A picture's worth a thousand words, and for once Jack didn't feel like talking. His demolition expo went a long way in convincing the cool kids what needs to be done next week, which is actually the polar opposite of the 1st season's finale. Out with the running and hiding... in with the dynamite and subterfuge. The way Danielle materialized out of the shadows of those trees was also incredibly cool. Rifle, smirk, swagger - all business.
After a seemingly carefree hiatus, Jack grabs the leadership role this episode and throttles it. He throws democracy out the window and is admittedly dickish in the way he handles things and barks orders. In retrospect however, the old way he's led the 815 group hasn't exactly panned out for him (or them). Jack's changing things up. He also hasn't cried in at least eight or ten episodes, which may be why Rose likes him better.
Naomi's a Noob
I thought the conversation between Naomi and Charlie was a funny jab at LOST's careful balance of secrecy and revelation. When she asks about the upcoming war, Charlie answers her: "That's a long story. Wanna ask me something else?" How very, very Otherish of him. Yet to us, the viewers who have been following this war for three seasons now, it makes perfect sense. Naomi's question is almost annoying. It would take a long, long time for Charlie to fully answer it. But to her, having been on the island for such a short time, it's completely relevant.
This scene is a reflection of all the times we've watched the 815'ers asking all the right questions and then getting vague, useless answers. Naomi's frustration is our frustration. As Charlie says in the opening scene, "Why does everything have to be such a secret?" Well, now we get a little glimpse into that.
Flashback 1 - The Blowout
I liked that we got five individual flashbacks from Charlie this episode instead of a single continuous 'moral of the story' one. As LOST sews up Charlie's loose ends in preparation for his apparent upcoming demise, we got to see that his Greatest Hits came at all different highs and lows during his life.
Hearing himself on the radio for the first time also came at the exact moment Charlie once again 'quit' on something - this time the band itself. Hard times, flat tires, even the license plate on the van spells "LOSERY" if you read it backwards. The recurrent theme of his past flashbacks has been that Charlie's unable to commit to following anything through, and this is one of those times.
All Underwater Hatches Come Equipped With a Standard Moon Pool
Juliet's overly helpful explaination of Ben's underwater jamming station wasn't nearly as impressive as the moment when Sayid busted out a full-blown schematic of the place. Another of Ben's lies is revealed as Juliet mentions he told them it was flooded. Jamming outgoing transmissions was just another level of control for Ben, another tool to keep his people on the island focused and committed. Allowing them to know he was doing this would only increase resentment and dissent.
If the Looking Glass 'Hatch' indeed works this way, it explains one of LOST's most long-standing mysteries: why there has been no rescue. If 815's transponder and ELT (emergency locator transmitter) signals never left the island there would be no way of knowing where the plane was.
However... by the same token communication with Richard such as we saw in the Flame station would be impossible. We could easily assume Ben's in contact with the ladies in the Looking Glass and can therefore flip the yellow light off and on at will, but remember that the Richard-cam scene occured AFTER the plane crash. This would've allowed both 815's and Danielle's transmissions to occur, which is another catch-22.
And although it appears DHARMA used the Looking Glass for 'observation' purposes, we can also assign a deeper meaning to it. Alice in Wonderland's looking glass was a portal to another world. Taking into account that this is LOST, and the fact that the submarine docks with this particular hatch, perhaps Ben's people use it in this way. Perhaps the Looking Glass really IS a portal between the real world and the world of LOST island. Since the purge, I'd imagine many objects on the island have been utilized the way Ben, Jacob, or whomever has wanted them to.
Flashback 2 - Charlie Floats
The pool scene is a happy one, but there's slightly more to it. "I'll catch you" was a ruse, another broken promise to Charlie by someone close to him. Charlie swims on his own, just as he's always had to do everything on his own. We've seen him write the songs, hold the band together by a thread, and be relied upon to support his family. All around him people aren't catching him, hooking him on drugs, or selling his piano out from under his nose. Charlie's on his own.
Ben is Rattled
Returning to camp, Ben's even more pissed than Jack is. Having lost Jacob's favor, Ben is determined to regain it by executing his plan immediately. Nothing else is a factor to him, including Juliet's safety. I'll even bet he's willing to break the island's 'rules', which will probably lead to his downfall.
Curious about Locke's fate, Richard almost puts a hand up to stop him... but one look at Ben's face and he thinks better of it. Ben's still firmly in charge. And once again I'm going to analyze the board of a chess game (Pryce's). Check out the captured pieces: looks like 4 white and 1 black. 4 Others and 1 815'er? Could this be next week's body count? Kinda lines up with some of the spoilers I've read.
