Just like with any other show, LOST has good episodes and bad ones. We've seen teaser episodes, filler episodes, wild boar-hunts, and of course the legendary Nikki/Paolo fiasco. After eighty-something viewing hours, I think we all know what makes a great episode: fast-paced, character-driven, dirty deep jungle action. This is Jughead, and I for one couldn't care less what the off-islanders are doing. Things I Noticed:
Finally, a Reason for Charlie to be in Diapers
Our opening scene appears at first to be a flash-forward, but in fact it takes place three years ago. As if Desmond and Penny's story weren't touching enough, they go one step further and name their kid after Charlie. Born in the Philippines, Charlie II brings uncharacteristic hope and happiness to LOST. While the rest of the characters are having a pretty dismal time, Desmond's life is going along good. Maybe this is because he avoids the real world, his boat functioning as an island all its own. Or maybe its because Desmond isn't one of the people who were not 'supposed' to leave the island, marking him with immunity from the weird crap Jack, Hurley, Kate and everyone else has gone through.
Flash-forward to a three-year old Charlie, and Desmond is about to hit the mainland for perhaps the first time since he left the O6. His dream/memory from last episode was a few weeks ago at best, because we know he wouldn't have waited very long to sail to Oxford. Deep down we know that guilt will eventually bring Desmond back to the island, and Penny knows this all too well. By the time the episode's over, Widmore knows also. He and Ben both share a sneaky way of guiding people along while allowing them to think they're still making their own choices.
Let me tell you all something: If I were blinking through time, seeing double, having massive headaches and then bleeding from my nose... and if there was a physicist who seemed to know WHY these things were happening to me... there would be an immediate and violent shakedown for some serious information. Instead, Charlotte only gives Daniel a wan smile. While it's touching that he's trying to keep her calm about her impending doom, if I were Charlotte I'd hire Sawyer to slap some more answers out of Faraday.
Arzt II - Electric Boogaloo (A.K.A. You've Got Some Red Shirt on You...)
Miles didn't exactly need his special powers to see that Claymore mine's tripwire, but those red-shirts met one of the most spectacular ends since Arzt played with Dynamite (nothing will beat Arzt though). In reference to the mines, Ellie's later claim of "We didn't put them here... you did" marks her as one of the Others, and also solidifies the long-thought theory that WWII soldiers once somehow made it to the island. The presence of American soldiers explains many things we've seen throughout all five seasons: the M1 Garand rifles, the pineapple grenade Locke puts in Miles' mouth, the various WWII-era pistols and even Goodwin's Army knife. Apparently the Others make use of the mish-mosh of weapons that find their way onto the island, which is why they attack with bows and arrows alongside grenades and rifles.
The one thing this does NOT explain is something that's always bothered me since the pilot episode: the captain of flight 815 wears WWII pilot's wings. This alone could be chalked up to nostalgia, but then so do the flight attendants, and so does that rotten traitorous Cindy. These wings were issued to airmen only during the WWII era, and were changed just afterward. There's no logical reason for everyone on board to have a pair. Watch the pilot episode again - the camera even focuses specifically on the wings when Kate finds them in the jungle. I've often wondered if this was the thing the producers said that 'everyone missed' in the pilot (if it wasn't that unknown black tube next to Jack). In any case, I've now got a theory behind why this is happening.
I think we've seen more than our fair-share of off-island agents. These are people who are "in the loop" - I mean that in more ways than one - and have been helping to guide the main characters through the current string of time. Take the butcher woman from last week. And now take the librarian from this week, who happens to be the very same woman (Jenna?) who Hurley hugs right before he gets on flight 815: http://gallery.lost-media.com/displayimage-486-798.html She actually uses the phone and checks with someone named Hunter before letting Hurley on the flight, telling him that it's his lucky day. Was Hurley supposed to make the flight? The woman at the other counter didn't seem to think so. But Jenna helps get him on the plane, even after the Jetway closed.
