“Lost” Recap: Episode 5.5

Here’s my advice: find a comfy chair. Because this recap is long. Even by my standards. I know. Beware all Lost fans who enter. Don’t blame me. Blame it on tonight’s episode, entitled “This Place is Death.” Or, as I call it, “This Episode Is Death…to My Hands and Wrists.”

4) In Short

“Ben come quick/Ben come in a hurry/There are thieves in the temple tonight…”

8) On the Island

jin-danielle-robert-montand.jpgDanielle’s team continues to listen to the Numbers broadcast from the radio tower. Meanwhile, Jin is really, really, really confused. He smartly asks what year it is: 1988, according to Danielle. He makes for his camp, but realizes he doesn’t know how to get there from his current location on the Island. Robert asks Jin if there’s an antenna on the Island. After some handy drawings in the sand, Jin nods in agreement. Unable to find his camp from their current location, Jin agrees to accompany the group to the tower, with all of them returning to his camp afterwards.

As they walk through the jungle, Danielle feels a small kick from her unborn child. She and Robert, aka Monsieur Baby Daddy, talk names for the child. He’s convinced it’s a boy, ergo wants Alexander. She thinks it’s a girl; thus, Alexandria. Aww. While they make cute, Nadine mysteriously and silently disappears. A quick search yields a familiar clicking sound. “Monster!” cries Jin. Oh, hell yes. It’s on.

Defying most stereotypes people have of the French, the rescue team runs directly TOWARDS the danger in search of their missing crew member. Parts of her gear are scattered throughout their path. While a two-armed Montand directs traffic, a nearby tree bursts up from the ground, and a dead Nadine is deposited about 20 feet away. NOW they all run like hell. Unfortunately, they run right into the monster’s path, and it coils up, snakelike, before snatching Montand with what looks like three smokey fingers.

It drags Montand back…back…back. The others give chase, until they come to an edifice we’ve never seen before but have heard of quite often. Before the monster can drag Montand down into a small crack into what just might be the monster’s freakin’ lair, Robert and Company catch up to him and grab his arm. After a brief struggle, Montand’s freakin’ arm gets pulled off its socket. Well, guess that’s how Montand lost his arm. And how Danielle’s team lost Montand.

Oh, wait, he’s not dead yet. He’s alive, and the monster’s gone. That’s….odd. One by one, the team prepares to enter the edifice. Danielle tries to enter the building, but Jin stops her, noting her pregnancy. She ends up grabbing her all-too-familiar rifle, clearly not very used to wielding it. At that moment, the familiar light starts to glow, Jin grabs his head, and…

…he’s still by the building, which bears hieroglyphics on the side of it. He notes Montand’s arm, slightly rotten but not terribly so. He makes his way to camp. Along the way there, he sees black smoke on the horizon. When he reaches the beach, he finds not his familiar belongings but that of the French team. We know this thanks to Danielle’s music box, still working quite nicely. We also see a bevy of flies. That’s not good. Jin soon finds two of the team lying dead on the ground, and hears noises in the near distance.

young-danielle.jpgFrom behind a bush, he spies Robert and Danielle both wielding guns at each other. Robert insists, “It’s me!” Danielle replies, “The monster made you sick!” Robert’s take? “It’s not a monster. It’s a security system guarding the temple.” THAT is one of the best lines in Lost history. Talk about payoff. He asks her to put down the gun, insisting he doesn’t want anything to happen to her or their baby. She relents, but in that moment, he tries to kill her. OH DAMN. Down goes Robert. She then tries to shoot Jin, calling him a “carrier,” but another flash saves Jin from rifled doom.

As Jin stands up, he hears a gun cock. But then, he hears a familiar voice. Sawyer! Jin! BROMANCE! It’s awesome. “Where is Sun?” he asks. Oops, happy time over. Guess three seconds was too much for this season. As Sawyer and Juliet try to explain what’s been going on, Daniel theorizes that Jin’s been traveling with them through time all the while. Frustrated, Jin turns to Charlotte for translation help. Sawyer, being the PC guy he is, assumes Jin is talking to Miles. Through her, Locke tells Jin that going to the Orchid will help prove Sun’s fine, as well as allowing him to bring her back. Jin’s not too thrilled about this whole “bring her back” thing.

