Summary: In flashforwards, Kate is on trial for her crimes and things aren't going in her favour. In a desperate attempt to help her, Kate's lawyer brings Jack to the witness stand where he attests for Kate's character to make her appear more likeable. Kate speaks with her mom, the main witness and gets her to decide not to testify. Kate is given a deal, 10 years probation and no leaving the state which she takes. Jack and Kate meet outside and discuss their future. It's revealed that Kate has a child, and it's Aaron. On the island, Kate sneakily talks to Miles when Locke doesn't let her see him. Kate wants to know if they know who she is. Miles agrees to tell her if Kate can get him with Ben for 1 minute. With Sawyer's help, Kate sneaks Miles into Locke's house where Ben is. Miles offers to tell the freighter that Ben is dead for 3.2 million dollars. Locke realizes what Kate has done and sends her home. He learns what Miles said to Ben and then banishes Kate from the barracks. Sawyer tries to get Kate to stay but when it's clear that Kate is planning to leave anyways, a resigned and annoyed Sawyer lets her go back to Jack's camp. Meanwhile, Jack gets upset when Desmond and Sayid haven't called in from the freighter and that nobody knows where they have gone.
The Good: Once more, this episode was really compact and had a great pace to it. The drama on the island was really engaging and there was a sense of importance in the main plot. Kate's goal to get Miles to speak with Ben was an engaging story, and it set up some fun setpieces as Kate and Sawyer schemed their way past Locke to make this meet-up happen. It's enjoyable television that leads to a tense climax as Miles gives Ben a very intriguing offer that continues to amp up the mystery surrounding the freighter (see: The Unknown).
Outside of the plot, this episode spends a lot of time teasing the idea of Kate as a mother. It's mentioned frequently on the island and it's contrasted by the reveal of Kate having a son in the flashforwards. The episode heavily teases that the baby is Sawyer's, and there's a lot of time spent setting this up as a possibility. It seemed so heavy-handed to me and initially I wasn't a fan of how the show was so heavily building to this obvious reveal. But of course no show can surprise like "Lost" can, and we get the surprise ending reveal that Kate's "son" is actually Aaron. It's an excellent twist that's not only really surprising, but is also quite ominous when you remember Claire's flashbacks with Richard Malkin and how Claire is supposed to raise Aaron. This extra information turns a pleasant surprise into something that could be a major twist that completely changes the show. I'm very excited to see what comes next.
I thought that this episode did a superb job depicting the characters. Kate is of course as selfish as ever as she refuses to settle in with Sawyer on the island, and outright rejects her mother in the flashforwards. Ben is fittingly quite manipulative as he preys on Locke's insecurity as effectively as ever. Locke on the other hand is completely lost despite having his faith renewed and is totally unsure of what to do. Terry O'Quinn is excellent as always and it's great to see Locke's frustrations coming out again. Sawyer comes off superbly well. He genuinely looks to be in love with Kate and wants nothing more than to spend more time with her. However, he isn't a fool and we get to see him very openly chastise Kate over her poor treatment of him. It's a lovely bit of character growth as Sawyer adjusts to the flaws in the woman he loves. Hurley is as loveable as ever in the episode as he cluelessly falls for Kate's trap. Finally there's Jack who is suitably angry about the lack of news from the freighter and quickly turns on Charlotte and Daniel to get what he needs for his people.
As a final point, I thought that the flashforwards had some really strong scenes. Jack on the witness stand (see: Best Moment), Kate reuniting with her mother, Kate and Jack's conversation near the end of the episode, and of course the Aaron reveal were all very good scenes.
The Bad: Some of the writing here was extremely sloppy and it prevents this episode from scoring higher. What particularly irked me was the lack of attention to detail during the trial scenes. The trial itself is practically nonsensical and all logic was thrown out the window for the sake of drama. It was clear that the show did not care at all about authenticity when setting up these courtroom scenes. Hell, the courtroom didn't even look like a courtroom! It's very easy to poke holes in the drama we are presented. The witnesses are called up in the incorrect order. Furthermore, it's amazing how there was only one witness against Kate (her mother). Were there really not any other people who would attest to what she has done. How able the guy from the bank in "Whatever the Case May Be" or the thugs that Kate worked with? How about her ex-husband? Any other strangers who witnessed any of the multiple crimes she committed? It's absurd that Diane was the only witness to build the case upon. I'm sure if you have a greater knowledge of legal proceedings than I do, there are even more holes that can be poked into this story.
