Another fantastic episode. And the details are almost as exciting as the overall pace “LOST” is keeping. This season is no leisurely stroll (you hear me, season two?). This show is now lean, mean, and likely to leave you dizzy. You’ve got the island mysteries (the 31 minute time discrepancy and the significance of bearings used to come and go). You’ve got the double double-crosses, the chess-like strategies, the cloudy motivations. You’ve got another flash-forward with a mind-blowing climax.
And oh my god, the truth finally comes out. My wife, Jen, the eye-rolling cynic who has insisted since day one that she’s all about the mysteries, finally outed herself tonight as a squealing, giddy Skater. Who knew?
But really, as further testament to the quality of writing on “LOST,” we’re able to get clues and conspiracies and yet have genuine romantic moments, some of them bittersweet. Sayid falling for his target’s not-so-innocent personal shopper. Jack telling Kate she’s safe from Locke because Sawyer will protect her. Jack’s expression when Sayid told him Kate was staying behind. And yes, Sawyer’s invitation to Kate to play house. (Seriously. When Sawyer said, “Why don’t we find out?” Jen turned into a 10th grade girl.)
Ben remains the most intriguing enigma, brilliant and scary and quirky… we’re stunned to find his secret lair with suitcases and passports, but not really. We’re shocked to learn he ends up Sayid’s boss, assassinating people on a list, but not really. Early in the episode, I remarked just how beaten and destroyed Ben was beginning to look. So, of course, the last thing we see tonight are those beady little eyes, shiny and deadly, conducting international espionage while pretending to be a veterinarian. Of course!
Hurley is the character that really surprised us tonight. When it turned out he’d tricked Sayid and Kate for Locke, I fell back in my chair. Well played! Here we thought we were seeing why Hurley was one of the Oceanic Six. Instead, that remains a mystery for another day.
I remain unreasonably fond of Daniel. He seems horrified by what he learns from the time-traveling rocket, yet stays behind with Charlotte. And the fact that Charlotte remains despite having to be rescued from Locke belies her deeper interest in the island (and presumably DHARMA). It was great to see Desmond again, and his relief at seeing the helicopter was palpable. But it’s the way that Frank and Daniel hesitated when he asked about Penelope Widmore that I found most interesting. Couple that with the way Frank tells Daniel to talk to Regina but not Minkowski, and you’ve got more than one “primary objective.”
And what to make of Sayid’s conversation with Ben. What did happen the last time Sayid thought with his heart rather than his gun? Clearly a critical misstep that we’ve yet to see, and one that paves the way for their alliance. Who are the friends Sayid thinks he’s protecting? The Oceanic 6, or the people left behind? And who’s next on the list? My money is on one of our beloved Losties… but I bet that comes in Season Five.
- The bracelets were clearly significant. Sayid finds one on Naomi (“N, I will be with you always, R.G.”), and then finds one on Elsa. Elsa’s employer is a target of Ben’s, and thus probably the person behind the Freighties mission to the island. Or at least, their supposed mission.
- The shot of Sayid and Desmond in the helicopter as it takes off, coupled with a swelling Giacchino score and an aerial shot over the ocean, was breathtaking. Again we’re taken back to the original, core stakes of “LOST.” While we knew people got off the island, it was still amazing to watch it actually happen.
- I liked that Miles is sour and high-strung, but not taken seriously. Frank doesn’t miss him. And the hissy fit he threw when he thought Sayid was going after Charlotte alone, only to be deflated when Sayid invited him along, was great. As was his meek demand for a gun.
- Jen notes that the presence of guns used to be a punch line of sorts on “LOST.” Now people are being shot and wounded at an alarming rate. When Sayid killed Elsa? I somewhat regretted letting our 10-year-old daughter stay up to watch the show.
- We finally see Sayid praying again. He goes to close Naomi’s eyes, then does the same for Elsa. Nice, even if it is a Hollywood cliche.
- Favorite lines? Hurley on Miles, “Oh great. The ship sent another Sawyer.” Or, Kate and Jack’s discussion about going with Sayid. “Does that mean I should wait 30 minutes and go anyway?”
- Says Jen, with a spot of drool, “Sayid sure cleans up nice.”
- Loved Jack asking about the Red Sox winning the World Series. And Frank being a Yankees fan.
- The Name Game: The late golf great, Mr. Avellino. A town in Italy? “Evil Loan”? Or Patron Saint of Sudden Death. Bingo.
- Locations! The snowy German street was Merchant Street downtown, the same block that played London for a Desmond flashback. The cafe where Sayid and Ilsa meet was Cassis, an overpriced restaurant in Harbor Court. Sadly, I don’t know my golf courses, but I’ll guess Turtle Bay.