By now we can agree that sheer coincidence can be blown aside. I'm guessing that these characters have been implanting themselves at various points throughout time, showing up at the right moment(s) to help the main characters accomplish certain necessary tasks. Maybe some are Team Ben/Hawking, maybe some are Team Widmore. Either way they're all driving DeLoreans much the same way Richard showed up for the birth of Locke (and after this episode we now know why). Maybe every member of 815's flight crew was in on this, from Cindy and the flight attendants all the way up to the captain who took Frank's place that day. The only hole in that theory is that the captain seemed genuinely as shocked as the rest of the crash survivors, up until the moment he was eaten. But hey, it was day one, and maybe the whole story wasn't worked out yet.
Miles - Stealing Sawyer's Thunder
Miles lines are way improving. He was always funny, but he's fast becoming the sarcastic wiseass we've needed since Sawyer went soft. Not to be outdone, I think Sawyer's feeling the heat. He's coming back with some nice lines this episode: "Hate to bust up the I'm another You're another renuion" Hehe... And his "You *told* her?" line was great too.
Note that Miles gets his vision of the four US soldiers when they walk over the 'fresh grave', meaning he can't just commune with the dead haphazardly. It seems he needs to be in proximity to the corpses, which explains why he asked to be led to Naomi's body. That doesn't explain him being able to read the spirit of Mrs. Gardner's grandson in his flashback though, although Miles did specifically call for his spirit that time. But even stranger, notice how Daniel doesn't question Miles ability at all - he simply asks if the spirit told him what year it was. I'm thinking maybe Daniel had prior knowledge of Miles abilities, or maybe happenings on the island are so way far out there that no one really questions such unbelievable things much at this point. OR...
... Maybe Daniel's a bigger key to the time travel puzzle than we originally thought: accumulating past and future knowledge the same way Ben and Locke currently are. We already know he's got a constant, which will keep his mind straight as he skips through time. We know for a fact that he eventually arrives at the Dharma era, and probably a whole lot of other time points. His brain is sharp, and the fact that he believes in and comprehends most of what's going on can't hurt either. And don't forget that Daniel also arrived on the island with existing precogniscent knowledge, as evidenced by him trying to predict the cards from last season. The donkey wheel hadn't even been turned yet.
Further evidence: Ellie recognizes Daniel as someone who "couldn't stay away". I'm sure we'll see that scene eventually, but when she said that Daniel looked like he knew what she was talking about. Yet at this moment in this timeline, he wouldn't. He also deduced the whole bomb scenario VERY quickly, even for someone of his intellect. I'm thinking Daniel might be retaining knowledge of jumps he hasn't had yet (in this timeline) and knows a lot more than we think. All this accumulated knowledge may also be why it's so hard for him to explain things to people.
Others - More Oldskool Than Ever Before
Latin? If we ever needed an indication as to how long the Others have been around, the fact they're speaking such a dead language is a good indication they've existed since the 4-toed statue. At this point I'd like to give a shoutout to Hastenfist, who in the comments last week pointed out the quick, innocent scene where Sawyer stepped on something in the jungle. Some infection, a toe amputation, and a couple of time-skips later, Hastenfist theorized that maybe the statue itself would turn out to be a monument of Sawyer, built in tribute to him for something he does wayyyy in the past. Awesome idea, and I love it!
Maybe it's Maybelline
Not only is Richard's age a constant, his name is always the same too. Years, decades, even centuries pass, but Richard is always Richard. This is the Ying to the multiple-names Yang (Dr. Candle for example) we've seen throughout lost. And somewhere in the jungle someone air-dropped a whole crate of mascara.
I'm Sorry to Repeat Myself But I'm Sorry to Repeat Myself
Watch as Desmond is speaking to the recycled librarian woman, and behind them you'll see a model of what looks to be the trojan horse. I think this might be the same trojan horse we saw on a shelf in Ben's house, but I'm too lazy to go look up the screencaps. Additionally, watch as Locke and Richard are talking in his tent. Behind Richard is what appears to be the Geiger counter... and I say "the" because we've already seen it with Desmond in the Swan hatch. This makes a whole lot of sense: not only would the bomb-toting American batallion bring such a device with them, but Dharma might be storing one too (or found Richard's somehow). What doesn't make sense is why the Geiger counter shows up in Locke's apartment during his flashback in Season 1. Hmmm.
