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WWW | LOST: Further Instructions and Every Man For Himself

Is he a farmer? Is he a hunter? Who really gives? He’s John Locke, he has a sweat lodge, and he is a badass. 

— “Further Instructions” is a strange episode. Let’s start with the good. 

— It’s so refreshing to see Locke return to form: consulting the Island for guidance, throwing knives, tracking wild animals, saving people from certain doom. 

— The first ten to fifteen minutes feature Locke without a voice; whatever happened in the Hatch blew his damn voice out. So he speaks with rudimentary sign language and cue cards. All he needs is that damn orange peel smile and he would be absolutely perfect.

— Locke’s vision in the sweat lodge is fantastic. My pal Brian Phares laments that after season one, LOST lost some of its signature trippy visionary juice. I don’t think that’s totally true, and “Further Instructions” is a testament to that. We get to see Boone again, albeit with an awful haircut. We go back to the Sydney Airport, and everyone is paired off in ways that either speak to their current situation, or foreshadow their upcoming dilemmas. (“They’ll be fine … for a while,” Boone says of Charlie and Claire. “For a while” is actually pretty short for Charlie, but he ain’t wrong about Claire, either.) When Locke emerges from the vision and the sweat lodge, he stands, knife in hand, and knows what his purpose is.

LOCKE: "I’m going to save … Mister Eko’s life."

— Shout-out to the Smoke Monster, who is totally operating via Boone in this scene, telling Locke to clean up his own mess, instructing him to go get Eko. Monster Man wants one last run at Eko; if he fails the final test, he’s done. More on that tomorrow.

— Shout-out to Naked Desmond and Tie-Dye Desmond. 

— Shout-out to Time-Travel Desmond and my nerd Hurley for starting to put that sci-fi shit together. 

— Shout-out to Charlie Pace’s new mullet; it’s gross but kind of great at the same time. 

— Shout-out to the hilariously clumsy way Nikki and Paolo are introduced to LOST. These two are terrible but their existence is responsible for “Expose,” one of my favorite episodes of the series. Nikki and Paolo are the collective butt of one of the series’ greatest jokes.

— Okay, so now for the bad, and really, it’s just the flashback.

— Just like the numbers, the “Further Instructions” flashback is baaaad. The only redeeming quality is that it features John Locke as a pot farmer, and that’s sort of a hilarious concept. But it’s absolutely worthless otherwise. There’s no reason for it. It doesn’t advance Locke and his story one iota. There’s nothing we learn here that we couldn’t learn in a better-constructed sequence.

— The whole point of it is to get down to a very simple question about Locke: is he a farmer, or is he a hunter? Is he a good man, or a bad one?

— That question, which is certainly important to the mystique of Locke and the driving force behind his often questionable actions, doesn’t need to be asked here, or at least not in this way.

— ”Further Instructions” is a vision quest for Locke. The Island tells him what to do through this bizarre, surreal airport sequence. Then he goes out and he does it. And I keep coming back to that. That scene is so damn good. So pleasing. So weird and wonderful and positively LOST.

— It would have been so weird and wonderful and positively LOST if the visions were the flashbacks for this episode. 

— After all, John is tripping balls, straight-up. Dude smashes up the paste stuff that he gave to Boone back in "Hearts and Minds," and swallows a big chunk of it. He has his vision, it lasts however long — probably only a few minutes if Charlie was patient enough to stand guard the entire time — and when Locke is through it, he’s done tripping balls.

— I wish the whole episode was Locke tripping balls. Seeing visions of the past, visions of the future, visions of whatever the Island (and Smokey McSmokesalot) wanted to show him. It’s not like LOST hasn’t messed around with format before; see “The Other 48 Days,” “Maternity Leave” and “Three Minutes” for more.

— Maybe the lesson was learned. Later in the season, we get “The Brig,” which flashes back to parts of Locke’s Island experience we hadn’t seen before. Maybe the writers looked at “Further Instructions” and thought, “Yeah, wow, that pot farmer shit was weird. We can’t do that again.”

— Because, really. The pot farmer shit was weird. Doesn’t hold up at all. 

— Everything else about “Further Instructions” is great, but the flashback does a hell of a job keeping this episode from being one of the greats.

— “Every Man for Himself” suffers from a similar problem. The flashback ain’t really worth a damn. It’s better than “Further Instructions,” but it’s still sort of pointless.

— The idea of James Ford in prison is fantastic. The execution? Boring. What, we really need to see Sawyer pull off another con? Every Sawyer episode has to feature a confidence scheme? Come oooon.

— And I do believe this is the final Sawyer flashback, not counting “La Fleur,” which makes it an extra bummer that the Sawyer-in-Prison story wasn’t pulled off better.

— But there are some worthwhile things here. Namely, we learn about Clementine, Sawyer’s daughter that he never knew he had. He puts all of the money he earns from this latest con into a secret account for Clementine, and makes sure she can never learn who she got the money from. It’s a sweet moment. I like sweet Sawyer.

— Plus, the flashback has Mack from Predator and Javier from Felicity, so it can’t be all bad.

— The on-Island stuff doesn’t fare much better. There’s the great “do you love him” beatdown, and the panicked “yes I love him” reply. There’s Ben shaking the bunny and earning the nickname Captain Bunny Killer. There’s the introduction of Ben’s whooping stick. There’s the “Of Mice and Men” banter. There’s the revelation that Hydra is a smaller island just off the greater Island. There’s Paolo playing golf, and you bros know I love LOST golf. There’s Desmond using a golf club to make sure Charlie doesn’t get electrocuted, more proof for Hurley’s time-travel theory. 

— But there’s also the pacemaker plot and it’s pretty boring.

— You know, the first six episodes of season three are considered a bit of a hump. As of this writing, I have watched the first six episodes. (You get my blog on “Cost of Living” and “I Do” tomorrow, if I can get my damn self back on schedule here.) I really think it’s just these middle two that are kind of meh. “Further Instructions” is great minus the flashback, and “Every Man for Himself” is straight-up meh. But “Tale of Two Cities” is lovely, “Glass Ballerina” has some awesome stuff, and “Cost” and “I Do” are totally epic. 

— It’s these middle two that give this first six-episode chunk a bad rep. Good to know.

— Tomorrow, Eko ain’t apologizing for shit and Mal Reynolds hits the beach. 

NEXT: "The Cost of Living" and "I Do"

PREVIOUSLY: "A Tale of Two Cities" and "The Glass Ballerina" 

WWW | LOST: A Tale of Two Cities and The Glass Ballerina

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Season three. It’s on. Let’s do this.

— Briefly, big-time apologies for the delays on this. I’m traveling for business and won’t be back home until Wednesday, and that kept me from getting this blog out on Friday like I planned. The good news is, I have today’s blog and tomorrow’s already written, plus one more round of episodes already viewed and ready to be written up. In other words, we should be back on schedule, knock on wood. Cool? Cool!

— Okay! So, “A Tale of Two Cities” begins, and we’re immediately in New Otherton.

— More accurately, we’re in the Barracks, former home of the DHARMA Initiative, now housing Benjamin Linus and his merry band of Others. Out with the Hatch and in with the Barracks as we move onto this next phase of LOST. I’ll miss the Swan and the breakfast nook, but I do love me some Barracks.

— For some reason, Juliet Burke isn’t widely adored among LOST fans. Hell if I know why. I think Elizabeth Mitchell walks right into this role and owns it like she’s been part of the series from day one. So much confidence, so much going on behind those eyes. She’s a fantastic addition to the show, and I’m psyched to have her here for (most of) the long haul.

— “Two Cities” is a Jack flashback, but it feels like a Juliet episode. Without learning much about her past or function within the Others, we still glean so much about who she is. She’s a terrible baker. She loves Stephen King. She has a rebellious streak. She’s exhausted and emotional. But when she’s pitted against Jack, she’s professional. She’s manipulative and maternal in equal measure. She knows how to toothpick a sandwich. She knows how to knock out a guy two times her size. And it’s so clear that she has nothing but hatred in her heart for her employer, Benjamin Linus.

