“Lost” Recap: Episode 5.3

More accessible, and yet still stupefying, tonight’s episode “Jughead” was easily the best of the three episodes so far in this young season of Lost. And that’s saying something, since I absolutely loved “Because You Left”. “The Lie”? Eh, not as much, though it had its moments. But tonight, my Lost cup did runneth over.

A few people seemed to think I went all Ramblin’ Man last week in my recap. I think I kept it pretty logical, veering from topic to topic rather than plot point to plot point. But far be it for me to not try and appeal to as many readers as possible. So with this recap, I’m returning to the roots established in the interim between Seasons 4 and 5. That’s right: We Have to Go Back…to Tonight’s Episode! I’ve changed one category, but the rest should feel awfully familiar. On with the recap!

4) In Short

Lost, you dropped a bomb on me.”

8 ) On the Island

Miles, Charlotte, Faraday, and the two red shirts that didn’t receive a Flaming Arrow from the Island Tavern are walking to the creek to meet up with Sawyer and Juliet. While they walk there, Faraday checks in on Charlotte’s health. Not a good prognosis, as her symptoms are getting worse. As they wait there, Miles notices some trip wires on the ground. He begs Dead Meat and Deader Meat not to move, but BOOM goes the dynamite as land mines explode everywhere. The trained eye might recognize the pattern in which they explode.

501sawyerjulietbeach.jpgSoon, men and women in military garb come out of the jungle, wielding bows and arrows. All except one, their apparent leader, who bears a rifle. She demands to know who’s in charge. Miles hysterically nominates Faraday. “You just couldn’t stay away, could you?” she asks.

She demands to know where the rest of the Lostaways are. Miles suggests they blew themselves up on their captors’ landmines. “We didn’t put them here. You did,” she says. OK, Others then. Got it. Others disguised as military folk. Guess “hillbillies” hadn’t been invented yet in this time period.

Locke is inspecting both his captives and their weaponry. “This is a 30 caliber M1 Garand rifle,” Locke announces. Well, duh. (OK, had no idea. But according to this website, we’re in some year after 1936. Glad we could clear that up. Course, we could be in the year 40,000 A.D. at this point.) The soldiers start speaking in a language no one can understand. Well, no one but Juliet, who recognizes it as Latin: language of the gods, and also the Others. Previous paragraph’s theory confirmed in-show! Wow, I’m dizzy with the speed of information being doled out. Season 2 would have had them holing these people up in the Swan for a quarter-season, learning nothing, then getting hoodwinked in the finale. This is progress, people.

As Faraday and company are led to parts unknown, Miles calls Faraday aside. Turns out they are walking over 4 freshly dead U.S. soldiers, one of which died from radiation poisoning. Just another happy day on Craphole Island. All Faraday wants to know is if any of them mentioned the current year. Snicker. They come over a hill and spy their destination: a series of U.S. military tents. In one of the tents? A very non-mulleted Richard Alpert, which frankly confuses me. I was expected a “With or Without You”-era Bono to pop out. Richard greets them, and casually says, “I assume you’ve come here for your bomb.” Yes, that’s exactly what HEY WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?

The Others shove Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte into a tent. Miles says they need to keep The Others believing they are military personnel until another flash arrives to whisk them away. Richard comes in, still aghast at the audacity of the American military to come to the Island, run their tests, fire at them, and oh Lord my head is spinning. Faraday mentions the “h” word: hydrogen. As in hydrogen bomb. Bwa? Turns out, Faraday deduced from an Others’ hand burns that what the Others have on their hands is an unstable hydrogen bomb capable of destroying the Island.

Richard wants to know how Faraday won’t simply set off the bomb in a suicide mission. Faraday takes a deep breath, and says, “Because I’m in love with the woman sitting next to me. And I would never do anything to hurt her.” OH NO HE DIDN’T. Getting misty in here. Hot damn, that was great.

Sawyer wants to know how Juliet learned Latin. “Others 101. Gotta know Latin. Language of the enlightened!” Ah, I miss snarky Juliet. Locke stops the group short when “Cunninhgam” casually reveals that the remaining Lostaways are probably dead, thanks to Sawyer blurting out their meeting place by the creek. Juliet tries to calm them down in Latin, taking the enlightened approach I suppose. The words “Ricardus Alpert” gets their attention, and Cunningham agrees to lead them to the camp. “Jones” isn’t having any of it, however, breaks Cunningham’s neck, and runs off. Locke refuses to fire. Why? “Because he’s one of my people.” Natch.

