Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Death and Life of John Locke

John Locke is alive! Shall we shout it from the rooftops? Of course, as long as we've known John Locke was in that coffin, we've known that Ben intended for him to return to the Island, which suggested to me that he might not be staying in that coffin. Still, I didn't expect it to happen so quickly. Plane lands, John's good as new. Boy, that was easy. New John seems a bit dazed, like the first time he landed on the Island. So far, he appears completely serene, and I loved the crinkly smile on his face when he bit into that juicy mango, reminding me of his orange peel smile way back in the first season. The smile that earned such a disgusted look from Kate; their relationship hasn't improved much. Anyway, I saw John talking to Ilana on the preview, but I figured that was an off-Island moment and that he was recalling what happened when he turned the donkey wheel as a death-like experience. I didn't think we'd just suddenly see him walking and talking back on the Island.

These writers are making it really tough to figure out who, if anyone, is trustworthy. The first time we saw Abaddon, he was freaking Hurley out, and the ominous air and diabolical name weren't marks in his favor. And it is because of him that John wound up on the Island. But landing on the Island was the best thing that ever happened to John. And seeing Abaddon again, carting John here, there and everywhere before finally falling victim to Ben, he really seemed more helpful than harmful. And also more of a lackey than a mastermind. Widmore's Tom Friendly. So was he as evil as Hurley thought? Much as I love Hurley, he seems to have spent most of his time off the Island having nervous breakdowns, so I wonder just how useful he is as a judge of character at this particular point in his life.

I suspected for a long time that Charles Widmore was much more important than his role as a flashback character might lead us to believe. Generally, I've been leaning toward him being sinisterly significant, but could it be that he's really a pretty decent guy? Even if he murdered his fellow teenage Other and sent a boatload of C4 to the Island? He sure doesn't strike me as a nice guy. But who's worse, Ben or Charles? And where does Ms Hawking fit into all this? I do think that Charles had a huge hand in orchestrating Desmond's path to the Island and that his derisive treatment was less about Desmond being unworthy of Penny and more about driving him to enter that race. I also wonder if he had anything to do with Libby showing up at just the right time to give Desmond her boat, and if we're ever going to get a little more back story on her.

Both Charles and Ben really played on John's longing to be special in The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham. The odd thing is that while apparently those two are epic rivals, they both seem to see John as crucial to succeeding in their plans. They also both denied to John that he was supposed to die. But Ben evidently didn't mean it; did Charles? Would a completely different scenario unfold if John had returned to the Island as passenger instead of cargo? I have to say that while I don't trust Charles, at least not yet, he did seem to come off better here than Ben, who I keep half-forgetting is nearly as skilled an actor as Michael Emerson. I loved his giddiness in wrapping his mind around the concept of John’s meeting him only four days ago, when he remembered it as 50 years ago. (Speaking of which, if he ruled the Island for 30 years, mustn’t Penny have been conceived there? Because he sure didn’t seem in charge yet at 17, and Penny is well over 20.)

Ben's big scene with John was one of the most gripping in LOST history. Generally speaking, I'm not sure any two actors on the show have more intense chemistry than Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn. What a confrontation! It reminded me of the climactic scene in Scent of a Woman, and though I knew that Ben's determination to save John must be motivated primarily by self-interest rather than actual human concern, it sure did seem for a minute there that he genuinely cared about John. His emotional pleas touched me, and as I looked at the clock I thought, "Gee, maybe he sincerely tried to stop John from killing himself but John didn't listen." When he succeeded in talking him down, it was a thrilling moment, but there was so little time left in the episode, I did entertain the thought that now that he had control of the cord, Ben might turn all murderous. But why go to the trouble of stopping the suicide just to brutally strangle him moments later? (Side note: Sort of interesting that John and his father died the same way...) Did he always intend the evening to end with John's death, or was that sudden improvisation? He was surprised, and apparently pleased, to learn that Jin was alive. Then he heard about Ms Hawking, and he snapped. Had he just been waiting for enough information for him to continue his mission without John, or did the specific mention of her send him into a panic? It almost seemed to be the latter. I'm wondering if it was Ms Hawking who informed Ben that the coffin containing John Locke would have to return to the Island. His parting shot - "I'll miss you, John, I really will" - didn't carry much of an indication that he expected to see John again.

