The Wife:

A lot of things happened in “This Place is Death,” and when I say that, I do so because the time jumps on the island are getting faster and faster, which can only spell doom for the few remaining survivors unless somebody – Farraday, Locke or Ben – does something to stop it. I expected Jin’s survival narrative to last a little longer than it did, but since the time jumps were happening more frequently it was only a matter of, uh, time until he eventually found what remain of his people.

Even though its 1988, Jin still wants to find his camp, but Rousseau’s crew insists that they must go to the radio tower – their best hope of rescue. Jin agrees to take them there, but only because of its proximity to the location of his camp. Rousseau asks him what he so desperately hopes to find at his camp and he replies, earnestly, “My wife.” Man, Jin and Sun fucking get me every damn time. Their time on the island saved their marriage, leading them to believe they could be happy once they returned to the real world and had their daughter, only to have that ripped away by fate as Jin was left for dead by Frank Lapidis and the Oceanic Six. Last year, ABC did these little e-Valentines with Lost characters, and Jin’s really stuck with me. His read: “I’d be lost without you.” And boy, he really would be lost without Sun. And he is. Literally. The look on Daniel Dae Kim’s face when he watches Danielle with her husband Robert, sneaking kisses and casually touching her seven months pregnant belly, just tears my heart out. In them, he sees everything he’s missing and hopes to find again if his wife is still on the island.

And let me just interject that after having seen him on Angel as evil corporate real estate lawyer, I think Daniel Dae Kim is such a good actor and so perfect for the role of Jin that I forget that I’m watching Daniel Dae Kim. His performance is just that immersive and nuanced and emotive on this show. Of everyone, he stands out the most to me as an actor because he makes me forget that I am watching an actor.

But then the smoke monster rears its ugly head and breaks up Jin’s daydreaming and Danielle and Robert’s kissy-snuggle time. Smokey claims the only other female Frenchie, and destroys her, and then it claims a second crewmember. Robert tries to save his mate from Smokey’s grasp by hanging on to his comrade for dear life. He’s ready to be pulled into a smoke monster hole until Jin pulls him back, breaking off the captured crewman’s arm in the process, and tells Robert not to follow his friend, even though the whole crew can still hear the Frenchman’s cries for help. But the Frenchies won’t heed Jin’s warning, and all of Rousseau’s men descend. Rousseau herself is about to head down the rabbit hole, but Jin stops her, telling her that she can’t risk her baby’s life. The sky flashes and Jin finds himself standing before a temple, covered in some kind of vaguely Egyptian glyphs.

Realizing that Rousseau’s people are gone, Jin moves on and tries to survive. He sees smoke in the distance and investigates, hoping it’s a campfire from his people. He doesn’t find anything particularly familiar: an ember-burning fire, a music box, a violin and a ton of flies. He then finds two dead bodies, which I thought might briefly have been Penny’s Romanian explorers, but turned out to be two members of Danielle’s crew, whom she had shot. Jin overhears Danielle and Robert shouting, both threatening to shoot one another. Danielle believes Robert is sick; and that he got sick from the smoke monster, just like the other men she killed. Robert begs her to think of the baby, revealing that she’s still pregnant so this incident exists only one or two months from the time Jin last saw Rousseau. Robert fires at her, but is shooting blanks, so Rousseau shoots back, killing Robert. She sees Jin in the distance and starts exclaiming that he must be sick, too, because he disappeared. The sky flashes before Rousseau can shoot Jin, and yet he still finds himself at the business end of the barrel.

That monster made you sick!

That monster made you sick!

