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February 16, 2009 |

By Daniel Carlson | Lost Recaps | February 16, 2009 |

One thing’s for sure: “Lost” is definitely bringing the action this season. The latest episode, “This Place Is Death” — which wins for best episode title of the series, ever — continues in the successful vein of recent episodes by keeping the narrative tightly focused on a rapidly unfolding series of events. You can chalk it up to the fact that the series has a set endpoint (its next season, airing in spring 2010, will be the last) and the fact that the show’s fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons contain will have fewer episodes than the first half of the series’ run. Ultimately, it makes for a tighter, more cohesive kind of experience; this season feels more like a ridiculously detailed miniseries than just a typically broad chunk of episodes. “This Place Is Death” covers maybe an hour of chronology for the characters, but man, a lot of interesting and crazy things happen, including death, dismemberment, and compound fractures. Let’s get to it.

The episode opens with Sun still sitting in her car, watching the awkward reunion of Ben and the non-incarcerated members of the Oceanic Six. She gets a call on her clunky and surprisingly dated cell phone — it’s 2007, she needs an update — and it’s her mom, holding Ji Yeon. Sun says that she’s still in Los Angeles, “finishing up” what she came to do, but is coming home the next day. Ji Yeon comes on the phone to say howdy, and Sun tells her daughter she found a playmate for her in the States, casting a glance back at Aaron. Sun, who’s gotten really weird since leaving the island, is apparently intent on putting Kate through her own personal version of Not Without My Daughter. Ji Yeon tells her mom to come home soon, which almost sends Sun right over the edge into tears, but it’s not enough to keep her from contemplating homicide. Sun says, “Annyong,” then hangs up the phone and grabs her Cornballer pistol and steps out of her car. Striding down the dock, she catches the tail end of the conversation in which Ben reminds Kate that Aaron isn’t her son, at which point Sun cocks the gun, bursts into the group, and tells Kate to back up so she can starting dropping fools. Kate runs down to retrieve Aaron from the car while Sun starts in on her speech to Ben about how he’s the one responsible for Jin’s death. “I didn’t kill your husband, Sun,” Ben meekly protests, “and neither did anyone else, because he’s not dead.” Everyone stops a moment to process this, and Sun — not unreasonably, given their track record — accuses Ben of lying. But Ben says he can prove it.

Cut to Jin, out on Hell Island in 1988 with Rousseau and the rest of her crew. Montand is monitoring a handheld radio that’s spitting out the Numbers through static. Rousseau starts talking to Jin, who’s starting to piece together the latest bit of insanity the island has coughed up. When Rousseau says she and her crew sailed from Tahiti, Jin wants to know when, but Rousseau’s reply of November 15 isn’t what he wants to hear. “What year?” he asks with force. “1988,” she tells him, like he’s the crazy one. Jin starts to back away and says he has to go find his camp, ignoring Rousseau and Robert’s questions about whether he’d been on the island before. Jin asks if they saw the helicopter, but Montand dismissed him in French, saying, “Next thing you know, he’ll be talking about a submarine.” Ah, inside jokes. Montand tries to round up the group and get moving in the direction of the radio signal so that they can find the antenna and call for help. Jin is already trying to leave, but Robert stops him and attempts to ask if Jin knows the location of an antenna on the island. Robert haltingly repeats his question as he draws a decent-looking tower in the sand to make his point, and though Jin says he knows about the antenna, he’s anxious to find his camp in case the helicopter is there. Rousseau, though, steps in and helps Jin realize that while he can’t find his camp from their current location, he can find the tower, and from there the route back to his camp. Jin reluctantly agrees to come with them before trying to get back to where he belongs, and Montand leads Robert and Rousseau past the unnamed extras who will probably die soon. Robert gives Rousseau a tender kiss on her forehead, pretty much sealing his own fate, as well, and Jin looks depressed and homesick at the sight of another husband and wife. Rousseau turns to Jin and asks who he’s trying to find back at his camp. “My wife,” he responds quietly, then walks away.

