Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 14 - Season 3, Episodes 13-20

Welcome to the Lost rewatch project. I am currently rewatching all 121 episodes of the TV series which aired for six seasons from 2004 to 2010. This is very much a rewatch thread, with the show watched with knowledge of what is to come in later seasons. If you've never watched Lost before, you definitely do not want to read this blog series.

From Expose onwards, I will be using the Lost plot summaries from Wikipedia, sometimes fleshed out. I'd previously written each one myself but to be honest the time it was taking to do this had become unsustainable. Wikipedia permits the re-use of such material if the original source is linked as follows: Expose, Left Behind, One of Us, Catch-22, D.O.C., The Brig and The Man Behind the Curtain.

Without further ado, let us continue after the jump.

"Locke! Stop blowing up on-Island assets!"
313: The Man From Tallahassee

Written by Drew Goddard and Jeff Pinkner, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 21 March 2007

Survivor Count: 47

Days on Island: 80 (10 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Locke

Flashbacks: Locke is being quizzed by a government worker about his disability payments. He has severe depression and has been unable to work. Locke says he stopped going to therapy because it is a waste of time. The worker stops his disability payments and tells him they will resume when he restarts therapy.

Locke is visited at home by a young man named Peter Talbot. Peter asks Locke if he knows an "Adam Seward". Locke says no, but as Peter describes him Locke realises he is talking about his father. Locke's father has met Peter's mother and now they plan to get married, but Peter's research has suggested he is not all that he appears, including the fact that he was using an alias, "Anthony Cooper", when Locke gave his his kidney. Locke says it was an anonymous donation and he knows nothing about the man. However, he later tracks Cooper down and tells him that he knows he is conning Mrs. Talbot and will tell her the truth unless Cooper leaves town. He lets slip that Adam is onto him.

Some days later, Locke is visited by the police. Adam Seward's body has been found. Horrified, Locke confronts Cooper in his eighth-floor apartment and asks him if he killed Adam. Cooper denies it, saying it was a terrible coincidence. The wedding is off and Locke has got what he wants. Locke asks for proof. Cooper lets Locke use the telephone by the window to ring Mrs. Talbot. When Locke turns his back on him, Cooper pushes him out of the window. Locke lands on the lawn outside with a sickening crack.

In hospital, the paralysed Locke is visited by the police who tell him that Cooper has fled to Mexico. Locke's physiotherapist begins working with Locke, who doesn't want to get out of bed. The therapist tells him: "John, you fell eight stories out of a window and survived. I don't want to hear about what you can't do."
On the Island: Kate, Locke, Sayid and Danielle observe the Others' activities at the Barracks. They see Jack apparently on good terms with Tom and Juliet, and even shakes hands with the wheelchair-bound Ben. Locke observes this is going to be more difficult than they first thought. They hatch on a plan: wait for nightfall and set a watch on Jack's house. When the coast is clear Kate will go in and speak to Jack. Locke seems convinced that Jack is cooperating with the Others as part of a stratagem but the rest are not so sure.

Night falls and Danielle departs without a word, apparently unwilling to spend so much time near the Others. Locke and Sayid set up a watch on the house and Kate sneaks in. She finds Jack playing the piano quite well, to her surprise. Jack is surprised to see her, but any discussion they can have is cut short: Jack's house is bugged with cameras. Tom and other guards arrive, dragging Sayid in. Kate says that only she and Sayid came to the Barracks.

Ben wakes up in his house to find Locke holding a gun on him. Locke demands to know where the submarine is. Ben professes ignorance until Locke says that he killed Mikhail. Alex enters the room and Locke takes her hostage, holding her at gunpoint. Still holding her, he takes her into Ben's closet as Tom and Richard Alpert (the Other who recruited Juliet in Miami) arrive. They confirm that Kate and Sayid have been captured. Ben asks for "the man from Tallahassee" to be brought to him. After they leave Locke and Alex emerge from the closet. Locke asks if that was code and Ben sardonically replies that the Others don't have a secret code for "John Locke is holding my daughter hostage in my closet." Locke sends Alex to retrieve Sayid's backpack whilst he helps Ben into his wheelchair. Ben tells Locke that the submarine is a very complicated vehicle and he won't be able to pilot it alone. Locke replies that he'll figure it out. Ben deduces from Locke's unconcerned demeanour that escape isn't his plan, and he wants to destroy the submarine instead. Ben attempts to unnerve Locke by telling him detailed information from his life, including how he broke his back, but Locke is unmoved. Ben keeps asking questions about how quickly Locke healed and Locke realises that Ben is concerned because he hasn't been healing as fast as he should have given the Island's restorative powers. In fact, he shouldn't have gotten sick in the first place. Ben tries to shrug off Locke's comments, but is clearly concerned by the implications.

Alex collects Sayid's backpack, telling the guards only that her dad wanted it. As she walks off, Sayid asks if she is Alex. When she replies yes, Sayid says that she looks just like her mother. Confused, Alex says that her mother is dead, but Sayid says that she has been told a lie. One of the guards intervenes to silence Sayid and sends Alex off.

Ben and Locke discuss the nature of the Island. Ben tells Locke that on the Island is a special box that can manifest anything anyone wishes for. Locke suggests that Ben start wishing for a new submarine. Ben asks Locke not to destroy the submarine, saying he'll have problems with his people if he does. Locke calls Ben a hypocrite for rejecting the Island as it is and choosing to live with electricity and guns. Ben angrily asks Locke how he knows the Island better than someone who has lived there his whole life. Locke replies, "Because you're in a wheelchair and I'm not".

Jack visits Kate, who has been imprisoned in a recreation room. He tells her that the Others are letting him leave the Island - tomorrow - but that he will return with help for everyone else. Kate is apparently more concerned with what they "told him" (about her and Sawyer) but the conversation is interrupted by Juliet. Jack leaves, promising that he will be back for the rest of the survivors.

Alex returns to Ben's house with Sayid's backpack. Locke asks her to guide him to the submarine, indicating to Ben that he will threaten Alex if he raises the alarm whilst he's gone. At the submarine pen Locke lets Alex go, apologising for mixing her up in everything. Alex warns him that her father is manipulative and will get Locke to do things thinking they're his idea. Locke boards the submarine and places the C4 explosives he secured from the Flame Station. Getting off the submarine he bumps into Jack and Juliet coming the other way. He is held at gunpoint by the Others and says, "I'm sorry." The submarine promptly explodes.

Ben later frees Locke from his holding place and takes him to see "the box". He tells him that Locke provided a solution to his problem: he had agreed to let Jack leave the Island and could not break his word without seeming weak. However, he could also not let Jack leave the Island without appearing compromised. By destroying the submarine, Locke neatly solved the problem. Ben admits, grudgingly, that Locke appears to have a special form of "communion" with the Island and that makes him special. They arrive at "the box", which is just an ordinary storage room. Inside is Locke's father, Anthony Cooper, bound to a chair and gagged. Cooper and Locke look at each other in shocked disbelief.

