Summary: Flashbacks show Ben telling Locke that he must kill his father to join the others. Locke is unable to do it and so Ben decides to leave him behind. Richard goes to Locke and tells him that he could go to Sawyer to get him to kill his father. In the present, Locke finds Sawyer and takes him into the jungle, telling him that he kidnapped Ben and needs Sawyer to kill him. Sawyer reluctantly goes with Locke and finds himself in the Black Rock. Locke locks him in with Anthony and Sawyer realizes that Anthony is the Mr. Sawyer he has been hunting all along. After Anthony tears Sawyer's letter, Sawyer strangles him to death with a chain. Locke goes to return to the others but leaves Sawyer proof that Juliet is a mole. Meanwhile, Hurley, Charloe, Jin and Desmond decide to bring Sayid into the loop regarding Naomi but don't want to let Jack in. Sayid fixes the satellite phone but can't find any available channels. Kate sees Sayid at work and Sayid tells her the truth, asking her to keep it secret. Kate ends up telling Jack and Juliet anyways out of frustration.
The Good: Locke and Sawyer's storyline in this episode is fantastic. It's a perfect blend of mystery, drama and character work that builds up patiently and intriguingly before delivering one of the most memorable sequences of the show so far towards the end of the episode. The way the mystery is developed early in the episode is perfect. Locke's arrival raises plenty of questions, and his claim that he kidnapped Ben with plans to kill him immediately sounds suspicious. It's difficult to uncover what exactly is going on, but the intrigue makes it exciting to figure out. In the present, we're with Sawyer as he tries to figure out what is really going on, while in the past we get to see the timeline get closer to the present, making the mystery steadily grow clearer and clearer. It's a wonderfully slow paced delivery of information that is executed perfectly to get maximal drama.
Now most astute viewers will figure out the Mr. Sawyer twist well before the climax of the episode. But somehow taking away the shock element actually benefits the episode hugely. With the amount of clues this episode subtly gives us towards figuring out why Locke is taking Sawyer out into the jungle, it's very easy to figure out the twist, which leads me to believe that the moment was not written to be a surprise. We are meant to discover the reality of the situation before Sawyer, and the drama from the episode comes from the anticipation of Sawyer confronting the man he's been hunting all this time rather than wondering what happens next. Removing the surprise from the moment of the Mr. Sawyer reveal actually benefits the scene as well. Instead of feeling meaningless shock, we are allowed to spend the entire scene in Sawyer's shoes, getting to appreciate the emotional reaction he has to finally meeting the man responsible for the deaths of his parents. And Josh Holloway does a superb job of making the most out of the moment.
The entire sequence in the Black Rock is some of the best television that this show has produced. The focus is almost solely on the three characters of Sawyer, Locke and Anthony and they completely steal the show. Everything Anthony says in the scene is excellent, adding more and more intrigue to the scene. He reveals Locke's paralysis to Sawyer, confirms that Flight 815 crashed, fuels the possibility of the island being a sort of hell, and finally reveals to Sawyer who he really is. It's tremendously entertaining stuff that escalates in tension the further it goes on. Everything after Sawyer learns Anthony's identity is somehow even better, being a masterclass of tension and drama leading up to Sawyer murdering Anthony in cold blood (see: Best Moment).
The fallout from this scene is also excellent. It's great to see Sawyer and Locke bond a little more with this experience and they share a brilliantly written scene following Sawyer murdering Anthony. I really appreciate the detail of Sawyer vomiting after his exhaustively emotional ordeal, and Locke thanking him was really good. I liked that they addressed Locke's paralysis and Juliet's status as a mole, ensuring that the entertainment did not come to a halt following Anthony's death. The episode went to its logical conclusion, and went the extra mile to make it more meaningful.
The side story involving Naomi was also very well done. I really like the decision not to tell Jack about her due to his affiliation with Juliet, and the possibility of rescue is far too important to risk. The decision to rope Sayid in was pleasingly logical, and I love that he immediately interrogated Naomi with suspicion of her being an other. I thought the interrogation scenes were very good as they gave us the necessary exposition in an interesting way.
I enjoyed getting a better look at the others through Locke's flashbacks. There are still plenty of details the show seems to be avoiding but it was nice to get some more hints at who they are and what they do.
The Bad: The one big problem in this episode is Kate. Kate stumbles upon the fact that Sayid and co. have found a potential rescue and so she knows to keep it quiet from Juliet. But then she inexplicably marches straight to Jack and Juliet and openly tells them both about Naomi, a move that makes no sense whatsoever and seems so incredibly stupid. Surely rescue is more important to Kate than expressing frustration towards Jack.
I wasn't happy about Ben telling Locke about how Juliet is his mole. Why would he divulge such important information to the man who was working against his interests mere days ago?
The Unknown: Is Jack trustworthy? What did Juliet want him to tell Kate about? Does he have some kind of plan in place?
How did Anthony end up on the island? Did the others somehow bring him? Is there any weight to Anthony's theory of everyone being in hell?
Anthony confirms that Flight 815 was actually discovered, so Naomi isn't lying about that. How is that possible?
How do you get initiated as an other? Did everyone else go through a similar process of proving themselves like Locke did? Also what is the purpose of the others? Richard seems discontent to be working on fertility. What other things do the others want to be working on instead?
What was Rousseau doing at the Black Rock? What was the dynamite for?
Best Moment: Upon learning who Anthony Cooper is, Sawyer carefully probes him to ensure that this is the same man who killed his parents. Anthony remains cocky and confident despite Sawyer's obvious change, creating a very unique and intense dynamic. Slowly, Sawyer gives Anthony the letter and gets him to read it. Anthony discredits everything and refuses to take responsibility, getting under Sawyer's skin more and more. The tension boils and boils throughout this scene until everything explodes when Anthony callously tears Sawyer's letter. The music halts, and we get an outstanding moment as Sawyer angrily and aggressively chokes out Anthony, unleashing all of those years of pent up rage. It's a thoroughly satisfying moment and one that hits all of the emotional beats it tries to. Near flawless television.
Character of the Episode: Sawyer.
