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Work Related

By Daniel Carlson | Lost Recaps | March 31, 2010 |

By Daniel Carlson | Lost Recaps | March 31, 2010 |

If nothing else, “Lost” has been reliable these past few weeks in alternating stronger and weaker episodes, and this week’s “The Package” was the letdown after the compelling “Ab Aeterno.” Part of it’s because it was a Sun-and-Jin episode, and the problem with those is that Sun can be a one-note pain in the ass. Plus the Los Angeles timeline, though it filled in a couple holes and showed how things are different for the Kwon family in the non-crash timeline, felt mostly wasted because most of what would happen was covered in the Sayid-centric “Sundown” a few weeks back. The episode existed mainly to advance two or three island-timeline plot points, but at least they were interesting ones.

The Los Angeles Timeline
We’re back at LAX, right after Oceanic 815 lands. The TSA officer tells Jin he’s free to go but that his cash has been confiscated, so he and Sun leave for their hotel. Something’s different right away from their other reality: Jin’s talking too much about his feelings. He expresses worry that he doesn’t have the cash to go with the gift of the watch that Sun’s father wants him to deliver to someone in Los Angeles. They get to their hotel, where Jin makes a low-level scene with the desk clerk about needing two rooms because he and Sun aren’t married (another difference), but later that evening he visits Sun to talk and it’s clear that their lives are just an act. He says he should go to the restaurant where he’s supposed to meet with the mystery man, but Sun reminds him it’s almost midnight, and some more flirting leads to her taking off her sweater as she and Jin move in and start to get right to business. So, there’s that.

The next morning, she suggests they run away and use the money she’s got in a private account, but Jin’s reluctant to do that much to cross her father. Jin swears again that he loves Sun, and she’s about to confess something, when there’s a knock at the door. He hides in the bathroom as she answers it to find Keamy, mere hours from death, grinning at her in that goofy but terrible way that he has. He pushes his way inside with his also-soon-to-be-killed Arab henchman and asks Sun where her “bodyguard” is. She’s given him the watch, but Keamy wants to know what happened to the missing cash. Spotting the twin champagne flutes on the nightstand, he figures out the scene and has his man check the bathroom, where Jin’s still standing with a towel around his waist like this isn’t a life-threatening situation. They don’t understand Keamy, and he can’t interpret their Korean (his bored “Stop it” as they chatter in front of him is perfect), so he has his man summon a guy who speaks nine languages: Mikhail, because why not, this world is like Craphole Island Repertory Theater. Everybody comes back.

Mikhail translates for Jin and Sun and tells Keamy that their money was taken by authorities but that Sun can get more at the bank. Keamy has Mikhail take her there while he and the other guy take Jin to the restaurant. Most of this part of the episode is completely devoid of tension because we know Sayid will eventually kill Keamy and his henchmen and discover Jin, so everything that happens up till that point winds up feeling a little slack. At the bank, Sun finds out that her dad knew about her private account and shut it down, while back at the restaurant, Keamy tapes Jin to his chair in the fridge and does the Bond villain thing of explaining his evil plan since he knows Jin doesn’t understand English anyway. It turns out that the missing cash was Keamy’s fee to kill Jin on Mr. Paik’s orders as punishment for sleeping with Sun. (This is also why Paik zeroed out his daughter’s supposedly private bank account.) Blah blah blah, Sayid shows up and kills everybody and then finds Jin in the fridge. He initially decides to leave him there, but Jin shouts him back and gets Sayid to leave him a nearby box-cutter so he can work on freeing himself. Shortly thereafter, Mikhail shows up with Sun and finds everybody shot. He runs to Keamy, who’s dying, to ask what happened, at which point Jin gets the drop on him with a gun he picked off a dead guard. Mikhail at first figures Jin for the murderer, but then reasons that if that were the case, Jin would have killed Mikhail himself already. (Dumb logic, but whatever.) Mikhail spins around and they briefly tussle over the gun, which lets off a few stray rounds, but Jin eventually kicks him back and shoots him in the eye, mirroring the eye-patch Mikhail wore in the original timeline.

