Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 18 - Season 5, Episodes 1-8

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.

I am 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: Because You Left, The Lie, Jughead, The Little Prince, This Place is Death, 316, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, LaFleur.

Without further ado, let us continue after the jump.

Daniel Faraday infiltrates the DHARMA team building the Orchid Station.

501: Because You Left

Written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 21 January 2009

Survivor Count: 36 (Michael and 3 minor characters killed when the freighter exploded)

Flashback Character: None

July 1977: The DHARMA Initiative is in full operation on the Island. Dr. Pierre Chang is filming the orientation video for the Arrow Station when he is informed of an accident at the construction site of the Orchid. Arriving at the Orchid he discovers that the construction workers have found the energy source that DHARMA has been looking for, which he believes will allow them to manipulate time. They also show him underground radar scans of a chamber below the Orchid, including the frozen wheel. He warns the construction workers not to release that energy by accident, as the results could be catastrophic. As he departs the station he bumps into a construction worker, who is then revealed to be Daniel Faraday.

2007: Back in Los Angeles, two lawyers visit Kate Austen. They deliver a court order for a maternity test for her and Aaron but refuse to reveal their client's identity. In London, while en route to Los Angeles, Sun is confronted by Charles Widmore at the airport. She tells him that she wants to kill Benjamin Linus, a desire they seem to have in common. Following Hurley's breakout from a mental institution, he and Sayid go to a safehouse, which has been infiltrated by two armed men. Sayid kills the men using a dishwasher, but not before one of them shoots him with two potent drugged darts, knocking him unconscious. Meanwhile, Ben and Jack have left the funeral parlour with Locke's body. They discover that Hurley has broken out, hindering Ben's plan to reunite the Oceanic Six.

On the Island: On December 30, 2004, following the island being moved, the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, the freighter team, and Juliet begin to erratically jump through time, while the Others are unaffected. The first jump takes them to the day when the Beechcraft carrying Mr. Eko's brother crashes onto the island. John Locke is shot in the leg by Ethan Rom, who has not yet met him and therefore does not recognise him. Meanwhile, Sawyer, Juliet and the freighter team head to the Swan Station in order to determine when they are. A second jump brings the group forward in time to after the destruction of the station, saving Locke from Ethan in the process. When pressed for an explanation by Sawyer, Daniel Faraday likens the experience to a record skipping. Locke is approached by Richard Alpert, who recognises Locke and treats his wound. He informs Locke that they will be strangers at their next meeting, and thus gives him a compass to get his younger self to trust Locke. He explains that the only way to stop the erratic movements through time is to bring back everyone who has left the island, and to do that Locke will have to die. Another jump brings them to the past, and they find that the Swan station is now intact. Sawyer tries to contact Desmond Hume, who is inside, but Daniel asserts that the past can not be changed, and since Desmond didn't know Sawyer already when they first met (later in Desmond's timeline), Sawyer cannot be successful. No one answers, and everyone heads back to the beach. Daniel stays behind and knocks again, and Desmond emerges dressed in a hazmat suit, thus belying Daniel's original assertion. Daniel tells him that if Desmond's future self and the survivors of 815 make it off the island on the helicopter then he should go to Oxford University and find Daniel's mother, in order to help the survivors. Another jump occurs just before Daniel can give his mother's name.

2007: On a boat in an unknown location, Desmond wakes up, having remembered what Daniel told him in the past, and sets off for Oxford.

Major WTFery: It is unclear why certain characters are moving through time and others are not. This particularly applies to Juliet, because she is moving through time with the 815 survivors and the freighties who are all relatively recent arrivals. The rest of the Others, including those who joined them recently from Flight 815 (such as Cindy, Zach and Emma), apparently remained fixed in time. It is possible that Juliet's renouncing of her membership of the Others and the fact that she never visited the Temple may have something to do with this, and the Temple (where Cindy, Zach and Emma are residing) shields them from the time-travelling effects.

Desmond didn't recognise or remember Faraday in Season 4. It is possible that Desmond's exposure to the Island's electromagnetic energy fields, or just the stress of his experiences, prevented Desmond from remembering. It is also unclear why Desmond answered the Swan Station's door and not Inman: Desmond wearing the hazmat suit would seem to put Faraday's visit before Inman's death (since Desmond discovered that the hazmat suits were unnecessary at that point), but Desmond never left the hatch before Inman's death, to his anger in Live Together, Die Alone.

