written by: paul zbyszewski and elizabeth sarnoff, who together also wrote this season's 'jughead.' this might be sarnoff's best episode in the show thus far. this season she also co-wrote 'dead is dead,' and 'la fleur.' zbyszewski has previously also co-written 'namaste.'

directed by: stephen williams, who has not had the best track record this season with 'because you left' (pretty good), 'the little prince' (the best kate episode), '316' (ugh), and 'dead is dead' (hrm. send him all your bad-effects smoke monster hate mail).

director of photography: john bartley. some really great shots and setpieces in this episode. the underwater swim was exciting, the temple tunnels looked much better than they did in ben's episode, sawyer's farewell view of the island was beautiful, and the others' golden-hour sunrise exodus to see jacob looked wonderful.

basically: message boards incorrectly revised the description of the ep from alpert to locke centric. while indirect, this was a taughtly-written alpert flashback episode. the chess pieces are in line for the finale, and the setup is brilliant.
  1. alpert.
  2. eloise.
  3. the answers.
  4. locke.
  5. jacob.
  6. leadership.
  7. a postulation.
  8. great lines.
  9. minor gripes.
  10. a theory.
  11. preboomer.
  12. bookmark.

1. alpert.

this man is deeply fascinating. and while we're not yet getting a lot of specific information about him, we're learning a lot of small things that are gradually adding up to a bigger picture:

my original hypothesis that alpert doesn't appear to age because he has been jumping through time seems to be wrong. from what we've seen, alpert simply doesn't age. and judging by this opening shot, it seems clear that they're hinting he is somehow connected to the black rock:

we don't know anything yet about the exact origin of the others. what sets alpert apart from the rest of the others, who have aged normally?

calling this an alpert-centric episode is kind of cheating. he only happens to be present in both timeframes, but we learn nothing about the man - there is no character arc, no initial conflict resolved for him by episode's end. they are still holding their alpert cards very tight. what's headtrippy to think about is that as events in the past appear to us to play out in real time, they are memories to present-day alpert. it would have been pretty cool if the episode was even shot more from his perspective.. even if we didn't learn anything new, use closeups of his face, start the flashback whoosh, and play the 'flashbacks' as though we are literally peeking into alpert's memory of the past.

alpert's presence in both timeframes raises the question of destiny - if all the events of the past are locked in alpert's memory, is it indeed impossible for jack and company to change the course of history? just as eloise has already shot daniel, alpert has already seen our heroes die.

if it is possible to change things, would alpert's present day memory of events change as well? (the movie 'frequency' handled this in an interesting way, allowing characters to possess memories from all of their alternate timelines. digression: elizabeth mitchell was in 'frequency,' and her character killed by a serial killer named jack shephard.)

big remaining questions about alpert:
  • what is his origin?
  • what exactly does 'advisor' to jacob mean?
  • why doesn't he age?
2. eloise.

i like the actress they've chosen to play middle eloise. this episode allowed her to go beyond a fionnula flanagan impression into a fleshed-out character - hopefully we'll see even more of that in the finale. i loved the discovery that she and widmore are sort of the kate/jack of the others. - or perhaps they are they sawyer/juliet, and (like sawyer is planning to do by betting on the cowboys in the '78 superbowl) is widmore's off-island empire financed by knowledge of the future?

ellie's interactions with jack in 1977 change the way we look at her stilted present day scene at the lamp post station. as she's telling jack and company how to return to the island, she's doing the same thing locke did with alpert: sending them on a mission to meet her younger self. when she looks at jack, she sees the un-aged face of a man who 'died' 30 years earlier trying to undo the accidental murder of her son. it would be so cool if that awkward scene from '316' was acquitted by this additional knowledge, but rewatching it, it still doesn't work. flanagan's performance is too glib and condescending. i think it's a case where it really would have helped the actress to know the true stakes of the scene before shooting. her son's life depended on getting jack and company back to the island. the scene should have been driven by her personal need for jack to succeed. with stakes that high, why would she ever leave this task to ben? she should have been blackmailing kate herself and dressing up as jack's dad.. anything to get them on that plane! sigh. can we reshoot it? for the dvd's? please?

