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The first thought that went through my mind as I sat down to watch tonight’s episode of Lost was “How can they top the premiere?” Well actually the first thought was “Will I get to see Evangeline Lilly in her underwear again this season?”, but that’s because me and her have unresolved issues (is it that hard to answer my letters, Evangeline?). Because I honestly felt last week’s season premiere was one of the most exciting and suspenseful hours of TV since The Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Christmas Special . OK, I kid, but seriously, it was one bad-ass episode. I thought the hatch payoff would be some murky unresolved nothing, like machinery that led nowhere. Man was I wrong. Instead we get an irate Scottish dude in an underground bunker with a Commodore 64 and a penchant for Mama Cass, which strangely enough was #3 on my list of “what’s in the hatch?” predictions, right behind “albino midget covered in hot sauce playing Intellivision.” Not only that, we got to see probably one of the most iconic images of our generation: Jack’s flashback hair. Oh man that was good stuff.
The show left off last week with yet another cliffhanger as Jack and Locke were deep inside the hatch with our angry Scot holding them at gunpoint and Jack realizing that he has met this man before, many years ago, when his mullet ruled the earth and the Crash Test Dummies’ future was looking bright. Before we start, a brief warning. This show has many fanatical fans, of which I count myself among them. The center of the show is the big mystery of whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on the island, and countless theories and websites have been developed analyzing the many small clues that have been dropped along the way. How small, you say? Take for instance last week’s episode when Shannon ran into an apparition of Walt in the woods and he seemed to mumble something unintelligible. Well, if you take the audio and play it backwards, he does say something. I won’t spoil it for you but if you need to know you can listen to it here. Yep, us Lost fans can get that obsessive. Let me put it this way. Have you ever met one of those nerds that know the lineage of every Elf that ever appeared in The Lord of the Rings? We’re like those guys, only much, much cooler.
Anyway, this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s episode starts off using what I like to call the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tarantino effect.Ã¢â‚¬? This is when we go back in time and follow the storyline from another point of view. Last week’s show ended with us seeing Jack descend into the hatch and confront the Scotsman holding Locke at gunpoint. But how did Locke get there? And what happened to Kate? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s where this episode starts. Yes, it seems a little confusing but trust me, it works. This show rocks. We also get to see what happened to Walt, Sawyer, Michael and Jin on the raft. At the end of last season the four of them (and a blood-soaked volleyball they christened Ã¢â‚¬Å“WilsonÃ¢â‚¬?) built a raft to escape the island to hopefully enter a shipping lane and get picked up. They ended up encountering some entirely unfriendly people that have become known in Lostology as Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Others.Ã¢â‚¬? In the middle of the night an old fishing boat with a grizzled old man (and a pair of identical twins) simply looked at them and said Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re gonna have to take the kid.Ã¢â‚¬? They took him, shot Michael and blew up the ship leaving them stranded in the ocean by the flames of their wrecked raft. So of you were the type of person to measure how good a day you had on a scale of one to ten, this would probably rank around a two.
We first see Sawyer, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“bad boyÃ¢â‚¬? with the feathered 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s hair and Southern drawl, rise up from the water amid the flaming wreckage. The only other person he hears is Michael screaming for his now lost (get it?!) son. Spotting a part of the raft he climbs aboard. Michael, being a big pansy, realizes the act of screaming someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name is too much for him to bear and then sinks beneath the waves. And its up to Sawyer grab him, pull him onto the raft and give him so mouth to mouth. Did I mention that Sawyer is also the guy with the gaping bullet wound? Talk about an odd couple. If there was a wall and some linguini around, Sawyer would have to go all Matthau on his ass. Once Michael is awake he goes back to screaming for his son, which provides a perfect segway into this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flashback. And this episode’s flashback featured player is Michael himself. To keep you from getting confused, and frankly, get it out of the way since itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a rather dull storyline, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll just recap the entire flashback story all at once even though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spread out throughout the episode.