During the Beechcraft crash scene, the scenes with Locke are filmed from a very elevated position (probably meant to represent one of the mountains on the Island). This shows the Island stretching behind him for a vast distance. Lostpedia identifies this as a possible continuity error, as Oahu, Hawaii (the actual filming location) is "considerably larger" than the Island. However, based on previous maps the Island is almost as long as Oahu on its longest axis (over forty miles), just not as wide. As such, the vista we see behind Locka would be possible for the Island as well.

Hindsight: This episode sets up moments that will be revisited in later episodes. Faraday's trip to the Orchid Station is explained in The Variable and we discover how Richard knew to help Locke in Follow the Leader.

It becomes more difficult to track the dates on the Island as of this episode, as it the constant jumping through time between day and night makes it impossible to track the internal clock of the characters, and it becomes moot once they permanently fix the problem.

This episode marks the first appearance of Neil Frogurt, the "frozen yogurt guy" mentioned in the second season episode S.O.S. and who appeared in several webisodes.

Writers Lindelof and Cuse deliberately kept Josh Holloway (Sawyer) shirtless throughout the episode to "keep viewers interested" if they couldn't follow the time travel storyline.

This episode of Lost is unusual in that it has no centric-character. Previous episodes either focused on one or two specific characters, or moved between several different characters. This episode doesn't do anything similar, instead moving forward both the on-Island and off-Island storylines simultaneously.

Review: Season 5 gets off to an intriguing start, with a renewed focus on the DHARMA Initiative and Lost's full-blown move into time travel. There's a feeling of freshness to this episode, with the crazy time travel stuff being presented in a way that's (reasonably) understandable and enlivened by humour ("Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't have to go around shooting people"). Having Faraday trying to explain the complexities of time travel to Sawyer, one of the least-scientifically literate characters on the show, is a good move as it means he has to get the concepts across clearly enough for all of the viewers to understand as well. Overall, a solid season opener enlivened by Sayid's most inventive-ever method of killing someone (using a dishwasher). (****)

The scene where Hurley explains the plot of Lost's first four seasons to his mother in two minutes may be the greatest in the show's history.

502: The Lie

Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 21 January 2009

Survivor Count: 36

Flashback Character: Hurley

1954: On the island, the remaining survivors are back on the beach, attempting to start a fire, when they are attacked by a barrage of flaming arrows. Some of the survivors are able to escape, but Frogurt and many of the others are killed, and Sawyer and Juliet are separated from the group. Lost in the jungle, they are captured by a group of armed military men who demand to know who they are, asserting that the Island is theirs. The men are about to cut off Juliet's hand to extract information, when Locke ambushes them, helping Sawyer and Juliet free themselves.

2007: Jack and Ben part ways, with Ben taking Locke's body to a butcher for safekeeping. Ben tells Jack to collect any personal items he really wants and meet up with him in six hours. Meanwhile, Kate and Aaron have fled their home to escape lawyers demanding a maternity test. They meet up with Sun at a hotel, who implies that Kate should take whatever measures are necessary to protect Aaron. Sun forgives Kate for leaving her husband, Jin, on the freighter when it exploded.

Meanwhile, Hurley and Sayid are on the run after they were attacked at their safehouse. Hurley drives the unconscious Sayid, who has been hit by two drugged darts, to his parents' house. On the way, Hurley is pulled over by a vision of the deceased Oceanic Flight 815 survivor and former police officer Ana Lucia Cortez, who gives him advice on how to avoid the real cops. Upon arriving home, Hurley's dad, David, covers for them when the police show up and suggests that Hurley take Sayid to the hospital. Hurley refuses, and David ends up taking Sayid to Jack, who is successful in reviving him. At home, Hurley confesses to his mother Carmen that the Oceanic Six have been lying; she believes him, though doesn't understand his disjointed story. Later, Ben unexpectedly shows up at the house and tries to convince Hurley to go with him to meet up with the rest of the Oceanic Six, saying they all want the same thing: to go back to the Island. Hurley wavers for a moment, then runs outside and turns himself in to police watching the house, having been advised by Sayid to do the opposite of whatever Ben asks. Later, Ben visits Ms. Hawking, who tells him she has found the Island and that Ben only has seventy hours to return to it with Locke's corpse and the Oceanic Six.

Major WTFery: Hurley's mother doesn't recognise Sayid, despite Hurley introducing her to him both after the Oceanic Six were rescued and when Sayid and Nadia attended Hurley's party. This stands out more because Hurley's father does recognise Sayid.