— The premiere also gives us our first taste of the real Ben. Ben the leader, not just some Other underling cowering in a corner with an arrow wound in his shoulder. This Ben is much more confident, much more put-together. As well-spoken as he ever was, but the way he speaks has changed. This is not a man who fears for his life. This is a man in charge. Or, at least, that’s how he presents himself.

— All three of the Oceanic prisoners are treated very, very differently. Jack is stuck in an underwater prison, interrogated by Juliet. Sawyer is in the bear cage, patting himself on the back as he wins a fish biscuit. And when she starts out, Kate wakes up in a shower, forced to put on a dress and join Benjamin for breakfast. When she asks Ben why he’s doing all of this, his answer is… man, it’s fantastic.

BENJAMIN: "I brought you here so you’d look out at the water and feel comforted. Comforted that your friends were looking out at the same ocean. I gave you the dress so that you’d feel like a lady. And I wanted you to eat your food with a real live fork and feel civilized. I did all those things so that you’d have something nice to hold onto. Because, Kate. The next two weeks … are going to be very unpleasant.”

— Very, very different Ben than the Ben we’ve seen so far. And I love it. I’ll miss Henry but I’m stoked to move onto the real Ben Linus.

— The Others have been shrouded in such secrecy throughout LOST, that even the little bit of detail we get in this episode is actually pretty huge. The sheer amount of people on this side of things. The way they live, the place they live in. The fact that they’re able to get a man’s entire life printed out and put in a folder, making it clear that the Others’ reach extends far beyond the Island. Jack assumes that the Others are just the leftovers of the DHARMA crew. Juliet doesn’t answer directly.

JULIET: "It doesn’t matter who we were. It only matters who we are."

— Yet another line that completely summarizes LOST.

— Also, shout-out to Jack and Juliet’s first full-on interrogation scene. Before Jack learns that Juliet has information on his entire life, he decides to completely fabricate his answers to all of her questions. Here’s my favorite exchange.

JULIET: "What do you do, Jack? What’s your profession?"

— JACK: "I’m a repo man. You know, when people don’t pay their bills, I go in for the bank and I collect their possessions. I’m a people person, so I really love it."

— Matthew Fox is fucking hilarious with that line delivery. Plus, it sets up a great exchange later when Juliet is trying to get Jack to eat.

— JULIET: "The drugs we gave you when we brought you here have a pretty serious side-effect: dehydration. Your head is probably sore, your throat is raw. If you don’t eat or drink something soon you’re going to start hallucinating."

JACK: "So, you’re a doctor, huh?"

JULIET: "No. I’m a repo woman.”

— Jack appreciates the humor in that, laughs to himself and points at her in a “Ha! Good one!” gesture. LOST, man. It’s all in the details.

— Before we move on, a quick note on the flashback. This is Jack at the darkest we’ve ever seen him, as far as his off-Island life goes. We’ve seen him make tough choices, we’ve seen him mourn his father, we’ve seen him get the bad news that his marriage is at an end. But here we see Jack the obsessive. We see Jack the stalker. It’s an ugly version of Mr. Shephard that we really haven’t seen before. 

— When he demands to know who Sarah’s new lover is, she gives him a brutal answer.

SARAH: "It doesn’t matter who he is. It just matters who you’re not."

— Yet another prophetic line.

— While part of me wishes this episode was a Juliet flashback, that it would serve the episode better, I think it’s crucial for the season that we start with this form of Jack. Dark Jack. You need to start believing that Dark Jack exists. I actually think that’s why “Stranger in a Strange Land” is a necessary episode, too, even though it’s widely maligned as “the one about the tattoos.” That midseason episode, along with this premiere, make it possible for us to accept the season finale as a Jack flashback. To not even consider the possibility that the bearded, drunk and depressed Jack we see at the end of the season is actually a man we’ve never met quite yet.

— It’s good shit.

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— Onto “The Glass Ballerina.”

— It’s a Sun/Jin flashback, and not that I don’t like to spend time with the Kwons, it’s just … I don’t know. Weird timing. There’s so much other shit happening on LOST right now that delving into Sun’s adultery, while fascinating on its own, doesn’t feel like the right thing to explore right now. It’s not a bad flashback; I think it’s a logical progression of how bad things were for the Kwons before coming to the Island, and Jae Lee’s suicide is so fucking crazy. Again, just strange timing.

— Beyond that, “Glass Ballerina” feels kind of like a monster-of-the-week episode, not one that really moves things along. It would have been just as easy to have Sayid, Sun and Jin sail back to their beach and continue the story from there. Instead, we get an episode where they post up and wait to ambush the Others, but get ambushed themselves, albeit without any casualties on their side, unless you count the destruction of the boat.

— Sayid’s plan for how to take on the Others would have been so cool to see. Here’s how he explains it to Sun.

SAYID: "I suspect that when they see the smoke they’ll send a scout party to investigate. By then it will be night. When they arrive, I’ll ambush them. I’ll take two of them hostage, and I’ll kill the rest."

SUN: "Two?"

SAYID: "One to make the other cooperate."

— I really wish we’d gotten to see that. Alas, that never happens. Sun gets ambushed while she’s stowed away on the sailboat, she kills Pickett’s lady pal, she flees the boat as it gets destroyed, reunites with Jin and Sayid, and it’s business as usual.

— Not to say that I dislike “Glass Ballerina.” There’s actually a lot of great stuff that happens here that I’d completely forgotten about. Such as…

— Sawyer and Kate getting put to work on what we eventually discover is a runway. Sawyer and his “yessir boss” snark to Pickett the prick. Sawyer making out with Kate because he can’t resist her in that dress, but actually doing it so he can get into a fight with the Others and size them up. Sawyer recounting all of the different details he learned from his fight and how he and Kate can use that to their advantage once their captors slip up and make a mistake. Sawyer not knowing he’s being watched from a distance by Benjamin, all of his plans overheard by the one guy who you don’t want listening in.

— Sawyer and his first encounter with Juliet. Actually, that happens in “A Tale of Two Cities,” when Karl breaks Sawyer out of his prison, and Juliet tasers him into submission. Here, they have yet another wordless exchange. While Sawyer is toiling in the blistering heat, Juliet tosses him a water bottle. He smiles at her as he dumps all of the water onto the ground. I am positive these two had a very big laugh about it during their 1970s love-fest.

— Benjamin in this episode. So good. First, when Juliet brings Jack a bowl of soup she actually made herself. Juliet leaves the room and Ben’s waiting for her.

BENJAMIN: "You never made soup for me."

— What a dope.

— Then, when Benjamin decides to “come clean” and introduce himself “honestly” to Jack. Telling him that he’s lived on this Island all of his life. Shyea right. And Smoke Monsters fly out of my butt.

— Ben tells Jack that he’s going to need him for something, and if he does as he’s asked, he’ll get safe passage off the Island. To convince him that what he’s offering is possible, Ben tells Jack about what’s happened outside of the Island since Oceanic 815 crashed. George W. Bush was reelected, Christopher Reeve died, and the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Jack starts cracking up at that last part.

— JACK: "If you wanted me to believe this, you probably should have picked somebody else besides the Red Sox."

BENJAMIN: "No, they were down three games to none against the Yankees in the league championship, and then they won eight straight!"

JACK: "Sure, sure. [Laughs] Sure, of course they did."

— It’s a great callback to Christian Shephard’s famous Red Sox philosophy. And it sets up an even greater moment: Ben wheels in a television and shows the final play of the Sox’s winning game. Jack’s in disbelief.

BENJAMIN: "That’s home, Jack. Right there, on the other side of that glass. And if you listen to me, if you trust me, if you do what I tell you when the time comes … I will take you there. I will take you home."

— Aaaaand smash to LOST.

NEXT: "Further Instructions" and "Every Man for Himself"

PREVIOUSLY: Season Two in Review

WWW | LOST: Season Two

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Okay. Season two of
LOST in the books. What did we learn?

— Season two is not season one

— Alright, so that’s obvious. What does that really mean?