Love, Romance, and a Razor-Thin 80's Tie
Faraday and his tightly-knotted tie (at this point I don't think he can get it off) professes his love for Charlotte... she's got that cute backward thing going with her teeth and I can't say I blame him. He does it in the straightforward, non-subtle way of a true scientist. Charlotte's mock surprise and rehash of his words to Richard seemed to be her fishing to find out if he meant it. He's a super-elite time-travelling mega-dork, and she's totally crushing on him. As most of us already found out in college, chicks dig physics.
What's not romantic however, is oogling your mom. Daniel knows this, which is why when Ellie accuses him of staring at her and calls him a Romeo, Daniel states "far from it". Ellie is destined to become Eloise Hawking, who many of us have already theorized is Daniel's mom. And if you want to go a step further and hook Ellie up with a young and dashing Charles Widmore, Penny becomes Daniel's sister (or at least half-sister). Desmond becomes Daniel's bro-in-law, and Daniel becomes uncle to little Charlie. We're going out on a limb to make these assumptions, but the LOST family tree grows in twisted directions.
Nadia's Mugger and the Case of the Flaming Rats
Desmond arrives back at Oxford to find that the only thing standing between him and Faraday's laboratory is a fumigation sign and a very shitty lock. Pretty weak, unless he was meant to find that room. Funny how that guy shows up at exactly the right time, too. Dressed like the guy who mugged Nadia, he doesn't seem at all pissed off about Desmond being there. One informative and helpful conversation later he fades from my TV, leaving Desmond to continue his quest to find Faraday's mom. Was this guy sent by Widmore, or was he an agent of Ben? You make the call... because he certainly wasn't the janitor.
Daniel Faraday... Making Girls Sick since the Mid-90's
Teresa Spencer has a bad case of the Minkowskis. The recycled librarian would have Desmond believe this was Faraday's fault, but I'm guessing it had something to do with Charles Widmore. Faraday's experiments would've been limited only to his rats - especially if Teresa were the girl in that lab photo and he was romantically involved with her (hey, the guy likes redheads). But no, somehow something went accidentally wrong or Widmore, desperate to find the island again, pushed Daniel's research too quickly. This resulted in Teresa's sickness, which is one of the reasons why Widmore is financially supporting her. The other reason is to keep that avenue open, hoping that Daniel (or Desmond) comes back to see her. He can't be supporting her too heavily though, because her sister still works at Quick-Mart.
This is why Daniel is so adamant about NOT letting the sickness happen to Charlotte. He knows what she's going through and knows the end result. Pack on the guilt for what happened to Teresa, and the burden on Daniel's shoulders seems heavier than ever before. Maybe that's why he pauses three seconds before every sentence.
You Think he Knows This Island Better Than I do?
This was an ultra-cool fade in to Locke overlooking the Others camp. Let's think about Locke for a minute. All the way back to season one, his knowledge of the island has always been uncannily great. We chalked it up to the island 'guiding' him, and I'm sure it was. But as he slowly gathers returning memories/knowledge this season, it's eerily remniscent of those times. Locke seems to know the shortest paths, he shows up at crucial moments to toss knives with expert precision and rescue people. Locke's "coming into" his role more and more with each passing episode.
"He's one of my people" - did Locke have a memory flash there? Or is he acting on the assumption that since Jones (Widmore) was an Other, he must one day be led by Locke? I think he's learning, but most importantly, he's *retaining* knowledge from loop to loop. Each time they jump, Locke might be recalling past memories from time-jumps he hasn't yet made and these are being incorporated into his memory. Trippy.
