When Ben came home from work Monday night, Erin was reading in bed. Ben tossed the latest Entertainment Weekly, the one with Jack, Kate, Locke, Boone, Sawyer and Sun on the cover, over to her. She groaned.
“What was that for?”
“I’m not sure I’m ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“For this.” She held up the cover. “For the next four months, for all the obsessing, analyzing, reading and blogging.”
“Honey, is this about my electromagnetic time pendulum in the basement?”
“My rat maze and time traveling experiments in the guest bedroom?”
Ben softened his voice. “Is it because I accidentally sent Scooter Thomas to 1973 last week?”
“No. It’s just … I want us to go back to just enjoying the show, like we did with season 1. Not trying to figure out What It All Means–”
“Are you speaking in caps now?”
“Not trying to figure out What It All Means but just watching it, recording it, and putting it out there for others to comment upon. No convoluted religious/allegorical theories in doctoral thesis form. Just … two fans talking to other fans. Maximum one thousand words a post.”
“Can we do that?”
“I don’t know. Can we?”
We’ve been telling friends who have never seen the show that, at this stage of the game, anyone could jump in and be on the same footing as the savvy “Lost” veteran who has been watching since day one. Especially if you’ve seen this helpful recap of seasons 1-5 as reenacted by an extended Italian family.
Good. We’re all on the same page now.
The question everyone thought would be answered in last night’s episode was if Jughead worked — i.e., Did the island reboot? And from the first five minutes of the episode, we would have answered, “Yes.” We find ourselves back on Oceanic Flight 815. Jack is seated across from lovebirds Rose & Bernard. Bernard’s in the loo. There’s turbulence. Just when you think we’re going to see a repeat of the plane breaking open, bodies flying out the fuselage, etc., etc. … the turbulence subsides. Bernard returns from doing his business. Jack goes back to looking out the window. The camera zooms out and down into a cheesy CGI ocean through schools of fish and the ruins of Dharmaville until it settles on the four-toed statue at the bottom of the ocean. The island has sunk. The plane never crashed. We have entered a new, alternate future. It worked!
Until it didn’t. We see Kate in a tree. Miles, Sawyer, Hurley and Jack all turn up, bloodied and time-shaken. We know this because their ears are still ringing. ( “Is there something wrong with the audio?” Erin asked. “Should we hit the TV?”) There is a crater in the ground, the hollowed imprint of the hatch. So it didn’t work. Time marched ahead as usual. And Sawyer is ready to kill Jack for ever suggesting the asinine idea that detonating a hydrogen bomb would be the proper solution to everyone’s problem.
And so goes the rest of the episode, alternating back and forth (or “flashing sideways“) between the Island narrative we have known all along and an alternate narrative where Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed at all. In other words, the one question we absolutely thought the writers had to answer — Which was it? Success or failure? Are we rebooted or not? — appears to be a question they have no interest in answering, at least not yet, or in terms we understand. (We didn’t think “both” was an acceptable answer.)
Take a deep, contented sigh. Yes. They’ve done it to us again.
What else happened last night?
- Jacob appeared to Hurley to inform him he (Jacob) was dead. ( “I died an hour ago,” Jacob says, as if he were running an errand.) Jacob also instructs Hurley to take Sayid to a temple.
- Ben discovers that John Locke can be both dead and undead. Undead (and bulletproof) John Locke — inhabited by the Man in Black — also has a nasty Smokey streak in him, bashing and throttling his would-be assassins like a cosmic three-year-old smashing his G.I. Joes together. ( “I’m sorry you had to see me like that,” MIB Locke tells a stricken Ben afterwards.)
- In alternate time, Jack thwarts Charlie’s suicide attempt. Boone (BOONE!) and Locke make highly ironic small talk. And Desmond (DESMOND!) somehow turns up on the plane, reading a Salman Rushdie novel. (How did he get there? And where are the other castaways like Shannon, Eko, Libby and Ana Lucia?)
- Back on the island, Juliet did not survive the blast. (As Sawyer pulled away the wreckage pinning her down, Erin said, “If they show mangled bone, I’m outta here.”) Before she dies Juliet tells Sawyer “We should get coffee” and then that there’s one very important thing he needs to hear. She then dies.
- We flip over to NBC during commercial break to see if Voldemort Melissa will be voted off “The Biggest Loser” this week. Instead, ABC and NBC have nefariously synchronized their commercial breaks. We run to the kitchen for an ice cream break.
- Sawyer buries Juliet and makes Miles “talk” to her. Miles says that Juliet wanted Sawyer to know that, despite all evidence to the contrary, “It worked.” (Unless she wasn’t referring to Jughead at all.)
- In alternate time, Jack et al. unboard is dramatic slow-mo. (Never has a TV show imbued the everyday hubbub of air travel with such import.) Kate breaks free of her inept U.S. Marshal and tries to flee LAX. Arzt and “Frogurt” turn up at baggage claim and taxi curb, respectively. Jack is informed that his dad’s coffin never made it on the plane. He and Locke cross paths in Lost & Found (our favorite scene of the episode). Jack delivers the money quote: “Nothing’s irreversible.”
- Hurley and crew deliver Sayid to a temple led by a Japanese dude who bears an uncanny resemblance to Maura Tierney.
It’s in the eyes. It helps when Hiroyuki Sanada has long hair too, like he did last night. Just sit with it. You’ll see it eventually. Trust us.
- Hurley et al. are going to get shot until Hurley name drops Jacob and says Jacob gave him a Very Special Guitar Case. Inside is a hand-carved ankh. Inside the ankh is a scrap of paper, presumably with names on it. Japanese dude and hippie cohort agree to save Sayid, although their idea of “saving” him looks an awful lot like drowning.
- MIB Locke tells Ben, “I want to go home,” and says to Richard, “It’s good to see you out of those chains.” (?)
- Sayid, who sure looked dead, turns out to not be dead. (We got a hint this was coming when Miles looked quizzically at his body, as if to say, “I can’t hear his deadness.” It takes a very special actor and a very special show to pull that off.)
And so we march on into parallel worlds, two timelines running side-by-side. Will they meet? Does what happens in one touch the other? Will Jack ever get his mojo back? Has Hurley become the new leader? Is that really Sayid who came back to life? Did we squeak in under 1000 words? (That’s the only question we can answer definitively: No.)
We’ll link to other recaps as they become available throughout the day.
In the meantime we turn it over to you — one fan to another.
(Oh yes — Voldemort Melissa survived to see another week. Just three weeks removed from a weigh-in in which she gained a pound, she took her husband Lance to task for only losing four pounds. You’re a lucky man, Lance!)
MORE UPDATE: Vozzek69 at DarkUFO finally chimes in with his recap.