3. the answer.

and it now becomes clear - the bigger plan for the show, and the two questions i've been asking, and have been frustrated by ever since last year's finale:
  1. why did all the terrible things happen because they (the oceanic 6) left?
  2. and why did they need to come back?
based on locke's scene with alpert, i think we now know the answers:
  1. the terrible things happened because all of the 815 survivors were supposed to be bouncing in time after ben pushed the wheel. how is sayid supposed to shoot ben if he's not back on the island? how is kate going to save him if she's not there too?
  2. they needed to go back because their returning is the cause of a whole chain of events - ben to become ben, the incident to incite, and quite possibly, as jack now believes, erase the future.
4. locke.

this episode was mostly setup - and i get the feeling that damon and carlton are about to whip back the curtain on some major revelations this week.
  • why was locke resurrected? why did he need to wear christian shepard's shoes?
  • is he still 'locke' or is he something else now?
  • is locke's mystical drive actually coming from logic? are his ideas about destiny now being backed up by his experiences as a time-traveller? have locke and jack fully switched philosophical places?
one of the most magical scenes of the episode was watching locke prep alpert to remove the bullet from the leg of his younger, recently time-jumping self. it was a thrill to realize that the writers had engineered an exquisite little piece of structural origami - and like 'the constant,' the emotional core of it is deep: locke knew exactly what must be said in order to convince himself to do what must be done, and to prep himself that his own death would be the price (lindelof executes a similarly delightful trick in the new star trek movie). if locke really wanted to do himself a favor, he would have said, 'don't bother with walt. i know it seems like something really cool might happen when you go to see him, but trust me. it's stupid.'

what locke seems to be realizing is that because of the nature of time, he actually does have a destiny. but his destiny doesn't come from some mystical source - it comes from someone or something that has either already lived it or seen it happen. and apparently he's going to kill that person.

5. jacob.

who is jacob?

we've known from almost the first encounter with jacob in his cabin that ben has never really seen him. maybe ben thought he saw jacob, but every time locke says something about an experience with jacob, ben seems surprised. ben seemed especially surprised that jacob had whispered to locke, 'help me.' so surprised, in fact, that he shot locke, perhaps hoping to keep him from doing just that.

so why does jacob need help? is he a prisoner (of time and space? woooo..)? some things to remember about jacob:
  • his cabin was built by horace, as a getaway. i'm guessing jacob, like the hostiles, didn't move in until after the purge.
  • his cabin is surrounded by what looks like a circle of volcanic ash, or light colored powder, suggesting that it somehow keeps him trapped there.
  • the cabin moves around.
  • hurley has also seen the cabin, as well as jacob's creepy eye. will hurley's ability to see jacob come into play? what will happen when miles meets a corporeal ghost?
  • dead bodies on the island have a habit of disappearing, and then reanimating. correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe that we have only ever seen ghosts of people whose dead bodies are resting on the island. we don't know if claire is dead, but she's been hangin out with dead christian shepard. if flight 815 lands in this week's finale, we might never find out what actually happened to claire.
based on available evidence, i'm maintaining that jacob is a character from the present (or near future) who is stuck in the deep past. at this point he could still be anyone. locke, jack, desmond, ben.. whoever jacob is, he doesn't know it yet, because he hasn't become him yet. going into the third act of this epic story, some light must be shed on the jacob question very very soon.

locke killing jacob is going to be very very important this week - and is probably something that will happen 'simutaneously' with 'the incident.' though separated by 30 years, locke and jack will find themselves on the same geographic spot on the island as we flash back and forth between them as they variously attempt to to kill jacob, and set off the bomb (which is a nice irony to last year's finale which involved trying to disarm a bomb). what's interesting is that alpert is present at both events, meaning that whatever we see happen in the past has existed as a memory in his mind for 30 years.

6. leadership.