I don't think that Ben was supposed to be on that plane to the Island. While Jack, Kate and Hurley vanished and materialized in the jungle in perfect condition, Ben wound up grievously injured and stuck with the rest of the passengers. Of course, he wasn't in such good shape to begin with. But I wonder if all of Ben's orchestrations were mostly for the purpose of hitching onto the Oceanic Six on their return to the Island, since he couldn't get back on his own. I have to laugh at John's calm identification of Ben as "the man who killed me." He's being surprisingly forthright with everybody back on the Island, and Ilana and Caesar must think he's a bit loony. Given the way their relationship progressed the last time Ben tried to kill John, I don't see John trying to avenge himself. Mostly, I think he's going to want a really good explanation, and Ben will probably give him one, and it will probably be mostly bogus, and John will probably be only slightly skeptical. I do think the idea of Ben having ousted Charles seems pretty plausible, though I don't know if I buy the three decades of peaceful protection. Seems like the Hostiles were causing a lot of trouble in those years. So maybe getting rid of Charles was the best thing Ben could have done for the Island.

When John decided to kill himself, what were his motivations? Did he do it because Richard said he had to die or because he was just so darn miserable? Or both? It didn’t seem to me that he wanted to end his life; maybe he thought that was the only way to get through to the Oceanic Six, but I don’t really see the reasoning behind that. It seemed to me that he didn’t try hard enough to sway the people he went to visit. He gave up more easily than I expected. Then again, he certainly was poorly received. But Charles didn’t put a timeline on John’s mission, and neither did Christian or Richard. What was to keep John from trying again? Did he feel too helpless, stuck in a wheelchair and minus his chauffeur? I wonder if Charles knows at this point that John is dead, and that the castaways are headed to the Island. How does that fit into his master plan? Is he upset, or is he satisfied?

Walt was the only one who really seemed pleased to see John. That brief conversation was the happiest we saw John in his entire time as Jeremy Bentham. He seemed to be radiating paternal affection for the teen who, for John, had so recently been just a boy. Walt always had a special bond with John, and he was one of the few castaways who actually wanted to stay on the Island and took deliberate steps to keep himself there. So of all the castaways, I think Walt would have been most receptive to John’s invitation, had he issued it. But he didn’t. Why? Because he couldn’t face the idea of Walt finding out what really happened to his father? Maybe Walt’s dreams spooked him too. He brushed them off so Walt wouldn’t worry, but if he was foretelling future Island turmoil, perhaps John didn’t think the Island was a safe place for him. Not that it’s really so much safer for anybody else... I hope that wasn’t the writers’ way of saying goodbye to Walt once and for all.

Hurley was friendly enough to begin with. When he thought John was dead. I thought that snippet of conversation was probably the funniest bit of dialogue in the episode. John’s gently confused reaction to Hurley’s queries was priceless. But his demeanor changed quickly when he realized it was John in the flesh. Even at that point he was somewhat collected, able to carry on a rational conversation, but as soon as Abaddon entered the equation, Hurley went buggy. On a side note, I didn’t know Hurley was so artistic. Any significance to his choice of subject?

Hurley was a frustrating interview, but John could have brushed that off as mental instability on Hurley’s part. The rest? Not so much. Interesting that he didn’t go to see Sun; he seemed to think staying away from her was better than trying to lie about Jin. Maybe he didn’t think he’d be able to convince her. When Ben said, “A promise is a promise,” I thought he was going to suggest that he talk to Sun instead of John, a neat little loophole. The ring fell into Ben’s lap as an unexpected bargaining chip. If John hadn’t been determined to honor Jin’s request not to bring Sun back, he probably would have found her more receptive than the rest. But it didn’t work that way. Sayid was calm, rational and pleasant throughout their conversation, but he was also condescending, and I can’t argue with his notion that John is being yanked around. Abaddon, Ben, Richard, Charles, Christian... who isn’t manipulating him? Good for Sayid for deciding to devote his time to charitable organizations. It’s hard to fault him for channeling the angst from two horrific years into physical labor for the good of others, and for finding that preferable to what John was proposing.