We see Michael in some cheap lawyerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office (played by that guy that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen a million times but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know his name. You know, that guy that was in that movie with that other guy. Yeah, him.) trying to keep his ex-girlfriend from having her current boyfriend adopt Walt when they both leave for Rome. It seems Walt’s mom got a big promotion to be a senior partner, whereas Michael is unemployed and on disability from a car accident. Michael, even though he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been a father to the kid at all up until that point, doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want them to go. He orders his lawyer to file an injunction to keep them from leaving. And despite warnings from his lawyer that it will be costly and time consuming, Michael is insistent. At the deposition, his ex-girlfriend’s lawyers lay into him, ripping on him for being an unemployed absent father. Later, in a one on one meeting with Susan, WaltÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother, she begs him to let Walt go. Michael is on disability and about to be evicted form his apartment, and Susan says he needs to think about whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best for Walt. He begrudgingly agrees and we have a tender scene as Michael says goodbye to Walt, gives him a stuffed polar bear (this is another clue regarding earlier episodes) and tells him that he is his father and will always love him. The whole point of this flashback is to show Michaels guilt at letting his son go without a fight, and how he promised heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never do it again, and failed. That and make it so we can go through about an hour of time on the island and pad it out into 3 whole episodes.
From here we jump to Locke as he descends into the hatch. Once he reaches the bottom and walks into the main area, full of machinery and ominous looking hallways, he pauses for a minute to take off his shoes. This means he has either mistaken it for a Japanese dojo, or he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want anyone to hear him. He looks around briefly, spots an odd-looking insignia on the wall (which was also on the Scotsman’s uniform from last episode), and then stumbles upon an unconscious Kate. Before he can untie her the Scotsman pops out of nowhere holding an AK-47 and asking Locke Ã¢â‚¬Å“Are you him?Ã¢â‚¬?
Meanwhile on the raft, Michael and Walt are having a whine and cheese party, with Michael doing most of the whining. Sawyer is yelling out Jin’s name (the Korean who was on the boat with them) while Michael is busy blaming Sawyer for getting Walt taken. Sawyer simply tells him in his oh so smolderingly sexy way to go cram it with walnuts. Especially since he got shot trying to save the kid, a fact lost on Michael. Their argument heats up to the point where Sawyer actually swims with his one good arm over to another raft just so they can avoid each other. And if that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough to establish Sawyers tough guy bona fides (remember this is the guy who had bamboo shafts shoved up his fingernails last season) he shoves 2 fingers into his shoulder and pulls out the bullet lodged within. And then he gives himself a colonoscopy. OK, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that last part, but he could have if he wanted to. He is that much of a badass, people.
Back in the hatch, Locke decides to bluff his way out of the pickle heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in by saying he is in fact Ã¢â‚¬Å“him.Ã¢â‚¬? This lasts about all of 5 seconds when the Scotsman asks him Ã¢â‚¬Å“What did one snowman say to the other snowman?Ã¢â‚¬? and Locke doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know the answer. This is obviously a code, or the Scotsman has a really awkward way of breaking the ice. They try to explain that they are there because of a plane crash 44 days ago, but he’s having none of it. He has Locke tie up Kate (while quietly slipping her a knife) and then locks her in a storage room.
At the raft, Sawyer points out the obvious. The ship that took Walt was not built for the deep sea. That kind of ship is only designed for a three hour tour. A three hour tour. Which means it must be docked somewhere close. Like the island. Oooooh. See what I mean about a big unraveling mystery? But they have bigger things to worry about. Sharks start circling and slamming into their raft. And not the wacky fun ones like Jabberjaw. The bad kind.
In the hatch we see Kate struggling to untie herself. And she struggles mightily. Grunting and groaning. Sweat glistening. Heart pounding. Damn you Evangeline Lilly, you vex me so! Once she manages to get free, and seeing that the door is locked, she turns on the lights and sees that the room is stocked with food. And whattya know! It’s also got one of those convenient Die Hard-like air shafts designed perfectly to fit a human body! Who would have thought? As she starts to move some boxes around to climb up into the ventilation shaft, she pauses and notices a box of candy bars calling out to her. She grabs a handful and shoves them in her pockets and pauses long enough to open one up and shove it in her mouth. Her reaction can best be described as though she were having a party in her pants, and everyone was invited.
