I came to last night’s episode with a lot of trepidation. After three straight terrific episodes, LOST was due for a dud. The previews suggested that we would at last get some movement on the long-awaited (by me, anyway) reunion of Jin and Sun. What’s more, it looked like we were going to get some resolution on what Jin was doing in the freezer at the end of Sayid’s feature episode, which might in turn shed more light on the criminal activity of the Paik family.
The implied temptation of Sun by faux-Locke made me nervous because, while giving the character a feature episode, it seemed like just another way to isolate her from the main cast. Also, I wasn’t looking forward to a flash-sideways of old-school Jin and Sun – not because I don’t like reading subtitles, but because Jerk Jin and Submissive Sun are not as interesting as the characters they have become.
Not a lot of slack in the traditional timeline this week. Hurley, Ben, Lapidus, and Ilana were all pretty under-utilized, but there was enough going on elsewhere to make up for it. In faux-Locke’s camp, Sayid is utterly devoid of emotion and Jin misses his wife. When Locke goes out on a field trip, Widmore’s men raid the camp, knocking everyone out with tranquilizer darts and taking Jin with them.
When faux-Locke returns, he grabs Sayid and heads for Hydra Island to have a little face time with Widmore. A couple of massively important points are laid out here: First of all, this is the first meeting of Widmore and faux-Locke, and they are definitely not on the same side. Sorry, the Internet, Widmore and faux-Locke are not in cahoots. The other massive revelation is that the “war” that Widmore warned of is officially on – and it looks like it’s going to be faux-Locke versus Widmore with the fate of the world at stake.
Nope, that last bit wasn’t hyperbole. Widmore explains to Jin that letting faux-Locke off the Island would make everyone else “cease to exist”. LOST is usually pretty careful with word choice, so I have to believe that the phrase “cease to exist” is not just a poetic way of saying that everyone dies. Does this mean, as a friend of mine has suggested, that the flash-sideways reality shows what the world would be like if faux-Locke got off the Island? I’m not ruling it out, but that world doesn’t seem to be much worse for anybody than their pre-Island lives were.
A sure sign that we’re getting close to the end is how quickly new questions are being answered. While we still have no clue how the hell Anthony Cooper got to the Island, the “package”, a.k.a. the mystery behind the padlocked door is revealed to be Desmond. Considering Henry Ian Cusick’s name has been in the opening titles all season, his reappearance is like the anti-climax of Michael’s return in Season 4, but it’s nice to finally see him.
Meanwhile, on the beach, Sun hits her head and forgets how to speak English (seriously) while everyone waits around for Richard to come back and tell them what to do. When Richard returns, he’s all, “Let’s go to Hydra Island and get rid of that plane,” which Sun (who still understands English) is less than thrilled about.
What eventually settles Sun down is Jack, who is riding the destiny train to work these days, and who has returned to the quiet, confident, heroic Jack that we saw early in the show’s run, instead of the erratic Jack who characterized the show’s middle and late periods. I don’t think Jack’s group will wind up allies with one side or the other here – I think the “war” between Widmore and faux-Locke is just a cover from the more important tasks the core characters have in front of them.
The flash-sideways answered the question of how Jin got in the freezer, but we didn’t learn much about the aftermath. In the flash-sideways, Jin still works for Mr. Paik, but he and Sun are not married – he has ostensibly accompanied her to LA to be her bodyguard – though they are carrying on a secret affair.
In the show’s traditional history, Jin went to work for Mr. Paik as part of the wooing process, so his flash-sideways employment came by other means. While Sun’s father extended a measure of gruff acceptance to Jin in the main timeline, here he has a hands-off-the-daughter policy, which Jin has violated. The purpose of delivering the watch and the $25,000 is so that Keamy can whack Jin.
Despite what was seen in the season premiere, flash-sideways Jin and Sun are not as jerky and submissive as they were in the early days of the show. Jin is still protective, but sensitive, while Sun’s self-confidence is much higher. The other big difference is that Jin isn’t shooting blanks off-Island in this reality, as she reveals herself to be pregnant (after being shot in the abdomen) at the conclusion of the flash-sideways.
I’ve been pining for the Jin-Sun reunion all season, so I’ll take this compromise for now. Sun’s heading to Hydra Island now, so their “for real” reunion is drawing closer, but there will likely be a few more obstacles in the way.
- I was a little disoriented by the scene with Jin in Room 23 – I kept waiting to see him in a big walk-in freezer in the flash-sideways, so for a second I thought that’s where the brainwashing video and Zoe were hanging out. The room famously held Alex’s boyfriend and Walt, and Zoe explains that it was used in Dharma experiments. Is this just a callback to something earlier, or are we going to learn more about the purpose of the room and Ben’s post-purge use of it?
- Nice to see Sun’s old garden again. I’ve mentioned this before, but after the relative chaos of Seasons 4 and 5, I enjoy seeing the old familiar places.
- It did seem a little incongruous that Ben was the one who found Sun – it seemed like such a Jack scene. Was the fact that Ilana didn’t believe his story supposed to be comic? If so, the joke fell flat.
- Last season, Sawyer mentioned that Jin was mapping the Island grid by grid to find Rose and Bernard. Zoe mentions something about geothermic activity and the fact that she’s a geophysicist. There’s been rumors about a volcano on the Island for awhile now – is Widmore planning on keeping faux-Lock contained Pompei-style?
- So… faux-Locke pretty much told Claire she could kill Kate later, right?
- The line about faux-Locke not being able to smoke monster his way over the water got me thinking… why not make “Smoke on the Water” his official outrigger theme song?
- Mikhail has two eyes right up until he’s killed, then it’s back to the old-school cyclops look. Any chance we’ll ever hear anything more about the glass eye the Tailies found?
- Usually Hurley is the one who says whatever the audience is thinking, tonight it was Miles piping up about the unlikely bump-on-the-head-forget-how-to-speak-English scenario. Is this the flash-sideways moment bleeding into the traditional timeline? Sun’s mirror moment seemed more pronounced than everyone else’s so far.
- Lapidus misses bacon – always knew I liked Frank.
- Daniel Dae Kim’s reaction to seeing pictures of his daughter for the first time was pretty great – emotional yet understated.
- So at the end of the episode by the submarine, do you think the script actually read, Sayid emerges from the water like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now?
- They blared bagpipe music throughout the teaser for next week’s episode. Can we count on that for next week, too? Do we get flash-sideways Desmond, or time-tripping Desmond? I’m way hoping it’s time-tripping Desmond.