Things are really moving now, both on and off the island.
Spoilers from tonight’s episode after the break.
Links and miscellanea:
- Jeopardy Ken Jennings has some thoughts at his blog on this season’s Lost and whether the writers are taking full advantage of the possibilities that time travel presents.
- ABC has produced some humorous videos they are calling “Lost Untangled” and posting them on the official website. Others have pointed out that the videos aren’t exactly original in execution.
- Daniel Dae Kim (“Jin”) has some things to say about the monster, suggesting that we’re about to find a whole lot more about it.
- Daniel Dae Kim is also featured prominently in the most recent video podcast.
- Truly the man of the hour (week) TV Guide also has an interview with Kim Interesting side note: Kim will be starring in The King and I in London in June.
- TV Guide’s Mega Buzz has a tip from the writers that it’s not who left the island, but when and how they left that makes returning the Oceanic Six so crucial. So we can all stop speculating about Walt and Michael, et al., needing to also be brought back.
- Michael Emerson (“Ben”) is happy that the writers set an end date for the show, calling it a “bold stroke.”
- Here’s a pretty funny interview with Emerson at The Daily Beast. My favorite bit: “Q: On what kind of sitcom would you like to guest star? A: I think Ben and John Locke [from Lost] should be roommates in Brooklyn. And then just have wacky adventures.” And here’s one with Elizabeth Mitchell (“Juliet”).
Observations and speculations:
- This was a strong episode, even though a couple of the big reveals (i.e., Eloise Hawking is Faraday’s mother, Charlotte spent time on the island as a child) were not so surprising to those who have been following closely.
- Ji Yeon, Jin and Sun’s child, may yet play a larger role in the story. If my theory I introduced last week has anything to it, then the fact that Ji Yeon was conceived on the island might have significance to the Others, even if Ben hasn’t realized it yet.
- I found Jin’s t-shirt, with the tiny red star slightly off center on the back, to be distracting. Have we seen this shirt before?
- We now have the basic backstory behind Rousseau and her people. They arrived at the island when their vessel was disabled and followed the transmission of the numbers. Monstead lost his arms when he was pulled underground by the Smoke Monster and the other members of the crew tried to pull back. After they entered the Temple, Rousseau (who did not go into the Temple) became convinced that the members of the French research team had become “sick.” (This is the sickness that Rousseau talked about in season 1.) Ultimately, Rousseau was responsible for killing them all.
- It’s interesting to review what Rousseau said about this incident in season 1 (“Solitary,” episode 1.9). The context: Sayid has taken off on a solo journey to explore the island, partially out of shame for torturing Sawyer, and finds a cable on the beach that leads into the jungle. While in the jungle, he hears whispers, then is captured by a Crazy French Woman, who suspects him of being an Other and tortures him to find out what has happened to Alex. At one point, he tries to escape by grabbing a gun and pointing at her. The following exchange takes place:
SAYID: Please, I don’t wish to hurt you.
DANIELLE: You already have.
[Sayid fires, but nothing happens.]
DANIELLE: The firing pin has been removed. Robert didn’t notice it was missing, either — when I shot him.
SAYID: But you loved him.
DANIELLE: He was sick.
DANIELLE: It took them, one after the other. I had no choice. They were already lost.
SAYID: You killed them.
DANIELLE: What would have happened if we were rescued? I couldn’t let that happen. I won’t.
[Sayid throws the rifle down.]
- We also learned about the French research party in the season 1 finale “Exodus,” where Danielle told the Flight 815 survivors: “Our ship went aground on this island 16 years ago. There were 6 of us — my team, 6. At that time I was already 7 months pregnant. I delivered the infant myself. The baby and I were together for only 1 week when I saw black smoke — a pillar of black smoke 5 kilometers inland. That night they came — they came and took her — Alex. They took my baby. And now, they’re coming again. They’re coming for all of you.”
- I liked the line from the tall, blond Frenchman (Montand): “First a boat, then a helicopter. Next thing you know he’ll be talking about a submarine.”
- It’s probably not worth mentioning that the men in the French research team all look like male fashion models. So I won’t mention it.
- This was our first sighting of the Smoke Monster this season. Smokey took offense at Nadine, doing her the way he did the Pilot and Mr. Eko.
- This was also our first ever sighting of The Temple. The Temple appears to date from what I’ll call the island’s “paleolithic” era (this is distinguishable from the ancient Classical era of giant, four-toed statues). On the temple there are vaguely Egyptian-looking glyphs of the sort that are seen a few other places on the island—on the stone chamber beneath the Orchid Station and on the old stone door in the secret chamber underneath Ben’s bungalow in the Other/DHARMA’s barracks.
- In season one, Danielle commented about the “dark territory” near the Black Rock and said, “This is where it all began — where my team got infected — where Montand lost his arm. We must move quickly.” Now we know in gruesome detail exactly how Montand lost his arm, but we also know that the Temple is in what Danielle refers to as “dark territory” and near the old trading ship.
- Why would Smokey have been dragging Montand into the Temple if it is truly a security system meant to protect the Temple (as Robert suggests)? Wouldn’t it be better to drag folks away from the Temple?
