DarkUFO - Lost

I'll admit it... I went into this week of LOST with fairly low expectations. Sun and Jin episodes aren't traditionally known for being action packed, and last week's Ab Aeterno was a pretty tough act to follow. Once more, it's good to be surprised. The Package threw a bunch of HUGE answers at us all at once, in both the ALT and regular storylines. I'll even point them out throughout my recap, to help all the struggling "We didn't get any real answers!" people still out there. Things I Noticed:

The 'V' Countdown Timer Was a 62-Minute Suckfest

Nothing like jamming the next ABC show down my throat while I'm trying to savor the final season of my favorite one. The ads involving that short-haired chick talking about LOST's ending and 'survival of the fittest' was an even bigger turnoff. I'll forgive ABC this week, and this week only. Pulling that shit again next Tuesday would be sacrilegious.

Sayid Didn't Keep Much of an Eye on the Camp

The smoke monster may seem all powerful, but there's one thing he hasn't had to do in the last few centuries: lead anyone. It's all well and good to be ripping trees out by the roots and judging people when the mood strikes, but getting human beings to do what you want while giving them the choice to do something else isn't as easy as just promising puppy dogs and ice cream. "You'll get answers" can only take you so far, and this is why people keep slipping through Flocke's fingers. It's also why he doesn't notice a whole team of Widmore's people surrounding his camp with night vision goggles, even though he has Sayid on his team.

Claire's unhappiness at the current situation was seen 10 miles back when the temple came up Aaronless. Plane or no plane, the dark man has a tenuous hold over her at best. Still, Claire has something Sayid does not: feelings and emotions. Within her version of the sickness we've seen anger, sadness, longing... even suspicion that she'd be left behind. Sayid on the other hand has been sick for much less time, yet all he feels is empty inside (a description which actually seemed to surprise the MIB). His vapid, melancholy stare creeped out my TV, and probably the whole camp. Flocke should've been lining him up some asses to kick or some cute girls to hit on, not handing him a tissue and telling him to man up.

It's important to point out Sayid's motivations for joining the MIB: he wanted to see Nadia again. This was back when he had feelings, however. Without such emotions, Sayid's motivations for continuing on will rapidly disintegrate... and along with that, his loyalty as well. The smoke monster is too busy to see this right now, but as six-year veterans of LOST we all know what happens when Sayid gets restless.

BIG Answer #1: The MIB Needs All of the Candidates Together In Order to Leave The Island

Flat out, we learn the ultimate purpose of Flocke's army: the man in black needs to collect all six candidates before he can leave the island. If he's really going to fly off into the sunset the dark man obviously need Lapidus too, but I'm of the opinion the Ajira plane probably means squat in the grand scheme of things. I don't know about you guys, but I for one do NOT want to see a heroic last-second takeoff as that plane screams down a dirt runway... Hurley helping Frank yank back on the control wheel as Ajira's landing gear skims the jungle treetops. I can totally picture Frank wiping the sweat from his grimy brow: "Whew! That was a close one!" Yikes.

As for Jacob and his nemesis, it must be hard to live with all the rules they're required to follow. The plan to gather up all six candidates seemed a lot like Hawking's need to round up everyone from the Oceanic Six timeline, and we all know how that went. With members of the MIB's army defecting, plotting against him, and now being abducted at dart-point, I just can't see him making the full count. Especially now that Widmore's team - a group infinitely more capable than the shadow-statue people - have finally arrived.

It was surprising to see Widmore's people taking Jin - and only Jin - while leaving the rest of Flocke's army unconscious. By not slitting everyone's throat Widmore may have proved he didn't kill the Ajira folk, but by not taking Sawyer and Sayid he may also have proved he doesn't yet know who all the candidates are. Why Jin? Not sure, but Widmore's ultimate weapon, as we see in the closing scene, is going to be Desmond.

SEMI-BIG Answer #2: Sideways Sun and Jin aren't Married, But They're Still Shacking Up

We learn that in the alternate timeline, Sun and Jin are still happily (although secretly) together. No wedding vows means no binding agreement for Jin to do Mr. Paik's dirty work, which means we're looking at a happier, more golden version of Jin. If you don't believe me, just look at the way he glows later on when he wakes up next to Sun. I thought they were going to draw a CGI a halo over his head in that scene. Compare it later on to the post-mirror glimpse of Jin we get in the bathroom, standing there covered in gloom and shadow.