Out in the jungle, Jin and the expedition team are following the signal when Rousseau grabs her belly in pain and stumbles against a tree. Robert rushes up to check on her, saying he knew it was a mistake for her to come in her condition. Rousseau brushes it off, saying, “She just gave me a little kick.” At this point Robert and Rousseau have a slightly nauseating talk about their baby’s gender, with Robert pulling for a son and Rousseau claiming she knows it will be a girl. Asking a colleague for water, Robert is told that Nadine is carrying the canteen, but when he turns to check the rear of the line, Nadine is nowhere to be seen. They call out to her, but she’s gone, just like that. Montand, who must rely solely on looks and not personality, complains, “This is what happens when you bring women. She’s probably off chasing a butterfly.” Dude, she’s not 7. Everyone’s looking around, worried, but Jin is tenser than the rest, since he’s been dealing with this kind of voodoo for three months now. Just then, there’s a groaning rumble in the distance that means carnage is not far away. Rousseau and Robert ask Jin what the noise means. He just says, “Monster.” This is definitely not what they wanted to hear. Rousseau says they need to find Nadine, but Jin is all about hauling ass and avoiding the smoke monster. Montand, who’s suddenly all about his people, tells Jin to shut up and leads the group back down their trail to find Nadine. Jin reluctantly follows, probably figuring that if anything, he can outrun them when the monster makes its inevitable return. Finding her backpack in a bush, the team decides to split up and search for her, but before they can, trees start exploding out of the ground as the monster returns. They look up to see Nadine’s bloody corpse fall to the ground. Rousseau tries to revive her, but Jin shouts for everyone to run as the noises grow louder. They tear through the woods — and really, Rousseau is moving way too quickly for a woman who’s supposed to be seven months along — and stop at a clearing, where Montand sees the emerging wisps of the smoke monster circling the group. The cloud rears up and roars, grabbing Montand and dragging him back through the woods. Everyone runs after the guy, catching up to him just before he’s pulled completely underground through a crack in the foundation of a temple. Jin and the rest are holding onto Montand’s arm and trying to pull him out of the hole, but the monster isn’t about to give up its prey. A smoky tendril reaches up and wraps around Montand’s left arm at the shoulder, and before you know it, the arm snaps off, leaving the expedition team holding a bloody stump as Montand is sucked underground. This is the most gruesome kill yet for the monster, last seen attacking Keamy’s crew at the Barracks.

