The Wife:

Please bear with me, as I’m trying to process everything that happened in “The Incident” as I write this. Finally, we meet Jacob, ye most mysterious of island god-figures, and in addition to being a great weaver of the tapestry of fate (which is what I believe he is, as the metaphor of fate as woven exists in several ancient mythologies, as well as in Wanted), he’s also Mark Pellegrino and cooks up some mean orange roughy on hot-ass rocks. He also has a friend, a friend with no name who seems to be slightly at odds with Jacob as they sit, looking out at the clipper ship on the ocean that will undoubtedly be revealed to be the Black Rock and will likely carry one Richard Alpert, helper to island gods and island leaders.

Jacob’s unnamed associate asserts that he knows that Jacob brought the Black Rock here, specifically to prove him wrong about, I assume, humanity. Since I just went back and watched this intro, let me give you the rest of their conversation from this point:

Dude: “They come. Fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”
Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, it’s just progress.”
Dude: “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?”
Jacob: “Yes.”
Dude: “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.”
Jacob: “Well, when you do I’ll be right here.”
Dude: “Always nice talking to you, Jacob.”
Jacob: “Nice talking to you, too.”

It seems pretty clear to me that my husband is right about the battle of the gods that’s taking place on this island, with Jacob and this other dude trying to prove something to one another about human nature (I think). To facilitate that argument, Jacob has started bringing people to the island, setting up a tropical microcosm in which to prove his point. I think Jacob is trying to prove that there is some inherent goodness in humanity, hence why we spent the first season of this show examining how being marooned on a tropical island with total strangers can somehow serve as atonement for sins of the past. And just as he brought the Black Rock to the island, so, too, he brought the castaways, as seen through a series of flashbacks:

  • Kate: Saved her from juvie as a child when she and young Mackenzie Astin stole an NKOTB lunchbox. He makes her promise that she’ll never steal again.
  • Sawyer: At the boy’s parents’ funeral, Jacob gives young Sawyer a pencil to finish the letter he will carry with him until the day he kills Anthony Cooper. Sawyer’s uncle tells him that what’s done is done.
  • Jin and Sun: As the only white man at their beautiful wedding, he reminds them to never doubt their love for one another, a compliment to Jin’s moving vows, which promise that he and Sun will never be apart because that would be like the sky being apart from the earth.
  • Locke: When his father tosses him out a window, Jacob is nearby reading Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Arises Must Converge (perhaps a subtle nod to assure the viewers that, yes, everything brought up on this crazy-ass show will make sense in the end). He revives unconscious Locke with a touch and tells him everything will be okay.
  • Sayid: Jacob distracts Sayid while crossing an L.A. street while Nadya gets hit by a car and dies, and I gasped out loud because it was so horrifying.
  • Jack: After his father gives him hell during his first surgery, Jack tries to get an Apollo bar out of the machine. It gets stuck and he confronts his father. Jacob makes Jack feel better by getting a second candy bar and giving one to Jack. “I guess it just needed a little push,” he says, which isn’t just about the candy bar.
  • Ilana: As she lies wounded in a Russian hospital, Jacob comes to ask her to help him.
  • Hurley: When he gets discharged from jail, Jacob is waiting to share a cab with him. He asks Hurley why he won’t go back to the island, to which he replies that he’s cursed. Jacob suggests that his ability to talk to the dead is a blessing and tells Hurley he has a choice to be on A316 and leaves him Charlie’s guitar. (Or the guitar that will replace Charlie’s on the plane.)

This is not the order in which these Jacob flashbacks occur, but I listed them in this way because the first three people didn’t seem to follow the path Jacob set for them. Kate still became a criminal. Sawyer lives his life with the goal of killing the real Sawyer. And Sun and Jin do doubt their love. But, as with the rest of the people Jacob visited, they do come to the island. They do, ultimately, end up where Jacob wants them. Because Ilana is part of this group, I believe this lends some credibility to the theory that Oceanic 815 was not the plane that was supposed to come to the island, but that Ajira 316 was. However, I can’t totally buy that O815 was never meant to be because it allowed so many people to redeem themselves and atone for their pasts: for Jin and Sun to save their marriage, especially.

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!

Look how happy they could have been if they had just listened to that nice white man!

So what about that H bomb and Jack’s quest to reset history and erase everyone’s stories of redemption? Alpert, Sayid, Swayer and Eloise puzzle over how to transport a giant bomb across the island, and Sayid finds instructions in Faraday’s journal that indicate they only need to use the core. Sayid, who can now add dismantling atomic bombs to his ever-growing skillset, removes the core and carefully wraps it. Richard moves a wall in the tunnel that leads into the cellar of a Dharma house (just like Ben has a secret closet that leads to his Smokey-calling device; also his magical Schrödinger’s cat box in which he kept Anthony Cooper). Eloise insists that she wants to lead the way because she will not hesitate to kill any Dharmites that get in the way. Richard reminds her that she’s pregnant, and then knocks her unconscious, instructing Jack and Sayid to go on without them because he has helped them as much as he can. Because of all the hullabaloo going down in Dharmaville, Sayid and Jack try to hide in plain sight by donning Dharma uniforms. This works, until Roger Linus recognizes Sayid and shoots him right in the gut, despite Sayid’s protest that he’s kind of carrying a nuclear device. (Roger Linus douchebag points just keep on adding up.) A giant shootout ensues, and Jin, Hurley and Miles swing by in a Dharma van just in time to pick up Jack and Sayid, which pleases Jack to no end. Sayid, who is pretty certain he’s going to die, tells Jack that he just needs to stay alive long enough to rewire the bomb to detonate on impact.

