The Wife:

Finally, everyone’s favorite ghost whisperer (seriously, nobody actually watches that show, right?) got his feature episode, in which we learn just how long Miles Straum has had his spectral communicative abilities, and a whole lot about his relationship with the island and how he got back there. That’s right. Back there. As I (and pretty much every other Lost blogger/amateur theorist out there) suspected, Miles was that wee Asian baby whom Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle/Edgar Halliwax had to tend to in the middle of the night in the season opener, soothing the child to sleep with that skipping Willie Nelson record (although his wife would have preferred jazz). We now know that Miles and his mother were forced to leave the island before the boy was four or five, and that by that time, he had already developed his ability to hear the voices of the dead. I loved the scene where, on the first day in his new non-island apartment building, little Miles finds the body of a man who had committed suicide in his apartment, and keeps screaming “He’s still talking!” when asked how he knew to find the man.

Over the years, Miles started using his ability to talk to the dead for money. Only, as he later explains to Hurley on their fateful road trip to what will soon be The Hatch, Miles can only hear the thoughts the dead were carrying when they died, as their brains cease to function. Hurley, on the other hand, has entire conversations with dead people. He even sometimes plays chess with them. I wonder if the differences between Miles and Hurley’s spectral connections have to do with the presence of bodies. Hurley, it seems, is visited by ghosts as we traditionally know ghosts (or the island’s special brand of ghosts, whatever that may be), but Miles really isn’t a ghost whisperer at all. He has a psychic connection to the dead, but only in the presence of their corporeal form. Without it, he can’t do his job, per the scene with Mr. Grey, who asks Miles to speak to his dead son (now ashes) and tell him he loves him. Miles tells the man that it won’t work without the body, but takes his money anyway, only to much later return it, not because he lied to give the man closure, but because Miles’ own daddy issues got the best of him. “If you needed your son to know that you loved him,” he says, “you should have told him while he was still alive.” Pair that with the scene of cute young punk rocker Miles (seriously, how cute is Ken Leung with a labret and snake bites?) visiting his mother on her death bed to ask about his father, and his recoiling from her touch when she tells him that his father had kicked them out, and was now dead, but that his body, cryptically, was “someplace you can never go,” and you have the emotional core of this episode: Miles’ aptly referenced Skywalker-like quest to know his father.

That douche is my dad.

That douche is my dad.

But there’s also, I think, a hint in that scene as to why the good Man of Many Names sent his wife and son away. I think he discovered his son’s ability to read corpses long before his wife ever did, and sent them away for two reasons: 1) So that little Miles wouldn’t inadvertently learn many of the islands secrets that he wasn’t supposed to know, and 2) to protect them from that knowledge, whatever it might be–especially if Chang himself were to die and his son were to read his corpse. It’s precisely to learn the island’s secrets from its numerous corpses that Widmore sends Naomi to recruit Miles for the freighter mission. She alludes to the many people Ben has killed, and, I think, specifically to The Purge. She tests him by having him read the corpse of Felix, Widmore’s ex-delivery boy, who was bringing him papers, photos, pictures of empty graves and a purchase order for an old airplane . . . you know, for when Widmore faked the wreckage of Oceanic 815. Miles isn’t so keen to go, but he’ll do it for $1.6 million, only to shortly thereafter be kidnapped by Bram, one of the beachies (Choke‘s Brad William Henke), who warns Miles that if he doesn’t know the answer to the increasingly Sphinx-like riddle, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” that it’s probably not a great idea to go to the island. (It is perfect, by the way, that that character’s name is Bram, pronounced Brom, because Henke’s physical appearance reminds me of Brom Bones in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”)