Robert asks Jin what the hell just happened, but before Jin can formulate an answer or launch into his own theories about the smoke monster’s attack patterns in re: the sonar fence, they hear Montand calling for help from down below. He tells them that “it’s gone” and that he’s hurt and needs help. Robert moves to go down there, but Jin tries to stop him. But Robert’s a strong believer in never leaving a brother behind, so he and the other two remaining men start to clamber down into the crack in the ground. Rousseau, who’s apparently forgotten about her impending childbirth, actually tries to go with them, but Jin stops her: “No! You don’t go … with baby.” This is a great line of dialogue because it allows Jin to give Rousseau a legit reason to stay topside but also reveals how much of his own future he’s beginning to witness; he knows Rousseau will be the sole surviving member of her team, and so he has to stop her. Did someone else stop her the first time? Or did he always stop her, since he’s now in the past? Regardless, Rousseau agrees to stay out of the hole. She picks up the scoped rifle that will be here trademark in a couple decades and stands watch over the hole, and as she does so, the sky starts to light up again. Jin, who’s been unconscious for the past few jumps, has no idea what’s going on, grabs his head and braces for impact. Episode director Paul Edwards (“Cabin Fever”) gives the time jumps a much more impressionistic look than they previously had, zooming and shaking as Jin is hit with the time shock. When the light recedes, Jin stands and gets his first good look at the ruined temple, which is marked with hieroglyphs. Is this the temple Ben mentioned as the safehouse, where he tried to send Alex and Rousseau, during which journey Rousseau was killed? Jin leans in to examine the crack in the ground but winds up stepping on the rotted remains of Montand’s arm, pretty well decayed. This could be the shortest “distance” yet traveled in a time jump. Jin runs off, drinking water found collected in a giant leaf to regain a little strength. Looking across a hill, he sees a small plume of smoke, and he arrives at the beach to see a primitive camp that’s been torn apart. Jin sees Rousseau’s music box — which Sayid will fix years from then — sitting open on the sand, playing for no one. He checks a bag for food, but the sound of flies mean he’s about to find something dead. Sure enough, stepping over a violin case and looking around, he spots two bodies laid out: Lacombe and Brennan, two of the three who went down under the temple, dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Jin hears an argument nearby and hides behind a small tree as Robert appears, backing away from a still-pregnant Rousseau. She’s got the rifle aimed at him and is accusing him of not being the real Robert. “That thing changed you!” she says. Robert tells her he loves her and to stop acting this way, but Rousseau isn’t having any of it. “The monster made you sick,” she tells him, chambering a round. Robert calmly replies that the smoker monster is actually just a security system for the temple, then pleads with her to put down her gun so that she and their baby don’t wind up hurt. Rousseau slowly lowers her rifle, but as soon as she looks down, Robert brings his own weapon up and pulls the trigger. Nothing but a dry click. (Rousseau, as she told/will tell Sayid, took out the firing pin.) Rousseau draws up and shoots Robert in the head as Jin runs from the bushes, shouting for her to stop. However, Rousseau isn’t exactly in the mood to greet a time-traveler, and she tells Jin that his disappearance must mean he is also “sick” and in league with the smoke monster. She opens fire as Jin runs into the jungle, falling down as a time flash hits again. As Jin gets to his feet, he hears a rifle being cocked and a man’s voice telling him to turn around slowly. He does as ordered, coming face to face with Sawyer. Their eyes widen as they realize what’s happened, and there’s a nice reunion hug as Han gets his Chewie back. Sawyer says he’d written Jin off for dead, but Jin explains that he was in the water when the boat exploded. As Jin examines the small band of castaways who are left, his smile fades. “Where is Sun?” he asks.

As Sawyer tries to explain what’s been going on, Faraday, Miles, and Charlotte refill their canteens and lay down some exposition. Miles wants to know where Jin came from, and Faraday responds that the Kahana’s explosion must’ve thrown him in the water, causing him to move with every flash, just like everyone else. This concept is proving hard for Sawyer to demonstrate for Jin, who’s face grows increasingly blank as Sawyer uses small words and hand gestures to try and get across what’s happening. Jin lets loose a frustrated burst of Korean before striding over to the science team and asking Charlotte to translate. Sawyer tells Miles to translate, but Miles responds, “Uh, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.” A zinger from Miles! What a card. But Jin knew what he was doing telling to Charlotte to translate; he’s known she could speak Korean ever since last season’s “Something Nice Back Home,” when Jin realized that Charlotte was unconsciously reacting to the conversations Jin and Sun were having in Korean. Jin’s been holding onto that card for a while, and he knew when to play it. But Locke puts it together as Jin repeats himself to Charlotte, though Charlotte’s Acting 101 poker face doesn’t help her at all. She gives up and says, “He wants to know how you’re sure his wife is off the island.” Locke doesn’t even let this revelation sway him from his determination to keep moving to the Orchid, so he tells Charlotte to just tell Jin that Locke knows what’s going on and that they have to proceed. Charlotte does as she’s told, telling Jin that the Orchid is a way off the island. “Locke’s planning to leave here,” she tells him, “and bring back all of your friends. Including your wife.” She adds that Locke thinks this is the only way to stop the time flashes. Jin turns to Locke to make sure he’s getting the story right, and that Locke does want to bring Sun back. Locke says Sun has to return because “she never should have left.”