Hindsight: Michelle Rodriguez reprises her role as Ana Lucia after a gap of 42 episodes. Her reappearance was to reinforce the fact that Hurley's visions are "real" and may have also been an attempt by the producers to defuse the constant suggestions that her departure from the show was down to her DUI and a bad relationship with the cast and crew.

This episode was teased by the producers ahead of the season, who said that people should be far more worried about the other 815 survivors than about Faraday. The decision to kill off the bulk of the Flight 815 background survivors was presumably taken for logistical reasons - having to explain their fate going through the time flashes - as well as raising the stakes at this point of the series.

Review: A fast-moving episode with an (as usual) entertaining and emotional focus on Hurley. Hurley's garbled recap of the entire Lost storyline so far is comic gold. However, the decision to kill off the bulk of the Oceanic 815 redshirts may be admirably ruthless but it also feels a little pointless, since we didn't get to know them. The point of the show often felt like our heroes struggling to protect and eventually save the other survivors, so for them just to all be killed off apparently to make the filming crew's lives easier feels a bit mean. But it's a very well-realised action sequence. (****)

Dan getting held at gunpoint by his 17-year-old mother in front of a hydrogen bomb in 1954 feels like a slow Tuesday on the Island by this point.

503: Jughead

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Paul Zbyszewski, directed by Rod Holcomb

Airdate: 28 January 2009

Survivor Count: 19 (Frogurt and 16 other survivors killed by the Others in the previous episode)

Flashback Character: Desmond

Late 2005: Desmond Hume, in the Philippines, searches for a doctor to help his wife Penny Widmore, who is giving birth to their son, Charlie.

2007: Desmond and Penny arrive in London, from where Desmond plans to travel to Oxford to look for the mother of Daniel Faraday. The university has no record of either Faraday, even though Daniel was a professor there. Desmond breaks into and searches Faraday's lab. He meets a janitor who tells him that Faraday conducted experiments on a woman and provides an address for her. At her house, Desmond finds that the woman is in a vegetative state after experiencing temporal disassociation, similar to Desmond's experiences on the freighter. He learns that Penny's father, Charles Widmore, is not only paying her medical expenses, but also funded Daniel's research. Desmond confronts Widmore, who gives him the address of Daniel's mother in Los Angeles. Desmond returns to Penny, who agrees that they must travel to Los Angeles.

1954: following the events of the previous episode, "The Lie", Juliet, Locke and Sawyer  interrogate the two men they have captured. Juliet deduces that they are members of the Others because they can speak Latin. One of the men, who is revealed to be a young Charles Widmore, kills the other when he agrees to lead them to Richard Alpert and flees to his campsite to warn his people. Locke follows him and meets with Alpert, using Jacob's name and the compass Alpert gave him to gain his trust; however, Alpert is not entirely convinced. Locke tells Alpert to visit him after he is born two years later. Locke attempts to convince Alpert to show him how to leave the island, but runs out of time as the next time shift occurs.

At the same time, the freighter team, consisting of Miles, Charlotte and Daniel Faraday, are captured by another group of Others, led by a 17-year-old girl named Ellie. Faraday deduces that the American military came to the Island to test hydrogen bombs, and that the Others are in possession of one. When he convinces Richard to let him defuse the bomb, Richard asks Faraday to prove that he is not on a suicide mission to detonate the bomb. Faraday then confesses his love for Charlotte as proof that he will not detonate the bomb on purpose. Ellie leads Faraday to the bomb (the "Jughead"), and after an inspection, he discovers that it is leaking radiation. Faraday immediately advises Ellie that the bomb should be buried and will not go off for at least 50 years, inadvertently revealing that he is from the future. Ellie doesn't believe him, but Juliet and Sawyer shows up and disarm her. The time shift occurs once again and the group is safe, but Charlotte suddenly collapses.
Major WTFery: The Others having possession of a H-bomb introduces a major, gamechanging wild card to the series. Although why the Others didn't try to dismantle or remove the bomb after the Purge, when they had unfettered access to the whole Island and a link back to the mainland, remains unknown.
Hindsight: This episode provides a clue to date the 2007 events in the series. Desmond and Penny's son, Charlie, is two years old in The Incident. Assuming he was conceived shortly after Desmond and Penny were reunited in January 2005, this puts his birth date in the last couple of months of 2005. Assuming Charlie wasn't born prematurely, this puts all of the 2007 events in the show at the end of the year, in November or December 2007. This also makes sense given all the references to three years having passed, but the year not having yet changed to 2008.

Desmond and Penny's son Charlie is presumably named for Charlie Pace and not Penny's father, Charles Widmore.