Locke meanwhile is trying to explain to the Scotsman, who reveals his name to be Desmond, how they all got on the island. This leads to more confusing questions from him like Ã¢â‚¬Å“So the world’s still out there?Ã¢â‚¬? and Ã¢â‚¬Å“How many of your group has gotten sick?Ã¢â‚¬? These hints are the type of things that keep geeks up at night all around the country. Before the conversation can continue we hear a beeping sound. Desmond panics and runs into the next room populated by our trusty Commodore 64 and a huge countdown clock on the wall, set at 2 minutes and counting. He closes out the running Centipede program and tells Locke to enter the following numbers. And we all know what those are.
4 8 15 16 23 42
Once Locke hits the execute button, the beeping stops and the clock reverts back to 108 hours and the countdown begins anew. What does this mean? What would have happened if the clock went to zero? Knowing this show, we will find out the answers to these questions in about a year and a half. Get used to it. No sooner does he hit the button then do we hear Jack in the background. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s descended into the hatch and is yelling for Locke and Kate. You see, Locke is smart and took off his shoes to try and be as quiet as possible. Jack runs inside yelling at the top of his lungs. Jack isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really that smart. I chalk it up to all the years exposed to Jennifer Love Hewitt. No man can withstand that many stupid rays without some of them rubbing off. Desmond looks through his Rube Goldberg spyglass and sees Jack, gun in hand, entering the hatch. At this point both storylines converge and we are back to where we were at the end of the last episode, with Desmond holding Locke at gunpoint and Jack finally recognizing him from years before, when his hair was glorious and long.
On the raft Sawyer and Michael have stopped their pity party long enough to see one of the pontoons from the raft floating nearby. Sawyer, being the devil may care Marlborough man he is, decides to swim for it. I would now like to point out that his shoulder wound has fluctuated all throughout this episode from being so painful he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t move without grimacing, to being barely even noticeable. Kind of like last season’s 24 when Bauer stabbed himself in the stomach, and then 3 hours later was fine. And Sawyer may think he’s a tough guy, but let me just tell you people something. I served with Jack Bauer. I knew Jack Bauer. Jack Bauer was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Bauer.
Sawyer hands Michael the gun they managed to salvage from the explosion (actually I think Sawyer just never let go of it, him being the aforementioned badass) and tells him to shoot the shark if he starts to get near. As he swims over, we see a shot from underneath the water showing the shark swimming closer to the wounded Sawyer. For those of you out there that do not have the luxury of being able to see this in widescreen digital presentation like I have (the entire New York office of TVgasm is wall-to-wall High Definition monitors and Dolby 6.1 EX surround sound), you may have missed what comes next, but it’s worth pointing out. As the shark swims by the screen, you can see, just for an instant, a logo tattooed on the bottom of the shark. It is the very same logo that is inside the walls of the hatch, and on Desmond’s uniform. Now either this is some kind of hint about genetically engineered animals on the island, or its just a shark that’s really into henna.
The next morning Sawyer is waking up to the gentle sobbing sounds of Michael as they are both on the pontoon. He declares that losing Walt is all his fault, and is dejected. “I never should have brought him on the boat.” he says. Well, yeah. Thats kind of a no brainer since he’s like, you know, 12. Now that this scene has run about a minute long, Sawyer now decides to look to his right and notices the giant island right in front of them. An island they had not noticed the entire time. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right, the guys who volunteered to sail of into the sea on a life raft with their only hope of survival being able to spot a ship in the distance, fail to notice a gigantic island 2 inches to their left. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s moments like that that drive me crazy.
As they finally stumble ashore they collapse oto the beach exhausted. An entire night spent wallowing in self-pity has taken a mighty toll on Mike. And as for Sawyer, smoldering glares are all fine and good, but you try and keep one going for more than 6 hours straight, you cramp up. Before they can catch their breath however, they hear screams coming from off in the woods. Jin, the missing Korean gangster (yeah, it’s a long story) runs from the woods with his hands tied behind his back screaming something in Korean. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d translate it for you but unfortunately the only languages I speak fluently are French, German, Farsi, Dutch, and Swahili (and a smattering of Izi-Ezaa-Ikwo-Mgbo, a local dialect of Nigeria. But just a smattering). Luckily he does manage to get out a few words in English, as he looks over their shoulders in horror.
And we turn and see what he seesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..