Major WTFery: Locke is dripping wet when gets out of the submarine, when there is no real reason for him to be so. Lots of people developed insane, elaborate conspiracy theories for this. The producers eventually confirmed it was just a continuity error.

Ben's discussion of the "box" led to a couple of weeks of people assuming the box was an actual thing on the Island that disgorged Kate's horse, Jack's dad etc. Damon Lindelof had to later clarify that it was a metaphor, and that a literal box on the Island producing things would be too crazy even for Lost.

Locke's information about the death of Mikhail seems to be news to Ben. This is odd. I'd assume that the sonic fence should have set off an alarm when it was activated, or that Mikhail's body should have been found relatively quickly if the Others kept up any kind of security patrols. More bizarrely, later episodes suggest that Ben didn't send anyone out to look for Mikhail's body even after being told he was dead.

A Tale of Two Cities and the map in Enter 77 show the Barracks being well inland and away from any source of water. This episode and subsequent ones show that there is an inlet of the sea, maybe a river, extending up to the Barracks with the submarine dock located immediately adjacent to the buildings. This appears to have been a change in the pre-existing geography based on plot requirements.

The Season 5 episode Namaste has DHARMA take a picture of the time-travelling Jack, Hurley and Kate and hang it on a wall in the recreation room. That episode then confirms that the picture is still there in 2007, three years after the events of this episode. Somehow, the Others completely missed this and Kate didn't see it either, despite spending hours in the room with absolutely nothing to do. The only other explanation is that the picture was actually taken down by the Others when they took control of the Barracks (if it was Richard, this would explain a lot) and the Monster/Christian put it back up again so he could do a dramatic reveal to Sun and Frank in that episode.

Hindsight: This is the first time that Locke and Richard Alpert have met from Locke's point of view. However, Richard has met Locke several times before, as expanded on in later episodes.

Review: Like Kate's crime, Lost dragged the mystery of what caused Locke's injury out way past the time when it should have been revealed. However, it's hard to argue with the devastating effectiveness of how that story is finally told. Locke here is on top of his game, manipulating everyone around him to get what he wants, although the revelation that he was actually manipulated by Ben in turn is well-handled. The ending is one of the most mind-screwing things Lost ever did, and the whole episode works well. (****½)

Gone but not...sorry, who are these guys again?
314: Exposé

Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 28 March 2007

Survivor Count: 47

Days on Island: 81 (11 December 2014)

Flashback Character: Nikki and Paulo

Flashbacks: Nikki Fernandez is a gust actress on Exposé, a mystery show about two crime-fighting strippers working for Mr. LaShade (played by Billy Dee Williams) and trying to track down the mysterious villain known as "the Cobra". The episode Nikki is on is crucial as it reveals that Mr. LaShade was really the Cobra all along, but her character is killed off before she can reveal this information. The series films in Sydney, Australia. 

Nikki is also having an affair with the septuagenarian executive producer, Howard L. Zuckerman, who is very wealthy, while Paulo works as his chef. Paulo kills Zuckerman by poisoning his food, and the couple steals his diamonds, which are worth $8 million. The couple plan on returning to the United States on Oceanic Flight 815, encountering Boone and Shannon at the airport. Upon surviving the crash, Nikki and Paulo realise that they have lost the bag with the diamonds. Nikki consults Dr. Arzt, who tells her of a spider with the ability to paralyse people. He also gives her a trajectory map which leads them to the Pearl Station and the Beechcraft long before Locke and Boone find either; they explore neither. When Kate mentions that she found luggage from the plane in a lake, Paulo finds the diamonds, but does not tell Nikki. Instead, he hides them in the toilet at the Pearl and overhears a conversation between Juliet Burke and Ben Linus. The two accidentally leave behind a walkie-talkie that Paulo takes. Later, when Sayid, Locke, Desmond, Nikki and Paulo visit the Pearl Station, Paulo retrieves the diamonds by pretending to use the bathroom. Nikki figures out that Paulo has found the diamonds without telling her and decides to lure him into a trap. When he denies that he has the diamonds she unleashes one of the paralysing spiders on him. She finds the diamonds and Paulo apologises, claiming that he did it so that she would not end their relationship. As Nikki stands in a state of regret, the pheromones of the female spider attract a group of the male spiders of the same species and she is bitten on her leg. She buries the diamonds and sprints to the beach.

On the Island: Nikki then runs onto the beach, before collapsing where Hurley and Sawyer are playing ping pong. As Hurley and Sawyer rush to her, she says something barely audible. She is soon pronounced dead. Hurley and Sawyer try to recount what Nikki said before she died and come to the conclusion that she said, "Paulo lies", although she actually said "paralysed". Sawyer and Hurley begin an investigation and find Paulo lying lifeless in the jungle. Sawyer finds a walkie talkie in Nikki and Paulo's tent, and concludes they were working with the Others, due to the similarity. Hurley does not think the Others are near their camp, but Sun reminds them that she was abducted nearby (unaware that it was Charlie who grabbed her). Sawyer tries to calm them down and says he will do a perimeter sweep. Meanwhile, Charlie, who feels guilty, confesses to Sun that it was he who attempted to kidnap her. Sawyer returns, having found the diamonds, and the other survivors accuse him of being the killer because Desmond saw him arguing with Nikki just that morning. He gives the diamonds to Sun, but she later confronts him about kidnapping her and returns the diamonds because "they're worthless here." The survivors then hold a funeral for Nikki and Paulo, where Sawyer pours the pouch of diamonds into the grave. Nikki's eyelids open just as Hurley and Sawyer are filling the grave, burying her and Paulo alive.

Major WTFery: This episode pretty much only exists to kill off Nikki and Paulo, characters who were loathed by fans for suddenly showing up out of nowhere and being treated if they'd been there all along. The episode makes a number of meta-references to this, to TV show logic (Nikki being offered a chance to return, despite being clearly killed off) and to Lost itself.

The integration of Nikki and Paulo into already-existing scenes is rather unconvincing, since they're simply not there in the original episodes. Particularly notable is the scene showing Nikki standing next to Hurley whilst Jack gives his "Live together, die alone" speech.

Hindsight: According to this episode, Nikki and Paulo found the Beechcraft days before Locke and Boone did and located the Pearl Station many weeks before everyone else. They were also good friends with Dr. Arzt.

This episode clears up a minor plot discrepancy from Season 1, with Kate coming clean on the Marshal's stash of guns. This explains how Shannon knew where to get a gun to threaten Locke with (in Season 1's The Greater Good).

The sounds of the Monster can be - quietly - heard when the Medusa spiders swarm over Nikki. The producers later confirm that the Monster orchestrated Nikki and Paulo's deaths because they were "not good people".

Among the meta-references to Lost itself are "The big bad guy's identity has been a mystery for four seasons!" (in Lost's case it is actually five seasons before the existence of the Man in Black is revealed) and "It's not Jurassic Park!" (Lost uses many of the same shooting locations in Hawaii as the movie Jurassic Park). Hurley also seems to be referencing over-eager fans by insisting that Expose is "Like Baywatch but better!"