That right there blew my fucking mind: Ilana, Bram and those other beachies clearly found their way onto Ajira 316 with the intent to make it to the island. Why they’re there, I haven’t a clue, but I’m beginning to think that the war Widmore was alluding to in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” wasn’t the Ben vs. Widmore war we’ve been preparing ourselves for, but perhaps a war between whatever weirdo cult Ilana and Bram belong to and people like Ben and Widmore who have had a long history with the island. I do get the sense that it will be a war for control of the island, just not between who we think it will be between. Either Ilana and Bram are “Old Ones” like Alpert who are coming back to lay claim to their ancestral heritage (although, really, why leave the island in the first place, if that’s the case?), and are not pleased that Alpert has relinquished control to effective outsiders like Widmore and Ben, or they’re as new as we know them to be and are indeed part of some weirdo island-worshipping cult. Whatever it is, I’m excited to find out. That shit is gonna be crazy.

Other things to note about this episode:

  • Kate is totally fucking everything up by trying to be nice and flirt with Roger Linus. Thankfully, Jack isn’t totally retarded and manages to quell Roger’s suspicions that Kate kidnapped his son and did away with him somehow. It’s only a matter of time, though, before Roger “Work Man” Linus flips his lid and has to die.
  • Hurley still doesn’t understand time travel and has been writing The Empire Strikes Back to try and sell it to George Lucas . . . except that Empire was totally already in the works after A New Hope came out. Dude, Hurley, when are you going to get this whole whatever happened, happened thing down? (Husband Note: Maybe Hurley goes by the pen name Lawrence Kasdan, and both Body Heat and The Big Chill turn out to be lies. He also manages to write Raiders of the Lost Ark in this period.)
  • Apparently, Daniel Faraday has been partying it up at Dharma HQ for the past three years in Ann Arbor, MI. At the end of the episode, he makes his glorious return on the sub, which is good, because he needs to build some shit (see first episode of season).
  • In keeping with Miles’ emotional core in this episode, my favorite bit is when, after much goading from Hurley about taking this opportunity to get to know his father, Miles looks in at Pierre Chang’s house and sees him reading to baby Miles like a loving father should. Miles is overcome with emotion as he realizes that his father didn’t hate him and that, like Mr. Grey, he should have been aware of that love when it mattered. Chang gets a call, however, that forces him to leave baby Miles and exit the house, calling out to the man he doesn’t realize is his grown son: “Miles, I need you.” To which Miles replies, his voice breaking, “You do?” Even though it was really about going to get that Ann Arbor sub, those were, in that moment, the exact words Miles needed to hear from his dad.

The Husband:

To me, the issue isn’t so much why the beachies were on the plane and why they were all up in Miles’ business, but how they knew that Ajira 316 was going to bring them to the island at all. There’s some massive conspiracy madness happening, and it’s pretty hard to believe that they could have managed to know that all the members of the Oceanic Six would have been on that flight (with coffin-locked Locke in tow). But I’m okay with that. This is a show of smoke monsters old enough to have hung out with Anubis, science-relative time travel and electromagnetic displacement. There’s a lot that’s hard to believe. Cuz it’s a sci-fi show, dammit.

But I did the new group, because nothing makes a terrible situation worse than a group of religious zealots. Organized religion SLAM!

I am, however, surprised that it took them this long to make a reference to Star Wars. I expected it to be the first thing out of Hurley’s mouth when he was told that they were in 1977. Like Firefly and Futurama, Lost seems to exist in that world where both Star Wars and Star Trek are both equally revered, and that’s kind of geek’s paradise. What makes it more of a geek’s paradise? Hot chicks who can throw down a beating.


The Wife:

I think this episode has officially put asunder any fears that Ben’s childhood accident with a man named Sayid and the barrel of his gun were in some way rewriting the island’s history. Alpert does indeed take Ben into the temple to be healed, and he lives, but a slightly older young Charles Widmore (who, despite the fact that it’s 1977, confusingly rides around the island on a horse in chain mail and sports a haircut popular with medieval knights) informs the boy that he must return to Dharmaville.