Conclusion: This was a brilliant episode that gives us emotional closure to one of both Locke and Sawyer's defining storylines of the series. Not only does that make this episode significant and suspenseful, but it also makes it emotional and unforgettable. This is "Lost" doing what it does best. Despite the slow start, the back half of this season looks to be picking up a lot. I'm very excited for what comes next.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sun is confronted by a woman who demands $100,000 or she will reveal that Jin's mother is a prostitute. Using her resources, Sun meets with Jin's dad to confirm this. She pays off the woman using money from Mr. Paik, indebting Jin to him forever. She also reveals that she knows the woman is Jin's mother and that she will kill her if she sees her again. On the island, Sun is concerned when Jack asks her questions about her pregnancy. Sun goes to Juliet and learns that pregnant women die on the island. Juliet takes Sun to The Staff to confirm is the baby is Jin's or Jae's. If it's Jin's, Sun will die, but if it's Jae's, she will live. The baby is Jin's. Juliet leaves behind a report for Ben. Meanwhile, Mikhail stumbles upon Desmond, Jin, Charlie and Hurley as they try to save the parachute woman who is dying from a wound. Mikhail saves her life and in exchange Desmond lets him go. Mikhail tries to steal the satellite phone but Jin stops him. The woman wakes up and reveals that Flight 815 was found and all of its passengers are dead.
The Good: This was an excellent episode for Sun. She has always been the most interesting of the female characters on this show, and she proved that again in this episode. We get to see the strong-willed, determined Sun dealing with engaging conflicts in both the past and the present, and Yunjin Kim delivers a strong performance, ensuring that it's a blast to follow Sun's struggles throughout. The flashbacks tell a very good story that fills in some of the gaps in Jin and Sun's history. These flashbacks were excellent, and featured some of the show's best side characters in Sun and Jin's fathers, two very different men. I was glad to see Sun using her family's power to her advantage in this episode as she tracked down Jin's father and also identified the woman blackmailing her as Jin's mother. It showed us a new side of Sun, who had commonly played second fiddle to her husband and father. Here we see a confident, ruthless Sun who stops at nothing to get what she wants, going as far as even intimidating her father (see: Best Moment).
On the island, Sun shows the same grit and determination as she sees through Jack's suspicious behaviour and immediately goes to Juliet for answers. The dynamic between Sun and Juliet is unique and I really enjoyed seeing Sun slowly come around to trust her as she learns more about who Juliet is. Their relationship develops nicely to the point where I can buy into the idea of Sun letting Juliet go back into The Staff alone at the end of the episode. Both characters were given very good stories in this episode to emotionally engage us. Sun is put in one hell of a predicament as no matter what the case is, she loses. Learning that she is going to die is a hard reveal for Sun who breaks down, but she shows her grit once more by looking on the positive side, expressing joy that the baby is Jin's. It's a wonderful little moment for her. Juliet also benefits from that moment as the news is bittersweet for Sun, but at least she got a smile from her patient rather than a grim realization. Juliet's arc in this episode is how she has lost the joy of being a fertility doctor due to the harsh realities of her research. But here she is rewarded for helping Sun, which is nice to see.
The other half of the island storyline is also very effective. Most of the episode's drama comes from this storyline as Desmond, Charlie, Hurley and Jin scramble to figure out who this mysterious woman is and how to help her. It's fast-paced and exciting stuff made all the better by the inclusion of Mikhail who unexpectedly survived being thrown into the fence. It was wonderful seeing Mikhail again, and his presence lead to increased tension and a very good action sequence between him and Jin. However the real highlight of this storyline is the conclusion where the woman finally wakes up and drops a major bombshell that will presumably have huge ramifications (see: The Unknown).
The Bad: Mostly just small things in this episode. The way Juliet wakes Sun up is needlessly dramatic and only happens to give the audience a small burst of tension. The same goes for Jack showing up in Sun's garden at the start of the episode. It's getting a bit tired since we have seen Sun hearing rustling in the jungle countless times by now. Also, I was annoyed to see that Kate has resumed her random bodyguard role from "Maternity Leave" as she tries talking for Sun and getting her away from Juliet.
The Unknown: How was Flight 815 found with all of its passengers dead? Is the island some kind of a connection between parallel universes? Could this somehow tie in with the theory that they were dead all along? How would that work, especially since we have seen people like Richard and Ethan travelling to and from the island at will? How will this impact the story going forwards?
Is Sun destined to die now? What if she is taken off the island before birth? Can that save her? I don't think it's a coincidence that Juliet was unable to try this, perhaps her new goal will be to save Sun's life by getting her off the island. Also, that's 2 characters now who are destined to die, with Charlie being the other one. Is there any significance to this?
Where do Juliet's loyalties lie? Is she still firmly loyal to the others, or is she planning to switch allegiances to the survivors? The "I hate you" at the end of the episode is a really important moment because of how nicely it suggests the possibility of Juliet betraying the others without actually confirming it.
Best Moment: The scene between Sun and Mr. Paik was superb television. Desperate to do anything to get what she wants, Sun goes in hard against her own father, threatening him and trying to stay in control of their negotiation. It's a wonderfully executed scene that once more serves to humanize Mr. Paik. He doesn't relent to Sun's aggressive claims, but once he learns that she is doing it for Jin, he is quick to give her the money that she needs. But it comes at a cost. We learn that this whole thing is why Jin was promoted and why he wasn't allowed to leave after working for a short while like it was promised. It's a sad reveal since in protecting Jin's honour, Sun ended up transforming him into the monstrous man he was back in season 1. Excellent storytelling.
Character of the Episode: Sun.
Conclusion: This is another really strong episode. While not the show at its absolute best, this is very entertaining television with solid character work and some dramatic reveals to set up the final stretch of the season.
