What's old is new again: Tuesday's episode of Lost answered several questions, but it also raised several others. We learned what happened when Juliet bashed Jughead with such purpose, who's still alive, who died and who — spoiler alert! — rose from the dead. We finally got confirmation on those rumors that Season 6 would show us what happened if Oceanic 815 landed safely in Los Angeles. We even got to see a glimpse of the long-missing Claire. But we also met some new characters, whose roles in the big picture are intriguing, but are, naturally, as yet unclear. It's a heady brew, as usual, and I'm already half in the bag.
Namaste, y'all! Can you believe we're finally here — on the verge of the beginning of the end? Mickey O'Connor here, ready to plunge back into the crazy hot tub called Lost (clothing optional!) — won't you join me? The water's warm!
ABOARD OCEANIC 815
That ominous fade to white from the Season 5 finale manifests as puffy, white clouds outside Jack's airplane window. He's back on Oceanic 815, where Cindy the stewardess gives him another nip for his not-so-strong drink. He chats with Rose, his seat neighbor, about the sudden turbulence they experience. Just as quickly it subsides. "You can let go now," Rose says significantly.
Bernard returns from the lavatory just as Jack gets up to drain the snake himself. In the lav mirror, he looks at himself, and he looks weathered. Does he look older in the mirror or am I just being paranoid? Never mind — he has a weird cut on his neck, and it's freshly bleeding.
When Jack returns to his seat, Desmond is there, sitting in the aisle seat. Jack appears to recognize him, and the two men shake hands. Just then the camera zooms out the window and underwater, where it brushes by a school of fish to its destination, the four-toed statue. Aw, fantastic, so now I have to Google "Atlantis"? Thanks, Darlton!
Jack bumps into a handcuffed Kate at the lav, Sawyer bumps into the marshal, Arzt asks Hurley to "do" the Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack tagline in an Australian accent. This montage serves to inform us that some people are changed. Hurley tells us he's the luckiest guy alive. Boone(!) is there chatting with Locke (Frogurt is sleeping between them) about how he went to Sydney to rescue his sister from a bad relationship, but she didn't want to get out of it. (Also: Maggie Grace asked for a lot of money to return.) Locke says he went on that walkabout — is he still paralyzed?
But some things haven't changed. Sun and Jin are still somewhat tense. When Sun moons over happy couple Bernard and Rose, Jin's only curt response is that she should button her sweater. Charlie is still a heroin addict, as we see when he's found not breathing in the lav. Jack and Sayid attempt to revive him, which Jack does by removing a baggie of heroin from his throat. He's cuffed and escorted to the back of the plane. When Jack returns to his seat, Desmond is gone (where did he go, or rather when did he go?), and 815 starts its initial descent into LAX. Police escort Charlie off the plane, and Locke sits quietly, waiting for the flight attendants to help him into his... wheelchair. Aha!
I'm told by a much savvier Lost-phile that much of the dialogue among the Lostaways in these scenes is recycled from previous seasons. Jin telling Sun to button up is the foremost example, but can you identify the others? In many cases, the lines are spoken by and to the same people, but some aren't, which, in my mind, is a nice little hint about where this season is going. Things are familiar, but a little off; what happened, happened; etc. Discuss.
AT THE HATCH
Yes, the Hatch! Close-up of an eye. It's Kate, and she is quickly revealed to be up in a tree, just like Bernard was! And she can't hear. But the ever-resourceful Miss Austen-If-You're-Nasty rights herself and climbs down from the tree. On the ground, she regains her hearing, which is good because she finds Miles stumbling around, deaf as a haddock. They make their way to a clearing, where Kate exposits that they're back at the exploded Swan site in 2007, which means they must have time-traveled, and maybe the bomb didn't detonate after all.
Jack is bloodied, but OK. Sawyer is, obviously, pretty angry since his lover is gone, presumed dead, and their dang plan didn't even work. Hurley, Sayid and Jin are still by the van, and Sayid is still in pretty bad shape. "When I die, what do you think will happen to me?" he foreshadows to Hurley. Fortunately, Dead Jacob shows up for a chat. He tells him to take the guitar case and Sayid to the Temple if they want to save him. "I need you to save Sayid, Hugo," he tells him.
But wait! There's noise coming from below! Juliet is still at the bottom of the shaft. They start digging through the rubble, and get the van to haul away some of the larger pieces. Sawyer reaches Juliet, and they have a moment. "It didn't work; we're still on the island," Juliet says. "I hit the bomb and you're still here." This was obviously not what she wanted, as evidenced by her speech in the finale about never wanting to meet James so she wouldn't lose him. "James, kiss me," she says, and he does. "I have to tell you something; it's really, really important," she says. And then she frickin' DIES. Come ON!
AT THE FOOT
UnLocke (we'll call him that, OK?) and Ben are inside the foot, tidying up after killing Jacob. UnLocke instructs Ben to go outside and tell Richard he needs to talk to him.
