Remember last season when we all complained that the flashbacks were getting repetitive and boring (because they were)? Well that problem’s long gone. The new problem is trying to assimilate all the new data as the answers come flying in. Here goes:
I’ve changed my opinion on Charlotte. Too many people have pointed at too many things, and re-watching last week’s episode again she cast one too many sly looks (one of them being at the exact moment Ben blew her up). Dan, Miles, Frank? They’re the three blind mice. Dan’s too loveably eccentric to be ‘acting’ scatterbrained, and this week confirms our assumption that Miles is only in it for the money (said to Jack, low in the background: “…for what they’re paying me?”). Frank’s knowledge is zero – he’s nothing but a vehicle to get them to and from the island, the only pilot able to do so. And although Naomi might’ve known a little bit more than them, she still didn’t know the whole deal.
But I think Charlotte does. The Freighter crew wouldn’t have sent that chopper without at least one person who knew the true mission, and that person’s shaping up to be Charlotte. Which was pretty funny, because Locke was lucky enough to have her fall into his hands… only to trade her away for a handful of magic beans (Miles). Charlotte’s assertion that she “has work to do” after refusing the chopper ride only strengthens this idea. She’s got a job to accomplish, and you can bet it’s not paleontological.
Jack’s dismissal of Juliette this episode was as unsubtle as it was hilarious. Wanting some alone time with Kate, Jack needs to feel her out on the whole Sawyer thing. After some quick thinking, he decides to go with the whole “If you love something, set it free” philosophy. Is Kate a valuable asset to Sayid’s mission? Sure. Does Jack believe Sawyer will protect her? Definitely. But Jack’s third motive in sending her is to see if she’ll come back. He gives Kate another chance to stay with James – the old if she doesn’t come back, she wasn’t his to begin with. Sadly for him, this turns out to be the case. Looks like Kate’s gonna try and play house with Sawyer, and with Bai Ling now in jail for shoplifting, Jack had better get working on Juliette.
I was thinking also about the Oceanic 6. Can Kate really be one of them? What Sawyer says is true: she’s got nothing to go back to but a pair of handcuffs. We know Kate gets off the island, but does she come back to a parade/cash settlement/golden ticket like Hurley, Jack, and Sayid? Or does sneak out under the radar the way Ben did? My theory is she’s forced to leave. Something happens during departure and Kate is swept up against her wishes. I think this is why she’s so angry with Jack in last season’s finale. Kate and Sawyer were going to play house, but then maybe something happens to separate them.
He isn’t exactly a man you go and see…
Locke breaks the first rule of going to see Jacob – right in front of his whole flock of followers. His frustration mounts, but at the moment he wants to let it out, Claire reminds him she has a baby to feed. Having acted according to his own agenda for the entire show, Locke’s suddenly burdened with the responsibility that comes with being a leader… and Ben’s sure going to rub his nose in it - right in front of everyone.
We see the ash that assumingly binds Jacob is still intact, yet we know the cabin can move. This leads me to think that whatever slight hold Ben might’ve had over Jacob was severed the moment he fell from power. Faith and belief play a huge part in everything on the island, and it looks like Ben is no exception.
Sayid The Ambidexterous Breakdancing Headhunter Spy
Sayid golfs lefty, which is maybe why he couldn’t hit that green. But he still shoots righty, and does so with the firm intention of killing. No interrogation, no questions – Sayid’s methodical assassination of the people on Ben’s new list is probably meant to flush out the Big Guy: The one with the $24/yr SmartBeep contract - the one who coincidentally calls only once or twice a year. Hmmm… more on that in a minute.
“The day I start trusting him will be the day I’ll have sold my soul”. At the time Sayid says this, that day isn’t that far off. He’s disgusted by what Ben’s having him do – after talking to him on the phone, Sayid even washes his hand in the snow. Still, no amount of washing can cleanse him of these off-island sins. Sayid has graduated from torturer to cold-blooded killer, and as he storms off the fairway it looks like someone pulled the old Happy Gilmore ‘secret of the pros’ gag on him. More of Jacob’s baptizing rain? Could be.
And then we have Elsa, who is playing an elaborate counter-ruse to Sayid’s own deception in an effort to get a ‘name’ out of him. This is going to be a pretty big task, considering the great stash of Jason Bourne-ish identities we now know Ben owns. And just as Elsa is trying to get to Ben, Sayid and Ben are trying to get to the man behind the curtain (or beeper). It’s a spy vs. spy race to the Big Guys – the bosses – and as we’re reminded that ‘everyone has bosses’ it finally looks like they’re going to play a bigger role in LOST other than standing half-silhouetted in the window of a building.
“This is not good”
Daniel didn’t say much this episode, but his words were of the most importance. According to Frank, he can speak to Regina but needs to hang up on Minkowski. More and more it looks like the new arrivals don’t trust their superiors, but somehow it seems Regina is okay. Her launch of the payload shows up 31 minutes after Daniel expects it to, which is of course the big revelation this episode.
