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:

We still don’t know exactly what Daniel Faraday was off doing in Ann Arbor, but we do know that because 1977 is the present for the Freighties and O6ers, they can die.

And my beloved scruffy physicist is dead. Shot by his own mother. Which is, like, totally harsh, dude.

We do know, though, that during his time in Ann Arbor, Faraday got to thinking about his whole “whatever happened, happened” hypothesis and returns to the island thinking that he might be able to actually change the future. He tells Jack and the rest of the A3 that they “don’t belong here,” and proceeds to sneak into the construction site of the Orchid station to vainly warn Pierre Chang against releasing the island’s electromagnetic energy. He warns him that one day, an incident will occur at the site of The Swan, which he knows because he’s from the future. He also informs Chang that Miles there is his son, all growed up, which Chang doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction to other than cementing his assumption that Faraday is batshit crazy. Faraday explains to Miles that he’s just playing agent of destiny, telling Chang all of these things so that he does what he’s supposed to do (i.e. get people off the island prior to, possibly, what is known as “The Incident,” which we’ll learn all about in the finale – two of those people being his wife and son). He later sets little Charlotte on her path, telling her that she needs to leave the island on the submarine with her mommy and not return. (I greatly appreciated the detail where she announces she isn’t allowed to eat chocolate for dinner, which was my favorite part of her dying ramblings. It really cemented that her mind collapsed back to this moment when she was set on her “destined path.”)

With Phil tied up in the closet, Sawyer and Juliet realize that their time amongst the Dharma Initiative has to come to an end soon. He provides the A3 and the Left Behinders with a choice: they can get on the sub and leave the island without incident, or they can go back to the beginning and disappear into the jungles. Jin refuses to leave if there’s even a chance that Sun is on the island, and Faraday bursts in, wanting to know how he can find the Hostiles. He needs to talk to his mother, he says, and get her help in getting everyone back to their correct place in time. Juliet gives Dan the code for the fence (141717) and Sawyer sends Jack and Kate to steal a motorpool van and take him out to Hostile territory. Once they’re out the door, Sawyer and Juliet send Hurley to pack a bag and, hand in hand, the LaFleurs begin to pack up the life they’ve made together.

Worst. Mod Squad. Ever.

Worst. Mod Squad. Ever.

Once Dan, Kate and Jack hit up the motorpool, they’re stopped by Ranjinsky, who is rightfully suspicious of their activities and starts a shootout with them, grazing Faraday’s neck with a bullet, which, once the trio are safely off to the fence in a Dharma Jeep, having distracted Ranjinsky et al with explodeys, causes him to ruminate on the fact that the things happening to them in 1977 constitute their present, so they are not infallible, in a nice bit of foreshadowing. He explains that he’d spent a lot of time thinking about what is constant with time travel, but never about the variables. People, he supposes, are the variables. People like himself, Kate and Jack, trapped in a time in which they do not belong. If that’s true, then perhaps they can change things before they start to happen. There will be an incident involving a release of energy, which causes Dharma to build The Swan to contain that energy by pressing a button every 108 minutes which, one day, Desmond David Hume will fail to press, releasing a burst of energy that brings down Oceanic 815 and sets the castaways past in motion. But if Faraday can prevent that incident from occurring by detonating a hydrogen bomb (Jughead, which he conveniently told the Hostiles to bury), he might be able to stop all of that from happening.

Ranjinsky and his men head to LaFleur to report what just happened to them and find that he’s packing to leave. Once they discover Phil in the closet, Ranjinksy holds the two hostage and threatens to shoot them as the alarm sounds over Dharmaville, putting everyone on high alert. Faraday enters into Hostile territory brandishing a gun and demanding to see Eloise. Alpert tries to calm him down, seeming to recognize the scruffy physicist but not quite sure from where until Daniel tells him he helped him bury a bomb in 1954 (which really freaks Alpert out, presumably because he thought he was the only person in the world that doesn’t age). But before Alpert can help Daniel get to that bomb, he’s shot in the back, by his own mother. As he dies, he mutters: “You knew. You always knew this was going to happen. Yet you sent me anyway.”