This episode explains the events of Cabin Fever, and how Richard Alpert knew to visit John Locke periodically through his life to check on him.

"Jughead" was a real American nuclear bomb. It was supposed to be detonated as part of the Castle Yankee series of nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in 1954, but it was cancelled due to the success of the larger and more powerful Castle Bravo tests. This may indicate that, in 1954, the interface between the Island and the rest of the world is located near or even in Bikini Atoll, which is how the American military stumbled across it.

"Ellie" is, of course, Eloise Hawkwing. She is 17 in this episode, putting her birth date in 1937. This makes her 39 or 40 in 1977 and 70 in 2007.

Review: A good episode, as Desmond-centric ones tend to be, with the 1954 scenes being a lot of fun. In particular, and this is something that continues throughout the fifth season, it's tremendously amusing for the Lost main characters (and us) to know the answers to the mysteries that are completely befuddling the Others. The shoe is on the other foot. (****)

Kate's guardianship of Aaron comes to a reluctant but necessary end.
504: The Little Prince

Written by Brian K. Vaughan and Melinda Hsu Taylor, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 4 February 2009

Survivor Count: 17 (two minor survivors were killed by explosives in the previous episode)

Survivors: As of this episode the only survivors of Oceanic 815 still alive are named characters: Jack, Kate, Locke, Sayid, Sawyer, Sun, Jin, Hurley, Rose, Bernard, Claire, Aaron, Cindy, Walt, Emma, Zach and Vincent.

Flashback Character: Kate

2005: On Penny's boat, after being rescued from the Island, Kate convinces Jack that once returning home that they should claim that Aaron is Kate's biological son to prevent him from being adopted by strangers. Jack is disturbed at the idea but agrees.

2007: Kate leaves Aaron in the care of Sun in order to confront attorney Dan Norton, who is pursuing a maternity test for Kate and Aaron. Sun receives a package with a gun and pictures of Ben and Jack. Norton tells Kate that he is going to meet his client later and Kate decides to follow him. Meanwhile, Ben Linus meets up with Jack and Sayid at the hospital. An orderly attacks Sayid, but Sayid overcomes him, and when he finds Kate's address in his wallet he, Ben and Jack, suspect Kate is the next target. The three decide to split up, with Jack going after Kate, and Sayid and Ben going to the prison where Hurley is being held. Jack and Kate follow Norton to a motel where he meets with Claire's mother, Carole. Once Norton leaves, Jack confronts Carole, who is only in Los Angeles to collect on a successful suit against Oceanic Airlines and has nothing to do with the maternity test. At the prison, Ben meets with Norton, who is also acting as Hurley's lawyer and is confident that he can have Hurley released the following morning. Ben and Sayid meet up with Jack and Kate, where Kate figures out that Ben has hired Norton to do the maternity test, while Sun, armed with a gun, watches the conversation from a car with Aaron.

On the Island: Charlotte is still unconscious following the last time jump. The jumps are becoming more painful for everyone. She eventually wakes up and the group travels on to the Orchid Station, where Locke believes he can find a way to leave the Island. During the course of the episode several others begin to show similar symptoms to Charlotte's. Daniel informs them that the nose bleeds may have something to do with one's time spent on the Island. This makes no sense to several of the group since Charlotte, who has the worst symptoms, has only been on the Island for a few days. The latest time jump has brought the group to November 1, 2004, the day of Aaron's birth, an event that Sawyer witnesses, and the death of Boone Carlyle. Another time jump brings them to the future. At their beach camp, they find a canoe which they use to paddle to the other side of the Island. They are attacked by unknown assailants and another time jump brings them to the middle of a torrential storm.

1988: The same storm causes a boat to run aground and the French crew to bail out in a life raft. They find Jin unconscious, floating on debris from the freighter, and take him with them. Jin wakes up and finds the survivors from the boat helpful but suspicious. One of them, a heavily pregnant young woman, is kind to Jin and tells him that her name is Danielle Rousseau, to Jin's extreme confusion.

Major WTFery: At one point the survivors see the light from the hatch shining into the sky. However, to be visible from miles away the light would have to be extremely bright, whilst Locke in Season 1 was able to stare into it with no problems. Apparently the effect was oversold compared to what was in the script.

The identity of the other outrigger crew who fire on the survivors is not revealed. Apparently a later episode would have revealed this, but the story was cut for time. The general fan assumption seems to be that it was a group of Others, but what they were doing randomly paddling around the Island is unclear.