— It means that the pure crystal meth feel of LOST has curbed a bit. Not entirely, but a bit. Season two isn’t like season one in the sense that you need to get to the next episode right away, like, immediately, now-ish please and thanks. Don’t get me wrong; it’s very, very good. It just lacks the purity of season one’s island adventure feel, this sense that you could be any one of the survivors of Oceanic 815, fighting for your life every single day against a field of bad stuff including smoke monsters and baby-napping locals.

— Yeah, all of that stuff is weird. But for some reason, season two just feels weirder. In a different way.

— In season two, we’re hanging out in underground bunkers pushing buttons that apparently save the world. We’re learning about a group of scientists called the DHARMA Initiative who came to this Island to study its multitude of curious properties. We’re learning things that at the very least suggest how some of the great LOST mysteries are possible: there’s an entire organization that probably dumped these polar bears and hatches all over the Island. What happened to these people? Who knows … they could be the Others, or they could be a group that no longer exists. 

— Either way, it’s not the answer many of us were expecting. I know I was floored the first time I saw what was inside the Hatch. I don’t know what I was expecting. But I never predicted the Hatch would contain a ping pong table or a breakfast nook or one of my absolute favorite characters of the entire series. It was a strange reveal. At first, it was honestly a bit disappointing.

— And I think that’s kind of the point.

— Locke is a focal point for this idea. LOST takes the one man who absolutely believes without a shred of doubt that he and his fellow survivors came to this Island for a reason, and breaks him down completely. Locke believed in destiny. He believed the Hatch would contain the answers to all of his questions. Instead, it contained a computer with a button he had to push every 108 minutes or else risk the entire fate of the world. Terry O’Quinn has been vocal about how frustrating that was for him as an actor, to go from jungle adventurer to button-pusher. And it’s equally frustrating, more so really, for Locke the character. 

— But that needs to happen to Locke. It needs to happen to us. Locke needs to spend all those days pushing a button so he can get to the point where he asks if any of this is really worth it. And we need to get to the point where we question continuing on. Because the answer to why he’s pushing the button is so vague, so abstract, that you can’t be sure you’ll ever get a better answer than, “Well, you’re saving the world. What more do you need to know?”

— Refer to what “Marvin Candle” says of the Swan workers in the Pearl Station orientation video:

CANDLE: What is the nature of this experiment, you ask? What do these subjects believe they are accomplishing as they struggle to fulfill their tasks? You, as the observer, don’t need to know. All you need to know is the subjects believe their job is of the utmost importance.”

— That’s because their job is of the utmost importance, even if it feels menial, even if it feels boring. It’s an ambiguous answer, not the kind of answer you want to hear, but it’s the kind of answer you need to hear if you’re going to continue on the right path. Eko gets the meaning immediately. Locke takes a couple episodes. But when he’s through this crucible, he’s out the other side absolutely certain of at least one thing.

LOCKE: "I was wrong."

— I’ve said before that I’m the kind of LOST fan who cares more about the characters and the story than the answers to the overarching mysteries. If I cared more about the latter, I would have turned that shit off and never looked back as soon as I got the answer to “the whispers” in season six, because that answer fucking sucks. Instead, I choose to live alongside the survivors of Oceanic 815 and follow their story. I don’t look for the big meaning in everything they do. There is no big meaning bigger than, “This is the most important place in the entire world, and the work you’ll do here is the most important work you’ll ever do in your life.” If you can accept that as the big answer of LOST, rather than needing to know exactly why they have to push the button, why they have to do so every 108 minutes … well, then, you’re my kind of LOST fan, and the kind of fan that survives the fire of season two.

— Anyway, that’s my take on what season two is all about and what it accomplishes. What else, what else?

— Well, season two introduces some of the best and most important players to the arena. This is where we meet Desmond. This is where we meet Benjamin. This is where we meet Penny and Charles Widmore. This is where we meet Eko and the Tailies, short-lived as they are. This is where the DHARMA Initiative drops in. This is where Mr. Friendly sheds his beard and becomes Tom. The veil is pulled back ever-so-slightly on the Others. For all of these reasons, season two is important and worthwhile.

— Season two is our first and only sighting of Henry Gale. Ben will never have this kind of good will ever again. He’ll never have this mask to hide behind, even if he successfully infiltrates “the good guys” again in other ways. The four episodes featuring Benjamin as Henry Gale from Minnesota ("One of Them" through "Lockdown") and the three featuring Benjamin as Henry Gale the Lowly Other ("Dave" through "Two for the Road") showcase Michael Emerson’s flash and talent in ways that can’t possibly be replicated later in the series. Not to say that Ben becomes a worse character as time wears on; far from it. Just to say that if season one of LOST is pure-meth and season two is where the details start to pile on, then I think you can say the same of Ben in season two versus Ben in every other season. This is Ben at his most basic. It’s so much fun to watch when you know all of his secrets.

— Season two is the first season to really fuck around with the flashback format. It does so at three points: "The Other 48 Days" and its tale of the Tailies, "Maternity Leave" and its explanation of what happened to Claire while in Ethan’s custody, and "Three Minutes," the deep-dive into Michael’s time away from our heroes. You can see from episodes like "Adrift" and "Fire + Water" (oh god that episode) that the flashback format is already starting to wear thin. The famous example of where the flashbacks really stretch it is season three’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” but you can already see it happening as early as season two. So I applaud the early attempt at shaking things up, even if it doesn’t happen quite often enough. Anytime LOST can do something different with its formula, I’m game to give it a try.

— Okay, some of the not-so-great stuff. There’s a feeling of LOST spinning its wheels a bit, afraid to move the story forward at a brisker pace. I don’t mind that, honestly, because I love spending time with these characters and their relatively unimportant life events. I love learning more about Rose and Bernard. I love watching Jack kick Sawyer’s ass at poker. But there’s a valid argument that season two is just slower than season one; can’t deny that.

— The Tailies are something of a misfire. All but two of them are captured by the Others or dead by the end of season two, and that body count takes another big blow just five episodes into season three. There’s all kinds of stories and reports about what happened between the characters playing Ana and Libby and Eko, and the crew and creative team working behind-the-scenes on the show. Hard to know how much of these characters’ exits was planned versus necessary based on real-life stuff that cropped up. And I won’t deny that the climax of “Two for the Road” is one of the most insane and memorable moments of the series. It just sucks that so much time was spent setting up the concept of the Tailies, and in the end we really only get Bernard for any meaningful amount of time. Feels a bit wasteful.

— Overall, I love season two of LOST. I think the season gets far more right than it gets wrong. But it does whiff on occasion, and it’s worth pointing that out. 

— Now, we head into season three. I think when season three hits its stride, it’s the best season of them all. At least that’s what I used to think before going back to season one on this rewatch. It’ll be hard to top that first run of episodes. But I think three’s still got the juice, once you get over the initial hump.

— It’s worth pointing out that we’re going to get halfway through the Watching With Wigler rewatch at the “Enter 77” and “Par Avion” double-feature this season. That feels like a pretty big milestone to me. Hard to believe we’re almost halfway there. And believe me, no one is more surprised than I am that I’m actually still watching all of this shit, from a treadmill no less, and blogging it up pretty much every day with a few skips here and there. I’m having a blast. Hope you’re having some fun playing along at home as well.

NEXT: "A Tale of Two Cities" and "The Glass Ballerina" 

PREVIOUSLY: "Live Together, Die Alone"

WWW | LOST: Live Together, Die Alone

Like I did with "Exodus," I’m going to break down “Live Together, Die Alone” into a simple list of my favorite things from the finale. Here it is.

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DRUNK DESMOND

— Basically, any and all Desmond, but especially Drunk Desmond. Drunk Desmond spends two weeks on a sailboat heading nowhere. Drunk Desmond shoots shotguns at people and laughs when he’s out of ammo. Drunk Desmond gives sailboats away for free. Drunk Desmond has funny jokes.

LOCKE: "So, what did one snowman say to the other snowman?"

DESMOND: "Smells like carrots!"

LOCKE: "Hello, Desmond."

DESMOND: "Hello yerself, boxman."

— Drunk Desmond also says insightful stuff like this.