'follow the leader' was a great title for an episode that had all factions dealing with some form of leadership conflict.
  • dharma: horace proves himself too wimpy to take necessary measures to protect dharma, and is rather easily usurped by radzinsky.. no wonder radz puts the gun to his mouth after several years of button-pushing. he finally gets to sit in the big chair, then ends up running in a hamster wheel for a decade.
  • the others (2008): locke returns to 'his people' and promptly takes his place as island jesus, much to the consternation of alpert and ben. (which makes me wonder what kind of 'leader' they expected locke to be, since they've both spent years maneuvering him into this position.) as the leader of 'a people,' you'd think locke might want to know where those people came from. maybe he does know, somehow.
  • the others (1977): not as much of a leadership struggle here, but an interesting revelation that eloise is really calling the shots. she not only has the power to talk widmore down, she's able to lead richard on a mission that can't be anything but suicidal.
  • survivors of 815 (1977): sawyer's time as leader of the survivors within dharma officially ends.
  • survivors of 316 (2008): the only group not addressed, but their leaders are clearly bran and ilana. how will their mission intersect with locke's? what is their mission?

7. a postulation.

a lengthy speculation about the consequences of changing the timeline:

if flight 815 lands safely at the end of the season, what does this mean in the larger picture of the story? what can we expect in season 6? how will the island still figure into the story? such an action would also undo all of the events caused by time-jumping characters - so alpert would never know to look for john locke as a baby, or to test him as a child. locke would likely never leave his wheelchair, or see the island, ever.

dharma history would be completely different. horace's eventual wife amy would either be killed or taken hostage by the others (for having a picnic with her husband paul on hostile territory). ethan would never be born. in the last podcast, damon and carlton admitted that amy and paul were indeed 'just having a picnic,' and unwittingly broke the truce. being in the wrong, horace would probably let amy die as a casualty of their own folly. peace between dharma and the hostiles would persist.

ben would never be shot. his induction to the hostiles would not come until much later, if at all, and never having been to the temple, he might not ever become the 'ben' we know. he may never challenge widmore for leadership, who would stay on the island with eloise and raise daniel. daniel, desperate to play the only piano on the island, strikes up a romeo and juliet romance with a hot red-haired girl from across the sonic fence.

the incident would still happen - the swan station built, and the button pushed by radzinsky. but without a purge, radzinsky is relieved of duty, and button-pushing goes swimmingly for decades. desmond never ends up in the hatch because either penny was never born, or widmore presented no obstacle between them. if penny isn't born, then desmond marries libby, who never gets on the plane. either way, desmond continues the rest of his life as a set designer for the royal shakespeare company.

a nuclear blast on the island would also wipe out the numbers transmission - meaning that hurley would never learn the numbers from sam toomey, and would thereby never win the lottery, and would therefore not even be on 815 in the first place. the source of his curse wiped out, hurley continues working at mr. clucks. he hooks up with starla. but because celestial bodies are unaffected by miniscule changes in earth's timeline, hurley is killed by the asteriod that destroyed mr. clucks in 2003, a year before 815 ever takes off. tricia tanaka breaks the story and goes on to anchor the local evening news.

rousseau's science ship would never be diverted to investigate the numbers transmission. she gives birth to alex, and they live happily ever after in france with her husband robert. montand plays the violin beautifully.

jack would discover his half-sibling relationship to claire at his father's funeral, just a few days after flight 815 lands at LAX. he says to her, 'wow yeah, dad was pretty much an asshole.'

after their flirt at the airport bar in sydney, ana lucia puts the pieces together and confesses to jack her involvement in christian's death. jack marries ana lucia. when she was a cop, she was shot in the abdomen while pregnant, and is now unable to have a child. jack and ana lucia adopt aaron.

sawyer's pursuit of 'the real sawyer' would eventually lead him to locke, where the two of them might work together to exorcise their mutual demon.

kate goes to prison.

charlie od's.

in los angeles, jin and sun attempt to escape her father's influence. without the island, jin has low sperm count, and they are unable to conceive.

sayid runs into nadia at best buy, ironically, on the same corner she was killed at in the original timeline. they live happily ever after. until they both die in their sleep from the gas leak in her house that locke warned her about during her home inspection years ago.

rose dies of cancer. bernard comes back from the bathroom.

gary troup publishes 'bad twin.' without the notoriety of the crash, it is a creative and financial failure. cindy dumps him.

vincent, tragically, is doomed to spend his days listening to walt and michael bicker.

shannon and boone bug the shit out of me.

and nikki and paolo get swine flu.

of course, for a show that's repeated 'no paradox' over and over, if detonating the bomb lands flight 815, then it means no one goes back in time to set it off. so detonating it would negate the event's own occurrence. which makes me think that maybe they will stick to one timeline.

while they say 'no paradox,' there are some very interesting ideas at play - listen to this week's poadcast, where damon and carlton talk in detail about the history of locke's compass, with no actual origin, passed in an infinite loop of time, aging 50 years each time it circles the loop.