The episode references the fact that Thanksgiving passed completely unmentioned on the Island several weeks earlier, something that fans had noted as well.

This episode features Billy Dee Williams - best known as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - playing himself. This is the only example of a real-life person playing themselves in the entire show.

Review: An interesting episode which attempts meta-commentary on the nature of Lost as a TV series whilst lampshading some of the comment criticisms of the show and eliminating two distinctly unliked characters. It's all vaguely amusing but a bit too slight at this stage. It also doesn't help that Nikki and Paulo's storylines feel both redundant and tonally at variance with the rest of the series, particularly their murdering of an old man being played for laughs. Some of the meta-commentary is amusing and it is good to see producers taking legitimate criticism on board, but it does make the episode feel a little pointless. (***)

It turns out that the Monster might have a weakness after all.

315: Left Behind

Written by Damon Lindelof and Elizabeth Sarnoff, directed by Karen Gaviola

Airdate: 4 April 2007

Survivor Count: 45 (-2 from the last episode after Nikki and Paulo's deaths)

Days on Island: 81-82 (11-12 December 2014)

Flashback Character: Kate

Flashbacks: Kate's car breaks down in Iowa and is towed into a service station. She overhears a man and a woman arguing. The woman, Cassidy, is working a jewellery con on the man. He does not believe Cassidy and wants to call the police. Kate tells him that her father was a jeweller, and the jewellery is not fake. Cassidy thanks Kate for the save and offers to take her into town. They have a drink together and Cassidy asks why Kate did not want the police there. Kate says her stepfather was a bad man, so she killed him, escaped from the US marshal who arrested her and now she is back to talk to her mother. Cassidy offers to help. She says she was conned and embarrassed by a "bad guy", too, and that one of them deserves something good to happen to them.

Kate goes to see her mother. Diane opens the door, but before she can say anything, cops surround Kate and cuff her. The Marshal emerges, only to realise that it's not Kate at all: it's Cassidy posing as a Bible salesperson. Kate and Cassidy regroup, realising that this is going to be a tough job. Kate admits that her mother gave her up to the police, choosing her abusive husband over her daughter, betraying her, and Kate needs to know why.

Cassidy goes to the restaurant where Kate's mom works and "accidentally" dumps a bowl of chilli on her. Diane goes to the bathroom to clean up; Kate is waiting there for her. Diane tells Kate that she killed the man she loved. Kate replies that Wayne abused her, but Diane simply snaps back that she didn't kill Wayne for anyone but herself. Diane promises not to say anything now, but the next time she sees Kate she'll yell for help.

Cassidy later drops Kate off at the service station to pick up her car. Cassidy tells her she is pregnant. She wants the guy dead, yet she still loves him. Kate says to call the cops and have him locked up. Cassidy asks if Kate would forgive her mom for calling the cops. Kate says no, but that this guy has it coming. Cassidy never tells Kate that the man's name is Sawyer.

On the Island: Kate is still handcuffed in the rec room at the Barracks. When Juliet brings her food, Kate attempts to attack her, but is quickly overpowered. Soon after, Locke comes in to say that he is leaving with the Others. Locke tells her he does not want to go home; he explains that he made a strong case for her but then they told him who she was and what she had done, he knew that they would likely not forgive her.

Back at the Barracks, Kate hears a loud bang, and looks outside in time to see the Others packing to leave. They all put on gas masks and pour knockout gasses into the houses where Jack, Juliet, Kate and Sayid are held prisoner. Kate wakes up in the jungle, handcuffed to Juliet. Kate takes Juliet's knife and tries unsuccessfully to unlock the handcuffs. Kate says they are going back for her friends.
As Kate follows a trail leading to the Barracks, they end up getting into an argument about Jack and Kate dislocates Juliet's shoulder by accident. Juliet's yell of pain attracts the Smoke Monster, and they quickly run into the roots of a banyan tree for cover. The Monster roils up in front of them, and Juliet's face is lit up by a series of bright flashes of light. The monster then retreats, leaving Juliet terrified. Juliet claims not to know what the Monster is and that is the first time she's even heard of it, which Kate finds preposterous given how long she's been on the Island.

Juliet reveals that Jack told Kate not to come back for him, not because he does not want Kate to be harmed, but because she broke his heart. Then, as Kate calms Juliet down, Juliet asks Kate to put her shoulder back in place, after doing so, they fall asleep.

Kate and Juliet continue to the Barracks; however, the Monster returns. They reach the sonic fence. Kate pulls Juliet to a stop and says they cannot go through them. Juliet reaches into her back pocket, takes out a key, and unlocks the cuffs. She then runs to a pylon, enters an access code on a key pad, and they run across the barrier. Juliet reactivates it afterwards. The Monster attempts to follow but bounces off the barrier. It then withdraws. Juliet admits that she has heard about the Monster before. The Others don't know what it is or where it came from. Kate asks about the key. Juliet says she was left behind, too, and by people she knew and trusted. She hoped that if Kate thought they were in it together, Kate would not leave her behind in the jungle like they did. Kate unlocks her cuff, and they continue on.

Kate and Juliet reach the Barracks. Everyone appears to be gone. Juliet goes to look for Sayid, and Kate goes to get Jack, finding him unconscious on the floor of his house. Kate wakes him up and tells him the Others left because of her (she is unaware of Locke destroying the submarine). She apologises and cries for messing up his plans to go home, but he ignores her and asks where Juliet is. Kate pulls back emotionally, telling him that they left her, too. They join Juliet and Sayid. Jack suggests taking what they can find and starting back before dark. Sayid objects to Juliet coming with them, but Jack is insistent she returns with them, to Kate and Sayid's disquiet.

Back at the beach, Hurley tells Sawyer that after the Nikki and Paulo situation with the diamonds, the camp is going to vote on whether or not to "banish" him. Hurley says there are benefits to living as part of a society and suggests he make amends to fix things.

After trying - and failing - to survive on his own wits, Sawyer tells Hurley he is ready to make amends. He apologises to Hurley for calling him all those names, gives Claire a blanket for Aaron and partners with Desmond to hunt for boar and provide food for the camp. Later, Sawyer roasts the boar and everyone eats. Charlie tells Sawyer he had not heard about any vote, and Sawyer realises he was conned by Hurley into being nice. Hurley explains that with Jack, Locke, Kate and Sayid gone, Sawyer is all they have, and is the de facto leader. Sawyer dislikes this idea, but Hurley insists that while Jack didn't like it either, it didn't change the fact that all eyes were on him. Sawyer sees how happy he made people and attempts to keep the good vibes going, even offering to hold Aaron for Claire. Sun, however, still hasn't forgiven Sawyer for organising the attack on her and Sawyer realises he still has work to do there.

