here,” now, talking to Hurley. Charlie urged him to do what he secretly knew he must, and even inferred that the real reason Hurley ran from the sight of Charlie at the store was because he already knew this and was hiding from it. Before he vanished, Charlie repeated the message written on his hand at the police station, saying, “They need you, Hugo.”

    Hurley received his third visitor in a few days’ time: Jack. After the two of them sparred over a game of basketball and engaged in some small talk about settling back into life away from the island, Hurley asked why Jack really came. Jack claimed he was only concerned about his friend, but Hurley saw the truth, that Jack was worried that Hurley’s mental state might lead him to reveal that the Oceanic 6 weren’t the only survivors of the crash. Instead of answering, Hurley apologized for not trusting Jack on the island, the day the freighter people arrived. He said he should have stayed with Jack instead of going with Locke. Hurley suddenly blurted out that they should never have left the island, and that the island would do everything it could to get them to return. Jack angrily replied that they were never going back, but Hurley warned him to “never say never.”

    Now


    At the beach, Hurley radios Jack and finds out that Jack was successful in contacting the freighter, and that they were all about to be rescued. Hurley spreads the news to everyone else, and then tells Bernard that he believes his luck has finally changed. The money he’d won in the lottery will be gone by now because everyone believed he was dead, so when he gets home, he’ll be free. Hurley does a cannonball dive in celebration but when he reaches the surface, he sees Desmond returning to the beach alone, without Charlie. Desmond, remembering Charlie’s warning that the freighter is “not Penny’s boat,” quickly warns the others that Jack can’t be allowed to contact the freighter, but they tell him it’s too late. Hurley demands to know where Charlie is; Desmond apologizes that he couldn’t save him. Aside from Hurley, Sawyer and Sayid — the two who’ve known Charlie the longest — are most profoundly affected by the news.

    Kate returns from a sweep around the radio tower, and reports to Jack that Locke has seemingly disappeared. They talk about Locke’s murder of Naomi, and Jack vows that if Locke returns, he’ll kill him. Nearby, Ben asks Danielle to take Alex and get as far away from everyone else as possible, because he believes the people on the freighter intend to kill them all. But Danielle isn’t interested in his rantings.

    Later, Jack receives a call on the satellite phone from George Minkowski on the freighter, who asks to speak to Naomi. Jack makes up an excuse about Naomi’s unavailability, but Kate quickly alerts him that Naomi’s body has vanished from where she fell when Locke killed her. Ben is still tied to a nearby tree, but when Jack asks about what became of Naomi, Ben feigns ignorance. As the survivors prepare to leave the tower, Danielle reports to Jack that she’s found Naomi’s blood trail, and believes that she didn’t yet die from her injury and has crawled away. She wants to follow the trail, and Jack agrees but wants to bring Ben along because he doesn’t want to take his eyes off of the deceitful man. But Kate locates a second blood trail and suggests that Naomi may have made a decoy trail to throw them off. She says they can’t afford to take that chance and volunteers to follow the second trail. Jack disagrees, but Kate goes off to follow the second trail on her own anyway.

    Sayid argues with his friends about contacting Jack over the walkie-talkie to give Charlie’s warning. Sayid believes such a plan to be folly, since the people on the freighter are no doubt monitoring all communications, and would be alerted to the survivors’ suspicions about them. Sawyer disagrees, but before he can make the call to Jack, Hurley grabs the walkie and tosses it into the ocean, saying that they need to get going to catch up with Jack and the others before the freighter people arrive. The group loads up with guns leftover from the Others’ attack, and heads out to intercept the rest of their friends. As they trek through the jungle later that night, Sawyer catches Hurley alone and offers an uncharacteristic moment of sympathy. But Hurley prefers to suffer in silence. He stops for a moment, lost in thought, and suddenly loses track of his friends. He wanders in the dark until he stumbles across the cabin where Locke recently “met” Jacob. There’s a light burning inside, and Hurley hears Whispers all around.

    Danielle and Jack discover that the blood trail they’re following was a dummy trail, which means Kate was right. Jack finds that the satellite phone is missing, and Ben points out that Kate took it when they embraced before leaving the radio tower, and now she’s out following the correct blood trail.