Sun's plan to escape now includes Jin instead of excluding him. She hasn't learned English in an attempt to escape to America, and probably hasn't cheated on him either. The two of them are very much in love, and Jin seems a lot softer and easier on Sun. The only thing he's upset about is losing the $25k, but even those thoughts quickly disappear as Sun mesmerizes him with her exceptional cleavage.

Man, That Razor Grass Is No Joke

Back on the island however, Sun is an angry gardener. After getting seven lines in eight episodes, maybe she read the script and found out she goes back to speaking Korean. Perhaps she learned that her own centric-episode doesn't even include the long-awaited Sun/Jin reunion. Either way, her plants and tomatoes pay the price.

Here the dark man approaches her, and this time he thinks he's got a sure thing. Offering Sun the opportunity to see her husband is an easy play, which is why he's so taken off guard when she refuses to accept his hand. Flocke can't force Sun to join him here, and he can't physically take her along. Not really having a plan B, he chases her desperately through the tall grass, just like he chased after the young blonde boy a few episodes back. The top-down camera work also reminded me of the polar bear running after Michael and Walt in season one. Very cool.

With each passing episode, the dark man continues to lose control. He's unused to people not doing what he wants. In the past he's killed whenever he needed to, but things are now different. Here, he's forced to try and finesse certain people into doing what he wants without being able to bash them against the nearest tree when they refuse. This is taxing on him - it's wearing him down, and his frustration is growing. The dark man is unable to disguise his impatience with "Something wrong, Claire?" and answering to an increasingly sarcastic Sawyer is taking its toll. His camp is rapidly coming apart, just as John Locke's own perfect little community began unraveling when he lead half the cast to New Otherton.

Tree branches like the one Sun hits her head on should start getting listed in the credits. As she becomes the umpteenth person to slip into unconsciousness this episode, we cut to:

Wow, Look at That! I Just Happened To 'Wake Up' in the Alternate Timeline!

Okay, hang on a second. Before we talk about what happens here, we have to examine the circumstances leading up to this flash-sideways. On-island Sun is knocked out cold, and off-island Sun is just waking up. We've seen this happen time and time again, most noticeably when Jack gets put under for his on-island appendectomy and immediately wakes up in the Oceanic Six timeline.

How many times does this have to happen before it becomes more than just a convenient plot device? Unconsciousness has always been associated with enlightenment. It's always worked as a transition between scenes and storylines... but what if it also acts as a transition between worlds? Remember sleeping Claire waking up in her flashback car crash during Par Avion? Remember Desmond hitting his head on the freighter and waking up in one of his flashes? I could list dozens and dozens of examples here, but there's really no need. The link between unconsciousness and making these journeys is as plain as the big frosty glass of Orange Julius they made Desmond drink on the sub-ride over.

"See you on the other side..." - Ben's words, right before Jack puts him under. Think he's just being cute here? Do you really think, when Sun looks into the mirror this episode, that she's not actually looking into the other side? That she really doesn't start to remember her past self? Do you think it's coincidence that Keamy's knock conveniently and pointedly pulls her back into the 'real' world, exactly the way Juliet got pulled out of her own little mirror staredown by the island burning her cookies?

I said it a few weeks ago, and Sawyer said it again last night: "Of course not. Because that would be ridiculous."

Watch Keamy's reaction as he introduces himself to Sun: he cocks his head and squints a little bit, almost as if to say "Don'tcha remember me?" There's actually a lot off about Keamy this episode - much more than usual. As a criminal we can all agree he's creepy awesome... but as someone who potentially knows things, he's got some pretty odd knowledge. Much more of this gets revealed later on, during his encounter with Jin in the walk-in fridge.