Major WTFery: Kate and Juliet are gassed at the same time as Jack and Sayid, but wake up a day earlier. This may be deliberate, because Juliet wanted time to ingratiate herself with Kate, but no-one mentions it.

Hindsight: This episode explains that, following the destruction of the Swan Station, they have a water rotation system organised by Steve. This suggests that people go to the caves every day and fill up multiple water bottles for the camp.

This episode shows the Smoke Monster forming out of three separate columns of smoke that emerge from different parts of the jungle. This may be one of the reasons why the DHARMA Initiative dubbed the Monster "Cerberus", the canine guardian of the Underworld which had three heads.

Kate meeting Cassidy may appear to be pointless self-referencing, but becomes more important in the Season 4 finale and later seasons of the show.

According to this episode, about fifty Others lived in the Barracks. However, this isn't all of the Others on the Island as we later learn that more live at the Temple and the Looking Glass.
Review: A pretty solid episode, with the Kate flashback being unspectacular but lays down some key plot elements for later episodes. Seeing the Monster being defeated (for once) is enjoyable, but the lack of explanation for it from Juliet is a bit disappointing. (****)

Not in Portland.

316: One of Us

Written by Carlton Cuse and Drew Goddard, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 11 April 2007

Survivor Count: 45

Days on Island: 82-84 (12-14 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Juliet

Flashbacks: Juliet arrives at a private airport with her sister, where Richard Alpert and Ethan Rom are there to escort her the rest of the way to her new job. Juliet says good-bye to her sister, Rachel, promising to be back before her baby is born. In the airport terminal, Alpert pours sedative into a glass of orange juice and gives it to Juliet to drink, explaining that the trip is very intense. Juliet is wary of drinking the juice, even though she is okay with the other circumstances surrounding the trip. Alpert interrupts and tells her the place she is going is very special and that she has a gift with which she is supposed to do something significant. He offers to let her change her mind and walk away, but Juliet drinks the orange juice and passes out. She wakes up in a submarine with her arms and waist strapped down for safety.

She departs the submarine onto the dock at the Barracks, where she meets Ben Linus. Months later, Juliet is shown operating with Ethan and Goodwin on a pregnant patient, Sabine, who dies; she is comforted by Goodwin. Juliet meets with Ben and explains her theory that the problems with pregnant women happen at conception. She wants to test this theory by having a woman conceive off the Island, but Ben refuses to let anyone leave. When Juliet tells him that nothing else can be done and asks to go home and be with her sister, Ben informs Juliet that her sister's cancer has come back. He offers her a choice: either Juliet can go home and be with her sister as she dies, or she can stay and he will have Jacob cure her sister's cancer.

Juliet is in bed after sleeping with Goodwin. Afterwards, she is given x-rays of Ben's back, and when she determines that Ben has a tumour, she confronts him and accuses him of lying about Rachel. He denies lying to her and refuses to let her go home. The next day, immediately after Flight 815 crashes, Ben takes Juliet to the Flame Station to see Mikhail. Ben tells Mikhail that he wants information on all of the passengers of the plane, then asks him to bring up a live feed. On the screen a newspaper is shown with yesterday's date, September 22, 2004, followed by a shot of Rachel playing with her child (Rachel named her son Julian, presumably after Juliet) in a playground, and Ben explains that her cancer is in complete remission.

Months later, just before the Others depart the Barracks, Ben tells Juliet to handcuff herself to Kate and say she was left behind. She is also told that Claire's "implant" has been "activated" and that this will make Claire ill. Juliet is to use drugs left at the drop point to cure her and earn the trust of the survivors; Ben gives her a gas mask and leaves.

On the Island: Jack, Kate, Sayid and Juliet move back to the beach camp. As they stop for the night, Jack explains to Kate the deal he made with Ben. Sayid attempts to interrogate Juliet, but Jack intervenes and defends her. At the beach camp, Charlie hears Claire's baby, Aaron, crying and Claire asleep. Claire says she is not feeling well, so Charlie offers to take care of Aaron. Sawyer sees Jack, Kate and Sayid returning. Though happy about their return, he expresses his displeasure at seeing Juliet.

Hurley engages Juliet in casual conversation. Juliet guesses that Hurley was sent to keep an eye on her. He tells her the last Other who came over, Ethan, was killed and is buried nearby.
That night, Jack tells everyone that he trusts Juliet and that should be enough, but Sayid disagrees. Jack continues to explain that Locke blew up the submarine that was to take him home. Claire suddenly collapses with blood gushing from her face. Juliet takes Jack and Kate aside and tells them she knows what's wrong with Claire because she did it to her. At the camp, Juliet explains that Claire's immune system has turned against her due to a latent reaction to medication in her bloodstream, given to her at the Staff Station during her kidnapping ordeal. The medication was designed by Juliet to keep Claire alive during her pregnancy. She was brought to the island to find out why women couldn't have children on the Island. It's actually the same process that allows people to heal so quickly: the mother's body becomes ultra-efficient but overcompensates, treating the pregnancy as a foreign invader. Every woman who conceived on the island has died. Claire was the first to survive even though she showed some of the symptoms, probably due to her arriving on the Island so close to term.

Juliet reveals that Ethan kept a stash of the serum at a nearby drop point. She goes out into the jungle and retrieves the serum, but Sayid and Sawyer follow her and demand answers. Juliet tells them there is no time, and realising they are not going to budge, she stands up to them and says she finds it interesting that they are the camp's moral police, considering their violent pasts. She notes several specific incidents, including Sawyer murdering a man just before he got on the plane and something that happened to Sayid in Basra. They back down. Juliet takes the serum back to the beach and gives it to Jack. He warns her that if anything happens to Claire, he will not be able to protect her against the will of the survivors any longer and she would be alone, to which Juliet states that she already is. At the camp, Claire wakes up. She is feeling and looking much better. Juliet is now on the path to being trusted by the survivors. Jack brings her supplies to set up her tent area and tells her eventually everyone will need answers. Juliet asks why Jack trusts her and does not ask for answers. He says because when the submarine exploded, he saw in her eyes that she wanted to get off this island more than anything. That makes her "one of us."

Major WTFery: Ben and Juliet meet to discuss Juliet's request to leave the Island at the exact same rocks where Desmond killed Inman. However, this is on the exact opposite side of the Island, 35-40 miles from the Barracks. It can be assumed that this was meant to be somewhere else but they had to reuse the - fairly distinctive - location for cost and practicality.

Sayid and Sawyer potentially risk Claire's life in order to interrogate Juliet, which seems moderately out of character for both of them.

It is said that Sawyer killed a man the night before getting on the plane, but he actually killed him a week earlier.

Hindsight: This episode confirms that the problems with pregnancy on the Island take place at the moment of conception. If you conceive on-Island and remain there, the mother and baby will both die. However, if you conceive off-Island and give birth on-Island, both should be fine (like Claire), and if you conceive on-Island and leave before the second trimester (like Sun) you should also be okay. It appears that the danger zone is the second trimester.