The survivors paddle south down the east coast of the Island. To get to the Orchid Station - located directly behind the four-toed statue - from the vicinity of the main beach camp, they should be paddling north.

Hindsight: Solicitor Dan Norton's truck has the same car registration number as Ironhide in the 2007 movie Transformers, suggesting it is a number reserved for the use of Hollywood productions.

This episode mentions the "horn" of the Island, presumably a cape or promontory. There are several candidates for this on the maps.

Review: The pace stalls a little in this episode, with the constant interruptions to the Oceanic Six getting back to the Island starting to get redundant. But the events in the past remain fun and Jin's collision with Team Rousseau at the end of the episode is one hell of a cliffhanger. (***½)

The young Danielle Rousseau.

505: This Place is Death

Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Paul Edwards

Airdate: 11 February 2009

Survivor Count: 17

Flashback Character: Sun and Jin

1988: Jin and Danielle Rousseau's science team go in search of the radio tower which is broadcasting the Numbers. Soon after entering the jungle they are attacked by the Smoke Monster, which kills one of the team, Nadine, and drags another, Montand into a tunnel that leads to the Temple, severing his arm in the process. Robert Rousseau, Brennan and Lacombe follow him into the tunnel and another time jump brings Jin forward two months. He finds the bodies of Brennan and Lacombe. He then witnesses Danielle confronting her lover Robert because she believes that the rest of the team became "infected" while inside the temple. Each of them has a gun pointed at the other. Robert convinces her that they should lower their weapons, then raises his and pulls the trigger. The gun does not fire, as Danielle had removed the firing pin from it. She shoots him. Danielle also attempts to kill Jin, but another time shift occurs and Jin is reunited with the other survivors: Sawyer, Locke, Juliet, Miles, Charlotte and Daniel Faraday.

On the Island: The group is on their way to the Orchid Station, where Locke believes he can find a way to leave the island in his attempt to bring the Oceanic Six back to the island. Several time jumps occur and Charlotte becomes so ill that she must stay behind, with Daniel choosing to stay with her. She tells Jin to keep his wife away from the island, saying "This place is death." She tells Locke to look for a well, if the Orchid Station is not there. Later, she confesses to Daniel that she grew up on the Island and that before she left a man told her never to come back or she would die; she believes Daniel is that man. She dies shortly thereafter. The other survivors arrive at the location of the Orchid and find the well. Jin tells Locke to tell Sun that he died and gives Locke his wedding ring as proof because he does not want Sun or their child to return to the Island. While descending the well, another flash occurs and Locke falls and injures his leg, resulting in an open fracture. Arriving in the frozen chamber with the wheel that Ben used to move the Island, Jack's deceased father, Christian Shephard, greets Locke and tells him that he meant for Locke to move the island in the first place. Locke then pushes the wheel and disappears in a blaze of light.

2007: Sun confronts Ben during his meeting with Kate, Jack and Sayid. She intends to kill him but he reveals that Jin is still alive on the Island. She reluctantly agrees to go with him and Jack to another location, where he can substantiate his claims. They go to a church, where Ben shows her Jin's wedding ring, which Ben took from Locke as proof that Jin is alive. Desmond arrives at the church, in his search for the mother of Daniel Faraday, Eloise Hawking. The four go inside the church, where Eloise is disappointed that Ben did not bring the rest of the Oceanic Six.

Major WTFery: Any attempt to stick to a consistent geography of the Island in Season 5 appears to have gone out of the window. Team Rousseau appear to have landed on or near the main 815 beach camp (the headland in the background is identical), but Jin says he does not know where they are. According to Danielle's own maps, the team shipwrecked in the north-western large bay of the Island. Heading from that area south-eastwards to the radio tower would take them far to the south of the Temple. The Smoke Monster would have to drag Montand for the better part of ten miles through the jungle and over the north-western mountains. Although not impossible, it seems unlikely that the rest of the survivors would be able to catch up with them.

This episode begs the question why Danielle did not recognise Jin. The trauma of losing her son and killing her friends and husband may explain this, but they did spend several hours together and Danielle was in the same vicinity as Jin several times throughout the first three seasons of the show. Given that Widmore recognised Locke despite not seeing him for fifty-three years, Danielle not recognising Jin after sixteen feels like a stretch.

Christian seems to indicate that things went wrong because Locke got Ben to move the Island, rather than doing it himself. However, it is almost immediately then revealed that the problem was down to Ben accidentally knocking the "frozen donkey wheel" off its axis rather than it being to the identity of the person turning the wheel.