Fortunately for Jin, Sawyer is on the other side of the gun and both men could not be happier to see one another. Jin is happy to see Juliet, Locke and even the Freighties, but his mood turns sour when he realizes that Sun isn’t among them. He starts screaming in Korean and asks Charlotte to translate, which Miles mistakenly assumes is a request made of him, leading to one of the funniest things I’ve heard on Lost in a while:

“Uh, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”

Charlotte tells the group that what Jin said, and Sawyer goes on to explain to Jin that they don’t know where the helicopter went and that ever since they left, everyone on the island has been skipping through time. Locke assures Jin that Sun will come back, because Locke is planning to leave the island and bring her and the other O6 members back. In order to do that, they all have to head to the Orchid station, which Locke believes is best chance they have of stopping the time skips. On their way there, the sky flashes twice in a row, knocking poor Charlotte Staples Lewis out cold. Miles and Juliet develop nosebleeds, and so does Sawyer. Charlotte wakes up and starts raving in Korean to not let “them” bring “her” back to the island because, per the title, “This place is death!” After this wild-eyed outburst, she starts talking crazy talk about marrying Americans, Hannibal and why her daddy couldn’t come with them. Part of me wants to make sense of these three outbursts, but I’m particularly drawn to her statement about her daddy. Who the hell are Charlotte’s parents anyway? Another flash of the sky occurs, and Locke urges the rest of the crew to move on to the Orchid station and leave Charlotte behind. Daniel opts to stay with her, and Sawyer demands to know how exactly they’ll find the Orchid station if they’ve jumped to a time in which it doesn’t yet exist. Charlotte blurts out that they should look for a well.

When the survivors arrive at the Orchid, its still there, until the sky flashes again and it’s gone. Locke locates the well and announces that he’s going down and likely never coming back unless it’s with the Oceanic Six. Heeding Charlotte’s warning, Jin threatens to prevent Locke from descending into the well at all until Locke promises that he will not bring Sun back to the island. Locke asks Jin what he should tell Sun if they should find each other, and Jin hands over his wedding band and instructs Locke to tell Sun that he is dead. Locke climbs down into the well, but the sky and the earth’s core flash before he can reach the bottom, sealing him into the well and causing him to fall and puncture his leg. (Always with the bum legs, that John Locke.) Seeing that he is now holding on to a rope attached to nothing, Sawyer desperately tries to pull the rope from the ground, but Juliet tells him it’s futile.

Meanwhile, Charlotte, in her time sickness, tells Daniel that she grew up on the island. She was a Dharma baby with an unknown father who moved to England with her mum when she was a small child. Though Charlotte remembers the island and became an anthropologist with the noble goal of being able to find the island of her youth again, her mother always told her that the place they used to live was pure fantasy. Charlotte tells Daniel that she remembers a scary man telling her that if she left the island, she could never return or else she’d die. “Daniel,” she sputters, “I think that man was you.” This raises an interesting question about how Farraday could have managed to time travel to such a specific time, considering the nature of time travel on Lost so far indicates that there is no control over when in time a person will jump. Although, it is consistent with Daniel’s appearance in the construction of the Orchid station in the first episode of this season. He was definitely around when Dharma was around, but how the hell did he get there? I wager that he did so, though, with the strict intention of trying to change Charlotte’s fate by warning her to leave the island and never come back. But Charlotte’s destiny was already written and Daniel could do nothing to change that, no matter how hard he tried. And sure enough, in the very same flash that seals John Locke at the bottom of the well, Charlotte mutters something about wanting to eat chopped liver for dinner (or feeling like chopped liver?) and dies. Or at least she appears to. She might just be in a time sickness coma like Farraday’s old girlfriend, Theresa Spenser. Either way, I’m sure we’ll get an on-island flashback to little Charlotte and her mysterious mummy and daddy. How fucking crazy would it be if her dad were Ben or Widmore? I don’t think either of those makes sense with the timeline, but either would be fucking nuts.

At the bottom of the well, Locke lies screaming in pain, hoping that someone, anyone, will hear him. Luckily, Christian Shepard emerges as Locke’s spirit guide and tells John that he needs to move the frozen donkey wheel because Ben didn’t do it right when he moved the island. Christian had told Locke in the cabin that it had to be him, and no one else, who performed the task of moving the island. But Locke neglected his destiny once again and listened to Ben, the man who was in all likelihood never intended to lead the Others and be the island’s savior. Christian tells Locke that he must turn the wheel and find Eloise Hawking, as well as collect everyone who left the island and convince them to return.