Looks like we finally have a year for the events on Island, or at least a decade: the 1950’s, thanks to Faraday’s knowledge that the U.S. did testing on hydrogen bombs in the South Pacific during that time. Seriously, without Daniel Faraday, we’d all be even more confused than we already are, as if that’s physically possible. I want him on my team next time I go out and do Trivia Night at the local bar. Charlotte notes Faraday didn’t have to lie about loving her to save their lives; Faraday insists it wasn’t a lie. It sounds cheesy, but plays beautifully. Boy, I hope something horrible isn’t in store for Charlotte.

The Other with the Gun (Ellie) hauls Faraday away for some H-bomb defusing. Before he can leave, Richard once again makes his case as “The Good Guy” in this. (Pala Ferry, anyone?) He tried to reason with the military that arrived, but he was “forced” to kill them. Like those personnel, Richard too answers to a greater command. Just then, Jones arrives, noting he ran and escaping. When Richard notes he might have been followed, Jones insists the “sodding old man” couldn’t possibly know how to track or know the Island as well as he does.

Sodding Old Man looks down on high upon the camp below. He tells Juliet he needs to talk to the much older man and finish a conversation they had…in the future. But in Locke’s past. Oh Season 5, how you confuse. Sawyer and Juliet head off after Faraday; Locke enters the camp looking for Richard.

While walking to the bomb, Faraday can’t get over how much she looks like a certain someone. She tells Faraday she’s not fooled: she knows he and his colleagues are not U.S. military. She’s all, “Daniel don’t try to front-ah-ah/I know just just what you are-ah-ah.” Smart ones, those Others. He insists he’s their best chance at disarming their bomb, purposely dodging the question. We then hard-cut to the weapon itself, hanging from what looks like an oil tower. Just when you think you’ve seen everything in Lost, you get this. Just incredible.

Faraday inspects the weapon up close, noting the name “Jughead” written on it. He soon finds a leak in the side, which sends him scurrying down immediately. Ellie is worried he’s trying to pull a fast one on her, and holds him at gunpoint. He notes the silliness of trying to fire a bullet near a hydrogen bomb, and then asks if the Others have any lead. They’ll need it to seal the leak before burying it. How does he know this will work, she asks? Because in 50 years, he replies, the Island’s still fine. Ruh row.

He tries again: in fifty years, where he and his friends are from? No atomic blasts. Before her brain can ooze out of the side of her head, Sawyer shows up from behind, holding her at gunpoint. Ellie soon relents, realizing once Juliet arrives that she’s hopelessly outnumbered. “Are they from the future, too?” she asks. “You TOLD her?” Sawyer asks, in the line of the night.

youngwidmore1.pngLocke strolls into the camp, loudly shouting for Richard. Jones steps up to shoot him, but Richard stops him cold. “My name is John Locke. Jacob sent me.” Whoa. Richard orders Jones to stand down. When he doesn’t, Richard pushes the gun away. “I said put the gun down, Widmore.” Sonofa… Locke is surprised. Aren’t we all. “Your name is Widmore? Charles Widmore?” When Widmore asks what’s it to Locke, he replies, “Nothing…nice to meet you.” Who needs a cigarette? Show of hands?

Alpert stares curiously at the compass, apparently as confused by the rules of time travel as we the audience are. Locke wants to know how to get off the Island; Richard insists that’s “very privileged information.” When Locke insists Richard do so because he’s their leader, Richard asserts that the Others have a very specific screening process. That starts from a very young age. Oh no, they aren’t about to do this. Locke learns the specific year (1954), and tells Alpert to go visit his birth in two years. Oh yea, they just did that.

A flash of light, and before Richard can tell Locke how to leave the Island, they are whisked off to yet another time period. One in which there’s no camp. Faraday’s relieved to see Charlotte, and runs over to untie her. Their happiness is short-lived, as Charlotte instantly falls over, bleeding profusely from both nostrils. Lemmee sum this up using my best Faraday impression: This? Is not…good.