This isn’t so much a reveal as it is a final confirmation. The writers threw time anomaly stones at us in season one, tossed bricks in season two, and hit us over the head with cinder blocks in season three. Only fools and nanobot-lovers still can’t see that the island doesn’t exist in the same time (or place) as the rest of the world. Yet even so, that theory has its problems: communication for one. How can Daniel have a real-time conversation with Regina if the island is 31 minutes ahead (or behind) of the Freighter? The answer is he can’t… unless the communication takes place along the same degree of reckoning as the chopper needs to fly in and out of. That’s just a guess.
The most telling thing is that the entire ‘payload’ consisted of a stopwatch. This wasn’t just a science experiment - Daniel was expecting some sort of time anomaly, or at least hoping to see that there wasn’t one. The 31 minute difference worried him lots, and it seemed to me as if the island is slipping back away from them through time - as if the 31 minute difference is only the beginning.
Ben’s Secret Stash of Hentai Porn (there definitely should’ve been one)
There’s no better place for your stash of multiple passports and international currency than a textbook Scooby-Doo hidden bookcase? C’mon Ben, that’s the first place everyone looks!
There are two schools of thought here: the first one involves Ben’s secret, secondary life of sneaking off-island in the submarine and touring the globe on unknown missions of international intrigue. Apparently he’s been doing this between book club meetings and while Juliette’s baking cookies. But the second, more rational (and far out) school of thought is this: Ben’s stash is yet another astonishing indication of just how far ahead he’s prepared for all possible outcomes regarding events on the island.
I can’t say it enough: Ben’s done this all before. He’s been through it multiple times, and he’s seen all of the endings (except for maybe the right one). He knows which paths lead to dead ends, so he makes preparations against them. He’s got passports, outfits, and cash for all the countries he’ll need to visit post-rescue, because he knows which ones they will be. And each time Ben’s put through the loop, he gains more and more knowledge. “Why didn’t she kill you? What sort of information?” – even after Sayid’s encounter with Elsa reaches its conclusion, Ben’s constantly gathering data for next time. “I’m thirsty” only scratches the surface: Ben is a sponge.
The mirror in Ben’s secret room could be a throwback to the looking glass – a reflection of the outside world contained in that little hidden area. In fact, later on in the episode there are a pair of actual looking glasses mounted on some sort of metal stand when Elsa goes to grab her phone. So has Ben spent his whole life on the island? Yes. Has he been off the island? Yes. The answer is tricky, but if you buy into the loop theory he was never really lying.
Locke’s Ice Tea Sucks
It really does. I don’t think there was any ice in it, and he didn’t bring sandwiches. The Others were much better hosts.
I found it interesting that Locke decided to keep Ben in the room when he had his discussion with Sayid. Although he let Ben go thirsty, he still wanted him there. Locke knows Ben’s got valuable knowledge locked away, so he still needs to keep him involved in what’s going on. With no current direction from Jacob or Tall Ghost Walt, he begrudgingly needs to keep Ben in the loop.
Again, there was even more evidence of the 815’ers coming full circle this episode – becoming the island’s protectors, or ‘Others’. They came back to occupy the barracks, tossed prisoners into the rec-room, and brought refreshments as an offering before beginning the interrogation. They used people as bait and made bargains for freedom. Because we love our main characters it all seems a little sugar-coated, at least until Charlotte puts it in plain English: she’s a hostage. It should give us the same pause it gave Hurley.
Something’s up with dead Nadia
We all know it, but none of us can put a finger on it. Sayid can close her eyes and cover her face, but that blanket keeps creeping down over her chin. Frank thinks she’s just a piece of meat – Sayid thinks she’s important enough to take on the chopper. She’s been the star of the last three shows but she hasn’t been breathing for two. Something’s up.
As for the chopper ride, it was a pretty deep moment watching the first survivor finally leave the island. I don’t remember anyone mentioning this yet, but to further the theory that Ben’s inside Freighter man is actually Michael, the call sign of the chopper was N842M. The ‘N’ in (N)November is universal for all North American aircraft, but that last letter could’ve been any one of 26 others… and in the phonetic alphabet, ‘M’ stands for Mike
Finally, I think most people are misinterpreting the bracelet found on both Nadia and Elsa. I’m not sure who the initials represent, but I don’t the bracelet is any kind of token of love or affection. The “I’ll always be with you” seemed more of a reminder that hey – no matter where you go or what you do, I can always see what you’re doing. There’s nowhere you can go that I can’t find you. In short, big brother is watching.
This whole episode was about big brother: Sayid’s boss, Locke’s boss, and most importantly Elsa’s boss. I don’t think he’s using a beeper because he’s stuck in a late 80’s/early 90’s rut… I think he’s using a beeper because of where and when he is. The Big Guy uses a beeper because he’s calling from the past – a past where cell phone towers might not yet have been erected and satellite phone connections may not yet have been set up. He’s using the highest technology available to him from the time and place that he’s calling from. And judging from the very important fact that he called Elsa a half hour (give or take a minute?) later than she expected him to… he’s probably calling from someplace green, leafy, and wet. And very very strange.