Kate's arc on the island is pretty difficult to buy into. Is she really willing to go to such an extreme only to figure out if the freighter people know who she is? Of course they know who she is! She was preparing for this exact situation back in "Born to Run" in season 1! Did Kate expect people to just forget about her? It's ridiculous. Furthermore, why does she have to ask Miles, who seems like the least likely person to answer her question. All she has to do is go back to Jack's camp and ask Daniel or Charlotte instead, which is much less risky.
I get that the writers wanted Locke to do somethign dramatic in response to Miles orchestrating something behind his back. But sticking a grenade in his mouth and pulling out the pin is the height of stupidity. It takes one tiny mistake from Miles and he's blowing up. One jaw cramp, or one sneeze will kill Miles. What use is it to keep a hostage like that if you're going to take such a huge risk with his life?
The Unknown: What is the exact story that the Oceanic Six told the press? Why did they lie about what happened? Is somebody forcing them to stay quiet?
Why does Miles want 3.2 million dollars specifically? It's a very odd number. Is this the whole reason he signed up for this mission? To make more money from Ben? There's still a lot to be uncovered about his motives.
Why has it taken so long for Desmond, Sayid and Frank to arrive at the freighter? Did something happen to the helicopter? Does this have something to do with Daniel's experiment from the previous episode with the time discrepancy?
What was with Daniel's memory test? Has he been having memory problems? How did that happen? He seems to be quite bright.
What went wrong with Jack and Kate? They were on much better terms here than in "Through the Looking Glass".
Is Sawyer not one of the Oceanic Six? It seems odd to have a Kate-centric episode and not have him appear if he is actually off the island.
Why is Kate the one raising Aaron? What happened to Claire? Did she die? How did Kate end up with Aaron in this situation? What are the consequences of Aaron not being raised by Claire? How is this going to effect the future of the show?
Best Moment: The most powerful moment to me was Jack effortlessly throwing out lies on the stand as he sticks to the false story that the Oceanic Six have apparently been telling everyone. Kate's evident discomfort as Jack says things about her that are inherently false is terrific and it was the part of the episode that hooked me the most.
Character of the Episode: Kate.
Conclusion: Kate episodes have always been a weakness of "Lost" and that remains true here. However, a strong plot twist, engaging drama and some really good scenes ensured that this wasn't a bad episode and was actually quite fun in spite of some writing issues. Season 4 is running at a much better pace than the first 3 seasons and I'm intrigued to see if this pacing can be maintained throughout the season.
Summary: Flashforwards show that Sayid has become a hired assassin. He meets a woman named Elsa, who he uses to get to her boss, an economist who is Sayid's next target. However, he grows to care for Elsa and gives her a chance to leave. Elsa shoots him, she is aware of who Sayid is and has been ordered to kill him. Sayid manages to get away and kills Elsa. He returns to his boss: Ben. On the island, Sayid decides to go bring Charlotte back from Locke's camp in exchange for Frank taking him to the freighter on the chopper. Sayid, Kate and Miles head towards the barracks but they find it deserted. Hurley has been tied up and left behind by Locke. However, it's a trap and Locke's group make themselves known and capture Sayid, Kate and Miles. Kate decides to stay after hearing how Sawyer doesn't care to leave the island. Sayid makes a deal with Locke to take Charlotte back in exchange for Miles. Sayid returns with Miles and Frank takes him back on the helicopter. Desmond and Juliet also return, and Desmond joins Sayid on the chopper.