- When Jin flashes again, he is at a slightly later time. As he comes to the beach where Danielle and the science expedition have made their camp, we see the beginnings of Danielle’s future survivalist bunker, the one Sayid is taken to in the episode “Solitary.” There is a box of explosives taken from the Black Rock, no doubt retrieved shortly after Montand’s dismemberment. We also see the music box that Danielle asks Sayid to fix, the one that she said was an anniversary gift from Robert and brought her comfort during her first few years on the island. We also see Lacombe’s violin.
- As Jin explores further, he sees the dead corpses of Brennan and Lacombe, which are attracting flies. Danielle seems to have already begun executing them.
- Danielle believes that the men were “changed” and became “sick” when the went into the Temple. Perhaps the “sickness” has to do with being spiritually inculcated into the island’s primative religion. Maybe this is what makes the Others so brutal and inscrutable to outsiders. If this is the sickness, then Locke is very sick at this point.
- Best Miles line of the episode: “Um…He’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”
- So how, exactly, does Charlotte know Korean, anyway? Will we ever find out? At least we never had to hear her speak Klingon.
- The build-up to the visit with Ms. Hawking was kind of anti-climatic. Ben even uses the non-gender-specific “them” to refer to her early in the episode to keep us in the dark about who he’s leading Sun toward, even though it seems pretty obvious, just as it was obvious about three episodes that Ms. Hawking is Faraday’s mother.
- Charlotte utters the episode’s title (“this place is death”) when she tries to persuade Jin to keep Locke from bringing Sun back to the island, also foretelling her own death.
- When Ben tells Jack and Sun that he’s had to do a lot to keep them safe, he sound very convincing. I don’t think he’s lying. But I don’t think he’s being totally truthful, either. I think he has his own motives for protecting Sun, Jack and the other Oceanic 6 members: he knows that returning them to the island is part of Jacob’s plan. He’s not at all concerned about their personal safety.
- Charlotte lapses into the same state that Faraday’s former research assistant, Theresa Spenser. Sometimes she’s lucid, but other times she’s unaware of how old she is, or where she is. Unlike Theresa, she’s not at all stable and is fading fast.
- Best Sawyer line (after Juliet comments on how fortunate the Orchid Station is around, then—flash!—it disappears): “You just had to say something.”
- The well also appears to be from the paleolithic era, though there are no glyphs on it.
- Charlotte’s death soliloquy reveals a few key facts. First, her family was part of the DHARMA Initiative, though her mother left and tried to convince Charlotte that the whole thing never happened. Her father stayed behind. This was way Charlotte became an anthropologist—to find the island. This explains the excitement Charlotte had when we first saw her at an anthropological site in the Sahara, uncovering a polar bear skeleton and a DHARMA bear collar. We also find out that Faraday was on the island, warning her to never come back and foretelling her death.
- Rebecca Mader deserves mad props for her performance this season. She looked like hell (even though she’s a very attractive person), and her part had to have been challenging. I guess now she’s nothing more than a possible recurring walking dead person.
- When the flash happens and the well disappears (with Locke beneath it) Sawyer is left with a rope sticking from the ground. This tells us that anything the Left Behinders are in direct contact with time-skips with them. This helps explain why the boats that the Left Behinders were paddling didn’t disappear when the flashes happened last week.
- Charlotte’s last words: “I’m not allowed to have chocolate before dinner.” Is this an allusion to something, maybe?
- Locke once again sees Christian Shepard (or, at least, something assuming the form of Christian). I was completely convinced that this is not, in fact, Christian at all, but Jacob assuming Christian’s image. But then, at the end of the scene, he says, “Say hello to my son” and then there’s a cut to a shot of Jack. On the other hand, maybe this is a misdirection and the being using Christian’s form is actually the father to someone else (Ben, maybe?). It also may be relevant that Christian-person says he can’t help Locke. This may be because he does not have a tangible, corporeal body at all. Hmm. This is pretty near the top of my list of things I want explained: what’s up with the walking dead?
- Chirstian-person also tells Locke that he was supposed to move the island, not Ben, and that the Frozen Donkey Wheel has “slipped of its axis.” He also makes it clear that Locke will have to sacrifice his life for the cause (whatever the cause is).
- I guess we’ll find out next week whether Locke’s turn at the wheel corrected things for now and stopped the nosebleeds. I still think it will take the O6’s return for everything to get back to “normal.”
- Meanwhile, back at Ms. Hawking’s church, Ben does a masterful job of manipulating Sun and committing her to return to the island. One of his half-truths is revealed when he tells Jack that although he said Locke never came to see him, he went to Locke. (He’s a sneaky one, that Ben.)
- One third of the Oceanic Six is not a very good success rate, but it was the best that could be done “on such short notice.” Those remaining four (Sayid, Hurley, Kate and Aaron) seem pretty adamant about not following Ben, though. Ms. Hawking says it will “have to do for now.”
Most of this episode took place on the island, which might be why I enjoyed it so much. Right now, the island is where most of the exciting things are happening.
Anyone have any good insights or nascent theories after watching “This Place is Death”? If so, please share.