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...

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