I can’t decide which meeting was worse, Jack or Kate. Jack was exhibiting clear signs of substance abuse. He was almost as surly and fuzzy-headed as he was in our first glimpse into his future. He was cruel and cutting, insisting that there was nothing special about John, or about any of them, for that matter. Also, John isn’t that much older than Jack. Two decades at most. I feel like the “sad old man” comment was partly a reflection of Jack’s still-unresolved father issues, which inevitably came up again. John’s mention of Christian really unsettled Jack and maybe was what ultimately drove him to start looking for the Island. Kate wasn’t looking so hot either. Lethargic and world-weary. Her quiet assessment of John, as a pathetic man who’d never loved anyone seemed unfair to me, but her “Look how far you’ve come,” while vicious, didn’t seem that out of line, particularly the “obsessed” part. John is obsessive by nature. That hasn’t changed. And it could still get him into trouble.

I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say here. Just that this episode was every bit as intense as I expected and that I’m glad John’s still going to be around. And I want to know what in the world was going through Ben’s head in that suicide/homicide scene. I’m guessing I’ll have to wait a while on that. Looks like we’re back to Jack’s gang and Sawyer’s group next week - and maybe, given the French title, Danielle will factor in there somewhere, too. I assume that moment the previews say we’ve all been waiting for is Sawyer’s reunion with Kate, though I’m getting a little tired of Kate’s petulance and am not sure how much I’m looking forward to that reunion after all. If Jack is there when it happens, which he probably will be, that could be really awkward. Frankly, I’m more interested in Sawyer’s reunion with Hurley...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to the Island (Boy, That Was Fast!)

It took four seasons to get the Oceanic 6 off the Island and four episodes to get them back on it. I was surprised at how quickly it all happened; before the season started, I would have guessed it would take them at least a season. So they took off on Ajira 316, a flight with as many parallels to Oceanic 815 as they could muster. And it starts all over again...

Of course, I was not surprised to see that the episode with this title had the most overt Christian overtones since Catch-22; it's a short leap from 316 to John 3:16, especially when you factor in John Locke. Instead of a monastery and a discussion of Abraham and Isaac, it was a church, and Ben, of all people, was giving Jack a lesson on the apostle Thomas. I really liked that scene. I liked how Ben was sitting there, hands folded, looking reverent, when Jack came in. How he stood up for Thomas, who I always felt a little sorry for. Or maybe it wasn't so much standing up for Thomas as warning Jack that he might be remembered more for doubting John than for his heroics in caring for the castaways. Or maybe he was comparing himself to Thomas. It's always hard to tell just what Ben is driving at, but I found the conversation fascinating, not least because Ben was so well-versed in the Gospel, or at least a small part of it. And there was just a hint of the Life and Death theme, and it was all very stirring. And then Ben said he had a promise to keep to an old friend, and I wanted to slug him.

I don't know when we're going to find out whether that "promise" was fulfilled. Ben was certainly upset and unsettled when he called Jack, but was it because he failed or because he succeeded but found that sort of revenge was not so satisfying after all? Or was he just upset because somebody beat him up? The most likely culprit there is Desmond, but it could have been Penny herself. Or maybe Sun or Sayid had something to do with it; could Widmore have tipped Sun off that Ben might try something? But Ben didn't seem bothered by their presence on the plane, and if they were involved, wouldn't they let Jack in on what was going on? In any case, things didn't go just how Ben intended, but whether or not Penny is still alive is a mystery that may hang over the rest of the season. Killing off Charlotte and Penny both would be a low blow, though, especially after Nadia last season. And when we get that back story on Annie, it might not be so pleasant. Sigh. Still, it's too early to give up on Penny yet.