As for Kate the Romance Ruiner, she informs Juliet and Sawyer that Jack is planning to blow up the island and erase history. Sawyer seems totally fine with this because Kate returning to the island totally fucked up his great life as LaFleur. But Juliet decides that they can’t let everyone die, so she engineers an escape from the sub and the three of them row back to the shore after instructing the sub captain to stay on his course and get away as quickly as possible. Once on land, they begin their quest to stop Jack by running in to Vincent, who takes them to the fantastic little island cabin where Rose and Bernard have been living for the past three years. (Best use of “Son of a Bitch” ever: Bernard, upon seeing the trio for the first time since the flaming arrow attack.) Rose and Bernard want nothing to do with this whole crazy stopping Jack plan. They’ve been living happily in the jungle and show great disdain for all of the fighting factions amongst their former people. My theory: when whatever happens at the end of this episode happens, Rose and Bernard become Adam and Eve, the skeletons in the cave from season 1, each of which held a white and a black rock. I don’t know how that would work, necessarily, but I like it, especially because Rose and Bernard both agreed that they’d be totally fine with dying should someone fail to stop Jack. Kate, Sawyer and Juliet head off on their way, despite Rose and Bernard’s assurance that none of this really matters, and stop the van.

Son of a bitch! Its those damn meddlesome kids again!

Son of a bitch! It's those damn meddlesome kids again!

Meanwhile, Locke, Ben, Alpert and the others continue on their path to Jacob. Alpert marvels at how Locke is alive, given the recent information he receive that Ben had strangled him to death. Alpert tells Locke that he is immortal because of Jacob, which Locke reckons is how he came to be alive again, as well. He also mentions that he plans to “deal with” the rest of the Ajira passengers once he’s done killing Jacob. Ben informs Locke of his promise to his dead daughter, who instructed him to do whatever Locke says, no matter what. Locke grins from ear to ear upon hearing this, because now he won’t have to convince Ben to kill Jacob. Ben will simply do it. Ben tells Locke what he already knew: that Ben was faking his conversation with Jacob the first time he took Locke to the cabin. He admits that he has never seen Jacob, the man who gave him orders for all those years as leader of the Others. “So yes, I lied,” he mutters. “That’s what I do.” He asks Locke why he has to be the one to kill Jacob, and Locke simply says that after all his years in service to the island, he got cancer, saw his daughter die and was banished – shouldn’t that be reason enough?

As for Ilana, Bram and the rest of the Ajira passengers, they’ve taken an unconscious Lapidus on their journey to whatever lies in the shadow of the statue, along with a giant-ass box. Lapidus wakes up to hear Bram dismiss him as unworthy of being some kind of sacrifice, and they show Lapidus what’s in that thar box, leading me to squeel, “What’s in the box!? What’s in the box?!” at every commercial break. Bram assures Lapidus that he and his cronies are the good guys as they cart that box to Jacob’s cabin. Ilana enters and finds the place trashed. She tells everyone to burn it down because Jacob’s not there (but his dog man portrait is; so much for the Jacob the Dog Man theories) and someone else has been using it. When Bram questions her motives, she hands him a piece of the tapestry Jacob had woven and pinned to the wall.

Sawyer takes Jack aside and requests five minutes to convince him not to change what had happened by telling him that last year, in 1976, the other Sawyer killed his parents. At any time during his tenure in Dharmaville, he could have taken a sub off-island and stopped it. But he didn’t because what’s done is done. Sawyer urges Jack to admit why he’s doing this, and Jack says he wants to erase time because he fucked up his relationship with Kate. Sawyer casually reminds him that if what he does works out, he won’t even meet Kate and she’ll spend her days in handcuffs. So Jack and Sawyer solve this the only way they know how: a super bloody fistfight, later broken up by Juliet, who now believes that they have to allow Jack to do what he wants to do. Why did she change her mind? Because Sawyer bothered to look at that freckled homewrecker when she descended into the sub. Just because they love each other, Juliet says, doesn’t mean they should be together. “If I never meet you,” she tells him, “then I never have to lose you.” (This revelation was mitigated by a flashback to her parents divorce, and was the only flashback not involving Jacob in this episode. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? It strikes me as odd.)

After the fight, Kate and Jack reenact their first meeting on the island as she cleans his wounds. She tells him she came back to save Claire and Aaron, because if Jack’s plan works, then Aaron would never be away from his mum. Even though she planned to give him up for adoption, she never would have gotten on that plane and maybe, just maybe, she’d have had a choice about what to do with her son. Hearing Kate’s belief in his plan, Jack insists that nothing in his life has ever felt as right as what he is about to do. So while Phil alerts Radzinsky to Sayid’s presence, Radzinsky remains on the warpath, insisting that he must keep drilling at the Swan site, no matter what the cost. Pierre Chang, who has tried his damnedest to get as many people off the island as possible, tries to convince Radzinsky to stop drilling, but he won’t do it. Jack takes the bomb, ready to drop it as close to the site of electromagnetism as possible and as he heads off, Miles suddenly points out to his companions that maybe, just maybe, Jack is going to end up causing the very thing he’s trying to prevent. “Maybe that little nuke IS the incident?” he questions. “Glad you guys thought this one through.”

With Hurley driving the Dharmavan, everyone in the group pulls up shooting to give Jack and clear path to the drilling site. As he drops the bomb, they all brace for their imminent death . . . but nothing happens . . . until suddenly anything metal gets sucked down the drill hole, including the drill itself, which collapses and crushes Pierre Chang’s left arm (thus confirming the theory that he would lose it in he Incident, which is why his left arm looks strangely immobile in all the Dharma videos). Phil gets impaled with rebar, which made me really happy.

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still youve ever seen?

I was going to try to be serious about this, but, holy wow, is not the most awesome, hilarious still you've ever seen?