15) Off the Island

Desmond Hume is frantically running through a port of a Southeast Asian country, repeating a name over and over again. It sounds like “Efren Salonga.” (Thanks for the spelling, IMDB!) Turns out Efrit’s exactly what Desmond needs: a doctor. He takes him back to their docked boat, where Penny is extremely pregnant (yet, extremely stylish…nice top, Pen!) She gives birth to a baby boy in approximately 8 seconds. Just like in real life.

Two years later, Desmond holds his son in his lap. He tells them of the special island they are approaching, one to which he thought he’d never return. Now, it’s not the Island, it’s Great Britain, yet it’s full of wonder and excitement and monsters all the same. Penny ruefully notes what Des is leaving out of his tale: not just the part about breaking her heart there, but also Evil Granddad that still resides on its shores. She’s worried what will happen should Widmore find out they are there; Des insists that Faraday’s message was clear: he’s the only one that can save those still on the Island.

450px-penelope.jpgOnce docked, Desmond promises that this is the final day of involvement with anything Island-centric. He reiterates that his newfound memory is nonetheless real. He promises to be back by dark. As he leaves, she makes him promise one more thing: never to go back to the Island. “Why in God’s name would I ever want to go back there?” Wow, that was anvilicious.

Des is surprised to learn there’s no record of any Daniel Faraday ever working at Oxford. After a few attempts, he leaves, seriously confused. Join the club, Des. As he leaves, however, he spies Faraday’s old lab and enters. Outside Faraday’s door is a scene that warns of “fumigation,” but Des breaks the lock anyways. Inside, everything is covered up in drop cloths. The rat maze has been dismantled, the chalk board erased, and a picture of Daniel with a mystery woman shattered.

A man at the door surprises Des; it’s the physics department janitor. He tells Des how Faraday used to have him incinerate the rats used in his experiments. Looks like Des is not the first that’s come asking about Faraday’s work. Des wants to know why there’s no record of Faraday. The janitor says, “Can you blame them, after what he did to that poor girl?”

Des arrives at the house of said poor girl, named Theresa Spencer. Theresa’s sister Abigail answers the door, and is surprised Desmond wants to speak with her. That cryptic comment makes sense when we go upstairs and see Theresa being spoon-fed her lunch, seemingly in a comatose state. Well, not quite comatose: looks like she’s gotten a case of the Minkowskis, moving to and fro in her consciousness. As Des leaves, Abigail notes Faraday had the same reaction: he left for the States and never returned. Luckily, Faraday’s educational benefactor has been picking up the medical bills ever since. That benefactor? Like you had to ask: Charles Widmore.

Des busts into Widmore’s office. OH IT’S ON. Widmore sends security away, oddly unconcerned to see his son-in-law. Des is in full puffy chest mode, demanding to know the location of Faraday’s mother. When Widmore plays dumb about that, Des shouts that Widmore spent 10 years funding Faraday’s research. Widmore wants to know if Penny’s safe, but Des is of a one-track mind. Widmore relents, noting she’s in Los Angeles. Of course she is. Apparently, she won’t be pleased to see Desmond, in that she’s quite the private soul. Well, Druid Math is a solitary act.

As Des leaves, Widmore warns him to leave Penny out the danger she’s placing him in. This fight goes back many, many, many years (I’d personally add about six more “many”s to that), and he wants his daughter free and clear of such a struggle. That night, Des returns to the boat, clearly affected by Widmore’s warning, lying about discovering Mama Faraday’s address. Because Penny’s BS-meter is flawless, she calls him on it instantly. He tells her the location, but insists he’s not going. “It doesn’t matter…you’re my life now. You and Charlie.” Yes, the baby’s name is Charlie. Damn you, Lost. Damn you to someplace where you’ll be forced to cry as much as you force us. Penny knows he’ll never really give up, and tells him she’ll be accompanying him to L.A.

16) The Mythology

I mean, Sweet Mother of Jacob, that’s a lot to swallow. Let’s break it down topic by topic.