While walking to the Orchid, Jin volunteers to leave the Island with Locke. Locke insists it’s a one-man job. Behind, Daniel asks Charlotte if she knows any other languages. “Just Klingon,” she quips. Daniel makes an important observation: that while Locke’s plan to visit the Orchid to stop the shifts makes scientific sense, just how the Oceanic 6’s return will help is beyond scientific scope. Just then, Charlotte stumbles a bit. She cries, “Oh, no!” as another flash occurs. And then, ANOTHER. These flashes are Vin Diesel coupled with Paul Walker at this point: fast and furious. Charlotte collapses, and even Sawyer’s bleeding at this point. Charlotte comes to, and starts speaking furiously in Korean. Eventually, she breaks into English, and tells Jin not to bring Sun back. Why? “This place is death!” Oh, that’s a pretty good reason.

Charlotte’s talking, but is wildly incoherent. Something about “Why can’t Daddy come with us?” Locke insists they have to leave without her; Faraday insists that’s not an option. Yet another flash presses the point further, especially when Charlotte starts hearing Geronimo Jackson songs in her head. Daniel insists he’s staying behind. Sawyer wonders how they’ll even find the Orchid if they are in a time before its construction. A suddenly coherent Charlotte tells them to look for a well. Then she warns them to look out for a creepy Japanese girl at the bottom of it.

They manage to arrive in an era where the Orchid exists, post-Incident. Yay! Uh oh, flash. No more building. But there is the aforementioned well, built by…well, you guess. I’m guessing the same people that built the Temple.

Nearby, Charlotte starts downloading her backstory to Daniel. She tells him that she grew up on the Island, as part of the Dharma Initiative. She left as a child, but only with her mother. After arriving in England, her mother started denying the existence of the Island. This, she tells Daniel, is why she became an anthropologist: to find the Island. Why is she telling him all this? Because she’s just remembered something new: that a scary man told her as a child that if she came back to the Island, she would die. That man? Daniel Faraday. Great. Add me to the list of nosebleeders. Son of a…

Locke examines the well and says his goodbyes. But before he can get in, Jin stops him. He makes Locke promise to not bring Sun back, holding a knife to the rope as leverage. Locke makes a solemn promise not to do so. “I won’t go to Sun, Jin, but she might come to me. What should I tell her?” Jin hands Locke his wedding band and tells him to convey to Sun that he’s dead and buried. Oh man, Daniel Dae Kim knocks this out of the park. As Locke prepares to go down, Juliet thanks him in advance for what he’s about to do.

daniel-and-charlotte.jpgIf you guessed that there would be a flash while he was halfway down, you guessed correctly. The flash, which emanates seemingly from inside the well itself, sends Locke crashing to the floor below, and Sawyer helplessly holding a rope buried in the ground. What an image. I think Lost invented the whole “things we touch come with us” rule just for this one shot.

Back over the hill, Daniel’s still comforting Charlotte. He tells her about his conversation with Desmond, and how his mother can help them. Charlotte smiles after a coughing fit, says, “I’m not allowed to have a chocolate bar before dinner,” and dies. RIP, Charlotte Staples Lewis. I look forward to a younger version of you receiving an Apollo Candy Bar from a deeply conflicted Daniel Faraday in the upcoming weeks.

OK, strap in, kids, here’s where stuff really starts to get weird. Locke looks down and sees bone protruding from his leg. Ew. He hears footsteps nearby, and watches a figure light the lamp in the cave. That man? Cabin Christian. He’s here to help Locke the rest of the way, apparently. CC reminds him of their conversation in the cabin, noting that he explicitly told JOHN to move the Island. After telling CC that Ben knew what to do, CC rightly points out that listening to Ben hasn’t always worked out for Locke in the past.

But no matter: Locke’s here now. He tells Locke to find a woman, Eloise Hawking, and bring all of his friends to her. She will tell them how to get back. When Locke asks what happens if he can only get a few of them, CC merely says, “I believe in you, John.” John mentions that Richard told him he had to die, to which CC replies, “Well, I suppose that’s why they call it sacrifice.” Ice cold, CC. Locke’s ready to go after hearing that. CC tells him there’s a wheel that’s slipped off its axis. All John needs to do? Give it a little push.

