First, let me apologize for not getting this review online sooner. I had technical problems that are hilarious and profanity-filled, but ultimately not very interesting, so we’ll just skip over that to the review itself.
This was another format breaking episode. The “A-Team” of Lost (Kate, Jack, Sayid, Ben, Hurly, Sun) aren’t in it at all. Instead we bounce back and forth between the “Back at the ranch” team of Sawyer, Locke, Juliette, and the newbies: Faraday, Miles, and Faraday’s lantern-jawed marked-for-death girlfriend who’s name I can never remember on the island, and “Team Hume” off the island.
Desmond and Penny and their son (!) Charlie are living on a sailboat, and have been hiding out from Penny’s dad, Charles Widmore, for three years. Desmond heads back to England to track down Faraday’s mother, as per the instructions last week. First he goes to Cambridge, where he’s told no such person exists, nor ever did. Knowing he’s being lied to, Des breaks in to Faraday’s old lab, and finds a picture of the man with a pretty blonde girl. A janitor tells him that the university is covering up the fact that Faraday was ever there, as his experiments have become extremely politically incorrect, but tells him how to contact an old lab assistant/girlfriend. At the Girlfriend’s house, Desmond finds the pretty blonde girl from the picture in a coma, attended by her pissed off sister and a nameless technician. Her mind is evidently bouncing around in time like Desmond and Faraday both have – Faraday experimented on her, and failed – and then he evidently cut and ran back to the states. Charles Widmore has been paying the girl’s medical expences. Des then heads to Widmore’s office, busts in, and demands the address of Faraday’s mother, since Widmore himself was bankrolling Faraday’s experiments for a decade leading up to the pretty-lab-assistant-accident. Widmore says that Desmond is in the middle of things that are very old and which he doesn’t understand, so “Deliver your message, and get out. Wherever you and my daughter have been hiding, go back there.” He seems legitimately concerned, as well he should, given that Ben intends to kill Penny. He also says that Faraday’s mother is a very private person who won’t want to see Des.
Just a hunch: Faraday’s mother is Mrs. Hawking, the woman who told Ben he only had 70 hours to get everyone to the island, and who once refused to sell Desmond a wedding ring. Republibot 2.0 points out that Miss Entirely-Too-Pretty is named "Ellie" and hence is probably the same Ms. Eloise Hawking that we already know, and hence she probably really is Faraday's mom. Republibot 2.0 believes that Faraday has already put this together.
Anyway, after some misgivings from Penny, Team Hume decides to head to LA to find this woman.
Meanwhile back (in time) on the island, our heroes have been split in to two groups following last week’s flaming arrow massacre. Faraday, Miles, Faraday’s girlfriend, and two redshirt survivors rendezvous at the lake, but the redshirts immediately set off some claymore mines, which blow them up. Faraday, Miles, and the chick are immediately taken captive by people wearing old army picklesuits, armed with rifles and bows and arrows, and led by a girl who’s entirely too short and pretty and frail to be taken seriously. They take them back to an army bivouac composed of old-fashioned tents, where they meet Richard Alpert. Everyone except Richard is running around in US Army picklesuits. Richard assumes that Team Faraday are all working for the US Army, and have come to retrieve their hydrogen bomb. Evidently, the Army wanted to conduct an above ground nuclear test here, and The Others resisted. “I gave them the chance to leave, but the left me no choice but to kill them,” Richard tells them. Faraday has already sussed out that the the bomb is leaking radiation, since several of the others have clear burns, and claims that he can fix things. Richard agrees to send Faraday out to the bomb site in the custody of the entirely-too-pretty hardassed girl who captured him. His plan is simply to hold it together until the next time-shift happens.
Meanwhile, Team People We’ve Known For More Than A Season (Locke, Sawyer, Juliet), are interrogating a couple of the pickle-suited guys who attacked them last week. They talk to each other in latin, and Juliet realizes that these guys are Others. She’s able to convince one of them to lead them to Richard’s camp, and he starts to give them directions, but then the other captive – Charles – gets free and breaks the man’s neck, then runs off in to the woods. Locke can’t bring himself to shoot the guy knowing that he’s an Other because, “He’s one of my people.” Remember: Locke is the leader of the Others in the future, he actually feels responsible for them.
They find the Bivouac by following Charles, and see Faraday and Miss Entirely-Too-Pretty heading off in to the woods, so Sawyer and Juliet head off to deal with that, while Locke walks in to the camp and surrenders himself to Richard. Charles gives Locke a very hard time about this, but Richard tells him to shut up, and calls him by his surname – Widmore!
Penny’s dad was an Other! This explains very, very much! Well, actually, it doesn’t, but it ties things together, and it’s pretty fascinating just the same.
Faraday implies that Miss Entirely-too-pretty-to-be-taken-seriously reminds him of his poor, brain damaged lab assistant back in England, and while trying to explain that they simply need to bury the bomb, Faraday lets it slip that he’s from the future, then Sawyer and Juliet show up and take her captive.