Yet suddenly, Locke self-touting himself as Jacob's chosen one has a nagging echo of falsehood to it. When he said those words to Richard, something really bugged me about it... almost as if such a conclusion were too obvious for LOST. Remember how disappointed Richard was when young Locke couldn't pick all the correct items that belonged to him (more evidence of past memory retainment). Locke should've known the compass was his because Richard had given it to him, time and time again, in past loops. Locke failed Alpert's test, and I'm thinking from that moment on Richard knew Locke wasn't destined to be their future leader. Richard still needs Locke though, because Locke must leave the island to bring back the O6. Unfortunately for John Locke, perhaps his only destiny is to be a sacrificial character.
Someone Set Us Up the Bomb!
Back at the atomic warhead, Ellie is naggingly (motherly?) persistent enough to get answers out of Daniel. This is kinda frustrating, considering he spent most of last season denying the 815'ers (and us!) any kind of answers whatsoever. Even Sawyer was disappointed... "You told her?"
Daniel's mention of concrete may have solved yet another old mystery as well: Jughead could very well be what's behind the concrete wall of the Swan hatch. I remember Sayid saying something about the wall being warm, and the instability of the radioactive material could explain why a button needs to be pushed every 108 minutes. This also reinforces why the Geiger counter would be in the Swan hatch. Would the timer counting down to zero or the turning of the failsafe key set Jughead off? Maybe. Or maybe 50 years later enough degredation had occured to keep the bomb from exploding. Dunno, but Jughead certainly ends up somewhere fifty years from now, and the Swan is as good a place as any.
Wild Theory: What if the bomb plays an important role in the final few episodes of LOST, and Desmond's prophetic "you've got to lift her up" line to Jack has something to do with Jughead? I'm sketchy on that, but the thought occured to me. It always seemed like Desmond knew exactly what he meant when he said that line, almost as if he were planting important knowledge in Jack's head to be used at a future time. That line wasn't for nothing, and it sure as hell didn't pertain to Sarah's ankle.
Namaste, You Neck-Snapping Maniac!
The fact that 1954 Charles Widmore is on the island is no big surprise to us, but it was really cool to see a younger version of him. As that storyline plays out we should hopefully find out how and why he ends up leaving the island, which will probably be involuntary. I'm more interested in seeing *why* he wants to return to the island. I suppose the island is Disneyland compared to the normal, mundane world... but young Widmore must obtain some sort of power or happiness on the island that he doesn't have on the mainland. Something that no amount of money or power could ever buy him.
Older Widmore seems unconcerned with keeping or holding Desmond, but maybe that's because he truly has an interest in Penny's well being. He knows that Desmond is with her and will always protect her. In a way, Desmond is a great insurance policy. He's the game-changer, meaning there's no one better when it comes to keeping bad things from happening.
Widmore urges Desmond not to get involved. But then he says "Deliver your message". What message? How does he know Desmond has a message? Widmore slipped up here. He already knows what Desmond's doing, where he's going, and why. He must approve of it because instead of stopping him he actually helps out. It's obvious to me that Widmore is working to guide Desmond back to the island (sans Penny). Widmore will invaribly try to hitch that ride, or maybe he'll just follow Desmond to LA in order to find Mrs. Hawking, who may or may not be an old flame.
Penny Has a Finely-Tuned Bullshit Detector, and Desmond Just Buried the Needle
Desmond really, really sucks at lying. Yet Penny loves him anyway, and now they're going to LA, setting themselves up for a reunion with the O6. I just hope Penny says away from Ben or there could be HIGH drama.
The Upcoming Future Past
In the end, I'm psyched to see more time-flashes! I want to see the way distant past: the temple and the statue and the Others all speaking Latin with Juliet having to translate everything they say while Sawyer and Miles make sarcastic comments. I want to see the birth of the smoke monster, the origins of the Black Rock, Danielle and her lunatic crew. Even better, I want to see a flash of the future - maybe the horrible, terrible future of the island (and the world?) that Ben and Hawking are trying so desperately to avoid. LOST has been given the license to do unlimited cool stuff... these next weeks should absolutely rock.