Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gee, Kate, You've Just Avoided Life in Prison! What Are You Gonna Do Next?

Boy, does LOST like to mess with our heads. I explored several possibilities for who Kate's child might be, but it never even occurred to me to consider Aaron. And even when she said his name, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder why she named her son after Aaron. That's sweet." And mid-thought, I said, "Wait! That is Aaron!" Which gives us a definite time frame for the flash-forward, if nothing else. Unless the LOST folks are still messing with us, and this really is another Aaron, which would give me whiplash and frankly be rather mean. I don't know how much of their trickery I can take!

But that option would be preferable to the more logical possibilities, most prominently A) Claire is dead; B) Kate kidnapped Aaron. And then there's always C) Claire asked Kate to take Aaron, either for a while or permanently. But at this point, I can't see Claire giving Aaron up again. I also have a hard time imagining Kate swiping the baby, but maybe she went a little loopy like Danielle, and it could explain Jack's reluctance to see Aaron, since he would have known what she did and felt complicit in her crime. Though she claimed not to be good with babies, she seemed pretty disappointed with Sawyer's lack of enthusiasm over the possibility of having a child, and her obsession with wondering whether the people stateside knew about her might indicate she now has a more compelling reason to leave the island.

Of course, Sawyer responded to her baiting about the baby in the worst possible way. I mean, all he had to say was, "I'm relieved you're not pregnant, because if you were, you might die on me." (She totally deserved that scathing comment about her bouncing between him and Jack, though.) There's really no proof even that going off the island would spare these women, since Ben never let anyone try it. I wonder if the fact that Ben's mother died in childbirth could have anything to do with all the island's fertility issues. I'm really worried about Sun.

And it was nice to see her and Jin again, though it looks like they're headed for trouble in terms of where they intend to go. Heading back to Korea and Sun's dad does not strike me as a good idea. My guess is they'll wind up staying; I really can't see one of them leaving the other, unless perhaps one of them dies. But the way I read this episode, five of the Oceanic Six are accounted for. I guess Aaron still isn't absolutely one of them, but presumably he is, which leaves only one spot. I wouldn't think John or Sawyer would want to leave the island or that Sun, Jin, Rose or Bernard would want to leave alone. Maybe it's Michael; I have a feeling we'll be seeing him this week, since the coordinates Ben gave him were the same as the coordinates Daniel mentioned in The Economist. I think I heard we're supposed to know who they all are by episode seven.
I'm glad we got the whole shouldn't-Kate-be-in-prison thing out of the way, and since she managed to get off, it wound up being the least depressing of the flash-forwards thus far. Her life is actually in pretty good shape. She's reconciled with her mother to the extent that she refused to testify against her; I wouldn't be surprised if she does let her mom see Aaron at some point. She's got a beautiful house and a devoted little boy. She avoided prison. Life is pretty good for her. I'm trying to figure out if the song we heard - Patsy Cline again, I believe, singing I've Got Your Picture - is a tip-off to something. Like Claire has Aaron's picture, but Kate has Aaron.

Which brings me to the question... Wouldn't there have been a lot of cameras on this flight? I would think just about anybody who visited Australia would bring a camera, and presumably a few of them would have survived the crash. If it were me, I'd be wanting to take all kinds of pictures, even if there was a possibility they'd never be developed. Maybe Claire could manage to get a picture of Aaron taken somehow, though; Ben has pictures of Alex...

I don't know what Alex and her mom are up to They're in a strange position because to some extent, they hate Ben, but Alex certainly cares about him, since he raised her, and Danielle seems like she might be just a tad attached to him too. I just wonder if they're really okay with John keeping Ben locked up. The beginning of the episode when John threw Ben's breakfast against the wall was just like the second season, when "Henry" was sitting in solitary smiling creepily as John ranted and raved because he couldn't figure out whether or not he pressed the button. Ben sure knows how to get under John's skin. He was trying to be hospitable, too, making him food, giving him reading material, just like back in the hatch. But none of it seems to be improving his relationship with the mysterious Mr. Linus.

I hated his hand grenade trick, even though I think he must be bluffing, partly because Miles is too valuable to risk blowing up like that and partly because John would much rather threaten violence than actually carry it out. I read a bit of an interview with Terry O'Quinn where he said he really fought to not have John kill Naomi, and I agree that knifing her in the back did not seem very John-like. I guess I can buy it as an act of desperation - and now I now why he didn't shoot the phone - but it still bothers me. And if, as I suspect, that grenade is useless, it's just like the trick Ben pulled on Sawyer with the rabbit. John seems to be growing more like Ben each day.

