Libby gasps her killer’s name, and dies. Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate mourn. Jack steels his will for a war. Michael glowers in the shadows. The theme plays. The computer beeps. Fade to black. “Hot damn, I love this show,” Jen says, finally taking a breath. I wholeheartedly agree. So much happened tonight, but we happily swallow it all. On all fronts characters, plot, and mythology the forward momentum is palpable. It feels like Season 1 all over again.
Really, it does, in many ways. Sure, we got just as many more new questions as answers, and yet, the good storytelling kept me from minding the overlapping mysteries. But what really left me in awe was the solid link with “Deux Ex Machina” (episode 1×19). With so many details and clues swirling about this season, that link made me take a step back and admire the big picture. Seeing Locke return to that spot, and thinking what it meant and what might have been, made me believe there’s a bigger story, an underlying arc. Even if there isn’t, they got me good, and I love it.
Locke and Boone found The Swan by accident. But now we wonder if they — or rather, Locke (it’s all about Locke) — was supposed to find The Pearl instead. Twice a dream leads him to that place at the foot of the cliff. The first time he was a believer, and was betrayed. (His wry recollection of his line, “Boone was a sacrifice the island demanded,” was brilliant.) This time, he’s skeptical, and yet, something is found.
On this question of “faith,” what does it all mean? I have no idea. Seeing the “The Swan” orientation film reinforced Locke’s belief that he’s been had. He calls himself pathetic. But finding “The Swan,” on top of everything else, convinces Mr. Eko of the opposite. I believe Mr. Eko when he notes they are being tested. But what would constitute success? Or failure?
The fact that Henry wanted Locke to believe the button does nothing just about ties my brain into a knot.
On the question of hatches, the clues are a bit more concrete. “The Pearl” is for monitoring test subjects, sure, but someone’s also watching “The Pearl,” which suggests it’s just another experiment… and that there’s yet another monitoring station somewhere. Zeke had to have some way to know what the survivors were up to, after all, and someone had to target Michael. We’re told that everything is recorded, which makes me think Michael’s crime has more than one way to unravel. And while I’m sure the Marvin Candle/Mark Wickmund thing will stoke the “Bad Twin” theorists, I’m thinking he just uses a different setup for every film. Note that both “The Pearl” and “The Swan” orientations were dated 1980, which makes me suspect even “the incident” (and hence his “dead arm”) may also be a ruse.
Libby’s death? Heart wrenching. Ana Lucia got off easy. I admit, we shed a few tears for her, and especially Hurley. “I’m sorry I forgot the blankets!” Yeah, her hanging around just long enough to cryptically utter, “Michael,” was a clichÃ©, but it worked. It was good to see her in yet another flashback crossover, and with all the unanswered questions about her, I sincerely doubt it’ll be her last.
The setup for next week, though, excites me even more than the ending of “Two for the Road.” Jack has reached his breaking point. Michael is acting just a little too suspicious. And Locke and Eko are headed back to the hatch, and the button, just as the computer starts beeping. Next week’s episode is titled, “Three Minutes.” I can’t wait.
Notes and Notions:
- Is the Pearl Station the “?” on the map? Some fans aren’t convinced, but I think so. Eko was fairly certain the map indicated where the “?” was, and found “The Pearl” there, and “The Pearl” seemed to be an observing post for several locations. I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of it in the future.
- What about the psychic, who concedes to Mr. Eko that he’s a fraud. Is he a fake or not? What exactly did he see with Claire, why did he change his mind? Jen thought immediately of the schmaltz-fest film, “Ghost.” Whoopi Goldberg is a con artist pretending to be a medium. Except one day, to her surprise, it turns out she can speak with the dead. I’m with her. The psychic may have been a con artist, too, but something happened with Claire that made him believe.
- Jen is sincerely creeped out by the orientation films.
- Mr. Eko head-butting Locke was a bit unexpected. Just like when Locke whupped Charlie.
- Jen loved Sawyer’s choice of hiding place. “It was right there, in plain sight, all along,” says she. “I wonder if that’s a bit of foreshadowing?” With “Lost,” I wouldn’t doubt it.
- Some fans have focused on the doctor’s audio recording of the autopsy. We’re inclined to take it at face value, though we wouldn’t be surprised to find secret messages, either.
- Jack once again presides over the death of a character. Then again, he is the doctor. Was the heroin simply to numb the pain? Part of me wonders if it was also to put her out of her misery quicker.
- The “The Pearl” orientation film makes references to the Pala Ferry and eight hour shifts, meaning that unlike “The Swan,” its occupants didn’t live where they worked.
- I can’t quite fathom why Locke decided to put his map in the vacuum tube. If he was just testing it, he could’ve used anything else. Could he have been so despondent about discovering he was just a “rat in a maze” (an abandoned one, with no cheese) that he didn’t care? Either way, I doubt that simple act will not come up later. Who’ll receive that map? And will it be news to them, or not?
- Just how long does it take to get to the hatch from the beach? When Jack and Kate find Michael, it’s night. Last week, when Kate and Jack head out to get the guns from Sawyer, it’s the middle of the day. There they find out Ana Lucia took Sawyer’s gun to take revenge on Henry, and presumably they’d make a beeline back to the hatch. But this week, night has fallen by the time they get back (and Michael staggers out). That was a short day. And it means Hurley waited until the next day for Libby to return. Why wouldn’t he go straight to the hatch? (Answer: So Kate could give him the news in a Dramatic MomentTM.)