Namaste! Wednesday's episode of Lost, titled "The Little Prince," proved to be a doozy in terms of at least one character's presumed fate! We learned how Kate became Aaron's mommy, how Ben's sinister (?) hand appears to be behind everything, why everyone's noses are bleeding and who might not be so dead after all.
Wikipedia tells me that the French novel from which this episode takes its name is about a prince who is stranded in a desert, but eventually visits six planets, each inhabited by a different single character. See if any of these characterizations sound familiar: The King; The Conceited Man; The Drunkard/Tippler; The Businessman; The Lamplighter; and The Geographer. I'm not sure how any of this dovetails with the Lost funhouse just yet, but, as usual, I am in awe of the producers' level of detail, and I am paying close attention.
Let's assume, for the moment, that the Little Prince in question is Aaron. Wednesday's episode was, in part, the story of how Aaron was separated from Claire, his birth mother, and became Kate's "son." He also became a pawn in Ben's gambit to get the Oceanic 6 to agree to return to the island.
LIES LIES LIES YEAH! First up, we see Kate and Jack having a tender moment on Penny's boat. It's then that we discover that it was Kate's idea to pass Aaron off as her own. This plan is A-OK with Jack, since he tells Kate that tomorrow he's going to have to convince the others to lie about their sitch to protect those left behind. Predictably, Kate, ever the fugitive, jumps on board Operation Pants on Fire, telling Jack, "I have always been with you." Let the umpteenth skirmish between the Skaters and Jaters commence, as we all try to figure out exactly what that sentence means in the grand scheme of things.
(I should probably mention that this isn't a rigorously chronological recap. You'll see why below, and hopefully be OK with it.)
MR. SO-CALLED LAWYER Three years later in Lost Angeles, Kate leaves Aaron with Sun while she goes off to meet with that guy from My So-Called Life about his court order for blood samples. The increasingly devious Sun takes a break from her babysitting duties to receive a package that contains a file containing photographs of Ben and Jack and a box of delicious chocolates, whose false bottom reveals one hell of a pistol.
Kate makes the attorney an offer: She'll give him the blood samples if she can speak to his client. This is of course a no-go. "It's time to prepare yourself; you are going to lose the boy," he hisses. Kate, ever the tracker, decides to tail the attorney to see if she can smoke out the identity of his client.
It's at this point that a freshly shorn Jack shows up, and joins her on the stakeout. They discover that — OMG! — the attorney is meeting with Claire's mother. This naturally panics Kate, but Jack, ever the leader, wisely surmises (knows?) that things aren't as desperate as they seem. "I can fix this, Kate," he says. "Aaron is my family too." The double meaning of this last sentence is lost on Kate, who no doubt only has visions of Daddy Jack — and not Uncle Jack — in her head. Jack susses out that Mrs. Littleton is clueless — "Who's Aaron?" she asks — and is just in town to pick up her settlement from her lawsuit against Oceanic Air. So then who's the client?
I DON'T WANNA DO BEN'S DIRTY WORK Jack has successfully revived Sayid, and explains that Ben is on their side now, a fact that is met with justifiable skepticism (see: "The Economist"). While a hospital administrator momentarily distracts Jack — you see, she's a little miffed about a druggie doctor seeing patients in her facility — a suspicious-looking medic enters Sayid's room with his "meds," in this case another frickin' tranquilizer gun, about which Sayid will surely have nightmares for the rest of his life. Once Sayid, ever the killer, subdues his attacker, he finds an address in his wallet: 42 Panorama Crest, which happens to be Kate's address. (Aside: If you were Kate, would you have moved into a house numbered 42?)
Hurley, meanwhile, phones in to Jack to let him know that he's safe from Ben: in the L.A. County lockup. Don't worry, dude. Ben's lawyer — Mr. So-Called Lawyer, in fact! — is on the case, and you'll be a free man in the morning.
I found it encouraging that even though the Oceanic 6 has left the island, their defining characteristics have remained intact. Sun keeps secrets. Jack fixes things. Kate can track anyone. Sayid is a blunt instrument of death. And Hurley is there to keep them all honest. They don't need no stinkin' Others or polar bears or smoke monsters (oh my!) to bring the drama, do they?
After their close call with Claire's mother, Jack steers Kate to the Long Beach marina, where Ben is busy getting the band back together. Kate does her best Sayid impression when Jack repeats that Ben is on their side now, especially once she figures out that it was Ben who was applying the legal pressure regarding Aaron's parentage. "She's right. It was me," Ben admits with his signature flat delivery. "Sorry." But wait, where are Sun and Aaron? It's not a reunion without them! There they are. But what is Sun carrying? Oh right, it's a gigantic firearm.
BLOODY HELL! There are more "leaky pipes" on the island than there were in the ladies' room at Studio 54 on an average Saturday night. As we've seen before, one of the tricky side effects of time travel is that it might cause a teensy brain hemhorrage, which first presents itself as a bloody nose. My mind is a little hazy right now on the rules about having a "constant," but wouldn't all these people be each others' constants since they knew each other before the flashes began? The mind reels.