I saw two different books in this episode and didn't manage to catch the title of either one. Libbie thought the title of the episode was a reference to a book, which makes sense to me, but a quick Google search only brings up LOST-related results, and I don't feel like digging too deeply to figure out what the inspiration could be. I thought the title could just be a reference to John making eggs for Ben, or to the fact that fertility rates in Otherville are so high. I'm not really sure.

I like the camaraderie of Kate and Claire being roomies and Hurley and Sawyer being roomies. And how fun that they can watch movies! I felt sorry for Hurley being so easily "Scooby-Doo'd" by Kate, but I think Sawyer's observation that "If Hugo knows, everybody knows" tends to be true. He's just too trusting to be good at keeping secrets, just like Hagrid. Yet another connection between my two favorite big, burly guys.

I don't like Jack's well-rehearsed story about only eight people surviving the crash. If that's what it takes to protect their friends on the island, I guess he has to do it, but it seems like the friends and relatives of the survivors deserve to know that their loved ones lived and made a difference. I guess if they started talking to relatives it would be a lot harder to cover their tracks, and inconsistencies in stories would probably start to pop up. But I desperately want Liam to know how Charlie spent the last three months of his life, that he kicked the drugs and found peace and happiness, that he died in a conscious attempt to save others. And if Claire doesn't have it, I want Liam to wind up with the ring. Or Aaron. One of the three. Just somebody find that thing, for crying out loud! Charlie's list, melded with the fabric of Desmond's shirt, is a lost cause, but I'm still holding out hope for that ring... Anyway, Liam's hardly the only one back home who ought to know about someone who survived the crash, but I can't help but hope that in Jack's version, Charlie was one of the two and that somebody tells Liam what became of his brother, or an altered version of it anyway.

I am very worried about Desmond. Seeing his panicked face in the preview and hearing him holler "Am I gonnae die???" as the chopper goes down is not an optimistic picture. The fact that Sayid is on the helicopter gives me hope, since we know he makes it off the island, but all those shots of Des in the preview gave me the idea that this week may be when we see how he got thrown in prison (which I'm guessing has something to do with him refusing to kill someone), and a major character's death is generally preceded by a flashback. If they kill off Desmond, so soon after Charlie, and without letting him reunite with Penny, I will be upset. Very upset. But let's end on a positive note here. Eggtown was a fantastic episode, and the second in a row to provide a major twist at the end. Can they top themselves this week? Can't wait to find out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's No Happy Valentine's Day For Sayid

Last Valentine's Day brought one of LOST's most romantically charged episodes with Flashes Before Your Eyes, in which Desmond got a mysterious second chance to get things right with Penny but still wound up just as miserable before. With The Economist, it's Sayid's turn, but oddly enough, Nadia is not the object of his affections in this deeply disturbing flash forward. She's not mentioned at all, so we have no idea whether she and Sayid have even seen each other since his rescue. Sayid is one of the few people on the island who has someone he desperately wants to get back to, so it's rather disappointing for me to think that the two of them wouldn't end up together, especially since his devotion to her is what got his friend killed.

But even more distressing is Sayid's line of work. I've yet to see a flash-forward that hasn't depressed me. Jack's a drunken, drug-riddled basket-case. Hurley is paranoid and back in the loony bin. Sayid is... a professional assassin. Working for Ben. Ooookay. Of course, we know that he has a violent side to him, forged largely from his military experience. We've seen Sayid kill before. But I didn't want to see it again. I was especially troubled by his cold execution of his fellow golfer in the first flash-forward scene. At least when he kills Elsa, it's in self-defense, and he is really broken up about it. That seems much truer to his character. I can, unfortunately, buy Sayid as a killer, but not an unrepentant one.

What dastardly deeds could the people on this list possibly be up to that would be enough to convince Sayid to annihilate total strangers at Ben's word? What changed between them that this man Sayid tortured, tried to kill and always regarded with deepest distrust would now be able to give him orders? I don't know. I'm less bothered by their alliance than by Sayid's role in it. Actually, it was something of a relief to see Ben alive and well, though I can't place this episode on the flash-forward timeline, so maybe it could still be him in the casket. At least I know he's not going to wind up getting beaten to death by Sawyer, Jack or some other castaway. He still claims to be on their side even in the future, but his methods are as dubious as ever.