Struggling to get there without CC’s help, Locke pulls himself to the next room. We see the donkey wheel rocking back and forth slightly, exacerbating the energy within. Locke walks over, and with CC watching, completes the turn started by Ben, filling the room with familiar light. “Say hello to my son,” CC says, with Locke unable to find out said son’s name before light engulfs them both.

15) Off the Island

We’re right where we left off last week, with Sun in the car watching Ben and Kate talking. She’s interrupted by a call from her mother and her daughter. Sun’s both happy and upset to hear from them, trying to put on a happy phone face before committing a little murder. She tells Ji Yeong she’s found a new playmate for her in Aaron, sending waves of fans to the ‘net to write playpen fanfic. She says “goodbye” for possibly the last time, and heads towards the group. Sun cocks her gun, and tells Kate to move away. Jack tries to calm Sun down, but she’s having none of it. Ben calmly tells her that not only is Jin alive, but he can prove it.

sunseason5.jpgSun’s not buying Ben’s story. Ben insists that if she allows him to take her somewhere close by, he will give her the proof she needs. Where? To the same place with the woman who will help them all return to the Island. Kate’s all “Return to the where?” and Sayid’s all “You Caucasians are crazy” and Jack’s all “I can fix this!” and Ben’s all “I’m surrounded by idiots” and Aaron’s all “I can’t believe my Mom calls me a goober and thinks it’s endearing.” Sayid, Kate, and Aaron leave Slip 23; Ben insists that Sun will have proof in thirty minutes if they leave now.

In the Reincarnation Van, Jack makes a belated apology to Sun for leaving Jin on the Kahana three years ago. Sun sarcastically wonders if Jack’s trying to talk her out of killing Ben; Jack insists that after the lawyer stunt, he’ll kill Ben himself if this doesn’t pan out. Ben then throws what my wife called a “Mommy needs a break” tantrum, slamming the brakes and all but saying, “I will turn this van right around and go home! I’m serious! Then, there will be no Island for ANYONE! Is that what you want?” He tells them that if they knew all the things he’d done over the years to keep them and their friends safe, they would never stop thanking him.

The camera pans from a street lamp that looks awfully lantern-like to Eloise Hawking’s Church of Latter Day Others. Ben pulls Jin’s ring out his pocket and hands it to Jin. How did he get it? From Locke, naturally. Jack’s annoyed, remembering how Ben mentioned Locke never came to see him. “That’s true, Jack. I went to see him.” Never get in a fight over semantics with Benjamin Freakin’ Linus, people. Sun’s confused why Locke didn’t mention it before. (Looks like Locke kept his promise to Jin.)

Sun agrees to go inside, but before they can, a fourth member joins them: Desmond Hume. Ben looks confused at mention of “Faraday’s mother” as all four enter the church. Inside, Hawking finishes lighting her candles. Desmond looks especially shocked to see the woman before him, though she’s nonplussed. Disappointed by low turn out, Hawking nevertheless thinks it’ll do for now. “Alright…let’s get started,” she says.

16) Mythology

Well, looks like we’re gonna have plenty to discuss over on the blog next week. Lord knows this won’t be a comprehensive analysis, but let’s hit the big topics.

Smokey Lives in the Temple! So, when Ben Linus left through the hieroglyphic door during the incursion by Keamey’s Krew in New Otherton, looks like he went here to awaken the monster. The Temple is the site to which Ben sent The Others at the end of Season 3, and attempted to send Danielle, Alex, and Karl halfway through Season 4. Why is the home of the Monster the last safe place on the Island for the Others?

The Monster Can Not Only Read People, But Affect Their Minds! For years, we’ve seen the monster seemingly pass moral judgment on characters, and possibly even affecting how these characters see said monster. After their attempts to liberate Montand, something intrinsically changed in the team’s mental makeup. Danielle calls it a “sickness,” but is that really accurate? Robert looked a lot like Locke in Season 1’s “Walkabout,” in awe of the “security system” that protects the building he knows to be a Temple. Once inside the Temple, are you somehow “converted”? Did Jin preventing Danielle from entering mark her, in her team’s eye, as an outsider, an intruder? It’s clear that entering the Temple led Robert to a position where killing the mother of his unborn child seemed like a reasonable thing to do. One man’s passion is another woman’s insanity.

