Lost Episodes

2004, TV Show

Lost Episode: "The Variable"

Season 5, Episode 14
Episode Synopsis: Faraday discloses what he knows about the island, beginning a time of reckoning. Eloise Hawking: Fionnula Flanagan.
Original Air Date: Apr 29, 2009
Guest Cast Michael Dempsey: Foreman Francois Chau: Dr. Pierre Chang Peggy Anne Siegmund: Caretaker
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Season 5, Episode 14
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Length: 43:06
Aired: 4/29/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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Lost Episode Recap: "Follow the Leader" Season 5, Episode 14

On Wednesday's episode of Lost, a newly energized Locke seeks out Richard Alpert's help in 2007 with some very interesting errands. Back in the Me Decade, Jack and Kate help Eloise Hawking understand how she came to kill her own grown son, and Jack convinces her to fulfill Daniel's dying wish. Sawyer and Juliet, whose cover is blown by that pesky surveillance video, make a shocking decision about their future on the island.

JACK, KATE and SAYID

We back-track a bit to see Daniel's shooting from Kate and Jack's perspective. Kate tries to convince Jack not to follow Daniel into Hostiletown. Jack, on the other hand, is convinced that this plan is their destiny, so he's practically ready to skip down into the crossfire. But before they can reach a consensus, they're captured by Charles Widmore (Fancy Hair Edition).

Eloise has them put in her tent while she pages through Daniel's journal. Widmore asks, "Why has the Dharma Initiative declared war on us?" But Eloise says Kate and Jack aren't from Dharma. "Then where the hell are they from?" Widmore asks, and the unspoken, incredulous answer hangs in the air.

There's a nice scene here between Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly, as Kate questions why Jack would want to put things back the way they were supposed to be, as Faraday suggested would be the result of Operation Boom Boom. For obvious reasons, Kate is not so nuts about this idea, as her pre-crash existence was pretty much a one-way flight to the slammer. "And what about us?" Kate asks. "We go on living our lives because we've never met?" When Jack says it would bring back dead people and end all their misery, Kate says it was not all misery. "Enough of it was," Jack huffs. (Which reminds me: Jack has been kind of a jerk lately, no?)

Eloise questions the pair about Faraday's plan, and because of her 1950s-era run-in with Daniel & Co. – whom she saw disappear "before her bloody eyes," she's more receptive that she rationally should be. "How is this [the inscription in Daniel's journal] my handwriting if I don't remember writing it?" she asks. "Because you haven't written it yet," Jack says. He appeals to her future maternal instincts by telling her that if she sees Dan's plan through, she can take it all back. "Does he know what he's talking about?" Eloise asks Kate. "He thinks he does," replies Kate. She believes them, so they're off to find Jughead, which is buried underground as Daniel instructed, but in the intervening years, Dharma showed up and built New Otherton over it.

"Why is it that this man looks so familiar?" Widmore asks. Well… Eloise announces to her Hostile cohorts that she's taking Jack and Kate to the bomb. There's a tense, whispery moment between Eloise and Widmore as Richard explains:  "[Widmore] and Eloise are… let's just say that love can be complicated." What do you think that means?

Eloise tells them that they have to enter the underground bomb-hiding place by swimming there. And then something interesting happens: Kate speaks for the Doubting Thomases in the audience and wants out of this cockamamie scheme; she wants to return to their friends. But Eloise won't let her, as the Hostiles are not in the habit of sharing all their deepest secrets with strangers and then letting them saunter off into the jungle. There's a bit of a stand-off, and a gunshot! For a split-second, I nearly soiled myself thinking that Kate was a goner. But then Sayid pops up out of the woods with a gun and it becomes clear what has actually happened. The Hostile rifleman falls to the ground, and Eloise and Richard put their hands up.

Once Jack, Kate and Sayid are reunited, Sayid points out what he thinks is a flaw in Faraday's plan. You see, he already killed Benjamin Linus, but they're all still there. Oh, but he didn't, Kate tells him, and she's actually a little ticked off. "Since when did shooting kids and blowing up hydrogen bombs become OK?" she asks. Jack spins another rich fable about destiny for Sayid, and Kate tells him that he sounds like Locke – and "he was crazy too." So Kate is Audi 5000, heading back to New Otherton to take her chances there. "Because if I can't stop you, maybe they can," she spits. This is a very interesting development.