Anyway, Locke gives Richard the compass and tries to explain his Billy Pilgrim unstuck-in-time predicament, which, frankly, Richard is more amused by than actually buying. Locke asks what year it is – 1954 – and then tells him his birthdate in 1956 and the location he was born in, and says, “If you don’t believe me, I suggest you stop by and see for yourself.” He asks Richard to tell him the way off the island, and then the time-shift happens again. Then Faraday’s girlfriend dies of some kind of time travel-related aneurism.
The end. (For her, anyway)
Presumably, seeing Locke disappear from right in front of him means that Richard now believes Locke’s admittedly crazy story. This explains why Richard was snooping around when Locke was born in a flashback a few seasons ago! It also explains Richard’s interest in the young Locke in foster care in the 1960s, which involved the *same* Compass!
I was right and I was wrong last week: I assumed the picklesuited folks who attacked Locke, Sawyer, and Juliet were mercenaries. No, they were Others. I also assumed that the flaming arrows were shot by the others, and I was dead right about that. Also, the fact that Locke’s discussion with Richard-1954 evidently set up Richard’s life-long stalking of Locke would tend to support my theory that the mysterious force that manipulated everyone in to coming to the island was the Losties themselves.
Someone has finally addressed the fact that Richard is obviously immortal. I’m sure we’ll find out more about that later on, but it seems obvious to me that he’s part of the original crew of the Black Rock, the old 19th century slaver ship that several episodes have revolved around.
Jakob got a name check!
Widmore's status as an ex-other casts some interesting relief on his rivalry with Ben: Clearly, Widmore got booted off the island and wants his way back (We even saw him bidding on the Black Rock's captain's log at auction a few years back), and clearly he views Ben as being responsible for this. So was Widmore purged as part of Ben's rise to power when he became the leader of the Others? Probably. We've suspected this for some time, but now it's seeming more and more likely.
Speaking of Richard, though he’s been a looming figure in the background for like 3 seasons now, this is the first time he’s gotten more than a line or two of screen time in one sitting. He has a very relaxed, but not laid-back style of leading the Others, and he’s affable. As I really like Nestor “Batmanuel” Carbonel, I’m really happy to see his character finally coming to the forefront.
The 1950s Others are using clothes and weapons they’ve liberated from the US Army platoon they killed. They’re also using bows and arrows, which implies that they pretty much *only* had bows and arrows up until their run in with the Army. In more recent times, we’ve seen the Others are armed for bear pretty much all the time, which implies that their hardass attitude towards outsiders is comparatively recent. It’s interesting to see the beginning of that transition in this episode.
The Others have always struck me as rather culty: secretive, xenophobic, with odd rituals like that beach funeral clad-in-white, and now we find they have an alternate language they use that is coincidentally one of the major liturgical languages of the world. Dunno what it means, but I’m just pointing it out.
*Why* does the Army want to blow up a hydrogen bomb on the island? They must have known the island itself is in a Rudy Rucker-styled hypersphere. Did they want to blow it up because they felt the Hypersphere itself is dangerous, or simply to see what a hydrogen bomb blast would do when attenuated by 4th-dimentional confinement? It might be this last, since the name of the bomb (and this episode), “Jughead” implies containment. “Jug.” I mean, it can’t be *just* a test. We’ve seen over and over and over again that nothing happens here by accident, and this show is strictly deterministic in its view of time, therefore the Army must have had a reason, not just Random Chance.
I like how Sawyer is clearly acting outside his abilities. He has no clue what’s going on, but just keeps going. I’ve always liked how adaptable he is, though I’m not entirely sure why he’s so pissed off at present.
Juliet is developing an interesting personality. She describes herself as an “Other,” but she’s really neither fish nor fowl, not quite an Other, yet not a Lostie. She’s clearly thinking over everything she does, and it’ll be interesting to see where this leads her.
Team Faraday was introduced last season. It’s very interesting to me to see how they’ve stepped up and focused a whole episode around them. The show has never been reticent to introduce new characters and kill off old ones, and aside from the Nikki/Paolo experiment they’ve always been really good at it. Even so, seeing these newbies front and center for an hour was unprecedented and kind of impressive. We’ve grown to care about them, and better still the writers seem to know who they are. Conversely, I didn’t feel like we ever quite knew who Anna Lucia, Libby, or Mister Eko were. (Though Eko came closest to being a fully-realized character) That said, Miles does seem to be going grey quickly, doesn’t he? Anyone notice his sideburns?
So here’s my theory as to what’s going on for those of you who may have become confused since this show came out of the Science Fiction closet a episodes back:
1) The show is all about fate. It’s always been rigidly deterministic.
2) The show is (overtly) about time travel.
3) It follows, then, that what they’re trying to do is prevent a paradox.
Paradoxes are bad. Paradoxes fundamentally violate Causality (The notion that cause always precedes effect), and if Causality is shot, then essentially the natural laws of the universe cease to work, and the universe itself ends.
In other words, the events on the Island are both endangering and saving the world as a whole.