After two episodes firmly grounded in the real world, “LOST” throws a curve with “Further Instructions,” echoing some of the other decidedly mystical stories of seasons past. Specifically, tonight’s story seemed to be a third act, after “Deux Ex Machina” (1×19) and “Question Mark” (2×21), revisiting the underlying arc of faith and redemption. Those who love the spiritual and metaphorical side to the story probably cheered that “LOST” is back. Those hungry for details about the mysteries in the foreground, however, were probably disappointed.
It was great to see Boone again, a character whose strengths seem so much more evident in hindsight. And there was a lot packed into Locke’s vision at the Sydney airport. It was a cryptic overview of the survivors and their respective situations, with more than a few hints of things to come. Desmond as the pilot, having some power but wasting his energies with selfish pursuits. Charlie and Claire and Aaron, at peace… for now. Hurley behind the counter, ever helpful. Jin and Sun lost and in conflict, with Sayid to show the way. And Jack, Kate and Sawyer threatened by Ben (and Kate and Sawyer distracted with flirting), but Locke unable to help them until he cleans up the mess he made for Eko.
I don’t quite know what to make of Charlie, and Jen most certainly could live without him. It seems as if his stock took a sharp dip toward the end of Season Two, but after surfacing in a daze after the hatch blew up, he’s suddenly back on his feet and as wry and snarky as ever. For a character who is supposed to be tortured and conflicted, he certainly didn’t seem to spend too much time on the dark side. That said, he was definitely the best match for Locke in this episode, keeping things grounded when Locke went all voodoo.
And yes, Locke is back. Jen actually cheered. For the wimp-turned-badass we all fell in love with in Season One, it was a bit frustrating to watch as he lost direction and, frankly, got a bit whiny in Season Two. And as flashback/island parallels go, this one did a good job of illustrating the journey Locke has taken, both on the island and throughout his life. But on both sides, the picture is incomplete. After all, we didn’t see Locke clean up his mess on the farm, and he’s just getting started on the island. I’m curious how people will interpret the “farmer versus hunter” dichotomy, and Danny’s assertion that Locke is a “good person” and not a killer. How Locke now answers the call to reunite his island family will, I think, give us a final answer as to his true nature.
It was a relief to see Mr. Eko and Desmond and Hurley again, though there really never was any doubt about their return. When it comes to questions and answers, Desmond’s recollection of a speech yet to be given certainly adds another entry to the former bin. Especially when you realize that Desmond was throwing rocks on the beach when Locke actually gives the speech. Is he clairvoyant? Did he take a trip through time? The only thing we know the hatch “implosion” did for sure was take his clothes. Jen was certainly tickled by that. And he looked just adorable in Hurley’s shirt.
And did Mr. Eko talk to Locke under the tree, or not? I think his comments came from the same place Boone’s did. Wherever that is.
Almost as an afterthought, as the episode drew to a close, we’re introduced to two more survivors, Paulo and Nikki. Their sudden prominence was a bit jarring, especially given the familiarity with which Locke tossed out their names, along with the names of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. I guess our cast of characters is growing, though it’s unclear if they’re just more redshirts like Dr. Arzt, or temporary players like Ana Lucia and Libby. I’m fairly certain they won’t become one of the “merry band of adventurers.”
Notes and Notions:
- The eyeball opening returns. After being missing in action for half a season, we’ve now seen it at the start of two out of three episodes so far. This was a definite mirror of the first shot of the first episode, and given Locke’s speech at the end, it’s clear the message is, “Locke now leads the survivors.”
- What did we see in that cave? Apart from Eko and an angry polar bear? A toy dump truck, and a bunch of skeletons and DHARMA logos. Wonder if there’s a link to “Adam and Eve” in the cave from Season One? Anyone see any black and white stones?
- Speaking of the polar bear… Jorge Garcia had mentioned, during our lunch, that polar bear technology had advanced since the creature appeared in Season One. But considering how much detail was obscured with jump cuts and close ups, I guess it still wasn’t as convincing as they’d have liked.
- Both Locke and Sun have had someone at gunpoint, and both their targets told them they weren’t murderers. Who would have thought it would be Sun who would pull the trigger, and that Locke would back down?
- Geronimo Jackson makes a cameo, and we get additional confirmation of the era they’re from. The man who asks Eddie about the shirt, though, seemed to be more than just a little familiar with the band. Any bets on whether we’ll see him again?
- Locke’s California drivers license listed his address as being in San Francisco. We also see the Golden Gate Bridge in Locke’s airport vision on the brochure Sawyer is holding. The Golden Gate Bridge last appeared on the wall of the psychic Rose and Bernard visited in Australia in “S.O.S.“
- Odd that Locke lost the ability to speak, then regained it, just like he lost the ability to walk, and regained it as well. It makes you wonder if his disabilities are physical, or purely psychological.
- Locations: The farm Locke lived on was the lychee farm in Mililani Mauka. And, of course, the airport was again the Hawaii Convention Center. It was neat to finally see the scene I saw them filming a month ago.