However, Jin turns to see that Sun’s caught one of the strays in the chest or gut (hard to tell the way she was crumpled up), and he panics and rushes to her. He lifts her up and tells her she’ll be all right, but as he starts to carry her out, she wails: “I’m pregnant!” Damn.

The Island Timeline
The regular timeline stuff was a bit muddier this week, but here’s a basic breakdown between the locations:

The action resumes at the Man in Black’s camp viewed through night-vision goggles but eventually shifts to a normal look. The Man in Black asks if Jin’s been told about the cave, and when Jin says he has, MIB reminds him that the name “Kwon” was on the wall and not crossed out. (Also: I know I haven’t referred to him before this with the colloquial “MIB,” but since he’s officially been christened on-screen as the Man in Black, and I don’t want to type that whole thing out every time, I’m going to go with the acronym until something better comes along.) Anyway, MIB says that the only way they can leave is if every person whose name isn’t crossed out goes together, though Jin notes that Sun’s not here. I’m not sure why/if everyone needs to be together or if MIB just wants to cover his bets, but it’s still a nice parallel for the beast trapped in the body of John Locke to have to recruit people the way the real Locke hounded the Oceanic Six.

Sayid tells MIB that he doesn’t feel anything, whether emotional or physical, but MIB tells him that’s probably for the best and it might help Sayid “get through what’s coming.” He hikes off, and Jin starts packing and tries to bolt. Sawyer tries to stop him, but everybody suddenly gets shot with tranquilizer darts by a team wearing night-vision goggles. They’re led by sweaty Tina Fey Zoe, and they find Jin and cart him off. When the Man in Black returns later, he’s understandably pissed to find everybody drugged up and passed out on the jungle floor, but he manages to rouse Sayid and ask what happened to Jin.

Well, Jin has been taken to Room 23, the creepy deprivation room on Hydra Island where Karl was brainwashed. Jin awakens in one of the main chairs and flips the switch to start the freaky slideshow, learning the hard way not to play with unmarked electronics. He shuts it off and Zoe appears, using a taser on him when he tries to escape. She unfolds a DHARMA map charting pockets of electromagnetic activity on the island and tells Jin that whoever signed off on the maps for DHARMA could probably help her find the energy areas. The maps were signed by Jin, and she wants to know how and why — she clearly suspects him of having weird ties with DHARMA, and I’m not sure if she knows about his whole time-traveling thing — but Jin just blows her off and asks to talk to her boss, who he knows to be Charles Widmore.

Meanwhile, back at MIB’s camp, he gives Sayid a gun, which is probably a stupid thing to do to a man possessed by a dark spirit and increasingly unable to feel pain or happiness, but then, when you’re an immortal smoke monster, you don’t worry about bullets. Claire tells MIB she’s afraid to go home because she’s worried Aaron won’t recognize her and will only know Kate as his mother. MIB says that he needs Kate to help him get everybody else rounded up but that her name has been crossed off already, so when he’s done with her, “whatever happens, happens.” He’s tacitly telling Claire that she can kill Kate when MIB doesn’t need her. Creepy. Shortly after, he sets off for Hydra Island to go get Jin.

He arrives to find the sonic fence set up along the shore — Widmore’s people move quick — and is met by Zoe and others, then Widmore. He and Widmore exchange some bullshit pleasantries, and Widmore lies about not knowing where Jin is. The Man in Black nods and thinks for a moment before saying, “A wise man once said that war was coming to this island. I think it just got here.” He’s quoting the words Widmore spoke to John Locke in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” words that Widmore used to push John into helping him. There’s no better way for the Man in Black to piss on Widmore’s plans than remind him that he killed the man Widmore was counting on.