"It's like bad jet lag," Daniel explains. Yeah, really bad jet lag! He also reveals that it might have something to do with the duration one spends on the island. Hmmm... This theory makes sense for Desmond and for Charlotte, who has already hinted that she was born on the island. And once Juliet's sniffer starts dripping, we understand that on some level, since she has lived on the island for years. But why is Miles' schnoz riding the crimson wave? "I've never been here before two weeks ago," he protests. "Are you sure about that?" asks the frustratingly all-knowing Daniel. Miles is as much of a crankypants as the multimonikered Dharma Initiative-training-film-star Dr. Chang, no? And Miles Straume totally sounds like a fake name, right?
(Aside: Remember our friend George Minkowski from the freighter? He actually succumbed to Unstuckintimeitis, and we have no evidence to believe that he had been to the island before. But had he? It's then that the hamster wheel in my head starts turning, and I think: Fisher Stevens was kind of a high-profile guest star for such a small part. Maybe we can all look forward to a mite more Minkowski in our future.)
THE OTHER OTHERS But let's go back to the beginning. Now that the islanders have left 1954 and are alone again after the last flash, Locke decides their best course of action is to get back to the beach, take the Zodiac raft around the island and get back to the Orchid Station. That's where it all began; maybe that's where they have to go to stop it. (This revelation had visions of the four-toed statue in my head. I hope we get back to that some time soon.)
Locke reveals that all this is happening because the Oceanic 6 left, and that they have to get them all to come back to make it stop. It's then that I scream in vain at my television that this is actually all happening because Jacob told Locke to move the island, but perhaps it's not the time. I'm guessing we'll get back to that at some point. "I have to make them come back, even if it kills me," Locke foreshadows.
Sawyer is a little grumpy this week, right? "Don't you want them to come back? Don't you want her to come back?" Locke prompts. "Doesn't matter what I want," Sawyer grumbles. You see, after Locke saw a beam of light in the air (creepily reminiscent to this New Yorker of the 9/11 memorial they staged here), it was clear that they had flashed back in time to when Locke had his come-to-Jesus (or Jacob?), faith-testing moment at the Hatch. Sensing that running into himself might be a little tricky to navigate, he gets the crew to move away from the light. He also tells Sawyer that he wouldn't go back and warn his other self of the pain to come. "I needed that pain; it got me to where I am now," he says plainly.
But that detour didn't prevent Sawyer from stumbling upon the exact moment when Kate helped Claire deliver Aaron. (Aside: Was any of that original footage?) In that moment, I can see why Damon and Carlton have said that this will be "the season of Sawyer," and that Josh Holloway will treat us with some really great acting. As his lip quivered and his eyes got all dewy, it was clear that Sawyer will soon be on board with Locke's plan to bring the Oceanic 6 "baaaack"! Just as the music swells and we anticipate an odd, tender little reunion scenario, there's another flash, robbing us of the opportunity to understand what happens when the Lostaways meet with their comrades across time.
Once they arrive back at the beach, they see that their camp exists, so we know it's post-crash. They find evidence of other Lostaways (Vincent's leash), but no Lostaways — and no Zodiac raft. In its place, there are a bunch of Polynesian-style canoes there, one containing a bottle of Ajira Airways-issued water. (Intriguing. Another plane crash? Other Others? Click the link for a mind-bendingly elaborate fake site for Ajira.) Who cares? they say, let's take their boat. Along the way, Sawyer reveals that he saw Kate and Claire, and Dr. Burke would like to get "James" on the couch for a moment, to pinpoint his feelings on the matter. But why? Does someone have a crush? Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but during this scene, I was all "James and Juliet, sitting in a tree!" "I was close enough to touch her," Sawyer says, quivering lip in full effect. "I wanted to step right up and talk to her." But James is still Sawyer on the outside. "What's done is done," he concludes. If only! Then my brain wouldn't hurt so much.
Since nothing can happen without someone getting shot at on this island, the Lostaways soon find they're being followed by another canoe — and they're packing heat. Juliet obligingly returns fire, but fortunately (?) just as things seem to be getting complicated, there's another flash, and they're alone in the water. At night. In the rain.
Once they reach the shore, they discover a grouping of wreckage of sorts. "It looks like it just happened," exposits Charlotte. One piece of equipment is labeled Besix Douze, which sends my frantic fingers a-Googlin'. First, I found out that "douze" means 12 in French, but that "Besix" appears to defy translation. Then I found this site, which features an artful photo of what appears to be a rock or a fossil (or a fragment of that damn four-toed statue?) — and nothing else. Clicking on the photo prompts an Outlook email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. I sent them a little mash note about polar bears and crazy French ladies; we'll see what I get in response. And please, email me if you all get any revealing replies. Comprendez-vous?
JIN IS A TONIC Anybody speak French? I sure wish I did, because now we're in a raft with a bunch of French people, and — oh look! — they've spotted a body in the water. And (big reveal) it's Jin, and he's alive! We soon realize that one of the intrepid Gallic castaways is a young Danielle Rousseau, who exposits that Jin must have been caught in the same storm that they were. Which, according to the official Lost timeline, means it's approximately 1988, when Rousseau and her crew crashed on the island. Disco isn't dead, and neither is Jin! Hooray!
OK, comrades, plug that bloody nose with a wad of Kleenex, and get going on these burning questions. What's in that hellacious wishing well Locke is lowered into? Will Sun believe Ben when he says that Jin is still alive? Who's in the canoes? Will Daniel ever reveal everything he knows? Has Miles been to the island before? And where has my beloved Ellie gone?
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