Christian/Man in Black presumably wants Locke to leave and then die in the outside world before coming back so the MiB can impersonate Locke in a more profound and complete way than MiB's simple impersonation of Christian, Yemi, Kate's horse etc. That is hinted at here, where Christian can't touch Locke or help him up. However, the MiB also inadvertently sets up his own doom by encouraging Locke to bring back the other candidates from Jacob's list, including Jack (who eventually kills the MiB).

Hindsight: Charlotte was only supposed to appear on the show for one season. The 2007-08 Writers' Strike changed this plan and allowed the character to continue onwards through Season 5. However, Rebecca Mader was disappointed that her character died just as it was confirmed that she was born on the Island, as this could have thrown up more character and story possibilities.

This episode explains why Danielle thinks the Smoke Monster is  "security system" in Season 1. It also confirms that Danielle's backstory revelations in Solitary are (mostly) accurate, down to Montand losing his arm and Robert trying to shoot her with a sabotaged gun.

This episode marks the last time that Sawyer, Juliet and Jin see Locke.

Review: Although Jin's presence with Danielle's team doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it is good to see that storyline unfolding and the Smoke Monster in action again. Christian showing up and Eloise Hawking turning out to be in LA with a way of finding the Island risks the show hitting information density overload, but things keep ticking along entertainingly enough. (****)

This isn't the show to watch if you have a profound fear of flying.

506: 316

Written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, directed by Stephen Williams

Airdate: 18 February 2009

Survivor Count: 17

Flashback Character: Jack

On the Island: Jack wakes up on the Island. He finds Hurley in nearby lake and helps him to safety. They also find the unconscious Kate. Jack realises that they've done it, and finally gotten back to the Island.

2007: Eloise Hawking takes Jack, Desmond Hume, Sun and Ben Linus to a DHARMA Initiative station underneath the church called the Lamp Post, which was used by DHARMA to find the Island in the first place. Since the Island is constantly moving, they developed a way to predict where it would be at a given time using magnetic fields. When Eloise mentions that the group only has 36 hours to get on Ajira Airways Flight 316, a Boeing 737-300, in order to return to the island, Desmond refuses to join them and leaves. Eloise then tells Jack in private that he must bring something that belonged to his father Christian Shephard with him on the flight and also gives him John Locke's suicide note.

The next day, Jack gets a call informing him that his grandfather Ray has attempted to escape his nursing home. Jack goes to the nursing home and finds an old pair of Christian's shoes and decides to take them with him. Later, Jack returns to his apartment, where he finds Kate sleeping in his bed. He wakes her and asks where her adoptive son Aaron is, but she refuses to answer. Kate tells Jack that if he wants her to get back to the island, he must never ask her about Aaron. Then they kiss passionately and fall into bed. The next morning, Jack receives a phone call from a severely beaten Ben, who tells Jack that he must go to a butcher shop and retrieve Locke's dead body. Jack does so, putting Christian's shoes on Locke's feet in the process. He also leaves the suicide note in Locke's pocket.

At the airport, Jack, Kate, Sun, and Hurley all board Flight 316. Hurley was informed by someone other than Ben, and bought all the remaining seats on the plane, in order to spare the lives of potential passengers. Sayid Jarrah also boards the plane, in the custody of a woman named Ilana. Ben is last to board the plane, which momentarily disquiets Hurley. Also on board is a man named Caesar. Jack asks Ben as to what will happen to the other people on the plane, to which Ben replies: "Who cares?", leaving Jack speechless. During the flight, Jack realises that Frank Lapidus is piloting the plane and Frank realises that they are going back to the Island. Jack, who has been given Locke's note by a flight attendant, reads the note which says, "Jack, I wish you had believed me." The 737 hits turbulence and there is a flash of white light similar to that caused by the time shifts.

On the Island: Jack, Kate and Hurley are found by Jin, who is driving a DHARMA van (in pristine condition) and wearing a DHARMA Initiative jumpsuit.

Major WTFery: If the Lamp Post was built by the DHARMA Initiative to find the Island, the question is raised as to why the DHARMA Initiative, Hanso Foundation or Widmore haven't simply used it since then to locate the Island again. Widmore seems to know where Lamp Post is and what it's for, so why not just go there to find the Island after it moved in Season 4?
Hindsight: The Lamp Post is the first DHARMA station show to be located off the Island. This begs the question if the DHARMA Initiative had other assets located off the Island in other parts of the world.

