I’m on a quest to re-watch every episode of Lost, one per day. As I polish off each DVD, I’ll post my thoughts on the episodes contained therein. (Even if it’s a couple days late!)
SYNOPSIS: In a dream, Ana Lucia and Yemi tell Eko that John Locke needs his help. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Locke arrive at the Swan to find Michael stumbling out of it. The group finds the bodies of Ana and Libby inside. Ana’s dead, but Libby suddenly coughs up blood. Eko and Locke go off to track “Henry,” but Eko’s real motive is finding the question mark (a buzzword from his dream), and he demands that Locke take him there. Locke gives him his version of the blast door map with the question mark in the middle. The two of them happen upon the Nigerian drug plane and camp there for the night. Meanwhile, Jack realizes he can do nothing to save Libby and sends Sawyer to get some of the heroin from his stash to ease her suffering. Kate goes with him, and they break the bad news to Hurley. At the drug plane, Locke has a dream involving Yemi up in the tree above, so Eko climbs said tree. He sees nothing at first but then spots a question mark made out of dirt below, with the wrecked plane obscuring the dot of the mark. Below the plane, they discover a hatch leading to the Pearl, a Dharma station dedicated to the observation of the Swan inhabitants. Locke believes this to mean that the button-pushing was just a psychological experiment, but Eko thinks all of the twists of fate prove the button-pushing is indeed important. Back at the Swan, Hurley says his goodbyes to Libby, and she dies while trying to warn them about Michael. In the flashback, Eko, posing as Father Tunde, is sent by a fellow priest to investigate the supposed miracle of a teenage girl coming back to life after having drowned. He determines it’s just a mistake on the part of the medical examiner, but the girl later confronts him, saying that his brother Yemi still has faith in him.
THOUGHTS: I’m amusing myself thinking that this episode’s title should be pronounced like the Tim Allen “uhhh?” noise from the opening credits of Home Improvement. But that inanity aside, let’s continue. I guess I was a wee bit hasty in declaring two series regulars to be dead in my last recap. I forgot that Libby lived on for one more episode. But as injured and out of it as she was, it could hardly be called living, and it was hard to see Jack so powerless to help her. Her being alive for that long, however, set up some great dramatic irony for the viewing audience, as we got to see Michael squirm and worry about his crime being revealed. You can really see the “Well, rats” thought (to put it mildly) cross his face when he realizes that he didn’t really finish Libby off. And in the other storyline, it’s interesting to see Eko and Locke, two men of differing faiths, switch perspectives on the button-pushing. At first, it was Locke who was gung-ho about it and Eko who was apathetic. Now it’s the exact opposite. Eko does have a point though—his plane crash landing on the same island as his brother’s plane—which happened to fall at the base of a question mark leading to a Hatch… it does seem to be a convincing argument for fate and destiny. But on the other hand, the Pearl’s orientation video does lay out an awfully convincing argument for Locke’s guinea-pig point-of-view. Dilemma! Who to believe?! At least we’ll get the answer soon.
SYNOPSIS: Through a series of flashbacks, we see what happens when Michael runs off to find Walt. He corners an Other in the jungle but is ambushed from behind by more of them. He’s brought to the truce line and kept gagged while the Other with the beard taunts Jack, Sawyer, and Locke and makes off with their guns. A couple days later, the Others and Michael arrive at the Others’ camp, which seems to be a huddle of tents surrounding a hatch. A woman named Ms. Klugh asks Michael questions about Walt and his powers. Later, Michael convinces Ms. Klugh to let him see Walt, and Walt tells him that all the Others have done to him is make him take tests—but he also says that the Others are “pretending.” Ms. Klugh tells Michael that to get Walt back, he needs to deliver Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley. During present day, Michael is having trouble convincing the other Losties that only those four people can accompany him to attack the Others. He finally gets Sayid to stay, but Sayid becomes suspicious of him and relays these concerns to Jack. Meanwhile, Eko begins pushing the button, Charlie tries to build the church without Eko and also throws the remaining Virgin Mary statues into the ocean, the Losties have a funeral for Ana Lucia and Libby, and Sun spots a sailboat just offshore.
