In many ways, tonight’s episode of “Lost” was workman-like in its approach. Sure, it gave us some tantalizing new clues as to the nature of the sideways storylines, and some unexpected twists in the Sideways Sun/Jin story. But in many ways, it felt like it was playing catch-up after last week’s narrative pause to examine Richard’s backstory. As such, while a lot of things happened, they often cancelled each other out as they fought for audience attention. But with the War of the Island looming ever nearer, tonight was about particular players deciding for whom (and for what) they wished to fight.
4) In Short
You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins
Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”
8) Sideways Timeline
At LAX, Jin leaves customs without the $25,000 that mysteriously ended up in his luggage. Without the necessary paperwork, he can’t claim the money. Sun and Jin leave, discussing the missed meeting at Keamy’s restaurant due to Jin’s customs incident. He tells her that he didn’t ask what the money was for, noting that her father isn’t exactly the type of person you question. At the hotel, they check into separate rooms, with Jin’s empty ring finger indicating they are not married. Oh, don’t be sad, “Lost” fans. It gets better soon. Before it gets worse.
Jin knocks on Sun’s door, still carrying the watch. He tells her she’s going to the restaurant, even without the cash. Sun insists they discuss this inside, and once the door closes, their tone completely changes. We soon realize that while they are not married, they fancy each other. But not in some innocent, fifth-grade way. She undoes her top button, asking if he wants her to rebutton it like she did on the plane. He gets embarrassed, noting he simply said it in case people there were watching them. But then she undoes another. And another. And oh my. Oh. My. Moving on before I blush.
The following morning, Sun slowly wakes up with Jin, already wide-eyed and worried, next to her. Much to his surprise, she asks them to run away together. “This was your plan all along?” he asks. “Well, in this timeline, yes. In the other one, I was totally going to leave you.” (OK, I’m paraphrasing.) Just as Sun mentions she has one more thing to share with Jin, a knock at the door interrupts them. She looks at herself in the mirror on the way to the door, and seems to see … well, something. It’s unclear what. (Well, I have an idea what. More on this in “Mythology.”) But another knock at the door interrupts her hypnotic state. Who is it? Keamy! He’s back. From the dead. Again. “Lost” and its fractured narrative is tricky that way.
In the bedroom, Sun gives Keamy the watch. But he’s equally, if not more, interested in the $25K. Just then Omar enters, having come from Jin’s empty room. He quickly finds Jin standing in the bathroom, hiding in plain sight. Keamy tries the “I will make them understand English by SHOUTING EVERY WORD,” technique on them, upset that he’s in “a Godzilla movie.” Well, that’s not very PC. He asks Omar to get someone who knows Korean. His suggestion? Mikhail. Well, that kicks all sorts of butt. (Patchy’s back, he’s gonna save my reputation! Hey nah, hey nah, my Patchy’s back!) When Mikhail arrives, he relays the trouble with customs, and that Sun is willing to access a hidden account to get the money they want. Keamy agrees, but only after taking Jin to his restaurant as collateral. Jin begs Keamy not to tell Mr. Paik about their relationship, and Keamy happily agrees, noting he only wants the cash. Riiight.
At the bank, there’s a problem: Looks like Sun’s “secret” account was closed by her father. Uh oh. The action then cuts over to the restaurant, where Omar bumps Jin’s head on the door on the way in. Keamy then tells Omar to pick up the “other Arab,” continuing his fantastic streak of political correctness this hour. Taking advantage of Jin’s lack of English, he calmly tells Jin that the $25K was Keamy’s fee for killing Jin. Guess Papa Paik isn’t messing around with Page 1 of the company handbook: “Touch my daughter and I will kill you hard in the face.” “I’m sorry,” Keamy says while taping up Jin’s mouth, “Some people just aren’t meant to be together.” You take that back, Keamy. You take that back RIGHT NOW.
