Even with last season’s Lost finale, which brilliantly introduced us to the flash forward, I still enjoyed the on-island action more. Last night, for the first time I can remember, the off-island action was the best part of the episode. The advantages the flash forwards have as opposed to flash backs is this: flash backs can only really answer questions, flash forwards can ask questions. Within the first five minutes of Lost’s season 4 premiere, we received a plethora of new knowledge: Jack, though still a drinker, was at one point content to be off the island. Jack is well aware that Hurley is off the island. Hurley is still prone to bouts of crazy. There is an Oceanic 6 and they are famous. The mysteries came fast and furious over the flash forward, and this allowed the writers to create a more methodical set-up to the on-island drama in the premiere. Last night was about positioning on the island. The conflicts of the finale were more or less resolved and now we have two clear factions and every one of the castaways had to make a decision that they will forever deal with. The episode was pretty much a masterpiece. That Lost was able to produce a satisfying premiere after the bar was set so astronomically high by last season’s finale is an incredible achievement in and of itself.
In honor of the Oceanic 6, let’s take a look at six different aspects from “The Beginning of the End.”
1.The Repercussions of Charlie’s Death
Charlie’s death did a lot of things last night. It gave Locke the ammo he needed to come back to the group (though he was probably pretty happy that he never loaded that gun). It gave Hurley a call to war and the courage to stand up to Jack. It was certainly the deciding factor in Sawyer and Claire deciding to go with Locke and Hurley back to the barracks. It caused two very heartbreaking moments as well: Hurley telling Claire the bad news and Sawyer deciding to break away from Kate. Brutal stuff.
2.Jacob and Locke
I thought it was pretty clear that that was Locke’s eye Hurley saw in Jacob’s cabin. Also, after examining the screen shots, it was pretty clear that Christian Shepherd was sitting in Jacob’s rocking chair. Now, I still don’t think that Jacob is Christian Shepherd or anything like that, but then again, I don’t really know much of anything about Jacob. I wonder if we’ll ever get to know what Locke heard from Jacob last night. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was something as simple as take people to the barracks.
3.The Oceanic 6
We can assume that Jack, Kate and Hurley are three members of the Oceanic 6. One other member could be whoever was in the casket. Or, it could have been Hurley in the casket. I love that they are famous and I love that they are living some sort of gigantic lie regarding their rescue. It seems likely that over the course of this season, we’ll see at least one or two more flash forwards that reveal members of the Oceanic 6.
I definitely didn’t expect to see Charlie return so soon. For a moment, I was convinced that he really was back and alive. By the end, it seemed most likely that he was just a part of Hurley’s insanity. But, I liked the different attitude Charlie came with – cool guy, a bit aloof. The main point is that Hurley is constantly haunted by the island and is presumably the first of the Oceanic 6 to feel guilt for whatever circumstances led them off the island.
Here’s the thing: I thought Lance Reddick was supposed to be a main character this season. If so, how is it that Hurley did not recognize him when he visited Hurley in the institution? It’s also crazy to see Daniels from The Wire play a creepy bad guy. And he was quite creepy in his one scene. I still believe we’ll be seeing Reddick in the on-island stuff, maybe just as a behind-the-scenes leader on the freighter.
6.The Basketball Scene
The best scene of the episode came when Jack visited Hurley on the basketball court. Jack’s clearly fake positive attitude was a bit frightening, just wanting to find out if Hurley would “tell.” We learned a lot in this scene. Hurley thinks they should go back. We know for sure that this happens before the actions of the season finale’s flash forward. Hurley talks about a mysterious “he” and refers to the island as “it.” Hurley wants to go back. Jack wants to make sure that Hurley won’t “tell.” And, the best: Hurley, despite getting off the island, is sorry that he went with Locke instead of Jack. Great stuff.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)