Speaking of dubious, it was downright crummy of John to use Hurley to trick Sayid and the gang. I liked how Hurley stood up to him in the beginning of the episode, objecting to any ill treatment of these strangers. He wanted to preserve his own life but not endanger anyone else's in the process. Big-hearted Hurley... That's why I love you. But John managed to manipulate him into being the bait for his unsuspecting friends, knowing that he was the last person they would suspect of foul play. Was it this incident in particular Hurley was apologizing to Jack for? I think it's likely. I also think that what he told them about John going off the deep end was a reflection of his feelings.

I liked Frank and Daniel even more this episode. They both come across as genuinely caring about Charlotte as well as each other. I don't know what Daniel is up to with those weirdo experiments, but he seems really worked up over something. Watching the enhanced version of Confirmed Dead cleared it up for me that Frank was definitely supposed to be the pilot of 815, which is very interesting. I think he's got my favorite line of the season so far with his exchange with Miles in that episode. (M: Where's the helicopter? F: I saw a cow!)

It looked to me like Elsa was wearing the same bracelet as Naomi. Were they tokens of some secret organization of which they were a part, or was it just a coincidence that reminded Sayid of Naomi? His relationship with Elsa was all very James Bond-ish. He even looked a bit like him, so suave and debonair, and apparently he and she were both spying on each other. I think he fell for her; it would appear that perhaps she didn't, though she sure covered it up well until the very end. Evidently Sayid lied about not understanding German because when he shot her, it seemed more a reaction to what she said than to the fact that she shot him. Of course, he was lying about all sorts of things, and the less Elsa knew about him, the better.

It's nice to see Sawyer getting his snark back. That stuff about Ben's little piggies was pretty funny, and he and Kate had some good back-and-forth. I really liked their conversation, and I agree that Sawyer doesn't have much to go back to, except of course for a daughter, but he doesn't seem to want anything to do with her. Besides, I would think somebody would have figured out by now that he killed Frank Duckett, so Kate wouldn't be the only one in chains upon her return. I'd think she would want to stick around too. How does she manage to avoid prison?

It was great to see Desmond bursting into the clearing and seeing that chopper. I think he's pretty desperate to get off that island any way he can, but more than that, he really wants some answers as to how Naomi knew about him. It seems that Daniel and Frank are hiding something on that score, though Frank doesn't seem to mind bringing Desmond along on the chopper. I got a kick out of seeing Des all suited up as the co-pilot. He looked quite at home in that position. If I were Frank, though, I wouldn't count on him being of much help on the way back, if he returns - Desmond can't seem to do anything all the way. I thought that Sayid's trick for getting on the helicopter was pretty clever, and I love that he and Desmond are going to be in cahoots now. They haven't spent much time together up to this point, but I think they could make a pretty good team.

Tomorrow we get another member of the Oceanic Six, which means another flash-forward, which will probably be depressing again. Woo hoo. But it will also no doubt be enlightening. And maybe Sun, Jin, Rose and Bernard will reappear on the island; I hate to see them so underused. Here's hoping!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What the World Needs Now Is LOST (What the World Needs Now Is Love, Hal David / Burt Bacharach)

It's a frigid February. All I want to do is bundle up under the blankets... and watch LOST! Here's a little ode to my favorite show to the tune of What the World Needs Now Is Love. Happy Valentine's Day!

What the World Needs Now Is LOST

What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST.
It's the only show that will thaw this permafrost.
What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST,
Chillin' with our chums in the island sun.

Lord, we don't need another sit-com.
No, their laugh tracks and cheap gags aren't worth a dime,
And their pratfalls and crude punch lines makes us cross.
It isn't comedy; it's a crime!

What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST.
It's the only show that will thaw this permafrost.
What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST,
Chillin' with our chums in the island sun.

Lord, we don't need another game show.
We don't really care how much those people know,
And whenever they clean up, we start to whine,
"Oh, why are they getting all the dough?"

What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST.
It's the only show that will thaw this permafrost.
What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST,
Chillin' with our chums in the warm and steamy desert island sun.

What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST.
What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST.
What the world needs now is LOST, sweet LOST...

I Have an Inkling These Newbies Are Nifty!

So once again, LOST aired on Dad's birthday, and once again Ben's life hung in the balance and was ultimately spared by a castaway. But that's not really what Confirmed Dead is all about. Or is it?