8. great moments.

the writing in this episode was top notch.

after everyone's arrived in the tunnels, eloise echoes her own preboomer from 'this place is death' by saying 'all right. let's get started.'

locke: i'm not afraid of anything you can do anymore, ben.

kate: it was not all misery.
jack: enough of it was.

chang: you fought in the korean war?
hurley: there's no such thing.
chang: who's the president of the united states?
hurley: alright, we're from the future.

i loved the han/leia scenes between juliet and sawyer. she is just as tough as he is - she proved it while giving him orders back in the season 3 olden days, building the runway for ajira 316. my elizabeth mitchell notable subtlety of the week is the tiny tiny mona lisa smile she has after being punched in the face by phil. it's as if she's saying 'finally, these people are learning how to play the game like the others.' this week we will certainly see the other side of the outrigger boat gunfight, in which juliet shot someone from the other boat. please please please don't let it be that juliet accidentally killed herself. (though if 815 lands, it doesn't matter. in fact, we may see a lot of beloved characters die before the bomb is finally ignited, if it's ignited.)

9. minor gripes.
  • love quadrangle returns. my heart sank at the staging and execution of the scene where kate climbs down the ladder into the sub as foil to sawyer and juliet's plans for a happy future. it feels easy, obvious, and not nearly as interesting as seeing these people work together. how great would this have been if kate enters the scene, and then sawyer convinces juliet that everything is going to be alright? kate is there to find claire, and juliet should know that. bringing back this artificial obstacle is a disservice to characters that we know are smarter. the only thing that can save it is if hurley pops his head in and calls it out. 'dudes! you two are totally together!' i feel like a scene of kate's capture by the dharmas must have been cut. her mission was to stop jack from detonating the bomb.. but now she seems pretty happy to just sit on the sub quietly.
  • the show has too often used the misdirection of tricking us into thinking someone has been shot, then showing the bad guy drop dead instead, then showing a third party savior holding a smoking gun. please concoct new form of surprise/misdirection, thanx.
  • sun steps forward from the crowd and asks locke if jacob can bring her husband back. every episode, depending on where it's set, has either sun or jin saying some variation of 'if there's a chance i can find my huband/wife, then i have to stay.' if they're not going to use jin for anything else, his character should have stolen a jeep and gone searching the jungle for sun by himself.. why haven't they given either of these characters actions to play??? jin is finally able to speak fluent english and is given absolutely nothing to say.

  • was this disastrously fake cgi shot of the sub really necessary? it looks like a halo screenshot. the rendering of the water is unforgivable. the surface is a recognizable, repeated pattern, and the waves in the sub's wake are perfectly symmetrical and totally unnatural. when did the show proper become via domus? though the shot sucked, i think it was important to show us that the sub actually did leave port, and the inside of the sub isn't just a '20,000 leagues under the sea' ride at disney.
  • coming attractions. these really really suck sometimes. i didn't need to see that sayer and juliet get back on land, wielding rifles. someone said to me 'but c'mon, you knew they were going to end up back on the island..' no. i did not know that. this is the show that flashed forward. this is a show that surprises. i hate having setups ruined like that.

10. a theory.

i have a theory that the smoke monster is actually a device through which a person in the past can peer into, and probe the future. somewhere in the tunnels of the temple are the controls - and perhaps we will discover by show's end, what their ultimate objective is. an objective that ties together the actions of the smoke monster since its first appearance. when jack and company emerged in the tunnels 30 years prior to ben's 'judgement,' i imagined that they might find the 'controls' to the monster, and in trying to operate it, accidentally kill mr. eko. whoops.

11. preboomer.

ben: then why are we going to jacob?
locke: so i can kill him.

superlong wtf-face from ben here. we don't yet know what this means, but it sure means a hell of a lot to ben, who's just been told by the ghost of his daughter that he must do everything locke askes him to do. how much does ben even know about jacob? how much does alpert even know?

