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This Ain’t Aruba, Bitch

“Lost: Because You Left” (S5/E1) Recap / Daniel Carlson

TV Reviews | January 26, 2009 | Comments (63)

(N.B.: Although airing over a two-hour stretch on Jan. 21, the season premiere of “Lost” was actually two separate episodes run back-to-back by ABC. Accordingly, I’ve broken the recaps into two pieces, one for each episode. What does this mean for you, the devoted reader? Simply that today sees the publication of the first episode’s recap, while the second will run tomorrow. Enjoy.)

The return of “Lost” is cause for celebration. There is no other show out there quite like it, and the first two episodes of the fifth season — broadcast back to back on ABC, hence this longer recap — further cement the series’ place in that canon of pop puzzle shows, TV series with wit and verve that are designed to be full-on experiences. Only “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files” come close to matching the series’ genre-bending cult appeal, and there’s no doubt that “Lost” is just as narratively complex and enjoyable. “Lost” is perfect at what it does and what it wants to be, and that is a self-aware fire-powered train ride, an epic soap, and a pleasure to watch. The new season kicks things off fantastically, building on the stories and promises of last year and moving toward what will be a showdown of epic proportions.

“Because You Left,” written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by Stephen Williams, wastes no time in getting to the story, opening with a scene that echoes the beginning of the second-season opener, “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” which began with Desmond listening to a Mama Cass record while he started his day. This episode opens with an alarm clock going off at 8:15 — and if you don’t understand the significance of those numbers at this point, I can’t help you — that’s quickly shut off by a guy who rolls over in bed to face his wife, his image still hidden from the camera. “Lost” is nothing if not willfully dramatic in the way it sets up character reveals, and the way the man turns away and then rises from bed, his face not seen yet, is awkward in its execution but forgivable in its motive. On this show, you don’t just learn that, say, Locke is dead; you get a shot that swoops over an open coffin to reveal that Jeremy Bentham was Locke ALL ALONG. It’s cornball, and it totally and completely works. As a baby starts to cry from the other room, the as-yet-unseen man’s wife (I assume it’s his wife, unless he’s Living In Sin) tells him it’s his turn to take care of the kid, so he gets up and stumbles to the turntable, probably because if he’s got to get up he might as well listen to music and enjoy himself. The record is Willie Nelson’s Shotgun Willie, which means whoever this guy is, he’s got some taste. He puts a bottle on and goes to the infant’s crib, showers, shaves, dresses; all with his face still unseen. The record then starts to skip, playing the same fragmented phrase over and over again; this is what’s known in the “Lost” universe as blatant foreshadowing.

Jimmy No Face fixes the record and walks outside, and it turns out he’s in Othertown, aka The Barracks, that Stepfordish compound where the DHARMA Initiative folks and later the Others live and dwell and try to have babies and hold book club and do their thing. He walks into a building contains a makeshift set, brushing off the script someone hands him and taking a white lab coat from an assistant. “Let’s go, I don’t have all day,” Jimmy No Face says, because apparently he has to go pick up some new clichés at the store. (SICK BURN!) Director calls speed, a guy walks up with a clapboard and says, “DHARMA Initiative Orientation Film No. 2, take one,” and No Face sits down and finally reveals himself to be Pierre Chang, aka Marvin Candle, aka Halliwax, aka probably a lot more. As the film begins to roll, he introduces himself as Candle and launches into a spiel about Station 2, the Arrow. Chang says that “the station’s primary purpose is to develop defensive strategies and gather intelligence on the island’s hostile indigenous population,” by which he means the people who lived on the island pre-DHARMA who would later team with Ben Linus and a few others to purge the DHARMA people in a large-scale gas attack. (The Arrow would also come to be used as a shelter by the survivors from the tail section of Oceanic 815.) Before Chang can finish his sentence, a worker busts in to say there’s a problem down at the Orchid station. Chang hops in the trusty blue DHARMA van and heads to the Orchid, where there’s a ton of underground maintenance and excavation under way. A foreman guides Chang through a tunnel, explaining that while drilling through the rock at the location Chang provided, the crew’s drill melted, and they blew out six bits before giving up, especially since the drill operator had grabbed his head and started “freaking out.” A sonar image of the undrillable wall shows an open chamber about 20 meters in, and the picture the foreman hands to Chang clearly shows that the chamber houses the giant wheel Ben turned in last season’s finale that made the island disappear. The foreman says they can blast the wall to get in, but Chang loses his shit and says no one is blowing up anything. Chang then proceeds to helpfully explain to the foreman that they’re drilling next to a supply of “almost limitless energy” that, if harnessed correctly, will allow them to manipulate time. The foreman, gamely playing along almost as if he’s in an expository scene on a TV show about time travel, asks, “So, what, you’re gonna go back and kill Hitler?” Chang tells the man not to be absurd, which sounds kind of douchey and anti-Semitic, but he quickly adds that “there are rules, rules that can’t be broken.” Chang tells the foreman not to do anything, turning to walk away as the foreman and his crew put their injured man on a stretcher. As Chang’s cruising down the corridor, he bumps into a worker who keeps his head down but continues toward the wall that houses the Guardian of Forever. When he reaches the wall, the guy lifts his head and reveals himself to be Daniel Faraday. Yep. By methods yet unknown, Faraday was in the Orchid well before the events of the series, meaning he’s done some time traveling seems pretty at ease with the process. Whatever else “Lost” is and will continue to be, it is definitely now a show about time travel. But it’s worth noting that the show broke with typical structure for this scene, given that other flashbacks or flashforwards have been built around actual characters, whereas this one simply showed Chang going about his day and explaining the time traveling chamber before Faraday came in and found it. It’s actually a bit of a cheat given what’s come before, but I guess they needed a way to get it in.

Back at the Hoffs/Drawlar funeral parlor (it’s an anagram for “flash forward” for those playing along at home), Jack is still looking down at the coffin holding John Locke/Jeremy Bentham, while Ben wheels in a table to move the body. “Lost” is definitely more focused in the second half of its run, and one of the ways that focus manifests itself is the way the story tightly plays out certain plots. This is the same location where Jack and Ben were left when Season Four ended, and only a few minutes have passed. Ben tells Jack they need to get moving so they can load up Locke’s body in a van out back and go get Hurley and the rest of the Six. “How did we get here?” Jack wonders. “How did all this happen?” Ben tilts his head and says, “It happened because you left, Jack.” Ben is great at comforting people. Later on at a crappy hotel, Jack shaves his break-up beard as Ben packs a bag and says that after Hurley they’ll have to get Sun, Sayid, and Kate to come on board. Jack and Ben talk about Locke, and Ben says he last saw Locke in the Orchid station, right before they parted ways and Ben leapt into the future and the desert. Ben turns to Jack and asks about the visit Locke paid him off-island. “What did he say to you to make you such a believer?” Ben asks. Jack says that Locke told him how Sawyer, Juliet, and everyone else would die if Jack didn’t return to the island. Ben presses Jack to see if Locke told him what happened after the island moved, and Jack says he didn’t, but it’s impossible to know if either man is lying. Ben shrugs and says, “I guess we’ll never know.”