Jack takes a deep breath and follows Richard underwater through a passageway and arrives at a temple of sorts. "Where are we?" Jack asks. "The tunnels" is Richard's uninformative reply. Eloise and Sayid follow them, and they're off to see the Jughead. Along the way, Sayid is on board because "if this works, you might just save us all, but if it doesn't, at least you'll put us out of our misery." There's that word again! He does have one nagging question: Why should they trust Eloise? Jack points out that in 30 years, she helps them get back to the island. Sayid rightly points out that that isn't really an answer.

So they find Jughead and Eloise asks: "Well, now what?" Indeed!

SAWYER and JULIET

Radzinsky is questioning Sawyer about where Kate is — with his fists mostly, and with the assistance of his heavy, Phil (ha-ha). Is this not the most unassuming bunch of enforcers you've ever seen? For his part, Horace is rendered mostly impotent as Radzinsky's rage motivates him to takes charge.

Juliet pleads for them to stop. "We have known each other for three years. We are not bad people. We are not here to hurt you," she says. She's perhaps more vulnerable than we've ever seen her in this moment, and it makes me stop and take stock of Juliet's entire tragic story and realize how painful it all must have been for the retiring scientist who thought she was just escaping a bad boyfriend by taking an interesting-sounding job all those years ago.

Sawyer tells her not to tell them anything because, even if she does, they aren't going to believe her. Plus, it's only going to get more people hurt. Phil turns his fists of fury on Juliet, but just as things are about to get really sticky, an anonymous Dharma dude barges in with a head count on Miles, Jin and the mysterious recent new additions to their numbers. They know where Jack and Kate have gone, but…. "who the hell is Hugo Reyes?" Radzinsky asks. "He's the fat guy," an increasingly menacing Phil says.

HURLEY, MILES and JIN

Cut to Hurley in the Dharma kitchen, socking away canned goods. He makes a hasty exit from New Otherton to meet up with Miles and Jin. Dr. Chang, who appears out of nowhere wearing a sporty Dharma jacket (no jumpsuit for this smoothie!), follows him.

Chang catches up with the trio, and rather than sound the alarm, he asks them if Daniel was telling the truth, if they're from the future. Hurley attempts to lie, but as we all know from the beginning of the season, he's not very good at that, so he cracks when he can't tell Chang who's the president of the U.S. in 1977. "It's true then?" Chang asks Miles with a sly reversal on Empire Strikes Back. "You are my son?" Miles says he is, and that Daniel has been right about everything so far. This is enough for Chang to call for a complete evacuation of the island.

THE SUB

Once Chang sounds the evacuation alarm with the Dharma Interrogation Squad/Chess Club, Sawyer says, "If you put me and Juliet on the sub with [the women and children], we'll tell you anything you want to know." Radzinsky wants a map that shows where the Hostiles are.

Sawyer presumably gives them what they want, because the next scene is them being escorted in handcuffs to the sub. "We'll buy Microsoft; we'll bet Cowboys in the '78 Super Bowl. We're going to be rich," he says to Juliet. "I should have let you get on this sub when you wanted to three years ago," Sawyer says. As he climbs down the ladder, Sawyer looks around at the island's breathtaking vistas and says with a characteristic huff: "Good riddens."

(Aside: Around the same time, Miles, Jin and Hurley witness Charlotte, baby Miles and their mothers boarding the same sub. They see Dr. Chang exchange angry words with his wife, and Miles realizes that it's what he had to do to get his young family out of harm's way. It's a much more touching moment than I imagined it would be.)

Sawyer and Juliet are handcuffed inside the sub. Just as Sawyer and Juliet are exchanging I love yous and planning their post-island, 1970s life… uh-oh, Kate is brought into the sub and cuffed beside them. Ouch! There is a very cool (though probably computer-generated) image of the sub slowly sinking into the sea, and then it hits me: They're not just leaving the island; they're leaving any chance of returning to their lives in 2007. Sawyer, Kate and Juliet are now reassigned in time, away from their Oceanic 815 cohorts, and maybe for good. It's a shocking development.

2007

Richard Alpert is erecting a ship in a bottle on the beach, and an anonymous lady-Hostile approaches and says, "Richard, he's here," and without further explanation, Richard immediately appears to know who she means. And then there's neo-Locke, carrying a dead boar over his shoulders like a Viking warrior hero returning from the hunt. "I brought dinner," he says with a smirk.

It has been three years since they've seen each other, and Richard observes that there's something different about him. Rather than mention the small matter of his resurrection, he says simply, "I have a purpose now." (And then there's the Shaft theme song music in my head again…) Locke explains that Ben "helped me get back," and it's kind of hysterical how many crucial details Locke is leaving out of that sentence.