Outside, Sun asks Lapidus who Ilana and Bram are. "They say they're the good guys," he says. "I'm not buying it either." Well said, Lapidus! Ben lies to Richard and tells him that Jacob is OK. Richard responds by showing him Locke's body, which is clearly a huge THUMP! moment. But there's no time for sound effects, as Ben tells Richard to go inside and find out what happened for himself. Before he can, though, Bram barges ahead of him with some of his mystery warriors.
Inside, UnLocke tells Bram & Co. that Jacob is dead, and tells them that since they were Jacob's bodyguards, they're free to go, nothing left for them to protect. Instead, they shoot at UnLocke, but he disappears, leaving nothing but a flattened bullet where he once stood.
In his place (get it?), Smokey appears and systematically kills them all, even Bram, who was crafty enough to inscribe a circle of ash around himself, much like we saw around Jacob's cabin. But he wasn't crafty enough to stay inside the circle, so as soon as he's knocked outside it, he's impaled with some random timber. When the smoke clears (heh), UnLocke reappears and purrs to Ben, "I'm sorry you had to see me like that."
MILES and SAWYER
While the gang heads off to The Temple to heal Sayid, Sawyer and Miles stay behind to bury Juliet. Best Girl Scout Ever Kate says she'll leave a trail so they can catch up with them. "I ain't followin' nobody, Kate," Sawyer growls.
Once they're alone, Sawyer tells Miles he wants him to communicate with Juliet to find out what she was going to say before she died. Yes, please! We'd all really like to know. Though Miles offers half-hearted protests, he actually does uncover this cryptic nugget: "'It worked.' That's what she wanted to tell you." Now we know what she means, but how long before our island-hopping friends figure it out?
AT THE TEMPLE
Jack, Kate, Jin and Hurley take Sayid to The Temple, via the underground passage that Jin hasn't seen since he watched Smokey kill certain members of the Rousseau party there. Once underground, it's like we're re-enacting Goonies, but with a much hotter cast. (No offense, Martha Plimpton; you're awesome!) Kate and Jack stumble around in the darkness hearing voices, and in short order they're captured by a bunch of Bedouins/pirates/filthy wretches who must be The Hostiles. Right?
They take them to The Temple, where a huge band of filthy pirates greet them, including a shaggy Cindy gone native(!), who recognizes them from the plane. Another dirty hippie, who IMDb tells me is named, appropriately, Lennon, translates for their as-yet-unnamed Japanese leader (The Last Samurai's Hiroyuki Sanada). Lennon is played by an actor named John Hawkes, who you might recognize from Deadwood or The Perfect Storm, but who I know from a crazy little arthouse film called Me and You and Everyone We Know. Netflix it — it's a trip.
"Jacob sent us," Hurley tells them, but things are tense, as the Samurai twice instructs his men to shoot them. Hurley talks them down by giving them the guitar case, which does not contain Charlie's guitar but a giant ankh. Samurai breaks the ankh in half to reveal a tiny scroll inside. He asks everyone their names, and Mouseketeer roll call seems to assuage the irritable leader, and he invites them inside. "The paper says if your friend dies, we're all in a lot of trouble," Lennon reports. Now, wait a minute! Jacob gave Hurley that guitar case before he boarded Ajira 316 — when did he put that message in there? And are the other Lostaways' names on there too?
Inside, the Hostiles take them to a pool of water, and my Lost memory banks start ticking with memories of how Richard saved little Ben, and how Richard said he would be changed if they went through with it. This is accurate because Lennon reports that there are risks in trying to save Sayid this way, but Jack tells them to do what they have to do.
"The water isn't clear; what happened?" asks Lennon, but Samurai cuts his hand in an effort to demonstrate that even though the sacred-pool man took the day off, the scummy water still has the power to heal. So in Sayid goes, as Samurai turns over an hourglass. As the sand falls, Samurai's men hold Sayid underwater as he thrashes around. He appears to be drowning, and sure enough, Sayid eventually goes limp. Once the sand filters out completely, they take him out of the water and report that he's dead. Jack, ever the savior, starts CPR on his friend, but then Kate tells him to stop. Sayid is gone.
Cindy stops by to offer them food, and she's significantly accompanied by two children, Zach and Emma, who, if memory serves, were Tailies taken by the Others, like Cindy.
Before long, the Hostiles drag in an unconscious Sawyer and Miles, who reports that Sawyer took out four of their men before they hit him with a rock.
Lennon takes Hurley to the Samurai, who wants to know what Jacob told him. He tells them, and susses out that the Samurai understands English. "I don't like the taste of English on my tongue," he hisses. Oh, also, Hurley says, by the by, your revered leader is dead. With that, the Samurai sounds the alarm and his people start preparing for a battle of some sort. They're ringing bells and lighting fireworks and pouring ash around The Temple's perimeter. "This isn't to keep you in; it's to keep him out," Lennon says.
