SPOILERS for this week's Lost follow. Stop reading now if you haven't seen it.
Is anyone else's nose bleeding from how quickly this season is flashing through the story? I mean, we're only five episodes in and already Locke (presumably) stopped the time flashes, (some of) the Oceanic Six are heading back to the island, and there's been one major death. I was enjoying all those time jumps, but if the sudden fast pace keeps making big, dramatic episodes like this one, I'm all for it.
I'll start with the story of Danielle Rousseau. I was surprised by how little time we spent with her, just enough to see her arrive and to kill her husband. I suspect the convenient timing of these two flashes has less to do with the island's agenda and more to do with the writers. It's like they said to the audience "there, you got your Rousseau flashback, happy?" But it's not like we really learned anything new about her story. I'm pretty sure it was in her first episode she told Sayid about killing her husband after the team was infected with "the sickness." So why bring Rousseau back at all?
Well, it turns out her backstory provides some important lessons on island mythology. The writers say that everytime we see the monster, we'll learn something new about it. Tonight, that something new was the rather big reveal that its purpose is to protect a temple. I'm pretty sure this is the first we're hearing of the temple, so what's in it? Also, we were led to believe Rousseau's "sickness" was the same one keeping Desmond in a Hazmat suit when he left the Hatch. But nope, just good ol' Smokey. Anyway, regardless of anything new learned about Rousseau, the whole fight against Smokey in the jungle made for the type of quality action-adventure less frequent since season 1.
Once Jin returned to Sawyer's warm embrace, there was a new problem: Charlotte. I feared that the episode's title, "This Place is Death," might prove literal for the plucky redhead, and that unfortunately proved right. Her death feels like Libby times 100. She was taken away far too soon, but this time we found out enough about her to know we wanted more. I'm sure she'll be back in some other form (perhaps as a child), since there's still so many questions. Why does she know Korean (as her only language besides English and Klingon)? Who is the father she left behind?
Still, she fit a ton of backstory into her last few minutes. It seems CS Lewis was a very appropriate moniker, as the island was quite literally her Narnia. Having lived there for years as a child, she has spent her whole life trying to find the way back, even as her mother assured her it was all a fantasy. Bigger still was the reveal that Faraday warned her as a child to never return to the island. It seems he was right about not being able to change time - his attempt to save her life just gave her further reason to come back. I'm sure saving Charlotte will be a driving focus for Faraday, but now that he knows a warning won't work, how can he manipulate time to bring her back? All those unresolved issues mean her death was not in vain, but she certainly will be missed.
Meanwhile, Locke made his long-anticipated exit from the island. Did anyone else think There Will Be Blood when he fell into the well and broke his leg? Fitting that Locke should leave the island as he entered it, unable to walk. Also a surprisingly informational meeting with popular ghost Christian Shephard. It appears that Ben moving the frozen donkey wheel turned the island into a broken record. Locke's little push seems to have put the island back on track. I guess this means the other island-dwellers will settle in one time period? I assume it's a pretty safe bet to say that's the Dharma Initiative.
Whew, that was a lot on the on-island happenings, but off-island most of the time was spent in Ben's car (unlike 24, Lost recognizes LA traffic). Ben lost Sayid, Kate, and Aaron in his quest to unify the Six, but he did win over Sun by showing her Jin's ring. Much like Faraday's future/past warning to Charlotte, Jin's attempt to alter fate had the opposite result. It was supposed to prove his death to keep Sun off-island, but ended up being the only thing to get her to come back. Will Lost turn out to be an all-out Greek tragedy?
Ben, Jack, and Sun arrive to meet Ms. Hawking at the same time as Desmond. How convenient! Since it was pretty obvious Ms. Hawking was Faraday's mom, Lost didn't try to milk that as a surprise. The bigger surprise was her announcement that it's time to send them back. Is Desmond getting roped into this? While promos of Jack and Kate making out show the trip may not be happening immediately, they will certainly be back soon. So are you all excited about the more unified cast with less time jumping? Do you hope a single time period might slow things down a bit? And what caused that Ben/Sayid split anyway?