Ben explains to Sun that Richard is "a kind of advisor, and he has had that job for a very, very long time." (Aside: Isn't it kind of funny that she's still wearing a blazer?) When Sun hears of Richard's history with the island, she rushes up to him, shows him the Dharma photo with Kate, Jack and Hurley, and asks if he knows them. "Yeah, I was here 30 years ago." (Okay, great…) "I remember meeting these people." (Hooray!) "Because I watched them all die." (D'oh!)

Locke asks Ben to join their conversation. "Afraid I'll stage a coup?" Ben taunts. "I'm not afraid of anything you can do anymore, Ben," Locke says flatly. "Well, in that case, I'd love to come," Ben says with his signature snarky musicality.

Ben, Richard and Locke are going on a bit of a walkabout. Before they leave, Locke says to Sun, who is staying behind: "Whatever happens, Sun, you have my word, if there's a way for you and Jin to be together again, a way to save our people, I'll find it."

Alpert wants to know where Locke was for three years, and again he withholds the most interesting bits of his crazy tale, and says only, "You're about to see where I went. After that, you're going to take me to Jacob." Come again? "That's not how it works," says Ben, but they reluctantly agree, powerless in the face of neo-Locke.

They arrive at a clearing and Locke gives Alpert some very familiar-sounding instructions about what to say to the man who stumbles out of the jungle. "Who is that man, John?" Ben asks. "Me." Big, satisfied smile.

So we see the scene where Richard removed a bullet from John's leg and told him he was going to have to die again, from what appears to be a slightly different angle. It's a little unsettling, but it's an interesting way to resolve this previously inexplicable scene. "This must be quite the out-of-body experience," Ben says to Locke as they watch Richard counsel Locke. "Something like that," Locke replies, significantly.

"How did you know when to be here?" Ben asks. Yeah, what he said! The island told him. Hasn't the island ever told you anything? he asks Ben. No, says Ben, clearly annoyed, so he adds that the island hasn't told him where Jacob is. And then he says something like Na-na-na-na-na-na. Except not really. Locke is unmoved by his jab, and says "You've never seen Jacob," which is interesting considering that mind-bending scene in Jacob's cabin. Richard returns and says he's glad Locke didn't have to die, as he just told him he would have to. "Actually, Richard, I did," he says matter-of-factly.

Locke, Richard and Ben return to the Hostile settlement, where Richard says they can leave in the morning to see Jacob. But no, Locke wants to leave now. But first he wants to speak to "his" people. In a strange speech, he says it's a little nutso than they're following the orders of a man named Jacob, a man none of them have ever seen. So he invites them all to come with him to see Jacob for themselves. "I'm starting to think John Locke is going to be trouble," Richard says to Ben. "Why do you think I tried to kill him?" Ben reveals.

We end on a procession across the beach, as the Hostiles follow Locke to their destiny. It's very Biblical-looking, except they all have shotguns. "Beautiful day, isn't it?" Locke bellows. "Yes, so far," Ben replies. Ben says that Richard has some reservations about Locke, but that he's here to follow Locke's orders. His deviousness is pretty transparent. Ben says he'll help Locke find his friends. "I'm not interested in being reunited with my people," says Locke. Then why are they going to see Jacob? "So I can kill him," Locke says. Thump!

What did you think of "Follow the Leader"? Do you think Jack is right to continue Faraday's plans? What will happen to Kate, Juliet and Sawyer? Will we finally meet Jacob? Any predictions for the finale?

NEXT WEEK!

The two-hour season finale! Can you believe it? "Jack has a bomb. He could kill everyone on the island," says Kate! ABC messes up by then including scenes in the preview that reveal that Kate, Juliet and Sawyer are somehow back on the island! There's still time for love-triangle tension though! There goes that poignant sub-sinking moment. Sigh. Also: Lapidus is back!

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On Wednesday's episode of Lost, a newly energized Locke seeks out Richard Alpert's help in 2007 with some very interesting errands. Back in the Me Decade, Jack and Kate help Eloise Hawking understand how she came to kill her own grown son, and Jack convinces her to fulfill Daniel's dying wish. Sawyer and Juliet, whose cover is blown by that pesky surveillance video, make a shocking decision about their future on the island.

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Premiered: September 22, 2004, on ABC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (3,120 ratings)
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Premise: An addictively enigmatic hit about stranded plane-crash survivors on an eerie Pacific island. These disparate, resilient souls are bedeviled by flashbacks to their pasts, ever-changing group dynamics, otherworldly predators and hostile island inhabitants they come to call the Others. Six of the survivors are eventually rescued and return to the U.S.---for awhile. Cocreated by J.J. Abrams ('Alias'; 'Star Trek') and filmed in Hawaii.

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