According to Jorge Garcia, the scenes with Jack, Hurley and Kate at the lake were filmed on the day of the 2008 Presidential Election, when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

This episode and The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham were switched in transmission order as the producers felt the story made more sense this way around. Lost's densely-serialised storytelling usually makes such swaps impossible. The only other time it happens in the show's history is in Season 1, when Solitary and Raised by Another were swapped around. That was only possible due to Solitary being a self-contained Sayid story.

This episode finally explains why Christian Shepherd's corpse was wearing tennis shoes in Season 1, something that really befuddled some fans at the time.
Review: 316 is a very weird episode in which plot contrivances pile on top of one another to the point where the viewer's sense of disbelief has to take an extended leave of absence. The episode does just go with this, with Frank's resigned look of "Okay then, whatever" standing in for the audience's. Assuming you can get into the same headspace, it's a reasonably effective way of getting our heroes back to the Island. (***½)

Locke is reunited with Walt in New York City.

507: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

Written by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Jack Bender

Airdate: 25 February 2009

Survivor Count: 17

Flashback Character: Locke

2007: Ajira Airways Flight 316 has made an emergency landing on the Hydra Island, located off the coast of the main Island. Fortunately, someone had constructed a runway on the island. The runway wasn't long enough so Flight 316 overshot and crashed, but remained intact.

One of the crash survivors, Caesar, searches through Benjamin Linus's old office in the Hydra Station, finding several documents and a sawed-off shotgun. He is interrupted by Ilana, who informs him that a man no one remembers seeing on the plane has been found: John Locke. Locke explains to Ilana that the last thing he remembers is dying.

2007: Locke awakens in a desert in Tunisia, where he is taken to a local hospital and visited by Charles Widmore. Widmore last saw Locke on the Island fifty-three years earlier, but for Locke it's only been four days. Widmore tells Locke that he led the Others until Ben took over and tricked him into leaving the Island. Widmore pledges to help Locke reunite the Oceanic Six in order to take them back to the Island. Widmore gives Locke a fake identity, Jeremy Bentham, and assigns Matthew Abaddon to assist him.

Sayid, Hurley and Kate all refuse to go back to the island after being visited by Locke. Locke also visits Walt, but decides not to ask him to return to the island because he has been through enough. Meanwhile, Kate's conversation with Locke leads him to look for his old girlfriend, Helen Norwood, whom he discovers has died. While visiting her grave, Abaddon is shot and killed; Locke gets into a car accident after he flees the scene in a panic. He awakens in Jack's hospital, where the two once again argue about the Island, faith and destiny. Before Jack leaves, Locke tells him that his father, Christian Shephard, is alive on the island. This greatly upsets Jack, and he leaves. Locke then goes to a hotel, where he attempts to hang himself in despair due to his failure. Ben, however, shows up and talks Locke down. He admits to shooting Abaddon, claiming it was to protect Locke. After learning of Locke's plan to seek advice from Eloise Hawking on how to return to the Island, Ben kills Locke, making it look like suicide. He then takes Jin's wedding ring, which Jin had entrusted to Locke.

2007: Locke discovers an unconscious Ben among the injured passengers of Flight 316.

Major WTFery: Locke's meeting with Jack is fairly short and to the point. In There's No Place Like Home, Jack tells Kate that Locke told him that a lot of "bad things" happened after they left, but Locke doesn't do anything like that here. Jack also knew that Ben was off the Island from Locke, but again Locke does not reveal that on-screen here. That suggests either cut dialogue or a second meeting between Jack and Locke that occurred off-screen.

Widmore says that the Others protected the Island for "over three decades" before his exile. This is a curious figure, as Widmore was presumably born on the Island in the late 1930s like Eloise. He was not exiled by Ben until several years after the Purge, in the early-to-mid 1990s, making it over five decades. Ab Aeterno reveals that Richard was on the Island for seventy years before Widmore was even born, gathering people together as the Others, and there may have been people living on the Island off and on for two thousand years before that.
Hindsight: This episode is a lot more momentous when watched after the fact because we now know that Locke really did 100% die in this episode. The Locke we see walking around later on is actually the Smoke Monster/Man in Black.
Review: Terry O'Quinn knocks it out of the park in his final appearance as the "real" John Locke. The episode benefits from some focused storytelling and the moment that Ben turns on and kills Locke is utterly shocking and rather heart-wrenching. Locke did a lot of dubious things but he didn't deserve to die like that. Some continuity issues with other episodes mar what is otherwise an excellent, intense episode. (****½)

A spin-off show focusing on Sawyer, Jin, Miles and Juliet as security officers working for the DHARMA Initiative would be amazing.