"She hits her head and forgets English? Are we supposed to buy that?" No Miles, we're not. I mean, yeah, some people may be buying it... but not me. And if you're reading this, hopefully not you either, because the mental transition from island to LAX back to island again hasn't caused Sun some obscure medical condition where she can no longer speak English, no matter how deep Jack digs into his patient history. No, what we're seeing here is the first concrete evidence of the next major reveal:

BIG Answer #3: The ALT Timeline is Actually Bleeding Through To the Island's Current Events

We're seeing LAX_Sun's non-English speaking skills carrying over to island_Sun, and at this point there shouldn't be much of a debate about that. The more important question to ask is this: how long has stuff like this been going on? Is Sun losing English the same thing as season one Claire losing her memories? As post-Swan Locke losing his ability to speak? As Desmond losing his clothes? Is this what's been happening to characters we've seen reset or rebooted, and if so, when did it start?

So many questions get potential answers here, it's actually kind of frightening. Were Desmond's "flashes" really just him experiencing the ALT timeline, but we were thrown off by this because he was visiting a past version of it? And while we're at it, exactly how many different timelines exist? Just because our LAX characters seem to have blasted themselves into the "Jughead" universe, it would be ignorant to assume there's only one. Was the Oceanic Six season nothing more than another alternate timeline, one in which Flight 815 really did hit the Indian ocean? Did Ben/Jacob really cure Juliet's sister's cancer, or was Mikhail pointing the Flame's monitor at a different timeline, in a different universe, on a different playground where that cancer didn't exist?

If Sun's memories starts crossing over from the ALT universe, where will they stop? Will all of our on-island characters begin 'remembering' their LAX lives? If so, it makes sense that everyone on the island would end up enlightened by their own off-island experiences. This might be what drives them to make the right decisions - ultimately breaking the seemingly endless cycle of repeating their own mistakes, and thus being the cause of their own suffering.

And if the two timelines merge, will it go both ways? Will the LAX characters gain sudden knowledge of their on-island experiences, and use them to move on with their lives? Is this where everyone's consciousness ends up when they die? Is this how on-island Juliet and on-island Sawyer can eventually go out for off-island coffee?

These are all tremendous questions. The floodgates have been opened here, starting with Sun smashing her head into that tree branch. The possibilities are endless. The stories can wind in any virtually direction. The merging of character consciousness allows for both timelines to remain relevant, and for both timelines to mean something. It seems to be the answer as to where everything is going, and yet at the same time it also seems to be something that's always been there.

Mikhail Still Rocks

Ah, it was good to see Mikhail again! Three whole seasons! While he didn't play a huge role, he still got to flash his trademark knowing smirk. He also got to scrap with Jin again, which he seems eternally destined to do. No matter how many different timelines there may be, it's good to see that some things never change. Jin's always destined to get the best of Mikhail, and the Russian is always fated to lose an eye.

Zoe Still Sucks

Remember how Nikki rubbed you the wrong way (there's a joke in there somewhere) back in S3? Zoe's done the same thing, and there's little chance of recovering from it. No matter what she does from this point forward, it'll be hard for her to make up ground. In a way, I feel somewhat bad for her. In other ways, I just want her off the screen so more important characters can speak.

Continuing our walk down memory lane this week is a nostalgic visit to Room 23. Speakers, wires, creepy Ring-like video... the room is revealed to be "nothing more" than one of Dharma's head games. Pockets of electromagnetism become suddenly important again, lending a more scientific approach to Charles Widmore's group. Here's a guy who shows up with expensive equipment and geophysicists instead of vials of ash and magic daggers. I thought it a little unlikely Widmore's sub brought enough of those cute little sonic fence posts to encircle the entire Hydra station, but if I can suspend disbelief far enough to include time travel I can certainly overlook crap like this.

Introducing Keamy's Gang of Misfit Bad Guys

Martin Keamy once again rocked. Still, there was an odd coincidence involving him and his crew of ruffians: they seemed to include all of LOST's biggest, baddest bad guys. Keamy and Omar are easy enough to put together, but they happen to be linked up with Mikhail too? All of them working for Paik? And when Keamy mentions another guy named "Danny", could he be referring to Danny Pickett - one of the all-time biggest pricks on the show? It felt like we were watching the LOST goon reunion, here. I half expected Phil to come stumbling out of the bathroom, zipping up his pants.

