It has come to my attention that there may have been a new episode of Lost on television last night? REALLY?! No way. How did I miss that?
Aw, shucks. Of course I’m only kidding. After hearing all summer long about how this season would be all about giving us a view into the life of the Others and answering long-burning questions and even giving us a little romance that doesn’t inevitably end up with the female counterpart being shot to death, there was no way I was going to miss it.
And it did not disappoint.
Questions WERE answered, long-burning questions like, is Jack’s ex-wife, Sarah, happy (“Yes, Jack,” came the answer, “She is VERY happy.”). I mean, if my entire life were condensed into a two-inch-thick dossier sitting right across the desk in front of me, I know that that would be MY first question.
And, as promised, romance burned up the screen….in this case, in a little breakfast date between Kate and Henry, whose real name, if he has a real name, turns out to be Ben (strangely avuncular name for such a nasty little man; think, “Gentle Ben” and “Ben ‘Obi Wan’ Kenobi”). Okay, maybe not romance. But there were, in fact, scrambled eggs, coffee and actual eating utensils.
As for the life of the Others, well, interestingly, the producers decided to start the season with some edited-in footage from Desperate Housewives: a beautiful blonde with huge breasts pouting in front of a mirror, trying to psych herself up for having company over to her suburban tract house. Poor pouty blonde, nothing is going right for her. She tries to put on a Talking Heads CD, and out pops Petula Clark, singing “Downtown”. She tries to bake muffins, and ends up with burnt crumbs all over the floor and a dishtowel wrapped around her burned hand. Her plumber hasn’t had any luck fixing her pipes, and worst of all, her plumber is Ethan, the Other who posed as a Lostaway, kidnapped Claire and posed as an amiable-if-hypodermic-needle-happy OB/GYN until Charlie shot him up. And what does she get for inviting her neighbors over for a little book chat? She has to take crap for having chosen a Stephen King book instead of “real literature”. Real literature that BEN would approve of. At this point we know not of whom they speak. But one thing is clear: the problem is not the book, so much as it is Ben.
Oh no, I think I’ve said too much. Because, I mean, what does this have to do with the Others?
Well, next thing you know, poor pouty blonde’s party is all ruined because of an earthquake. Ah! So it’s California! After the rumbling stops, all of the party guests run outside, and who do we see running outside from the tract house across the way? Why, it’s Henry Gale! So, Henry Gale is from California! And this is his flashback!
The camera pans upward, and we see that we’ve gone from Desperate Housewives right into the cult classic, Donnie Darko, you know, with a plane hurtling through the sky towards a quiet suburban neighborhood, leaving clouds of black smoke and dumping a jet engine into the bedroom of a teenage boy. No…wait a sec…Donnie Darko? No! This is a flashback to Flight 815 breaking up midflight! Only it’s being seen from the perspective of…the Others! And this suburban enclave? Nope…it’s the Island. As for Henry, Ethan, Goodwin, the pouty blonde? They are all “Others”, and apparently, the “Others” do not always go around barefoot and wearing brown sack cloths.
Suddenly Henry is barking commands, telling Ethan and Goodwin (also now-dead, killed by the also-now-dead Ana Lucia) to infiltrate the survivors. And then the coup de grace for poor pouty blonde: a narcastic (nasty-sarcastic) interlude with Henry, in which he snarks, “So, I guess this means I’m out of the book group?”
So, while we now know a little bit about the way the Others live, we have a whole new crop of questions, namely: (1) Why do the Others pretend to live in huts when they really live in Levittown? (2) How do the Others have access to multiple copies of books such that book groups are even a possibility?
Next, we cut to Jack, who is being holed up in what turns out to be a huge shark and part-time dolphin aquarium. He is being tended to by the pouty blonde, who introduces herself as “Juliet”. How romantic a name! I guess that means that there’s romance abrewing there. Seems Jack won’t accept the icky grilled cheese sandwich and Dharma Water that Juliet offers. I know I wouldn’t. No one likes to get poisoned. But when Juliet eats the sandwich herself, it becomes clear that the problem lies with Jack: seems Jack won’t accept anything at all, in fact, let alone food. In particular, we are shown that back on the charted earth, Jack wouldn’t accept that his wife has left him for another man. Jack has many flashbacks to his days as an ex-wife stalker. We learn that Jack’s Christian Father, I mean, Jack’s father, Christian, who drank himself to death in Australia, was a recovering alcoholic until Jack drove him back to the bottle. Way to take personal responsibilty. I’m not buying that. But Jack does.