Summary: In flashbacks, Desmond runs away from a marriage with his girlfriend Ruth to join a monastery. He doesn't fit in however and is soon fired. Once he's fired, he meets Penny at the monastery and they leave together. On the island, Desmond has a vision of Charlie dying to one of Rousseau's traps and somebody arriving on the island, someone he hopes is Penny. Desmond gather Hurley, Jin and Charlie to go "camping" in hopes of seeing Penny. Shortly into their trip a helicopter crashes into the sea and somebody parachutes out into the jungle. The group head inwards to find her. Desmond almost lets Charlie die to ensure Penny does arrive but he changes his mind at the last moment. They find the person unconscious in the jungle. She isn't Penny, rather another woman who knows Desmond's name. Meanwhile, Kate tries to get back on track with Jack but he ignores her so she ends up going back to Sawyer and they have sex. However, Sawyer realizes why Kate went to him and lets her know about it.
The Good: This is a very fun episode to watch. The very first scene of the episode provides a hook as we get a glimpse into one of Desmond's visions, which sets the stage for the rest of the episode: somebody is coming to the island and Charlie has to die for it to happen exactly as Desmond saw. The plot is laid bare in these opening moments and the rest of the episode is just as thrilling and dramatic as you expect it to be. On top of being a fun watch, this also ends up being a hugely important episode. The arrival of somebody else to the island is a massive development, likely one that will shape how the rest of this season plays out. The presence of this mysterious woman is immediately intriguing and it's the kind of forward movement the plot needed.
Desmond's story is very well done too. His key conflict comes from the idea of if he's going to sacrifice Charlie in order to ensure that Penny arrives on the island safely. This is a wonderful use of Desmond's abilities since knowing what is about to happen gives him an engaging moral dilemma. The moment where Charlie's death is impending is very dramatic and you do get worried for a moment that Desmond may actually let Charlie die to further his own goals. It's very interesting drama which does actually pose some more interesting questions about how this world works (see: The Unknown).
The flashbacks have some good moments in them too. I like that Desmond's cowardice is shown to extend further than Penny since she isn't the first woman he has left out of fear. I thought that Desmond's speech about how he knew he was supposed to go to the monastery was extremely well done, and it sounds like just the kind of ridiculous crap that Desmond may be telling himself to deal with the fact that he's a coward. The meeting with Penny at the end was another terrific moment since these two have excellent chemistry together. Lastly, I thought that Desmond's past in the monastery was a neat explanation for why he calls everyone "brother".
The Kate/Sawyer/Jack subplot was pretty well done for what it was. This love triangle storyline certainly isn't top tier television, but I am impressed at how well the show is handling the characters involved. Kate's desire to be with Jack is easy enough to understand, and we can see why she would go to Sawyer to get comfort once Jack has become too distant. Kate has always been selfish, so she is certainly not above using men for her own needs. I really appreciated that Sawyer discovered what she did and was completely fine with it. This story could have easily become unnecessarily melodramatic, but the writers showed restraint.
The Bad: When you look into the logic behind this episode, things quickly fall apart. The only reason that Desmond, Hurley, Charlie and Jin go on their journey is because Desmond had his vision. Otherwise it would never have happened. This is a common problem with all time-jumping stories. There's always the risk of writing a time paradox, which allows the entire episode to fall apart when the details are scrutinized. If the writers want to delve further into the complexities of Desmond's powers they need to be more careful than this.
I was also bothered by some of the editing in this episode. I thought it was really excessive how often the writers spliced parts of Desmond's visions into the episode. That was very unnecessary and I think it took away from my immersion in the episode when there are random flashes being thrown in where they don't belong.
I thought the flashbacks could have been stronger. Sure there are some good scenes and the story is well written, but there isn't enough to make the story really stand out or change how we view Desmond as a character.
I was bothered by Sawyer outright asking Kate to have sex randomly. They only ever did it once, and that was when Kate thought Sawyer was going to die. Furthermore, there was an intense break-up scene shortly after that, so why would Sawyer ever think that he would just be able to have sex with her whenever he wanted? It's such a strange request, especially seeing how long they had been apart prior to the previous episode.
The Unknown: Who is the woman at the end of the episode? How did she know Desmond? Was she sent by Penny to find him?
Is the universe recognizing that Desmond is saving Charlie's life? I wonder if the universe somehow targeted Desmond specifically with this vision to tempt him into letting Charlie die. It would be very interesting if the universe operated like that. Furthermore, it could also explain the time paradox problem if the universe was somehow breaking its own rules in response to Desmond breaking the rules by seeing the future.
Best Moment: Desmond meeting Penny for the first time was a really sweet moment. Intercutting that with Desmond saving the woman from the parachute ended up being a genius choice since it combined the feelings of love and happiness with feelings of hope, turning the whole sequence into something really sweet and powerful.
Character of the Episode: Desmond.
Conclusion: This episode was a lot of fun to watch and Desmond got some more strong development as he remains one of the show's better characters. However, there are some flaws underneath the surface, blocking the episode from scoring too high.
Summary: In flashbacks, Juliet meets with Richard and Ethan who take her to the island in the sub. Once on the island she meets Ben and is tasked with solving the problem of women dying in labour on the island, but she is unsuccessful. Juliet wants to leave, but Ben forces her on the island by promising to heal her sister whose cancer has returned. Juliet agrees to the deal. Later when Ben finds out he has cancer, Juliet angrily accuses him of lying. Ben shows her a video of Rachel and her new son to calm her down. In the present, Jack protects Juliet from any interrogation. When the group returns to camp, everyone is less than pleased about Juliet. However, Claire suddenly gets sick and Juliet reveals that it has to do with the medications Ethan was giving her. She retrieves some of Ethan's supplies and saves Claire, earning some trust. However, it's revealed that the whole thing was planned by Ben because he wants to have somebody in the survivors' camp.
The Good: Juliet's story is really well done. We get to see her transformation in full by comparing the early flashback Juliet to the current Juliet on the island. The difference is huge, and it's great to finally see what it was that led to her becoming so cold. We learn that Ben essentially held her hostage on the island for 3 years, simply not allowing her to leave and seemingly emotionally manipulating her the entire time (see: The Unknown). And in all that time, she was operating on patients who were continuously dying, and with nobody close to talk to about her feelings, it led to her becoming closed off emotionally. What helps the story even more is how easy it is to sympathize with Juliet. We know that her heart isn't into staying on the island and there is never a moment in the flashbacks where we don't know what she wants. It's clear that she just wants to leave the island, and that makes her no different from any of the survivors on the beach in that her main goal is to return to the life she had before coming to the island.