DESMOND: "I was sailing for two and a half weeks, bearing due west and making nine knots. I should have been in Fiji in less than a week. But the first piece of land I saw wasn’t Fiji, was it? No. No, it was here — this, this island. And you know why? Because this is it. This is all that’s left. This ocean and this place here. We are stuck in a bloody snow globe. There’s no outside world. There’s no escape! So just go away. Let me drink.”

— Drunk Desmond gets drunk.

— Drunk Desmond is great.

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SOBER DESMOND

— Sober Desmond is also great. 

— Everything in his flashbacks is wonderful. His encounter with Charles Widmore, our first look at one of the show’s most important characters. His lovely scene with Libby, in which she offers up her sailboat, and he graciously accepts, pledging to win his race around the world in the name of love. His perspective on the season-opening stadium scene, seeing Penny for the first time in years, promising he’ll be back in a year, and that he’s not running away from anything, he’s running to get his honor back. Desmond winding up on the island spending the next three years with Kelvin Inman, played to douchey perfection by Clancy Brown. Desmond at his lowest as he prepares to read his final Charles Dickens book, implying that he’s on the cusp of suicide, and finding Penny’s “don’t give up” letter in the process. Desmond pulling back from the brink when he hears John Locke pounding on the hatch. The other side of "Deus Ex Machina." Two men saving each other without even knowing about it.

— And Desmond on the island, in the present day. Desmond and Locke as a buddy duo. Desmond realizing he was responsible for crashing Oceanic 815 by not pushing the button. Desmond deciding to “blow the dam” and save the world even at his own expense. Penny’s prophetic words as he turns the key.

PENNY: "All we really need to survive is one person who truly loves us. And you have her. I will wait for you. Always. I love you."

— That pretty much sums up what LOST is all about, doesn’t it?

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THE THREE PHILOSOPHERS

— John Locke isn’t unaccustomed to rage and bad choices. We see him making the wrong decision and losing on more than one occasion throughout LOST. Still, it’s fun to watch his frustrated determination throughout “Live Together, Die Alone,” as he’s so passionate about not pushing the button, because it’s exactly as Desmond says even if Locke won’t admit it: he needs to look down the barrel of a gun to get his faith back.

— Eko, on the other hand, is always so reliable, so solid, so composed, that it’s amazing to see his desperation here as he’s locked out of the Hatch. He goes to his disciple, Charlie Pace, and convinces him that he needs his help. They have 90 minutes to push the button or everyone on the island will die. Eko is so desperate that he’s basically willing to blow himself up to get John to listen. And he pulls it off … well, he pulls off the blowing himself up part. Eko suffers serious injuries here that certainly assist in his ultimate fate coming up in just a few more episodes.

— And there’s Desmond, who realizes that he’s the one who crashed the plane, now more certain than ever that his three years in the Hatch weren’t for nothing. He really was saving the world. And now he has one last desperate chance to make things right.

— In the middle of it all is Charlie, a man between teachers. A man who has turned away from John Locke, but will come back to him in short order, if only for a time. A man who has come to help Mr. Eko, to save his life, but can only save himself in the end. A man who will soon meet Desmond Hume, the last man he will ever see in his life.

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ACROSS THE SEA

— I’m not wild on the season finale’s C-plot: Sayid, Sun and Jin taking Desmond’s sailboat to the north coast of the island, hoping to ambush the Others and thwart their Michael-fueled plans.

— But I enjoyed it more this time around.

— Because it’s Sayid and the Kwons, out at sea on a dangerous mission.

— And while they make it out of this one alive … well, just wait.

— Love the retroactive irony.

— Plus, it’s through this subplot that we see the four-toed statue for the first time. If only they just went to take a closer look …

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THE HURLEY BIRD

— When Michael and his expedition first set off into the jungle, they encounter the famous Hurley bird. Everyone stares at it in amazement. Michael, still trigger-happy after everything, tries to pump it full of lead, but his gun isn’t loaded.

— Hurley’s reaction to the bird.

— HURLEY: "Did that bird just say my name?"

SAWYER: "Yeah, it did. Right before it crapped gold."

— Michael’s confusion over why his gun didn’t work. Jack’s awkward explanation.

— JACK: "Sorry, man. I guess I forgot to load that one. Want to give me the mag?"

— Michael gives Jack the mag. And the look on his face says everything.

— Michael’s been caught and he knows it.

— So good.

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HE WAS A TRAITOR BOY

— Michael unmasked is one of my favorite scenes of the season. Michael in the finale, really, is just spectacular. He’s the hero in the season one finale. The man who built the raft, the man who represents the Oceanic crew’s best chance at rescue. And here, he’s a coward, a sniveling villain. It’s awesome.

— And while I have made it clear that I understand where Michael’s coming from and why he did what he did, it doesn’t make it acceptable, doesn’t make it palatable, especially from the perspective of the people he really screwed over.

— The whole scene is excellent. Two Others tracking the fivesome of Jack, James, Kate, Hurley and Mike. Sawyer kills one. The other Other gets away. Jack says it doesn’t matter, because the Others have already been warned. Madness follows. The dialogue speaks for itself.

— SAWYER: "What do you mean, warned?"

JACK: "Why don’t you tell them, Michael?"

— MICHAEL: "I don’t know what you’re talking about."

JACK: "Stop lying!"

— Jack pushes Michael up against a tree and demands the truth. Michael breaks apart, exasperated, exhausted.

MICHAEL: "It was the only way! They gave me a list! It had your names on it. I had to bring all four of you back or they said I’d never see my son again!"

— The looks of disgust on everyone’s faces, even (and especially) Sawyer, who spent so much bonding time with Mike out on that raft, in the Tailies’ prison, during their trek back to the Oceanic beach. Hurley’s heartbroken realization.

HURLEY: "Did you kill them? Ana Lucia, and Libby? Did you?"

— MICHAEL: "I … had to. God, I couldn’t find any other way. And Libby was a mistake, I didn’t have time to think!"

HURLEY: "But if you did have time … you still would have killed her, right?”

— And Michael can’t respond right away because Hurley is absolutely right. His only justification is the justification Sayid identified, the only possible explanation. 

— MICHAEL: "I’m sorry. You understand? I am sorry. But it’s my son.”

— Hurley wanting to go back. Jack telling him he can’t. Jack telling everyone that they need to push forward.

— JACK: "It’s too late to back now, Hurley. We already caught them following us once. If they don’t believe that we trust Michael, they’ll kill us all. I’m sorry that I didn’t say anything, but you have to know that I would never bring you out here if I didn’t have a plan.”

SAWYER: "What plan?"

— What plan indeed. No real plan, it turns out, as our heroes are captured just a few scenes later.

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DIRE DIRE DOCKS

— So much to chew on in the Pala Ferry scene. Mr. Friendly gets outed for not having a real beard and for being named Tom. Ms. Klugh is really named Bea. Pickett is there, and he’s already got a hard-on for kicking Sawyer’s ass. Alex is there and she says nothing because she’s a scared little girl. 

— Benjamin arrives. He is the leader of the Others, no question about it.

— The confidence in his step. The way he gives orders. How he talk down to people. How he decides to talk turkey with Michael.

BENJAMIN: "I’m not happy about the arrangement that was made with you, Michael, but we got more than we bargained for when Walt joined us, so I suppose this is what’s best. And you let me go, you set me free. You lived up to your word. We live up to our word, too."

— And later …

MICHAEL: "Who are you people?”

— BENJAMIN: "We’re the good guys, Michael.”

— He says it with such conviction that you almost believe him. Almost.

— After Michael leaves, it’s time for more business. Hurley’s cut loose. He’s free to go. His job is to go back to his people and warn them they can never come here again. But what about Jack, Kate and Sawyer?

BENJAMIN: "Your friends are coming home with us."

— Payback’s a bitch, Doc. If only the Others knew how shitty Sayid treated Ben in the Hatch, he’d probably be on that list, too.

— The hoods are pulled over Jack, Kate and Sawyer’s heads and that’s it for their season, and the beginning of an admittedly rocky string of six episodes.

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BON VOYAGE, MICHAEL

— A quick shout-out to Michael and Walt’s reunion. Even after everything Michael did to get him back, you have to feel for the two of them coming together again after all they’ve been through. 

