Lost: Week 4

ZOË RICE : Lost may have found a pattern this season: A heart-thumping episode one week, followed by a quieter, perhaps relationship-driven episode the next. I am okay with this. “The Lighthouse” may have been punctuated by fewer instances of that familiar dramatic music, but I found it utterly compelling nonetheless.

The key to this episode’s suspense was, of course, Jacob’s return and the subsequent discovery of the Lighthouse. (If the island can appear and vanish as it pleases, I’m willing to believe the lighthouse can too. If that’s the explanation for why no one ever saw this very tall, obvious structure before, so be it.) Continuing with the show’s (and especially this season’s) frequent tropes of light vs. dark and mirrors (“Through the Looking Glass”?), now we have the bright airy lighthouse to contrast with the dark subterranean cave, a fresh Alice in Wonderland reference, and how ’bout them mirrors? So our infamous numbers take on another nuance. They are degrees attached to the candidates’ names. And Hurley has been instructed to summon #108 (an infamous number in Lost mythology). Ooh, so another Lostie is on the way “home!” Here comes…wait who’s at 108?? Drum roll please…”Wallace.” Wallace? Who the frak is Wallace? Did Desmond Hume ever change his last name? But despite not finding out who Jacob sends Hurley after (or was the whole trip just a ruse to get Jack to the lighthouse?), I am glad I know how Jacob kept an eye on his candidates. He’s got a thingy with mirrors. He can see Jack Shephard’s childhood home there, the temple where Jin and Sun married, the church where Sawyer’s parents’ funeral was held. But how does he choose whom to surveil? And how does he get to them and touch them all Jacob-Island style? More answers please!

But more than the lighthouse, there were plenty of other moments to enjoy in this episode, many of them lighthearted. We were due for some Hurley humor. Some of his lines were pitch perfect, whether defying Dogen “Why don’t you go back to the courtyard” or quipping with Jacob. I’m looking very forward to Hurley’s flashsideways. And the Alternate Universe Jack flashsideways had its moments too. I was moved by the final scene with Jack and his son (his son!?) David. I felt touched as Jack worked out some of his massive daddy issues by letting his own kid know he could never fail in his father’s eyes. Now, who’s this kid’s mother? Is it ex-wife Sarah? Or is David too old to fit that chronology? (Lost! You said no more questions!) Does this alternate universe–a world where the island’s at the bottom of the ocean–somehow make our Losties’ lives better? Hurley’s lucky, Locke has his Helen, and Jack’s getting all tender momenty with his boy. So…in the original timeline, when Jacob was keeping tabs from the island, was that why their lives were so messed up? More answers please!

The weakness of this episode, for me, was Crazy Claire. Something about her–and it may well have been the acting–felt awkward to watch. But our final reveal of the night was that Claire has two companions: 1) Chrisian, and 2) Smokey. So does that mean that the Christian in the cabin was not the smoke monster? Or are her two friends really one, and it’s evil Man in Black?

Just to repeat–just putting it out there one last time…More answers please!

TED BERG: I’m still trying to figure out how the alternate timeline fits into everything here.

It seems pretty likely that whatever happened at the Swan station in 1977 was only The Incident we’ve been hearing about forever and not some time-changing event that split reality and cast Oceanic 815 onto some other, different course, in which all the survivors’ lives are somehow massively different than the ones we knew in the first five seasons of Lost.

Unless maybe that’s exactly what happened. Fuck if I know. Still, I’m guessing the show will end with the folks in the original, 2007 timeline (perhaps again back in time) doing something that sinks the Island, and all the little twists of fate are somehow karmic payback for their deed, or the butterfly effect or something.

But that’s a stab in the dark. What we do know is that Jacob has apparently been monitoring the survivors for a long, long time from yet another Island Jacob hangout — his magic lighthouse.

It calls up the whole question of fate versus free will that drives the show, of course: Did Jack choose to come back to the Island, with the help of Eloise Hawking and the Ajira flight, or was he manipulated by fate to come back because some weird mysterious hot guy decided he was a candidate for something or other?

The theme has been watered down a bit now with the layers of agency governing the Island, and lacks the philosophical, allegorical potency it contained when it was just men of science and men of faith.

Now, it seems, there’s no place for science on the Island. Now it’s all vaguely religious gobbledygook, and the only option left for free will is to act against the apparent wishes of mysterious god-like forces. But even then, maybe that’s really what Jacob wanted you to do all along.

A good Desmond episode usually makes me feel better about Lost in general, but it’s unclear if one is on the horizon. The shows appear to be following the same pattern as Season 1, but the seventh episode of that season was a Charlie-centric one, and now Charlie’s met his watery grave. I suppose there’s always a chance Charlie gets a FlashSideways plot, but I’m hoping Desmond makes his triumphant return to the Island.

After all, Jacob did say there was someone who needed to get to the Island, and when Hurley expressed remorse about the lighthouse being broken, Jacob — though he admitted he mostly wanted Jack to realize how important he was — didn’t deny that someone was coming to the Island. And Desmond’s son is named Charlie. So there’s hope.

Next week’s episode — no doubt a Sun-centric one — promises answers, according to the preview. I better get some. It looks like we’re cruising for a totally badass Others vs. New Locke crew battle, and that should be fun to watch, but it won’t help with any of the billions of questions the show still needs to clear up.

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