I don't think we have to worry that Aaron got killed. He's too critical to the story. But his whereabouts are a big mystery too, and I wonder if we'll see him again this season. Kate was obviously distraught when she came to Jack, but was he forcibly taken from her, or did she leave him with someone because someone sold her on going back to the Island but she was too spooked by that dream she had about Claire to bring Aaron along? It seems like he's going to have to join them at some point. Maybe Walt will bring him back. Or Desmond, despite his seething protests that he was done with the Island. You can hardly blame him for hating Ms Hawking. Is she really on their side, or is she a sinister puppet master? There is something undeniably creepy about her.

I wonder if, after this week, we're done with John, since the episode ends with his death. Will we meet him in the past? Will he suddenly spring to life? Or is Terry O'Quinn no longer a part of LOST? It's hard to imagine a season and a half of the show without him. But the fact that he's a stand-in for Christian's corpse seems to make the resurrection theory slightly less likely. Unless it means that John springs to life and Christian winds up back in the box? Because Christian is an awfully lively corpse... Speaking of which, was that man really Jack's grandfather, or was "Granddad" just a nickname? Because he didn't look a day older than Christian to me. Then again, Anthony Cooper always looked way too young too. It was odd to see Jack's grandpa after all this time, seemingly a major part of Jack's life, but we didn't even know he existed up until now.

How did Sayid and Hurley know about the flight? My guess is that Sun found them and told them, and somehow she convinced them. Sayid was in handcuffs, but I'm not sure if he was really under arrest or if it was for show. The officer with him was talking to John in the preview, which makes me think she was in on it and that the handcuffs were mostly about recreating more conditions of the original flight. Meanwhile, I thought it was sweet that Hurley brought a guitar to represent Charlie, and the comic book was a good idea. But what I really loved was that he bought up the last 78 seats on the plane, trying to do something proactive to keep more people from getting killed. (What, incidentally, makes everyone so sure that they will survive the crash again?) Just a few days ago, Jack was at the point where he didn't care who he brought down with him; he just had to get back to the Island. Now at least he's worried about his fellow passengers, while Ben, who probably has no business returning to the Island at all, is aggressively indifferent. I'm a little surprised at how violently frightened Hurley is of Ben this season; is it just because of Sayid, or did John say something to him? He didn't seem to be that hugely spooked by Ben the last time they were together.

I was amused by Ms Hawking's dismissive comment to Jack that Ben was probably not telling the truth about not knowing about her secret lair with the pendulum (with the wonderfully Lewisian name of the Lamp Post). From what little we've seen of their interactions, she seems to view Ben as a pest. They're tenuously on the same team, but she doesn't have much respect for him. I also thought Ben's snippish reply to Jack about his mother teaching him how to read was funny, though even there he was lying. Unless he was motivated to learn how to read to escape the loneliness of not having his mother, or something like that. Not likely, though. I think it was just a smart-alecky response, and he said the first thing that popped into his head. I imagine he wishes his mother had taught him... Judging by the previews, he was also lying about not knowing John committed suicide; it looks like he actually facilitated it.

I was excited to hear Frank's name and then to see him, barely recognizable without his facial hair. I figured that he must know what was going on because it would be too coincidental otherwise, but it seems he was completely in the dark. "We're not going to Guam, are we?" Ha! Funniest line of the night. It was encouraging because it made me think that maybe he'd let the plane down nice and easy, since he was in the know. Perhaps no crashing would be involved. But then the plane started shaking, and there was a blinding light, and who knows what happened? How did Jack, Kate and Hurley get off the plane, and what became of everybody else? That opening scene was strange; I figured Jack was having a dream, recalling that first Island landing but bringing Kate and Hurley more immediately into it. It was a decent chunk of a scene that we saw repeated at the end, but I think the bookends made sense.

I wonder if we won't be seeing the Oceanic 5 (plus Ben and Frank) for a while after The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham; I'd say Sawyer's crew has a bit of catching up to do. What's Jin doing in a Dharma uniform? How much time has passed for him since John disappeared? I suspect that the guy sitting next to Hurley, the one who offered his condolences to Jack, survived the plane crash and will become a part of the gang. And surely Frank will fare better than the first pilot. I'm glad the focus stayed on Jack's crew for the whole episode; an awful lot needed to happen here, and I doubt many people minded leaving the Islanders for a while.