The Good: The flashforward storyline is terrific entertainment. It's a perfect blend, of mystery, drama and character and it's a joy to figure out what exactly we are watching. Sayid is really engaging as a hired assassin and it's enjoyable to see him at work. The opening scene at the golf course was very well done, and a welcome surprise. The Elsa story is also really well done. We get to see a combination of the ruthless Sayid and the romantic Sayid which makes for a very interesting dynamic. The story remains interesting all the way through due to the fact that we never fully understand what Sayid is doing and why. By the end of the episode we still don't entirely have our answers (see: The Unknown), but we do get an outstanding twist that raises the stakes of Sayid's story immensely (see: Best Moment).
On the island, I thought the drama was just as compelling. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sayid's logical approach to solving problems is tremendously fun, especially in a show where characters have become increasingly questionable with their decision-making and secrets. Sayid is a breath of fresh air as he simply does his best to solve the problem that's in front of him, and works hard to get everyone off the island. The island drama here is established wonderfully as Sayid pressures Frank to take him off the island, and immediately goes to work to bring Charlotte back in a reasonable and bloodless manner. Sayid's plan is very good and it's great to watch him come to a peaceful agreement with Locke, leaving Miles behind as a hostage since he isn't willing to put all of his faith in the freighter people yet.
There are some nice moments in this story. I was genuinely surprise by Hurley's betrayal since he's the last person anyone would have expected to lead Sayid, Kate and Miles into a trap. Ben continues to be given a lot of good lines and is tremendous fun to watch in captivity. I thought that the brief Sawyer/Kate story was wonderfully executed. I was incredibly pleased to see the change in Sawyer following his killing of Anthony Cooper. Now that he's taken care of his baggage, he seems more at peace than ever before, and he, like Locke, seems to have accepted his new life on the island as an improvement over what he had before. Sawyer's given a great scene to express this change in his character and I thought that Josh Holloway played the character superbly well, as always. I also really enjoyed Miles, who is still quite funny and manages to be wonderfully sarcastic with everyone he speaks with. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of dynamic he forms with Locke and everyone else in that camp. Finally, I enjoyed the little bits of mystery developing surrounding the freighter, like with Minkowski's condition and Daniel's strange experiment (see: The Unknown).
As a final point, I've been really impressed with the pacing of this season so far. The past 2 seasons were woefully inconsistent, but this season hasn't had very much that I didn't like so far. Furthermore, there haven't been any slow episodes, and every scene feels like it's vital for the story. This change in pacing and structure has been wonderful for the series, and I'll have to wait and see if the show can keep it up.
The Bad: Just a few nitpicks. Surely Jack would be much more upset with Kate choosing to stay with Locke, who he views as a lunatic. Surely Sayid and Elsa's gunfight would have been heard by other people. They weren't using silencers and they were inside of what looked like a pretty public hotel.
The Unknown: Why isn't Sayid with Nadia off the island? Did something happen to her?
Who is the economist? Why does Ben need Sayid to kill all these people? How is Ben off the island anyways? Why is Sayid working for him? Is he one of the others now? What does he have to gain from this work? How did Ben recruit Sayid? Ben vaguely refers to a major event that happened before involving Sayid. What was it? What happened?
How did the cabin move? Is Jacob somehow doing this? How can you find the cabin if it moves at will?
Why was the payload delayed so much? Does the island exist in some kind of separate dimension? Does time function differently on the island? Or can this time anomaly be explained by some kind of dimensional rift?
What's going on with Minkowski? Why was Daniel ordered not to speak with him? Where did he go anyways?
Best Moment: The Ben twist at the end of the episode was superb. I didn't predict it, so I was quite shocked to discover that Sayid has become one of his men. This raises a truckload of questions, but also raises the stakes for whatever happens to Sayid before these flashforwards. On the island, Sayid says that the day he trusts Ben is the day he would have sold his soul. This ominously suggests that something bad is coming to Sayid in the near future. The twist is so wonderful not only because of the surprise, but because of the significance that working for Ben has on Sayid's character.
Character of the Episode: Sayid.
Conclusion: Another superb episode, and one that I think is even better than the last. The drama remains extremely joyful to watch and the character dynamics are as fun as ever. Add on a shocking twist, and we have another great episode. Season 4 is off to an excellent start.