12: bookmark.

just a reminder of how far we've come, and how little we have left in the story:

chapters read: 101
chapters remaining: 19

thanks to rob. k for edits/suggestions.

written by: eddy kitsis and adam horowitz, who have written some of the good, but not totally awesome episodes this season - "the lie, "this place is death,"and "he's our you." they also wrote this great article in variety that discusses the fascinating (and overwhelming) writing process on 'lost.'

directed by: paul edwards, who seems to get a lot of 'death' episodes - 'two for the road,' which killed libby and ana lucia, 'this place is death,' which killed charlotte, and now 'the variable,' which killed (sigh) faraday.

director of photography: cort fey, who has worked with 'lost' since season 2, and has done some great work. but this week's episode had some strange shots that looked underexposed and then pushed in post. the color palate also seems dulled, which must be a deliberate choice.

quickly now: a thought provoking episode, but not a 'constant' companion.

  1. mommies.
  2. the impending incident.
  3. the ultimate course correction.
  4. charlotte.
  5. promotional vs. canon.
  6. juliet's moments.
  7. widmore.
  8. minor gripe.
  9. preboomer.
1. mommies.

for just about the first time, we have a character with mommy issues! this episode really benefits from re-watching. the first scene with young daniel lays out his trajectory - mom enters fully distraught, as anyone who's given birth to a person they once shot in the back might be.. it's important to look at all her scenes with this new knowledge, and it explains her beliefs about the inevitability of time and destiny. she knows that nothing can be done to stop her son's destiny because she's already shot him.

as she told desmond in 'flashes before your eyes,' it makes no difference what she does to try and alter events - it happened - and so her only choice is to keep daniel 'on the right path,' as she tells him, by symbolically stopping his metronome. some have wondered, 'why doesn't she allow him to keep him playing piano? why does she do anything at all? why does she have to take part in his demise?'

i think the answer to that question lies in her knowledge of island properties that come with being 'an other.' she understands her 'duty' in the timeline, and because she likely knows what lies in the shadow of the statue, she will grudgingly do her part to keep the wheel of time turning correctly.

another possibility, is the importance of faraday's journal - the data in that journal likely turns out to be crucial.. and if hawking doesn't push him academically, he'll never write that journal, which may contain information that likely saves her and the others from 'death by incident.' the harder she pushes him, the more helpful the journal will end up being..

don't forget that in 'the life and death of jeremy bentham,' when cesar was rifling through papers in ben's old office on hydra island, we saw a copy of a page from faraday's journal. i think we'll find out that ultimately, the journal was more important to eloise than her actual son. she buried him before he was even born.

rewatch the eloise scenes with this in mind: though it requires the death of her son, eloise must ensure that daniel's journal ends up on the island, in the past, and it must have all of his research in it. notice the relief on her face when he says that he will go to the island - she's not relieved because now she gets to shoot him, she's relieved because it means she's finally completed her task in bringing that lifesaving journal to her younger self. (speaking of journals - remember that widmore was bidding on the captain's journal from the 'black rock'? does this journal contain similar wisdom? will one of our characters end up being the captain of the black rock?)

i guess we're not really supposed to wonder why daniel has both an american accent and different last name - when he grew up with 'mum' and went to oxford. perhaps libby was his vocal coach at some point.

2. the impending incident.

daniel, upon arriving, tells us that the incident is going to happen in 6 hours. holy crap! that means that if the season finale is called 'the incident,' then next week's episode probably only covers exactly 30 minutes of island time.. or next week's ep will focus on the snoozer present day story. or.. since it's going to be (gasp!) richard alpert's episode.. maybe we'll just be jumping around in time for the entire hour, and the episode will end at the same point in time that we left off this week.

things about the incident:

  • is the result of electromagnetic activity, at first released by drilling at the orchid, but is connected to the release of energy at the swan.
  • the swan station isn't complete by the time the incident occurs (which doesn't quite fit the text of the swan orientation film, but whatevs)
  • once the swan station is complete, radzinsky is placed there permanently, until his death by suicide several years later.
  • chang will lose his arm (referenced in the comic-com video - more on that later)
  • it will likely mirror the other season-ending incidents - season 2's failsafe key, and season 4's donkey wheel island vanish.
what will the incident do??
  • move the people who were jumping through time into their correct year?
  • turn the sky some other color?
whatever happens, it has to be awful, but not so awful that there isn't time to finish the swan station and put the button in place. a lot of time went into constructing that fancy 108-minute counter with heiroglyphs and everything. daniel said that the incident was 'catastrophic' and that everyone would die - we know that doesn't happen though. ben, horace, and a bunch of others live long enough to be killed in the purge many years later. chang lives at least long enough to record the swan station video (with gray hair and one arm). perhaps jughead is detonated, but not quite as daniel would have done it - so many are saved, but the effect is still disastrous. but in the end, everything would still adhere to our known timeline.

but. what if..