Cut to three years earlier. Ben turns the wheel and unleashes the purple blast that made the island go bye-bye. Locke, shielding his eyes from the blast, lowers his arm to find that it’s suddenly begun to rain. He looks around for Richard Alpert, who’d been right next to him, and sees nothing but deserted jungle. Locke starts to wig out a little and calls out for anyone, which is both understandable given the weirdness of the cataclysmic blast of energy he just survived but also a little out of character for a former paraplegic who’s been healed by a magical island is among the chief proponents of the school of thought that no one should be allowed to leave the island or talk about it to outsiders. Where’s your calm belief in a moment of crisis, John? Out at sea, Faraday and a few people in the Zodiac raft are reeling from the blast, as well. One of the extras has been replaced by character actor Sean Whalen as Neil, which means he’s probably gonna die, since why give lines to a nobody? Neil asks what happened, but Faraday looks up to see the island is still there, confirming the likely theory that they were inside the blast radius and would thus travel with the island. Faraday confirms this by even saying, “We must have been inside the radius.” Thanks man. On the beach, Sawyer and Juliet are similarly confused. Sawyer looks out to sea and realizes the freighter is totally gone. “Maybe it went down,” Juliet says, but Sawyer says that’s impossible since it was a smoldering wreck just moments ago and could not have disappeared so quickly. “What about the helicopter?” Juliet asks. Sawyer, in the first of many instances in which he does nothing to hide his burgeoning angst, simply growls, “It was heading for the boat.” Just then, Bernard (“Dewey” to his friends) comes running out of the jungle, howling Rose’s name. Sawyer and Juliet tell him they haven’t seen her, but at that moment Rose comes running up, saying she was back at church when the blast happened. Sawyer tells the couple there’s no need to panic and that they can all head back to camp, but Bernard wheels on him and says they can’t go back because “there is no camp.”

Sure enough, Sawyer and the other three head back to find the rest of the castaways, as well as Charlotte and Miles, milling about among the trees with no sign of the camp: no food, no tents, no surprisingly well-crafted kitchen area. Nothing. “It’s gone,” Bernard says, but oh ho ho, you are about to get schooled and scienced, my friend. “It’s not gone,” Faraday says, striding into the crowd as Charlotte giddily runs over to him and hugs him. “What do you mean, the camp’s not gone?” Sawyer says, then realizes he doesn’t even know who Faraday is in the first place. Faraday says there’s no time to explain, then asks Juliet if she can lead him to something man-made. She says there’s a DHARMA station a few minutes away, and Faraday says they need to get going “before it happens again.” But before they can leave, Sawyer stops Faraday and demands to know what he’s talking about, and why the camp is gone. Faraday repeats his belief that the camp isn’t gone, and says: “It hasn’t been built yet.”

So that’s what happened. Rather than jump forward in time and “reappear” in the future, the castaways slid backward in time to a point before they’d even arrived on the island. This is a great reveal because it gels with what happened last season and also twists it, taking it a slightly new direction and adding a whole new host of problems. I figured just your garden variety, meat and potatoes, missionary position time traveling would be bad enough, but it looks like the castaways are genuinely unstuck from the flow of time. This is awesome.

I realize while writing this that using words like “past” or “future” is going to get messy pretty quickly with this show, especially considering what’s happening with the remaining castaways, but for now, I’m going to treat the timeline with the Oceanic Six off-island and back in the States as the “present.” The jumps to the future in the previous season felt like just that: jumps into a distant time, not always in chronological order and always “behind” the furthest point we’d seen then, which was Jack’s impassioned speech to Kate at the airport about needing to go back to the island. But after that, things began moving consistently forward for the Oceanic Six, and that’s held for at least the first couple episodes of this season. Instead of shooting forward and then rocketing back to the island, the series is now sliding between two equally important and pretty linear timelines. As evidenced in the first scenes with Ben and Jack and the rest of those set after the Oceanic Six return home, the series is now almost pure story. Shifting to character flashbacks in the first couple seasons filled in some of the individual mysteries but was more often simply a way to demonstrate a personal trauma from someone’s past that they would then exorcise on the island. (cf. Boone’s semi-incestual relationship with Shannon and the way he learned to let it go, which is good because it was kind of creepy.) But now there is nothing but forward momentum: The survivors left on the island are trying to figure out what happened and deal with the fallout of their failed rescue and temporal displacement issues, and the Six are trying to cope with their ruined lives even as the island pulls them back together. Everything is pure movement, complete and total action. And it’s great.

So anyway: Back in the present, Kate is making coffee while Aaron watches cartoons. He sees a train and says “Choo choo tunnel,” to which Kate replies, “Oh, I think Choo Choo knows better than that. He goes in that tunnel and he’s never coming back out.” Holy crap! What kind of cryptic and terrifying parenting is that? My dad pulled stuff on me, but he never saw me watching TV and said, “For if Bugs travels that way westward, in so doing will he sow his doom.” Kate isn’t even Aaron’s real mom, and this is just one more nail in the crazy coffin that proves she really shouldn’t even be a secondary caregiver. Even if the line was supposed to be some weird meta-reference to the tunnel leading to the time wheel under the Orchid, it’s still weird. Before she can show Aaron a DVD of Hellraiser, the doorbell rings, and Kate opens it to find a pair of lawyers from the firm of Agostini and Norton. They want in, but Kate makes them state their business on the doorstep. Norton says he and his “associate” are there to get blood samples from Kate and Aaron to determine their relationship, and he refuses to divulge the identity of the client that’s hired him to do so. Kate tells the guys to leave, and Norton responds that they’ll just come back with the sheriff. Seriously, do these guys not feel like taking Kate’s criminal history and willingness to flee the scene of the crime and apply that knowledge to their current situation to determine the likelihood of her bolting and, thus, maybe dial down the litigious rhetoric? Nope. They bluff big, so Kate says they can come back with the sheriff all they want. She shuts the door, and we all know where this is going. Before you can say “patricide,” Kate’s packing a bag and getting wads of cash and a gun (!) from her dresser. As Kate is getting her shit kit together, Aaron wanders in and says, “Where are you going, Mommy?” Kate tells the boy they’re going on vacation, and proceeds to lead him downstairs and out the door. Taking a look around, she tells Aaron to say bye-bye to the house, and then they’re off.

Back on Hell Island, Sawyer is still shirtless and barefoot, trudging through the jungle with Juliet, Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles right behind. They’re on their way to the hatch — the original, Desmond-holding hatch, from a simpler time — when Juliet asks Sawyer why he jumped from the chopper. Sawyer says, “We were running out of gas. I wanted to make sure she — … I wanted to make sure they made it to the boat.” This guy is a con man? I’ve seen Zack Morris lie more convincingly. What happened to the Sawyer of “The Long Con”? Dude, you’re in love, you should be better than ever at lying. Before Juliet can further plumb the depths of Sawyer’s tortured soul or ask him which track from Elliot Smith’s Figure 8 most accurately exemplifies his pain, Faraday pushes past and tells them to pick up the pace. Sawyer stops the convoy and demands Faraday’s shirt, which come on, you know he’s at least a size smaller. Faraday says they don’t have time for this and need to keep going, but Sawyer ain’t budging. Faraday says Sawyer needs to trust him, but Sawyer fires back that he doesn’t even know the guy. Faraday, getting genuinely frustrated and pissy, tells Sawyer that there really isn’t time. “You have no idea how difficult it would be for me to explain this phenomenon to a quantum physicist,” Faraday tells him. “That would be difficult. So for me to try and explain this….” Before Faraday can continue, Sawyer up and slaps him, this big open-palm whack right across the face. I guess Sawyer doesn’t want everyone thinking he’s stupid or something. Charlotte runs forward and asks Sawyer what he’s doing, but he pivots and growls, “Shut it, ginger, or you’re getting one, too!” Aw, there he is. There’s the lovable misogynistic brute. I knew he was in there. Spurred by Sawyer’s physical abuse and demonstrable stubbornness, Faraday gives in and goes for the layman’s explanation. “Think of the island like a record, spinning on a turntable. Only now, that record is skipping. Whatever Ben Linus did down at the Orchid station… I think it may have dislodged us.” Miles, not quite up to speed, says, “Dislodged us from what?” Faraday replies, “Time.” Juliet asks if that’s why the camp is gone, because the island is moving through time. Faraday says that either the island is moving, or the castaways are. “It’s just as likely that we’re moving, your people and us,” he says. (He doesn’t really bring up the issue of how moving through time might also necessitate moving through space, but what do you want, he’s a busy guy.) Faraday asks if everyone is accounted for, but Sawyer sighs and says that Locke is still out there somewhere.