“Just because you’re living with them, doesn’t mean you can’t be one of us.” – Charles Widmore

Now, what we do not know of Ben’s past was how he reintegrated into Dharmaville and his life among them as a young spy. In short, we are not yet told the events of The Purge, for the next time we see Ben, he’s been sent on assignment by Widmore to kill Rousseau. And, for some reason, he’s had to bring pubescent Ethan along with him. Ethan seems eager to prove his mettle in the hierarchy of the Others, but Ben won’t let him do the killing. Only, Ben won’t let himself do the killing either, not when he hears the cries of the girl who will become his daughter. Instead, he fires a shot to make it sound like he’s gone through with the execution, but takes baby Alex in his arms and warns Rousseau:

“If you want your child to live, every time you hear whispers, you run the other way.”

Widmore is not pleased that Ben has failed to follow orders, sparing both mother and child. He questions that the death of an innocent could possibly be what Jacob wanted and tells Widmore that if it were so, he should kill the baby himself. Widmore merely walks away, leaving Alex to grow up in Ben’s care.

So, ABC only posted three shots for this episode, and theyre all close-ups of Ben. Heres what Ben looks like, for those who are unaware of the creepy power of his eyes.

So, ABC only posted three shots for this episode, and they're all close-ups of Ben. Here's what Ben looks like, for those who are unaware of the creepy power of his eyes.

For as much of a terrible human being Ben Linus is, he actually seems like a pretty good daddy. I mean, it’s not like a kid could get into too much trouble in New Otherton (providing she followed the rules and didn’t go starting wars with other people on the island or pissing off Smoke Monsters), but Ben apparently takes a lot of time out of his day to make sure that Alex has someone to push her on the swing as high as she wants to go. It only makes sense, though, that he would try to be a good father, knowing how shitty his own was and how hard it is to grow up without a mother.

He does take time away from Alex, though, to see Charles Widmore off when he is banished from the island, post-Purge. But what did Widmore do to deserve his expulsion from freaky island paradise? Ben tosses out his litany of sins as he says goodbye, chiefly that Widmore broke the rules: he left the island and returned multiple times, and he had a child with an outsider. These things are not allowed. Widmore threatens that, one day, Alex will die, if that’s what the island wants, and that Ben, too, will be standing in Widmore’s shoes, banished. “You cannot fight the inevitable,” he warns. Here’s my question about leaving the island: folks other than Widmore and Ben have done so and returned safely. I’m thinking primarily of Mr. Friendly, who seemed to return with no problem. And Alpert can do that pretty much any time he wants to with no consequence. I think it’s easy to argue that Alpert has powers outside of those of a normal human, but what of Friendly? Is there simply a limit on the number of times you can leave and return that Widmore exceeded? Or is there something to the fact that Widmore and Ben are chosen leaders, thus, it really is against the rules for them to leave? Frankly, I’m not really sure.

But this threat haunts Ben when he, too, finds himself expelled from the island after the death of his daughter and turning of the frozen donkey wheel. And he makes sure that he calls Widmore to gloat on the day he organizes the O6 to return, giddily proclaiming that he’s going back to the island and he’s going to make sure that Widmore experiences the very thing Ben experienced in the death of his child is also felt by Widmore. This was a very intense scene, even though I knew in my heart that the proceeding act of child-murder didn’t fall through the minute Ben realized that a young child would go motherless if he pulled the trigger. I knew Ben wouldn’t be able to kill Penny when he saw little Charlie. And, sure enough, even though he knocks out Desmond by shooting him in the groceries (not a metaphor; Ben really shot Des’ grocery bag), and points his gun at beautiful Penelope aboard Our Mutual Friend, he just can’t go through with it, and allows Desmond to beat the shit out of him, covering him in the bruises and cuts we saw him board Ajira 316 with, and toss poor Ben Linus in the water.

And heres what Ben looks like with blood on his face.

And here's what Ben looks like with blood on his face.