Alex is Finished
Killing the white rabbit this episode, Alex is finally at the point of separation from Ben and the Others. Going along with the Alice in Wonderland metaphor, she's no longer following someone else's path. "Is he my father?" - when Alex says this to Carl it isn't even a question. The seeds of doubt Sayid wisely planted are full grown, and next episode is harvest time.
That Gun Gets Around
Alex's gun goes from her to Locke to Ben and then back to her again. She hands it off to Carl, who then gives it to Jack. The gun gets more screentime than Rose and Bernard, and is marginally more interesting.
Still Dunno The Deal With Carl
Something about the whole Carl situation has never seemed right. He's an Other, he's a prisoner, he's a fugitive. After seeing him in Room 23, I've been inclined to think he's special in the Walt sense of the word and they're trying to keep him under control. This may be why Ben's kept him around (Jacob's orders?) but hasn't really kept him 'around'. "You were supposed to bring rabbit" - Alex DID bring him rabbit. Carl's boatride to the main island was a one-way trip. After this, he can't go back and he knows it.
Flashback 3 - Charlie Loves Threesomes
Rich, famous, and swimming in birds, Charlie's at the highest point in his life. Best of all he's doing it drug-free. Liam handing off the ring to him is almost a jinx - at the pinnacle of his life right now Charlie can only go down. "You're gonna get married and have a baby" is sadly ironic, because at this point we know just the opposite is true. Liam's the married one who has a baby, and if Desmond's flashes are correct Charlie's never going to get to do those things.
Bernard is Suddenly an Ex-Sniper
Well, I guess they had to get him into the action somehow.
Rose is Suddenly an Ex-Sailor
Cept' she's got city hands... she's been counting money all her life.
Flashback 4 - Good vs. Evil
Charlie's fourth flashback was by far the most interesting. We see him on the day he met Desmond, and once again the writers use color (or lack of color) to illustrate some points.
Once the rain starts (important), many of the things we see here are black and white. The words COVENT and GARDEN appear as white signs, but in between we see a black sign with the word UNDERGROUND. The camera lingers on a black car and a white car. In the alley, Nadia struggles with a mugger. Nadia's wearing white, the mugger - all black.
Charlie pauses at first, then decides to help. The mugger looks a lot like his brother, or even Charlie - they're both dressed in the same black outfit. This is Charlie facing himself. The dark figure retreats down the alley. Even at such a rough time in his life Charlie makes the decision to be the better person. Nadia reminds him of this, telling him that no matter what anyone tells him he'll always be a hero.
The black/white, dark/light, good/evil imagery in LOST hasn't let up a bit. If anything it's gotten more and more prominent.
Hurley Would Definitely Not Have Fit In That Boat
No way. Did you SEE that boat? Desmond's ass barely squeezed into it.
The goodbye scene between Charlie and Aaron was done really well. The way the baby reached for him was touching. Saying goodbye to Hurley the way he did was another solid scene. Sacrificing himself for the sake of everyone else is true selflessness, but on top of that Charlie spares Hurley the pain of having to watch him die.
Charlie tells Aaron he loves him, and tells Hurley the same thing. But he doesn't tell Claire. Maybe she broke his balls one too many times.
Flashback 5 - The Weight Belt
In the end, the one predominant theme in Charlie's flashbacks is that he's always been on his own. Charlie has always had to help himself. His friends and family have, if anything, been only a negative influence - dragging him down faster than Desmond's weight belt. "When I hit bottom I just let go". The island separated him from those people.
Enter Claire. Charlie meets her at one of the darkest times in his life. Note how he removes his hood when he sees her, ever so slightly changing himself from the very first moment. Although their relationship never fully blossomed romantically (that was a lame goodbye kiss), Claire's influence over Charlie helped lift him up at a time when he needed it.
It Rains A Lot
Last thing I noticed: Two of Charlie's flashbacks contained the same grey, pouring-down rain that we see on the island during special occasions. The rain on the island usually precedes some sort of impending doom, but it also comes with one thing - the whispers.
I think by now most of us can agree that the whispers do NOT belong to the Others. Too many strange things have been said, forwards and backwards, in too many different ways. I think the rain has to do with whomever is "watching" over the 815'ers, and I think when it rains it sort of opens a window into LOST's world for them. The rain is a conduit, evidenced by the way it enabled Walt to appear to Shannon.
Now I've been to London a few times, and I know it rains there... a LOT. That alone might logically explain it always pouring on Charlie. Still, I think this is a special rain. Gut feeling. Which would mean that either the flashbacks are being messed with or someone's been watching over Charlie even before he reached the island.
Hope next week rocks enough to last us nine months.
Recap by Vozzek69