— You also have to wonder while watching that scene. Is that boat just gonna make it 20 feet before Benjamin hits a remote detonator and blows it all to pieces? Every time I watch this scene, I keep expecting it to happen.

— It doesn’t. But it doesn’t matter. Michael and Walt are gone, and Michael will one day return, as he’s permanently on the road to damnation. Grumble grumble to that. I really wish Michael’s story had ended here, or at least was left alone until the flash-forward portion of LOST. There’s something so delightfully wrong about the idea that yes, you can leave the island, but in order to do that, you basically have to sell your soul and everything you value about yourself. 

— But Michael’s story doesn’t end here. He comes back, and it kinda sucks. Still, for now, it’s an intense note to end on while he’s away for the next season. That lingering look of “I fucked you over” and “you fucked me over” exchanged between Michael and Jack as the boat cruises by… it’s just priceless.

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PURPLE HAZE

— I mean, what’s there to say? The sky lights up. Everything is purple. The noise blares throughout the island. And then everyone basically just acts like it’s a normal day on LOST, which I guess it really sort of is. Amazing.

— And the build-up to the purple sky, as hinted at in the Three Philosophers section, with Locke and Eko’s frightened looks as the Hatch melts down around them.

LOCKE: "I was wrong."

— A little late for that, Mr. Clean.

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A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

— Elsewhere, in a station in some remote arctic region, two Portugese men play chess and almost miss the flashing red light on their computer alerting them to some kind of electromagnetic anomaly. One of the men makes a phone call … to Penelope Widmore. It turns out she’s been looking for Desmond and the island all this time.

— “With enough money and determination, you can find anyone,” she tells Desmond earlier in the episode. Welp, looks like she’s right!

— Also, I never noticed before that a version of “Make your Own Kind of Music,” first featured in the season two premiere, is playing in the background of this scene. That’s some fantastic symmetry, isn’t it?

NEXT: Season Two in Review

PREVIOUSLY: ”?” and “Three Minutes”

WWW | LOST: ? And Three Minutes

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We already hit "The Long Con," but we’re onto two more confidence schemes in today’s LOST double-feature.

— The first scheme is the Monster’s, seen in “?.”

— That’s right. The Monster’s scheme.

— If you’re following along at home, you know I have a pet theory about the Monster and his manipulation of Eko and John Locke. This episode is a big one for that theory. (I should also say “theory” and “attempt to go back and reread and justify things and make them a little more awesome” are essentially synonymous for these purposes.) It’s the episode where the Monster decides to test both John and Eko simultaneously.

— “?” begins with a vision. Eko is working on his church when he’s visited by the ghost of Ana-Lucia. She starts bleeding in front of him and tells him that he needs to help John. The vision shifts to the Hatch, where Eko is greeted by the ghost of his brother, Yemi, who further reinforces Ana’s claims, tells Eko that he needs to find “the question mark,” and adds that “what is done is done.”

— We know with certainty from later seasons that the Monster can assume the form of dead people whose bodies are on the Island. Ana and Yemi’s bodies are on the Island. It’s also widely theorized that the Monster is able to manipulate dreams. If we accept that, then it’s not much of a reach to say that Monster is manipulating Eko (and later John) through dreams.

— Eko wakes up from his vision and hurries to the Hatch, where, sure enough, Ana-Lucia is dead. He volunteers to go into the jungle with John to find Henry Gale and bring him back to the Swan Station, but he keeps his true purpose to the vest: to team up with John to find “the question mark,” one of the locations on the blast-door map.

— After he has a vision of his own featuring Eko and Yemi, a disgruntled and disenchanted John Locke becomes more open to the idea of helping Eko on his vision quest. The two find “the question mark” at the same site as the heroin plane, and discover that it’s yet another DHARMA station.

— The Pearl, as it’s called, tasks its inhabitants with observing the ongoing activities in the Swan Station. Every single detail of what happens in the Swan needs to be recorded, no matter how trivial. The Swan workers are referred to as “the subjects of an experiment.” The man previously identified as Marvin Candle but now going by Mark Wickman explains, “What is the nature of this experiment, you ask? What do these subjects believe they are accomplishing as they struggle to fulfill their tasks? You, as the observer, don’t need to know. All you need to know is the subjects believe their job is of the utmost importance.”

— Locke’s brief return to having faith in destiny and the Island is shattered by what he learns of the Pearl. Eko, on the other hand, is fully reinvigorated. Their conversation after viewing the newest orientation video is as follows.

EKO: "I believe the work you have been doing is more important now than ever."

LOCKE: "What work?"

EKO: "Pushing the button."

LOCKE: "That’s not work. That’s a joke. Rats in a maze with no cheese."

— EKO: "It is work, John. We are being tested. The reason to do it, push the button, is not because we are told to do so in a film."

LOCKE: "Oh … well, then what is the reason, Mr. Eko?”

— EKO: "We do it because we are meant to. Isn’t that the reason you pushed it, John?"

— LOCKE: "I was never meant to do anything! Every single second of my pathetic little life is as useless as that button! You think it’s important? You think it’s necessary? It’s nothing. It’s nothing. It’s meaningless. And who are you to tell me that it’s not?”

— Eko shows Locke the cross he wears around his neck.

— EKO: "This cross was worn by my brother, Yemi. Yemi was a great man, a priest, a man of God. And because I betrayed him, he was shot, and he died. He was placed on a plane which took off from an airstrip in Nigeria half a world from here. Then, the plane that I was on crashed on this island. And somehow, here, I found my brother again. I found him in the same plane that took off from Nigeria. In the same plane that lies above us now, that has concealed this place. And I took this cross from around Yemi’s neck and put it back on mine, just as it was on the day I first took another man’s life. So, let me ask you. How can you say this is meaningless? I believe the work being done in the Hatch is more important than anything. If you will not continue to push the button, John, I will."

— So, I think there’s a lot to chew on here, if you want to play along with my Monster theory game.

— There are multiple goals accomplished here. One is that the Monster gets Eko, Locke and the others off the scent of Benjamin Linus, one of the Monster’s most valued pawns.

— Another is that the “?” mission puts Locke and Eko together, tests the extent of both men’s faith. The Monster needs to find someone willing to fully devote themselves to a cause … his cause. That’s the kind of person he needs to adopt for his final, physical transformation. Up until now, that person has been Locke. No one has shown more unquestioning loyalty to the island and the notion of destiny than the knife-wielding box man. But Locke’s faith is dwindling, thanks to “Henry Gale” and his manipulative ways; Locke no longer believes that pushing the button makes any kind of sense, no longer believes that he has any kind of destiny.

— Eko is the opposite. Eko is a man who comes from a cynical and violent world. He embraced religion because he had to, because he needed that cover to survive. Even in his flashbacks throughout “?,” you see that Eko knows Christianity, but doesn’t necessarily buy what he’s selling. It’s only now that he’s on the island that Eko is starting to see a greater purpose for himself, his own place in a grand design. And the Monster knows that, having scanned him back in "The 23rd Psalm."

— The Monster gains a couple of things by putting Locke and Eko in the Pearl. If Locke sees the Pearl and his takeaway is, “OK, sweet, the work we’re doing is important,” then the plan can proceed as originally conceived. If Locke has the reaction he ends up having, that all of this is meaningless, then that puts Locke closer to the brink … and puts him on the path of not pushing the button, and thereby destroying the island, an outcome that Smokey would surely support, as far as back-up plans go.

— With Eko, the Monster can basically get the same two reactions. And when Eko says that the button is everything, that’s very good news for the Monster. That means Eko is susceptible to this kind of manipulation. That he’s willing to believe in the unbelievable. That when the time comes, the Monster could put Eko into the position he originally saved for John Locke.

— Because, let’s face it. If you’re the Monster, and you ultimately want to transform yourself into one permanent physical form, whose form would you take: the 50-year-old lifelong loser, or the considerably younger, fitter, and sexier former drug-lord and killer? 

— To recap: the “?” journey is the Monster’s way of (a) getting everyone off of Ben’s trail, (b) testing Locke and Eko’s faith, (c) putting Locke on the path of not pushing the button and maybe-hopefully destroying the Island in the process, and (d) if the island doesn’t blow up, then the Monster now has Eko as his prime candidate for transformation.