From a plot perspective, this was really well done as well. We get to see that Juliet was always tightly involved in the others society, and there will presumably be answers on the way now that she's infiltrated the camp. We already get some good answers about why Ethan kidnapped Claire, why she was important and why the others did experiments on pregnancy. We're slowly getting a more fully formed view of how this society works and I'm excited to see more of it. One of the most interesting aspects was Richard, who seemed to have spent a lot of time off the island, possibly as some sort of recruiter. I'm very interested to learn more about him.
The island storyline is very well done. Juliet's arrival in the camp shakes things up as expected, and for once I think that everyone's reactions are explored fittingly, since it's obvious that the survivors would not be at all comfortable with one of the others joining their camp. Moments like Hurley being sent against his will to keep an eye on her and Sayid immediately trying to interrogate her make perfect sense. I was also very pleased with Sayid and Sawyer choosing to follow her since they naturally did not trust her at all. That allowed for a great confrontation which pleasingly allowed Juliet's character to shine as we got to see how she approached the problem of Sawyer and Sayid not wanting to trust her with anything.
The twist at the end of the episode was very effective. Juliet is there as a spy, and it's her job to get people to trust her. She already succeeded with Jack and so she has infiltrated the camp and will likely be feeding information to Ben. But the intrigue comes in when you consider that Juliet wouldn't have any reason to stay loyal to Ben and it's possible that she changes sides to the survivors. I'm really excited by this storyline and I can't wait to see where it goes.
The Bad: Nothing I'll call bad. This was a very consistent episode.
The Unknown: Apparently Jacob himself was going to cure Rachel. Who is Jacob? Can he leave the island? Is he on the island? The others seem to worship him. Is he some kind of deity or a grand leader of some sort? It seems like Juliet was converted to whatever belief system the others have which is very interesting.
Did Rachel actually have cancer or did Ben just make that up? I wouldn't put it past him to manipulate Juliet like that to get her to stay. But if he did actually cure her cancer, it raises some important questions. How did he do that? Can Jacob cure cancer? Why did Ben get cancer then if he can cure it?
Why can't women give birth on the island? Is it something to do with conception that's the problem? If so, why was Claire successful? What does it mean for Sun since she got pregnant on the island? Is she going to die or can Juliet somehow save her? Why are the others so concerned with solving this issue? Are they scientists? What's the point of all these experiments?
Why did Ben send Juliet as a spy? What are his plans for the survivors camp?
Best Moment: Ben showing the video of Rachel to Juliet was heartbreaking stuff. Juliet has been isolated for so long that she is hardly even herself anymore. But with the slightest glimpse of home, she immediately falls back into the timid, emotional woman she was before, a desperate plea to anyone that is around that she wants to go home. But nobody listens, and when Ben shuts the TV off, Juliet is thrown back into her unfortunate reality. It's a fantastic moment that perfectly captures the emotion of Juliet's storyline.
Character of the Episode: Juliet.
Conclusion: This was an immensely satisfying episode to watch, one that gave us lots of answers about the others through Juliet's flashbacks while still managing a spectacular character journey showing us how Juliet went from the timid and nervous woman to an emotionally detached and ruthless woman. It's a welcome episode to get after the story was essentially put on hold for 2 whole episodes.
Summary: In flashbacks, Kate meets Cassidy in Iowa and Cassidy helps her arrange a meeting with her mom. Kate asks why she turned her in and her mom tells her that she loved Wayne and warns her that she will scream for help if she ever sees Kate again. Kate parts ways with Cassidy. On the island, Locke visits Kate and reveals he is leaving with the others. Kate is gassed and she wakes up handcuffed to Juliet in the jungle. They head back to the barracks and have a close call with the smoke monster. Juliet reveals she had a key to the handcuffs and handcuffed herself to try to endear herself to Kate since she was also abandoned by the others. Juliet and Kate meet up with Sayid and Jack and they head back to camp. At camp, Hurley convinces Sawyer that he's going to be banished so Sawyer starts trying to get on everyone's good side.
The Good: Kate's flashbacks were fine. It was nice to get an explanation as to why her mom screamed for help back in "Born to Run". The conversation between Kate and Diane is well done, and I appreciate how the episode frames Kate's view of her actions (noble and justified) against Diane's (selfish and criminal). It's also good to see Cassidy again in the flashbacks, and having her meet Kate is very unexpected and leads to them developing an interesting connection which we may see come up again (see: The Unknown).
The island storyline had some moments too. The Juliet/Kate dynamic is unique and there are some good moments from their time in the jungle, particularly everything involving the smoke monster which remains one of the show's most engaging mysteries (see: The Unknown). The B-story is a ton of fun as Hurley cons Sawyer and gets him to be nice. It's funny and entertaining, especially considering how invested we are in both Hurley and Sawyer. Buried beneath all the fun is a good story of Sawyer learning to be a leader which does feel worthwhile.
The Bad: Unfortunately much of this episode feels completely pointless. I don't know why so many episodes this season have been filler but it has made many episodes feel completely inconsequential. This is one of those episodes. The only important event that happens is that the others leave the barracks. Then Kate and Juliet end up in the jungle and the plot of the episode is just them walking back to the barracks so everyone can leave together. It's all so skippable and I feel like if we skip from Kate being gassed to everyone else waking up, we miss nothing from the story outside of minor mystery building with the smoke monster. Additionally, Sawyer's story ends up being pointless too. He seems to be set up as a leader, but with Jack, Kate and Sayid on their way back to the beach, he won't be a leader anyways.