In current island time, it’s the Locke and Linus Comedy Hour as the two men trek to the temple, where Ben claims he wants to be judged because, as he told Widmore on the day he was banished, he broke the rules. Every one of Locke’s lines in this episode is delivered so superbly, edged with a knowing glint in the eye and an undertone of, “I know what you’re up to, you little shit.” In the interactions of these two chosen men, I thought, when the fuck is Michael Emerson going to get a goddamn Emmy for playing Ben? My husband pointed out that it was Terry O’Quinn as Locke who stole it from him in season three, but I think O’Quinn deserves that statue as much as Emerson. They’re amazing actors, and the tensions in their line readings in this episode were equally spectacular. I mean, really, how much better does it get than this?:

Locke: Well, Ben, I was hoping we could talk about the elephant in the room.
Ben: I assume you’re referring to the fact that I killed you.

Ben tells Locke that he needed critical information from John that would have died with him and after he got it . . .

“Well, I just didn’t have time to talk you back into hanging yourself.” – Ben

Locke jokes that he was just looking for an apology, but agrees to lead Ben to the Smoke Monster for judgment. But Locke knows that Ben isn’t exactly atoning for breaking the rules. Now kind of a demi-god, Locke knows that the thing Ben needs to be judged for is letting his daughter die.

“If everything you’ve done is in the best interest of the island, then I’m sure the monster will understand.” – Locke

The new regime at the beach isn’t too keen on letting Ben and Locke leave, though, so Ben steals Cesar’s gun and shoots him, delivering to Locke what I think is the funniest line of the night’s Locke and Linus Comedy Hour:

“Consider that my apology.”

On their way to the temple, they stop in New Otherton and catch up with Sun and Lapidis. Sun shows them the picture from Dharmaville 1977, and Ben claims he doesn’t remember the castaways being there, but Sun still heads off with Locke and Ben, hoping that John Locke can lead her back to her husband, while Lapidis heads back to the beach and gets dragged into Ilana’s scheme to find out what lies in the shadow of the statue. If Ben doesn’t remember the castaways as part of his childhood, is this because their existence in his mind was erased with the knowledge of the events leading up to his childhood death? And are they gone by the time he returns to Dharmaville as a spy? Or should I assume that, as always, Ben is unreliable? He lies about lots of things, so why not this?

And heres what Ben looks like when hes just said something way intense.

And here's what Ben looks like when he's just said something way intense.

After a failed attempt to summon Smokey from the hidden cesspool under his home, Locke leads Ben to the temple and they descend into its underbelly via the hole where Montard lost his arm. As they enter the sacred lair, Ben admits to Locke that he does need to atone for letting Alex die, an act that he allowed to happen and therefore committed. Locke allows Ben to head off on his own after this confession, and lo, Ben falls through the floor into Smokey’s true lair. He wanders through the cuneform-filled room (in my limited knowledge of Egyptian orthography, I saw no recognizable hieroglyphics) and finds Smokey’s altar, which illustrates the monster being called by Anubis. Smoke spills out around Ben and engulfs him in a tornado-like swirl, beautifully recapitulating the twister scene in The Wizard of Oz and reminding us of the man we once knew as Henry Gale, who came to the island on a hot air balloon. Smokey shows him the images of his past – everything we saw in his history narrative – and Ben must watch his daughter die again.

This scene was really moving for me, and it was beautiful to watch Michael Emerson’s crazy eyes well with tears when Alex falls dead before him once again. But Smokey’s judgment is limited to this display of images, and he rolls away, leaving Ben alone. And, more importantly, alive. Then Alex appears, and Ben begs her for forgiveness, after which she proceeds to strangle him and demand that he follow John Locke and do whatever he says. And so Ben concedes his former power and lets John hand him the rope, both symbolic and literal, to pull him from the darkness of Smokey’s lair.