Cut to Locke out in the jungle, still looking wide-eyed and bumfuzzled. He scrambles up a ridge walks up a hill in time to see a twin-engine Beechcraft come hurling out of the sky and skim right over his head before crashing into the jungle. Even before it crashes, you know it’s the Nigerian drug smugglers’ plane carrying Mr. Eko’s brother that will one day fall and fatally wound Boone, and seeing it come down is such a weird visceral thrill; it’s a moment where you see the island as it would come to be known being born, when you see the origin of something that had/will have such impact on the story. As always, “Lost” has to really drive this point home, so before Locke can even go investigate the wreck, he looks down and sees something that (presumably) fell from the plane as it passed: a little Virgin Mary statue of the heroin-filled variety. Locke makes it down to the wreck, and it’s so cool to see the plane back up in its perch. Locke calls out for survivors and then sets about scaling the branches to go up and check it out, which is clearly a bad idea since he’s going to either get hurt or irrevocably screw with the space-time continuum. He gets about halfway up the sheer side of the hill when the first shot is fired, hitting a branch a few inches away. Locke looks around for the shooter and yells out, but it’s too late: He gets shot in the right thigh and goes tumbling to the ground. The leaves start to rustle ahead of him, and out pops the one and only Ethan Rom, kidnapper extraordinaire and generally unsettling little guy, who aims his rifle at Locke and asks, “Who are you? How many others on board?” Locke frantically tries to tell Ethan he wasn’t on the plane, but Ethan, who apparently lives for this stuff, raises the weapon and says, “Wrong answer.” Locke yells for him to stop, explaining who he is, telling Ethan he knows his name and that Ben Linus appointed Locke to be their leader. Ethan, despite getting some pretty specific info you’d think would warrant investigation, shakes his head and says, “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Goodbye, John Locke.” Locke curls up like a total wuss as the sky goes purple again, and when the light recedes, it’s gone from day to night and he’s alone in the jungle. Over in their neck of the woods, Sawyer et al. witness the same flash, after which Sawyer turns to Faraday and asks when they are now. Faraday says, “We’re either in the past, or the future.” Well, yeah. Those are usually your only options with time travel. It would have been nice if he’d added that the only way to know which is to keep heading to the hatch, but I guess he assumes they’ll figure that out on their own.

Back in the present, Sun is walking through an airport, trying to call someone on her cell phone, but she hangs up when there’s no answer. When she tries to check in for her flight to Los Angeles, she gets flagged by the ticket agent and sent to a holding room, where a guard closes the door and ignores her angry cries to let her out. The back door opens and Charles Widmore walks in, telling Sun, “Save your breath. They only do what I tell them.” What a weird and totally anticlimactic entrance from a guy who’s supposedly the top threat to the castaways. Sun asks Widmore why he had her brought down there, and he gives the stupidest reason possible: He says she disrespected him by walking up to him in broad daylight and confronting him the way she did. He was with friends! They’re totally gonna think he’s weak now! Girls are mean! Sun just shrugs it off and says, “Fair enough.” They sit down at the table and Widmore asks Sun what she meant when she said they had common interests. Sun looks him right in the eye and says, “To kill Benjamin Linus.” Which: duh. But at least this completely holds with where their previous conversation was going. Although that first meeting ended with Sun cryptically talking about how other people left the island, the series isn’t about to try and pointlessly deepen that non-mystery. Of course other people got off that island. Ben did. We know this. And it also makes sense that she wants to kill him, since she still holds him and his whole wacky crew responsible for the problems that ultimately led to Jin’s getting all exploded. (It should be noted, though, that Daniel Dae Kim is still listed in the opening credits. So, there’s that.)

Meanwhile, back in their dingy hotel room, Jack is suiting up like he’s ready to hit the town while Ben watches the news. Jack makes to leave, but Ben just watches the anchor as she says that Hurley has been identified as a suspect in a shooting after having escaped from a mental institution. Conceding that plans have changed, Ben kills the TV and grabs his coat, and the two men head out.

Cut to a Rainbow Drive-In chicken shack, where Hurley and Sayid are sitting in an SUV when their waitress walks up. Sayid takes the food from her, shaking his luscious man-locks ever so slightly, and passes the bag to Hurley. When Sayid refuses Hurley’s offer of a fry, Hurley says, “You know, maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn’t have to go around shooting people.” Hurley always gets the good jokes. They drive away and head to an apartment building Sayid says is a safe house. Hurley asks Sayid the identity of the man Sayid killed earlier that night outside the mental hospital, and Sayid says, “I don’t care. He was armed and he was watching you. That made him an enemy.” Sayid is definitely embracing his chance to be a badass. Sayid says he’s not taking any more risks after Bentham died, and Hurley says, “You mean Locke,” to which Sayid quickly replies, “Yes, I mean Locke,” in a tone that suggests he’s a little annoyed Hurley would repeat the name. It’s a great little moment because it’s a reminder of how much of the show is a performance for the viewer, since the characters could have referred to Bentham as Locke before now but didn’t, and not because they didn’t know they were the same man, but because it hadn’t been aired yet. Before the moment can crumble under the weight of self-awareness, Hurley mutters, “I need a cool code name.” Sayid then admits that he’s been working for Ben for the past couple years, and Hurley confusedly asks if Ben’s on “our side now,” another telling line that reinforces the show’s grand aspirations of conflict and sides and the way it’s all somehow amplified in Hurley’s brain. Sayid tells Hurley that if the big man ever runs into Ben, he shouldn’t trust him, and in fact should do the opposite of whatever Ben says to do. Sayid should definitely be more aware of the danger of giving a character like Hurley such literal instructions, but again, it’s been a while since there was any blatant foreshadowing, so it was time.

Sayid notices that the piece of tape he left over the door to his place has been broken, and that means only one thing: fight time. He kicks open the door to find a guy waiting, and although the bad guy disarms Sayid right away (way to remember your training, guy), Sayid grabs the guy and throws him over the balcony, where he lands with a vicious thud on the parking lot. Sayid heads inside and tussles with the second baddie, making it to the kitchen and fumbling for the gun he’s got stashed under the counter. He almost gets it out, too, but the bad guy shoots him with a tranq dart, and Sayid slumps forward onto the sink. The bad guy, being way too trusting — why not shoot him again? — moves into the kitchen, at which point Sayid snaps upright, grabs a pan, and clocks the guy, disarming him and causing the dishwasher door to open in one kind of unbelievably smooth motion. The dish tray slides out to reveal a utensil holder full of ridiculously dangerous knives, all pointing up, and there’s no doubt that this will end pretty badly for the shooter. Sure enough, Sayid knocks his feet out and impales him on basic cutlery. There should be fights like this more often.

Outside on the balcony, Hurley picks up the dropped gun and leans over to look at the corpse below, because Hurley has never seen movies or TV and has no idea about prints or evidence or even considers that the crowd forming around the body could look up and see him holding a gun and start to draw some damning conclusions. No, Hurley knows none of this, because he is a simpler man. So he just stands there, holding the gun, looking down as people point up at him; one dude snaps a picture, which finally spurs Hurley to action. He runs inside to find Sayid half passed out; apparently he didn’t spend enough time in his travels building up an immunity to iocaine powder, so he’s starting to feel the effects of the dart. Sayid tells Hurley to get him to the car, and as Hurley helps him walk out, he moans that they never should have left the island.