508: LaFleur

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Kyle Pennington, directed by Mark Goldman

Airdate: 4 March 2009

Survivor Count: 16 (since Locke died in the previous episode)

Flashback Character: Sawyer

Unknown: A time jump briefly takes Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Faraday and Jin to a time when there is a massive, ancient statue standing on the island. They are only able to see the back of it from the site of the Orchid Station before John Locke turns the wheel again.

1974: The last time jump brings the survivors forward to 1974, at the peak of the DHARMA Initiative's presence on the island. Now that Locke has pushed the wheel, the time jumps have stopped and they are permanently stuck in the past. The group comes across a pair of DHARMA Initiative members who have been captured by two of the island's native inhabitants, known to them as the Others but to the DHARMA personnel of this time period as "the Hostiles". Juliet and Sawyer kill the Others and free Amy, but her husband Paul has been killed. The group returns to the barracks, where Amy resides. However, she tricks them into walking through the sonic fence which surrounds the barracks, knocking them unconscious.

Sawyer wakes up and is confronted by Horace Goodspeed, the leader of the DHARMA Initiative on the Island. Sawyer tells him that his name is James LaFleur and that he and the other survivors are from a shipwreck. They were looking for a lost sailing ship from the 19th Century, the Black Rock, and that they are looking for other survivors of the crew. Horace tells him that they will have to leave the next day on the submarine because they are not "DHARMA material". Meanwhile, Daniel sees Charlotte as a young girl, but decides not to say anything to her. That night, the spokesman of the Others, Richard Alpert, enters the barracks to determine why his treaty with DHARMA was broken. Sawyer convinces Alpert not to attack DHARMA, because he is the one who killed the Others. Alpert is further convinced when Sawyer shares knowledge of the events that transpired in 1954. Because Sawyer has successfully defused the situation, Horace allows the group to stay and look for the other crew members of their ship, when in reality they are waiting for Locke to return with the survivors who left the island.

1977: Three years later, the survivors have joined DHARMA, made themselves useful members of the team and are living contentedly in the Barracks. Sawyer is the well-respected head of security, while Jin (who is now fluent in English) continues to search for those who left the Island. Amy is pregnant with Horace's baby and due to give birth in two weeks. Following an argument between them, Horace gets drunk and hurls sticks of dynamite at trees whilst Amy goes into early labour. Juliet successfully delivers the baby, the first that has survived in all her time on the island. Sawyer suggests that whatever happened to cause babies to stop being born may not have happened yet. Horace believes that Amy is not yet over her deceased husband, however Sawyer reassures him by stating that three years is enough time to get over someone, referring to his relationship with Kate. Sawyer returns to his home, where he lives with Juliet, with whom he is now in a relationship. The next morning, he receives a call from Jin, who has found Kate, Jack, and Hurley in the jungle. A shocked Sawyer secretly meets them far from the Barracks.

Major WTFery: Horace denies knowing anything about the Black Rock. He is either lying or the DHARMA Initiative knows less about the Island after spending (at least) three years there than the 815 survivors did after three months.

This episode suggests that no child was born on the Island between the survivors' arrival in 1974 and the events of 1977 (since Juliet doesn't know of any), despite the Barracks having a school and play equipment. It might be that DHARMA sent women back to the mainland to give birth as a safety precaution.

According to Ben in Season 4, Charlotte was born in 1979. However, a very young Charlotte is in the Barracks in 1974. This was down to a well-reported snafu where Charlotte's birth date was changed on-set without consulting the writers, as actress Rebecca Mader was a lot younger than Charlotte should have been.

Hindsight: This episode seemingly confirms that the remains of the statue seen by Sayid, Sun and Jin in the Season 2 finale was of an Egyptian one, of the crocodile-faced god Tawaret.

This episode also establishes that the Incident of 1977 is what caused the Island to start affecting the ability of women to become pregnant. It is unclear if the Discharge of 2004 (in the Season 2 finale) reversed this problem, since it seemed to remove the EMP build-up that the Incident instigated.
Review: LaFleur is not at the level of The Constant or the Season 3 finale, but it's still an excellent episode. It restores Sawyer to being an intelligent and creative leader who can think on his feet far faster than most of the other characters, initiates a romance between him and Juliet which is extremely convincing and makes 1977 DHARMAville actually look like an interesting place to live. As with other Season 5 episodes, it's also great for us (and the characters) to have the answers and for the Others and the people of the DHARMA Initiative to be mystified by events. (*****)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Season 5 was my favourite season.