    Alone, Kate is still following the trail when the satellite phone rings. She answers it and talks to Minkowski, who’s nonplussed to discover that Naomi is missing. Running out of things to say, Kate abruptly ends the call. But Naomi jumps from a tree branch overhead and holds Locke’s knife against Kate’s neck. Naomi demands the phone, which starts to ring again, while Kate explains that she and her friends were not responsible for Naomi’s attack — that was Locke, who believes that Naomi isn’t who she claims to be. Kate hands over the phone, but Naomi lies about her injury and tells Minkowski that she was impaled by a tree branch when she parachuted in. Minkowski promises her they’ll be there soon to get her, but Naomi dies, with her last words to Minkowski being “Tell my sister that I love her.”

    Hurley approaches the cabin and peeks in through a window. He sees a man in Jacob’s rocking chair (a man who looks like Christian Shephard), before another pair of eyes appear right on the other side of the window and peer at him. Spooked, Hurley flees into the jungle, but quickly finds himself staring right back at the cabin again, as if it’s been moved. But the cabin soon disappears, and Hurley instead runs into Locke. Hurley tells Locke about what happened to Charlie, and about Charlie’s warning that the people on the freighter aren’t who they claim to be. Locke agrees that Jack shouldn’t have contacted the freighter, and the two of them decide to team up to try and convince Jack and everyone else that the freighter isn’t here to rescue anyone.

    Hurley and Locke catch up with the group from the beach at the place where the Oceanic plane’s cockpit came to rest. Sayid is angry at Locke’s arrival, still holding a grudge against him for destroying the Others’ submarine. Jack and his people arrive just then, and while everyone is reunited, Claire wanders around looking for Charlie. Desmond steps forward to deliver the news, but Hurley stops him and says he’ll do it. Unable to keep his emotions in check any longer, Hurley very emotionally reveals to Claire that Charlie’s dead, and the two of them share an embrace of mutual grief. Jack, Danielle, and Ben suddenly arrive, and Jack viciously attacks Locke. Jack takes Locke’s revolver, and even though Locke says he knows Jack won’t shoot him, Jack shocks everyone by pulling the trigger. But the gun isn’t loaded. The others break up the fight, and Locke addresses everyone, promising that everything he’s ever done has been in the best interests of them all. Kate returns and informs everyone that Naomi is dead, but Locke says that when the freighter people arrive, all of their lives will be in danger. He announces that he’s going to the Barracks, because there’s some security in place there, and he implores them to come along. Jack argues that no one is crazy enough to go with Locke, but Hurley speaks up, reminding everyone of the warning Charlie died to give them. He’s decided to listen to his friend’s warning instead of Jack, and agrees to go with Locke to the Barracks. Sawyer (over Kate’s objections), Claire, Danielle, Alex, and Karl also move over to Locke’s side, along with a few other survivors. Ben asks Jack if he can go with Locke too, and Jack agrees, handing over his prisoner. A downpour falls, and Locke’s group departs, and so do the survivors headed back to the beach.

    Jack and Kate stay behind and stare into the cockpit, thinking about Charlie and how the three of them came out to the cockpit together the day after the crash. But soon they hear a helicopter overhead, and see someone jump from it. They run toward the falling parachute and quickly find him on the ground. The man removes his helmet, spots the two of them, and asks, “Are you Jack?”

    • Six.
      Question: How many of the survivors escaped from the island? [3.23]

    • Who are the Oceanic 6?
    • Why did only six of the survivors escape the island?
    • What’s become of the survivors who didn’t escape the island?
    • Why do the survivors left behind on the island need Hurley (and presumably the rest of the Oceanic 6) to go back?
    • Who is Matthew Abaddon?
    • How does Matthew Abaddon know that the Oceanic 6 were not the only survivors of the plane crash?
    • Who did Hurley see in the rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin?
    • Who was the second person Hurley saw in Jacob’s cabin (the one that appeared at the window)?
    • If the people on the freighter aren’t there to rescue the survivors, then why are they there?

    As if the whole flash-forward thing didn’t bring home the fact that the rules of the show had suddenly changed, the clever narrative structure of this episode did the job very well. When Hurley revealed to Claire on the island that Charlie was dead, and then we immediately saw the flash forward where Hurley was visited by dead Charlie… And when Hurley made his impassioned speech on the island in defiance of Jack, and then we saw Hurley apologize to Jack for that very action after they’d escaped from the island… This was when I realized the depth of just how drastically the show’s storytelling structure had been altered, and strengthened. No longer were we relegated to viewing vaguely-relevant flashbacks that informed the characters’ current actions on the island. Now, the writers were free to jump around in the story’s timeline to convey their stories in a whole new way.

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