We hear the end of the “Sundown” sideways story from Jin’s perspective inside the food locker. Sayid doesn’t free him, but does hand over the boxcutter used to originally cut the tape binding his wrists. Soon after Sayid leaves, Mikhail enters with Sun, surprised by the carnage before him. Keamy’s somehow still alive, and warns Mikhail that Jin is right behind him. Jin tries to act tough, but Mikhail quickly surmises that Jin didn’t wipe out his crew. He tries to disarm and shoot Jin, but the two bullets miss him. Jin manages to get the gun back, and shoots Mikhail. Right in the eye. Poor Patchy. But even poorer Sun, who was on the end of Mikhail’s initial shots. She cries to Jin that she’s pregnant as he rushes her to the hospital. I’ll do my best Sawyer here: son of a….
15) Island Timeline
Hey, it’s Paris Hilton having sex! Oops, nope, it’s just grainy, green SubmarineVision, checking out the action in Smocke’s camp. In the camp itself, Smocke checks in on Jin’s leg. He notes that the two haven’t had much time to talk, and wonders if Sawyer had filled him in about the names in the cave. He tells Jin that the only way to leave the Island is if all of the non-crossed-out names leave together. With Claire eavesdropping, Jin mentions the tiny fact that Sun is nowhere to be found. Smocke smiles, and says he’s working on it.
As he leaves, Smocke leaves Sayid in charge as a type of infected babysitter. Dully, Sayid notes, “I don’t feel anything. Anger. Happiness. Pain. I don’t feel it anymore.” Smocke replies, “Maybe that’s best, Sayid. It’ll help you get through what’s coming.” Alrighty then. After Smocke leaves, Jin makes to leave. Sawyer stops him, wondering why he’s trying to go. As the two argue about his search for Sun, tranquilizer darts fill the air, and trust me, they are way less cinematic than flaming arrows. But the point here isn’t murder, but acquisition: Zoe and her dorky assistant (complete with “Splinter Cell”-esque goggles) ID Jin, bag him, and tag him.
On the beach, Ben asks Ilana about their next move. She declares they are waiting for Richard to return once Hurley finishes tracking him. “Unless Aplert’s covered in bacon grease, I’m not sure Hurley’s tracking anything,” spews Miles. Between this and the line about the food court, Miles could get a spin-off comedy show on the Food Network. Sun’s fed up with all the waiting, and throws her knife into the makeshift table. She heads out to her old garden, which I confess I completely forgot about before tonight. Seeing it now, I realize I missed it terribly. Jack tries to console her, and mentions their role as candidates. But not even the story about what happened in the lighthouse persuades Sun to Jack’s side: She just wants to be left alone with her overgrown, weed-filled garden.
As she tends to her garden alone, she cuts herself on a thorn. Smocke picks that moment to show up and declare that he’s found her husband, just as “he” promised. She doesn’t believe him, noting the people that he killed at the Temple. Smocke breaks out his old “they could have come with me,” shpiel, and extends his hand. “Jin is waiting,” he says. Well, Sun is running…running away…and directly into a freakin’ tree. Is “Kwon” Korean f
or “Griswold”? Ben later finds Sun, passed out under the tree, all alone. When she wakes up, she realizes she can no longer speak English. She can only speak one word: “Locke.”
Smocke returns to his camp, shocked to find everyone passed out on the ground. He wakes Sayid up to find out what happened, as well as the current location of Jin. Helpfully, the show shows us where he is: Room 23! Nice little shout-out there. Jin accidentally turns on the light/sound show, and after turning it off, finds Zoe there. She notes that the Dharma Initiative used to do experiments in subliminal messaging in that room — but Jin would know all about Dharma, right? After all, she has in her possession blueprints from the 1970s marking areas of unique electromagnetic energy with Jin’s handwriting all over them. Jin notes that if she wants answers, he needs to talk with Charles Widmore. Hey, Jin’s in luck: Charles wants to talk to him as well.