The Juliet and Kate drama was flat and completely uninteresting. Instead of developing the characters at all, the show inexplicably decides to spend their time talking about Kate's non-romance with Jack which is really dull and I found myself completely bored by all of it. The love triangle stuff has always been one of the show's weakest points. Even the Kate/Jack scene wasn't good in this episode. Typically Jack and Kate's scenes have bordered on having too much melodrama but have had enough depth to remain compelling. But here it goes way too far and their scene just doesn't work because it feels like it's trying to hard to make us feel Kate's guilt for messing things up with Jack. Unfortunately the episode doesn't succeed at connecting my emotions to Kate's.
The Unknown: Where are the others going? Why is Locke going with them? What are they going to do with him? Why did they leave everyone else behind?
Why was Juliet left behind? Are they actually abandoning her like that? Or is this some kind of a trap engineered by Ben? Why was Juliet antagonizing Kate so much if she wanted to be accepted into the survivors' camp? It feels like something is going on.
Did Dharma build the sonic fence to keep the smoke monster out? Why can't it go through the fence, or even over it? It seems that even the monster has some limitations. Also, the monster seemed to "scan" Juliet like it did with Eko back in "The 23rd Psalm". This is interesting. Does this mean that the monster is going to end up judging Juliet like it did with Eko?
Best Moment: I'll go with Kate speaking to her mother, it was one of the only scenes that I was invested in.
Character of the Episode: Sawyer.
Conclusion: This wasn't a good episode. There wasn't a lot to connect with, and the storylines felt both pointless and melodramatic. We've had 2 filler episodes in a row, this season needs to start picking up soon.
Summary: In flashbacks, Nikki and Paulo steal diamonds from a rich TV show producer but the diamonds make them grow apart. While on the island, Nikki is increasingly invested in finding the diamonds which makes Paulo paranoid that she doesn't care about him. Paulo finds them diamonds and hides them from her. Nikki finds out and paralyzes him with a spider but she gets paralyzed too. In the present, Hurley and Sawyer find Nikki and Paulo paralyzed but think that they are dead. They investigate to find out what happened but don't end up getting an answer. They end up burying Nikki and Paulo alive along with their diamonds.
The Good: This was a fun episode that tried something new. The characters of Nikki and Paulo hadn't done much before and weren't very well received so the writers chose to kill them off in what ended up being a pretty fun and creative way. This episode feels less like "Lost" and more like a murder mystery, which is a neat format break that allows the show to do something different in taking care of these two characters. Admittedly, the story for Nikki and Paulo is very well done. They're despicable people but are still human enough to understand and that makes this story resonate more than it should. By the end of the episode I understood their conflict very well and it was a little tragic to see their relationship fall apart the way it did. The final visuals of Nikki and Paulo being buried alive was pretty horrific and it felt like a suitably grim fate for the two of them, giving the episode a memorable conclusion.
What made this really stand out was the details. This episode was impressively well written and packed with foreshadowing, Easter Eggs and group interactions that impressed me. The foreshadowing in this episode was lovely. Nikki's comment about how guest stars always die at the start of the episode was fitting considering that she and Paulo were essentially just glorified guest stars themselves. I also appreciated the nod to them not wanting to end up like Boone and Shannon with the irony being that they ended up being buried on the island just like Boone and Shannon.
I was pleased with all of the callbacks. We got to see more footage from the crash that neatly integrated things like Boone searching for a pen, Ethan making an appearance and Dr. Arzt returning. The story allowed for these cameos to fit in organically so it isn't just meaningless fanservice. The episode also gave us some answers about the others when Ben and Juliet visited the Pearl (see: The Unknown). I appreciated that the survivors discussed some of the mysterious things that are going on, like the monster and Mr. Eko saying "you're next" when he died and what that meant. Furthermore, there was also some speculation on if Nikki and Paulo were in touch with the others which was another fun detail. Lastly, I was really happy to see Charlie making amends for attacking Sun back in "The Long Con". I'm glad that this storyline wasn't forgotten and it gave both Charlie and Sun some good moments in the episode.
The Bad: This episode was filler though and that does hurt its quality. It's fun to watch but the episode doesn't fit in at all with the overarching story and could easily be skipped without missing anything. If this was the pay-off for Nikki and Paulo, I think the show would have been better off if they just hadn't bothered introducing these characters at all. They just feel like a waste of time now. Even if the episode wasn't bad, Nikki and Paulo didn't end up adding anything to the story.
It seems farfetched that Nikki and Paulo would discover things like the Beechcraft and the Pearl and hear plans from Ben. What makes things especially bad is that the two of them told nobody about any of this which makes no sense. Surely they should mention these things right away! Instead it seems like they simply didn't care.
Nikki and Paulo's death has little impact because nobody else really seems to care that they died, especially Sawyer who continually messes up their names.
The Unknown: So the others knew about both the Pearl and the Swan. Why didn't they man these stations? Surely they could have taken both of them if they wanted, like they did with the Flame. Why leave these two? Did Ben simply not want to do experiments here? That makes no sense, especially considering that Ben hadn't even seen the Swan when he was first captured. Also, we learn that Ben was likely captured on purpose with the idea of manipulating Jack. Why did he make such a risky move? Who did he place in charge while he was captured?
Why was the smoke monster involved in Nikki being paralyzed? Did it condemn Nikki and Paulo to death the same way it condemned Eko?
Best Moment: Charlie confessing what he did to Sun was a powerful moment. It's nice to see Charlie making a conscious effort to redeem himself, knowing that his days are numbered. Even knowing that Sun would be angry at him, he doesn't make excuses but simply resigns himself to her judgement of him. It's a lovely piece of character growth.
Character of the Episode: I'll give it to both Nikki and Paulo, why not.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode overall. It was a lot of fun and was written very well, though it couldn't overcome the fact that this episode didn't need to exist and was the most filler episode of the show so far. Still, I had a fun time watching this and the score should reflect that.