Worse, though, is that a metal chain wraps itself around Juliet’s waist and drags her down into the hole. Kate, a woman she spent some time handcuffed to once, tries to save her, but loses her grip as Juliet calls out for Sawyer. He begs her to hold on, but the pull is too strong and she lets go, assuring him that he loves her and I AM SO COMPLETELY SAD IN THAT MOMENT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF! Why wouldn’t it have taken Kate!? No one likes her!

Richard leads Locke and crew to the statue, where he says Jacob lives now, but as Locke leads Ben in, Richard protests and insists that no one but the leaders get to see Jacob. To which Locke suggests that, since he’s the leader, he’s sure Richard can make an exception. After they enter, Ilana and her crew arrive at the statue. She calls Alpert “Ricardos,” and asks him what lies in the shadow of the statue. Richard responds, in Latin, “”Ille qui nos omnes servabit,” which, according to the good folks at Lostpedia, is Latin for “He who shall protect/save us all.” Because he passed her test, she reveals to him, and us, the contents of the box. Just like last season, it’s Locke’s corpse, which prompts Sun to ask: if that’s Locke, then who the fuck just entered Jacob’s house?

The answer is that Jacob’s frenemy from the opening sequence, his rival island god, found his loophole. As Not-Locke urges Ben to do as he says and kill Jacob, Jacob insists that Ben has a choice. He can kill him, or he can simply leave. But Ben, finally in the presence of the man he worked so hard for without any recognition, becomes a simpering, wounded child and wonders aloud why this is the first time in his 35 years Jacob isn’t ignoring him. (Although, I would venture that it’s not the first time, being as Ben was brought back to life and all.) So Ben does what any mild sociopath would do and stabs the shit out of Jacob, allowing Not-Locke to incinerate him in his own fireplace as Jacob whispers, “They’re coming.”

E tu, Ben?

E tu, Ben?

But finally, before I ruminate on some stuff, there’s one more piece of information that’s necessary here. It seems the bomb didn’t detonate at all, as Juliet lies at the bottom of the Swan pit, only a few feet away from the bomb. And so, desperate, I think, to be sure that what was supposed to happen happened, she reaches for a rock and smashes it against the bomb as my television screen went white and the title card appears.

We’re left here with the big question: can you change the past or not? I believe still as I have always believed that what’s done is done, whatever happened, happened and so Juliet’s sacrifice was entirely the way things were supposed to go down. I’ll spend the rest of today reading the opinions of those who say otherwise, though, because that would be a really interesting turn of events. However, because I believe that Jacob wanted to prove human goodness to his unnamed assassin, these events serve as a proof of that. I think this Incident is the thing that’s supposed to send everyone back to 2007 (except for Juliet and Sayid, who I think are pretty much dead). And next season, everyone will have to unite in a front against Not-Locke and fight against the new island god. There are, of course, multiple ways to interpret Jacob’s last words, but I take them as a warning to Not-Locke about those who follow Jacob, those who will avenge him in his name.

I do not, however, have any thoughts on what exactly Not-Locke’s loophole is (other than borrowing the image of a dead body) or its necessity in convincing a follower to kill Jacob. As always, a riveting finale, which is everything I’ve come to expect from Lost and it’s only a bummer that I have to wait until 2010 (dude, how weird is it that next year is 2010?) to continue the journey. Now I’m going to go write about something easy, like Top Model. Because Lost makes my brain hurt.

The Husband:

Lost did something incredible this year.

Despite the awesomeness of the time travel and the paradoxes it created, the philosophy getting thrown down hard over the last 16 episode, the tragic and unflinching hand of fate, the battling timelines and the fact that it’s amazing that we as audiences can accept that we can follow Richard in two concurrent timelines 30 years separated without thinking it’s even remotely weird, it did one thing that I consider amazing.

It turned Sawyer into the show’s greatest tragic figure.

Whats done is done.

What's done is done.

Sure, I loved Sawyer before, playing an incredible foil, both dramatic and comedic, to Jack’s honor, Locke’s faith and Kate’s “goodness,” and he was responsible for just as many badass moments as the one and only Sayid (to quote Drew McWeeney over at, “I love how Sayid’s so badass he can just walk around the jungle with a hydrogen bomb slung over his shoulder”). His backstory, true, was indeed tragic, but had been so clouded by dark revenge, seemingly from the moment his own personal Incident occurred, that the emotions were buried under so many layers of hate.

Here’s something I wrote for the eight episode of this season, “LaFleur”:

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.

In short, he evolved into an honorable and overall good human being. A leader. A decider. A lover. A faithful man. And a potential family down the line after having fucked up everything with Cassidy and Clementine back in the real world.

But here’s Jack to fuck everything up, playing a part in destiny’s cruel game. And every step moves Sawyer and Juliet closer to the collapse of their relationship, disallowing Sawyer from any semblance of happiness no matter how hard he fought to make it otherwise. And no moment is worse than Juliet’s hand slipping from his, as she plummets down into the Swan hatch, where a hydrogen bomb waits for her. Sawyer was given everything he ever asked for, and it’s been ripped away. And there’s no question that he’s going to rage against this next season. He may not have believed in destiny before, but he might now.

I am completely in the dark about what next season entails, and I like it that way. I avoid spoilers, I avoid little nuggets of clues, and I tend to even avoid most speculation. Just give it to me good in 2010, and I’ll be happy.

The Wife:

Even though they were in two different time periods, this episode felt very much like the Jack vs. Locke leadership quests in season three. Only here, Jack, desperate to try and change the past so that the 815ers never crash on the island, puts himself in Faraday’s place to carry out the instructions in his journal. Locke, on the other hand, is at once following the timeline and, perhaps, totally destroying it in his final act in this episode: leading the Others to Jacob’s cabin . . . so they can watch him kill Jacob.