Originally, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham was supposed to air first; no matter what, some backtracking would have been involved in that episode. I wonder what made them decide to change the order? I'm guessing we won't see the Islanders this week either. But we probably will see Walt, which is an exciting prospect. And this may be the last dose of Terry O'Quinn we get for a long while, so I'm prepared to enjoy it. And to predict that his name might be on that Emmy list again. Everybody on LOST is fantastic, but O'Quinn, Michael Emerson and Henry Ian Cusick are just a smidge above everybody else, I think, though that's partly because they're getting the best material. Jeremy Davies might actually have a shot this season too. But for now, I'm focusing on John...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alas, Charlotte, We Hardly Knew Ye...

In an episode entitled This Island Is Death, it's not much of a surprise that some unpleasant things happened - the main one, of course, being that Charlotte, who uttered the titular phrase, died. I was hoping she would get cured somehow, or at least stick around for a while longer. Alas, no luck. I did find her comments about her childhood interesting. I still feel like there's a slight possibility that she could be Ben and Annie's daughter; it would've made them teenage parents, probably, and she would have left the island right around the time Alex was abducted. It seemed like Charlotte had blocked out her childhood, so it could be conceivable that she didn't recognize Ben. But unless she had her name changed, how could Ben not know who she was? He even tried to killer. So yeah, it's probably a pretty flimsy theory. But she's gotta be connected to somebody.

Also a bummer was Danielle's massacre of her shipmates, though we knew that was coming. The "sickness" appears to be alleged possession by Smokey; I don't know if they cracked up or she did. Robert did try to kill her, but only after she killed at least two of their party and was about to kill him. So he might have been desperate, not crazy. It did seem to me that the voice calling from underground was Smokey; the "I'm injured" was a laughable understatement, and the whole thing just seemed like a trap. Since they were at the Temple, I thought Jin might flash forward and meet up with a bunch of Others, but joining up with the castaways was better. His reunion with Sawyer was a rare and beautiful moment of jubilation. He got together with them faster than I expected, but I didn't mind.

The flashes got way out of hand in this episode; they were starting to give me a headache! John going down into the well seemed like a very bad idea given the frequency of the flashes, though there was something grimly funny about the sight of Sawyer tugging on that rope. I also thought Juliet's comment about their luck in landing in a time when the Orchid existed was a rather amusing indication that they were about to jump into a pre-Orchid moment. And the little exchange between Sawyer and Miles when Sawyer asked him to translate for Jin was good, though I knew about that one already, since Daniel Dae-Kim mentioned it in an article in TV Guide.

Smokey and Charlotte were mighty interesting, but perhaps the oddest thing of all was Christian showing up to guide John through the getting-off-the-island process. His delivery of the line questioning John's decision to listen to Ben was classic. I've been thinking of Christian as a sort of mouthpiece for Jacob; I'm starting to wonder if he actually is Jacob himself. That seemed to be implied in his conversation.

The off-island stuff was great too. I wasn't surprised to see Kate take off. A little more surprised about Sayid, but then he still has a deep grudge against Ben. I liked Sun's conversation with her daughter; it was the sweetest we've seen her in a long time. And I'm glad we got to actually see Ji Yeon; I was starting to wonder if there was something fishy about her absence. I thought it was great when Ben stopped the car and had his little pity party. And I did feel sorry for him, though given what Christian said, I can't help but wonder if his agenda doesn't quite line up with John's. I also loved when Jack said, "I thought John didn't come to see you?" and Ben replied, "He didn't, Jack; I went to see him!" Way to get off on a technicality... I think my favorite off-island moment, though, was when Desmond suddenly busted in out of nowhere and demanded to know what Ben, Jack and Sun were doing, and Ben said he figured the same thing he was doing. "You're here to see Daniel Faraday's mother?" he asked, provoking a startled facial response from Ben suggesting that he didn't realize Ms Hawking was related to Faraday. And of course, he didn't answer. But they all went into the church together, one happy little band - for the moment. I was hoping for some interacting between Desmond and Ms Hawking, but the disoriented look on his face when he saw her will suffice for now.