In fact, Eloise had been pushing Daniel toward this destiny all along. Although he loved music as a child, she pushed him toward mathematics, citing his natural ability for numbers, demonstrated by the fact that, even as he plays music, he knows exactly how many times the metronome has moved since he began. I really loved the following exchange between Eloise and her young son, which I found eerily prescient and indicative of Daniel’s character arc for this episode:

Daniel: I can do both. I can make time.
Eloise: If only you could.

At Oxford, Faraday’s mother tried to push him away from girlfriend/lab assistant Theresa Spencer, warning him that every woman in his life will get hurt, but covering by suggesting that they’ll come to that state by always feeling like they’re second to his work. (Not, you know, because their minds will time travel and then collapse, leaving Theresa in a coma and Charlotte, well, dead.) Later, to commemorate the receipt of his doctorate, Eloise gives Daniel the beautiful leather journal we’ve seen him cling to throughout his tenure on Lost. Its inscription reads, “No matter what happens, remember that I will always love you.” That day, he also receives a $1.5M Pound Sterling research grant from one Charles Widmore, the research that eventually puts Theresa in a coma and turns Daniel into a gibbering mess of what he once was when he tests his theories on himself. Widmore pays him a visit after the crash of Oceanic 815, which the then-addled Daniel feels strangely, emotionally connected to, and tells the young scientist that he faked the wreckage and that people from that flight are still alive on a mysterious island that, if Daniel can help him find it, will heal him and make him capable of doing research again. Although he isn’t sure he can do what Widmore wants him to do, Eloise convinces him to go along on Widmore’s journey, promising him that it will heal his broken mind.

Totally invariable: my love for Daniel Faraday.

Totally invariable: my love for Daniel Faraday.

The exchange between Faraday and Eloise at his childhood piano and her inscription in his journal, I think, are really the touchstones for this episode. As I mentioned before, Daniel’s childhood wish that he can “make time” ends up being exactly what he tries to do before being shot down by his own mother figuratively (in that childhood exchange) and literally in his final scene in Hostile territory. She goes to visit Desmond and Penny in hospital to explain to Ms. Hume how her son is responsible for Des getting shot in the groceries (which, by the way, do not stop bullets – Des is just totally badass and fought Ben through the pain), which is, I think, her way of admitting her own responsibility for the hand she had in Faraday’s fate. Later, after Penny has gone in to talk to her husband (who is A-OK thanks to that grocery shield), Eloise runs into Widmore outside the hospital. He tells her he won’t go in to see Penny because he had to sacrifice his relationship with his daughter to do his work, a claim which angers Eloise so much that she feels the need to defend her actions toward her son, because while Widmore may have sacrificed his relationship with Penny, it was Eloise who sacrificed her son. She guided him on the path of his destiny, which was ultimately to be shot by her own hand. (By the way, Widmore is Faraday’s dad, in case you were wondering. And he is rather unmoved by this whole situation.) Yes, Daniel’s dying words were correct. She knew. And yet she sent him anyway because that’s how things had to happen. Death was Faraday’s present, but there was no way he was going to be able to change the island’s past – Eloise was always going to stop him. Whatever happened, happened.

This, along with Eloise’s sweet, but sad, “If only you could,” feeds in to Lost‘s greater themes about fate and destiny, in adding more proof that they are constant. But I’m struck here by the similarity between Eloise and the Virgin Mary, both of whom lived their entire maternal lives knowing that their sons were born to die as sacrificial lambs for God, Fate or the Greater Good. I’ve never thought of Eloise as sympathetic before or even really relatable (even though she is played by the wonderful Fionnula Flannigan). But here, in seeing her relationship to her son, I think I finally got to know her, and I do believe that the cold, manipulative face of the Agent of Fate is indeed tempered with a heavy amount of maternal sadness. That “if only you could” is as much mourning her son’s eventual death as it is mourning her own inability to prevent it, in spite of the fact that, as a loving mother, she should do what she can to protect her son, to be a Warrior Mother like Kate.

I may not have been moved to tears by “The Variable” as I was by its clear partner “The Constant,” but I think it’s a pretty brilliant, poetic and moving addition to the Lost canon. Yet another stellar episode in a stellar season. I will be forever haunted by the image on young Daniel’s futile protest of his destined path, wanting to sit at that piano and make time, as he unconsciously counts the movements of the metronome, keeping time the way it is and was, not the way he wants it to be.