This is the first episode where Jacob is ascribed supernatural powers, such as the ability to cure cancer in people off the Island.

This episode is the first which establishes that Ocean Flight 815 had 324 people on board in total, meaning that (since there were 71 survivors in the three sections) 253 people died in the crash itself.

Review: A messy episode of tested loyalties, thwarted ambitions and rising tensions at the beach camp. It's all solid stuff, but it also feels a bit artificial since it could be sorted out by people sitting down and just explaining WTF is going on. (***½)

"I used to be an air crash survivor like you, then I took an arrow to the gargh!"

317: Catch-22

Written by Jeff Pinkner and Brian K. Vaughan, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 18 April 2007

Survivor Count: 45

Days on Island: 84-85 (14-15 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Desmond

Flashbacks: Desmond is living in a monastery. He is greeted by Brother Campbell, who welcomes him to the abbey and gives him permission to end his period of silence. Campbell was sure that Desmond didn't have enough faith to remain and is pleased to have been proven wrong. After several weeks at the monastery, a man arrives to see Desmond. He simply punches him in the before leaving, apologising to Campbell. Desmond knows the man, who is the brother of the woman he dumped a week before their wedding day. He goes to see her and explains that he was suddenly visited by a calling he couldn't resist. Ruth doesn't buy it, accusing him of being scared and not having the decency to come clean when breaking up with a woman. Later that night, Desmond gets drunk on the monastery's wine. Brother Campbell catches him and is unimpressed. He informs him that he is not cut out for the monastery and "fires" him. The next day, he asks Desmond to help load the crates of wine into the car of a customer as a final favour. As he wheels them out, he meets the customer, Penny Widmore, who offers to give him a lift.

On the Island: Desmond, Hurley, Jin and Charlie are walking through the jungle, talking about superheroes, when Charlie suddenly springs one of Rousseau's traps and is shot in the throat by an arrow. Desmond tries to give him aid, but Charlie dies in his arms. We then see a string of flashes: Hurley lifting a cable out of the sand, a red light dropping from the sky, Jin holding a parachute in the jungle and a person in a helmet stuck in a tree.

Desmond is fishing on the beach, having just experienced one of his visions. He looks over to see that Charlie is still alive and well. Desmond approaches Hurley and asks him to take him to the cable. Hurley pretends not to know anything, but eventually Desmond coaxes him into telling him, and also asks him to go with him on a hike. The two visit Jack to pick up a first-aid kit, with Desmond telling him that he has a sprained ankle. Jack is sceptical at first, but eventually hands it over. Hurley then demands that Desmond tells him what he's up to. Desmond explains that he experienced more visions, but they weren't shown in order, so everything needs to happen exactly as it appeared.
Meanwhile, Kate is approached by Sawyer in her tent while she is changing, and he asks her if Jack knows about their fling while in captivity. She explains that Jack saw them having sex through the surveillance monitors. Sawyer tries flirting with her, but Kate playfully shrugs him off.

Desmond gets Hurley to speak with Jin, who comes along after being told about a "camping trip." Desmond then approaches Charlie with the same story, but Charlie sees through this and questions him about his visions. Desmond gives in and explains, but only a limited amount to convince Charlie to come along. They walk along the beach, up until the point where Hurley first discovered the cable. Desmond suggests that they camp out here until the next morning, causing Charlie to become wary. However, the four of them agree and enjoy a ghost story told by Jin (in Korean), while gathered around a campfire. Charlie notices Desmond is looking at the photo of him and Penny. Charlie asks how he could leave someone so beautiful. Desmond replies that he is a coward. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of an approaching helicopter. Thinking that they are being rescued, they suddenly notice the helicopter doesn't sound right, and they hear it crash into the ocean. Jin, however, spots a beacon flashing in the sky, landing somewhere in the jungle. Desmond is eager to follow, but Charlie suggests they wait until morning. Desmond tries to insist they go now - hoping to avert Charlie's fate - but Charlie says he will not go until first light. Reluctantly, Desmond agrees.

Back at the camp, Kate and Jack have a talk in the kitchen, and reminisce about days on the island. Their renewed good relations make Kate happy, but she then sees Jack going over to Juliet's tent to eat dinner with her. Kate becomes upset, so she goes to Sawyer's tent and seduces him.

The next morning, Desmond, Charlie, Jin and Hurley venture off into the jungle. Charlie stumbles across a small Hawaiian doll, which they at first mistake for one of Rousseau's traps. Desmond then discovers a rucksack wedged in a tree above Hurley and retrieves it. Inside, they find a satellite phone, which has stopped working, and a Portuguese translation of Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22. Inside, Desmond finds a perfect copy of the photograph with him and Penny, causing him and Charlie to suspect that Penny is the person who parachuted on the island.

Jack and Juliet talk as they build her tent back on the beach. They are soon confronted by Sawyer, who challenges Jack to a game of ping-pong. When Sawyer says how strange it is to be back, Jack reveals that he spoke with Kate the night before, but ate supper with Juliet. Sawyer confronts Kate and gives her a "mix tape" (The Best of Phil Collins), which he stole from Bernard. He then questions her about why she jumped him, asking her if she was upset about Jack and Juliet. Sawyer accuses her of using him and tells her "all you have to do is ask" before walking away, leaving her upset.

Back in the jungle, Desmond and Charlie discuss his reasons for bringing them on the hike. It soon starts raining, and Desmond is eager for the group to pick up the pace. Hurley and Charlie discuss who is faster, Superman or the Flash, as seen in Desmond's vision at the start of the episode. As also foreseen, Charlie activates the trap that is supposed to kill him. Desmond, however, pushes him to the ground, saving his life and narrowly avoiding the arrow. Charlie immediately understands that Desmond knew it would happen.

As they continue onwards, Jin and Desmond are unable to decide which direction to go. Hurley suggests that he and Charlie go one way while Jin and Desmond go another. Charlie immediately declines and wants to go with Desmond. When they are alone, Charlie berates Desmond for not telling him the truth about his visions, to which he responds that it should be pointless for Desmond to save him, as it will keep happening over again, referring it to a "test of God". Jin suddenly calls for them, as he and Hurley have discovered the beacon and the parachutist hanging motionless from the trees. Desmond climbs the tree and cuts off the parachute, so Jin, Charlie and Hurley can use it as a safety net for when Desmond cuts the pilot free. Convinced that he will be finally reunited with Penny, Desmond quickly removes the helmet, only to discover that she is a different woman. She recognises Desmond and says his name. 

Major WTFery: The arrival of Naomi is a major, gamechanging moment for the series.

At the time Lost was made, there were no vineyards in Scotland. The climate is too cold to grow grapes and it's unclear how the monastery could be making wine. A later attempt in 2015 to make Scottish wine resulted in a vintage branded "undrinkable" by experts.

Hindsight: Jin and Charlie whistle the theme song from The Great Escape as they walk along the beach, foreshadowing that the following events will give them their best chance of escaping from the Island for good.