— Who really knows if any of that was on the writers’ minds at the time of season two, but you can absolutely go back to these early days of LOST knowing what we know from the end-game, to make these kinds of connections. Fun.

— FUN!

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— Now let’s move onto Michael Dawson and his con in “Three Minutes.”

— There’s no doubt that what Michael did was awful. It was a deplorable act made out of desperation, made with little time to think. But the deed is done, Michael needs to commit, and so he plays the part, lying through his teeth at every turn in this episode.

— But what made Michael so desperate that he would kill two people in cold-blood? I think “Three Minutes” is helpful in putting that together, but the story is greater than that.

— “Three Minutes,” the third episode of LOST to fool around with the flashback format, tells us what Michael was up while he was off in the jungle for two or so weeks. He heads north to find Walt based on his son’s instructions. He’s quickly intercepted by the Others and is just a few feet away from the "Hunting Party" encounter between Friendly, Jack, John and James. After marching for another day and a night, Michael is taken to the Others’ camp, which is pretty much exactly as he describes it in "Two for the Road." The Others are dressed in rags, live in huts, aren’t heavily armed, and they seemingly have a Hatch. 

— The bulk of Michael’s time away from his friends is right here, in this camp. He’s tied to a pole and asked the same questions over and over “for a week.” He believes the Others are going to kill him. He believes his son is not even alive anymore. He’s at a low.

— Then Ms. Klugh allows Michael three minutes with Walt.

— It’s the shortest three minutes ever, but it’s enough. Walt is alive. He’s scared. He wants his dad’s help. Walt breaks away from his guards long enough to hug his bound and captured father. He’s ripped away again moments later.

— MICHAEL: "Let him go! Walt, wait! Let go of him!"

WALT: "I love you!"

MICHAEL: "Walt, I’m going to get you out of here!"

WALT: I love you!

MICHAEL: "Walt, I love you too, Walt!"

WALT: "Let me go! Let me go!"

MICHAEL: "I’m going to get you out of here!"

— And with that, Walt is gone again, and Michael is destroyed. He is absolutely shattered. 

— I mean, think about what this guy’s gone through. A little more than two months ago, Michael finds out that Walt’s mother has died, and that he needs to go to Australia to take custody. This new father and his estranged son are suddenly stranded on a remote island with zero hope of rescue. Over the next 40-odd days, they come together and form a tight bond. They build a raft and leave the island in search of rescue. They’re discovered by a boat, but instead of rescue, they find horror: these people blow up the raft, kidnap Walt, and leave Michael floating in the ocean for dead. The next couple of weeks consist of Michael being held captive by Ana and the Tailies, eventually forming a shaky truce to bring them back to their camp on the other side of the island, and always wondering how the hell he’s going to rescue his son. Finally, he gets a lead, when Walt starts talking to him through the computer. And just as he’s on his way, he’s kidnapped by the Others, and tied to a pole for eight days. He finally gets to see his son for less than three minutes, and the takeaway is that Walt is deathly afraid and needs his father’s help.

— After all of that, are you really surprised that Michael would do anything to save his son?

— Again. You can’t condone Michael’s actions. But you can understand them. He is a desperate, tortured soul, grasping at any possible way to rescue his desperate, tortured child. Freeing Ben and bringing Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer to the Others in exchange for Walt and safe passage off of the Island doesn’t sound like that steep of a price for such a deeply desperate man. Killing Ana was, in the moment, the best and only way he could see to get Ben out of the Hatch. Killing Libby was an after-thought. Michael’s conversation with Eko about Heaven and Hell makes it clear that Michael knows he’s damned himself. 

— Consider Sayid and Jack’s conversation at the end of the episode.

SAYID: "I think Michael has been compromised. Let’s keep walking, Jack."

JACK: "What do you mean, ‘compromised?’"

SAYID: "His actions are not those of a man who is telling the truth."

JACK: "Why would he lie to us?"

SAYID: "Because I believe a father would do anything for his son. Because I believe Michael may have freed Henry. And because I believe he is leading you into a trap."

JACK: "You believe a lot, Sayid."

SAYID: "I also believed that Henry was one of them."

— First of all, mad props to Sayid the Human Bullshit Detector, a man who always detects the bullshit. 

— But as the human bullshit detector, Sayid is a man who gets to the heart of the matter: and he boils Michael’s situation down to its simplest truth. He’s a father who would do anything for his son. Horrible, unforgivable things, yes. But he’ll do whatever he has to to get his son out of this godforsaken place, at any personal cost.

— I love Michael’s story this season. I love LOST.

— We’re up to the two-part season two finale, “Live Together, Die Alone.” I’m gonna go watch it now. You’ll have the blog tomorrow. Then on Thursday, I’ll post my season two recap. We get into season three on Friday.

— Rock on.

NEXT: "Live Together, Die Alone"

PREVIOUSLY: "S.O.S." and "Two for the Road"

WWW | LOST: S.O.S. And Two For The Road

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Murder! Mayhem! Just another day in LOST land!

— “S.O.S.” brings us the flashback episode we were all waiting for since the series began: Rose and Bernard.

— Okay, so it’s not the most necessary episode of all time. There’s really no reason we needed to see how Rose and Bernard met. No real reason we needed to learn about her cancer, her unsuccessful trip to the faith healer, and her miraculous recovery thanks to the island. Didn’t need any of that.

— But that doesn’t mean it’s all worthless. Quite the opposite.

— There’s a lot of color in “S.O.S.” Locke getting frustrated that he can’t replicate the blast door map. Ben loving how frustrated Locke is getting. Locke getting his groove back thanks to a pep talk from Rose, the only Oceanic survivor who knows about his pre-island paralysis. 

— Bernard acting as King of the Red-Shirts, recruiting a whole slew of extras and Hurley and Jin in his effort to create an S.O.S. sign on the beach. He even calls for “that Frogurt guy, the guy who used to make frozen yogurt.” So good.

— Eko and Charlie joining forces to build a church. Even if it doesn’t really go anywhere, the idea of these folks teaming together to build a church — not an S.O.S. sign, nothing that’ll get them rescued, but something that’ll make the stay on the island a bit more pleasant for the soul — is a great one.

— Jack telling Ben he’s going out to the jungle to offer the Others a trade: Ben for Walt. The bug-eyed creep’s creepy reply.

— BEN: "They’ll never give you Walt."

— Jack taking Kate along for the journey. Jack and Kate getting caught in a net. Jack and Kate almost making out on at least two occasions in this episode.

— Michael stumbling out of the jungle, changing the rest of the season in the process.

— No, “S.O.S.” isn’t necessary, but it’s filled with very good and fun stuff. Ultimately kind of forgettable, but completely harmless, and entertaining throughout. 

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— The real meat of today’s rewatch is “Two for the Road.”

— The last stand of Ana Lucia Cortez.

— But before we get to her death, let’s revisit her life, the one she lived with days to go before crashing on the island. After murdering her would-be murderer back in her first flashback, Ana chooses to leave the police force, ashamed of her actions and not willing to face her mother for them. She takes a job as an airport security worker. And in the airport, she meets a man. A man named Christian Shephard.

— Of course, Christian doesn’t give his real name. He goes by Tom, because that’s what Ana names him. And he names her Sarah, presumably based on the name of his son’s ex-wife. “Tom” wants “Sarah” to come with him to Australia to provide security detail, because what he’s doing in Sydney is very dangerous stuff.

— What kind of dangerous stuff, you ask? How about getting super-drunk for four days straight? And drunkenly knocking on the door of his illegitimate daughter’s house at four in the morning? Really risky stuff!

— (Speaking of Christian’s illegitimate daughter, I do believe that’s our first big clue as to the Jack-Claire connection, but maybe I missed something earlier. Either way, love that we’re getting closer to that storyline.)

— Ana is fed up with “Tom,” and decides to leave him in Australia. She calls her mom, the two reconcile, and Ana decides to head home to Los Angeles.