The Husband:

A terrifying, tragic episode in a season of slow burns and emotional catharses. While many of the episodes this year may not be the most exciting or adrenaline-pumping, they are the most intellectually stimulating, not only for their deep dive into metaphysics and time travel but also their storybook-like acknowledgement of destinies both spiritual and scientific. As Faraday struggles to get a grasp on the past, present and future, doing everything in his power to rationalize the impossible, we as viewers see a different plot of a desperate man railing against what he knows in the back of his mind is incapable of being changed. The bright, brilliant man who has helped the Losties so greatly with his exposition and knowledge of the island and all of its physics-related qualities now becomes the helpless pawn in a game he is all to familiar with, and it’s startlingly upsetting.

The worst moment, in terms of pity, comes when Daniel approaches young Charlotte and proceeds to tell her what we already knew, that one day a strange man came to her and told her to never come back to the island for fear of death, and it’s Faraday’s sadness that truly makes the scene incredible. Nothing he could say to Charlotte could make her not return to the island, because we all know she will. Faraday knows it too, but it’s as if he thinks that if he believes it enough, he can change both their destinies. Alas.

I’m not sure if I can handle Faraday being dead. If there’s any other character in this show that I would love to be resurrected Locke-style, it would be him. But if this is the last we see of him, we know he went out on a great episode overflowing with emotion, information and the cruel hand of fate.

The Wife:

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!

Youre so cute now, but youre going to grow up to be an evil douchebag kidnapper.

You're so cute now, but you're going to grow up to be an evil douchebag kidnapper.

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.)

I never thought such dirty hippies would love jumpsuits this much.

I never thought such dirty hippies would love jumpsuits this much.

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.

The Husband:

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.

The Wife:

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

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

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

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

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

That monster made you sick!

That monster made you sick!

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

“Uh, he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wife:

This was a much better Oceanic Six-centric episode than the last, choosing to coagulate the group into adventure parings rather than trying to jam six (well, five, because Aaron really ever isn’t the hero of his own story) individual narratives into a 42-minute show, balanced with on-island action. I’ll assume that this structural feat is due to the greatness of Executive Story Editor Brian K. Vaughn, who penned “The Little Prince” along with the wonderful series of graphic novels Y: The Last Man.

That said, this episode wasn’t really special for me, either. Throughout my experience with the series, I have never, ever liked Kate Austen. Maybe her only truly likable moment for me was what Sawyer re-witnessed when he time-skipped to two months ago: her bond with Claire when she helps that ill-fated Aussie deliver her baby. I’m not quite sure what it is about Kate that I dislike; I think it’s simply that, compared to other characters, she’s much less interesting. If you were going to choose your favorite Lost episode, you would never pick “Tabula Rasa” or “What Kate Did” or even “I Do” (which has Nathan Fillion, thus making it more enjoyable than other Kate-sodes). You’d pick something else, like “Flashes Before Your Eyes” or “The Constant” or perhaps even last week’s “Jughead.” I don’t know, maybe I’m being harsh on Miss Austen. If anyone actually has a favorite Kate-sode, please feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

Kate’s plot did move forward some questions about who exactly might be trying to prove maternity. She leaves Aaron in Sun’s care, who is definitely some kind of evil now because the minute she gets Kate in that suit and gets her out the door, she receives a package filled with surveillance photos of Ben and Jack and a shiny new gun, hidden in a box of chocolates. That’s how I like to get my guns, too, incidentally. I clearly completely misread their scene in “The Lie,” mistaking some underlying passive-aggression in Yunjin Kim’s line readings as calm and reassurance. No, no. Sun is a total badass now, and she’s working against Ben. I think that can only mean one thing: she’s with Widmore. That would explain the reason for their airport shouting match, and Widmore is currently the only person with power we know of who is strictly anti-Ben.

Pretty much the face of evil.

Pretty much the face of evil.

In meetings with Dan Norton, Kate agrees to give the blood samples, but only if Norton will reveal who his client is and talk to him herself. Norton refuses, telling Kate that she will absolutely lose Aaron. This totally freaks Kate out, because her entire truth about her off-island existence is about to be completely shattered. In the cold open, we learn that Aaron’s parentage was part of the lie, but it wasn’t invented by Jack. Kate made it all up.

