Lost Revisited: Something Nice Back Home (May 2)

So, this woman in my office started watching Lost two episodes ago. Naturally, she has a lot of questions. Today she asked me “So what’s that smoke again?” This is not a question you should be asking me in the course of a regular workday. Productivity will suffer.

We learn some pretty major things in this episode, so let’s get ready!

Right off, this is an unusual episode, as there’s no “Previously…. On Lost” segment. When was the last time that happened? Heck, I kind of think the first episode opened with previouslies. And we open with a close-up of an eye, that Season One motif that’s been coming back more and more. Jack’s sick, and things are falling apart on the beach. Per Bernard, the signal is no longer working. Man, something is going on that freighter. Losing contact, the bodies of people who aren’t dead washing up on shore… Something tells me Michael and the guys have not been playing Risk the last couple of weeks.

Does anybody else get stressed trying to figure out if it’s a flashback or a flash-forward? Thankfully, they get to it pretty quickly this week. I had a minor stroke trying to figure out the newspaper that showed the Yankees sweeping the Red Sox in a series. I assumed it was the World Series, which would have put this scene in the actual future. On review, “series” is not capitalized, so it’s just a regular series of games. That puts this episode in August of 2006, when the Yankees swept the Sox. (Thanks, wikipedia!) Now, besides historic context, Red Sox victories indicate hope on this show, specifically for Jack. Based on that headline, we know Jack’s going to have a hard time of it. And that is the Millennium Falcon that Jack steps on, but given the lack of Star Wars references to this point, I’m not going to read too much into it.

In the bathroom, the editors do their new favorite trick of messing with the vocal pitch of an offscreen character, just so we don’t know who it is. But there’s Kate! Jack reads from Alice in Wonderland to little Aaron, and that’s been a recurring theme. Other than the fact that it’s about a wondrous land that’s inaccessible through conventional means, there have been scattered Wonderland references, most prominently with the Looking Glass Station. In a nice, but probably unintentional touch, right after Jack talks about his father, John Terry’s name appears in the cast list. Guess who we’re going to see tonight! And does anybody wonder why Jack changed his mind about Aaron, or why he even needed to?

Fun fact: The IMDB page for this episode lists the following “Plot Keywords”: Soaked Clothes, Frenchwoman, Head Butt, Beach, Drugs. Do with that as you will.

Back with our Jungle Buddies, Claire notes that she’s not seeing things anymore. I wonder if that’s going to come up again… And that was more than a little creepy seeing Rousseau and Karl’s bodies. Even more disturbing that they talked to Miles. Even if you’re dead, you can get better friends than that.

On the beach, we confirm that Jack’s problem is his appendix. I love how these incredibly specialized doctors have to be general practitioners now. Who doesn’t want their appendix removed by a fertility specialist? And Faraday and Charlotte really seem like they’re not so bad. I still think they don’t mean the Lostaways any harm. They may not be there to help them, but Daniel’s certainly not going to hurt anybody. Plus, you can tell Jin really wants one of them to try something just so he can shoot them. Jin’s naturally suspicious.

Something about that shot of Miles seems familiar. A dude creepily staring at Claire from far away while he’s covering his head with a blue hoodie… Man, it’s like Charlie never died at all. I like Sawyer’s newfound protective attitude toward Claire. I feel like he has to focus on one person at all times. When Kate’s around, it’s her. Then when she leaves, he bonds with Hurley. And now, it’s Claire. I wonder how Claire feels, being third in the batting order like that.

Rose brings up a good point. Why exactly is Jack getting sick on the Island? You know who else got sick on the Island? Benry! Has Jack offended the Island now? And Jack continues being the biggest control freak ever, talking Juliet through the surgery. Plus, he makes sure that Kate will be in the surgery, because Jack is the boy version of Kate and wants to make sure that the two women in his life get to fight over him as often as possible. You can see why those two are getting along so well in the future.

Jack’s consultation is with a Mrs. Barenberg, and I’ve got nothing for you there. Sure, we’ve got “barren” in her name, and in a show where people die if they get pregnant, that’s something. Plus, I think Kate is actually infertile, given that even getting all Sawyered up on the Island of Massive Sperm Counts has not left her with child. Anyway, that does appear to be a certain Christian Shephard walking around the hospital. Neat, huh?

And that takes us to Santa Rosa, where Dr. Stillman’s favorite patient has taken a turn for the worse. Hurley’s really in rough shape. This is clearly set after his flash-forward in the season premiere. Hurley doesn’t believe that his doctor exists and that the Oceanic Six are all dead. That’s sort of a reverse of his Island freak-out where he thought he was in the asylum all along. It’s a different kind of crazy, but not a better kind. It’s interesting that Hurley cites Jack’s happiness as proof that they’re dead. That’s a guy who’s given up. Apparently, Charlie’s been appearing to Hurley more than we’ve seen, and he’s not helping Hurley’s mental state. As tends to happen with spectral deceased friends, I guess. And the note, “You’re not supposed to raise him, Jack” – well, we’ve said that for anybody but Claire to raise Aaron will “bring great destruction”. So does that mean Roger the Possibly Phony Psychic was right? There was always this possibility that he was just a baby thief, but the ghosts agree with him. And of course, Jack will soon be visited. As we speculated earlier, each of the Six might have their own ghost haunting them.

Now, other than the cuts to Charlotte when Sun and Jin were speaking, there was another little bit of evidence that she knew Korean. When Sun and Jin spoke, there were subtitles. Usually, if they’re around people who don’t understand them, there are no subtitles – those are reserved for times when they’re alone. That was a nice, subtle clue. And I have to say, I wish Jin had phrased his promise differently: “I will get you and our baby off this Island.” Jin, maybe include yourself in that promise. It’ll work out better that way.