I guess that's about it for now, but I really enjoyed this episode and am anxious to see the next episode, which, according to IMDb, is John-centric. And also in two weeks. I was unaware of that; I guess I'll have to be extra patient!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Time to Brush Up on My French...

So The Little Prince was a Kate episode, to the extent that anything other than a Desmond storyline can be truly centered on one character at this point - and even Desmond's course is likely to collide with the Oceanic 6 by the time we see him again. In reality, this was one of the most integrated episodes of the series thus far, with the focus sprinkled all over the place, which is one nice thing about the current format. We get to see different people on the Island and off, so if Kate and Jack aren't your cup of tea, you won't have to wait long to see Sawyer and Locke.

I'm still not quite clear on how the book The Little Prince factors into this episode. It's a French book; could it be a little clue of what was to come toward the end? With all the fuss about Aaron, one would think that "little prince" refers to him, though it could also be Miles, who seems even more likely to be Wickmund's son after Daniel's conclusion that time-travel sickness first affects those with prolonged exposure to the Island. That certainly applies to Desmond, and I'm guessing we'll see how Charlotte figures into that before long. I didn't notice the actual novel lying around at any point in the episode, or the cartoon playing on TV. Maybe the reference is intentionally obscure.

I was led astray a few times in this episode. When we were trying to figure out who was trying to take Aaron, I guessed Claire's mother, and that seemed confirmed when we saw her later on. But then she wound up having nothing to do with Aaron - though I would think she would be suspicious now, and the Oceanic 6 may have to contend with her. I also was thinking that the castaways' last leap was to the night Desmond crashed, and when I saw it wasn't him I was momentarily disappointed - until I realized that getting Danielle's back story first-hand is a much more interesting development.

It did occur to me, after we saw Ben talking to his lawyer, that maybe he was behind the plot to get Aaron, but I don't see how he could have any legal claim to him. Or was he just hoping that Kate would be driven right into Jack's arms? No doubt his idea was quite convoluted, whatever it was. The funny thing is that if he'd managed to convince Hurley to come along with him, every member of the Oceanic 6 would have been sitting in the parking lot at the end of the episode. Convincing Sun and Kate to return to the Island might be extra tricky, though. I'm also troubled by the implication I've received from Entertainment Weekly that not every member of the Oceanic 6 will return. Where does that leave things? And if Ben has been focusing his post-Island energies on getting them back, why did he ever let them leave in the first place? Then again, could he have done anything to stop them?

We got very little Hurley in this episode, but that little bit was amusing, and the lawyer's intel indicated that maybe Ben and Sayid won't have to break him out of maximum security after all. Getting him to return to the Island might still be a hurdle, but at this point I think Sun is the main obstacle. I can't see her successfully murdering Ben right then and there, though, if only because that would prevent the inevitable confrontation between Ben and Penny. Jack and Sayid will have to intervene, and maybe Kate as well, though I think she's still awfully freaked out about Ben's presence. Her shock at seeing him was palpable.

Interesting to see that Jack wasn't especially in favor of Kate posing as Aaron's mom. I guess it makes sense, though, especially since as a doctor he would know how implausible it would be that she would have been six months pregnant at the time of the plane crash. I loved their little exchange at the end of the first scene. "Are you with me?" "I have always been with you." So much like Frodo and Sam in Return of the King: "I need you on my side, Sam." "I'm on your side, Mr. Frodo." Unlike Sam, however, Kate's loyalties have often been in question.