At Camp Smocke, The Man Who Would Leave gives Sayid a pistol and asks about his swimming ability. He then tells them they will be taking the outrigger. (OK, outrigger+guns=second half of the firefight in “The Little Prince,” right? Sigh. No. Again. It’s like the show enjoys messing with us about this.) After Sayid departs to prep for their journey, a nervous Claire comes to Smocke. She wants to know if her name was on the cave wall, wary that she’ll be left behind. Smocke says she wasn’t (liar!), but that there’s room on the plane for many people. She wonders if Kate’s name was on the wall. Again he says no (liar again, according to a Darlton podcast if not the actual broadcast), but notes that he needs her to recruit three more people to enable him to leave. Plus, he suggests, that once they leave, Claire could be free and clear to kill Kate.
Sawyer wonders why Smocke needs an outrigger to get to Hydra Island: After all, can’t he just smokify and sail over? “Do you think, if I could do that, I would still be on this island?” asks Smocke. “No, because that would be ridiculous!” replies Sawyer, in what might be the line of the year. Hot damn, that was funny. All in the delivery. Smocke tells Sawyer he’s off to get Jin back, and leaves.
At the beach, Ilana’s pretty convinced that Ben is behind Sun’s head wound. Even after their scene in “Dr. Linus,” can’t say I blame her. Jack diagnoses that Sun can understand English, but only speak in Korean. He thinks it might be aphasia, a temporary condition caused by brain trauma. Just then, Richard and Hurley return. Richard’s plan? Disable/destroy Ajira 316, thereby removing Smocke’s only means from escape. Sun can’t believe what she’s hearing: Why would they destroy the only chance of escape? Unfortunately, she can only speak Korean, which only increases her frustration. “I came to this Island to find my husband to bring him home, not to save the damn world! So ‘understand’ this. I’m not going anywhere.”
Locke arrives at Hydra Island, where a completed sonic fence sits around the perimeter. After Widmore’s dorky militia draw down upon him, Smocke smiles and says, “Easy friends. I come in peace.” Snicker. He and Widmore face off, with Smocke asking if Widmore knows who he is. “Obviously you’re not John Locke. Everything else I know is a combination of myths, ghost stories, and jungle noises in the night.” Smocke begs to differ, what with that sonic fence and all. Widmore denies having Jin in his possession when confronted about it. “A wise man once said that war was coming to this Island. I think it just got here,” intones Smocke. Bring it ON.
At the Hydra compound, Widmore is furious at Zoe for snatching Jin so soon. He had a plan of attack, which is now kaput thanks to her premature kidnapping. “Well, maybe you should put a mercenary in charge instead of a geophysicist,” she replies. (Pssst, Zoe, that way didn’t work out too well either. But maybe you knew that.) He then tells her to take the “package” from the sub to the infirmary.
Widmore and Jin then talk face to face. Charles hands Jin a camera, and you knew what was coming: picture of Ji Yeon. Aw. And then, for the 11th time this episode, ABC decided to run a countdown ad for “V” that COMPLETELY took me out of what should have been an insanely emotional moment. Sigh. Charles then delivers lines that (potentially) help clarify the sideways timeline stories: “I know that what you want, more than anything, is to be reunited with your wife and daughter. But it would be short-lived. If that thing masquerading as John Locke ever got off this Island, all of it — your wife, your daughter, my daughter, everyone we know and love — would simply cease to be. And I came here to make sure that doesn’t happen.” He then offers to show Jin the package. It’s not a what, it’s a who.
Jack walks up to Sun, who is sitting alone on the beach in front of a fire at sunset. It’s a GORGEOUS shot, possibly the reason that Jacob invented high-definition television. He gives her a pad of paper to write her thoughts upon, and in turn, my thoughts instantly jumped to the seminal “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode “Hush.” (Let’s pray Jack doesn’t make fun of Sun’s hips.) He pulls out something he found in her garden while looking for Smocke: a tomato, stubbornly alive after three years. “I guess no one told it it was supposed to die,” he says. Just as he did earlier in the Temple with Sayid, Jack asks Sun if he trusts her. Just as Smocke did earlier this episode, Jack extends his hand towards Sun, promising to get her and Jin off the Island. But this time, Sun does take his hand. It’s easy to forget how close these two were in Season 1, and I’m excited to see them work together again.