Summary: In flashbacks, a depressed Locke is approached by Peter Talbot who suspects that his mother is marrying a con man, the same man who Locke donated his kidney to. Locke doesn't tell anything to Peter but goes straight to his father and tells him to stop ruining people's lives, ordering him to leave or he'll tell Peter's mother the truth. Peter turns up dead and Locke confronts his father who pushes him out of an eight story building, ending in Locke's paralysis. On the island, Kate, Locke and Sayid try to free Jack. Kate and Sayid are quickly apprehended, though Locke sneaks into Ben's room and inquires on the whereabouts of the submarine. After talking with Ben, Alex takes Locke to the submarine, where he promptly blows it up. However, this works in Ben's favour as both Jack and Juliet were going to leave shortly on the submarine. Locke is captured and Ben shows him that the island somehow brought Locke's father to the island, and he has been imprisoned by the others.
The Good: This is a terrific episode of drama. This episode continues the trend of "Lost" departing from its slower paced, character-driven format in favour of more exciting and dramatic scenes with a sense of suspense always lingering behind every scene. Quite literally every moment in this episode is superb and adds to the story being told, providing us a masterclass of an episode that absolutely nails the storytelling, the twists and the character development.
I'll start with the wonderful story we got in the flashbacks. For once, the flashbacks told a story worth telling as we discovered what put Locke in the wheelchair. We get to see once again that Anthony Cooper took everything from Locke. He took his kidney, he took his father figure, he took his relationship with Helen and now he's taken his ability to walk. It's so heartbreaking for Locke because this really feels like the last nail in the coffin. When we catch up with Locke, he's horribly depressed with very little going well in his life. All he had left was a final chance to go back to his father and get back at him for what he did. Locke had learned from before and wasn't about to let his desire for a father figure consume him. Instead, he just didn't want other people to suffer the way he has. But even then, he's still a complete sucker and totally falls for Anthony's manipulations yet again, leaving him a broken shell of a man by the end of the flashbacks. The final sequence with a dejected Locke being put into a wheelchair by the chipper physiotherapist is heartbreaking television, and is easily the most powerful moment we have seen in flashbacks since Desmond's meltdown in season 2.
The flashbacks even tie into Locke's island story, which is something that hasn't been very common this season. Just like in the flashbacks, Locke tries to take control of his life on the island, and all of his efforts all end with the same result: yet another manipulation. But island Locke is a changed man, and the episode takes the time to explore him and his mysterious motives in depth. We learn that his plan is to destroy the submarine because he believes that it's cheating for the others to be able to leave the island and come back at will. At least that's what he tells Ben, but we learn by the end of the episode that this isn't the whole truth. Learning about the extent that Anthony has ruined Locke's life gives us a perfect reason why Locke doesn't want to leave the island outside of being put back in the wheelchair. He's afraid of his father. He doesn't have much left, and nothing scares him more than the idea that what little he has can be taken away. So he enjoys his time on the island precisely because of the isolation. He's happy to have broken free from the rest of the world because now he can actually do whatever he wants without the fear of being stepped on. The submarine represents a chance for Locke to return to the world, and not wanting to do that, Locke is more than happy to blow it up and ensure that there's no way off this island. It's a lovely bit of character writing that serves as the icing on the cake for what was a tense and exciting episode.
The drama on the island built up so well. The highlights of the episode were certainly the scenes between Locke and Ben. The two had such a wonderful dynamic together and their scenes came together perfectly. The acting from Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn was simply stellar, and the dialogue written for the characters was somehow even better. The atmosphere was electric whenever they were talking, and the connection that their conversation had to the deeper themes and plot of the show made everything feel must-watch. The rest of the episode holds up well too. The entire episode is dedicated to the attempt to save Jack and blow up the submarine, allowing the episode to naturally build tension. As the episode progresses, there are plenty of tense moments, like Locke hiding in the closet or the others capturing both Kate and Sayid. It's very exciting television that's easy to enjoy, and the added layers of storytelling make it even better.
There are a lot of other really strong moments. I enjoyed the Kate and Jack conversation, and I especially liked how they paralleled the conversation they had back in "I Do". Rousseau got a very nice little moment as she got to look at her daughter's face for the first time in years. Ben had an outstanding episode all around as he manipulated Locke before lying through his teeth to Jack and Juliet, knowing full well that they wouldn't be going anywhere. Lastly, the ending of the episode is spectacular. Anthony appearing on the island is a wonderful twist that completely caught me off guard (I thought the episode would go the generic route and end without showing us what Locke saw in the room - I'm very pleased the writers resisted the temptation to do this). Not only does this propel the magical forces of the island forwards in a significant way, but this also sets Locke up with a terrific conflict as he's not going to be able to escape the threat of his father anymore. He'll have no choice but to face his past and get over it if he wishes to continue living his new life.
The Bad: Nothing I'll call bad. This was one of the show's most consistent episodes yet.
The Unknown: How did Ben end up getting sick? Did he do something that angered the island? Is there some meaning to this?
How do the others get electricity and plumbing? Ben's line about the hamsters was hilarious, but I'm curious if this will actually be answered.
Where is this magic box? How did it bring Anthony to the island? When did he get there? What have the others done with him? Did they know who he was? I have so many questions about that ending.
Who is Richard? He seems to be a higher ranking other, so does he have a particular role?
Best Moment: So many of the Ben/Locke conversation snippets could have been the best moment of the episode. My favourite has to be when Locke accuses Ben of cheating and not listening to the island's demands. A frustrated Ben is evidently hit hard by this accusation, and wonders how Locke could possibly think that know the island better than him after such a short amount of time. Locke then replies with the best line of the episode: "because you're in the wheelchair, and I'm not". A spectacular moment.
Character of the Episode: Locke.
Conclusion: This is "Lost" back at its absolute best. The drama, storytelling, acting and writing all came together perfectly to make the best episode of the season so far, an episode that completely reshapes the story with some excellent twists and also does some very worthwhile exploration of Locke, the show's best character. This was an absolute win, and a sign that despite some inconsistency, there is still much that this show can do to wow us.