3. the ultimate course correction.

damon and carlton have gone to great pains to show us a world in which free will still exists, albeit within the loose constraints of destiny. but so far it appears that everything we've seen happen in 1977 has happened exactly 'as it should have.' even sayid's attempt to change the timeline proved to be part of the determined course of events.

lost is a show built on establishing very tight rules - but once we're comfortable with them, they are broken via 'game changers,' which alter the rules of the show, and are usually the final, top secret scenes of each season.

after faraday's pitch to jack (that if he can detonate jughead, their plane will never crash) some friends have speculated about this possibility: what if jughead is detonated, the incident happens, the sky turns white, and then the final, super secret scene of season 5 of 'lost' is flight 815 landing safely at LAX? everyone gets off the plane, kate is escorted out by edward mars, locke wheels his way out in the wheelchair, jack steps off, and cindy's standing there at the door saying 'buh bye. buh bye. buh bye.'


it would mean that season 6 of the show would be, as damon and carlton have been repeating in all interviews, 'more character based,' 'more like season 1,' and 'more emotional.' because it would be about these people's lives if they had never encountered the island. as promised, claire would return. she never left. boone, shannon, ana lucia, libby, and other dead passengers would make cameos, and maybe we'd see how fate kills them eventually anyway. season 6 would focus on our surviving heroes, and how fate course corrects for them to end up where they need to be.

though incredibly exciting, it's a tall, almost impossible order. it also ignores the plotline they've been laying for locke, sun, and the impending 'war' between widmore, eloise(?), and ben. it also negates our investment in the last 5 years of storytelling. is that really what it was all about? making sure the crash never happened? that's a real tough premise to invest in beyond its superficial cleverness. so i think they probably won't do it. but i also didn't expect them to send our cast bouncing around through time...

4. charlotte.

ok now here's what i like about this episode: something happened in ann arbor to change faraday's conception of the inevitability of time, outside of desmond's 'specialness.' otherwise he'd have no reason to approach charlotte and try to get her to never come back to the island. since he believes that things can be different, he sees hope in trying to alter her destiny, so the scene has a real drive behind it. of course the irony is that all he's done is fulfill charlotte's own memory of the event.. as she dies. (insert bummer trumpet sound here.) if faraday was smart and really wanted to change things, he, uh, probably should have walked right past that swingset.

the diehards all predicted that 'lil charlotte would be mowing down on an apollo candy bar, but instead props gave her something that is the wrong shape, and with a blank label, perhaps dharma branded on the other side. too bad, since they made such a big deal about the apollo bar being different from the rest of the dharma food back when they discovered the hatch's pantry.

5. promotional vs. canon.

this one irks me. last summer at comic-con, damon and carlton unveiled the season 5 teaser video, in which pierre chang discusses the impending incident, making subtle reference to losing his arm, and daniel faraday's voice is heard in the background of the tape. it was the first hint that somehow our people were going to end up in dharma times. what sucks though, is that with 'the variable,' it's clear that faraday never made such a tape with chang (unless they're going to retcon it in the next two episodes, which i doubt.) damon and carlton have been going on record stating that the comic-con videos (including last year's orchid station blooper reel) are 'more promotional than canon.' in other words, 'don't take it too seriously, and don't break your brains trying to fit it into the show.'

this reminds me of a quote from ron moore in this week's entertainment weekly cover story on 'star trek' (ron is the former showrunner of battlestar galactica, and former writer of 'star trek: the next generation' and 'DS9'), where he said 'we'd be sitting in the writer's room pitching ideas, and you'd have to stop and check to make sure a plot point didn't contradict something that happened in episode no. 25 of a different trek show.. at a certain point star trek just choked on its own continuity.'