Back on Hell Island, the crew is still walking through the nighttime jungle. Charlotte asks Miles if Widmore is looking for them, but he says that it took the guy 20 years to find the island the first time, so they can probably breathe easy for a while. They come across the hatch, blown up, so Faraday says that they’re now at a point in time after the crash. When he admits that this means the camp could have returned, Sawyer starts to head for the beach, but Faraday tells him it’s pointless because another flash could happen before Sawyer gets there. Sawyer and Juliet protest that they should try and warn Jack and the others about what happens so they don’t get in the chopper, which Sawyer and Juliet of course to be wrecked or blown up or whatever. But Faraday says that’s not how it works. “You cannot change anything,” he says. “You can’t. Even if you tried to, it wouldn’t work.” Sawyer understandably wants to know why, so Faraday launches into the rules of time travel in “Lost,” explaining that time “is like a street. We can move forward on that street, we can move in reverse, but we cannot ever create a new street. If we try to do anything different, we will fail every time. Whatever happened, happened.” So, does this mean all of existence is already mapped out and unchangeable? Or that the present can impact the future, but the past can’t be changed to create a new present? I guess Chang/Candle was right about there being rules. Sawyer asks Faraday how he knows so much about all this, and Faraday gives another helpful monologue about how he’s spent his entire life studying space-time, even going so far as to pull his journal out his backpack and say that it contains everything he knows about DHARMA, and that he knows what’s happening. I now fully expect that journal to be stolen or to become/remain extremely important, and would be let down if it didn’t. Sawyer asks again if they can stop what’s coming, but Faraday says they can’t.

Cut to Locke in his part of the jungle, still bleeding profusely and looking pretty scared. He stands and limps his way to the wreckage of the Beechcraft, now on the ground, and yanks out a seatbelt to use as a tourniquet. He sits down against a rock next to the plane, and there’s a fantastic close-up shot of the side of his face with trees blurry in the background when light begins to move among the leaves. It’s a torch, and Locke draws his knife as he sees and hears someone approaching. Richard Alpert comes around the bend, and when he sees Locke, he quickly walks over and examines Locke’s wound. “We need to get the bullet out,” Richard says. Locke wants to know how Richard knows there’s a bullet in his leg, and Richard says, “You told me there was.” Locke adamantly denies this, but Richard just looks at him and says, “Well, you will.” This is when the idea of past/future gets loose, since John won’t see a past version of Richard until his own future, when (one assumes) he travels to an earlier point and tells Richard about the gunshot wound Richard will treat in his future but which has already been treated in Locke’s past. Locke, who’s starting to click with this whole thing, asks, “When am I?” Richard responds that it’s all relative, which is not something you want to hear from a sarcastic guy performing minor surgery on you in the middle of the jungle that’s been known to house a smoke monster, a ghost cabin, and various polar bears and horses. Locke asks where everyone went when the sky lit up, but Richard tells him, “I didn’t go anywhere, John. You went.” So are the Others somehow immune to the effects of the blasts? How? Why? Richard yanks the bullet from Locke’s leg and rapidly begins telling Locke that he’ll be moving on soon and he’ll need to keep his wound clean. “Keep as much weight off your leg as you can, the island will do the rest.” Richard tells Locke that the next time they meet, Richard won’t recognize him, so Locke will need to give him something to prove himself. Richard presses a compass into Locke’s hand, and they have a great exchange that illustrates how well the show can integrate moments of minor humor into larger drama:

Locke: What is it?
Richard: It’s a compass.
Locke: What does it do?
Richard: It points north, John.

Richard barrels ahead with what he feels is pretty important news: “The only way to save the island is to get your people back here.” Locke starts to protest that they’re dead, but Richard says they’re fine, and that they’re already home, which means this conversation has to be taking place sometime after the Oceanic Six were rescued, not just after the crash. Richard tells Locke he will have to convince them to come back, and when Locke asks how he’s supposed to do that, Richard takes a beat before saying, “You’re gonna have to die, John.” Locke’s eyes get a little wide at that — whose wouldn’t? — but just then everything goes purple and white again, and Locke looks around to see bright sky above him and the Beechcraft back atop the ridge. He looks down and sees the compass still in his hand, and he looks more worried than ever.

Back at the hatch, just before the latest purple blast, Sawyer and the gang are staring down at the debris, presumably digesting Faraday’s lecture on quantum mechanics. Miles asks what the hatch was before it was destroyed, and Juliet says it housed a DHARMA station where a man named Desmond pushed a button every 108 minutes to save the world. “Really?” Miles asks. Juliet gives a little smirk and says yes, really, and that’s when the flash comes and everyone grabs their heads and braces for the shock. The hatch’s ruins are gone, and after digging a little Juliet finds the door and small window under some grass. “I guess you haven’t found it yet,” she says to Sawyer, who turns and marches off into the jungle. Miles shouts after him, but Sawyer says he’s heading for the “back door” to get supplies. Faraday and the rest go after him, and Faraday again reminds Sawyer that it’s impossible to change the past and that Sawyer won’t be able to get Desmond to let him in. “Desmond didn’t know you when he first came out of there. That means you’ve never met, which means you can’t meet.” Sawyer starts banging on the door even as Faraday keeps telling him it won’t work and that he’s wasting his time. “If it didn’t happen, it can’t happen.” So does this mean that Desmond just wouldn’t recognize Sawyer, or that Desmond wouldn’t even see Sawyer? These castaways have been bouncing around in the past for a while now but they haven’t run into anyone of their number, so is it even possible to talk to someone you will know in their past? Richard and the Others seem exempt from coming unstuck, but could the castaways run into their own past selves? Faraday hasn’t addressed that, which makes me think (for now) that it’s not too big a concern, but that’s weird, because it would almost have to be.

Anyway, Sawyer keeps banging away while Faraday says he can’t change the past, at which point Sawyer grabs him and growls, “Everybody I care about just blew up on your damn boat. I know what I can’t change.” Juliet walks up, and Sawyer looks at her like a lost puppy. They are definitely going to hook up later. Juliet says they should head back to the beach to rest, but Miles wants to know why they’re going there if there’s nothing to head back to. “So stay here,” Juliet says, walking away. Miles turns to the others and says, “That chick likes me,” then leaves. Oh Miles, you hilarious rogue. Faraday and Charlotte share a look, but he notices she’s got a bloody nose. She wipes it off, saying she’s fine, and Faraday says of course she is, it’s not a big deal, but it’s clear he’s concerned about her and how the time travel, or maybe the island itself, is affecting her. (Minkowski’s nose bled in “The Constant” when he got unstuck in time, and that dude wound up dead.) They head to catch up with the others, but Faraday says he forgot his backpack and will have to catch up. He runs back to the hatch and gets his stuff, opening his journal and flipping through it like he’s searching for something. He stops at a certain page, gets a look of dawning comprehension, and returns to the station’s back door and knocks a few times. The door opens and Desmond emerges in a hazmat suit and mask, brandishing a rifle. Faraday uses Desmond’s name, and Desmond asks if Faraday is his replacement. Faraday says no, and when Desmond asks if the two know each other, Faraday replies, “In a way. … I need you to listen. You’re the only person who can help us because, Desmond, the rules don’t apply to you. You’re special.” Desmond demands to know what he’s talking about, and just then the air begins to take on that slight whine it gets before a time flash, and both men look around, hearing it. Faraday starts to panic a little because he knows he’s out of time, and he starts to talk about the helicopter and if Desmond made it off the island, but Desmond cuts him off and almost shoots him, demanding to know what he’s talking about. Faraday presses on, saying, “Me and everyone else you left behind, we’re in serious danger, and you’re the only person who can help us. I need you to go back to Oxford University, go back where we met. I need you to go there and find my mother. Her name is — …” but it’s too late. The flash comes and swallows Faraday’s words.

