An unusually structured episode gave us one long flashback bookended by brief and somewhat maddening scenes on the island. We begin with Locke calling a Town Hall meeting and becoming Captain Obvious (“Um, we like knew that forever ago,” Hurley says, a hat tip to fans). And we end with Ben sending Alex to safety, but an ambush takes out her mother and boyfriend. In the middle, we see the lost months between Michael’s escape with Walt and his return on the freighter as Kevin Johnson. On the conspiracy side, Widmore is fingered as the man behind the fake wreckage. On the supernatural side, “The Island” is ascribed the intent and ability to keep Michael alive as he’s still got work to do, and Libby shows up in visions.
“Meet Kevin Johnson” didn’t offer much in the way of answers, but rather filled in a few blanks and confirmed a few things. Michael and Walt did make it home, though things obviously haven’t gone well since. Widmore is behind the fake wreckage (if Tom is to be believed), the bodies harvested from a Thailand graveyard. And Michael is compelled to return as much out of guilt over killing Ana Lucia and Libby as he is by his son’s estrangement. Mention of the rest of Ben’s followers at “The Temple” couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, the hiatus affording the chance to reconstruct Alpert’s group. Oh, and Tom was gay!
If the island kept Michael from killing himself, then Jack’s bridge rescue at the end of Season Three falls under a whole new light. Perhaps his work’s not over yet, either. And what of Hurley’s L.A. car chase? Perhaps his descent into madness stems in part from discovering some twisted form of invincibility? Maybe he finds he’s incredibly “lucky” insofar as he can’t get hurt or die… but to the point where it becomes a curse?
It was interesting to discover that Tom is another Mainland visitor, however infrequent, and obviously living in style when away on business. Seeing Tom traveling while Juliet was told they were trapped, Jen felt, implies that Juliet is as fooled by Ben by anyone else. Not that she’s innocent, or even trustworthy, but clearly not part of the inner circle.
Jen’s horrified to see Rousseau shot. We love Rousseau (the actress as much as the character), and although she has come and gone with almost maddening randomness, she’s always been a reminder of the deeper history of the island, a failsafe that we’d take comfort in, since we can fantasize that she just might someday give us some of the answers we most crave. We’re mourning Karl a bit less. Though Jen chuckled when he said, “I have a bad feeling about this.” (You have to be a “Star Wars” fan to appreciate it. Especially given how frequently Karl is compared to whiny Luke Skywalker.)
Who’s behind those bullets? My guess is Ben, since he sent them off in the first place and since Karl and Rosseau are the only two things standing between him and Alex. (Remember how possessive he is of Juliet.) On the other hand, we haven’t seen an ambush quite like that before, and with Frank’s chopper disappearing a little while ago, he may have been delivering some of the gun-happy thugs we met on the deck of the freighter.
Speaking of the freighter mission, it’s clear now that not everyone aboard is on board, so to speak. The automatic weapon skeet shoot further confirms the threat Ben sees in the freighter’s arrival. But Frank seems primarily motivated by finding Oceanic 815 survivors (and finding out what happened to his pilot friend). Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think everyone has a different story. Dan, Miles, Charlotte… like Michael, I think being on the boat is one means to several different ends. Miles’ line about 80 percent of the passengers lying about something was probably a conservative estimate.
Why did Sayid out Michael to the captain? So soon after being told, you know, don’t trust the captain? Is this the “thinking with your heart” mistake that Ben mentioned a while back? Torpedoing a plan out of anger over Michael’s betrayal? It seems like such a tactical mistake, the kind of mistake that we only wish were out of character for Sayid. But Jen’s warming up to the theory that Sayid is already working with Ben, starting at least from their conversation in the rec room. When Sayid seems surprised at Michael’s mention of Ben’s plan, he could just as easily be surprised in thinking, “You too?” He may have just needed confirmation from Michael himself (initially doubting Ben) before putting Phase Two into action.
We’re also baffled as to what Libby’s appearances mean. With Charlie, it seems as if he is a manifestation of Hurley’s guilt, nudging him toward doing the right thing. But Libby basically shocks Michael awake in the hospital, then warns him against setting off a bomb that doesn’t actually do anything. Jen thinks this actually adds credence to the theory that these visions are real and are being put there by someone else, perhaps Ben or since it apparently has a plan the island itself. Someone needed Michael to wake up, and to not follow through on the plan to kill everyone on the boat. (Recall that Ben was surprised that Michael pressed the button.) My question: Was Harper’s message to Juliet such a vision as well?
Or, on Libby, how about this? We see Michael wake up in the hospital twice. First, in an older hospital room, with older equipment. He sees Libby, who says he was in a car crash. He recognizes her and wakes up yelling. Then he’s in a modern room with a different nurse who also explains the car crash and the note for Walt. Remember, though, that Michael has had two significant car accidents in his lifetime. Was that first hospital room a dream, or was it his first recovery? Was Libby actually there? Could Michael’s recognition of her be the result of an “unstuck in time” moment? Why was his car (in 2004 New York) so old, anyway? We didn’t even see any other cars on the street.
Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard.
It was good to see Cynthia Wattros again, at least. And a coherent Fisher Stevens. No sign of Zoe Bell’s Regina, though. Which means we better get a real freighter flashback soon. Alas, it’ll be another month until we get our next new dose of “LOST.” Time to pull out those Stephen King novels.
Notes and Notions:
- Lots of fun references. “The Shining,” by Stephen King (cabin fever, and Stephen King). “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut (“unstuck in time,” eerie pink light). “It’s Getting Better” by Mama Cass (“Make Your Own Kind of Music”). And Bob Dylan fans may recognize the Hotel Earle (“Subterranean Homesick Blues” cue card video, Charlie’s Dylan T-shirt).
- Looks like Sawyer was the winner in this week’s “token scene” lottery. Not only does he get the most awkward chunk of exposition (explaining exactly which Michael is on the boat), but he trots over with a late dig at Locke’s leadership.
- Locations: The “Port of Suva” was Kewalo Basin. You could even see the smokestack from the old incinerator (now the Children’s Discovery Center) in the background. Michael gets into his green Dodge Aspen on Merchant Street next to Pioneer Plaza, drives up Bethel Street, then ends up between Pier 18 and 19 where he crashes into a shipping container.