Namaste Lost fans! This week was kind of a transitionary episode. The season fully began Part 2 as Jack/Kate/Hurley/Sayid came into Dharma society and the Ajira rejects settled on Baby Island. I mean, for the first time since the premiere, you really couldn't say this episode belonged to any one character. I guess Sawyer had the most focus, but he just had his turn! Still, while a transitionary episode of 24 leaves you ending the hour saying "what just happened?" Lost found a way to make an episode all about pushing the plot forward seem pretty exciting.
Much credit goes to Sawyer, whose three year jump may have been the best thing that ever happened to his character. He seemed oh so comfortable last week - lying in bed with Juliet, carrying Horace home from his dynamite-throwing binge - and now it's all about to come crashing down. This week saw Sawyer the Problem Solver, figuring out how to get Jack, Kate, and Hurley into Dharma without exposing himself. He thinks he's got it all under control, and he can have it both ways. As the promos for next week show, that doesn't last.
The new Jim LaFleur and the old James Sawyer both showed their heads in the scene with Jack at the end. Sawyer had seemed so above the past, greeting them like they were old friends at a 5 year high school reunion. But a slight nudge from Jack pushed that rivalry right back into place. Interesting though to see how the tables have turned, and now it's Sawyer calling the shots. Sawyer was quick to put Jack back in his workman place as he compared himself to Winston Churchill. Surprisingly, Jack seemed ok with that. For now.
What really brought in the drama this episode though was Sayid, inconveniently separated and doomed to take on the role of a Hostile (not that they call themselves that). Fun little game of role-playing there as Sawyer tried to save Sayid's life in front of map-making button-pusher Radzinsky, and props to both actors for showing the silent communication. It's also fun to see Sayid stepping into Ben's role from season 2, as the captured Other. An angry Iraqi is all Sawyer needs to pull his happy life down.
If the Dharma gang made the most out of their transition, it's very clear which of the split stories is the weakest link. It was a cool reveal that the rest of Ajira landed in the present without the Oceanic 6-2=4, but then you realize what that means: full separate stories in which the only real characters are Sun, Ben, Lapidus, and (eventually) Locke. As much as I love all of those characters, they must be pissed to have been seated 30 years away from the cool kids table.
I do wish we had first seen Ajira on the island this way, instead of that awkward tease at the beginning of Locke's episode. Even this week though, the whole island-landing thing wasn't cutting it. It's kind of like if you go back to summer camp after a great first year and almost no one else you know came back with you. Everyone else thinks it's cool, but you're just like "please, this year's got nothing on last year." So all of Caesar's Jack-like organizing? Already seen that, and with more interesting people.
Back to Sun and Lapidus, who made it onto the big island to find Christian waiting for them. Since Ben claimed to have people to visit as well, it certainly begs the question of who we should expect in the present. We know Richard's always there, but who else? An elderly Faraday living in a cave with a massive beard? Rose and Bernard? Vincent? Christian's mention of a long journey shows at least this storyline is going somewhere, but I'm not sure how Sun's going back in time.
So there you have it. A good strong set-up for some major action to go down on the Dharma side of things. Caesar and Ilana still seem like Nikki and Paolo 2. And the rest of the present-day people seem like an odd smattering of left-overs. Questions moving forward: Did Faraday defect to the Hostiles, is he on his own, or did he leave the island/the 70s? Was Juliet's close call adding Kate to the manifest a sign of more season 3 style mud wrestling to ccome? And when will we ever see Desmond again?