Well. My goodness. This was a darn good hour of TV. Word on the street is that the second episode of Lost this season was a letdown after the awesome premiere. I wouldn’t know firsthand because Adelphia decided to go on the fritz last Wednesday. I went into an inconsolable rage. KAT SMASH CABLE!
So I guess this episode was my reward. Locke got all the flashbacks, so we all settled in with the tissues and vodka, because Locke has one sad backstory. Also, to all the people who complain about the plot not advancing quickly enough? This episode is a love letter to you.
We open up right where we left off (I think, anyway; maybe Adelphia could let me know for sure), with Sawyer, Michael and Jin on the beach panicking. And rightly so, I guess, since some guy walks up and starts beating the living crap out of them. And I must say, this is an interesting choice of an actor for this character. Are they doing some sort of noble savage thing? They get the darkest skinned guy they can find and take his shirt off and put armbands on him instead? Is he a warrior from Deepest Darkest Africa? Everyone else in his group was wearing western clothing, so why would he go all native? Also, he hardly has any, which makes him an “other” like the anthropologist Edward Said talked about occurring in books like “Heart of Darkness” – ooo, I think I just made up a new Lost theory. “The Others” as a manifestation of our fears and stereotypes of the unknown. I’m gonna pat myself on the back for remembering that from high school.
We can’t know for sure yet whether he’s a fellow passenger or one of The Others, but either way he’s obviously nutso and violent. But I know the people behind this show are too smart not to have thought about their casting choices, so I have to think they know what they’re doing…Or maybe I’m just overthinking it. Too many years on the West Coast.
Back down in the hatch, we get the same scene they’ve aired twice already, where Desmond threatens to kill Locke and Jack gets all pissy about it. I guess it’s a good way to segue into our first flashback – Locke with hair! He’s in a therapy group and some girl is complaining about her mom stealing her money for alcohol. Locke has no patience for everyone else’s sob stories, and really, he’s right – his long lost father steals his kidney and disappears again? Locke wins, hands down. His outburst here has a pleasing side effect, though. Katey Sagal wants to jump him now. Hi, Mrs. Bundy!
She pretty much lays it all out there, telling him that she can’t tell off people like he did because “once I get all hot and bothered there’s no stopping me.” Woo hoo! What would Al say? Looks like she wasn’t lying, either. In the next flashback, they’ve already bumped uglies. And oh yeah, her name is Helen, which is a sneaky trick the writers pulled on us, since Helen was also the name of the phone-sex operator Locke tried to go to Australia with last season. I watched that old episode again to listen to that Helen’s voice and compare. Definitely a different Helen. Did he happen to get two Helens in his life? Did he tell the phone sex chick that he wanted to call her Helen? Who knows.
So, back at the hatch, Kate is crawling around in vents and whatnot, and finally finds a cache of weapons, loads a gun, sneaks into the control room and points it at Desmond. She hits Desmond with the butt of the gun and manages to defuse the situation and disarm him. I was pretty bummed since it looks like she did something worthwhile, but then it turned out she screwed everything up! Yay! My hatred doesn’t have to end.
Desmond’s gun went off when Kate hit him and shot the computer. Desmond starts babbling about how they’re all gonna die now, and while I believe his fear, I bet he’s wrong. First of all, we’re only two episodes into the season. Second of all, I would guess that the government or whatever authority is in charge of this experiment is lying to him about his role. He keeps insisting that he has to fix it before the timer gets down to zero, then all of a sudden he’s fixated on whether or not he knows Jack. Weirdly, Jack won’t say that they’ve met. This makes Kate, and Locke especially, rather suspicious. And I can’t blame them. Why would Jack get all cagey about it if he didn’t have something to hide?
Now is the time on Sprockets when we flashback. Locke got some! Hurrah! Aw, but he’s ruining it – he won’t spend the night. He tells Helen that he can’t spend the night in strange beds, and she’s understandably upset. Of course, it’s not so much that he can’t sleep in strange beds, it more that he has to park outside his dad’s house at dawn. As you do.
This definitely has the feel of a longstanding ritual, so it’s a shock to us and Locke when his dad gets in the car. He basically tells Locke to piss off, he needs to get over it, he never wants to see him again, etc. He’s gratuitously mean, but it’s a good set up for Terry O’Quinn’s Emmy reel. The man gives good cry. However, I’m taken out of the scene just a tad by the fact that father and son are the exact same age.
Now snap out of it, we’ve got to get back to the hatch! Desmond is running around in such a panic that it’s actually pretty funny. He’s throwing things off shelves and yelling about fixing the computer. Kate gets to say what we’re all thinking when she mentions that Sayid knows all about computers. She runs off to find him, and Desmond discovers what he’s looking for. But it looks like a jar of Lego pieces to me.
OK, now’s the point in the show when the plot gets super-dense for a while. First we start with Desmond yelling about how he came to this point. Three years ago he was in a solar race around the world and crashed into the reef around the island. Desmond is getting a little unhinged here. It would be rad if Rousseau were in this scene, rolling her eyes at him and making the jerk-off motion.