In 1977, Widmore rounds up the nearby Jack and Kate after Faraday is shot, and Eloise meets with them in her tent. She wants to know why Faraday needed to find the bomb, telling them of how she remembered meeting a man who told her to bury the bomb when she was 17. Jack tries to convince her, and Kate, that they need to follow Faraday’s plan and reverse what is about to happen on the island. Because Jack is a total moron and I’ll never understand why Kate was attracted to him in the first place, he rambles on about how great it will be to have erased all the misery of being stuck on that island from their lives, not realizing at all that he’s basically telling her that he wishes they were never together. (A fact that still doesn’t seem to sink in, even when Kate protests that the 815ers time together “wasn’t all misery.”) Way to go, Jack. You are a fucking dumbass and you are never sleeping with Kate, like, ever again. Eloise, however, seems more keen to follow her dead son’s journal and agrees to take Jack to the bomb, which is now buried under Dharmaville, it seems.

Jack, youre a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack, you're a bitch. And I am done with your bitch shit. You will never, ever tap this again, understood?

Jack just can’t seem to shake that hero complex, even though we’re all well aware that the real leader of the castaways in the 1970s is Sawyer, who has his own trials now that Ranjinsky has taken up torturing him in front of Juliet in order to get information about where Kate took young Ben Linus. Sawyer refuses to divulge any information, so Phil takes it into his own hands to get Sawyer to talk by busting Juliet’s lip. (At which point I had a flashback to the scene in Mad Men where Jimmy Barrett takes Betty Draper aside and quietly, metaphorically punches her in the face by revealing the affair their spouses are having. Patrick Fischler is really good at making women hurt.) In greater Dharmaville, Hurley is busy stealing food to bring on his trip to the beach with Miles, Jin and, presumably, Sawyer and Juliet. Dr. Chang catches him and follows him out to meet with his companions, checking the veracity of Faraday’s claim. Miles tells his father that Faraday has been right about everything so far, and that it would be best if he followed the slain physicists instructions and got as many people off of the island as possible.

Chang heads down into the security station to get Horace to call off the imminent drilling at the Swan station, but Ranjinsky steps up and declares himself to be in charge, and when he’s in charge, everything will be completed on schedule. Sawyer tells Chang to get all of the women and children on the island on that submarine, and promises to tell them whatever they want in exchange for a place for himself and his Juliet on that vessel. Ranjinsky agrees to this deal, and demands that Sawyer give him a map to Hostile territory.

Meanwhile, Widmore tries to prevent Ellie from taking Faraday’s friends to the bomb. We don’t get to hear their conversation, so I’m just inferring all of that from hand gestures. Another thing I’m inferring from hand gestures: did anyone else notice the way Widmore held his hand to Eloise’s stomach during that unheard conversation? Because I did, and now I think that she must have been pregnant with Daniel at this time, thus carrying her son at the very moment she would shoot him. But whatever Widmore might have said to her, she goes on anyway, taking Richard Alpert along with Jack and Kate. Once they get to a stream, Eloise tells them that they have to swim through a passage in order to get to “the tunnels,” and Kate refuses to go. Eloise’s bodyguard/red shirt shoots at Kate, but he is felled by a stealthily concealed Sayid. (Well, played, Sayid! We kind of forgot you were just roaming around in the jungles, being the new Rousseau and shit.) Jack explains to Sayid that they’re going to change the timeline by detonating Jughead, and Sayid, smugly informs them that he already has changed the timeline by killing Ben Linus . . . at which point Kate bursts his smug assassin bubble. Jack tries one last time to convince Kate to help him change things, but she’s not having any of his newfound Faraday Fervor, and informs him that he’s starting to sound an awful lot like his old crazy nemesis, John Locke. So she leaves to return to Dharmaville, while Ellie, Sayid, Jack and Richard swim to the tunnels, which appear to be an extension of the Temple.

There’s an interesting similarity here in the entrance to the tunnels being through water to the pool of water Ben drains below his house. Some astute folks have noted that water seems to act as a barrier for the Smoke Monster (as in smoke cannot pass through water, so, if you want to keep Smokey at bay, fucking put a moat around your shit), so this part of the Temple, the tunnels, appear to be an No Smokey Zone. Can we not trust Smoke Monsters with hydrogen bombs? (Probably not.) I am, however, curious about two things now. 1.) How far do the tunnels go? Is there a subterranean system of catacombs under the surface of the island, connecting virtually everything? 2.) Was this really the safest way to bury a hydrogen bomb? I’m pretty sure Faraday would have preferred to have the thing literally encased in concrete, not just casually resting on its side in a subterranean lair. But what do I know. I’m not a time traveling physicist.

Kate continues her bubble bursting when she returns to camp and Ranjinsky orders that she be put on the submarine, totally ruining Sawyer and Juliet’s plans to have a happy life off the island when they disappear once the sub docks. Elizabeth Mitchell’s “aw, hell no!” face is so amazing, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck on a submarine for God knows how long with Kate Austen, either. I feel for Juliet. She and Sawyer had a good thing going, and then the A3 showed up and totally ruined everything. And now that bitch your man used to pine over is all up on your love submarine? That shit’s no good, yo. That shit’s no good.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because thats all I can think of right now.

Does this remind anyone else of that song from Peter Pan? Because that's all I can think of right now.