At Smocke’s camp, Kate asks Sawyer why he’s not worried. He is, but notes that he’s just good at hiding it. He notes that if Smocke returns, they are screwed six ways from Sunday. On cue, Smocke returns, alone. He left Sayid behind to find out what was behind the magical door inside the submarine. “I don’t like secrets,” Smocke says, somehow endearing himself to every “Lost” fan on the planet despite being the show’s ultimate baddie. Cut over to Hydra Island, where Sayid comes face-to-face with the package: Desmond David Hume, drugged out of his skull and dragged toward the infirmary. HOT DAMN. Fairly expected, yet still awesome to see.
16) The Moment
Had ABC not destroyed it by running that stupid “V” counter, it would have been Jin seeing his daughter for the first time. Know what? I’m not letting the promo monkeys ruin this for me. When I see it on DVD this fall, I’ll cry then, the way I should have tonight.
23) The Mythology
A couple of monster ones tonight.
Charles Widmore Explains It All For You! I’ve had contentious battles with the so-called “epiloggers” over the past two months. I don’t mean to do so, but I always seem to annoy them. Don’t mean to do so, honestly. So I’ll be as clear as I can in trying to suss out why I still think the existing epilogue theory of the sideways stories as I understand it is incorrect, even after Widmore’s speech that seemed to completely confirm it.
In my recap of “Sundown,” I suggested that the sideways stories are a type of narrative Schrödinger’s cat: both true and untrue at the same time, meaningful even if they are merely theoretical. Widmore seemed to indicate tonight that should Smocke succeed, something akin to the sideways timeline could occur: a destabilization of reality into another form, recognizable yet leaving no memory of the previous existence. But where I jumped off from the epiloggers then, and still do, is that I don’t think these sideways stories simply show what happened after Smocke succeeded. That seems still like a terrible and horrible way to end the show, if THAT is all the sideways stories are showing. But I don’t think that’s it. In short: I think epiloggers don’t go far enoug
h with their theorizing, because while I’m fine with looking at these sideways flashes as theoretically aftermaths of Smocke’s escape, they have to also reflect back on the island timeline in ways that actually prevent such an aftermath from ever occurring. This brings me to point two…
Aphasia Will Amaze Ya! For weeks, we’ve looked at the use of mirrors in the sideways stories, a visual motif first identified by people much smarter than me throughout the first few eps but have since become a huge clue in each sideways stories. Up until tonight, we’ve largely seen people look into the mirror with a sort of distant, déjà vu-esque look on their face. In Jack’s case, physical wounds start to appear in the sideways universe. Well, tonight, Sun suffered a major wound in the Island universe, and I’m convinced that Sideways Sun passed a little into Island Sun while she stared into the mirror. THIS is what I think Sideways Sun saw: herself, on the Island, in the other timeline. Did she see this literally? No, but that’s what her subconscious registered all the same, and in that moment of unknowing recognition, a little bit of her flowed through into the other timeline.
The package is electr(omagnet)ic, boogie oogie oogie! Catch Zoe’s job title? Geophysicist. And note her joke about sending in mercenaries? I can’t honestly tell if that was ironic or pointed. In any case, she’s been handpicked by Widmore due to her extensive knowledge of electromagnetism, and since Widmore’s nominally there to at least trap (if not destroy) the monster, I’m guessing that she’s there to help re-create/augment the conditions that Desmond experienced when he turned the fail-safe key. Why? To place him on Sideways Oceanic 815, and perhaps other strategic places, and mend things from that side. Speaking of those maps…
Whatever happened, still happened in the Island timeline! I loved that map from the 1970s in which Jin, as part of his security detail, detailed points of unique energy on the Island. I suppose we can have him to partially thank for the construction of the Swan in the first place. I understand that we kind of already gathered that Juliet’s actions didn’t do anything of import to those at Ground Zero for the blast aside from shoot them into the present, but it’s still nice to have confirmation that their presence in the 1970s still holds true in the history books.