i get the feeling from this recent interview with damon and carlton, that season 5 has occasionally 'choked on its own continuity.' their responses to direct questions about continuity problems in 'life and death of jeremy bentham' are telling about their attitude.. they're essentially saying to us 'hey guys, give us a break. this show is hard to write.'

i'm tempted to forgive them. i mean, this blog is hard to write! but at the same time, they shot a promotional video using main cast members, which was to set the tone for the entire season. our standard of scrutiny is so high only because they've rewarded that scrutiny. last year, in the podcasts, damon and carton proudly pointed at the orchid station blooper video as proof that yes, they did have a very specific plan for season 4. it's too bad that they can't quite point to this video as similar evidence for season 5.

6. juliet's moments.

her quote, followed by her subtext:

sawyer: something something something, freckles.
juliet: the code for the fence is 141717. (now get outta my face, bitch after my man.)

sawyer: you still got my back?
juliet: you still got mine? (or do you have freckles' back instead, hmm??)

i'm not liking the (albeit subtle) reintroduction of sawyer's affection for kate. girl better find claire and go home. love quadrangle is tired.

7. widmore.

my goodness a lot of things happened the day flight 316 took off from LAX!

  • ben calls widmore from the docks, telling him that he's about to shoot penny. we all thought widdy was in london - i guess the time of day should have been a clue.
  • turns out, widmore is already in los angeles. did he follow desmond there?
  • um.. ok, uh, so after ben hangs up on him, maybe widmore then called eloise and said 'long time no see. hey i think my daughter that i had with the chick i left you for just got shot. oh and that desmond guy you saw last night is with her. can you go and see if they're ok? i'll stop by and say hi.'
  • eloise says 'ok, but i will slap you later.'
  • widmore shows up, he and ellie have a 'sacrifice-off'
  • ellie wins saying 'i had to send my son to the island, knowing full well that..' 'he's my son too..' (old lady smack)
i want to know: why was widmore suddenly in los angeles on the day ajira 316 took off? whom did he place on the plane? and whom did eloise place there (aside from our heroes)? both of them would know 'what lies in the shadow of the statue,' so, i'm stumped.

what we do know is that widmore's body (as some have speculated) is not in ilana's trunk. this scene establishes that neither eloise nor widmore were on flight 316.

one thing i loved about this episode, was that faraday's first weepy scene was the first time we saw of the 'wreck' of flight 815 in season 4's 'confirmed dead.' since that point, the show has teased us for over a year about who actually placed the wreck there - and now we learn that just minutes later, widmore walked in and flat out admitted it.

people have wondered why he was crying about the crash.. i think it's because desmond had told daniel the entire story when he visited him in the late 90's. now that dan's brain is a jumble, he sees the crash and knows it's important, but doesn't know why.

8. minor gripe.

for an attempt to equal 'the constant,' i don't think anyone will dispute that 'the variable' was missing the cathartic emotional intensity of its predecessor. perhaps it all hinged on the performances of the two actresses playing eloise - but even if she was more conflicted throughout about pushing her son to his death, we still wouldn't know why she was acting this way until the very end. we're so used to seeing eloise as hardnosed and emotionless, maybe we needed to see her break down as she gives faraday the journal. it may even have worked better if we knew eloise was responsible for her son's death - just not how. then we'd get the satisfaction of seeing an expected event play out in an unexpected way.

another reason this episode failed to pair well with 'the constant,' was that episode's brilliant preboomer:

it just doesn't feel right that daniel should die without paying off that tease.

eddy and adam did attempt to tie the episode to 'the constant' by giving us another emotional reunion with penny and des, and while it was nicely performed by both actors, the scene itself felt tacked on rather than earned.

where are they going with desmond from here on out? the night before, eloise told him that the island wasn't done with him yet. now, a few hours later, she's saying that for the first time in a long time she has 'no idea what's going to happen.' not only that, the only person capable of sending desmond on timebending missions is dead. are they done with desmond? it would be disappointing if that's the case, after all the buildup about how only he can truly change the timeline.

9. preboomer.

'i'm your son' (croak)


woo! another wtf-face! one day, when i'm unemployed again, i will compile all the wtf-faces and put them on youtube. or maybe i'll do next week.

notice how in 'jughead,' ellie was established as a trigger-happy hothead? nice setup, that.


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