This episode shows the first meeting of Penny and Desmond, putting these events at prior to 1996. It's also notable that it's Penny who enthusiastically pursues Desmond to start with.

Review: Desmond episodes are always good fun and this is a decent one, although it tends to be forgotten since it's neither Flashes Before Your Eyes nor The Constant, both acclaimed as among the best episodes of the series. But the tragi-comical Heart of Darkness interlude works very well indeed. (****)

"Spoiler alert: you're all dead. Okay, just kidding. Kind of."

318: D.O.C.

Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

Airdate: 25 April 2007

Survivor Count: 45

Days on Island: 85-86 (15-16 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Sun

Flashbacks: Sun is sitting in a park in South Korea. A middle-aged woman sitting next to her points out Sun's wedding photograph with Jin in the newspaper and enquires if that's her. Sun affirms that it is. The woman suggests that it would be embarrassing if the world were to find out that a daughter from the wealthy Paik family had married a man whose mother is a prostitute. The woman demands money as blackmail.

Later, Sun asks her husband about his family. He tells her that his mother died when he was a child, then gives conflicting stories on when his father died. When she pushes for more information, he grows angry and asks her to drop the issue. Sun visits Jin's father without his knowledge, who confirms the woman's story. He never told Jin his mother was a prostitute and is still alive, and pleads with Sun not to tell his son the truth. He also mentions that he raised Jin alone and is not even sure he is his biological father.

Sun then visits her father and asks for the money. When he demands a reason, she tells him that she has never pried into his affairs, which are clearly illegal, and would like the same respect. However, she admits that the money will prevent great shame coming to someone she loves. Mr. Paik realises she means Jin, and tells her that he will bear the debt by working for him directly, instead of as a floor manager.

Jin discovers the money in Sun's purse. She concedes she got it from her father, but claims it was just for furniture and their honeymoon. Jin says he doesn't want to be any further in her father's debt, and asks her to return it. Sun agrees, then goes directly to the park, where the woman is waiting. She gives her the money, then reveals that she knows the woman's identity: she is Jin's biological mother. The blackmailer callously shrugs this off and Sun threatens to have her father kill the woman if she reveals her existence to Jin.

On the Island: Jack asks about Sun's pregnancy in a manner that arouses her suspicions. Sun asks Kate about Jack's loyalty. Kate suggests she talk to Juliet, who reveals that pregnant women die on the island. Juliet convinces Sun to leave with her to go to the Staff Station. It is revealed that women who conceive on the island do not survive. Sun says Jin was infertile before coming to the island and also that she had an affair with Jae Lee before the crash. She fears revealing these facts to Jin. The tests reveal the conception took place after the crash; hence, Jin is the father. Juliet secretly leaves a message for Ben on a tape recorder, explaining her findings with Sun, and promising to get a sample from Kate. She then stops the tape and whispers, "I hate you."

Meanwhile, Desmond, Hurley, Jin and Charlie are arguing how to care for the parachutist, whose name is Naomi Dorrit. She has a satellite phone, but it's unable to pick up a signal (which elicits the reaction "Typical" from Charlie). Hurley accidentally shoots off a flare he finds in Naomi's backpack. Mikhail Bakunin soon comes running through the jungle. He attempts to flee but Jin subdues him.

The other three question him, revealing that Sayid, Kate and Jack told them how he'd been supposedly killed by the sonic fence. Mikhail ignores that, saying he was a field medic and offers to help save the parachutist's life if they promise to let him go. The woman fades in and out of consciousness, at one point asking in Mandarin Chinese, what happened. She also tells them, in Portuguese that she is not alone. Mikhail seems to understand this but tells Desmond that she merely said "Thank you." He keeps his word and they keep theirs, although he does try to steal Naomi's satellite phone. Jin stops Mikhail from taking the phone. The man is allowed to leave empty-handed.

The parachutist asks Hugo who he is and Hugo tells her that he was on Oceanic Flight 815. On his response she says "That's not possible" because "They found the plane. There were no survivors. They were all dead."

Major WTFery: As mentioned before, the chances of Mikhail surviving the sonic fence are effectively zero, and his return here is likely the result of the producers enjoying the actor's performance and wanting him back (possibly foreshadowed by Expose's discussion of a character returning unconvincingly from the dead).

It takes eight hours to get from where Naomi is back to the camp, whilst it took two days for Sayid to get to the same area in Season 1.

Hindsight: This is the first episode to lampshade the widespread and erroneous belief that everyone on the Island is dead and the Island is Purgatory, or Hell.

The revelation about the plane wreckage being located in the ocean completely dumbfounded fans on first airing. Later on it is revealed that Charles Widmore staged the fake crash to prevent anyone else stumbling across the Island.

There is a picture of Brother Campbell with Mrs. Eloise Hawkwing (from Flashes Before Your Eyes) on his desk.

The episode title refers to Desmond's no-win scenario: he needs Charlie to find Naomi, but if Charlie comes along he may be killed.

Sawyer mentions that he took the Phil Collins tape from Bernard. This is the first time Bernard has been mentioned all season, and he and Rose have been absent from the show since the end of Season 2.

According to the producers, they wanted to show the wire again to remind people it existed and foreshadow the discovery of the Looking Glass Station.

Review: Another solid episode with the trek into the jungle to find salvation mirrored by Sun's own discoveries and the flashback episode, in which Sun suddenly becomes a stronger, more threatening figure (foreshadowing Sun's much more ruthless turn as a member of the Oceanic Six from Season 4 onwards), is very enjoyable. However, it does feel like the value of the flashbacks is starting to diminish, which is just as well given how few of them are left. (****)

Lost wraps up a long-burning storyline a little too literally.

319: The Brig

Written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, directed by Eric Laneuville

Airdate: 2 May 2007

Survivor Count: 45

Days on Island: 88-89 (18-19 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Locke

Flashbacks: Locke asks Ben and Tom why his father, Anthony Cooper, is on the island. Locke ungags Cooper, who then viciously bites him. As they leave, Ben invites Locke to join them as they prepare to abandon their living quarters, and Locke accepts. A few days later, Locke and the rest of the Others set up camp in a clearing in the middle of the jungle. As Locke helps Cindy put up her tent, she tells him that the Others are excited that he's here with them. Lock overhears Ben playing the tape recorder from Juliet and planning an attack on the survivors' camp to take the women of childbearing age. Ben summons Locke that night and tells him that he must kill Cooper in order to truly become one of them.

The Others gather to watch, but Locke is unable to kill Cooper despite his father's contemptuous taunting of him. The next morning, while Locke is on a hillside overlooking the camp, Richard joins him. Richard explains that Ben knew he wouldn't be able to kill Cooper and wanted to embarrass him. He tells Locke that if he won't kill his father, then someone else should: Sawyer. Locke is baffled but Richard gives him a dossier filled with detailed information about Sawyer's life. The next day, Locke wakes to find that the Others have packed up and are ready to move on. Ben tells him they will leave a trail for him, that he must stay behind with Cooper and "clean up his mess", and that if he doesn't bring his father's body with him, then not to bother following.