As for John Locke, he’s taking his “I’m the leader” business very, very seriously, becoming almost as cocksure and manipulative as his comedy partner, Ben Linus. He drags Richard Alpert away from his fun-time activity of building ships in a bottle (I think there’s a beautiful metaphor there, but I’m not sure what it is yet) to go and visit Jacob. Alpert is astounded to see Locke alive, and he promises to tell the immortal Other all about his resurrection on the way, but not before Sun can interrupt this reunion and as Alpert about Dharmaville ’77. He tells her that he does, indeed, remember meeting everyone in that photograph “very clearly, because I watched them all die.” Ominous portents of certain doom aside, Locke assures Sun that he’ll find a way to keep everyone from meeting that fate, which seems to pacify her enough. (She’s not so lady vengeance on the island, is she? Where is the Sun with the balls to stand up to her dad and, maybe, shoot Ben Linus? I miss that Sun.) So Locke leads Ben and Alpert out to the biplane that night and gives Alpert very detailed instructions about how to remove bullets, giving old men who think they’re special compasses and, most importantly, telling said old men they have to die in order to bring all of their friends back to the island. Ben is very impressed by watching Locke watch himself get set on his path to destiny and asks how he knew exactly when to be there, resulting in my favorite Locke and Linus Comedy Moment of the evening:

Locke: The island told me. Didn’t it tell you things?

Ben: No, John. It didn’t.

Seriously, the hilarity in that is entirely up to Locke’s smarminess and Michael Emerson’s brilliantly sarcastic line reading.

When they return to camp, Locke insists that he speak to everyone there, and Alpert acquiesces, because his capacity as an advisor seems to be “let the leaders fuck shit up however they want.” John, like Nietzsche, has a “God is Dead” moment where he announces to the camp that he questions Jacob’s capacity as an omniscient leader, and even his existence. He intends to take everyone to Jacob’s cabin so that they can witness whether or not Jacob exists. En route, he tells Ben that they’re not going to see Jacob to fulfill his promise to Sun of reuniting with their friends in Dharmaville ’77, but to kill Jacob.

I’ve long said that Locke’s resurrection has made him a kind of deity figure, someone semi-omniscient, perhaps on the level of Richard Alpert, but now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been wrong about that and Locke’s resurrection has actually changed him into a non-believer, merely enacting things he knew would come to pass to mock Ben and the giant cosmic game that ultimately got him killed. If he is able to kill Jacob, the island’s mysterious God-like figure, would that destroy the cosmic order of the island, thus fulfilling Nietzsche’s nihilist philosophical stance with a lack of cosmic or moral order (since it’s a human invention, anyway)? And can a man that cannot be seen even be killed, anyway? This new Locke is puzzling, and I don’t really know how to read him or his actions anymore, but I have a feeling that whatever he’s set off to do cannot be good.

The Husband:

While I’m not surprised that Hurley, when put under pressure and questioned by Dr. Chang, couldn’t keep up the façade that he belonged in 1977 and declares that he was born in 1931 (dunno where he got that number), I am surprised that he was unaware of the Korean War. Dude watches a lot of television, so I would assume that he’s seen his share of M*A*S*H. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

And so the mindfucker just got mindfucked, as John Locke sent Richard Alpert to talk to injured alterna-Locke, and the deity situation on this show becomes increasingly more complicated. Are we going to have a battle of the Gods next season? Is all of this going to look like the climax of All Dogs Go to Heaven?

I also hope that characters stop proclaiming that they can change the order of things — I’m looking at you, Jack — because I’m under the impression that last week’s The Lamentable Death of Faraday episode pretty much solidified this as being a fool’s errand. So next week should be the last mention of this, o the show’s going to start repeating itself and annoying those of us who pretty much understood the time travel concept from the get-go. (Thank you, once again, time paradoxes put forth in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.)

The Wife:

Usually, I hate an episode devoted to Kate, but for once I think the writers and Evangeline Lilly really found the emotional core of this episode by explaining how Kate Austen changed from an outlaw to a Madonna, and why she left Aaron behind. And when she said goodbye to the boy she fostered, peacefully sleeping in that motel room two doors down from Grandma Littleton, and my favorite of Michael Giacchino’s reunion/parting themes played in the background, I have to admit that I cried a little bit – tears I usually reserve for episodes about Jin/Sun, Charlie Pace or Desmond. This episode changed a lot of how I view Kate, actually, and I’m beginning to see her as another character fulfilling the archetype created by Sarah Connor, the Warrior Mother. But she only accepts that role on the island, because off-island, outside of the realm of fantasy and magic, she’s just the same as any other single mother, struggling to raise a child without any guidance, always minutes away from losing him in a grocery store to a woman who looks suspiciously like his Ghost Mom. Off-island, she hangs with Cassidy and little darling Clementine, bonding over the man that abandoned them (Sawyer) and learning to make that leap from outlaw to mother, raising children on their own. I have always been fond of the convergence of Kate and Cassidy, and imagine that the two of them could have made a good Thelma & Louise duo . . . and still could, should Kate ever return from that island and should Cassidy ever decide to abandon her daughter. (Unlikely. Cassidy may be a con artist, but I don’t think she’d be able to abandon Clementine. No one with a heart would leave that poor girl without any parents at all.) Instead, the two former outlaws share a kind of sororal love, bound together by their many common threads. But still, that isn’t enough to keep Kate from going back to the island. She’s not supposed to be with Aaron, and she knows it, especially when he leaves her for his Substitute Claire in that grocery store. So with a heavy heart, because Kate has, in fact, become a mother to this boy, she hands him over to Grandma Littleton, briefly explaining the complicated lie she’s been leading, and carrying the tears of a woman who’s left her child all the way to the airport. Those sunglasses she was sporting? They weren’t to look bad-ass, they were to hide the fact that she’d been crying all night.

Crying on the inside.

Crying on the inside.