Jack and Juliet engage in a little foreplay – him trying to escape by tackling her, her punching him out when he opens a door that leads straight into the ocean, nearly drowning the both of them (Henry would have been in danger too, had he not quickly bolted and slammed the door behind him, leaving Juliet to fend for herself) and eventually, a subdued “getting to know you” discussion, by which I mean that Juliet has already gotten to know everything about Jack, and Jack gets to know nothing about Juliet.
Meanwhile, Kate has awoken in a locker room. The man with the fake grizzly beard from last season is there (sans fake grizzly beard) to tell her to shower and get dressed in this very cute little sundress he has for her. She is then led out to meet her breakfast date: Benry Not Kenobi. Lots of “Why’s” ensue, like “Why am I wearing this dress?” and “Why am I eating breakfast with you?”. And I commend Kate for asking the good questions, unlike Jack. Benry’s pretty straightforward in return, basically saying, “I want to give you a nice memory to hold onto because you’re going to be doing a lot of suffering in the next two weeks.” Obviously, Benry doesn’t have a dossier on Kate because if he did, he would never have presumed that the memory of wearing a pretty little dress would be something the cargo-pants wearing, gun-toting, bank-robbing tomboy might find comforting while being tortured. Kate is eventually led to…..
Sawyer. Or actually, into a cell across from Sawyer’s. These cells, unlike Jack’s, are outdoors in a clearin gin the jungle. In fact, were they not housing humans, one might think they looked like cages in a zoo. Sawyer is looking quite greasy and stressed out when we first see him. But he quickly uses his cleverness to outfox the Rube Goldbergian food-vending contraption into giving him a fish-shaped dog biscuit, some kibble and best of all, some water. Too bad Carl, from the cage across the way, isn’t there to see it. You see, Carl wasn’t as clever as Sawyer, and it appears that he never did quite figure out how to work those levers. And when Carl somehow escapes from his cage, he wastes his time helping to set Sawyer free as well, thus insuring both of their being re-captured. Once caught, Sawyer is thrown back into his cage. But what happens to Carl is not clear. All we know is that since the Others are essentially suburban bourgeouisie who hold book groups and bake muffins, the Others adhere to such social dicta as making sincere apologies for their social gaffes, which the grizzly beard guy insists Cal make to Sawyer. “I’m very sorry for involving you in my escape plan,” Carl intones to Sawyer before being led away.
When Kate is led to Carl’s former cage, it is unclear how much time has lapsed since her breakfast date with Benry. It could be that mere moments have passed. Or it could be far longer as her wrists are terribly cut up from the handcuffs Benry insisted she wear (was he really that afraid of a girl in a sundress who hasn’t eaten a good meal in months?). At any rate, she looks defeated (albeit totally cute and buff in her little frock). When she and Sawyer see each other, the chemistry is tangible. It’s actually quite sexy, despite Sawyer’s greazy hair and furrowed brow. He calls her “Freckles”. Awww. It’s like the good old days when their big problems were mere trivialities like how they were going to get food, what they were going to do about the polar bears and what exactly was that big black smoke monster that ate the pilot?
Last but definitely not least, we see Benry and Juliet conferring. He smiles beneficently and tells her that she done good. She tells him, “Thank you. BEN.”
Next week: big-time snogging between Kate and Sawyer and scenes with those other people who were also on Flight 815 (I actually forgot all about them and truthfully, at this point, I wouldn’t care at all if the story stayed exclusively with Kate, Sawyer, Jack and the Others).
Additional unanswered questions: Where was Bea (the turban-wearing black woman)? Where was Alex (the French Woman’s daughter who was so kind to Claire)? Who was the real Henry Gale from Minnesota, and who buried him in a shallow grave marked by a cross beneath the remains of a hot-air balloon (that sort of burial seems so unlike the “Others”, and yet Benry took Henry’s identity, so one would think that Benry was involved with Henry’s death somehow)? The obvious question: where did the Others come from (can it really be so simple as they are leftovers from the Dharma Initiative?)? What was with the four-toed statue we saw last season? Who made Ben king? And finally, the question I hold nearest and dearest to my own heart: who did Juliet’s boobs?