Back in the present, Sun still has her gun trained on Ben. She reminds him (for some reason) that she’s spent the last three years believing Jin is dead, and she takes a step closer to Ben, demanding to see the “proof” of Jin’s existence. Ben asks her to put down the gun so that no one gets hurt, which is not at all what Sun wanted to hear. She jams the gun against Ben’s neck and yells, “How do you know he’s alive?” Kate reappears with Aaron and tosses him into her car as Ben does his best to not get shot by a grieving half-widow. He tells her that there’s someone right there in L.A. who can help. “Let me take you to them,” Ben says, “and I’ll show you the proof.” When Sun wants to know who this person is, Ben replies that it’s the same person who’s going to show the Six how to get back to the island. The look on Jack’s face makes it clear this is not how he wanted that shoe to drop. Kate turns on Jack, pissed off and incredulous that he knew about Ben’s plan, but come on, Kate, it wasn’t five minutes ago that you heard Jack say Ben was “with” him, so you had to figure they had a plan going. Kate kicks up the histrionics a level and accuses Jack of “pretending to care about Aaron” just to convince her to go back to the island, but Jack fights that one, saying he wasn’t faking his concern for them. Kate’s already walking away, though, and she tells Jack to stay away as she gets in her car. Sayid has just about hit his crazy quota for the week, so he turns to leave as well. Ben tries to stop him — still with a gun at his throat — but Sayid says, “I don’t want any part of this.” Turning to Jack, he adds, “And if I see you or him again, it will be extremely unpleasant for all of us.” Somehow I don’t think Sayid would personally find it unpleasant to kill Ben or teach Jack a lesson, but whatever, point made. And like that, the attempted reunion of the Oceanic Six, already hindered by Hurley’s imprisonment, is broken up. It’s just Sun, Ben, and Jack left on the pier. Ben reiterates that proof of Jin’s life is close at hand. “We can be there in thirty minutes,” he says. “Or you can shoot me and never know.” This is always a pointless bluff in narratives because the person with the gun never commits. Granted, I don’t want Ben to die, but it would be nice to hear this exchange and have the gunman say, “Fine,” then blow someone away. But Sun just says, “Let’s go.”

Back on Hell Island, the castaways are trudging along the bank of a muddy creek when Jin wants to know how much farther they have to go. Locke tells him the Orchid is just over the next ridge. Jin asks Locke how the older man will leave the island, and Locke admits he doesn’t know. Jin then says he’ll go with Locke, but Locke tells him that’s not possible since it’s a “one-man job.” But Locke can’t explain why he believes this, just that he knows it to be true. And when he tells Jin that no matter what, he’ll bring Sun back, Jin is even more unsure of whether Locke should be doing what he’s attempting to do. Jin, after all, was willing to sacrifice himself to get Sun and their baby off the island, so he’s probably not anxious for her to return as much as he is to leave and be reunited with her away from smoke monsters. At the rear of the caravan, Faraday is checking on Charlotte’s state of mind, and she looks completely terrible: pale, washed out, and exhausted. Attempting to break the ice, Faraday asks her if she speaks any other languages. She replies, “Just Klingon,” which is the kind of unfunny joke people make on the verge of death. She asks Faraday if Locke’s plan will actually work, and he says it makes empirical sense for something that started at the Orchid to also stop there. This smells like shenanigans, but the guy can make a rat’s consciousness travel through time, so it’s fine. However, he adds that they’re going to “leave science behind” if they assume that bringing back the Six will somehow stop the temporal shifts. Speak of the devil: Just the then, the sky starts to light up, and Charlotte lets out a plaintive “Oh no!” as they travel through time again. (This episode is really annoyingly over the top with the zooms and cuts during the time jumps, like this is “CSI” or something.) The light recedes to reveal the jungle at night, but they only rest for a few seconds before another flash hits, eliciting a pissed “Come on!” from Sawyer and the pained groans from Charlotte of someone about to be mentally crushed by time travel. Everyone grabs their heads as the flash hits, and they look around to see it’s daytime again. Unfortunately, that last jump was too much for Charlotte, who collapses. Faraday attempts to revive her as everyone else runs over, but Charlotte just stares blankly up at the sky. Sawyer and Juliet, who are crouched on opposite sides of Charlotte, each notice that the other has blood under their nose. This is a great device to up the stakes for those left behind. Instead of just trying to survive the time jumps and wait on Locke’s plan to work or for rescue from an outside source, the fact that they’re slowly being killed by the time flashes puts a deadline on their part of the story. Charlotte comes around, but instead of responding to Faraday, she sits up as much as she can and starts babbling at Jin in Korean. Sawyer asks for a translation, but Charlotte switches to English, crying as she talks. “Don’t let them bring her back,” she tells Jin. “No matter what. Don’t let them bring her back. This place is death!” Well, yeah.