So what am I saying when I say that this now-childless woman is taking up the mantle of the Warrior Mother? I’m talking about Kate’s instrumental role in saving Lil’ Ben’s life, and essentially doing everything to protect the boy the way she should have, would have protected Aaron had she stayed in L.A. As everyone debates their fate and the possibility of entering a time travel paradox should Ben die (thanks, Miles and Hurley, for playing the Great Internet Debate about the nature of time travel on Lost!), Lil’ Ben lies bleeding to death in Juliet’s OR. They need a real surgeon to save him, but Jack refuses, even when Kate begs him, just as she will 30 years from now to remove the tumor from Ben’s spine so that Sawyer won’t die. He’s saved Ben Linus once, Jack reckons. He doesn’t need to do it again. So Kate, perhaps seeing a bit of Aaron in the dying Ben, signs up to give the boy blood, because she’s a universal donor. And when Juliet tells her that she can do no more to save him, it’s Kate who heads up the rescue operation to send Ben into Hostile territory, hoping that she can plead with Richard Alpert to save the boy. Sawyer, who has become a hero contrary to Cassidy’s suggestion that he jumped off the chopper to get away from Kate and Aaron, arrives just before Kate has to cross that sonic fence of doom and agrees to help her deliver the boy to Alpert.

“Because no matter what he grows up to be, it’s wrong to let a kid die. I’m doing this for her.”

I assume that “her” Sawyer speaks of is his own daughter, for whom he would certainly give his life, now that living in 70s Dharmaville has taught him to grow up and accept his responsibilities. The two are soon captured by the Others, and brought before Alpert only at Sawyer’s threat of war should they refuse to help Ben. Kate insists on carrying Ben the whole way, like some kind of pieta, and finally hands Ben over to Alpert, even though he warns them that if he takes him, he will never be the same. His innocence will be lost and he will forget that all of this ever happened. And so he takes the dying boy into the temple, to become the thing he so desperately wanted to be: an Other.

“He will always be one of us.”

So, let’s take a second to talk about Miles’ explanation of time travel in accordance with this episode’s title. Miles asserts that whatever happened, happened, and so the folks who ended up in 1970 were always supposed to end up there and participate in what they are currently experiencing. Only, they’re not in the past. The “past” is their “present” because time is not linear. That’s why they don’t remember being in the 70s; for them, it hadn’t happened yet. So why, Hurley asks, wouldn’t Ben, who had met them all in the 70s, remember Sayid shooting him or remember meeting any of the castaways? Miles replies that he hadn’t thought of that yet, which was really funny for those amongst us who think that Darlton are just making shit up as they go along (for really, yo, you don’t think writers have massive mytharcs totally storyboarded?), but swiftly solved with Alpert’s announcement that the mystical act which will change Ben into an Other will remove his innocence and his memories of the events surrounding his near-death. It’s island magic, people. Sometimes, you just have to accept island magic. And I really hope they show us Ben’s apotheosis, his transformation from mere man to mystical, deified Other, because I am expecting some spectacular shit there.

I thought this was one of the stronger filling-in-the-story episodes, particularly because of the strength of Kate’s emotional performance and her island destiny of being the person who made Ben into what he is today. She’s the Warrior Mother for protecting him, that’s for sure, carrying on her off-island protect Aaron mission with yet another surrogate boy on-island. But there’s also an element of the Dangerous Mother in Kate, as well, because of what her mothering arc with Ben ultimately gives birth to (the monstrous Ben), and because of her abandonment of Aaron. There is a richness and a depth to this episode like I have never seen in a Kate-sode before, and for that I really appreciate it.

I also really appreciate that the writers are adhering to the reality of how time travel would work. Way to geek out, guys. None of that Back to the Future-disappearing bullshit. Whatever happened, happened.

The Husband:

And here’s the other major problem is the Back to the Future style of time travel. (I consider myself a completely amateur scholar of pop culture time travel stories, and generally adhere to the Bill & Ted Theorem.) In Back to the Future 2, Marty travels into the future and sees his future life as a father of two stubborn kids, but Present Marty doesn’t get busted when Father Marty sees him in his house, for Father Marty’s son looks just like Michael J. Fox and thus simply his son. But if we are to believe Present Marty’s timeline (living in the 80s, going back to the 50s, going into the future, going into the Old West and back into modern times), then wouldn’t Father Marty remember that he, decades earlier, had pretended to be Father Marty’s son when he traveled into the future? Brain explodey! Oh wait…there’s little Elijah Wood playing an arcade game at the diner. Explodey reduced.

I think the Lost version of time travel makes absolute sense, and I don’t really know how people would be confused, but I’m glad that Hurley is the one to be confused, so we could just get it out the way while at the same time mocking all y’all bitches who never bothered to ponder the inherent paradoxes of time travel.

No, dude, dont you see that time travel in Back to the Future doesnt make sense?

No, dude, don't you see that time travel in Back to the Future doesn't make sense?

And people are also complaining about the fact that, once Richard takes Ben, Ben will not longer remember all these incidents, and its being a complete cheat in the timeline of Lost. How convenient that he will forget Sayid. Well, while Ben may or may not have been lying in s2 (or was it early s3), he claims that he believes he was born on this island. So this “cheat” is okay. It’s far more thought out than the C-3PO controversy of 2005, where all of us Star Wars fans complained about the following fact – if C-3PO had already met Obi-Wan during the prequels and was INVENTED ON TATTOOINE by none other than Anakin Skywalker, why in Episode IV was he so confused by this planet and later meeting Old Obi-Wan? Well, at the end of Episode III there is a complete throwaway line where C-3PO is commanded to have his memory erased. There, it was obvious Lucas was just plugging up a hole. Here, I’m not so sure, because whether or not you want to admit it, there’s a whole lot more stuff going on over on Lost, mentally speaking, than there ever was in the six Star Wars films.

I do have to take umbrage with Kate, though, because while I get her mommy issues, I still don’t think she would have gone through all this trouble to save Little Ben knowing his future evil. Yes, Little Ben’s rescue was always bound to happen, but I think she might want to deal with a little less future guilt had she let the original Dharma people, along with the Hostiles, deal with Little Ben themselves and then, perhaps, give the Losties some big answers with how things were done on that island in any form or fashion. But instead of getting answers, she just asserted herself, because she’s Kate. (Stop making eyes at Roger “Workman” Linus. He’s a piece of shit.) Alls I know is that next week, which promises much Smokey the Smoke Monster, better have some ridiculous awesomeness happening.