Summary: Flashbacks show Dan crying as he sees news about Flight 815 being found. Miles is revealed to be somebody who can communicate with ghosts, which he has adopted for his own business. Charlotte is an anthropologist and she finds a Dharma Initiative polar bear in the Tunisian desert. Frank watches the news of the Flight 815 wreckage being found and realizes that it is fake. Naomi is assigned her mission by the mysterious man from "The Beginning of the End". On the island, Jack and Kate quiz Dan about his intentions. Dan leads them to Miles who threatens Jack and Kate at gunpoint, demanding to be taken to Naomi. After talking with Naomi's spirit, Miles deduces that Jack and Kate are telling the truth about Locke. Juliet and Sayid arrive and turn the tables on Miles and Dan. The group keep walking and they find Frank, who landed the helicopter safely. Upon learning that Juliet is an other, Miles questions her on the location of Ben, who is the group's primary target. Meanwhile, Charlotte is picked up by Locke's group. Locke doesn't want to send her away and starts quizzing her, but Ben steals Karl's gun and shoots her. Charlotte is wearing a vest and is fine. Locke prepares to kill Ben, but Ben reveals that he knows everything about the 4 people who came in because he has a spy on their boat.
The Good: This episode's format is stellar. After the formula break established two episodes earlier, "Lost" grows bold once again and has another sharp change. This time we return to flashbacks, but we divide them between the 5 characters who came from the freighter, giving us an episode that introduces a truckload of characters in an organic and unique way. Right before we get introduced to each new character on the island, we see a brief flashback of their lives before which gives us a rough idea of what to expect while leaving out just enough information to ensure that our interests are piqued. Going around at such a fast pace learning about new characters is a tremendous amount of fun, and the episode adds on to this exciting thrill ride of an episode by throwing in tons of plot developments, dramatic twists, funny moments and even some pieces of mystery that will be essential for figuring out what's really going on with these freighter people.
The characters that are introduced are quite fun to watch. This episode's pacing makes it feel like it flies by which is impressive for an episode that does so much exposition and introduction. This is helped by the personalities that these characters possess. Dan's awkwardness is contrasted nicely by Miles' hotheadedness, and they have a really fun dramatic throughout the episode as they interact with Jack and Kate in completely different ways, revealing interesting little tidbits of information as the episode goes on. The characters are also quite fun to watch and the actors do a good job of bringing them to life. While Charlotte and Frank are introduced later in the episode, they still manage to get several scenes to stand out and show us who they are and what to expect from them, while still being shrouded in mystery. That's just the island stories though. Each character gets a gripping flashback scene which introduces some key mysteries that I'm very excited to uncover (see: The Unknown).
The Locke half of the episode covers the brunt of the survivors' storyline and it is a joy to watch. Locke's leadership style has always been a joy to watch, and it remains that way here as he communicates openly with everyone and brings up very fair points when discussing plans and making crucial decisions. The writing of his character is superb and it adds a lot more realism to the episode. Ben also has a very entertaining role as the prisoner as he remains unpredictable and extremely effective at manipulation. He has a number of well-written funny lines that allow him to get under the skin of those around him. It makes for an interesting dynamic and it ensures that Ben still remains threatening as a villain, even in captivity.
The Bad: I do question why Juliet still hasn't been asked more information about the others. In this episode, Sayid talks to her as if she were one of them and doesn't even so much as hint at how she still has secrets to tell them. Hopefully this can be corrected in future episodes, because the survivors should be much more curious about the others than they currently are.
The Unknown: Why was Dan crying when he saw the plane wreckage? Naomi referred to him as a head case. Why? What was wrong with him? He seems to be fine in the present storyline. A little awkward and nervous sure, but he seems normal. What changed?
What is Miles' ability? Has the show confirmed the existence of ghosts or spirits? Could this have something to do with the whispers? Is Miles' power even real? He seems to contact Naomi effectively so I'm willing to bet that it is.
How did a Dharma Initiative polar bear appear in the Tunisian desert? Where did it come from? How did it get there? Charlotte seemed excited to discover that it tied to the Dharma Initiative. How is she connected to them? Was she looking for this bear specifically? Why?