I'm annoyed because I really wanted to watch this episode again, but my computer froze up a million times when I attempted it. So I'm just going to go ahead and write about it before the next episode comes along. Will it be as romantic as last year's Valentine's Day episode? Doubtful. Very doubtful. But I'm sure it will be great!

I loved The Beginning of the End. I have no real objections to Confirmed Dead, but it doesn't feel quite as emotionally satisfying. That, of course, is because the main point of the episode is to introduce us to five different characters. We don't know them yet. We don't care about them yet. So while it's all very interesting to get a glimpse of their backgrounds and try to figure out what they're up to, we're missing our time with the castaways. But what we got was great, especially with John's gang.

First, though, the newbies. Daniel Faraday seems to be the most prominent of the four. He's the one we kept seeing on the previews. He resembles Charlie a bit, though of course he's American. Is he as nefarious as Ben suggests? Though my instincts tell me that Ben isn't lying about the danger inherent in these newcomers, I'm not certain that these four individuals are bad people. Daniel certainly is a tad creepy in his evasiveness - and that gas mask was definitely not a good sign. But he strikes me as an intelligent, empathetic, extremely nervous individual, and I like him. I find his jittery I-just-downed-12-cups-of-coffee mannerisms endearing and reminiscent of Malcolm, my favorite character in Jurassic Park. His name clearly derives from Michael Faraday, a physicist known for his work with electromagnetism. What a natural thing for someone on special assignment on the island to study!

Miles Straum is the most abrasive of the four, the Ana-Lucia of this season. Although his "ghost whisperer" abilities seem to be genuine, he seems to be an opportunist, using his gift for his own gain more than to help others. He's certainly no Melinda Gordon. But he did give that lady half her money back, and he does seem to have cared at least a bit about Naomi. Incidentally, I think we were supposed to think that woman was Walt's grandma, and then we realized she wasn't - or was she? I wouldn't rule out the possibility that she has some connection to somebody on the show, but Walt was not the murdered young man haunting her. I do get the sense Miles did her a favor; I think her grandson was hanging around because he wanted the money disposed of, because with it in her house she was in danger. Anyway, Miles is my least favorite of the new folks, and I can't figure out if there's any significance to his name, but he's not a totally hopeless case. And with all the ghosts that have shown up on LOST, seems like he might come in very handy...

Charlotte Staples Lewis. How excited am I about her name? I squealed when Ben said it. C. S. Lewis has crashed on the island; now we just need to get Tolkien, and we can re-form the Inklings! Figuring out just how she relates to Lewis is tricky, however. By profession, she seems more like Indiana Jones. Of course, Lewis was fascinated by ancient civilizations and religions, so I guess archaeology goes well with his mindset, but my guess is that the link will have more to do with her role in the "man of science, man of faith" debate. Maybe landing on the island, she's a skeptic as to its truly unique properties, but John will play the Tolkien role and help convert her to the side of the faithful. There was even what seemed like a Tolkien reference in her plot thread, when she seemed to have been shot dead by Ben, only for John to discover that she was wearing a bullet-proof vest, like the Mithril coat that saved Frodo in Moria. In any case, I like her. She seems very personable, and the fact that she's English is a plus. As the only new gal in the bunch, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see romance bloom between her and someone. My money's on John. We'll see!

Frank Lapidus is fantastic, a blunt and funny character who seems to have some sort of personal connection to the downed pilot. As Frank is a pilot himself, maybe the two of them went to training together or met at some later point because of their shared experience. He doesn't come across as a polished individual at all. He's rough around the edges, and there's the sense that what you see is what you get - hence the "frank"? "Lapidus" has something to do with stone, and I can't quite make that out, unless it's related to the Black Rock. I'm sure it will become clearer. Out of the four, I'd say he's definitely the least likely to be hiding something. And, dare I say he reminds me a bit of Tom? Only his beard is real! I love his encounter with Mikhail's cow, and how totally discombobulated he was by it. But he's not all disoriented drunk. He knows 815's flight manifest backward and forward. He's clearly obsessed. What has him so intrigued? When he said he was supposed to be "flying" 815, did he mean piloting the plane? And why in the world are they so determined to find Ben?