“After everyone we’ve lost . . . I can’t lose him, too.” – Kate

Jack agrees to weave that thread into the tale he planned to concoct about how the Oceanic Six were saved, but only if he gets Kate’s solemn promise to lead the vote about spreading their collective lie. If two people support it, Jack reasons, it will be easier to get the other four to go along.

Jack and Ben are still trying to get all the Oceanic pieces back together, but while Jack is out of the room at the hospital, an orderly/assassin comes in to attempt to tranq Sayid Jarrah, apparently not realizing that he’s dealing with Sayid Fucking Jarrah, who easily takes the man out and discovers Kate’s address in his wallet, 42 Ponderosa Crest.

Fearing for her life, Jack calls Kate and goes to meet her, even though she insists its not a good time. She explains the Aaron situation and he tags along with her to tail Dan Norton and find out who wants to know the truth about little Aaron. Sayid and Ben, meanwhile, head off together to go spring Hurley from the joint, a place he was absolutely certain he’d be safe from Ben forever. They all agree to meet later that evening at the Long Beach Marina, pier 23.

When Norton meets with his client, Jack realizes that the woman at the door is Claire’s mother. He goes in to talk to her after Norton leaves, hoping to explain to her why they decided to lie and maybe convince her that Kate is really the best person for Aaron to stay with. But the minute he opens his mouth, he realizes that she has no idea who Aaron is or what he’s talking about. All she wanted from Dan Norton was her settlement check from Oceanic Airlines. Jack advises Kate that it’s best to forget this whole thing, and to call Sun to get Aaron to the pier.

I really just wanted some money, so I showed up in this episode.

I really just wanted some money, so I showed up in this episode.

Sayid and Ben also meet with Dan Norton, who has been working for Ben to get Hurley out of jail, which will prove easy enough, considering that Norton has been able to prove that the prosecution has no case against Hurley at all. Ben and Sayid return to the pier, sans Hurley, whom they will get later, I presume, and meet up with Jack and Kate with Sun glowers at them all from a nearby parked car. Kate realizes that it was Ben all along that wanted to test Aaron’s parentage, which he rationalizes as simply because Aaron isn’t actually her son, which in Benspeak means, “So I could scare you into seeking refuge on the island.” Sun looks back at Aaron, and cocks her gun menacingly before she gets out of the car.

Back on the island, people are free from legal troubles, but full of time travel adventures! From where we left off in “Jughead,” Charlotte has got the time sickness, like, really, really badly. She’s out for over ten minutes before regaining consciousness, and when she wakes, she has trouble remembering who Dan is. Juliet wants to know why this is happening only to Charlotte, and Daniel says he doesn’t know. Clearly, he does, because he lost another girlfriend (who also has curly reddish hair, mind you) to this sickness back in the day. EW’s Jeff Jensen has a theory that Charlotte’s memory is being depleted because her version of the time sickness is special in that the choices Farraday has been making in his time jumps might somehow actually be erasing Charlotte from existence. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s one way to explain why she’s forgetting things like her mum’s maiden name and Dan’s pretty bearded face.

Locke wants to go to The Orchid station, feeling that it’s the key to stopping the time skips and getting the Oceanic Six to return. He plays on Sawyer’s eternal flame for Kate, assuring him that she’s not dead, and that Locke can bring her back to the island, because he has to. On their trek, the survivors come across a beam of light emanating from the island, but they decide to avoid going near it, for fear that they do not know “when” they are, deciding instead to head back to the beach to use the Zodiac to get to The Orchid. Miles gets a nosebleed, too, though significantly less severe than Charlotte’s. Sawyer hears some sounds in the woods. He goes to investigate and sees his beloved Kate, helping Claire to deliver Aaron. But then the sky flashes and the vision before him is gone.

Locke asks Sawyer what he saw, and Sawyer reluctantly tells Locke, but only after admitting that he knew from the light in the sky when they were. It was 2004, two months ago, on the night Boone died. That night, Jack pounded on the hatch door looking for a sign and he got one, in the form of the beacon of light that shone above the island.