The mysterious man who visited Hurley in the last episode appears again. It seems that he is the one in charge of everything on the boat. Who is he? Why did he hire this specific crew? What's so special about everyone he selected? What are his goals? He also seemed to be fully aware that the Flight 815 wreckage isn't real. How does he know that? Does he have something to do with why this fake wreckage exists to begin with?
Why are the freighter people looking for Ben? Who are they? What has he done to them to make them target him? Why did these people bring gas masks?
Best Moment: The end of the episode is a wonderful piece of drama. After Ben proves to be more dangerous than expected, Locke gives in to logic and the demand of his people and chooses to kill Ben. But when Ben offers to give him knowledge, he asks him "what is the monster". It's a brilliant moment that shows a character asking a very sensible question (something this show doesn't always do) while also providing us some interesting information as even Ben doesn't seem to know what it is. And to cap things off, the episode ends with a tremendous twist as Ben reveals that he knows everything about the people from the freighter because he has planted a man on their boat somehow. It's a terrific reveal that provides a perfect dramatic climax to the episode that leaves you eagerly awaiting to watch more. Brilliant television.
Character of the Episode: It's tough to choose since so many characters are excellent here. I'll go with Ben for that final moment.
Conclusion: This is excellent stuff. While there isn't much of an emotional edge to this episode, it does do a remarkably good job of setting the stage for season 4, working at a brisk pace and giving us several memorable moments to leave us desperate for more. This is a near perfect way to get the story moving for the much shorter season 4, and the episode certainly did its job of getting me excited for what's to come.
Summary: In flashforwards, Hurley is arrested after taking off in a high speed car chase. He gets placed in a mental institution where he is confronted by a mysterious man asking if "they" are still alive. He is also visited by the dead Charlie who demands that he do things for those that were left behind. Lastly, Jack checks in with Hurley who tells him that they have to go back. On the island, Hurley is devastated when Desmond returns with news of Charlie. The group sets off to the radio tower to warn Jack that the people on the boat aren't who they say they are. Meanwhile, Naomi runs into the jungle and Kate tracks her down. Naomi covers for them and tells the people on the boat that there was an accident when she parachuted in. Naomi dies. Hurley gets separated from the group and encounters Jacob's cabin. He runs away and finds Locke who helps him rejoin the group. The groups meet up and Jack attempts to kill Locke but Sayid pulls him away. The group splits into two camps. Locke's camp, including Claire, Hurley and Sawyer head to the barracks to hide while the others go to the beach with Jack to await rescue. Jack and Kate go off into the jungle and find a man who has arrived from the boat.
The Good: As always, "Lost" subverts expectations with the opening scene of a new season and it does it again this time. While it's probably the weakest season opening scene so far, it's still quite good stuff as we see Hurley in a very unexpected situation and learn a very important piece of information about the future with the introduction of the "Oceanic Six" (see: The Unknown). It's a very interesting way to start the season, and I'm excited to see more from it.
The rest of the flashforward storyline was extremely well done. The flashforwards feel very different from the flashbacks and they make this episode feel different from the staler flashback episodes last season, giving the story a lot more momentum than it had in season 3. I really like the new formula that's being developed here. Judging from this episode and "Through the Looking Glass", it seems like the flashforwards will use a new style of storytelling where we see a character make a key decision on the island, and we will see the consequences of that decision in the future. In the season 3 finale, it was Jack's choice to call the boat, and here it's Hurley's choice to go with Locke.
The other flashforward scenes were quite good at building mystery. We see a mysterious new character confronting Hurley, hints of the island's powers extending to the real world, and a surprising arc for Hurley who seems to be haunted by his past in a very literal way. I'm really enjoying these flashforwards so far and it seems like they might be just the thing to make the series feel new and exciting again.
