It's fitting that during the 108th hour of Lost, both the setting and method of delivering the story seemed to reset (like everybody's favorite 108-minute-countdown timer) to the way things were in the early days of the show.
Hurley even notices this during his adventure with Jack, where they return to some of the first season's most enthralling mysteries: the Adam and Eve skeletons in the cave, and even Shannon's missing inhaler.
"Lighthouse" is doing okay in the ratings, placing at just about the exact middle of rated episodes, and I more or less agree with such a placing. But one thing this episode definitely had over its season 6 predecessors was a whole lot of heart, which seemed especially appropriate for hour 108. I'm glad that Hurley and Jack went on a jungle journey together like they did in the old days. After all, with only a dozen or so episodes left, we have to start coming to terms with "lasts". This might have been one of the last significant moments between Jack and Hurley.
But in addition to some touching emotional scenes, the Lighthouse itself raised just as many questions as the cave from "The Substitute."
I'm going to jump around a bit this time rather than tackling groups in a particular order, so let's start right where the episode began.
But we know that it happened a different way in the MTL (main timeline). Since I firmly believe time travel creates the possibility that pretty much anything at any point in time in the ATL (alternate timeline) could be different, I'm going to ignore the question of whether this tells us anything about when the timelines diverged. From my perspective, Jack noticing his appendectomy scar was only meant to show that his subconscious in some way remembers or is aware of the other reality.
There's evidence that everything between Jack and Christian isn't peachy in the ATL, though, as Jack later explains how his father used to tell Jack that he "didn't have what it takes". But even so, that doesn't mean their adult relationship was necessarily as strained as it was in the MTL. Who knows if Jack was going to fetch his father from Australia for the same reason. To this point, I should mention that Margo Shephard's drinking seemed a little conspicuous. Maybe in the ATL, she's the alcoholic instead of Christian.
But speaking of parental issues, ATL Jack is... a father! I'd never considered that we might see Jack as a dad - it just seemed like too radical a change for his character. But in the ATL he has a teenage son named David. This name has of course been used for some other Lost characters - Hurley's dad, Libby's deceased husband - but I can't pick up any strong connection there. It's indeed a Biblical name, though. David slew Goliath and became the King of Israel.
The big question here was of course the identity of David's mother, which wasn't revealed in the episode. I'm betting it's Sarah, though. For one thing, we know that she also plays the piano (though she makes Jack do the hard part). If David was getting some extra encouragement from mom to keep playing, this could indeed be Sarah.
In any case, Jack's relationship with his son is strained. In typical teenage fashion, David doesn't really listen or want to talk to Jack, and he's keeping secret his other life as a piano prodigy.
I'm not so sure he could stop Jack, though. The inestimable Vozzek (Glad you're back and doing okay, and thanks for the props in your terrific recap of "The Substitute"!) has discussed this in several recaps, and I think he's spot on: it's not entirely clear that the Others can do much of anything on their own. Their modus operandi is usually to con or bribe somebody else into doing their dirty work, whether its Ms. Klugh manipulating Michael in "Three Minutes" or Harper sending Juliet to mess with Faraday and Charlotte at the Tempest in "The Other Woman".
I mean, if Sayid's infection is really dangerous enough to merit killing him, why would Dogen waste time tricking Jack into doing it, especially now that it's clear he won't? Can't they just shoot Sayid? There's certainly no shortage of rifle-wielding Others hanging around. The fact that they haven't probably means they can't - some sort of vague adherence to the notion of free will has to be in the "rules" for the Others. No wonder they're so ineffective.
But at least somebody at the Temple is making productive use of time. Hurley and Miles are playing X's and O's! There's no ambiguity in X's and O's. Two sides: one is X, one is O. And their game plays out in a similar manner as the one being played between the Man in Black and Jacob - endless ties, one always blocking the other's "three in a row". Of course, if you play X's and O's enough times, someone wins a game, often out of sheer carelessness on the part of the other player. Is this what's happened between Jacob and MIB?
Hurley heads off to get something to eat, and Miles ends up ditched for the rest of the episode. I'm really, really worried about Miles. He wasn't touched by Jacob, his name is already crossed off, he hasn't shown up in the ATL yet, and he's just about the only person still hanging around the Temple (along with Zombie/Infected Sayid and a bunch of Others that might as well have targets on their backs). With Flocke and Claire seemingly ready to strike the Temple any moment now, I'd say Miles and my Fantasy League Team are in trouble.