Meanwhile, Miles tells Farraday about his nosebleed, and wonders why only he and Charlotte seem to be affected. Farraday tells him that he thinks the people being affected are those who have spent the longest amount of time on the island. Miles protests that he’s only been on the island for two weeks, to which Daniel questions, “Are you sure about that?” echoing a statement Miles himself made to Charlotte about her associations with the island last season. Miles is definitely Dr. Pierre Chang’s baby, as there’s really no one else it could be, but this leaves the question of Charlotte’s parentage wide the fuck open. I’m fairly sold on the idea that Retro Other Ellie will grow up to be Mrs. Hawking who will be Daniel Farraday’s mother, but what if we’re all wrong about that? What if Retro Other Ellie is actually Charlotte’s mother? And possibly the illegitimate child of Ellie and young Charles Widmore, thus making her Penny’s sister? It could work. I mean, one thing she has in her favor for that theory is an English accent. There are dozens of reasons why Daniel Farraday wouldn’t have developed his mother’s accent (being raised in the States around Yankee peers could be one; having a Yankee father could be another), but Charlotte would definitely speak that way if she were raised by English parents around English peers.

The group makes it to the beach to find the camp they once knew destroyed and the Zodiac raft gone. Instead, they find two catamarans and a bottle of water from Ajira Airlines, which Juliet informs them is an Indian airline that flies all around the world. They decide to load themselves into one of the catamarans and paddle around to the other side of the island. On the boat, Sawyer tells Juliet about what he saw, but before he can explain, the catamaran is attacked by another catamaran. Juliet is about to get all gangsta and shoot the attacking boat out of the water, but then the sky flashes and the survivors are cast into a stormy sea. As they pull their catamaran ashore, Juliet develops a nosebleed, too, substantiating Farraday’s theory about time spent on the island. They then happen upon some fresh wreckage . . . in French.

Out at sea, a group of French-speakers find a man floating on a small piece of wood. They pull him into their liferaft and take him amongst their things to the shore once the storm dies down. The man they’ve saved is none other than Jin, who was evidently close enough to the island to have been time jumping all along with the rest of the gang. I had a feeling that Jin wouldn’t be dead, but I wasn’t sure how he’d turn up. So having him saved by a group of seafaring Frenchmen was definitely not on my list and both a pleasant and welcome surprise. And who are those seafaring Frenchies? Why, Danielle Rousseau, about six months pregnant with the child Ben will one day steal from her, and her team of research scientists.

I wonder if Jin will be the next to develop the time sickness, as his interaction with Rousseau and her crew indicates that he has been a part of this past, always, and if, perhaps, the time sickness will ultimately be what kills off Danielle’s crew. Or, more accurately, what makes her kill them all. I’m not sure how that would work out since the time jumps seem to only affect the castaways, but maybe Rousseau’s people arrived on the island just as the island moved last time, before the Dharma Initiative got there. Maybe the person who moved the island that time was one Charles Widmore?

I’m really happy to see more of Rousseau, a character I’ve always liked. It will be interesting to see how she transforms from this perky, adorable girl to the rough, thorny noble savage of woman we’ve known.

The Husband:

I’m honestly surprised at the number of people who thought Jin was dead. True, this show does kill off its characters with an alarming frequency, and Daniel Dae Kim did fall under that whole prime-for-killing umbrella when he was arrested for a DUI a while back, but seriously, let’s think about this.

Jin and Sun have become the central romantic couple. More than Sawyer and Kate, more than Charlie and Claire, more than Jack and Juliet and definitely more than Jack and Kate, and their story possesses Lost’s most wonderful asset – its heart. The first three seasons, both in flashbacks and on the island, told a remarkable arc about their courtship, the mob complications, the affair, the pregnancy, etc. etc. etc., but by the end they learned to forgive each other of all of their problems, learn to communicate better and finally fall back in love. Then, at the end of s4, Jin seemingly blows up along with the rest of the freighter with Sun looking down from the helicopter screaming her head off.

Do you really think that after all the time, all the emotion, all the peaks and valleys of their relationship, Damon and Carlton would be heartless enough to kill off their most passionate story? God no. What purpose would that serve? Yeah, right now we’re seeing what Sun is like as a bad-ass post-island, but no true storyteller would leave a character – and us – in such misery just to mess with our emotions. That’s what other characters are for. Charlie had a destiny, so that’s okay, but Sun had Jin. That’s who they are.

And if we’re following the logic of the island – or at least conspiracy theory logic – Jin couldn’t have died anyway, since he rose above his problems and all of his conflicts both internal and external and could thus be considered redeemed.

You crazy people.

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.