Cut to Desmond in bed, sweating, clean shaven, clearly in the “present.” He starts awake and hits the light, finding Penny next to him, who asks what’s wrong. “I was on the island,” he tells her, and she attempts to comfort him by reminding him he’s been off the island for three years and that he was just dreaming. “It wasn’t a dream,” he says. “It was a memory.” And it’s true. The reason he was shaking was because his brain was downloading a new memory, integrating a new sense into his experience and trying to keep from splitting. After all, Desmond’s no stranger to time traveling. He gets out of bed and heads out: They’re on a ship, presumably so they can constantly stay out of reach of Penny’s father. Penny asks what Desmond’s doing as he pulls up the anchor. “We’re leaving,” he says. When she asks him where, he looks at her and says, “Oxford.”

Overall, a fantastic episode, packed with plenty of story but also nicely focused on action within a narrow timeframe. Over the course of the episode, only a few hours pass for the castaways, if that, and perhaps only a day for the Oceanic Six. The series has had a set endpoint for a while, but that’s now drawing close; there are only about 33 or 34 left now, depending on how they count the hours, and the show is building toward something with a sense of purpose and urgency. Desmond is clearly special in his ability to affect change in the timeline and to be affected by it, though how that will play out is still up for grabs. As for questions raised by this episode or simply still unanswered: Where’s Claire? Is she still hanging out with her dead father in Jacob’s Ghost Cabin? How did Faraday jump back in time to sneak into the Orchid under construction? Also, Richard gives Locke a compass; is this the same compass he showed the boy Locke in last season’s “Cabin Fever” when he asked Locke which of a set of items “already belonged to him”? It looks like Richard can time travel, which would explain how he was able to visit the young Locke and also, maybe, why he might be exempt from the island’s temporal shift. (As he told Locke, “I didn’t go anywhere. You went.”) And Desmond and Faraday already met at Oxford in 1996, so wouldn’t Desmond remember him by the time he got to the island c. 2001? Does this have something to do with whatever makes Desmond “special”? And finally: What happened to that Willie record? Someone should have kept that.

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.

Inkheart | Five Great Television Actors That Should Stick to TV


What the hell Beatles song is THAT?

Posted by: Jay at January 26, 2009 3:08 PM

I am pretty much just accepting everything that happens on Lost now, and not thinking too much about it, because otherwise my brain will explode.

I do sometimes miss Lost of the first season though, when it wasn't all 'GO GO GO!!' all the time, and we actually had time to connect with the characters and see more of their stories, rather than just all the weird stuff that goes on.

Still love it though.

Posted by: Carrie at January 26, 2009 3:16 PM

Really nice in-depth write up Daniel. The first episode was much better than the second, though I did enjoy Hurley's comic relief.
There has to be a reason Faraday traveled back to Dr. Candle's cave-dig. Clearly he needed to observe or learn something for the future, but I've no idea what. And Richard - why is he ageless? Could he be "Adam"? I know people have speculated Kate and Jack for "Adam" and "Eve", but somehow I don't feel that.
I don't think Locke is dead dead, if you know what I mean. I think it's some sort of time/space ruse or deception rigged by Ben or Richard to get everyone back.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say that I've read Claire won't be back until next season.

Posted by: Cindy at January 26, 2009 3:33 PM

carrie - i love all the new GO GO GO! because it means the formula for all the shows to come has changed, no more waiting forever for a question to be answered, even though the character connection stories are what made us love the show in the first season. i think if they had went on that way the last two seasons might have been disappointing. i love the reinvention. love love love.

Posted by: smiley at January 26, 2009 3:39 PM


Thanks for killing the annoying "Frogurt" from "That Thing You Do."

That is all.

Posted by: dammitjanet at January 26, 2009 3:47 PM

I gave this episode 25 out of 30 super stars!

Posted by: Snath at January 26, 2009 3:49 PM

How did Faraday jump back in time? I don't think the implication there need be anything beyond the fact that he's on the "skipping record." Just because he's researching Dharma's activities doesn't mean he time-traveled with intent. He might just making the most of the opportunity.

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 26, 2009 3:53 PM

Fantastic recap, Dan. I've still got so many questions swirling around in my brain that I get a headache if I think about it too much. Integrating the time-travel element has been a perfect touch by Abrams & Co. It's interesting that you point out Hurley's need for an absolute good/bad dichotomy because I keep coming back to that myself - who's the good guy here? Which side do I root for? Sayid/Hurley/Jin? Jack/Ben/LockeBentham?

Hot damn, I love this show.

Jay, an entire column about time travelling islanders and you ask about a song? I expected so much more. (Are the Lostaways not meeting themselves because they're aware that crossing one's own timeline creates a universe-destroying paradox? Is Faraday a fan of Doctor Who?)

Posted by: Nicole at January 26, 2009 4:04 PM

Interesting thought Darth, but because of Daniel's apparent age I think he must have time traveled. If that had been Daniel naturally occurring in the same time-frame as Dr. Candle, wouldn't he have been a teenager (unless he's Richard Alpert II)?

Posted by: Cindy at January 26, 2009 4:12 PM

Of the list of things I squealed during this show, one of them was, "Luscious man locks! I miss Dan's recaps..."

Posted by: Allison112 at January 26, 2009 4:12 PM

Sorry Darth, I just reread your comment and it seems I misunderstood. So you think he just ended up there during one of the island time-skips then? Absolutely possible.

Posted by: Cindy at January 26, 2009 4:16 PM

I have a lot of questions about the Desmond-Daniel meetings. First of all, as was pointed out in the recap, Desmond should have remembered Daniel from his time in Oxford in 1996 when the future-island was tripping him out. But didn't they meet on the island too, before Desmond headed out on the boat? Can someone remind me of this? Because, if they did, shouldn't he have recognized him again, as the guy who banged on the hatch door a scant few months before?

When Daniel banged on the hatch door and spoke with Desmond, it had to have been after the plane crashed, because Des's partner was clearly already dead, and he died the day the plane crashed. Right?

Posted by: jkate at January 26, 2009 4:28 PM

Cindy>> Right, that's what I meant. It will be interesting to see, though, how frequent the skipping is or if it has any regularity to it. It'll be tough for them to fix the problem if they keep jumping times, although the fact that Richard Alpert knows that John Locke is going to encounter him before he recognizes him seems to imply that the past is set and everything works out in terms of stabilizing the island. Maybe. The big ball of paradoxes they've opened up are best not scrutinized too closely.

Nicole>> Funny you say that. Someone posted this on another LOST message board I frequent. It's one of the funniest things I've read in a while. You can just hear David Tennant speaking the lines...

LOST needs a crossover episode with DOCTOR WHO
by SpyGuy Jan 22nd, 2009
11:53:09 AM

The Tenth Doctor: "Well, what have we got here? A big old island being all wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey. And who's behind all that, eh?"

Daniel Faraday: "Um...We're trying to..."

The Tenth Doctor: "Oh, and look, you've got an unstable energy source hooked up to a donkey wheel! Mind you, I've seen a lot of unstable energy sources and I have to say, a donkey wheel is a bit of a surprise..."

Daniel Faraday: "Yeah...I was in the process of calculating the precise turn needed to reverse the wheel,"

The Tenth Doctor: "What? You mean like this? Allon-sy!" * Reaches out and gives donkey wheel a big push backwards *

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 26, 2009 4:28 PM

The time travel made me think of The Time Traveler's Wife: any time the main character tried to change something in the past, it lead to what he knew what actually happened, so he wasn't able to change anything. Therefore, none of the castaways are going to see themselves, because they never did up to this point. But I don't think Danielle ever met Farraday, so that's a possibility. I'm hoping to learn more of her back story through this time traveling.

Posted by: sleater at January 26, 2009 4:35 PM

Is it possible that Faraday figured out a way to time travel after he met Desmond at Oxford in the past? Didn't it work with his lab rat? The rat died, but that was because it had a teeny brain and no constant. And last season we saw that Faraday had written in his DHARMA Diary that Desmond was his constant, so he would have to had been time traveling to need to know that. And if that's true, is that why he's got memory problems-- like when he couldn't remember two of three cards or when he cried upon hearing about the Oceanic 815 crash but didn't know why? Since he's not special, like Des seems to be, it could be a side effect of moving through time and that's why Charlotte is forgetting things, too.