Matthew Abaddon - I think that's how his name is spelled, and I don't feel like looking it up - is seriously creepy, though. He was very intimidating when he showed up in Hurley's flash forward and just as ominous in this episode. Though he may report to someone - I'm still pretty sure Charles Widmore is pulling the strings here or at least heavily involved - he's very high up in the food chain, and I'm pretty sure he's bad news. He wants to find the survivors of Flight 815, and he wants the rest of the world to think there are none. What does he want with our friends? It can't be good.

The bad part of this episode? No Rose, Bernard, Sun, Jin or Desmond. Everything was Jack and Kate, soon joined by Sayid and Juliet, who make a great team - and I love their conversation on the beach, and John, Ben, Hurley, Sawyer and Claire. What I find really interesting is the fact that Claire sticks up for Ben when John is about to kill him. So does Alex, which I was very happy about; she really does care about him, even though he isn't her biological father, even though he's done so many crummy things. He's still her dad. And like her, I was very worried that Ben might wind up dead in this episode, despite John's initial graciousness toward him and consideration for Alex.

But Claire... I thought that in the aftermath of Charlie's death, she might well react the way Shannon did, by lashing out against whoever she deemed responsible. I figured she'd be really mad at Desmond, though she wouldn't likely go as far as asking someone to kill him. Ben, however, is another story. Ben ordered Mikhail to kill Charlie. Maybe she doesn't know that. Hurley didn't give her all the gory details then and there, and maybe he never elaborated. But if there's anybody there she really has a right to be furious with, it's Ben. Yet she urges John to show him mercy. Is it because of Charlie's message? Or because of her pure heart? I suspect it's the latter, since she also suggested checking on whoever set off the flare. Whatever the reason, though, I found it strangely refreshing. She and Hurley have both suffered a searing loss, but instead of seeking revenge, which is Sawyer's M.O., they continue to build bridges.

John and Ben are both very interested in the fact that Hurley found Jacob's cabin. Ben is startled, clearly not pleased. John's reaction is less clear, but he reminds me of Gandalf when Bilbo lies about how he escaped from Gollum's clutches. It's obvious he isn't buying Hurley's story, but for the time being, he's content just to let it slide. No doubt, though, he will be grilling Hurley about the encounter before too long. Though I still don't approve of John knifing Naomi in the back, I loved him in this episode. The reprisal of his John-Locke-in-a-Rainstorm exhilaration seemed like another baptism, a new chance at a fresh start on the island And his weather-predicting skills continue to be exemplary. I thought his little trick of sending Vincent out with the transponder was pretty clever, and I love that my favorite four-legged cast member had something of significance to do in this episode.

The episode began with the scan of the ocean, and it was very much like the end of Find815, but though the Christiane I was mentioned, there was no trace of Sam. I hope we get to see him at some point! I'm sad that three brilliant episodes have been sacrificed because of the writers' strike, but maybe this season will somehow be even better without them. Challenge sometimes makes us stronger, forces us to explore avenues we might not have considered before. I'm sure LOST's writers can come up with something amazing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mr. Eko Action Figure Review

Mr. Eko is one of the LOST's most mysterious characters. Get to know him better with this figure.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'll Follow My Friend (I'll Follow the Sun, Paul McCartney)

LOST returned last week with a doozy of an opener that included Hurley's impassioned speech to Jack explaining his decision to join Locke in deference to Charlie. Here's my version of it, to the tune of the Beatles' I'll Follow the Sun.

I'll Follow My Friend

Heed the warning that Charlie penned.
He did not die in vain.
No, I'll follow my friend.

I'm in mourning. Don't condescend.
He did not die in vain.
No, I'll follow my friend.

So now the boat has come,
And where's it from? We don't know,
But Penny's not the one
Who is running the show. Oh...

Heed the warning that Charlie penned.
He did not die in vain.
No, I'll follow my friend.
He did not die in vain.
No, I'll follow my friend.

So now the boat has come,
And where's it from? We don't know,
But Penny's not the one
Who is running the show. Oh...

Heed the warning that Charlie penned.
He did not die in vain.
No, I'll follow my friend.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I think that Charlie probably didn't really have to die, that he was so hung up on Desmond's visions that at that point he sort of gave up. I'm guessing the door couldn't be locked from the outside, maybe, so perhaps he figured there was no way to seal off the room if he left, but I'm not sure if that was the case, and anyway you'd think they'd have time to put on the gear before the whole station flooded.