Back in Los Angeles, Ben, Jack, and Sun are halfway through what has likely been an awkward car ride. No one’s even listening to music. Sun tells Ben he’d promised that answers were only half an hour away, but he sarcastically replies, “I didn’t account for traffic.” I’m with Ben on this one. They were all the way in Long Beach, which don’t go there anyway, and trucking back up just to the Westside is enough to screw with their commute. Damn 405. Sun also still has the gun in her hand, as if she’s expecting to have to cap Ben at any moment. Jack, once again displaying questionable timing, takes this opportunity to make the trip even more uncomfortable by apologizing for the way things have worked out. “When we landed that chopper on the boat, everything was just happening so fast,” Jack says. “I knew he was down below. I should’ve waited for him.” Sun isn’t biting. She turns around and asks Jack if the apology is meant to take some of the heat off Ben and keep Sun from killing him if he turns about to be lying about Jin. Jack just says, “After what he just did to Kate, if you don’t do it, Sun, I will.” Man, Jack is hard to please. Ben has had just about enough of this back-and-forth crap, too, so he slams the brakes and pulls the van over, killing the engine. He explodes at Jack, accusing him of being ungrateful for the help Ben’s been offering. “If you had any idea what I’ve had to do to keep you safe — to keep your friends safe — then you’d never stop thanking me!” It’s an awesome moment, and Ben totally sells it, but then of course loses the edge when he repeats his earlier non-threat to Sun, saying she should shoot him if she wants or just let them get on with things. Episode writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz apparently want to make sure viewers can miss parts of the episode for bathroom breaks or whatnot and still hear all the dialogue, so they repeat chunks of it for no reason. Sun just tells Ben to drive, and they’re off again.

Out on the island, Charlotte is coming unglued. She’s still lying on the ground, and she asks in a creepy imitation-kid voice, “Why can’t Daddy come with us?” Faraday pointlessly asks if she can hear him; I say “pointless” because you figure he’d have learned how to wait for her to come out of her internal time-jumping based on his experience with Theresa Spencer back in Oxford. Charlotte keeps babbling in voices from different ages, and when Sawyer asks Faraday what’s going on, he says, “I have no idea.” Dude! Time to own up. Locke, however, is all about the mission, and he walks up and says they have to keep moving toward the Orchid. Faraday asks for help carrying Charlotte, but Locke just says, “No, she’s going to hold us up.” This is kind of cold from the guy who crippled Boone, and who used to be in a wheelchair himself. Faraday stands and gives his best emphatic whisper, saying they can’t just leave her here, which is true. Sawyer then pipes up and says the flashes are getting closer together, but that’s clearly not true. Faraday was right when he said there’s no way to know when the next one will hit, and the flashes aren’t getting closer together; if they were, they’d already be jumping constantly, since they just survived a window of maybe five seconds between flashes. They were in Richard’s camp for a while, but the time Locke spent getting patched up by Richard was brief. This line is totally wrong, but it’s meant more to drive home the urgency of the situation than to, you know, be in any way correct. Faraday maintains that he won’t leave his girl behind, but Charlotte, in a moment of lucidity, tells Faraday to let the group go on without her. Another time flash hits, and when the light and noise recede, Charlotte says, “Oh, turn it up! I love Geronimo Jackson.” This is a band name that’s appeared several times on the show: Their record was in the collection in the hatch, for starters. It’s bogus. Juliet, not unkindly, tells Faraday that they’re running out of time. Faraday tells everyone else to go ahead while he stays behind with his dying and increasingly less sane quasi-girlfriend. Sawyer then brings up a pretty good point by asking Locke what he plans to do if they arrive at the Orchid location only to find themselves in a time period where it doesn’t exist. Locke stops and looks down a little, having never bothered to run through this possibility. (Locke has a real problem thinking fourth-dimensionally. Slacker.) Charlotte, however, pipes up with, “Look for the well. You’ll find it at the well.” Sawyer nods and says they’ll do that, and he says it with a tone of voice somewhere between humoring a child and trying to reason with a psycho. The rest of the group moves off, leaving Faraday and Charlotte behind.