On the Island: Kate wakes up during the night next to Sawyer and starts getting dressed. She explains she can only sleep in her own tent and that it's nothing personal. She kisses him goodnight and leaves. Sawyer slips a handgun into his waistband and steps outside to urinate. He spots Hurley and Jin standing outside a tent. After a quick, odd conversation with them, Sawyer heads into the jungle, where he is confronted by Locke. Locke tells him that he has infiltrated the Others' camp and has taken their leader Ben hostage, and needs Sawyer to kill him. Sawyer questions why Locke would come to him, and Locke explains that, thanks to the files the Others have on all of the Flight 815 survivors, he knows that Sawyer killed a man in Sydney before the plane took off. Locke turns and leaves, and Sawyer reluctantly follows, barefooted.

Charlie encounters Jack when he goes into the kitchen tent to collect food for Naomi, whose presence in the camp remains generally unknown. Charlie explains that the camping trip with Desmond, Jin and Hurley was "male bonding". Jack tells Charlie that if they plan another one to count him in. Back in the tent, Jin gives Naomi the food while Desmond questions whether Jack's loyalties lie with the survivors or with the Others. Because Naomi still needs medical attention, they decide to let Sayid in on their secret.

As Locke and Sawyer trek through the jungle, Locke proceeds to reel off certain points of Sawyer's life, provoking Sawyer's anger. Sawyer pulls out his knife and demands that Locke starts answering questions. Locke admits that he cannot bring himself to kill Ben and needs someone to do it for him. Locke leads Sawyer to the Black Rock, the derelict slave ship, taking him to the brig where a man sits chained, gagged and hooded. Locke locks Sawyer in the brig with the prisoner, to Sawyer's anger and confusion.

On the beach, Charlie tells Sayid about their new arrival. Sayid agrees that they shouldn't tell Jack until his loyalties are more certain. Sayid questions Naomi and she responds professionally. She is with a survey team based on a freighter located about 80 nautical miles from the Island. Penny Widmore hired the crew to search for Desmond, though she has not met her personally. She also repeats that the wreckage of Flight 815 was found off the shore of Bali, four miles underwater, and ROVs revealed that all the passengers on board were dead. The depth meant that the bodies could not be recovered for proper identification. While searching for Desmond, the freighter team received coordinates which took them to the middle of the ocean. However, on Naomi's return to the search vessel, the island mysteriously appeared out of cloud cover, and her helicopter lost power as she managed to bail out. Sayid doubts her story and asks for the whereabouts of her helicopter. Naomi, apparently offended, gives Sayid her satellite phone and quips that she will not rescue him.

Danielle enters the Black Rock and is surprised to see Locke. She explains she is looking for dynamite. Locke does not give an explanation for his presence or for Sawyer's thumping and yelling behind the brig door, and Danielle decides not to ask. She takes a crate of dynamite and then leaves. In the brig, Sawyer threatens to shoot Locke through the door if he won't open it, but Locke tells him that if his gun had bullets he would have threatened him with it, and not a knife, in the jungle. Sawyer begins to lose patience with the prisoner. He removes the hood and is startled to see it is not Ben but Anthony Cooper. Both are equally confused, but Cooper explains that he was involved in a car collision in Tallahassee and the last thing he remembers is being lifted into the ambulance as the paramedics placed an I.V. needle in him. He has concluded that they're in Hell. He explains that he is Locke's father, that he conned Locke out of a kidney and pushed him out an eighth story window because he was a "nuisance". Sawyer asks him if his a conman and Cooper replies in the affirmative. Suspicious, Sawyer asks the prisoner for his name. Cooper starts laughing and reels off a list of his aliases, including "Tom Sawyer". He admits to having been to Jasper, Alabama (Sawyer's home town). Sawyer realises Cooper is the "Sawyer" that he has been seeking all his life, the man responsible for his parents' deaths. Sawyer orders Cooper to read the letter he wrote as a young boy, but Cooper reads the beginning, then mocks him. Cooper admits he took Sawyer's mother's money but absolves himself of any guilt over her death. Sawyer rages at Cooper to finish the letter, but he tears the letter to pieces. Sawyer chokes Cooper to death with his chains in a fury. Locke frees Sawyer. Sawyer goes outside and throws up. Locke then tells him that Juliet is a spy for the Others who know Sun is pregnant, and are planning to raid the camp in three days. He gives Sawyer the tape recorder from the Staff (which he stole from Ben's tent) as proof to present to the other survivors. He tells Sawyer he is not returning with him, because he is on his own journey now.

Back on the beach, Sayid and Hurley try to fix Naomi's radio. Sayid says the technology is more advanced than any he has ever seen. He manages to fix it but the signal is blocked. The noise of the static attracts a curious Kate. At first, Sayid is reluctant, but seeing no other choice, he tells Kate about Naomi, and asks her not to tell Jack. Kate, however, goes straight to Jack who is sitting with Juliet on the beach. She asks to speak privately to him but he says that whatever she has to say can be said in front of Juliet. Kate tells them about Naomi and that he wasn't told because no one on the beach trusts him anymore. Jack and Juliet then debate whether or not to tell Kate about their plan. Juliet wants to, but Jack replies, "Not yet".

Locke throws over his shoulder a sack with his father's body inside and heads into the jungle.

Major WTFery: It is questionable if the Others could have learned of Sawyer's murdering of the man in Sydney. All of the other records they've found are publicly available, but no-one apart from Sawyer knows what he did. This suggests that the Others have access to a supernatural source of knowledge.

Hindsight: This episode revisits the idea of, "Is the Island Hell (or at least Purgatory)?" It seemingly concludes not, with Sayid pointing out to Naomi that everyone is alive and she agrees.

By pretending he has Ben prisoner, Locke successfully pulls off a long con on Sawyer.

Review: A dark and brutal episode, with Josh Holloway pulling off the performance of his career (rivalled only on the show by LaFleur in Season 5) as he confronts and then kills the man who destroyed his life. Other elements work quite well - such as Danielle's lack of interest in what the survivors are up to, putting it down to another one of their crazy schemes - but it's this central story that resonates the most strongly. (****½)

The nine-year-old Benjamin Linus meets Richard Alpert for the first time in 1973.

320: The Man Behind the Curtain

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Drew Goddard, directed by Bobby Roth

Airdate: 9 May 2007

Survivor Count: 45

Days on Island: 89-90 (19-20 December 2004)

Flashback Character: Ben

1964: Roger and Emily Linus, are hiking through a forest near Portland, Oregon. Emily, who is pregnant, gives birth in the woods but suffers medical complications. Roger carries Emily and the baby to the roadside, where a car carrying Horace and Olivia Goodspeed stops to help them. Emily dies after telling Roger to name the baby Benjamin.