— Ana never gets back to Los Angeles. She crashes on the island, and she relapses. She hardens again. She gets more blood on her hands. Goodwin. Shannon. She tries to do some good through her interactions with Ben, but the prisoner turns the tables on her, tries to choke the life out of her, calls her a killer. Locke saves her. But the damage is done: Ana’s thirst for vengeance is restored, and she goes off looking for a gun.

— Gotta love the jungle love between Sawyer and Ana. Even if you’re not a fan of Ana-Loo-Loo, it’s a fun moment, and it makes you wonder how many other island hook-ups have occurred off-screen. Probably a bunch. I’ll stop right now before I start writing fanfic.

— Anyway, Ana gets her hands on Sawyer’s gun (there’s no way of conveying this information without sounding dirty so let’s be adults and move on please), returns to the Hatch, and plans to use it against Ben. But she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger. That part of her, it seems, really is gone.

— Before we get to the finale, let’s back up a little bit.

— So, Michael. He’s back. Jack and Kate bring him back to the Hatch following the conclusion of “S.O.S.,” and when he wakes up, he tells the gang what he saw during his time away: he found the Others’ village, discovered that they live in tents, eat salted fish, and are “worse off than we are.” He also says the Others have a hatch of their own.

MICHAEL: "They keep it guarded 24/7. Two guards, two guns, and two guns is all I saw. They’re barely armed. Most of them are old and half of them are women. I wanted … I couldn’t save him. So I came back to tell you. Tell you that we can take them. As soon as I get my strength back, I will take us back there, and we are going to get my boy back."

— He says that last part with such conviction, and you know he means it if you know what’s coming next. And honestly, he’s not lying. As soon as Michael gets his strength back, he does indeed take Jack and Kate to the Others, and he does indeed get his boy back. 

— Michael’s words move Jack and John into action. They go to Sawyer to get the guns back, and it becomes clear that one of Sawyer’s guns is missing. Sawyer pieces together that the gun is now in Ana’s hands. 

— Now, to the climax.

— Michael and Ana sit in the Swan Station. Ana says she can’t kill the prisoner. Michael says he’s happy to do it. He convinces her to hand over the firearm and to give him the combination to the lock. Once he has everything he needs, Michael stops and stares at the gun in his hands for a good several seconds. 

— MICHAEL: "I’m sorry."

— ANA: "For what?"

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— A beat. Michael slowly lifts his head to gaze upon Ana. A split-second later, he raises the gun and aims it at Ana. He squeezes the trigger. The bullet hits her directly in the chest. Ana stares down at the gunshot wound in knee-jerk disbelief. She doesn’t have time to process what’s happened. She’s gone within seconds.

— Michael stands there in shock. His hand shaking. His eyes wide, his jaw clenched. Several more seconds pass, before Libby walks into the room, holding blankets that she planned to bring back to the beach for a picnic lunch with Hurley.

LIBBY: "Michael?!"

— Immediately, Michael swivels around and fires off two more shots, striking Libby in the abdomen. Horror and sorrow and pain all over Libby’s face as she drops to her knees.

— If this were ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, Michael’s next line could very well be, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

— Michael wears an unmistakable look of regret, shock and panic on his face. Regret because there had to be a better way. Shock because he had the resolve to do what he felt he needed to do to save his son. Panic because there’s precious little time to complete the next steps.

— And so regret and shock and panic give way to something else. It gives way to anger, hatred, and determination. Anger and hatred for what he’s done, for what he’s had to do. Anger and hatred for Benjamin Linus, for the Others, for what they’ve done.

— Determination, because now that the horrible deed is done, he needs to commit and follow through.

— So Michael wears all of these faces as he approaches Ben, raises the firearm one more time, and blasts a round into his own shoulder.

— I don’t support Michael’s actions. But I understand where they come from. And I applaud Harold Perrineau for sinking his teeth into such a difficult scene, layering it with so much emotion with just a few looks and just a few seconds to do it all in. Michael the Murderer is a controversial figure on LOST, but I also think he’s a fascinating one, a fully-formed, three-dimensional character, owing less to the writing and much more to Perrineau’s powerful performance.

— And with that, we’re in spitting distance of the season two finish line. Only two days left to go in the season. We’ll take tomorrow off because of Memorial Day, but when we come back, we’ll dive immediately into Eko’s quest for the question mark and Michael’s life-changing three-minutes. The day after that, we’ll live together or die alone with the two-part Desmond-centric season finale. And after that, we’ll pause for one day to reflect on season two, before hurtling into season three … the season I have previously declared the very best LOST season of them all.

— Exciting times.

NEXT: ”?” and “Three Minutes”

PREVIOUSLY: "Lockdown" and "Dave"

WWW | LOST: Lockdown and Dave

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Today was an amazing day for the LOST rewatch. No spoilers. Just read.

— Let’s start with “Lockdown.”

— By now, if you don’t know how I feel about John Locke, then you must be new around here. I love this man. I love his arc. He is the best character on LOST, and I will not entertain any arguments to the contrary. 

— But I do love Benjamin Linus. I love Jack Shephard. I love James Ford. I love Kate Austen. I love Hugo Reyes. I love Sayid Jarrah. And all of these people get fantastic moments in “Lockdown.”

— “Lockdown” picks up immediately after Benjamin requests milk for his cereal. His request is denied. Might have something to do with what he said about leading Sayid, Ana and Charlie into a trap if he really was “one of them.” Jack and Locke toss him back into his cell, and Jack runs off to see if he can’t catch Ana before it’s too late.

— Of course, it is too late. Ana and pals left a day ago. But with Jack making a rare appearance at the beach, folks take the opportunity to ask the doctor about some medical concerns. And it dawns on Jack that he’s missing something critical: medical supplies … all of which are currently in Sawyer’s hands. So, Jack decides to get them back the only way he knows how.

— Through poker.

— The poker game is so silly, especially since Jack was supposedly in high-alert mode, looking for Ana to make sure she doesn’t get killed. He gives up on that idea fairly quickly, doesn’t he?

— Who cares. It leads to some great exchanges between Jack and Sawyer. Jack deciphering Kate, Hurley and Sawyer’s hands with very little trouble. Sawyer asking Jack to “put your mango where your mouth is” and play some poker. Kate asking if she needs to “go get a ruler” when Jack and Sawyer start acting too macho. Jack planting the seeds about his time in Thailand. Sawyer talking about his time in Tallahassee. Jack beating Sawyer for all the meds with a pair of nines. Sawyer asking why he didn’t bet for the guns. Jack’s response.

— JACK: "When I need the guns, I’ll get the guns."

— Have I mentioned before that I love it when Jack beats Sawyer?

— Meanwhile, in the Hatch, Locke starts hearing weird noises over the PA. The blast doors come down with just over 45 minutes to go before the button needs to be pushed. Locke needs extra man power to help get the doors open. There’s only one person to turn to: Minnesota’s twerpiest balloon enthusiast, Henry Gale.

— John and Ben are one of the best character combos on the show. There’s a reason why Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson tried to create a show with each other so quickly after LOST ended; they chew on scenery together like few others can. “Lockdown” is a showcase for their mutual talent. It’s also the last time John and Henry will be nothing but John and Henry.

— Locke and Benry get the door wedged up. They put a toolbox in there to keep it open. Locke tries to slip through. The door crushes the toolbox and crushes Locke’s leg. Ben has to go in through the vent to push the button. Before that, he falls and hits his head, just as the four-minute warning starts blaring. He’s back up and running with seconds to go before the timer counts down to zero. The lights go down. New lights come up, and the blast door looks like this.

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— So much to examine here. I don’t have nearly enough time. The level of detail speaks for itself anyway.

— The blast door eventually lifts, the normal lights are back on, and it turns out that Ben hasn’t left John behind, even though he had every right and opportunity to. Instead, he helps him back on his feet, and the two share a moment of … I don’t know if friendship is the right word, but some level of companionship, some level of trust.

— And then Jack, Kate, Sayid, Ana and Charlie burst into the Hatch, holding Ben at gunpoint.

— BEN: "Couldn’t you find my balloon?"

— ANA: "Yeah. We found it."