A few minutes later, as they’re hiking, Miles reaches up and notices his nose is bleeding again, but he doesn’t say anything. Around the next bend, Locke and the gang push through the trees and find the Orchid, still looking as beat up as when Ben used it to move the island. But then Juliet has to go and jinx everything by saying, “What are the odds we would end up in the same time as this thing?” From your mouth to Jacob’s ears, babe. No sooner has she finished speaking than another time flash hits, and when it’s over, the Orchid is gone. “You just had to say something,” Sawyer says to Juliet, and she actually looks like she feels a little responsible. Locke looks around, though, sees what he’s looking for, and sets off into the trees. Not far away, he comes across the well Charlotte was talking about, a big sucker surrounded by ruins because why not. “How the hell did Charlotte know this was here?” Miles asks. But even if the episode weren’t itself moments away from answering this question, Miles should remember that (a) he is psyhic and (b) he called out Charlotte in last season’s finale, saying it would be weird for her to leave the island “after all the time (she) spent trying to get back here.” Come on! Anyway, back by the creek, Charlotte is taking advantage of her temporary stability to come clean to Faraday about her past. “I’ve been here before,” she tells him, and when he doesn’t do anything but dumbly repeat her, she presses on: “I grew up here.” Charlotte reveals that she grew up in the DHARMA Initiative, but at one point moved away with her mom, never to see her father again. When she returned to England, she would ask her mother about the island, but Charlotte’s mother maintained that Charlotte was imagining things, and that the island wasn’t real. This (duh) is why Charlotte become an anthropologist, to try and find the island again, even if it means finding branded polar bear collars in the Tunisian desert. This is a typical “Lost” conversational reveal in that it’s helpful but also something that was largely hinted at via other scenes and dialogue; the benefit isn’t for the viewer, but for the relationship between the characters. Faraday asks Charlotte why she’s telling him all this, and she starts to cry a little harder as she says she’s remembered something else about her childhood. She says there was a “crazy man” on the island who scared her as a girl because he told her she needed to leave the island and never return, and that if she came back she would die. Faraday says he doesn’t understand, but we all do. Charlotte says, “Daniel: I think that man was you.” Faraday is taken aback, but this does shed some light on what he might have been doing/will do when he travels back to the period when Dr. Chang is supervising the excavation of the Wheel chamber. The beautiful hell of it is Charlotte was already warned to leave by a man who hasn’t done it yet, and Faraday is in all likelihood condemned to see her again as a child and do his best to warn her to stay away, even though he knows his pleas will do no good.