Let's go to the walk-in fridge, where Omar bangs Jin's head on the way in. "C'mon Omar, you gotta be more careful than that..." For a guy about to 'pop' someone, didn't Keamy seem overly concerned about what happened here? Was he just looking to keep things neat and tidy, or was Keamy concerned that Jin might go unconscious on them? Remember, unconsciousness = enlightenment. As far as I'm concerned, Keamy seems to somehow know this. He puts a wet cloth to Jin's head too, not out of caring or kindness but to wake him up. Before even talking to Jin, Keamy prefaces his speech by making sure he can't comprehend him, asking: "You don't understand what I'm sayin' to you right now? Nothing?"

This is, of course, when Keamy mentions THE ISLAND. Yeah, that's right - the island. There's no possible way you can convince me that Keamy didn't say "Just in case you figure out what's about to happen TO THE ISLAND..." here. Closed captioning can kiss my ass, that's what the man said. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, and the writers tossed it in as a joke to get us talking about it. Or maybe it means everything, and Jin - still in a daze from hitting his skull against a metal doorframe - heard Keamy correctly. Either way, we know something is going to happen to the island, back in the regular timeline anyway. Something that sinks it to the bottom of the ocean... probably something we'll see at the end of the show.

Keamy also makes reference to the heart, a reference that parallels his own connection to the heart-monitor bomb he hooked himself up to. His last line seems to foreshadow doom on the Sun/Jin relationship: "Some people just aren't meant to be together". I'm holding out for a happy ending, though. Jack's closing tomato reference represents Sun and Jin's relationship defying the odds. And besides, when Jacob shows up at your wedding? That just has to be good luck.

Razorblades, Garlic, Duct Tape...

Jin's limited view of the Sayid/Keamy encounter comes from inside the walk-in. I thought it fitting and cool that Sayid refused to cut Jin free, but still provided him with a means to do so. This repeats the "Moth" motif we've seen so often, allowing a character to experience personal struggle along the way to freedom or enlightenment. I thought of Locke giving Boone the knife during Hearts and Minds, and of Richard being given the nail needed to chip away at his own bonds last episode.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I asked myself a question: was Sayid fully himself? The carefree way he said "Good luck" (and with an almost evil smirk) belied a character who seemed so committed to caring for his niece and nephew a few episodes ago. It made me wonder if on-island Sayid's 'emptiness' was bleeding through to his LAX life. We already started to see this the moment he shot Keamy, and now we continue to see it in the following scene. Accepting this as fact, the merging of consciousness seems to go in both directions, and this is another huge piece of the puzzle.

BIG Answer #4: Ji-Yeon Does Exist In The Sideways Reality

In discussing the theory that the ALT reality will make up the show's final conclusion, I've always had one huge problem: Ji-Yeon. How could they write a suitable ending for Sun and Jin that didn't involve their daughter? They couldn't just forget all about her, and they couldn't strand her in the O6 timeline. Pretending she never existed was always a possibility, but that just seemed cheap and lame.

Here, bleeding all over Keamy's immaculate kitchen, Sun reveals that she's pregnant. For me, this one small moment changes everything. It lends tremendous evidence in favor of the LAX universe turning out to be the final timeline, because now this story has an ending. Ji-Yeon's place is established in both worlds, providing a satisfying conclusion to that whole story arc.

If you believe Jin's infertility was healed by the island, this could be even more evidence of bleeding through. LAX_Jin has never been to the island, yet somehow he's able to father a child. This could be chalked up as one of the things that are simply 'different' in the sideways timeline, or you could take it to mean there was island influence. Both theories work.

BIG Answer #5: The Smoke Monster Can't Cross Water Directly

For a while now, we've known about smokey's aversion to ash. He's not thrilled about sonic fences, and now we find out he can't cross water. This is the polar opposite of Jacob, whose healing essence seemed to be a very part of the spring water welling up inside the temple. Jacob also showed us he wasn't afraid to get wet when he stopped to give Richard a serious bath.

Being unable to cross the ocean, the island makes the perfect jail for the man in black. This could easily be why he's been imprisoned here, of all places. The fact that he can't cross bodies of water (without a boat, anyway) also gives us an answer to another long-standing question, although indirectly:

BIG Answer #6: Christian Shephard Couldn't Have Always Appeared As The Man In Black

The Christian we saw in the cabin? Yes. The Christian we saw on the freighter, talking to Michael? No way. Because of the dark man's aversion to water, this particular incarnation of Jack's father had to have been someone (or something) else.