After he leaves, Widmore goes back to his base and argues with Zoe about MIB’s radically accelerated timeframe when Jin walks in. Zoe leaves, and Widmore gives Jin Sun’s digital camera, recovered from the Ajira, so he can see pictures of his daughter. Widmore tells Jin that if MIB escapes, everyone they love “will simply cease to be.” Then he uses a line that far too many single men have used: “I think it’s time for you to see the package.” Jin asks what it is, but Widmore corrects him: “It’s not a ‘what,’ it’s a ‘who.’”

So: While all that is going on, there’s also movement on the beach camp, where Ilana, Ben, Miles, Jack, and Frank are awaiting the return of Richard and Hurley. Ilana’s got faith in Hurley’s tracking skills, but Miles hilariously fires back, “Unless Alpert’s covered in bacon grease, I’m not sure Hurley can track anything.” Sun is upset at not being allowed to go look for Jin, so she goes to work in her long-abandoned garden, even blowing off Jack’s attempts to make her feel better with another speech about destiny. Left alone, though, she’s a target, and it’s not long before MIB shows up and promises to take her to Jin if she just comes with him to his camp. Sun’s not buying his story, or his defense that the people he killed at the Temple were “confused,” so she sets off running as he MIB chases after her. (Why he doesn’t just turn into smoke and catch up is beyond me.) She doesn’t watch her path and cracks her head against a tree branch, passing out.

She wakes up to find Ben trying to talk to her, and she rambles in Korean before blurting, “Locke!” Back at the beach camp, she still can’t speak English, but she can understand it, and Jack diagnoses her with temporary aphasia. Just then, Hurley and Richard return, and Richard’s all fired up to take on the whole Empire himself. He tells the gang that they need to pack their bags and head to Hydra Island so they can destroy the Ajira plane and prevent MIB’s escape. Sun goes ballistic at this idea and rants at Richard in Korean before, once again, running away. She said she came to save her husband, not the world, as if her husband wasn’t a part of the world and didn’t also depend on its not being overrun by a malevolent shape-shifting evil.

Later on, Jack finds her by a campfire and produces pad and pen for her to write her comments until her speech comes back. (I’m guessing there was a stockpile of DHARMA office supplies around.) He asks her what happened when the Man in Black visited her, and I’m glad the pad was just used to replay what we the viewer already knew, because ABC’s glaring and awful ad for the return of “V” blocked most of her written notes. You’re ruining your own shows with ads for your own shows, guys. Anyway, Jack manages to restore their bond and her trust in him, and he promises to do all he can to reunite Sun and Jin and to get them home.

The episode ends with Sayid on a mission for MIB, who’d bluntly told Sawyer, “I don’t like secrets,” in reference to Sawyer’s report of a locked compartment on Widmore’s sub. Down at the pier, Sayid emerges from beneath the water and swims closer to the dock as Zoe and a helper lift a man’s body from the sub and drag him onto the landing area. They let him slump to the ground, and the man — the “package” — is revealed to be Desmond, who actually comes face to face with a hiding Sayid but doesn’t say anything (maybe doesn’t even notice) because he’s still drugged from what was apparently an involuntary trip. Then again, maybe he’s drugged because it’s easier for people to approach the island when they’re knocked out. For some reason, that idea rings a bell in terms of DHARMA transports, but I’m too tired to cross-reference it. I’ll leave that to the hive-mind.

And that’s that for this week. Like I said, pretty dry and mostly uninvolving. I’ve got a bad feeling about the survival chances for Sun’s baby in the non-crash timeline. Things in that world aren’t necessarily happier than in the original one, just different, so while the original story had Jin emotionally abusing Sun but eventually siring a child, it doesn’t seem out of place to imagine that their non-crash counterparts would be madly in love but doomed to suffer tragedy before their child arrives. I also want to know what Widmore wants with Desmond, and what kind of mojo his special time powers will work in the battle for the island. Also: Doesn’t this make Ben and Widmore on the same side now? Will the origin and purpose of DHARMA be folded in, or will the show stay with the mythology it’s using now? And seriously: Wouldn’t you watch a show about Keamy?

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a member of the Houston Film Critics Society, as well as a TV blogger for the Houston Press. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.