THOUGHTS: Michael has become such a villain. There are no limits to his treachery and deceit! But it’s obvious that all the subterfuge and, you know, murder is taking a toll on him, mentally and physically. But it’s also hard on us, physically, to watch this episode, because I just feel repulsed whenever he dares show his face onscreen! Whatever happened to the shower-building, rock-clearing, raft-building Michael? I think it’s the beard. It exerts its evil grip on his face and thus his mind. Right? No? Maybe I’m a bit delirious. But this is a pretty riveting episode, especially once we arrive at the Others’ “camp.” It’s intriguing that they’re so fascinated with Walt, but again, I wish his powers got a little more play over the rest of the series. And Walt reveals a few nuggets of information, like that the Others are all pretending. Obviously I know what he’s talking about, but first-run audiences wouldn’t find out until four months later. And here’s yet another episode ending in a cliffhanger—one that leads straight into…
“Live Together, Die Alone” (Parts 1 & 2)
SYNOPSIS: Jack, Sayid, and Sawyer swim out to the boat, where they find a drunk Desmond below deck. He explains that he tried to sail west but was led back to the Island, and he claims there’s no world out there anymore—that they’re in a snow globe. And at this point, I’ll skip to the flashback scenes. Desmond is released from prison and immediately greeted by Richard Widmore, the father of Desmond’s love Penny. Widmore shows Desmond all of the letters Desmond wrote that he intercepted and tries to buy Desmond off, but Desmond refuses the money. Instead he decides to win Widmore’s sailboat race, and by happenstance, he meets and impresses Libby at a coffeeshop, and she gives him her late husband’s sailboat. Penny finds him training for the race, and he tells her of his plan and that he’ll be back in a year. But a storm takes him by surprise and washes him overboard, and he wakes up on a beach. A man in a HAZMAT suit takes him to the Swan and introduces himself as Kelvin Inman. He explains the routine to Desmond, and the two of them carry on pushing the button for two years. Finally, when Inman is going out in his HAZMAT suit one day (which he says protects him from “infection”), Desmond notices a tear in the suit. He follows Inman out of the Swan and sees him take off the suit. He stalks Inman to a beach, where he sees that Inman has been repairing Desmond’s sailboat. He confronts Inman about it, and Inman offers to take him along. But Desmond is infuriated, and he attacks Inman and inadvertently kills him. He makes it back to the Swan after the countdown has ended, and narrowly wards off a “system failure.” He is despondent, especially after he finds a letter from Penny from before his prison sentence in the last Dickens book he had left to read, in which she declares her undying love for him. He is on the brink of suicide when he hears Locke pounding on the hatch door (after Boone’s death) and rejoices, knowing soon he’ll be free to leave the Island. Back in present day, Sayid tells Jack that he can use the sailboat to sail around the Island and scope out the Others’ camp before the team attacks. He does with the help of Jin and Sun, and they arrive at the Others’ camp (after seeing a the four-toed foot of a statue). Sayid discovers that the camp is deserted and that the hatch is fake. Meanwhile, the team encounters the Island’s huge bird—which seems to squawk Hurley’s name—and Michael tries to shoot it only to discover that his gun isn’t loaded. Jack tries to play it off, but Michael seems suspicious. Later, they spot Others trailing them and fire upon them. This causes discord within the group, and Jack confronts Michael, forcing him to admit to killing Ana and Libby. Jack says that it’s too late to not stick to the plan but assures his friends that he has a trick up his sleeve (named Sayid). But he’s thrown for a loop when Sayid’s smoke signal rises from a different direction—it turns out Michael wasn’t taking him to the Others’ camp after all. Just then, the whole gang (except Michael) are tased by the Others. They’re taken to a dock by a group including the bearded man (whose name is revealed to be Tom), Ms. Klugh, and Alex. Meanwhile, Locke convinces Desmond to help him let the Swan countdown run down to zero, and to do that, they fake a blackout to lure Eko out of the computer room and then initiate a lockdown to keep him out. Eko asks Charlie for help, and together they retrieve some sticks of dynamite. But the resulting explosion doesn’t penetrate the blast doors. In the computer room, Desmond wonders if the button-pushing is real and the Pearl was the experiment. He asks Locke about the crash, and Locke says it happened on September 22nd. Checking the Swan logs that Locke printed out in the Pearl, Desmond realizes that that was the day he killed Inman and fended off the system failure—and he realizes that he (and the resulting electromagnetic surge) crashed Oceanic 815. Locke rejects this notion and smashes the computer, and Desmond tells him he killed them all. The countdown reaches zero, the computer starts saying “system failure,” and Desmond goes below the floor with the key to the fail-safe switch to blow up the Hatch and save everything. As the increasing electromagnetic surge causes the Swan to disintegrate, Locke comes face-to-face with Eko and fearfully admits that he was wrong. Desmond triggers the fail-safe, causing a very loud mechanical noise to resonate throughout the Island and the sky to turn violet. Meanwhile, Ben arrives at the dock, chastises Tom for removing his fake beard, and greets the Losties. He gives the boat and Walt to Michael and tells him to head off at exactly 325 degrees. Michael and Walt leave. Ms. Klugh lets Hurley go and tells him to warn the other Losties not to try any rescue attempts. Hurley asks what will happen to his friends, and “Henry” says that they’re coming “home with us.” They put hoods over the heads of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. In an epilogue, Charlie comes back to the beach and appears to reunite with Claire. In the final sequence, a two-man team in some snowy, mountainous locale detects an electromagnetic anomaly and calls Penny Widmore to say that they “found it.”
THOUGHTS: Do you even see how long that synopsis is? Bless Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for making such plot-packed episodes. But, like I said before, they still manage to create these moving character stories at the same time. This is the kind of writing to which I aspire. Some shows are all plot, some are all character, and some manage to achieve the seemingly impossible and shoehorn both in. First of all, the double-length flashback story both fills us in on Desmond’s history (and explains some of his nutty behavior) and downloads a ton of information about the Swan. It’s beautifully tragic when Desmond opens the book he had been waiting all that time to read only to find a letter from Penny about which he can do nothing… only to have a beacon of hope (in the form of John Locke banging on the door above). Plus, we get another sweet scene with Libby, and there’s a nice symmetry about the fact that her namesake is spotted offshore as she’s being buried on the beach. Then in present day, we get a few different forks in the story of the Losties. Sayid realizes the extent to which the Others are, as Walt says, “pretending.” Michael is revealed to be lying about both the intent and the destination of the trek across the Island. And Desmond and Locke stare down the barrel of the button-pushing gun only to realize that “it’s all real,” and it takes an act of enormous sacrifice on Desmond’s part to avert a global catastrophe. Michael leaves the Island with Walt, seemingly sure to find rescue, though ironically, his situation makes it so that he’ll never tell anyone about the Island for fear of self-incrimination. And the Others announce that they’re taking Jack, Kate, and Sawyer to wherever their “home” is. But the most intriguing cliffhanger is the very last scene, in which a team at some sort of monitoring system seems to locate the Island, and it turns out they’re working at the behest of none other than Penny—a development foreshadowed by when she tells Desmond that “with enough time and determination, you can find anyone.” All in all, it was a gripping finale that sort of put the Season 1 finale to shame… and that’s sayin’ somethin’!