1973: Nine years later, Ben and his father arrive at the Island to work for the DHARMA Initiative, of which Horace and Olivia are both members. At one point, Ben sees a vision of his dead mother. This, along with his drunken father blaming him for his mother's death, prompts Ben to sneak into the jungle in search of her. He encounters Richard Alpert (who looks exactly the same thirty-one years later), one of the "Hostiles" who are native to the island. Ben tells Richard that he wants to join the Hostiles on the grounds of not liking the DHARMA Initiative. Richard tells Ben that if he truly wants this, then he must be patient and wait for his time to come.

1988: Ben, now a young man working for DHARMA, helps his father Roger load a van with beer and other supplies for the Pearl Station. After confronting his father about forgetting his birthday again, Roger suggests they go for a drive together after their work is done, to have some father-son time. After parking atop a hill near the central valley of the Island, Ben asks his father if he blames him for the death of his mother. Roger simply answers "What do I know?", and promises to try and remember Ben's birthday the following year. But Ben, fed up after years of neglect and abuse, pulls out a gas mask and bids his father goodbye. He lets off a gas grenade that kills Roger. Ben returns to the Barracks, where all the DHARMA workers have died from the same gas, and Alpert and his men arrive wearing masks. As Alpert's men start picking up the bodies, Alpert offers to go and collect Roger's, but Ben tells him to "just leave him out there".

2004: Locke arrives at the Others' camp, carrying his father's body on his back, and demands that Ben tell him everything about the Island. Ben tells him that he does not have the authority. He tells Locke that the true leader of the Others is a man named Jacob, but denies Locke's request to see him. Soon after, Mikhail stumbles into the camp and talks about a parachutist who landed on the Island. Ben uses this as an excuse to avoid Locke's demands, saying they will have to ensure that Naomi is captured when they go to capture Sun and the other women of childbearing age. Locke is unimpressed with Ben's prevarication. He beats Mikhail unconscious to shut him up. Ben, horrified, asks Tom and Richard to intervene but they refuse. Locke then asks when are they leaving. Ben relents and guides Locke out of the camp, Richard, Tom and Alex watching them depart.

At the survivors' camp, Sawyer plays Juliet's tape for Sayid and Kate. Later that night the entire camp gathers and Naomi's existence is revealed. They also play Juliet's tape. Juliet and Jack arrive and there are angry recriminations about Juliet's treachery. However, Juliet asks Sawyer to play the other side of the tape, in which Ben says the Others will raid the camp in three days to capture all of the pregnant women. Juliet confirms that when she received the message from Ben originally she immediately told Jack about the situation. They have been working on a way to set a trap for the Others ever since. Jack confirms this, telling everyone they have some catching up to do.

Ben and Locke travel through the jungle. They fine a massive line of salt in the woods, apparently part of a colossal circle. Ben is careful not to break the circle and steps over it. Locke does the same. Shortly afterwards they arrive at a small wooden cabin. Ben advises Locke to not use his torch or any kind of technology, as Jacob despises it. Ben becomes very nervous and knocks on the door and speaks loudly, saying that he is coming in with John Locke. They enter, but Locke cannot see anyone inside. Ben introduces Locke to Jacob and gestures towards an empty chair, to which he starts talking. Jacob realises that Locke cannot see Jacob and tells him that he is "sorry" that Locke's vision is too limited to see. Locke tells Ben in turn that he is crazy and pathetic. Just as Locke is about to exit the cabin, an odd and deep voice says "Help me". Locke asks Ben to repeat himself and Ben is puzzled, asking what he means. Locke pulls out a flashlight and suddenly objects in the room begin to violently fly about, windows shattering, and Ben is flung against the wall. Locke turns the light on the chair and this time sees a strange, white-haired man who looks at Locke with a terrifying gaze. Locke flees the cabin. The shaking subsides and a shaken and disturbed Ben emerges. Locke asks him what the hell just happened and Ben replies, "That was Jacob."

The following day, Locke has decided that Jacob is not real and Ben staged the whole incident for his benefit. He says he will expose Ben as a fraud and liar. Locke notices that Ben is leading them back by a different path. Ben tells him there is something he needs to see. He brings Locke to a mass grave full of skeletons clothed in DHARMA uniforms. Ben tells Locke that he lied about being born on the Island. He helped kill his own people when it became clear that the DHARMA workers could not coexist with the natives. He then shoots Locke, who falls into the pit. He demands to know what Jacob said to him. Locke reveals Jacob said "Help me", and Ben replies that he certainly hopes Jacob helps him, as he departs, leaving Locke for dead.

Major WTFery: This episode features - very arguably - the most confusing and bizarre scene in the entire history of Lost (which is saying something). The next season or so suggests that Jacob is a prisoner in the cabin, trapped by the line of salt, and that there is a link between Jacob and the image of Christian we've seen wandering around the Island. However, Seasons 5 and 6 abruptly contradict this, revealing that Jacob has been living in the Four-Toed Statue ruin all along. The torching of Jacob's cabin in Season 5 seems to imply that the producers really changed their mind about where this story was going and wanted to get rid of it.

The alternate explanation is that the man in the cabin is really the Man in Black, the salt prison simply doesn't work (since we've seen the Smoke Monster all over the Island) and it's all part of his attempt to manipulate Ben, Locke, the Others and the 815 survivors.

Hindsight: This episode shows Richard as being the same age in 1973 as in 2004. Ben confirms this is deliberate when he says, "You do remember birthdays, don't you, Richard?"

This episode confirms that there is a volcano on the Island, although it is never seen or mentioned. According to Danielle's maps, there is a volcanic crater not far to the south-east of the main beach camp and the Swan, and fans have speculated that the rocky coast where Inman hid the Elizabeth is located in this area. However, it seems unusual that the crater has not been explored or noted by the survivors.

Both the volcano and Ben's childhood friend, Annie, were supposed to return in later episodes. However, the writers never got back to addressing either story point. They later confirmed that Annie had been evacuated in 1977 prior to the Incident and had never returned to the Island.

Ben leaves the DHARMA van upright in the jungle. When Hurley finds it, it's been overturned and smashed up. It may have been damaged by a polar bear trying to get inside.

This episode establishes that Ben was born in 1964. This makes Ben ten years younger than the actor who plays him, Michael Emerson. In fact, Michael Emerson looks remarkably younger than his real age: he certainly looks a lot younger than Terry O'Quinn, who plays Locke, when they were born in the same year. Emerson and O'Quinn went head-to-head for the Best Actor Emmy Award for this season, with O'Quinn eventually emerging victorious.

Michael Emerson's real-life wife, Carrie Preston, plays his mother in this episode. They would later work together on Person of Interest.

Review: An excellent episode, creepy and intense as hell with Emerson turning in an absolutely brilliant performance (as does his younger counterpart Sterling Beaumon) and even being very convincing as the 24-year-old version of the character (helped by some great make-up). The fact that the scene in the cabin is never really explained is frustrating, but beyond that this is one of the show's best hours. (*****)

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