I'm almost sure that doesn't make sense but I typed it, goddammit, so you better like it! My brain hurts.

Posted by: jM at January 26, 2009 4:50 PM

excellent write-up Daniel. i think it's going to get pretty sticky keeping the timelines straight, but Lost is so worth it. i love the idea of explaining the island's mysteries by following the lost-aways as they are unstuck in time. Godtopus, i love this show!

i think the compass that Richard gave Locke is the same compass--thus the which of these items already belongs to you question. i also think that the Others, as guardians of the island, are somehow exempt from the temporal shift. but what about the people they took from the tail section? are they jumping around in time with the rest of the lost-aways?

did they establish that 1996 Desmond was present when future Desmond flashed back? did getting unstuck in time make Desmond special, or was he special because he turned the key--or even before that? either way, meeting someone once several years ago wouldn't make me remember them, even if i went out of my way looking for them, but i have a terrible memory, so i probably don't count.

Jin is not dead. Carlton Cuse said that Sun was upset because she thought Jin died on the freighter--during the pre-show--and i don't think that wording was an accident. i also think that the whole people who die on the island are really dead distinction--as opposed to people who die on the show--means something. so Locke isn't really dead either--unfortunately.

Posted by: pq at January 26, 2009 4:56 PM

To answer my own question, Desmond and Daniel did meet in season 4 ("The Economist"). Which would make you think he'd remember Daniel from the 2 times they'd met before, always in very weird circumstances. I mean, he remembered Jack, and all they did was sprint through a stadium together.

jM, regarding Desmond's being "special", do you think this ties in somehow? I just thought it meant that Desmond wasn't an Other or a Lostie, but maybe there's more to it.

Posted by: jkate at January 26, 2009 4:58 PM

Jay, an entire column about time travelling islanders and you ask about a song?

Well, you know I don't watch the show, but Dan's abrupt shift in title format was very alarming!

Posted by: Jay at January 26, 2009 5:05 PM

jkate>> I might speculate that Desmond's and Daniel's memories become spotty when they are related to incidents that occurred in close proximity to the time-traveling. Hence, that might be one of the reasons that Daniel finds it necessary to keep his notebook and remind himself in all-caps that Desmond is his constant. Both their brains have shown to be at least a little unstable. But I really don't know.

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 26, 2009 5:07 PM

Darth, nice theory. I could go for that. It's hard to believe that the Lost writers wouldn't be doing this for a reason.

Posted by: jkate at January 26, 2009 5:13 PM

I'm ever so happy that the Lost recaps have returned. They are truly the highlight of my week, so thank you for that Mr. Carlson.

I also love how this episode seemed to confirm that last season's The Constant WAS important. I remember when it aired how many people complained that it had very little to do with answering questions and that it seemed to just be a fluff piece for Desmond and Penny. Obviously when Faraday must have realized/remembered when he looked at his journal is that Desmond is his constant so during that unstuck moment at the hatch he would be able to communicate with Desmond.

Oh. my. god. I LOVE this show. I don't want it to ever end.

Posted by: citizen_cris at January 26, 2009 5:21 PM

Meant to say: A Lost recap, on Pajiba, with references to Dinosaur Comics is pretty much the best reading experience I could have right now.

Posted by: jkate at January 26, 2009 5:26 PM

ok, my Desmond comment made no sense. what i meant to say is that i think Desmond is special because he is unstuck in time too--in a way. did he change his own past when he went to meet Faraday? or did he not know that he had met Faraday because his 1996 self wasn't conscious of what was happening when his future self was inhabiting his body. his reaction to Faraday contacting him in his past suggests that he is somehow outside of the normal rules regarding time travel. unless Faraday isn't being entirely truthful.

also, Faraday contacted Desmond after he noticed Charlotte's nose bleeding, which means that he not only wanted to test his theory re Desmond being special, but he realized that he needed to contact his constant before the temporal shift started making him lose his memory--especially since he is the only one who knows what's going on. plus, who knows when he'll get another chance.

Posted by: pq at January 26, 2009 5:34 PM

Ah, I love this show, and I love that you guys do recaps here!

When Locke asked Captain Eyeliner (aka Richard) what the compass does, and he replied "It points north, John," I snorted Pepsi.

I hope we find out about Jin soon, but I can't see how he survived the blast on the freighter.

Posted by: Melissa at January 26, 2009 6:02 PM

I do not want Jin to be dead. At all. I am hanging onto the hope he isn't until given proof otherwise. I will be pissed damn it.

Posted by: Carrie at January 26, 2009 6:09 PM

Nice recap... I love LOST!!!

Just a thought regarding the castaways not running into their past selves as they travel through time... According to Faraday, if something in the past didn't happen, then it can't happen... So if the castaways in the past never ran into their future selves, then it can't happen now... But clearly some of the time travel that has occurred since the island moved has put the castaways within the same time frame of the plane crash. So they are conceivably sharing space-time with their past selves, but they won't be able to interact with them, if Faraday is correct. This made me think of the mysterious whispers in the jungle from the first two seasons. If you read the transcripts of the whispers on lostpedia, it seems like the speakers are observing the castaways, or at least have some knowledge about what is happening to them. Perhaps this is some sort of overlap in the space-time continuum? The castaways can't see or interact with their future/past selves, but perhaps there is some residual something-or-other that is overlapping here???? Just a thought... Anyways... Keep up the good work, Pajiba. Looking forward to the next recap and the next episode of the greatest show ever.

Posted by: a.g. at January 26, 2009 6:13 PM

My theory about the others being fixed in time has to do with them being on Jacob's list. Not just by the fact they are on the list along with something else, so far unseen, that makes these people cool with living with their kidnappers.

In some way the other's fate is fixed and thus they can't travel through time because this would somehow break the rules of time travel established by the show.

Unfortunately this theory breaks down when I remember Juliet is shifting through time as well. However she might not have been on Jacob's list but a "necessary evil" recruited by Ben similar to how Jack was used by Ben despite not being on the list either.

Posted by: Orser at January 26, 2009 6:13 PM

This made me think of the mysterious whispers in the jungle from the first two seasons.

Excellent catch. I'll just add that to the stew in my brain.

Posted by: Nicole at January 26, 2009 6:24 PM

great (and very detailed!) review! when desmond was "downloading a new memory," it made me think about much earlier episodes where desmond could "see" the future, like charlie's death. does this have something to do with his time traveling ability and why he is so special? i had always hoped they would come back to that (and to walt's special gifts - so sad that they seem to have dropped that story line. and to continue my stream of consciousness rambling, why is the island upset that the oceanic 6 left but doesn't seem concerned that walt is also no longer on the island????)

Posted by: aprileee at January 26, 2009 6:29 PM

I totally agree with the Juliet/Sawyer assessment. That broad gets around.

I think it is a safe assumption to make that Jin is not dead. I wonder if that will be the way that Ben saves himself from being killed by Sun, and the way he gets her to go back to the island too.

This may be pretty far fetched, but I wonder if Faraday's mother is the woman from the end of episode 2, also the one who met with Desmond at a previous time.

I actually found this season's premier to be a little lackluster, but I feel like something is wrong with me for saying that. I don't know. It just didn't have the punch I had been waiting for.

Posted by: katy at January 26, 2009 6:34 PM

The only problem I have with this recap is that it breaks the previous, unbroken tradition of having Beatles lyrics for a title. I am most displeased about that.

But other than that, it's a fantastic recap, Daniel, just as last season's were. I love your Monday-morning quarterbacking. Just when I've started to recover from Wednesday night's mind-fuck, your Monday column gets me obsessing all over again.