Summary: In flashbacks, Claire is in a car accident that leaves her mom in a coma where she may never wake up. She meets her father, Christian, who had been paying all of the medical bills. Claire sends him away but Christian tells her not to keep her mom alive out of guilt. Many years later, Claire's mom is still in a coma and Claire apologizes for everything. On the island, Claire sees birds that are tagged and plans to catch one to send an SOS message. Desmond, having seen Charlie dying because of these birds, prevents this. Claire follows Desmond and forces him to explain everything to her and he does. Claire sends out a message with a bird caught by Desmond. Meanwhile, Locke, Kate, Sayid, Rousseau and Mikhail reach a sonar fence encircling the barracks. After Mikhail threatens to reveal Locke's paralysis, Locke sends him into the sonar fence, killing him. Sayid discovers that Locke smuggled C4 out of The Flame. The group climbs over the fence and reach the barracks where they see Jack playing football with Tom.
The Good: Everything surrounding Locke and co. was the strongest stuff in the episode. The drama was engaging, and it was more than enough to overcome the fact that there wasn't very much character exploration done in the storyline. Mikhail's presence added a lot, particularly during the scene where Kate started quizzing him. Just like last episode, it was fascinating hearing what Mikhail has to say, and he offered us some very interesting insight about the others. Additionally, it was very interesting to see Locke's behaviour. Evidently, he seems to be following his own agenda and I have no idea what that is. I'm excited to find out what he's up to, and I think there's a lot of potential for strong character conflict if Locke continues to work on his own, away from Sayid and Kate's attempt to save Jack.
Claire's story was fine. I was pretty happy to see somebody making a conscious effort to find a way off of the island, and I wish that the show explored the idea of trying to get off the island more often than it does. It was good to have Claire learn that Charlie is destined to die as I think this prevents a lot of more melodramatic stuff later in the season.
The flashback story was good as well. Claire has always been the least interesting of the main cast, mainly because her character has hardly been explored. Here we finally delve into her backstory and we're given a nice story of Claire learning to come to terms with her own mistakes. Furthermore, we're actually given a good reason for Claire's poor treatment of Charlie last season. We learn that her father abandoned her, and adding on how Thomas abandoned her back in "Raised by Another", it's easy to determine that Claire has trust issues and likely finds it easy to believe that the men in her life would betray her, even if they haven't actually done so.
The Christian twist works very well. We now know who Christian was visiting back in "Two for the Road", and we also know that Jack and Claire are half-siblings. This is an interesting twist as I'm uncertain about its significance to the story. It seems like more of a character detail for both Jack and Claire, knowing that they are connected through Christian. I imagine that this connection could be explored in an interesting way, particularly for Jack who would be forced to deal with even more turmoil from his father's messy life.
The cliffhanger was pretty effective. It should be interesting to catch up with Jack and see how his feelings for the others have changed since we last saw him.
The Bad: Did Desmond have to be so needlessly vague and ominous throughout the episode? He should have just told Charlie not to go bird hunting or he would die, and that could have solved so many of the episode's conflicts. Instead Desmond loses the ability to communicate normally so that the episode could have drama. No scene encapsulates this more than when Desmond explains to Claire that Charlie died after falling and breaking his neck. Why on earth would he tell her about his visions like this? This is so much more likely to cause her to panic, and it's done exclusively so that the episode could be more dramatic. Dialing the drama up to 11 and sacrificing any sense of immersion is a common problem of this episode.
It's obvious that the birds won't lead to a rescue, so any drama centering around them doesn't work. The reading of the letter is another scene that didn't work for me because it didn't sound real and was overly dramatic in an attempt to make the episode more powerful. The letter should have been much shorter than it was, and surely there was more important information to write about instead of talking about what life is like on the island.
Mikhail being interrupted right when he was about to reveal Locke's paralysis was very cliched. Furthermore, it made no sense that Sayid wouldn't inquire more about what Mikhail was saying, regardless of what Rousseau wanted to show them.
The Unknown: Why isn't Kate capable of understanding why the others want to stay on the island? Why isn't she on the list? Is this the same list that Danny mentioned?
Who is the magnificent man? Is it Jacob, who has been mentioned a few times before?
Apparently the others can't return to the island now because the beacon has been shut down. Do they have any way of fixing this? How badly have they been impacted by being isolated from the outside world?
What is Locke planning to do with the C4?
Will Kate and Jack find out that they are half-siblings? What impact will this have on the story?
Best Moment: Mikhail answering Kate's questions was a wonderful way to spoon-feed us more mystery, while also setting up conflict for the characters.
Character of the Episode: Claire.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode. There isn't anything particularly special and the excessive drama makes this feel like a pretty generic episode, but it's an easy watch.
Summary: In flashbacks, Sayid is apprehended by a man named Sami, who claims that he tortured his wife Amira. Sayid denies it out of self preservation and is beaten for it. Amira speaks with him alone and asks him to admit what he did. Sayid does and Amira chooses to forgive him and lets him go. On the island, Sayid, Locke, Kate and Rousseau follow the bearing and find a Dharma station called The Flame. They see the eyepatch man and head in to investigate. His name is Mikhail and he claims to be the last member of the Dharma Initiative. Sayid interrogates him and quickly determines that he's lying and is an other. He also determines that he's not alone. Kate and Sayid knock him out and investigate the station. Locke gets really interested in a computer chess game and Mikhail takes control of the situation while he's distracted. Sayid and Kate find and capture Bea in the station. In a confrontation with Mikhail, Bea convinces him to kill her which he does. Mikhail is taken captive. Sayid finds an electrical diagram showing a place called the barracks and decides to head there. Locke beats the chess game and accidentally causes The Flame to self-destruct. Meanwhile, Hurley beats Sawyer at ping pong, banning him from using nicknames for a week.
The Good: Finally, plot movement! I normally stand by the fact that character and story is more important than plot movement. But for "Lost", the show's best character work and storytelling always comes when there is interesting plot movement. So the return to relevant storytelling after two dull episodes is a breath of fresh air, and it gives the story some momentum again.
The scenes in The Flame were fantastic to watch. This show does a wonderful job of getting the watcher intrigued and invested whenever there is some mystery to explore. I had my eyes peeled when Sayid, Kate and Locke were poking around The Flame, and I was analyzing every word said by Mikhail in an effort to get some answers and discover who this mysterious guy actually is. Sayid's interrogation was a joy to watch, filled with suspense and mystery. With every conversation, the tension was ramped up as it became clear that Mikhail wasn't who he said he was. The scenes had an almost Tarantino-esque vibe at times and built up towards a tremendous climax as Sayid and Mikhail get into a brutal fight. This episode was certainly the most action-packed of the season thus far, and it used suspense and action perfectly to tell the story.