And Desmond is putting too much stock in these visions of his; at first, he was using them to save Charlie's life, but then he was letting them guide him into leading Charlie into danger. The first time it resulted in them finding Naomi, who evidently was bad news, and meeting up with Mikhail, who told Ben what the castaways were up to, which was definitely bad news. The second time, it led to them getting in contact with that freighter, which seems to be a set-up for disaster, and it got Charlie killed. I feel like somebody is somehow controlling these visions and yanking Desmond around like a marionette. He needs to be a little more careful.

I think Hurley has been very haunted by Charlie's death, and what he saw was just replaying what Desmond had described to him. I would say that the figure he saw at that point was not Charlie but Mikhail, that he was just putting himself in Charlie's shoes, but I'm not sure. Charlie's visit to him seemed very much to me like Obi-Wan coming to see Luke. I think he's definitely dead but still able to communicate with the living, though communicating is one thing and slapping somebody in the face is another. He seemed to be too corporeal to be a ghost; more like an angel, like Jonathan on "Highway to Heaven" or something.

Seems to me that all of the Others, and Ben most of all, have major problems when it comes to social interaction. How difficult would it have been to just greet the survivors of the crash right when it happened and ask Jack to fix Ben's spine and warn them that pregnant women are endangered and all that? Why couldn't they all have cooperated with each other? Seems to me that the castaways are going to wind up on the same team when they discover the newbies' sinister purposes; they could have saved one another a whole heck of a lot of heartache if they'd played nice to begin with.

It would be really weird for Walt not to have gone to his father's funeral. And Michael's mother was still around too - though not in LA, I don't think... I suspect we'll be seeing both Michael and Walt soon. I don't know how they're going to handle Walt though, when he's getting so much older than he should be. Seems like he's a time traveler like Desmond or something.

I think there are definitely people who stay on the island, probably by their own choice; I'm thinking maybe they made a pact that Jack, Hurley, Kate and the other three would tell the world that everyone else was dead, so they wouldn't go looking for them, and maybe they were able to jam up communications and hide the island again, because it shouldn't have been that hard for Jack to get back otherwise. His going back doesn't seem to be for particularly noble purposes; I think he just wants to go back for himself because he realizes he was more fulfilled there than he's ever felt back in the "real world". But I think it's like "Brigadoon," and by leaving he had to accept that he wouldn't ever be able to return. But I'm guessing he'll make it back anyway...

LOST Offers Closure at Last, and a New Beginning

First of all, how beautiful is it that season four opens with a Hurley-centric episode? Except... Hurley is just as miserable in the future as Jack is. Why, oh why did they go back? Presumably, Hurley's main motivation was his mother. Where's she in all of this? And if I saw my dearly departed friend in a convenience store, I would think I would be overjoyed rather than terrified. What's Charlie gonna do to you, Hurley? Spit water at you?

But I loved how focused the episode - which I suddenly realized I don't know the name of - was on Charlie. I knew Hurley would take it really hard, but I imagined Claire being the one to go ballistic, and it really was the other way around. I think it was very appropriate, though, that Hurley was the one to break the news. I was rather hoping it would be; the connection there is much deeper, and Claire was in major need of a Hurley hug at that moment. She looked so luminous throughout this episode, and I just felt so bad for her when they all showed up and Sun and Rose ran to their husbands, and her expectant smile turned into a slightly worried frown, and Hurley didn't have to say the words before she knew the truth.

I found his speech to Jack both rousing and touching - though a tad troubling in light of the flash forward. Why was going with John the wrong call? What happened? At any rate, throughout the whole episode we really get a sense of the depth of Hurley's friendship with Charlie. I was also very moved by Sawyer's rather clumsy attempts to reach out to Hurley. Grief and empathy can help one heal; maybe in death, Charlie can help Sawyer to make a fresh start at last. Incidentally, no long goodbyes for any of the Others. Colleen's was actually quite beautiful. But Ben and Juliet are the only Others on hand, and Ben's tied up, while Juliet's jumped ship. I don't think either is too concerned about funeral rites at the moment.

Charlie looked and sounded amazing in this episode. So serene, cleaner than we've ever seen him, totally at peace, yet still very much in possession of his sly wit. What did it all mean? "I am dead, but I'm here." Was he really? I took him at his word, that he was more than a hallucination. Who knows? Yemi, Boone and Christian seem to have spoken from beyond the grave as well. I can't make hide nor hair of Darlton's mythology, but I sure was glad to see Charlie again. While it didn't make me cry like Jonathan Kent's last conversation with Clark did, it somehow made me feel much more hopeful. I don't think Hurley will let himself truly give into despair. But who is "them"? Jack and the other known survivors, or those still on the island? Or both?