Jacob has instructions for Hurley, instructions so thorough that he tells Hurley to get a pen to write them down. Even from beyond the grave, Jacob is making people write his lists. This one - which Hurley ends up scrawling on his arm - explains how to help someone who is coming to the island actually get there. I have theories about who this person may be (theories that were for the most part greatly injured by a single Lostpedia screencap) but we'll get to that later.
As Hurley searches for the secret passage out of the Temple amidst a wall of hieroglyphics (You could make your way through the Shrine of the Silver Monkey...), Dogen tries to stop him. This was, for me, the best scene of the episode, and one of my favorites of the season so far. Jorge Garcia portrays Hurley perfectly here, taking orders from an invisible man while trying to scare off the samurai leader of the Temple. On Jacob's suggestion, mere mention of Hurley's candidacy is enough to send Dogen away. One again, it's fairly clear that the Others are all bark, no bite. I don't think they can actually stop anyone from leaving.
But Jacob doesn't want Hurley to leave, either - not without Jack, that is. More great dialogue ensues ("I just lied to a samurai!" says Hurley), and eventually Jacob explains exactly how to push all the right the buttons and con Jack into coming along.
Meanwhile, Jack and Sayid are having a moment. Sayid isn't taking too kindly to all the staring he's getting from the Others (staring is one of the Others' main methods of expressing themselves, as we learned from their treatment of John in "The Brig"). Jack offers some great advice, not just for Sayid but for us viewers as well: "Just ignore them."
A little later on, Hurley is indeed able to secure Jack's participation in his excursion by telling him that he "has what it takes," which of course refers to the inadequacy that Jack always felt when dealing with his father.
Yet despite how much she's changed, Claire is still kind toward Jin, whom she stitches up after his run in with her bear trap. Justin isn't as lucky, though, which is a pity, because in "What Kate Does" he seemed like an Other that would have actually been willing to answer some questions if not for Aldo's presence.
From Justin and Claire we're given two slightly different accounts of what's happened to Claire over the last three years. I think it's fair to say at this point that Claire didn't do any time-traveling during the season 5 flashes, as the group from Dharma times only arrived in 2007 a day or so ago, which wouldn't have been enough time for Claire and the Temple Others to establish their current relationship (nor would Claire have had ample time to build a shelter and set traps if she had only recently flashed to 2007). I can only assume that Claire wasn't subject to the time traveling because of some sort of interference from the Christian Shephard apparition, which I'm 99% sure was actually the Man in Black.
So for the last three years, Claire has lived from 2004 to 2007, running from the Others and was at one point captured by them. She tells Jin that they tortured her, even showing him the scars. Based on this and what Dogen said about Claire being infected, it seems that she underwent a similar test as Sayid. I have no doubt that she failed, too, but I'm less sure that that means either of them are actually infected, as I have yet to see them become corrupted by the Smoke Monster the way that the French Team was (though it's certainly possible that this did happen to Claire - we now know who she's been buddy-buddy with lately).
Claire insists that the Others have Aaron, and threatens Justin with an axe if he won't give up Aaron's location. I was a little bothered by how Jin handled this situation. First, he didn't speak up until Claire was a second away from killing Justin, and then he chooses his words very poorly: "Kate took Aaron." Took? Really, Jin? How about cared for? Maybe even rescued? Perhaps Jin doesn't understand English quite as well as we thought. This would have been an ideal time to gently, gently, remind Claire that she wandered off into the jungle by herself, and that she's lucky Aaron was looked after by Kate rather than eaten by a wild boar.
For the record, I don't think Claire recalls it happening that way. Remember her emotionless, zombie-like appearance with Christian in "Cabin Fever"? Christian must have brainwashed her or altered her memory somehow (which could very well be a side effect of becoming infected - Sayid doesn't really understand what's going on, either). If apparitions of Christian are indeed the Man in Black, it makes sense what he was doing. By brainwashing Claire into thinking that the Others had her baby, he turned her against them permanently, thwarting any future attempts on the part of Dogen to gather all the Losties at the Temple for the forces of good. This is why he continued to appear to her as her "friend", deliberately feeding her lies, recruiting her in his efforts against Jacob and the Temple.
In any case, Jin's testimony isn't enough to save Justin, who is quickly axed to death by Claire. I wonder if there has ever been an Other who died of natural causes.