The character beats were also done really well. Sayid's use of logic was superb and he came off as even more smart and realistic than usual. The writers were at their absolute best with Sayid in this episode. Locke playing the chess game also fit with what we knew about the character and his love for games.
I was also quite pleased by the amount of answers and background info we got in this episode. We learn where the submarine came from, we get hints about a mysterious purge that wiped out the Dharma Initiative (see: The Unknown), and we even find out what the cable going out into the ocean is for. This episode gave out these answers organically without ever giving us heaps of exposition, once again exemplifying how well written this was.
The flashbacks also told a really powerful story. Despite not being essential to Sayid's character (see: The Bad), the flashbacks were a joy to watch. The story of guilt and forgiveness is new territory for "Lost" to explore, and it does a terrific job. The performances were tremendous, and I was particularly moved by Amira's speech about forgiveness towards the end of the episode.
The B-story is good fun and it's the perfect place to put the Hurley/Sawyer comedy stuff.
The Bad: The flashbacks and B-story aren't important at all unfortunately. They exist only to kill time, and while they are fun, they never have as much drive or engagement as the main storyline.
The Unknown: What was the Dharma Initiative purge? What's the full story behind this conflict? Why did the others wipe them out? How did they wipe them out?
Why was Bea so willing to die in order to protect the others' secrets? How important is the others' work? What are they actually doing on the island? Why would Bea go to such extremes in order to protect her community?
Best Moment: I'll go with one of the Sayid/Kate/Mikhail scenes. Sayid just explained to Kate that Mikhail is an other and most certainly isn't alone. The ensuing scene is tense and dramatic as Sayid and Kate play normally, quizzing Mikhail gently to see if he gives anything up. Then things slowly escalate until everything explodes in a great action scene. The sequence delivered some of the best tension-based drama in the entire series.
Character of the Episode: Sayid.
Conclusion: This was a fantastic episode that got "Lost" back on track. This season has been inconsistent, similar to season 2, but thankfully it's still more than capable of creating some superb drama.
Summary: Flashbacks show that Hurley's father left when he was a kid. After Hurley wins the lottery, he returns and Hurley is upset by it. His dad tries to make things right for Hurley but Hurley doesn't give him the chance. On the island, Hurley discovers a Dharma van in the jungle and vows to get it running. Jin goes to help him. Kate and Sawyer return to camp. Sawyer ends up helping Hurley and Jin with the van. Kate goes into the jungle to find Rousseau to plan a way to bring Jack back. Hurley gets the moping Charlie to join him as they try to force the van to start. It works and everybody celebrates.
The Good: The best thing I can say about this episode is that it was entertaining. There is a lot of humour here and most of it is actually really good. Hurley is a really fun character who is almost impossible to dislike. The lightheartedness that results from the focus on Hurley makes this episode a joy to watch across both the island and flashback stories.
The deterioration of Kate and Sawyer's romance continued from last episode and it felt a lot more final in this episode. It was quite sad to see them drift apart, and over practically nothing. The acting from Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly was as great as ever and I felt the impact of their split.
The Bad: Unfortunately this was in no way a good episode. Following a filler episode, we get what is essentially another filler episode. Nothing of importance happens here outside of Kate and Sawyer returning to the camp, and that's not even the central focus of the episode. To put it bluntly, this whole episode felt like a waste of time and it didn't tackle any sort of interesting themes, character development, or plot movement.
The deeper exploration of Hurley's character didn't work at all. Now, just like many other characters, Hurley has been given the case of daddy issues. His problems aren't particularly interesting, and they are worse off because it has taken nearly 3 seasons to unveil this detail about Hurley. His relationship with his father has never been important to Hurley and it simply feels tacked on in an attempt to inject some emotion into the episode. Furthermore, the themes about making your own luck are hammered on too hard and are explored with far less subtlety than they were in "Numbers".
Kate and Sawyer's return ended up being a major anticlimax. We got the happy reunion scene which was fine, but nobody asked anything about the others. In what world would Kate and Sawyer not be expected to provide information to everyone? I was stunned at how they were both allowed to simply wander off in the jungle without providing any help. Additionally, I was surprised to see that Locke and Sayid still hadn't followed up on the hint that Locke found back in "I Do". They were both talking about immediately doing something, yet here they are 4 episodes later having done absolutely nothing. It's very odd storytelling, and I find it absurd that Locke agrees with Kate about them having no motivation, despite him making it clear that getting Jack, Kate and Sawyer back would be a top priority back in "Further Instructions". The storytelling is odd and makes no sense.
Another case of the survivors acting strangely is when nobody shows any interest in checking out the Dharma van. Why wouldn't they want to learn more about the island technology? Perhaps there is information that would help them, or something else valuable to find. The fact that nobody showed even the slightest bit of interest is unrealistic.
The scene with Hurley and Charlie in the car as it goes down the hill was shot extremely poorly. It was hard to determine how far the car was from the rocks and there were several moments where it looked like the car was right about to hit the rocks despite it apparently being extremely far away. Additionally, do they have to turn the car on to swerve away from the rocks? Just turn the damn steering wheel.
The Unknown: Who was Roger? Why is there a Dharma van on the island? Were there roads on the island at some point? Are there other Dharma settlements?
Best Moment: The comedy was really the best part of the episode, and the funniest scene was Hurley's mom covering Jesus' ears and telling Hurley "I have needs". As poorly executed as this episode was, I can't deny that it was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Hurley.
Conclusion: This was another meaningless filler episode. But thankfully, unlike the last episode, this one wasn't boring and it at least had some great comedy going for it. Granted, that's not enough to give this episode a passing score, but it was at least pretty funny. Outside of that, the poor pacing of this season continues and the follow-up to "Flashes Before Your Eyes" has been atrocious so far.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.