By the way, when Hurley said, "I'm one of the Oceanic Six," Libbie and I just repeated incredulously, "Six?!" Goodness gracious. Horrible! Unless it just means there's a big ol' castaway settlement back on the island, and most of them decided they'd rather stay. That's not nearly as depressing. But if so many stayed, why would those six have returned?

I was thrilled to see Rose and Bernard playing such a prominent role again, though I was surprised that Rose went with Jack instead of John when she thinks leaving the island might mean having her cancer come back. I hope that Rose remains a major force. She and John both have been touched by miracles, but she reacts to hers in a very different way. Rose's is a much more mature faith than John's, and when it comes down to it he is much more like Jack than he might like to admit. He needs to have answers. He needs explanations for everything; he just may be a little more open-minded than Jack when it comes to what those explanations might entail. Rose just goes about her business and trusts that things will work out the way they're supposed to.

Poor Ben really was a mess tonight. He was almost back to Henry status, though he wasn't quite so sniveling as he was then. Actually, he cracked me up half the time he was on screen. Ben can be a very funny guy, and it's a mark of how badly he wants to maintain some degree of control over his situation that he is able to make snidely wry remarks when he's in such a predicament. I really did feel bad for him, though, when Danielle socked him in the face; he probably had it coming, but I do believe that in that moment he was genuinely concerned for their welfare and was trying to save them. (And why was everybody so slap-happy tonight? Jack was ready to beat John within an inch of his life, and Charlie whapped Hurley pretty good too. And I was shocked when Jack actually tried to shoot John. Never thought he'd do it.) Jack's "He's all yours" comment was priceless. Which one was he talking to? It could go either way!

Desmond was a desperate gun-toting basket-case. It was heartbreaking when he had to explain to Hurley that Charlie wasn't coming back. I think he's going to have major issues this season - as if he didn't already. I hear a rumor we're going to find out why he wound up in prison during his army service. I can't wait to see that. I think right now he just wants to do something proactive to keep his mind off his misery. In the back of his mind, meanwhile, there is the happy thought that Penny is still out there looking for him, and that now she knows he is waiting to be found.

Hurley deserves happiness. There's a sense that his exuberant cannonball is the last purely joyful moment he's going to have for a very long time, and that makes me sad. This season will be even darker than the last, I suppose, which is troublesome, but there will be enough levity to keep us afloat. Speaking of which... Where are you, Christmas? I have an uneasy feeling it just came and went without being acknowledged. Most unsatisfying!

The new "I wouldn't say rescuing you is our primary objective" guy looks eerily like Charlie, though he sounds nothing like him. I'm still mourning the loss of a potential Billy and Dom reunion. Why couldn't you figure out a way to work that into the script, writer? Couldn't you have made Billy that scummy pal of his in the goofy copier flashback? That would have been something at least... But I digress.

I saw the Oceanic ad during Eli Stone - which was disappointing and totally failed to engage me - and I got a kick out of that, particularly the little snatches of Sam warning us not to listen to those smiling faces encouraging us to get a golden pass. The website doesn't seem to be much yet - nothing but a press release and a privacy policy that I can't open. But something tells me that Sonya is going to show up at some point on the show. When she does, I will be excited.

Who are the other three Oceanic survivors who returned? We know it's Jack, Kate and Hurley. I can't imagine John would have left unless someone dragged him kicking and screaming, and same goes for Ben, who wasn't an Oceanic survivor anyway. Dad thought Michael might have been in the coffin, and I hadn't really considered that one before, but it's certainly a possibility. Presumably he would have been one of the Six, so that only five remain at the time when Jack meets Kate and tells her they have to go back. So many possibilities...

And then there's Jacob, who it would seem Hurley can see. When we caught a glimpse of him, he looked like Christian to me, or was that just my imagination? I'm not sure. But it would not surprise me at all to learn that Hurley, too, is "special". Notice how the Hurleybird started up again as he neared the cabin. Someone needs to tell him something. Hurley is tapped into the island. He just may not realize it yet.

Every time I think I'm done typing, I think of something else, but I probably ought to wrap it up now. I thought it was a phenomenal opener, and I want to give Hurley a ginormous hug right now. I don't like the dreary futures that seem to be unfolding, but I will keep the faith. They're in good hands with Hurley.