This week’s episode of Lost answers some questions about what exactly happened during the Ajira crash. Or, more accurately, during the Ajira landing on the unfinished runway on the Other island that Doc Jensen totally called. A bright flash of light somehow drew out Hurley, Kate and Jack while leaving the rest of the passengers aboard the plane until things went all wonky again and über pilot Frank Lapidis managed to land his bird as safely as he can on the rudimentary runway. Of course, that rudimentary runway isn’t complete, so there are still some casualties, like his copilot, who takes a tree-limb through the chest. Zuliekah and Caesar immediately team up after the emergency landing, and she notices that her charge, Sayid Jarrah, is gone. Sun, however, is still on the plane. She, Lapidis, Cesar and Zuleikah Robinson all try to make sense of what happened, with Lapidis taking over Jack’s role as shepherd of the lost while Cesar, acting a little like Sayid once did, questions his judgment. During Frank’s speech, Ben sneaks off into the jungle, and Sun absconds after him, demanding to know where he’s going.
Sun: Where are you going?
Ben: Back to our island. You wanna come?
Frank eventually catches up to them, begging Sun not to go with such an untrustworthy fellow as Ben Linus, but she tells Frank she wants to go if it gives her a better chance of finding her husband. But before Ben can set foot in his boat, Sun knocks him out with an oar. Frank says, “I thought you said you trusted him.” And Sun repeats Ben’s favorite mantra, “I lied.” Together, she and Lapidis take a night row out to the island, coming upon boarded up versions of the former Dharma barracks a.k.a. New Otherton. There’s only one light on in the community: Christian Shepard’s light. Sun tells him that she’s looking for her husband and asks Christian if he knows where he is. Christian, ever helpful, shows her a photo of the Dharma Initiative from 1977, with her husband amongst them. “I’m sorry, but you’ve got quite a journey ahead of you,” he tells her.
30 years earlier, we pick up where we left off at the end of “LaFleur,” in which Sawyer and Jin are reunited with Hurley, Kate and Jack. Jack tells Sawyer the unfortunate news about John Locke, and Sawyer tells the three of them the unfortunate news about being stuck in 1977. When Jin hears that Sun was on the return flight to Lostville, he takes off to find Ranjinsky, hoping to check the radar logs and reunite with his beloved wife (and possibly his child). Sawyer, now the leader, tries to figure out a way to keep suspicion off of the returned trio, and Juliet, bewildered by the news but ever resourceful, informs him that a Dharma sub filled with new recruits is soon to arrive. Sawyer grabs a bunch of 70s-era clothing from the LaFleur Family Closet, and Juliet sets off to acquire the submarine manifest so she can insert her friends’ names where they shouldn’t have been before. Under the guise of giving the new Dharma mom a day off, Juliet takes the manifest from Amy, casually inquiring if she and Horace had yet decided on a name for their bouncing baby boy. She has, and that name is Ethan!
When last I wrote, I pondered the inherent sadness in knowing that The Purge would come and possibly kill Amy and Horace’s son. I also pondered that son being Goodwin, which would have been kinda creepy and weird. But now that I know that Amy’s little boy is Dr. Ethan Rom, I can rest assured that he won’t die in The Purge. I do, however, know that he will meet his end on the business end of a gun held by Charlie Pace. I think there’s an interesting symmetry in this child who, in all likelihood, wouldn’t have been born without the intervention of fertility doctor/mechanic Juliet, later growing up to try and solve the island’s maternity issues by kidnapping Claire and testing her. But now I have to wonder exactly what got Ethan to switch from the side of Dharma to the side of the Others. Did he somehow know about the oncoming Purge and switched sides to save his hide? Or was he once recruited, perhaps, to be a leader of the Others? And how many other former Dharma kids went along with him? Well, other than the obvious Ben Linus.
While Sawyer and Juliet prepare to help their friends infiltrate the Dharma Initiative, Radzinsky won’t let Jin see his logs and basically laughs in his face when he suggests a plane has been in the island’s vicinity. While at The Flame, the alarm goes off, indicating a Hostile in Dharma territory. Jin takes off to capture said Hostile and finds none other than Sayid Jarrah, which totally explains why he wasn’t on the plane anymore. Jin wants to save this familiar face, but with Radzinsky right behind him, he can only trust that Sayid is smart enough to go along with the charade and not cause any trouble that would get him killed. The two Dharma members bring their new “Hostile” back to the Flame and hold him captive. Radzinsky wants to kill him immediately for breaking the truce, but Jin radios LaFleur, covertly telling him the Hostile’s real identity, and gets him and Miles to come get Sayid out of Radzinsky’s warpath. Radzinsky insists that Sayid must be treated as a spy, but LaFleur convinces him to lay off and proceeds to interrogate Sayid in a scene that reminds me very much of Sayid’s torture of Sawyer from season 1. Following Sawyer’s cues, Sayid admits to being a Hostile, and Miles helps haul him back to Dharma camp.