Gorgeous, moving and well-written final scene, Lost writers. Ben’s fall into Smokey’s lair recalls John’s fall into the well, and using the rope as a transfer of power between the two men was a stroke of genius. Terrific performances in this one by both O’Quinn and Emerson, and I hope the Emmy committee recognizes that this year and gives Emerson what he deserves.

The Husband:

Penny and little Charlie are not dead, and I win.

Who else wins? The viewers. I may need to give myself some distance from this ep, but I think it’s in the top ten Lost episodes of all time. Disagree?

The Wife:

After two weeks with the Oceanic Six, we return to those still on the island this week right where Sawyer, Faraday, Miles, Juliet and Jin left off: at the well, waiting for John Locke to return. When Locke fell down the well, the group was cast back to a time when the four-toed statue loomed large over the island (to me, it looks like a statue of Anubis, who weighed the hearts of the dead against a feather to determine where they would reside in the afterlife – could this be a hint about the function of the island?), but when Locke turned the wheel, they were launched into the 1970s. Charlotte was gone, but their headaches and nosebleeds stopped. Without a real leader, Sawyer becomes the de facto head of this unit of survivors, suggesting that they all head back to the beach to make camp and wait for Locke to return.

Sawyer: Now we wait for him to come back.
Miles: For how long?
Sawyer: As long as it takes.

Utilizing the strangely out-of-place title cards from last week, we jump to three years later, where Mad Men‘s Jimmy Barrett interrupts the good time grooves of his Dharma partner and his girlfriend when he noticed that Horace Goodspeed is out doing drunken dangerous shit, like blowing up trees with dynamite. They insist that the only way to calm Horace down is to go get LaFleur, Dharma’s Head of Security who, as it happens, is James Sawyer. 70s Sawyer and 70s Miles (now called Ennis, I think) head out to grab Horace and put him inside where he can’t blow shit up and hurt anyone. Meanwhile, Horace’s wife, Amy, goes into labor, telling Sawyer that the two of them had had a fight.

Back three years earlier, a mournful Daniel tells the rest of the group that after the second flash, Charlotte just disappeared. That lent some credibility to the theory that his tampering with the timeline had begun to write her out of existence. As Faraday puts it, “She moved on. We stayed.” Moved on to where? I’d like to believe that that statement fits with the Charlotte-written-out-of-time theory, but that’s later disproven when Faraday sees a little redheaded girl playing in the Dharma camp, calls out Charlotte’s name and the child looks back at him. So, maybe the island was just done with her? Where does it put people it’s done with? Wherever Charlotte may be, Faraday isn’t all here, either, his mind clearly somewhat fractured by the grief of losing yet another loved woman to time travel.

On their way back to the beach, the group hears shots and they see a woman with a sack over her head, about to be kidnapped from the lovely picnic she was having by two hostiles with guns. Sawyer and Juliet go play hero, rescuing Horace’s future wife and killing her assailants. Amy starts to freak out about the dead men, insisting that they bury the bodies and bring back the body of Paul, her dead Dharma companion that she reveals to be her husband. She is afraid that the death of her assailants means a truce between her people and theirs has been broken.

On their way back to Dharmaland, Sawyer convinces his friends to let him create their cover. He tells Amy that he and his friends shipwrecked on this island on their way to Tahiti. In a daze, Faraday almost walks through the sonic fence, until Juliet pulls him back. They ask Amy to turn it off, and she appears to, only to zap them all when they cross the line, slyly revealing the earplugs she’d popped in to protect herself.

Another great time to wear earplugs: pretty much every moment of the day after this kid is born. (Just kidding! Babies are great!)

Another great time to wear earplugs: pretty much every moment of the day after this kid is born. (Just kidding! Babies are great!)