800px-5×01_construction_faraday.jpgThe Season’s Opening Scene is Officially Both a Flash Back and Flash Forward! Here’s my thought: everything stemming from Locke’s meeting with Cabin Christian was engineered to get a specific number of individuals from the present into the hey-day of the Dharma Initiative. So, while we as viewers watched Pierre Chang bump into Daniel Faraday deep inside the Orchid station, it was a flash back in that from our perspective it happened decades ago. But it was a flash forward for the Daniel Faraday on the tender as Ben turned the donkey wheel, because the events seen by us and relayed by Charlotte in tonight’s episode have not happened to him yet. Speaking of that wheel…

It Takes Two To Make A Wheel Turn Right! Either Ben truly sucks at turning wheels, or CC was purposefully cryptic in telling Locke what to do. Remember, upon returning from the cabin, Locke’s words are: “He wants us to move the island.” He didn’t say, “He wants me to move the island.” I’ve long postulated that CC is not an agent of Jacob, but rather an agent of those holding Jacob captive. CC’s words and actions tonight definitely put a damper in this theory, since his message to Locke certainly aligns with what we’ve heard from Richard. However, there’s one potentially key difference: Richard telling Locke he had to die. My wife and I both detected a hint of surprise and confusion in CC’s face, almost as if this is the key fact that would make CC’s plan actually work. At the heart of my theory is this: why have two different dressed Christians both working for good? It doesn’t make sense. Also, lest we forget…

No More Nosebleeds, Still Plenty of Danger! Here’s where we get into Faraday’s notion about science only taking things so far: putting the wheel into fixed position solved a mechanical, physical problem. But it didn’t solve the psychic/emotional problem in the slightest. And Faraday doesn’t have any equations for the latter. Returning those that left fixes a problem both for those that left prematurely and potentially the Island itself. It might be more helpful to think of those returning not as having to do something per se, but stop something else instead. Remember: there are two sides in this battle, represented by the backgammon board from the show’s pilot. One side is light, and the other is dark. And right now, the dark’s about to win the game in the absence of those still in Los Angeles. Speaking of those sides…

Hawking Might Be a Big Fat Liar! Ben was seemingly stunned to learn that Hawking is Faraday’s mother. But rather than storm in and reveal his newfound knowledge, he’s holding that bit close to the vest. Widmore’s relationship towards Daniel puts her relationship with Widmore into question, and if CC is sending Locke to her, can she really be trusted? And will we learn she lied to Des during “Flashes Before Your Eyes” about course correction? So many questions, so much carpal tunnel on my part.

23) The Moment

Oh, man. Don’t make me choose. Oh wait, this is my structure, ergo my fault. I have to go with Robert telling us why Danielle referred to the monster as a security system. Talk about a great piece of the puzzle clanging into place just as you realized once again that this particular puzzle has about ten times the pieces you originally thought.

42) Random Thoughts

  1. Did anyone else scream, “Penny, RUN!” upon seeing Des show up outside of the church? Um, not that I did. Nope, not me.
  2. Loved Jin’s “tell her I’m dead” speech. Loved that Locke seemingly honored that request. Good, strong, consistent character moments there.
  3. Really hope Locke turning the wheel means the end of the flashes. Seems they took that as far as they could, narratively.
  4. Please get Jack and Kate Plus Eight to the Island quickly. The off-Island stuff is weak sauce compared to the A1 of the Island.

108) In Summary

I feel like Wayne and Garth: “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!” This is the second masterpiece of the season, rivaling Jughead for Top Episode of the Season honors so far. I feel bad for people who gave up on this show years ago. They’re missing something truly special.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me your thoughts on tonight’s episode! Have we seen the end of the flashes? Is Cabin Christian working for or against Jacob? Is Hawking working with or against Ben? What on earth happens inside the Temple? Leave your thoughts below!

Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude, then peruses Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Twitter feed.