The Future Is Here
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On Lost, the Island Skips, Skips, Skips in Time

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Lost is back! Let's sort through the tangle of weirdness, bad parenting and shirtlessness together, and may the flying spaghetti monster of your choice help us all. Spoilers follow.

It’s been almost seven months since we last saw the intrepid survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. The island went poof. The freighter went blammo. Jin may or may not have died, but the O6 definitely lied. Now, in an opening scene reminiscent of Season two’s first few moments, a hand drops a needle on a vinyl platter, the dulcet tones of Willie Nelson’s “Shotgun Willie” fill the air—and then the record skips, skips, skips.

After what felt like a spell in the doldrums during Season three, the stripped-down-due-to-the-writer’s-strike Season four brought a new sense of focus to Lost, and a renewed commitment to storytelling, along with the occasional answer to a question. Last night’s double-episode season premiere displayed the same sense of urgency, narrative, and fun that Season four left us with. Above all, the comforting sense that the writers really know where they’re going continues. Indeed, the new episodes picked up right where the season closer ended.


Time travel is apparently here to stay. The island has become unstuck in time and we are along for the ride, like it or not. As Daniel Faraday says in the clip: “You cannot change anything. You can’t . . .,” especially a storyline. Given the whole show requires a major suspension of disbelief, I’m fine with this one — though I’ll wager some of you are marking this as a jump-the-shark development. Of course there are inconsistencies, the clothing, as a character points out, and why isn’t anybody but Charlotte suffering a nosebleed? And is the Desmond/Daniel meeting taking place in the past and present simultaneously, albeit in a dream state — and doesn’t that mean that Daniel is violating his own advice about not changing anything? But Dez is uniquely and miraculously special, according to Daniel, soooo . . .


Speaking of clothing — as much as I enjoyed Sawyer’s quest for a shirt, wouldn’t shoes be the first thing wanted by somebody running through the jungle?

Poor Locke finally gets a chance to say, “Ben Linus has appointed me your leader!” but only at the business end of Ethan’s gun — and the only thing that saves him is the island’s little time hiccup. But that little ding to his ego has to have been assuaged by Richard’s assurance that the only Locke can save the island. So what if he has to die — apparently to reunite the O6 in the attempt to haul his carcass back to the beach. Despite the little set back with Ethan, Locke’s messiah complex has got to be working overtime. Quite possibly even while he’s stored in Butcher Jill’s meat locker. (And who are these Off-Island Others?)

Kate = Most. Annoying. Mother. Ever. You just know that kid pitches massive tantrums in public places and all she does is smile indulgently while he’s thrashing on the floor. True to form, Kate’s only reaction to the appearance of attorneys at the door is to hightail it. I’m glad Sun is playing her like a violin, though for who and for what reason, I’m not entirely sure. “I don’t blame you [for Jin’s death]. How’s Jack?” she says to Kate, in a textbook performance of passive-aggression. (For the record, Jack is still a pill-head, though a clean-shaven one.)


There were so many moments of Hurley greatness last night that I can’t begin to list them: the Shih-tzu t-shirt, throwing the hot pocket at Ben, his “meeting” with Ana Lucia, putting the shades on Sayid, telling the truth to his mother. Mom Reyes definitely had the best line last night: “Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?”


Of course, it wouldn’t be Lost without questions galore. Take that opening scene, for example. Does the existence of Baby Candle mean that at some time in the past babies were being born on the island—or was s/he born elsewhere?

What is the significance of Richard’s compass? He gives it to Locke, and tells him that the next time Locke sees him, Richard won’t recognize Locke until he gives him the compass. I immediately thought of Richard’s visit to Child Locke, when the compass is one of the objects set before young John, who fondles it, before picking up the knife.


In some of the training films, but not last night’s episode, Dr. Candle appears to have a prosthetic left hand or arm—perhaps from an encounter with the same group of hostiles who were going to cut off Juliet’s hand? They appear to be dressed in some kind of paramilitary uniform with nametags, which indicates a certain level of technology—and yet their weaponry consists of flaming arrows. Black Rock survivors or indigenous islanders in uniforms based on Dharma Initiative jumpsuits? Are they the remnants of Rousseau's team?

Is Mrs. Hawking Daniel’s mother? I loved her Crowley-esque magick chamber, complete with pendulum and Apple III. She’s conjured 70 hours of time for Ben. Maybe she’s passed her time-tinkering knowledge on to son Daniel - or maybe she's just one of Ben's special off-island friends.


Goodbye, Frogurt Redshirt. We hardly knew ye, but could see your demise coming from many leagues off.