Three years later, Amy’s baby is both early and breach. The Dharma obstetrician tells Sawyer-as-LaFleur that she was meant to get off the island days ago in order to prepare for her delivery. Worried that Amy will die, Sawyer goes to find Juliet, now the island mechanic in charge of fixing up all those sweet-ass VWs, and convince her to come out of retirement and help deliver the baby via Caesarian. Juliet is reluctant, considering what little luck she had saving women and children when she was brought to the island under the cover of Mittelos “Lost Time” Bioscience. Sawyer wins her over by suggesting that maybe the thing she was brought here to correct hadn’t happened yet. As Juliet takes over the labor and delivery, Jin approaches (still named Jin, by the way) to give Sawyer the daily “looking for their people” report. He once again asks Sawyer, “How long do we look, James?” To which Sawyer replies, “As long as it takes.”

The AV Club’s Noel Murray wrote last week about Lost‘s reliance on repeated lines such as “live together, die alone,” “we need to go back!” and so on. I definitely kept that in mind this week while watching and noted the frequency of times the other Losties would ask their new leader LaFleur how long they should keep looking. It seems that, in Locke’s absence, Sawyer became the man of faith this week, assuming the Creole moniker of LaFleur perhaps to assume a little of the magic and mysticism that comes with Cajun culture. Or maybe he just thought it sounded pretty and believable. Nonetheless, his new name makes me think of the fleur-de-lis, a symbol widely associated with both monarchy and Boy Scouting. (Husband Note: And the celebrity-lookalike hooker service in the great film L.A. Confidential.) The symbol’s name literally means lily flower (like the last name of an actress who plays a certain flame of Sawyer’s), and is associated with the Virgin Mary, symbolized by the white lily – a woman who’s shown up on this show not only in the figure of Claire, but also as a placeholder for some heroin. However, in England, people mistook the name (because the English do not spell things well) as fleur-de-luce, or flower of light, and began associating it with the Holy Trinity. For me, the choice of name represents Sawyer’s faithful commitment to believing his friends will return to the island as Locke had, for lack of a better term, prophesized. It is appropriate to me that LaFleur would care so much to see Amy’s child be born, and also appropriate that he should keep such vigilant watch and a hope-against-all-hope that his friends will return. Without Locke, someone on the island has to be a bastion of faith. And Sawyer became that when he became good ol’ Jim LaFleur.

Juliet, by the way, is able to successfully deliver Amy and Horace’s baby boy, which made me immediately ask: who does that baby boy grow up to be? We know it’s not Ben Linus, which immediately made me horrified for the fact that whoever that little boy is, as he might not grow up at all, but might suffer the fate of being killed by Ben in the purge. How weird would it be for that kid to grow up to be Juliet’s lover, Goodwin? I don’t think the timeline is right for that, but it would be weird . . . like . . . Cordelia-fucking-Connor-on-Angel weird.

Three years earlier, Sawyer wakes up on Horace’s couch and, with Sawyer’s friends deferring all questions to him, he starts spinning the tale of how his current group of people found their way to the island. He tells Horace they were on a salvage mission to find the wreck of the old slave ship The Black Rock and wound up in the woods when they went looking for their missing crew member. Horace offers Sawyer and his people safe passage to Tahiti on the Dharma sub, but, ever faithful to his people, Sawyer tries to finagle another week out of the deal. Then the Dharma Alarm sounds and everyone is rushed inside as a torch-bearing Richard Alpert approaches. He demands to speak to Horace and wants to recover the bodies of his people. Sawyer demands that Horace let him take over negotiations, and the con man proceeds to swindle the immortal Alpert. Sawyer tells Alpert that he isn’t Dharma and so no truce was broken when he killed Alpert’s people in self-defense. Sawyer then tells him about Jughead and asks if Alpert remembers John Locke, for whose return he is so diligently waiting. Satisfied by Sawyer’s silver tongue, Alpert agrees to leave once he is given the location of his people’s bodies. However, he also asks for the body of the man his people killed. Amy, broken hearted over the loss of her husband, Paul, doesn’t want to give up his corpse, but agrees after taking his ankh necklace for herself. As a reward for saving everyone’s ass, Horace lets Sawyer and friends stay for two more weeks, which will clearly turn into at least three years. Juliet wants to leave immediately, but Sawyer convinces her not to go because its 1974 and her life will not be there for her.