The island storyline in this episode is also quite good. Early on we get to see Desmond return and set up the story beats that carry this episode. He reveals that the people on the boat cannot be trusted, and also drops the bombshell that Charlie died. The group's grief for Charlie is pretty sad and I really like how the episode furthered its stories with Charlie's death. Hurley's decision to join Locke makes sense because of what happened to Charlie, so establishing the importance of Charlie's death was essential for this episode. Thankfully, the writers nailed it. The other thing the writers did really well was making it clear that the group is too disorganized to actually do something about the people on the boat. With hanging threads like not knowing who the people are, and also Naomi's impending demise, the episode created a surprising amount of suspense as everyone prepares for the arrival of these people.
The island story all builds up to a really strong climax where the group separates into two opposing camps. This split is illustrated as quite a big deal and it does feel like a major event that will have consequences (as Hurley's flashforward also establishes). What I enjoyed most about this was how every character had logical reasons for choosing the side that they did. It makes sense that Hurley and Claire would listen to what Charlie said. It makes sense that Rose wouldn't want to side with the murderous Locke. It makes sense that Sawyer would join Locke after what he learned about him in "The Brig". There are lots of nice character details here, and that added a lot to this scene.
It was nice to see Ana Lucia's partner return for a brief cameo. It's a fun return and it also serves to further cement how Hurley can't seem to escape the past in his flashforward storyline.
The Bad: The writing is quite sloppy at times though. The Naomi plot in particular is really poorly thought out. Why didn't anybody even check to see if Naomi was still alive? They all just assumed she was dead which is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering that Jack was there and we know that Jack would always do everything he possibly can to save lives. Furthermore, why would Naomi just sneak away into the jungle when she's half dead, and how did she do it so quietly? It makes absolutely no sense. What's even stupider is that she would still somehow have the physical ability and thought process to make a dummy trail in case anyone was following her. It seems to pointless to do all of this, especially since Naomi just dies anyways. Furthermore, it's ridiculous that Jack wouldn't send a second party down the trail Kate found just in case Naomi did go down that way. This entire storyline is pretty contrived and doesn't make any logical sense.
I wasn't very happy with the lack of reaction to Jack attempting to kill Locke. We saw that Locke wasn't willing to kill Jack, so surely seeing Jack pull the trigger expecting to kill him would be pretty shocking for everyone. Furthermore, this scene wasn't a private occurrence. Everyone saw what happened, and they should be legitimately horrified by it. One particularly sloppy piece of dialogue is Rose not wanting to go with Locke because he's a murderer, yet she completely ignores how Jack was about to kill Locke right then and there. There are unfortunately several pieces of lazy writing like this scattered throughout the episode which brings down its quality.
As a final note, I was confused to see that Alex and Rousseau aren't spending any time together. Surely they would want to know more about each other. It's strange to have Rousseau standing quietly with Ben while Alex chats with Karl like nothing has changed.
The Unknown: Plenty of questions. To start, who are the Oceanic Six? Which six survivors made it off the island? We know of Jack, Hurley and Kate. Which other 3 left the island?
Who is the mysterious man that visited Hurley? Was he another vision or did he actually exist? Who is he? What does he want? How does he know that the others are still alive?
Hurley's encounter with the cabin was a frightening scene (see: Best Moment). How did the cabin seemingly teleport like that? Hurley seemed to almost enter another dimension when he found it. How does that work? Who was in there? There were at least 2 people. One would be Jacob. Who was the other?
How can Charlie appear off the island? I thought this kind of stuff is restricted to the island. Or is Charlie just part of Hurley's imagination, similar to Dave?
Why does Hurley regret siding with Locke? What happens to Locke's camp?
Who is the man at the end of the episode? It's an exciting cliffhanger to end the episode one.
Best Moment: Hurley's encounter with the cabin is chilling drama. It's haunting, mysterious and surprising all at once and it left me in high suspense. It's tense to see Hurley looking inside, and every moment following this can be analyzed closely because I'm very interested to learn more about Jacob and this cabin.
Character of the Episode: Hurley.
Conclusion: This was a really strong season premier. While there was unfortunately a lot of silly writing choices, the overall episode is quite good and starts off season 4 in a good way. I'm excited for this season because it already feels far different from seasons 1-3 due to the new formula. However, the writers need to be much more cautious because more thoughtless writing in important episodes can easily ruin this season.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.