Out at the well, Locke is testing the rope that leads down into what is bound to be danger. Sawyer asks what Locke hopes to discover underground, and Locke says what he’s been saying for a while now: “A way off the island.” Sawyer shoots back, “You expecting a subway?” Locke just looks at him and smiles, probably happy in the knowledge that he won’t have to listen to more bad jokes for a while. Locke tells everyone goodbye and climbs into the well, but Jin orders him to stop. Jin tells Locke that he isn’t allowed to bring Sun back, but Locke sticks to his man of faith angle, saying he has to bring back everyone who left, and that he just somehow knows this is what to do. Jin grabs the well’s rope and raises his machete, preparing to cut the line to keep Locke from going. Jin insists that the island is bad and that Locke isn’t allowed to bring Sun or her child back to the island, and he demands a promise from Locke that he’ll leave Sun alone. Locke looks a little defeated as he says, “I promise,” but Jin buries the machete in the wood and looks somewhat placated. But Locke weasels right out from under his word, saying that he won’t seek out Sun but that she might come to him, and he’ll have to tell her something. “You tell her I’m dead,” Jin says. He gives Locke his wedding ring for proof, and it’s a safe bet this ring will travel from Locke to Ben before long. Locke climbs out onto the well’s edge and grabs the rope, prepping for a stupid descent into darkness the hardest way possible. “You sure you don’t want us to lower you down?” Sawyer asks. Locke should have answered, “This is more suspenseful for the narrative, especially if there’s a time flash.” But instead he just says, “Where would be the fun in that?” Locke, you are about to find the fun the hard way. Juliet thanks Locke in advance for attempting whatever it is he’s going to go, and with that, he swings out over the hole and starts to lower himself into the well. He gets maybe 20 or 30 feet down when the sky starts to whistle and light up again. Locke looks down to see the light rising like liquid from the bottom of the well, and Sawyer shouts for him to hold on, which Locke takes as his cue to let go, yell, and fall. He slams to the ground with a crunch and immediately lets loose shouts of genuine pain, while above ground, Sawyer realizes that the rope he’s desperately clutching leads down into the ground, with no well in sight. Sawyer actually starts to paw at the dirt, which is kind of pathetic and probably born of his desire not to be leader again, but Juliet manages to stop him. “We can’t help him,” she says, taking hold of his arms. Man, these two are going to have to get together soon.

Back at the creek, Charlotte is coughing horribly as Faraday encourages her to hang on, assuring her that everything’s going to be fine. (Spoiler: Not so much.) Faraday tells her how he contacted Desmond at the hatch and told him to find Faraday’s mother, who will help those on the island. Charlotte wants to know how this will happen, but before Faraday can explain, she coughs up more blood and smiles. “I’m not allowed to have chocolate before dinner,” she says with a trace of a giggle, then her breath catches a few times, and then she’s gone. Daniel speaks her name, but he knows it’s no good. He weeps over her body.

In the chamber where the well used to be, Locke is still howling from the fall. He looks down to see what has to be three inches of fibula sticking out of his cargo pants, which explains his awful shrieking. He calls up for Sawyer, but there’s nothing above him but rock. It looks like there are patches of dirty snow on the ground beneath Locke’s head. Locke’s shouts get someone’s attention, though, as he sees a tunnel leading away and hears footsteps coming closer. A shadow falls on the wall as a figure rounds the corner and steps into view. Lighting a lamp and turning around, he reveals himself to be Christian, who’s apparently taking a break from hanging with his daughter in Jacob’s Ghost Cabin to come see what Locke and his wacky sidekicks have been up to. “You!” Locke says with a mix of surprise and relief. “What are you doing down here?” Christian leans down and says he’s here to help Locke “the rest of the way,” and then sets about the task of scolding Locke. He tells Locke that his instructions were to move the island himself, not let someone else — i.e., Ben — do it for him. Locke looks positively heartbroken and actually starts to tear up a bit as he tries to protest, saying that Ben told him he knew how to do it and that Locke needed to stay and lead the Others. Christian replies, “Since when did listening to him get you anywhere worth a damn?” Christian adds that at least Locke is there now, though Locke says he doesn’t know what to do upon reaching the Oceanic Six. Christian tells him there’s a woman in Los Angeles named Eloise Hawking who will tell him what to do, but only after Locke rounds up everyone who made it off the island. “And it must be all of them,” Christian says. “Everyone who left.” Locke wants to know what happens if he can’t get them all, but Christian just reasserts his belief in Locke’s ability to persuade. Locke is now shaking from pain and terror and worry as he asks the big question: “Richard said I was going to die.” Christian gives a little nod and says, “I suppose that’s why they call it a sacrifice.” Man, no wonder Jack hates this guy. These pep talks suck. Christian tells Locke that there’s a wheel around the corner that’s “slipped off its axis” and needs a little push to be made right again. Locke tries to stand but whimpers in agony, asking Christian for help. Christian just stands there, holding the lamp, curtly responding, “No. Sorry. Can’t.” What’s the big deal? Are you and your magic lamp incorporeal, or do you just want Locke to suffer? Either way, Locke grits his teeth and stands with a shout of pain. He looks around the column to see the Wheel grinding back and forth in its slot, emitting small bursts of light and making noises like a rusty lightsaber. Locke hobbles to the wall and sets himself against the wheel, pulling until it snaps back into place and begins to emit a stronger noise as the room lights up. “Say hello to my son,” Christian says, and in a nice echo of Faraday’s own leap through time talking to Desmond, Locke only has the opportunity to ask, “Who’s your son?” before being swallowed in the flash.