Locke: Richard said I was going to die.
Christian: I suppose that’s why they call it sacrifice.

There’s something very telling in a man named after the ultimate Judeo-Christian allusion instructing someone to sacrifice himself for the good of something larger, especially knowing that, in so doing, John Locke, the liberal republican philosopher, will become Jeremy Bentham, a founding philosopher of Utilitarianism, a central conceit of which is best summed up in Star Trek: Generations as “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” Infuckingdeed, Lost. Infuckingdeed. Locke, of course, must make the journey to the wheel without Christian’s help, despite his injuries, mimicking, one might argue, the passion of Christ himself. The last we see of the man soon to be known as Jeremy Bentham in this episode is him turning the wheel.

Whew! And that’s just the stuff that’s going down on the island!

Back in L.A., Sun is about to step out of the car and kill Ben, but she’s interrupted by a call from her mother, who is back in Korea watching little Ji Yeon. As she talks to her daughter, it becomes clear that Sun has a great deal of difficulty reconciling her Lady Vengeance shtick with her life as a mother. With tears in her eyes, she says goodnight to her daughter and gets out of the car and draws her chocolate-box gun on Ben, accusing him of killing her beloved Jin. Ben, in his ever-so-creepy Ben way, informs her that he didn’t kill Jin, and neither did anyone else, because Jin is alive and he can prove it, if only Sun will put that gun away and head 30 minutes away to visit a friend who will show them all how to get back to the island. Upon hearing this, Kate and Sayid bail, having little interest in returning to the island at all, but Sun and Jack stick around.

On the way to see Ben’s “friend,” which I think we were all aware would be Mrs. Hawking, Jack apologizes to Sun about leaving Jin behind. He then tells her that he will take up her mantle and kill Ben if he turns out to be lying. This accusation really pisses off Ben, who does what every angry father always threatens to do and turns the van around, shouting that all he’s doing and all he’s ever tried to do for the O6 is help them. When they arrive at their final destination, Ben presents Sun with Jin’s wedding ring, which he tells her he received from John Locke. Sun wonders why Locke didn’t give it to her when he came to see her, and Ben can’t say why, either. Regardless, having Jin’s ring as proof that he is alive is enough to buy Sun’s allegiance. I’m not sure why his ring should be definitive proof that he’s alive, though. While it’s possible he could have given the ring to someone he knew would be leaving the island to give to Sun, its just as possible that, say, Locke pried the ring off Jin’s cold, dead body to give to Sun as proof that he’s dead. Yes, its a symbol of undying love and for romantics like Jin and Sun, the wedding ring should be enough, but I’m dubious that a smart girl like Sun-Hwa Kwon would latch on to this specific interpretation of the ring’s origin.

There’s little time for her to ponder many other possibilities, however, because Desmond appears and wants to know what the hell everyone is doing there unless they’re also hanging around to find Daniel Farraday’s mother who, indeed, turns out to be Eloise Hawking. What a trip that must be for Desmond to see the woman who effectively kept him from his beloved Penny for so long by sending him on his “destined” course towards the island. Eloise is not pleased to only see two members of the O6 and Des, but shrugs it off with a simple “this will have to do for now.”

I can’t begin to guess why all of the people who left the island must return together because including someone like Desmond doesn’t fit some speculation that the only way to return to the island is to recreate the conditions of how you got there in the first place, which explains why every plane that’s crashed on the island has harbored a dead body in it (Christian Shepard, Eko’s brother and, presumably, John Locke/Jeremy Bentham). If all the O6 are intended to return together, how does Desmond fit in? And what of Aaron? Who technically didn’t exist when the Oceanic 815 crashed because he was not yet born? I dunno. Thinking about that hurts my brain too much. And I’d rather not develop a nosebleed, whether it be time sickness related or not.