"Goodbye, dude. If you ever want to talk, I'm around," Hurley says to a dead Sayid. Aw. At the same moment, Miles has his talking-to-dead-people face on, but doesn't reveal anything pertinent.
Meanwhile, Kate nurses Sawyer back to consciousness, and he tells her that he isn't going to kill Jack. "He deserves to suffer on this rock just like the rest of us," he says.
The Hostiles want to speak to Jack privately. He resists, and a struggle ensues. It's interrupted by the shocking sight of Sayid, alive, who sits up and says: "What happened?" Indeed!
JACK and LOCKE
Everyone is going through customs when Jack is paged to go to the courtesy desk, which is a funny name for the place where they tell you, two hours before your dad's funeral, that they can't find his coffin. It appears it was never put on the plane. "We're not exactly sure where it is," reports the Oceanic employee.
Later, Jack is in the baggage claim area, trying to find Christian when in rolls Locke, who has lost a bag. They exchange pleasantries, and Locke offers his condolences. "How could they know where [your father] is? They didn't lose your father; they just lost his body," Locke says with a certain piety. He exposits that all he lost was a bunch of knives he had in his suitcase. Jack asks about his paralysis, and Locke reports that his condition isn't reversible. "Nothing's irreversible," says the spinal surgeon. "If you ever want a consult, give me a call. It's on the house." I'm guessing he might take him up on that offer!
JIN AND SUN
Jin and Sun are waiting in customs, which is taking a while because of the language barrier. The agent finds a lot of money in Jin's suitcase, which is a problem because he's supposed to declare anything over $10,000. So they take him in for questioning. A crafty female agent tasked with taking Sun to the waiting area surmises that she might understand English, and says that she should speak up if she does, so she can help her husband clear up any misunderstanding. "No English," Sun replies, but it seems pretty clear that she's lying. What isn't clear if, in this reset, Sun was still trying to escape from Jin. My guess is yes, as her silence speaks volumes.
KATE and SAWYER
"Anything to declare?" asks the customs agent as Kate and the marshal pass through. "Just a murderer," he cracks. Kate says she has to go to the bathroom, and once she's inside the stall, she produces a ballpoint pen to try to free herself from her handcuffs.
He figures it out though, but before he can apprehend her again, she bashes him with the stall door and knocks him out. Still in cuffs, she tells two women who enter the bathroom that he tried to attack her and she dashes off into an elevator, where Sawyer is waiting. He recognizes her from the plane, sees her handcuffs and helps her escape anyway.
She sneaks through a security entrance and makes her way outside, where she tries to duck into a waiting cab. But Frogurt is there and he's all: Hey lady, there's a line here! Oh, Frogurt! She hides behind Hurley's bulk as the marshal approaches. Just as he sees her, she ducks into a cab, points a gun at the driver and tells him to go. But, what's this? There's already a passenger inside. It's Claire (welcome back, Emilie de Ravin!), and her thought bubble is all: WTF, sister-friend?
AT THE FOOT
Ben and UnLocke are still inside the Foot. "You're the monster," Ben says. "Let's not resort to name-calling," the ever-jocular UnLocke replies. UnLocke reports that he knows what John Locke's last thought was just before Ben killed him: "I don't understand." He uses this vignette to report how sad and weak and irreparably broken Locke actually was. Yet there was something admirable about him too, as he was the only one who didn't want to leave the island. "He was the only one to realize how pitiful the life was that he left behind," UnLocke says significantly. Ironically, UnLocke says, I want the one thing that John Locke didn't; I want to go home.
Now how the heck is he going to do that? I don't know about you, but the first thing I rewound and rewatched after that little exchange was every scene with John Locke aboard 815, just to check to see if I could detect any UnLocke. I couldn't really, but it raises the question: Are any of these people aware of their "pasts"?
Outside, Richard sees the fireworks that the Hostiles launched, and he knows it isn't to commemorate America's independence. At the same moment, UnLocke and Ben emerge from the foot, and Ilana & Co. draw their weapons. But Richard tells them not to shoot. "It's good to see you out of those chains," UnLocke says to Richard. "You?" Richard says with recognition. "Me," says UnLocke as he lays him out. "I am very disappointed in all of you," he says to nobody in particular, as he picks up Richard's slumped-over body and walks away — right past Locke's corpse.
Phew. Well, here we are again, folks, under the hold of that delicious condition of brain-ouch specific to Lost fans. In a way, I feel like I'm watching a completely different television show, as the endgame is still unclear, especially with the addition of the Hostiles in a substantial way. The split storytelling is very promising, and I can't wait to see how our Lostaways are challenged anew now that they've landed safely in Los Angeles.
For now, obviously I have a lot of questions, but I'm curious to hear what yours are. Post them below and use those big brains to see if we can't figure it all out together. I'm really looking forward to it.