Widmore was an Other! It’s something I hypothesized last week, but assumed was too obvious: Jones=Widmore! Or rather, Widmore=Widmore, as “Jones” was one of the 40 U.S. soldiers killed while running hydrogen bomb tests on the Island during the 1950’s. When Widmore spoke of “our Island” in the premiere night, the ownership makes sense now. I had thought we’d jumped into Dharma Initiative-era Island, but clearly I missed the mark by roughly two decades.

Widmore funded Faraday! In whatever manner Widmore left the Island, he spent the next twenty years or so (by Miles’ estimate) looking for the Island. Some of that effort took place by doing things such as outbidding others for journals belonging to the crew of the Black Rock, and other efforts may have included setting up various scholarships for students in promising fields, such as physics and anthropology. And don’t think for a second he’s keeping Theresa alive for benevolent reasons: she’s a lab rat, every bit his Eloise.

Faraday’s kind of a jerk! His passion for Charlotte took on a personal touch this week, as he learned he wasn’t always such a nice guy. Turns out something in his research at Oxford led to his colleague/girlfriend/both getting her brains scrambled something fierce. If you’re wondering why she’s not suffering like Charlotte, remember Faraday once mentioned that the side effects are like snowflakes: each one an individual. Theresa’s case is less fatal but perhaps perpetual. But in confronting Charlotte’s case, Faraday will have to directly confront the one he abandoned.

richard3×22.jpgHawking is Mama Faraday! Widmore sending Des to L.A. wasn’t a huge surprise, but a nice confirmation all the same. More interesting to me was my wife’s observation: “Think her first name is Ellie?” Things that make you go hmmmm.

Smokey sets off land mines! Know all those times the smoke monster’s appearance was marked by billows of black smoke in the air? Looks like that wasn’t Smokey so much as it rumbling through the jungle at such a rate that it set off land mines planted in the 1950’s. Who had THAT explanation in their office pool?

The U.S. knows about the Island! Well, at least some military personnel do. That, or the 42nd Division accidentally landed on Craphole Island instead of somewhere in Polynesia. I wonder if Alvar Hanso found out about the Island via his family history or a certain member of the U.S. military to whom he sold a share of his munitions.

Richard just might be immortal! Just this past week, I declared, “Aha! Richard clearly only started visiting Locke in the past after meeting him in the 1970s!” I love being wrong, especially when the correct answer is infinitely more exciting and yet believable. Richard spent an entire lifetime researching John Locke at Locke’s behest! Freakin’ brilliant. Whatever rituals Alpert normally needed to perform thus could happen at a leisurely pace. After all, Alpert’s got time on his side. Perhaps literally. But did you note that we didn’t see the 1950’s Others’ leader? Is that because he or she was offscreen, or there simply isn’t always a leader of the group? I love that latter idea, which means I’m probably wrong. It might help explain how Ben “stole” the Island from Widmore: maybe he was in line to ascend but was cut short by the arrival of the newer, more special kid in town.

23) The Moment

I know I’m supposed to go for the Widmore reveal, but Faraday’s confession of love and the “Charlie” reveal took my breath away equally.

42) Random Thoughts

  1. It says something about Lost that the off-Island events now feel more exotic and alien than those ON the Island. This must be what it’s like for the Oceanic 6. It’s like some geographical version of Stockholm Syndrome.
  2. Speaking of the Oceanic 6? None to be seen this week. Can’t wait until they all run into Des and Penny. Especially when Ben lays eyes on Ms. Widmore.
  3. Loved Penny’s straightforward, clear-eyed, and ultimately supportive take on Des’ actions. No wet blanket, she. A breath of fresh air in a show where all too often people refuse to speak the truth, even when it could help the situation at hand.

108) In Summary

That’s a solid A episode right there, people. Might even fall into the realm of classic all-time eps when all is said and done. It had the scope and mythology of “Because You Left” with the relative accessibility of “The Lie,” and produced an episode that exceeded them both. I find both Des-centric and Faraday-centric episodes to generally be flawless, and getting both in one episode was like getting an early, awesome, mind-tripping early birthday present.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did it meet, exceed, or fall short of the standard set last week? Did the Widmore reveal surprise? How do you think Ben “steal” the Island away from him? And is Charlotte truly a goner? Leave your thoughts below!