Cut to L.A., where Jack, Sun, and Ben are finally arriving at their destination: The old church where Mrs. Hawking was doing her crazy maths. Standing in the parking lot, Ben reaches into his pocket and retrieves Jin’s wedding band, handing it to a wide-eyed Sun. She asks how he got the ring, and naturally he says he got it from Locke. Jack says, “You said John never came to see you.” Ben prissily responds, “That’s right, Jack, I went to see him.” Good grief, what an annoying hair to split. Why not just lie? Ben actually pulled the same trick by waiting until now to show the ring, since he’d led Sun to believe the woman they were traveling to see held the proof of Jin’s life, when really Ben just wanted to get Sun to the church to take her back to the island. Ben tells Sun that the people on the island are running out of time and that the woman in the church can help the survivors rescue their loved ones. “So I need you to decide right now,” he says. “Will you come with me?” Sun looks down at the ring and then nods, saying she’ll go.

Then there’s the best reveal of the entire episode: Desmond, who calls out “What are you doing here?” as he strides up to the church. Jack and Ben are blown back, and this is the best reunion yet. Ben says he’s there for the same reason Desmond is, which is a set-up that Desmond totally buys. “You’re looking for Faraday’s mother, too?” he asks. Ben’s eyes narrow as he processes this, turning slowly to the church. It’s possible he didn’t know Hawking was Faraday’s mother, but more likely that he didn’t know Desmond knew, and is now trying to figure out how much Desmond has discovered, and whether it’s been through Faraday or Charles Widmore, or whatever. (H/T to my friend Katrina for pointing this out.) Regardless, the foursome enter the church to see Mrs. Hawking lighting candles. (The “official” reveal that this is Faraday’s mother is somehow anticlimactic.) She and Ben exchange hellos, and then she examines the group. “I thought I said all of them,” she says. Ben, not at all ruffled, simply says, “This is all I could get on short notice.” Hawking sighs and says it’ll have to do, then says, “All right. Let’s get started.”

And that’s that. All in all, another solid episode from what’s so far a good season, especially the way in which it filled in small corners of Rousseau’s backstory and really kept a tight focus on the timelines of the remaining castaways and the Oceanic Six. Charlotte’s death, while sad, was pretty much a given after all her explosive bleeding and whatnot, not to mention the fact that she and Faraday had just fallen in love, which seemed to make them perfect targets for the island. The episode also (as always) raised interesting questions: Where does Locke end up, and how does he reach the States? Does he ever figure out who Christian is? What really happened to the men who went into the temple, and why did they get all murdery? Is Mrs. Hawking related to Charlotte? Ellie? Jacob? Also, now that Locke has fixed the Wheel, will the island stop jumping through time? More importantly, when will it arrive if it stops? Will it return the castaways to 2004, 2007, or sometime in the past? Faraday has to get back to the DHARMA-era island somehow; maybe this is what does it. It’s also interesting to look at the multiple types of time travel used on the show, from actually physically moving through time to just sending one’s consciousness backward or forward. Will the castaways do both? And how old was that well? Was it built by people who worshipped four-toed gods? And why was Brennan lugging a violin through the jungle? Maybe the smoke monster liked pretty music.

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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