Maybe I just love every single second Richard Alpert is onscreen. Because Nestor Carbonell is awesome, whether he is an immortal island deity (who may or may not have four toes on each foot), the mayor of Gotham, or even a money-grubbing brother on a shitty one-season CBS show about the sugar trade.

The Wife:

I get the feeling that Lost is slowing down its pace a little bit to guide us through the time travel, which is fine by me. It’ll help me recover the pieces of my blown mind when they drop game-changing revelations like the fact that Charles Widmore was of the “original” Others back in 1954. I’m hesitant to call them the “original” Others, because I don’t know how many other Others there may have been prior to the group we’ve come to know and love. So maybe I’ll just call them Retro Others.

On the island, the Retro Others capture Farraday, Miles and Charlotte, thinking that they’re American military. Their captor, a cute Army babe that’s a cross between AnnaLynne McCord and Mitzi Gaynor, Ellie, delivers a cryptic, “You just couldn’t stay away, could you?” to Farraday, which made me think that she’d known him before somehow. However, that thought quickly proved to be erroneous when the Retro Others take the group back to their camp and find one ageless Richard Alpert. Alpert and the Retro others think that the group is American military (“I assume you’ve come back for your bomb.”), completely unaware that, in the future, Alpert will know of these people and constantly survey them. Upon hearing that the others have a big giant bomb that could detonate at any second, Farraday decides to go along with the ruse, asking Alpert to let him fix their hydrogen bomb to prevent the whole lot of Retro Others from dying of radiation poisoning. Alpert asks why he should trust him, and Farraday replies that he can be trusted because he loves Charlotte and wouldn’t let any harm come to her.

Dont worry man, everythings gonna be fine! I know cuz Im from the future!

Don't worry man, everything's gonna be fine! I know cuz I'm from the future!

Meanwhile, Locke, Sawyer and Juliet are busy prodding their captors for information. The Army folk speak to each other in Latin, which alerts Juliet to the fact that they, like her, are Others. Previously, I had thought these mystery captors might have been Dharma based on the uniforms, but no, those shadows obscured the fact that they are indeed Retro Others. Once again, I’m forced to wonder why J.J. Abrams and his gang are so thoroughly convinced that Latin is a decent secret language. He pulled this over on Fringe in “The Ghost Network.” I thought it was ineffective then, and I still think it’s ineffective. In fact, I think it’s even more ineffective considering that this Latinate code language tradition started with the Retro Others back in the 50s. You know, a time when Latin was actually still taught in schools. Especially schools in England, where these Retro Others seem to originate. In short, lots of people are familiar with Latin. Especially in the 50s. This is a terrible code language. Esperanto would have made much more sense. Juliet talks to the Retro Others in their terrible code language and asks them to take them all back to their camp, dropping Richard Alpert’s name. They agree, which gets Locke’s wheels turning about finding out from Retro Alpert exactly how he can save the island, a conversation that never quite got finished because of the bright white flashes of sky.

On orders from Alpert, Ellie takes Farrady out to the bomb so that he can dismantle that big giant Jughead. After reading Doc Jensen’s column about Lost and its meaningful names yesterday, I can honestly say that I was not expecting the titular Jughead to be a bomb. Jensen wrote some pretty crazy ass shit about the importance of Archie comic’s Jughead in time travel theory, as Jughead himself once had a spin-off comic where he was a sort of time cop, so I thought perhaps the titular Jughead would be somehow involved with time travel . . . and while the bomb is sort of indicative of time travel, this is definitely not what I would have expected. Farraday inspects the bomb and finds a leak in the casing. He asks Ellie for some lead or concrete to seal the leak, and she immediately becomes suspicious of his intentions, inquiring as to how Farraday knows for certain that if the bomb is sealed and buried it won’t go off. Left with no choice, Farraday drops the bomb (figuratively) on Ellie that, 50 years in the future, the island is still there. And he and his friends know because they are, in fact, from the future.

Locke, meanwhile, gets his audience with Alpert, who, just as Alpert predicted when they last spoke at the biplane, does not remember Locke. (How could he? He technically hasn’t met him yet.) Alpert really doesn’t like the fact that Locke proclaims himself to be the appointed leader of the Others, explaining that there is a very specific way in which the Others choose their leadership. Suddenly, all of our suspicions from “Cabin Fever” about Alpert’s visits to little Locke and the test he administers make complete sense. Locke gives Alpert the compass he had given to Locke in their last meeting. Alpert doesn’t really know why he’s getting this object and is still dubious about Locke’s claims to leadership. Locke tells him, after finding out the year, that he will be born in two years and that Alpert should come visit him. This totally explains everything about why Alpert showed up after Locke’s birth and why, several years later, he was so thoroughly upset that John Locke did not choose the compass, the item that belonged to him already, effectively meaning that Alpert took all this time and effort to believe the man he met in 1954 and was, essentially, proven wrong when young Locke didn’t pass the test.

I thought the compass metaphorically belonged to Locke already, but no, Alpert very literally meant that the compass had indeed previously been in John Locke’s possession. Alpert needed to give Locke this item when they met at the biplane in order to continue the appropriate course of destiny. The compass was always Locke’s, he just didn’t know it yet. But just as Locke and Alpert make some progress in their conversation, the bright white sky flashes and, suddenly, Camp Retro Otherton and all of its Retro Others are gone. Poor Locke. Finding out how to save the island is not going to be easy.