And now it’s the jungle, and Frank is back! We haven’t seen him in a while, and he’s a little freaked out. Clearly, he has a certain amount of affection for the Lostaways, as he helps them hide from Keamy. Once again, the Fantastic Foursome don’t seem to mean anybody any harm. Well, maybe Miles. That dude’s mean. But more to the point, how did Keamy and the rest survive? All of them survived the monster? Mr. Eko is deemed unworthy, but Keamy and the Gun Club all survive? Is it possible that what we saw last week was not the same monster that we’ve been seeing all along? There’s no way that the classic formula monster wouldn’t wipe out that whole bunch. Does Benry have a baby monster?

By the way, Frank is the worst liar ever. “So, uh, maybe you should just get going in another direction far away from those bushes you’re looking at.” That scene really made me laugh.

In 2006, Jack proposes. That is not something I saw coming, I’ll be honest with you. Still, you know it’s not going to go well. I mean, both of them have an awesome track record with marriages and all. Oh, and also strong family models to pattern themselves after. They might as well just divide up their stuff now.

The surgery scene just had me so jangled the whole time. All the yelling and all the different agendas, and Jack getting cut open. I loved how uncomfortable Bernard was the whole time. He really does not buy into all the Island drama. Poor guy just wants to go fishing. And Kate just didn’t want to be there at all, but Jack was on a power trip. I can’t decide if Juliet taking control means that she’s being reasonable or it indicates that Jack is wrong to trust her. I still don’t know what’s going on with her.

The x-ray Jack is studying is of a man named “Ryan Laker”. I’ve got no anagram there, but I tried. And finally, we’ve got our full-on appearance of Christian! And since the other doctor didn’t see him, I think it’s safe to say he’s a ghost. As the episode goes on, it becomes more and more clear that this flash-forward is set before the scenes from last season’s finale. Jack is on a downward spiral throughout the episode, leading him to his desperate state from “Through the Looking Glass”. And that’s why Jack and Kate were so awkward then – not because they’ve avoided each other since the island, but because their relationship went south. That’s why, in that episode, Jack talks about his father as if he’s still alive. Christian’s appearing to him on a regular basis!

So, here’s where we stand as far as the flash-forwards go. Sun’s episode happens first (she has the baby in her episode, so it’s 5-6 months in the future). Benry’s episode happens in October of 2005, just more than a year after Sun’s episode. After that, we have Sayid’s episode and Hurley’s episode (Jack hasn’t reconciled with Kate yet as of Hurley’s episode). Then we’ve got Kate’s trial, this episode, and the Season Three finale is the farthest we’ve seen into the future. Everybody caught up?

Jack gets home, and Kate’s a terrible liar, too. Seriously, who has a friend named Noreen? And this is where it’s clear that Jack’s going around the bend, as mixing prescription sleep aids and beer is not a good thing.

And we’ve got another Christian appearance, this time on the Island. Now, when Claire sees him, he’s actually holding Aaron. This may indicate that Christian has a physical presence on the Island, since he can lift a baby. And where does he find the time to haunt two people? How does he get anything done?

OK, the post-surgery scene is a look into the disturbed psyches of our entire love triangle. Jack pretends to be asleep so he can listen in while pretty girls talk about him. Juliet has a weird power trip and then she brushes Kate some table scraps, which Kate happily laps up because it means that somebody thinks a boy likes her. These kids, I swear.

Back in 2006, Jack’s hitting the bottle hard. Once he finally gets the secret out of Kate, it turns out she was “doing something for Sawyer”. She made him a promise that we’ve yet to see. What does Sawyer even care enough about that he’d make Kate promise to deal with? (That was a poorly phrased sentence, and I’m sorry.) This is intriguing. Even more so is Jack’s statement that Sawyer “chose to stay”. Sawyer chose to stay on the Island. So just because you’re not in the Oceanic Six doesn’t mean you’re dead! Unless you’re Jin. Or maybe Claire. Sure, there’s no telling what’s happened to them since then, but at least one person actively chose to remain on the island rather than leave. This is very exciting, because it means Locke might still be alive! But we have to ask why people decided to stay. Jack’s camp of people who want to leave had Locke’s group outnumbered. Did all those people change their minds? Are there only a few surviving Lostaways? Sure, it looks like the people who chose to stay were probably right, but why did they make that choice? These clues to the future are frustrating and maddening.

Finally, Sawyer wakes up to find out that Claire followed Christian away from their camp. The fact that Miles saw him, too, means that he’s either real or a ghost (since Miles chats with the dead regularly) – he’s definitely not a hallucination. Of course, he could be the Monster in disguise, like the appearance of Eko’s brother. If that’s the case, Claire is headed for judgment day. And why was Aaron left behind, if most of the forces on the Island have been interested in the baby? That alone makes me think that Christian is the monster. The real monster, not the one who tossed Keamy and friends around but didn’t eat anybody. After all, the ghosts don’t want anybody else raising the baby. Jacob would probably not want anybody abandoning the first baby born on the Island. I’m thinking Christian is the monster and he’s isolating Claire to face her destiny. Or I’m way off. That happens sometimes.

We’re in for dark times, people. Next week, it looks like we catch up on the freighter, and Locke deals with some serious weirdness. This was another one of those episodes that advanced the mythology significantly, while creating all sorts of new questions. And within the next three episodes, it’s been announced we will find out who’s in the coffin. Start placing your bets!

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