You sit on your couch, it's minutes after Lost
has ended, and all you can really do is glance at your viewing partners, make some guttural noises of disbelief, and try to wrap your brain around what you just witnessed. There are more than enough experts out here in the internet wilderness, delving deep into the mysteries of Lost
, pondering the meaning of the minutiae, examining the Easter Eggs, and that's why I try, as best I can, to discuss the experience of viewing Lost
as opposed to the nitty-gritty of the details. It gets really easy to repeat yourself, however. How many different ways can you say, “Lost is awesome?” This season, especially, has been an embarrassment of riches, every episode dense, entertaining and revelatory. Last night was no different.
One could argue that we learned more about the island, the essence of its existence and the show itself during Charlotte's monologue as she laid dying than we did during the entire first two seasons of Lost
. She was on the island, a member of a Dharma family, has been searching for the island her entire life, and remembered that Daniel Faraday had spoken to her when she was a child. So, to someone who had never seen Lost
before, this speech would tell them that a) There was a group of people on the island at one point called The Dharma Initiative, b) the island is really hard to find once you're off it, and c) the island somehow makes time travel possible. All this information came about in roughly one minute of screen time. Worth noting.
The story of Lost
and the island is now being told at an ever-escalating clip, which makes me believe that the Lost
writers have the remaining two seasons meticulously planned, and know exactly how, why and when they will disseminate all the necessary information to the audience. It also means, given how quickly this information is coming, that there's a ton more story that has to be told. In addition, we can assume that most of the mysteries of the island will be explained away eventually. Doesn't it feel like the writers are embarking down a particularly explanatory route?
Speaking of the writers, I have to point out two excellent storytelling devices used during "This Place is Death." They're not huge things, but genius in their simplicity. The first was Ol' Smokey ripping that poor Frenchman's arm off. It seemed unnecessary when it happened, a fact that I even remarked upon out loud while watching. Then, of course, Jin flashed and the slightly decomposed arm immediately let us in on when the island had moved to. Then, later, I remembered the arm from from long ago. Took me awhile, but the realization eventually hit. The second thing, and the more impressive, was the use of Jin's wedding band. Did John Locke know what Ben would do with the ring if he brought it back? I'm guessing he probably did, and that Locke had no intention of honoring his promise to Jin. To Locke, the island is far more important than a favor asked by Jin. It worked out perfectly, and it made logical sense for all three men – Jin, Locke and Ben.
Damn, there was so much stuff in the episode. Let's go issue by issue.
The Smoke Monster and the Frenchmen
Well, now we know why Danielle is kind of insane. Having to kill the man she loved because he was infected by a smoke monster is enough to send anyone off the rails. Besides that little gruesome dalliance, did we actually learn some key things about Smokey? Is it merely a security system guarding the temple? It couldn't be as practical and simple as that, could it? It doesn't explain all of Smokey's actions, and it doesn't explain why Ben is able to summon it when he so chooses. Also, Smokey has been all over the island. Could there be multiple Smokeys that are triggered for different reasons?
Charlotte and Daniel Faraday
We've always suspected that Charlotte had been to the island before. Her story makes perfect sense. The internet is abuzz with the possibility that Charlotte is in fact Annie, the little friend of young Ben Linus, but the ages just don't work out. It could make sense, I suppose, if, when Charlotte left the island as a girl, she traveled forward ten to fifteen years in time. But, Dharma had non-Orchid Station ways of getting on and off the island. Then again, with what we heard about Charlotte's mom (telling Charlotte that the island wasn't real), it's possible that she and Charlotte had to escape the island. Then there's Charlotte remembering that a scary man told her that if she came back to the island, she would die.
Let me put forth a theory: After John pushed back the donkey wheel, maybe Daniel, Sawyer, Miles, Juliet, and Jin are semi-permanently sent back in time to the Dharma Initiative's reign on the island. This would explain the first scene of the season, with Daniel interacting with Marvin Candle. It is also possible that, during this time, Daniel seeks out little Charlotte and tries to warn her that coming back to the island later in life will lead to her death. However, wouldn't Daniel realize that telling her this would be completely futile, seeing as he already knows that his warning will go unheeded by Charlotte? Love, though – it does funny things to people.
The Oceanic 6
We saw very little of our Oceanic 6 tonight, and even though Eloise Hawking seemed OK moving forward with the crew Ben brought to her, she was adamant in her first meeting with Ben about having everyone on hand, and there's no way that this whole “everybody has to go back to the island idea” will simply be dropped. The writers have given themselves some really difficult obstacles to overcome now. Jack will have to be the one to convince Kate to go back. Hurley and Sayid will be tougher nuts to crack, especially given that Hurley is in jail. It will have to go like this: Ben will get Hurley out of jail with the help of Magic Attorney Norton, and if he can convince Hurley, Hurley can call in a favor from Sayid. Can all of this happen in one episode? Probably not – I'm guessing it's two episodes at least until they head back to the island. Then, there's the Desmond question. What will he get out of Hawking? Will he somehow be convinced to go back to the island? I can't imagine he would leave Penny and little Charlie, but I also wouldn't put it past Ben into bamboozling him. Also, we have to remember that Ben is a smart guy who knows things, and perhaps suspects that Penny Widmore is close at hand. Will he try and go after Penny, presuming she came to LA with Desmond, and make good on the vow he made to Charles Widmore? It wouldn't appear that Ben would have the time to go on a little side quest like that, but he's multi-tasked before. Maybe he somehow holds the safety of Penny hostage, in order to get Desmond on board. But, does he even need Desmond to go back?
Locke and Christian Shephard
I'll be honest – I have no goddamn idea what the deal is with Christian Shephard. He's not just a figment of Locke's imagination, or Christian's animated corpse taken over by something else. He told John to say hello to his son. It's actually Christian in some form, right?
I've already written more than an Aftergasm should rightfully hold, so I won't try to figure it all out right now, but I'd love to hear some of your theories. Please expound below.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)