But wait, there's more. Think about the Christian Shephard we saw in the Oceanic Six timeline, where Jack saw him at the hospital. This is when the smoke detector went off, prompting everyone (me included) to think we were looking at the smoke monster. Could this have been the man in black taking Christian's form? Not if we believe what the MIB tells us this episode. This leaves us with three possible scenarios:

a) The dark man takes a boat to Los Angeles, fucks with Jack's head, then takes a boat back to the island.

b) Jack Shephard never left the island at all, and the Oceanic timeline is pure bullshit.

c) Despite the smoke detector clue, Christian wasn't the smoke monster here.

You guys make the call, I think you already know my thoughts on this one.

No No No, You're Not Expendable! But on the Other Hand, if Something Were To "Happen" To Kate...

It's interesting how Flocke reaches out to touch Claire, just as she's questioning his motives. Maybe his "I need you" speech isn't enough - he needs to physically touch her in order to keep Claire on his team right now. It's a good thing Richard, Ben, Kate, and now Sun have all refused the dark man's hand when it was offered to them.

We pointedly learn here that Kate's name is not on the candidate wall, and I predict this information will hurt Flocke later on. Because of this he doesn't see her as a threat, but only as a tool needed to recruit his other three candidates. Once the dark man has Jack, Hurley, and Sun in his pocket, "whatever happens, happens". So in order to maintain her loyalty, he lets Claire envision shoving Kate out Ajira's emergency door once Lapidus flips off the seatbelt sign.

QUICK NOTE: Despite his self-proclaimed righteousness, these are not the actions of a "good" guy. Team Jacob is looking whiter and whiter each day.

Richard's Plan... Not Exactly A Bulletproof Masterpiece

Blowing up Ajira? Hurley drags Richard back from the brink of a soulless, evil existence, and this is the best he comes up with? It's no wonder Sun angrily balks at the idea. Now removed from both her daughter and her husband, Sun's understandably not on board with the whole destroy-the-plane agenda. Can't say I blame her either. Hopefully Richard comes up with something better than that... something more befitting of "He who would save us all".

BIG Answer #7: Widmore is Batting For Team Jacob

The Charles Widmore scenes told us a hell of a lot this episode. We learned that Widmore is indeed looking to stop the man in black, if not defeat him altogether. He's on some sort of timetable, and although seizing Jin seemed to be part of his overall plan, it was a part he wasn't yet ready for. He made the best of it though, and did a good job deflecting Jin's angry questions by leading off with photos of Ji-Yeon. Cool scene.

Widmore's confrontation with the man in black was eerie and cool. As a native of the island, Charles knows the MIB from "myth, ghost stories, and jungle noises in the night". Off-island however, it seems he's gained a more intimate knowledge of things. Specifically and perhaps most importantly, Widmore knows what will happen if they fail to stop the smoke monster from leaving the island.

Here's where alternative universes, parallel timelines, and even a little bit of science come into play. Widmore explains to Jin that unless they stop the MIB's army, "everyone we know and love would simply cease to be." I took this in the most basic and direct of ways; if the dark man were to succeed, a new universe would spawn in which everyone and everything would no longer be. It's impossible to say how or why this would happen, but judging from the way Widmore presents the issue it's not hard to believe him. He goes on to tell Jin that he came to "make sure that doesn't happen", and his primary weapon with which to fight the man in black? Desmond.

BIG Answer #8: The Island Isn't Finished With Desmond Yet - Not by a Longshot

Desmond is more than just a favorite character - he's perhaps the one person who's been thrust through LOST's loop fully and completely. Faraday's assertion that Desmond is uniquely and miraculously special seems to be finally coming to fruition: Widmore's gone to great lengths to bring him back to the island again. Whatever powers Desmond obtained when he turned the failsafe key may be the same powers needed to stop the MIB from leaving the island. How's that going to happen? Great question.

The Package was filled with all good stuff - a lot more than I thought we'd get. It gave us a glimpse into the future of LOST, and it handed us answers to some very big questions. In the end it even delivered a savior: Desmond Hume, a character responsible for some of the highest-rated episodes in all of LOST. As has been theorized by many people for many years, it's only fitting that he be the possible key to the end of the show.

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