Some people ARE meant to be together! No, I’m not talking about Sun/Jin, although my ‘shipper heart might think that’s true. For some reason, all the candidates have to leave with Smocke and fly the suddenly terrifying skies off the island towards freedom. Just as the Oceanic 6 all had to come back together, so do the Candidates 6 have to leave together. Then again, it’s not like the Oceanic 6 truly did come back together, what with Turnip Head still engaged in a never-ending marathon of “Dora the Explorer” with Ji Yeon in Los Angeles. I confess I don’t have a lot of insight into why exactly Smocke needs these people to leave, but at least now we have better insight into why he hasn’t wiped them all out yet.
42) Random Thoughts
Sun’s pregnancy in the sideways timeline? Not a surprise, once she gave the line about having something important to share with Jin. Her getting shot in the stomach? Whedon-esque in terms of its sudden violence and audience cruelty. “You wanted Sun/Jin back together! Here you go! Now let’s shoot one of them.” Much like a LOLcat, I has a sad.
Weakest moment of the episode for me: Smocke’s speech to Claire that boiled down to, “Forget everything I said, even in the last sentence, and focus on your boiling hatred for Kate.” It seemed a bit clunky, reinforced how little we truly learned inside the caves, and made Claire look stupid. I’m OK if she’s crazy, but I don’t want her to be dumb.
Now that Sun and Jin have finally gotten some decent face time, at whom do I have to throw a Hot Pocket to get me some more Frank Lapidus?
Two weeks ago, Sawyer said, “Take me to your leader.” This week, Smocke says, “I come in peace.” Anyone want to take bets on which character gets to say, “Live long and prosper”?
It’s really hard to look at the slighty pudgy guy working for Widmore and not think about Henchman No. 21 from “The Venture Brothers.”
Seeing Room 23 again? Cool. Seeing Sun’s garden again? Heartwarming. I can’t think of a better compare/contrast when trying to explain why “Lost” works and shows that only ape its mythology, not its heart, always fail.
This episode was so busy with on-Island events, it felt like an end-of-season episode, not a mid-season one. Especially when contrasted with last week’s essential halt of the forward momentum, this was more like hurtling down a rollercoaster after pausing briefly at the top. I’m not saying everything worked equally well, but a LOT of things happened in this episode. This is NOT a complaint, just a surprised reaction.
108) In Summary
In some ways, this was the most straightforward episode of the year. Of course, this being “Lost,” that means dozens of things made me scratch my head and plead to God for some modicum of understanding. But I largely got to sit back and enjoy character interactions that had been missing from my television for some time.
Jin and Sun were, obviously, the big draw of the night. Mileage may vary on how much you care about this couple and if their prolonged separation has hurt both their romance as well as their characters. But as far as I’m concerned, while I haven’t enjoyed Sun’s devolvement from a fierce woman into someone who can only ask about the status of her husband’s whereabouts, I do enjoy the patient, long-term approach with which “Lost” has kept these two apart. After all, keeping Des/Penny apart made that couple vital. Reuniting them made have made sense plotwise, but reduced their appeal onscreen. But if their on-Island reunion mimics what we saw at the end of their sideways timeline, I might lose my mind with sadness.
Speaking of Des, great to see that he might finally enter Season 6 of “Lost” good and proper. I don’t think he’s been underused this season, in that his absence was carefully and purposefully planned. But I’m still excited to have him be a large part of the season’s second half. With the War of the Island about to start, he’s about to become one of its most important (albeit potentially unwilling) soldiers. Thank Jacob he’s got that military background, right?
What did you think of “The Package”? Did it keep up the streak of solid episodes, or were you let down after last week’s big Richard-centric ep? Did Widmore’s speech clarify the sideways timeline for you or simply muddle it further? And is Jack finally stepping up to the plate or simply once again doing the wrong thing for the right reason? Leave your thoughts below!
Ryan writes about “Lost” over at Zap2it’s Guide to Lost. He invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Twitter feed and Zap2it’s main feed for all the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.
Photo credit: ABC