Claire is a force to be reckoned with right now. I could picture her decapitating Kate with an axe before Kate can even utter the words "your baby is fine." And if that happens, it will kind of be Jin's fault.
Last but not least in this story thread, Flocke shows up at Claire's camp and is heralded as a friend of hers. A quick tally: Sawyer is with Flocke, Claire is with Flocke, Kate is heading to her doom, the Temple is probably about to be destroyed and Sayid is infected. Whoever Jacob wants Hurley to guide to the island better be pretty vital for the forces of good.
As Jack and Hurley arrived at the Caves for the first time since the season 2 premiere, they stumbled across a curious missing object that has long captivated diehard Lost fans: the missing inhaler! "It's Shannon's," Hurley declares immediately. This referenced the fact that many fans - jokingly, I presume - really, really wanted to know what had happened to it.
On the subject of old mysteries, Jack and Hurley stumble across the Adam and Eve skeletons, and Hurley even comments that thanks to time travel, they could be any of them. Hopefully, this all but confirms that we'll know that true identity of Adam and Eve very soon (Rose and Bernard seem to be especially likely possibilities at this late stage in the game).
But the focus of the ATL flashes really isn't Jack's relationship with his mother, long-lost sister, divorced wife or even deceased father, but the one with his son, who is soon missing. Jack goes to his (presumably) ex-wife's house to look for David, and let's himself in by using the key under the rabbit statue - an obvious reference to the White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland, a frequent subject of Jack episodes. Jack even tells his son that he used to the read the story to him when he was a kid, just as he did in the MTL with young Aaron off-island.
Jack eventually discovers that his son has a prestigious piano audition and goes to watch it. The semi-shocking moment of the episode occurred here, when Dogen shows up as the parent of another kid. I wasn't in love with Dogen's inclusion here, mainly because I haven't yet figured Dogen out in the other timeline, so this just sort of adds to the confusion for me. He did say something very telling, though. "They are too young to have this kind of pressure," he says, referring to their kids. And then, "It's hard to watch and be unable to help." ATL Dogen is definitely channeling his other self, too, because the Dogen who leads the Others at the Temple but is unable to force the Losties to do anything is probably feeling the exact same way.
After the piano session, Jack and David share a decently touching moment where Jack lets his son know how much he loves him and thinks he's great. It's a pleasing wrap up to the episode's ATL storyline, which might not have been the most riveting part of "Lighthouse", but was worthwhile all the same.
Finally, Jack and Hurley arrive at the Lighthouse. Jack makes a comment about never seeing it before. It's a big island, and they didn't see the Radio Tower or the Tempest station until they were led directly to them, so this isn't bothering me too much, even though the Lighthouse is probably much closer to the Beach Camp than those other structures.
At the top of the Lighthouse is a mysterious counterpart to the Cliffside Cavern - a wheel operating a fire pit/mirror/beacon with names written at each degree mark. A degree number corresponds to a name in the same way that the cave names are numbered. There's a lot of important stuff here, and I'll return to it just as soon as I wrap up the rest of the plot.
Hurley begins turning the mirror toward 108 degrees, as Jacob instructed. The mirror appears to reflect images from the pasts of Jin and Sun and then Sawyer as the wheel passes their names. Jack becomes frustrated when his house appears in the mirror's reflection as the wheel turns to his own name (number 23). He demands answers from Hurley, who really doesn't have any, and in his anger at having been spied upon by Jacob, he smashes the mirror.
This was a little frustrating. He didn't press Dogen for any answers about Claire, but he's really going to grill Hurley, who is clearly following orders he doesn't entirely understand? And then he's perfectly happy to destroy an object that could probably clue them into some important things? Maybe Jack just really, really, really always needs something to fix.
Jacob doesn't seem too perturbed about the plan backfiring, though. I was tempted to say Jacob knew Jack would destroy the mirror all along, and thus never really wanted the mysterious person to reach the island, but I think if that were the case he would tell Hurley now. So I'm going to continue operating under the assumption that Jacob wants this person to come to the island, and that this person is the person whose name is written next to the 108 on the wheel.
Now, let's talk about that person.
Below is a picture of the Wallace Monument in Scotland, commemorating Scottish hero William Wallace of the Wallace Clan. I think this may be be the Wallace the writers have in mind. What does it remind you of? (Hint: the Lighthouse!)