Off the island, the narrative was dedicated entirely to Desmond. Penny has borne him a son, who I figured would be called Charlie, but was still incredibly moved to hear Desmond say so. The whole family sails around on their totally sweetles sailboat and avoids Grandpa Widmore, and they’ve been just peachy until Farraday surfaces in Desmond’s memory and instructs him to go to Oxford and find Mother Farraday. Penny isn’t too keen on the Hume family sailing back to Jolly Old England, but Des promises her that they’ll be in and out of port within a day and Granddaddy Widmore won’t even know they’re there.

I love Des so, so much and I’m glad this episode was balanced between crazy Retro Otherton stuff with Farraday and his constant, Desmond. Yet another reason in the long list of reasons to love Desmond David Hume: the story he tells little Charlie about England and Scotland, how Scotland’s the best part of Great Britain and how London, that shining city on the Thames, is where his mummy and daddy met and fell in love. I’m jealous that little Charlie gets to sail everywhere and see the world, but it made me a little sad that Charlie lives a very rootless existence. Nevertheless, that was a very sweet bedtime story and I teared up a little bit. I heart Desmond.

So Desmond leaves the safety of his boat and sets off to Oxford in search of Farraday’s mum. The folks at the Oxford library have no record of a Daniel Farraday, however, and, unfortunately, cannot get any closer to finding him without knowing the year in which Desmond last visited. Certain that he did meet Farraday, Des wanders around the hallowed halls until he finds what he remembers to be Farraday’s lab. The door has been sealed for “fumigation,” but Des breaks in and finds the remnants of Farraday’s things, dismantled and covered in white sheets. Even Eloise’s maze is no longer in use. After a few minutes of uninterrupted searching, a janitor interrupts and tells Des that Farraday’s lab had to be shut down and his records expunged from Oxford’s files when something terrible happened to some poor girl named Theresa Spencer. Desmond heads to Theresa Spencer’s house and is told that she isn’t home by her sister Abigail. Desmond mentions that he was sent there on behalf of Daniel Farraday, and Abigail lets him in where he sees Theresa, presumably unconscious and in a hospital bed, a place she’s been unmoved for several years in the care of one Charles Widmore, who assumed financial responsibility for Farraday’s research after Theresa’s accident.

And what exactly happened to Theresa? We don’t know for sure, but I am relatively certain that it’s the same thing happening to Charlotte Staples Lewis, who, after the island’s latest white sky flash, collapsed with the bloodiest nose we’ve seen her display in some time. I believe that Theresa may have suffered from the same sort of time travel sickness as Charlotte now does, but, rather that outright killing her as the sickness did to Fisher Stevens, it somehow made her mind slip away into the chasm of time. She is still alive, physically, but because her mind, like the minds of Farraday’s lab rats, is traveling through time, she is lost to the world. Not entirely brain dead, I don’t think, but definitely in a kind of coma.

Upon hearing the name of his hated father-in-law, Desmond realizes that he must break his promise to Penny and drop in on dear old dad if he’s to find Mama Farraday. Desmond tells Widmore that he will stay out of his life forever if he can answer some questions about Farraday, specifically, where his mother is located. Widmore will only divulge this information if he is assured of Penny’s safety, and Desmond lets Widmore know that his daughter is, indeed, safe. Widmore tells Des that Farraday’s mum is in L.A. and that she’s a very private person so she may not take kindly to seeing Des. Widmore warns Des to deliver his message to Mama Farraday and then to get out of the fray in order to protect Penny.

Desmond returns to his wife and child and tells them that it’s all over, that Mama Farraday died some years ago, but Penny knows he’s lying. Heeding Widmore’s warning and fearing that if he continues down this path, he will lose Penny again, perhaps permanently, Des tells her that he’s done trying to help Farraday. Penny knows that Des can’t and shouldn’t give up this quest, and she announces that she and little Charlie will be sailing to Los Angeles with Des to deliver Farraday’s message.

As for the identity of Farrday’s mother, I am now certain that it is Mrs. Hawking. Many people thought this long before I did, especially when they saw her in all her mystical robes trying to scientifically calculate the whereabouts of the island, but I’m sure of it now. We know Farraday’s mom is in L.A. and we know Hawking is there working for Ben. It seems like a good fit, especially because in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” we know that Hawking also has a stake in the mystical role of one Desmond David Hume.

However, I think there’s another twist to this. I think that Retro Other Ellie, for whom we are not given a last name and should note that, aside from Retro Other Charles Widmore, she is the only Retro Other not wearing a jacket that identifies her by her last name, will grow up to be Mrs. Hawking. I think this for a couple of reasons, the first of which being that Lost has a way of paying homage to names. (See little Charlie, for instance.) It would make sense that, after meeting a man named Daniel who claims to be a time traveler, Ellie might name her own son after a man with such an astonishing destiny. Furthermore, we know that Farraday’s lab rat in “The Constant” is named Eloise, which sounds similar to Ellie. Hell, Ellie might even be a nickname for Eloise, meaning that Farraday named his experimental rat after his own mum. People tend to name things that they’re going to be close to names they like, or names they find significant. It makes sense to me that he might name his rat after or in homage to his mother, in the same way that Frasier Crane’s mother named him and his brother Niles after a pair of rats she fondly observed in her behavioral psychology practice. (I didn’t think I could find a way to reference Frasier on Lost, but I did it. It cannot be undone.)

My pick for the eventual Mama Farraday.

Ellie No-Last-Name: My pick for the eventual Mama Farraday.

All in all, this was a really tight episode. And the best part about it, actually, was that it wasn’t cluttered with any of the Oceanic 6. It had balanced stories that furthered the plot with nothing extraneous and still managed to provide us with a fair number of unanswered questions about which to theorize. This one was solid, and I am satisfied to know that Widmore was a Retro Other, which, I think, gives him a good motivation for wanting to get back to the island and explains some of his interest in it. I’m sure we will hear a lot more about Charles Widmore as the season progresses, because even that revelatory fact leaves a lot to fill in between that I cannot hazard to guess at.