Posted by: Jerce at January 26, 2009 6:56 PM

Allison112--I was so excited for man locks,too. I've used that a lot in the last year thanks to these awesome recaps.

Also, was way excited for the exasperated use of "son of a bitch" from Sawyer. Just my luck, he used it while time traveling only to be interrupted and then able to finish once the traveling was finished. Beautiful.

Posted by: kelsy at January 26, 2009 7:13 PM

Wasn't Richard shot and killed in an earlier episode? I seem to remember thinking that he was dead, along with that group of Others that Locke ran into at the end of season 4. Maybe that's why Richard didn't move with the time shifts.

Posted by: -*- at January 26, 2009 7:40 PM

OK, I'm going to type something that I'm not sure even makes sense in my head. Note that we just saw Desmond realizing that he had to go to Oxford after the island time-skipped and Daniel told Desmond what to do. So, in theory, the time-skipping island had to happen in order for Daniel to meet up with Desmond at the hatch. So then again, in theory, everyone leaving the island - and everyone coming back to the island has to happen. It's not a happenstance that all events have occurred as they have.

jkate, I'm not sure "remembering" is the right term for the Desmond and Daniel meet. I don't know what the right word is. I think there might be some sort of "mind-click" where Desmond's mind recognizes something from what Daniel said - in this case "Oxford". We know that Daniel can't remember everything as he time-travels, as he has to look in his notebook to recall important notes. I don't know if we can know what Desmond retains because he is "special", in that he can at times time-travel at will (and possibly change events).

If anyone makes any sense of my own thoughts, please let me know.

Oh and Darth, did you not get the sense that Mrs. Hawking is going to try to help the island stop skipping?

Posted by: Cindy at January 26, 2009 8:17 PM

I don't mean to sound like an insensitive bloodlust type, but I really hope Jin is dead and stays dead. It's been a while since important characters have felt expendable, and false deaths always compromise the tension for me.

Cindy>> I got the impression that they aren't able stop the island from the outside - or at least not at the moment. That's why there's this immediacy to reach the island in the next 70 hours. Somehow she has tracked it to precise time-space coordinates, but it will no longer be there in less than three days, and I guess there is a problem with finding it quickly when it returns to the "present." It's sort of like The Black Fortress in Krull, except the time-traveling makes it even harder to find.

-*- >> To my knowledge, Richard has never been harmed.

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 26, 2009 9:53 PM

That's a lovely theory. But how then is the island held from skipping during that 70 hours? From all appearances (I know, I know) the island is skipping every few hours. Or maybe the skip time is slowing down exponentially, and at X time, it will be set in time for that 70 hours?

Posted by: Cindy at January 26, 2009 10:07 PM

I love Lost, I love it with passion. It's everything Heroes wishes it was, but isn't. A well thought out, cleverly written show, that is only funny when it wants to be, and has never disappointed me, with an ensemble cast of actors who are actually talented.

Milo Ventigmil-whateverthefuck-gilga has to be the shittiest actor on T.V. next to Sendhil Ramamurthy, that retard who plays Mohinder, and almost anyone else on that show.

Mother of fuck I hate Heroes, I hate it with every ounce that I love Lost in reverse. Fuck you Heroes, Lost was on first, and it's worst moments were better than your best. Suck Mohinders peeling skin Tim Kring. Clean Damon Linderlof and Carlton Cruise's bathrooms with your tongue. Eat all the dicks in the world, you hack!

I love Lost, so much so that the only thing that balances it is my hate for Heroes.

Posted by: George at January 26, 2009 10:55 PM

Cindy>> Yeah, rephrase what I said to that last thing you said. (The rate of skipping did in fact seem to be changing over the course of those two episodes we saw.) Or something similar. Maybe it's not the location it's in right now that will hold for 70 hours; maybe it will only be in the present time for another 70 hours, but it's moving locations. Or maybe she's projecting where it will be 70 hours from that moment, but she knows it won't return to their time again afterward. Also keep in mind that what appears to be a short interim between flashes on the island could be a longer interim of time outside the island, as hinted at by Faraday's experiments in season 4.

I know Daniel said it was only skipping time coordinates, but the map that Mrs. Hawking had indicated that it was also changing its longitude and latitude, and perhaps from the island's perspective it is still moving times as it changes locations. Perhaps the island could theoretically exist in more than one place at the same time.

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 26, 2009 11:47 PM

I have never once watched this show - every time I try a snippet it's just too overwrought, boring, or confusing so I decided 'bail' early on. But even though I don't like the show itself, I absolutely love the recaps! I cracks me up how exciting the material seems and how deeply you guys who watch it have connected to it and how interestingly you present the play-by-play. It's like sports announcers. Way more fun than the tube...I'll keep reading them.

Posted by: replica at January 27, 2009 1:29 AM

One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can't cope with. There is no problem about changing the course of history - the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Posted by: WestCoastPat at January 27, 2009 8:01 AM

Ah, I'd forgotten about the time change issue - thanks for the reminder Darth.
I haven't felt that the island moves in physical location, at least in the normal sense of those words. I suppose any island, over time, might move slightly. But my brain can't quite grasp that a move through time would truly physically relocate the island. I do wonder though, if the island is in motion through time does it in essence *disappear* for a period of time. And because of the time difference on/off island, could that time of disappearance vary? Does that relate to your thoughts?
Time travel is one of those things that the more I think about it, the more confused I feel.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 8:09 AM

thanks for the recap, the only thing better than watching LOST is reading all the recaps and read all the stuff i missed just so i can watch LOST again. LOST is it for me. at this point, all the detractors and nay-sayers asking about unanswered mysteries from fucking season 1 or 2 need to kick rocks. i stopped asking questions and was immensely entertained in return. i'm on board until this show goes off the air after season 6. every time there's a hiatus i go back and watch the previous seasons and they are still effective even though you know what's coming. i fucking love LOST!!!!!ONE!

Posted by: je nais se twat at January 27, 2009 8:20 AM

Darth can I have your love-geek babies? That was frakkin' brilliant!

Posted by: dammitjanet at January 27, 2009 8:44 AM

Time travel hurts my brain. If you like that sort of thing, fine--if not, I recommend you just watch the show for the drama, the great acting and dialogue, and stop trying to figure out what the hell is going on. The only time travel story I have ever been able to wrap my brain around was "To Say Nothing of The Dog" by Connie Willis, in which historians could travel into the past to observe and even interact with their surroundings, but they couldn't change anything of significance, and they couldn't bring anything back with them either.

Anyone think Ben is the one who hired those lawyers to threaten Kate, so she'd be more willing to leave with them?

I'm not sure I believe Sun when she says she doesn't blame Kate for Jin's death. She appears to be turning into one ruthless, cold-hearted bitch. And someone please refresh my memory on why she blames Ben for Jin's death, and not Widmore, who sent the freighter with the trigger-happy commandos in the first place?

Posted by: DeadBessie at January 27, 2009 8:47 AM

Great show. If it wasn't confusing enough already, now they throw time travel at us? Time travel blows my mind in even simple stories like Back to the Future. Anyway, I think the Island must be moving in time and space. It's the only real explanation how Mr. Eko's drug smuggling plane could crash on the island. There is simply no way it could be that far off course on its own. It moved off the coast of Africa, maybe just for an hour or so during this "time skipping". This could also explain the Black Rock being located in the middle of the island. It time and space shifted and reappeared right under the Black Rock. Talk about fucking your day up.

Posted by: ed newman at January 27, 2009 9:06 AM

Of course if the Island is shifting through space as well as time, what is to prevent it from popping up in the middle of a continent? It would have about a 1-4 chance of doing so wouldn't it?

Posted by: ed newman at January 27, 2009 11:04 AM

My impression of the Daniel/Desmond interaction is that it didn't become a "memory" for Desmond until Daniel time-skipped and made it happen. That's part of what's meant by the rules not applying to Desmond. His "past" can be changed.