In any case, there are three scenarios:
A) It's a new character. I don't like this scenario - we don't really need any new characters of extreme importance. We're still trying to wrap our brains around Flocke, Ilana, Dogen and the mysterious blond boy.
B) It's insignificant. This would be a huge cop out. "Lighthouse" was the 108th hour of Lost and 108 is an important number. For the focal point of this episode, of the number 108, to not be important would be hugely disappointing.
C) It's a different name for a character we already know. As I think this is the most likely scenario (though I admit it's a weird one), this is the one I will delve into. As I mentioned before, there are six people in my mind who are significant enough that they could be "Wallace". Here they are, ranked in order from least likely to most likely.
6) Ji-Yeon Kwon. Possible, but I doubt it. Sun doesn't seem to care about Ji-Yeon, so I don't know why we should. And she has no way of getting to the island on her own since she's a baby. And her name definitely isn't Wallace.
5) Eloise Hawking. Here's why I think not: if she had wanted to return to the island, she could have just hopped on board the Ajira flight. She knew all about it. She was the mastermind behind the whole plan. If she didn't want to return a week ago, I don't know why she'd be attempting it now.
4) Aaron. Well, Aaron has always seemed like he would be important. He's definitely significant to Kate and Claire's storylines, and seeing as these two are about to collide, possibly violently, bringing him back to the island would make some sense. The problem is I don't know how he could get there, since he's only 3 years old. Carole Littleton doesn't seem likely to take him. Also, I can't fathom any connection between Aaron and the name Wallace. While the possibility that the mysterious blond boy is Aaron should put Aaron's return on our radars at the very least, I don't know how he could be Wallace.
3) Charles Widmore. His name is closer to Wallace, so that's something. And we know he really wants to get back to the island, or at least he used to. My issue here is that I don't know why Jacob would want to help him get back. If Widmore is on anybody's side, it's probably the Man in Black's. One could argue that he was involved enough with MIB to send Locke to his doom so that Flocke could arise and trick Ben into murdering Jacob. If Jacob actually wanted Jack to break the mirror, Widmore becomes a much better choice. Still, Widmore isn't Wallace, no matter which way you look at it.
2) Walt. This might just be me (I've always been extremely interested in Walt), but I could see him wanting to return to the island, either because of some mystical connection it it or to look for his father. Walt has those special abilities, too, which would probably make getting to the island a lot easier for him than most other people. If you recall in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham", he was having dreams where people were trying to hurt John. I can only assume that his dreams were actually about the Man in Black. I could see Walt being a powerful force to reckon with for MIB, both because of his unique connection to the real Locke (who might still be lurking inside the subconscious of Flocke) and his special abilities. Maybe he's a secret weapon of sorts, so Jacob wrote down a different name for him (Wallace is kind of similar to Walter - Walter, as I explained in my last recap, being the real name of the Man in Black from Stephen King's novels). Because I think Walt has a lot of potential and is still considerably unresolved, I like this option a lot.
1) Desmond. Of all the options, this is the only one for which I have any reasonable explanation for the Wallace name. It goes like this: Wallace is a Scottish name, the name of a Scottish hero in fact, and Desmond is Scottish, so it's a match! Okay, it's not perfect, but Wallace is a deliberately Scottish name, and Desmond is Lost's only Scot - not counting his son, who'd have no way to get to the island on his own, thus necessitating dad coming along for the ride anyway, so it becomes the same thing. Desmond is a huge fan favorite and Henry Ian Cusick is still being credited with the other main characters even in episodes where he doesn't appear, so this makes some sense. I don't know why he would want to return to the island, but there are Penny-and-Charlie-kidnapped-by-Widmore scenarios that could accomplish this. He is also the only character with a profound connection to the number 108.
Anyway, Wallace could turn out to be no one. Last week I made a huge fuss about Kate not being a candidate and this week, there she is - not crossed off, no important number, just kind of there. My point is that there might be less rhyme and reason to these names and numbers than we suspect. Then again, Damon and Carlton know we'd be on the lookout for 108, so I have a hard time believing it says "Wallace" for no reason.
Well, I should have been studying for the Italian History midterm I have in one hour, so I'll wrap up right here. Too bad my professor isn't ATL Benjamin Linus. Or the Degroots (I'm at the University of Michigan). Maybe they'd cut a Lost fan some slack :)
Until next week,
- Robby "Robz888"