I love seeing both of these miserable bastards actually be happy for a change.

I love seeing both of these miserable bastards actually be happy for a change.

Three years later, she’s still there, saving babies, working on cars and shacking up with Jim LaFleur. After three years together in Dharma bliss, the two are saying, “I love you’s,” which are basically just like saying, “Fuck you, Kate Austen.” In yet another nice bit of repetition, Horace wakes up on Sawyer’s couch after his night of drunken dynamite danger. Sawyer tells Horace the good news: he has a healthy baby boy, with the bad news being, of course, that he missed it. Sawyer asks him why he and Amy had fought that night, and Horace tells him that they got into a fight because he found Paul’s ankh in the back of Amy’s sock drawer (what man borrows socks from his wife?), and took it to mean that she never got over her first husband. He asks LaFleur if he thinks that three years is really enough time to get over someone, and Sawyer launches into a tale of regret about the one that got away, but assures Horace that he’s moved on.

“Is three years long enough to get over someone? Absolutely.” –Sawyer

Later, LaFleur gets a call from Jin. He leaves Juliet’s naked backside and rushes out immediately for the inevitable reunion with Hurley, Jack and, yes, that girl he totally thought he was over. I’ve never really given a shit about Kate and I much prefer the person Sawyer is when he’s with Juliet, but I really like the look on Sawyer’s face when he sees these people he thought he would never see again. Yes, he had faith that they would return, but I don’t think he knew how it would affect him when they did return, and what it would be like to see that woman he had loved for so long come back into his life. Poor Juliet. I hope that her three years of happiness doesn’t fall away because of Kate’s return and become a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young lyric (“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”).

This was a good episode to remind the fans who aren’t that much into time travel about the show’s emotional core and its reliance on human drama, as well as a nice segue back into on-island stories, which are always, always, always better than Oceanic Six stories. I like it. And I hope Kate kept her promise and has news about Sawyer’s darling Clementine, which I maintain is what he asked her to do before he jumped out of that helicopter.

The Husband:

I think this was a wonderful episode. Yes, it explored the emotional core of the show, and as I learned from the beast known as the LindelCuse on that pre-s5 premiere special a couple months ago, this is what they spend at least 80% of writing sessions thinking about – not the sci-fi/fantasy aspects of the show, but character motivations and their own personal, emotional arcs. Yes, it did a great amount of summary for what happened in those three years between the end of the time traveling and the “present,” with the rise of LaFleur as its own tiny story. And yes, it, like last week, took a step back in order to give us as much backstory as necessary before it blasts off into insanity in the coming weeks.

But what I loved was that it gave Sawyer, for once, his first uplifting storyline of the entire series. We’ve been smacked with his terrible life again and again – his dead parents, his bloodlust on his search to find the original Sawyer, his destructive cons, and all the bad decisions he’s made on the islands – so it’s just such a breath of fresh air to see a happy, productive, non-thieving, non-growling James Ford/James LaFleur. His redemption as a person, or as much as what can be called redemption, drove my emotions in this episode more than most of Jack’s entire arc, and that’s impressive.

Hell, I teared up twice during the last ten minutes of the episode, first when he and Juliet kiss and the second when Sawyer spots Kate Austen coming out of the blue VW van only moments after revealing that he couldn’t even remember her face anymore. And these tears are for the guy who stole items out of people’s luggage for bartering purposes in s1. Come on, man. Give some respect.

I also appreciate any show that gives me a mixture of some great character actors from some of my favorite shows, including 24 (the beautiful Reiko Aylesworth), Mad Men (Patrick Fischler) and Friday Night Lights (Kevin Rankin). Oh Lost, you know how to please the cult TV show viewers.