And I do think it has to do with him turning the key. I think he came unstuck in time in a different way from that event.

Posted by: Drake at January 27, 2009 11:43 AM

I loooooooove your recaps Dan. I literally squeed when I saw this was up. And you def didn't let me down. ;)

Really liked how fast everything went this ep, seems like we really are gonna start to get the answers we've been wanting. I'm getting pumped for this season, methinks it's gonna be awesomely epic.

Posted by: Celie at January 27, 2009 12:07 PM

It's the only real explanation how Mr. Eko's drug smuggling plane could crash on the island. There is simply no way it could be that far off course on its own.

Godtopus knows I have no idea what I'm talking about, but still I disagree. I don't think the island is physically moving that much. I think it's possible that the plane got caught in the path of an island time skip, or that perhaps there is an entryway (or two or several); a time portal of some sort. I feel strongly that at least Ben and Richard could travel on and off island at will (i.e. Tunisia). Whatever "portal" allowed them to do that might be involved in the downing of Eko's brother's plane.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 12:35 PM

So this means we'll get a weekly recap of 24 now, right? I mean, it's only fair.

Posted by: Mike R. at January 27, 2009 12:58 PM

I think it's possible that the plane got caught in the path of an island time skip, or that perhaps there is an entryway (or two or several); a time portal of some sort.

So you're saying that the time skip is sending out waves through time that caught the smugglers and transported them through space (and maybe time) to crash on the island that didn't move. Or, alternatively, there are doors in time/space leading to the Island, one of which the plane happened to find. I certainly wouldn't dismiss any theory about this cockamamie show, but the Island moving is more satisfying to me.

Posted by: ed newman at January 27, 2009 1:30 PM

Drake >> Yeah, that could be what they're going for with Desmond. It just makes my brain hurt when I start really scrutinizing it.

Cindy >> If you go back and look at that scene where Mrs. Hawking was attempting to track the island, it did seem that she had marked several different physical locations in the ocean. My thinking would be that when you move through time you also move through space, given that all four dimensions are intrinsically bounded in the time-space continuum, and I've noticed before that many time-travel movies seem to ignore this.

For example, when Marty McFly travels through time he ends up in the exact same physical spot that he left, but it seems to me that without the machine accounting for the traveling through the three dimensions of space he should be somewhere else entirely due to the expansion of the universe and the rotations/revolutions of the Earth. Perhaps Doc Brown accounts for this, or perhaps the Earth's gravity keeps the time machine grounded in the same spot, but it seems to be a detail that is glazed over. (I have a time-travel story I'm writing in which that element plays a critical role.)

I can't explain why the 70 hours is so critical or if this implies that the island will go physically missing at that time. Maybe it relates to some sort of doomsday scenario in which the island gets upset that the Oceanic Six and John Locke are missing. I'm very fuzzy on why that is so critical; perhaps it involves preventing some sort of paradox from happening.

Now that I think about your point, what you're saying does make sense. If time passes more slowly or more quickly within the island's bubble, then when it transports, it makes sense that its appearance to the rest of the world would have to adjust in some way to balance out.

dammitjanet>> Thanks. I'm too shy to know how to respond to even the jesting prospect of making love-geek babies with you, but it sounds nice. :- )

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 27, 2009 1:39 PM

ed: I'm saying that we know there is a (according to Daniel) range around the island that is incorporated into the island's time-skip. This is how the people on the raft stayed with the island. So I guess I'm saying that perhaps Eko's brother's plane was sucked into a time-skip with the island at a particular moment...or...
I also believe that there is a (or multiple) portal/window/door through which people and or items can travel. I don't know where exactly it is, but I believe Ben and Richard have both traveled through it. Perhaps it is a stationary portal or perhaps something that changes locations. So another possibility (at least in my mind) is that the plane went down and happened to come through said portal.

Darth, I do remember Mrs. Hawking saying something about longitude and latitude, and I'm going to rewatch that segment to clarify what she was saying. I'm having a hard time with the idea that the island can end up anywhere in the world - but of course I can't discount the idea either.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 2:23 PM

Cindy>> Good thinking about Eko's brother's plane!

Posted by: DarthCorleone at January 27, 2009 2:55 PM

Let's incorporate Michael and Walt - and bearings into this equation. What about all the times people have been told that they have to head off island at a certain bearing? Michael and Walt somehow got back to "the real world" by following Ben's directional bearing. The submarine can apparently transport people (Juliet) by using a certain bearing. There has to be some kind of portal in time somewhere, no?

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 2:57 PM

Desmond and Henry Gale also somehow randomly(?) ended up on the island.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 3:03 PM

Maybe that big electromagnetic thingamabobber sucks objects into the time field of the island?

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 3:09 PM

Desmond was in the South Pacific when he randomly found the island. The smugglers were somewhere near Western Africa. The only connection to Africa shown so far is to Tunisia (Ben, polar bear bones) which is 1700 miles away. I can't think of a logical reason the smugglers would be heading to Tunisia. So that means there is a portal in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere that sucked in their plane and possibly the Black Rock. It's possible.

I prefer to think that the Island is moving in space and time and pops up in places where these vessels are and causes their crash. It may turn out that it was also moving when Oceanic 815 was downed since it was 1000 miles off course. Desmond "moved" the island briefly by failing to hit the button on time, long enough to snag O 815 which wasn't really off course until Desmond screwed up. Mrs Hawking is calculating where the Island will be next so Ben can get everyone back to the Island. The cataclysmic consequences could be that the Island will never get unstuck if the 6 don't return, and if it doesn't get unstuck it eventually rips holes in the fabric of the universe or some such sci fi nonsense. Or maybe it will eventually move to a landmass and take out all of NYC or something.

It's probably something else entirely.

Posted by: ed newman at January 27, 2009 5:06 PM

I know we have reason to think Desmond just happened upon the island, but I really doubt that was the case.

Last season when everyone was asking where the island went, the producers said we shouldn't be asking where - rather when. I don't know why I'm fighting the idea of a physical location change, but I am! I really think the plane came in through some portal, along with polar bears and other weird things that have been seen.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 7:51 PM

I definitely agree that Desmond didn't randomly come upon the island. Poor choice on my part to include that word.

Posted by: ed newman at January 27, 2009 8:53 PM

In fact, Mrs. Hawking told Desmond everything he was going to do, when in theory, he hadn't done any of it yet.

Posted by: Cindy at January 27, 2009 9:45 PM

Good to have the recaps back.

Didn't see it brought up, but maybe Miles is Candle's/Chang's/Halliwax's son, Faraday is Mrs. Hawking's son, and Charlotte is Inman's daughter (Desmond's roomie in the Hatch who also voices Mr. Krabs on Spongebob fuckyes). Miles seems the most plausible.
Also a nice touch that Neil was in a red shirt, of course he had to die!
Maybe nobody meets their past/future selves because they do not exist? Say in the past Sawyer celebrates his birthday on the Island, and now in the present (2 months later) they shift in time to the exact same day in the past. He wouldn't see himself blow out candles because while it is the same day he is now on future time, so he'd have to be standing wherever he is standing, and not blowing out candles (Couldn't turn 30 again, he'd be 30 and 2 months). But the candles would have to be blown out so this is paradoxical.
Maybe this is like Futurama and it is Paradox-free time travel so all time duplicates are killed, which is why bad things happen.
Damn diddly am. I was also thinking this is why Faraday is always flipping through his notebook, because he hasn't written certain notes yet. But this makes no sense either.

Posted by: Stew at January 28, 2009 5:30 PM

Stew, I like your thoughts on Miles and Charlotte. I was thinking Charlotte might be Ben's Annie.

Posted by: Cindy at January 28, 2009 8:16 PM

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