Anyway, after Desmond came ashore some guy named Kelvin dragged him down the hatch and taught him all about the computer. He made Desmond believe they were saving the world every time they reset the clock. Then Kelvin “died” (hmmm, gotta think it wasn’t natural causes) and Desmond does it alone now. Jack looks pissed, and highly dubious. Locke is all wide-eyed and full of wonder. Also, good eye, all y’all who caught the bunk beds. Still have to wonder about the fancy-pants washer/dryer set, though.
Desmond tells Jack and Locke that there’s a film they can watch to get up to speed, hidden in the bookshelf behind “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. Any English majors out there? Who wants to take a guess about the significance of that?
The film canister has that now-ubiquitous swan logo on it, which I’m now seeing has “DHARMA” written across it. Locke and Jack settle in to watch a movie, brought to us by the Dharma Initiative. Apparently we’re at Station 3. A scientist-looking guy wants to give us a little history first. The Dharma Initiative was created in 1970 to try and create a research commune. They wanted to study electro-magnetism (the magnet in the hatch?) and zoology (here there’s footage of polar bears) and the theories of some Danish dude who gave them money. Here they have the creepiest shot ever of a guy in a building. This image is going to give me nightmares.
Basically, there were two people assigned to each station for 540 days. They were instructed to enter the code every 108 minutes, but the guy in the video doesn’t say anything about it being the key to saving the world. Obviously the tape is old, but it looks like it may have been cut in certain spots – the voice drops out occasionally. ‘We’re gonna need to watch that again,” says Locke. Amen, brother.
Ai, this is all too much for my tiny brain to take in. You know where this kind of stuff would be awesome, though? Laguna Beach. MTV should plant a hatch and some polar bears in the OC and tape the ensuing shenanigans. Luckily, we’re getting a break here with another flashback, this time at Locke and Helen’s six-month anniversary dinner. This is the sweetest scene, and knowing that it won’t end well makes it quite sad. She gives him a key to her place and tells him it’s conditional – she knows he still goes to his dad’s house, but that has to stop.
We get a passage of time in the flashback sequence. I think Locke has less hair here, and they’ve put less makeup on him. He feels his scar and decided to go stalk his dad again. Helen’s on to him, though, and pulls up behind him and takes his car keys. She tells him to take a leap of faith. Later Locke tells Jack to take a leap of faith, and it’s just like how Tony Soprano always copies Dr. Melfi’s turns of phrase. It’s much nicer when Locke does it.
Down in the prison hole, the guys’ captor has thrown someone down the hole – it’s Michelle Rodriguez! These guys have never seen her, but she was on their flight. So, does this mean he’s an Other? Are the people in his group captives? Does being around an attractive woman make Sawyer an even bigger hick? He calls Jin “the quiet Ko-rean,” their captor “Shaft,” and alludes to shooting him by saying he’ll get a “surprising little howdy-doody.” I think he learned English through a steady diet of Beverly Hillbillies reruns.
Back in the hatch, Jack is definitely not convinced. He posits that this is all one big mind game. I have to say, I pretty much agree with him at this point. Desmond’s strongest argument that this is all real is that his fillings hurt when he walks by the generator.
Although he does say that he hopes it’s fake, too, or else they’re all toast, with the system down. Jack and Desmond leave the hatch (Desmond running away, although I don’t know where he thinks he’ll escape to) and Locke stays behind and flips right out. For the first time since he landed on the island, he has no idea what to do.
Of course, once Hurley and Sayid arrive, Locke gets all smug again. Oh Locke, with your deeper understanding of everything. You are a guru, a leader, a prophet. Who needs to take some community college computer classes.
Kate and Hurley get to work looking for a breaker, and Hurley stumbles upon the pantry and gets all gluttonous. Come on, that was such a cheap laugh. I’m disappointed in you, Abrams!
Down in the prisoners’ hole, Ana Lucia is getting crazy paranoid all of a sudden. The Three Musketeers are getting a little freaked out wondering what wrong with her, then she punches Sawyer and takes his gun. They take it in stride. I have to admit, I did not see that coming. Well done, Lost. I would, however, like to point out that the cuteness of Ana Lucia’s outfit is highly unlikely. She’s got on tight low rider jeans with a wide, trendy belt, and a leather vest that hits at her waist that I very much would like to own. Her hair looks fabulous, too. Villains are always so hot.
Now Desmond is running running running; I still don’t understand where the hell he’s headed. He trips and Jack catches up to him, gun in hand. Jack is downright angry! Also, he tries to pretend like they’ve never met before, even though Desmond clearly remembers him from the stadium. He even asks after “the girl,” and Jack breaks down sobbing when he says that he married her. Whatever. Where’s Charlie?
Jack goes back into the hatch, where there is much techno-speak and then some back and forth as to who should hit “execute.” I think Jack and Locke are having some sort of reverse pissing contest here. Neither one of them will push the button, and they won’t let Sayid do it, either. Finally Jack does it. I’m not sure why, but I totally don’t care about Jack right now. I think it may be from overexposure. The hero is never the most interesting character in a show, because that’s their main facet, heroism. (Who would you rather get a drink with? Buffy, or Xander?)
After all that shouting and tension, Locke volunteers to take the first shift at the computer. I guess that means they’re going to buy into it wholeheartedly. The clock starts over again, and we’re out!
So are you happy again with this show? It was jam-packed with clues and hints and all manner of plot advancements. What new things did you pick up on? Looking forward to learning even more, or still processing?