We're starting to revisit past events on the Island, which could lead to some pretty interesting intersections. Evidently John has watched enough Back to the Future to know that it's best to avoid contact with one's former self. As soon as he knew what the time frame was, he steered clear of the castaways' camps, though that didn't prevent Sawyer from seeing Claire give birth. I thought we might see Charlie and Jin, too, though I decided it would be rather silly to bring them back for such a short scene, especially when they only would have been in the background. Little did I know that Jin was on his way... Actually, I'm not clear on whether that scene was re-shot; maybe there was just some creative splicing going on.

Richard was hanging around the Orchid before John disappeared, so I imagine John is hoping to see him there. Otherwise, he may have some idea of how to get off the Island, but he's pretty unclear on what to do after that. He knows he has to get the Oceanic 6 back, but how are they supposed to find the Island? And why does he have to die? Libbie brought up the very pertinent point that Sawyer and company probably will not have lived three years by the time Jack and the gang get back. More likely, it'll just be 70 hours from the end of The Lie, and one of their jumps will take them to 2008. In other words, very fast-paced season, with a reunion before the end of it. Which leaves a big "Then what?" for season six, if nobody is trying to get off the Island or on it. Fixing all the mistakes of the first five seasons, perhaps?

I figured Jack would get into trouble for showing up in the hospital, and he did; I wasn't really counting on thugs trying to get Sayid while he was still a patient. It doesn't seem like anyone other than Ben would know that he was there. But if Ben's goal is to get the Oceanic 6 back to the Island, why would he send an attacker? The same reason he tried to take Aaron by force? What if the lawyer leaked that information to the public? Wouldn't that cause a big stir, and lots more problems? Anyway, if it's not a Ben scheme, then I suppose it could be somebody connected with Widmore or Abaddon or one of the guys Ben was having Sayid assassinate. Whoever it was, it's unsettling.

I can't decide if I'm glad that Sawyer now knows that Kate is alive. Maybe now he'll be a little less miserable. But if he still thought she was dead, the eventual reunion would be all the more dramatic... It's clear from his reaction to seeing her that he's very much in love with her. I'm not sure how much stock he puts in John's plan, but I think he's glad to have any kind of plan at all. I like the fact that, for the first time I can remember in the show, Sawyer said what could be considered a prayer, and a prayer of gratitude, no less. Of course, he immediately took it back - but that further suggests that he thought maybe, just maybe, Someone was listening.

It was a great episode, but the most exciting element by far was saved until the last minute, when we discovered that we were going to get to see the aftermath of Danielle's crash and, even more importantly, that Jin was alive. Yes, he somehow survived the explosion after all! And has apparently been semi-conscious for the past day or so. I always suspected that he was alive, but it sure was nice to see that it wasn't just wishful thinking. I went back and read the transcript of Solitary for hints of Danielle having met Jin; I suppose I should peruse the other episodes she appeared in as well. I can't recall anything. I do wonder, though, whether the mysterious illness she referenced could have something to do with the time-travel sickness. It probably won't be long before Jin is affected. I wonder if he will reconnect with Sawyer's group during Danielle's time? Danielle, by the way, seems very pretty, sweet and well-balanced. She appears to have her act totally together. But 16 years all by yourself surrounded by hostile forces would unhinge anybody.

I was frustrated by all the atmospheric barriers to my translating what Danielle and her crew were saying, though I doubt I would have caught much of it even if it hadn't been raining cats and dogs. My French is pretty rusty. I found a transcript that did provide a translation, and I didn't miss much.

The episode concludes with us knowing nothing about the people who were shooting at our pals, though the boats Sawyer and Locke used looked just like Karl's. That suggests "other Others," apparently not too far into the future since the camp looks freshly abandoned by Rose, Bernard, Vincent and whatever random redshirts have managed to survive this long. Those three (-plus) had better show up again before too long. I don't want a repeat of season three in terms of the Rose and Bernard quotient. Desmond, Claire and Frank have good reasons to be MIA; Rose, Bernard and Vincent, not so much. Otherwise, I'm very happy with the distribution of character time. The next episode is entitled This Place Is Death, which is very spooky and doesn't sound like something a native English speaker would say. That is, I'm guessing it's something Danielle or Robert or maybe some other member of their crew say about the Island. We shall see...