Meanwhile, after successfully infiltrating the Dharma ranks (though not without raising some suspicious Jimmy Barrett eyebrows from Patrick Fischler when he notices that Kate’s name isn’t on his list), Jack meets with Pierre Chang and is assigned the lowly task of workman. Man, what’s with the Dharma Initiative and underestimating the aptitude of licensed medical practitioners? Both Juliet and Jack got stuck with jobs their education was intended to keep them out of. I can just imagine Jack thinking, “I took the MCAT FOR THIS!!!!!!!!” (Think that with Matthew Fox’s typical inflection/nostril flares.) After their assignments, Jack drops in on LaFleur, asking Jimmy Barrett for directions. Jimmy Barrett is very suspicious of these new recruits. My husband and I joked while watching this episode that he’s actually the Smoke Monster, and that he’s just one vision of a homeless woman behind a dumpster away from dissolving into smoke and wreaking havoc on the island in a rain of cigarette ash and Utz potato chips. (And if you understand both of those references, you get a cookie. But not a real cookie. The economy sucks, and I don’t want to pay for shipping.)
At Chez LaFleur, Jack seems very surprised to learn that Juliet has shacked up with Sawyer, who is rapidly adding notches to his fancy leather belt with women he’s stolen from Jack. The two men then have a heated discussion about leadership tactics, with Jack accusing Sawyer of laziness because he spends his nights reading books instead of launching ahead in his blind quest. Sawyer informs his friend and rival that he reads because Churchill read a book every night, never forgetting the importance of taking time to think, even during the Blitz. That, Sawyer says, marks the difference between him and Jack. He thinks; Jack just did things based solely on reaction – things that ended up getting everyone into a whole mess of crazy time-traveling trouble.
Sayid gets thrown into Dharma jail and young Ben, who is even creepier than Ben currently is, lovingly brings Sayid the Hostile a sandwich, hold the mustard. I think this scene is going to be a key piece of the puzzle that turns people like Ben and Ethan from the ways of Dharma to the ways of the Others. It’s clear that Ben is unhappy with his life, sad behind those Harry Potter glasses, and it’s also clear that he is fascinated by these strange people he isn’t supposed to hang out with. He’s practically studying Sayid when he brings him that sandwich, looking for a way to become this creature that his people so fear. Sayid may be physically hungry after his ordeal, but Ben is power hungry. And Sayid-as-a-Hostile is representative of that power he so craves. I really, really want to see more of Little Ben’s Rise to Evil. That narrative is going to be superb. I can already tell, just from this scene with Sayid in jail.
Some other things:
- Apparently, by 1977, Daniel Faraday is no longer on the island. I don’t think he’s dead, because if we follow his “whatever happened, happened” theory, then his death in 1977 would mean none of that stuff in “The Constant” ever occurred. I think he found a way off the island – perhaps that’s why he looked so suspicious in the series opener at the construction of The Orchid. Perhaps Faraday was the first to “discover” the properties of that particular station.
- According to Radzinsky – and his sweet miniature model – the Swan has not yet been built. That’s why he thinks Sayid is a spy, trying to steal the plans for this yet-to-be Dharma station. Not to worry; Radzinsky is going to get to the Swan eventually. And shoot himself in the head.
- In regards to The Purge, I’m sure that everyone we know manages to survive, following the Faraday theory of time stated above. But I am extremely interested to know how they will get out of that – will they Faraday their way out? Or will they turn tail and run with the Ethans and Bens of the world?
- Little Ben apparently doesn’t like mustard. That’s proof that he’s evil, because mustard is delicious.
If I’m understanding it right, technically, even if “whatever happened, happened,” Faraday could still have died in 1977, because all we know of him in “The Constant” was stuff that happened to him, in his life, before he got to the island. Just because he looped around and ended up in the 70s doesn’t mean anything, because his journey is still one straight line. That is, the Faraday in the 70s does not become the Oxford student. The Oxford student looped around. Or maybe I’m just misunderstanding what my wife is trying to say.
But yes, everyone we know to have survived The Purge will have survived, but that still leaves the fate of every single one of the Losties up in the air. Who knows how many of them are going to die at the hands of one Benjamin Linus.
On a completely different note, when Sawyer told the Losties that it was 1977, I definitely wanted Hurley to say, “Sweet. Now I can see Star Wars in its original release!”
Any thoughts as to why Sun didn’t make the leap back in time? My mind is too rattled from nearly four weeks of a bad cough to even posit a theory. But oh man, that’s one of the show’s best obstacles – find another way to jump back in time, or hope that Jin survives over the years and Sun is content with the wrinkly, brittle body of Jin in his early 60s.