— SAYID: "We did find your balloon, Henry Gale. Exactly how you described it. We also found the grave you described … your wife’s grave. The grave you said you dug with your own bare hands. It was all there. Your whole story, your whole alibi… it was true. But still I did not believe it to be true, so I dug up that grave. And I found that there was not a woman inside. There was a man … a man named Henry Gale.”

— Sayid shows Ben a license. An African-American man named Henry Gale is pictured. The artist formerly known as Henry Gale straightens up, turns his gaze upon Jack, and, well, there ya go.

— Shout-out to Locke’s flashback. The dissolution of his relationship with Helen. The return of Anthony Cooper. It’s funny; in his own way, Cooper is actually trying to make amends with John for what he did to him, I think. There’s no con here, not against John. Anthony’s just such a poisonous force of nature that his very presence is what fucks John up. Sucks.

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— Okay. Speaking of “sucks.” Let’s talk “Dave.”

— In my first Watching With Wigler post, I made my feelings on “Dave” clear. All bad episodes of LOST are better than no episodes of LOST, with the exception of “Dave,” which I remembered being pretty shitty.

— How did it hold up this time? I’ll recount the experience.

— First observation. This episode is 46 minutes long, and doesn’t have a skippable “Previously On.” Considering my feelings on “Dave,” and considering I was already a little over 40 minutes into my workout, I was not pleased about this.

— Then Hurley shows Libby his secret stash of food and she convinces him to throw it all away. I was getting very angry watching him rip up his food and toss it all over the jungle. Who cares if people are going to get mad at you? That’s still food everyone can eat! Don’t be a dick!

— Then the rest of the survivors discover the palette. There’s more food. And Hurley starts to lose it. He loses it so much that he starts seeing his imaginary friend, Dave, again.

— I’m not an Evan Handler fan. Like Michelle Rodriguez, I find something about him grating. I think that my memory of Handler in this episode is why I remember disliking “Dave” so much. But the first time we see Dave on the island, he says nothing. Just stares at Hurley in the creepiest way possible. It’s pretty sinister when you view the character as a personification of self-destruction. I can roll with this.

— We cut to the Hatch. John’s on bed-rest because of his leg. Jack is examining him. There’s a hairline fracture and he won’t be able to walk for weeks. Jack asks Kate to go get the wheelchair from the beach. Locke throws away the suggestion. He’s starting to crack.

— Meanwhile, in Ben’s room, Sayid and Ana are interrogating the man they now know to be an Other. Ben tells them that when he and his “search party” found the real Henry Gale, he was already sticking out of the balloon, his neck cracked. Sayid shows Ben a dollar bill found in the real Henry’s wallet, with notes that prove Henry was alive on the island for a time. Another of Ben’s lies exposed. Sayid sticks a gun in his face and gives him to the count of three to start giving some real answers. The count winds down and Sayid pulls the trigger, but only misses because Ana pushes him out of the way. 

— Let’s just be clear about that. Sayid was going to shoot Ben right in the face. That’s crazy.

— Meanwhile, Hurley is still on the hunt for Dave. He chases Dave through the jungle. He comes upon Charlie, helping Eko with his secret project. 

— HURLEY: "Did either of you see a guy run through here … in a bathrobe, with a coconut?"

— CHARLIE: "Nope. Saw a polar bear on roller blades with a mango, though."

— Awesome.

— Later, Hurley goes to Sawyer and asks for some calm-me-downs. Sawyer, who is busy eating DHARMA Oreos (but just wants the white stuff), asks why he needs the meds. Hurley says he’s starting to see a person who isn’t real. Sawyer pretends to see the person, but is just yanking Hurley’s chain.

— And then Hurley hulks out on Sawyer, destroys his tent, and unleashes a torrential downpour of big-dude-rage upon the confidence man. The rage is only broken up when Jin steps in and somehow pulls Hurley off of Sawyer.

— Let’s just be clear about that. Hurley kicked the snot out of Sawyer and could only be stopped by Jin. That’s amazing.

— Hurley, ashamed of his eating habits and fearing that he’s going crazy, decides to pack up his stuff (peanut butter included) and go off to the caves to live alone. Libby implores him to stop, but he refuses to listen.

— HURLEY: "I’m just going to live alone and be one of those guys. You know, the crazy guys, with a big beard and no clothes who’s naked and throws doodie at people."

— Awesome.

— In the Hatch, crippled Locke speaks with Henry. He wants to know why he infiltrated the Oceanic survivors. He thinks the Others wanted to find the Swan Station.

— BEN: "This place? This place is a joke, John."

— LOCKE: "What are you talking about?"

— BEN: "I crawled through your vents and I stood at your computer as the alarm beeped. And you know what happened? The timer went all the way down to zero, and then some funny red pictures flipped up in its place. They looked like hieroglyphics, but I’m no expert. And then things got real interesting. There was a loud clunking and a hum like a magnet — a big magnet. It was really very frightening. And you know what happened next? Nothing happened, John. Nothing happened at all. Your timer just flipped back to 108. I never entered the numbers. I never pressed the button."

— LOCKE: "You’re lying."

— BEN: "No. I’m done lying."

— Spoiler: he’s not done lying.

— Spoiler: Ben is really getting under Locke’s skin.

— In the jungle, Hurley encounters Dave again. Every time he closes his eyes and opens them again, Dave remains. In his flashback at Santa Rosa, we learn that Dave is not real. He’s a representation of a part of Hurley that wants to be punished, that believes he’s responsible for causing a deck to collapse and kill two people. A part of him that wants him to be fat forever. And on the island, Dave tells Hurley that all of this is in his head. He’s still at Santa Rosa. The island is completely imaginary, and the only way to get off is to jump off a cliff.

Eko waited 40 days to speak. Ana waited 40 days to cry. And Hurley waited a little more than 40 days to crack.

— These people are stranded on an island, away from everyone and everything they know and love. There is no obvious hope for rescue. There are monsters in the jungle. There are murderers and thieves in the jungle. People have died. Things are bad.

— Of course Hurley, a man with a history of mental illness, is going to buckle under that pressure eventually.

— It takes a little bit of love to get him away from the cliff. A passionate speech from Libby. A kiss. It’s a tender moment. The kindest gesture Hurley’s received since being on the island. And it puts a smile on your face.

— Then we flashback to Santa Rosa and see that Libby is there, not as a clinical psychologist, but as a crazy person. That’s crazy.

— I’m assuming that I only watched “Dave” the first time it aired. I know I’ve skipped it on multiple rewatches. I’m now guessing that I skipped it on all of my rewatches.

— Because having revisited it today, I actually like “Dave” quite a bit. Not an A+ effort, but no worse than a B. And a B for “Dave” is the biggest surprise I’ve encountered during this entire LOST rewatch.

— I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

— I fucking love LOST.

NEXT: "S.O.S." and "One for the Road"

PREVIOUSLY: "Maternity Leave" and "The Whole Truth"

WWW | LOST: Maternity Leave and The Whole Truth

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Someone called the doctor on the latest round of our LOST rewatch project. Let’s scrub in.

— Today brings us a great pair: “Maternity Leave” and “The Whole Truth.”

— Both episodes are focused on mothers: Claire, flashing back to her final days of pregnancy and her time with the Others, and Sun, discovering on the Island that she’s pregnant with … someone’s baby.

— “Maternity Leave” is an epic episode. It’s the first since "The Other 48 Days" and the second of the series to mess around with the flashback format. Rather than showing us what Claire’s life was like off the island, the flashbacks reveal what happened to Claire during her disappearance in season one. The answers are extraordinary. 

— We see Claire bonding with Ethan, appearing much sunnier and more supportive than we’ve ever seen him. Of course, we know better than Claire does; this guy is bad news. When Claire asks Ethan whatever happened to Charlie, he responds, “Charlie? Oh, he’s fine. When we got far enough away from camp, I let him go back.” THAT’S ONE WAY OF PUTTING IT.

— But even if we know what Ethan’s all about, it’s fun to see William Mapother bring another, friendlier side to the character. He’s still creepy as hell, but it’s a nice effort.

— Claire’s flashbacks also introduce us to a beardless Mr. Friendly, and provide our first sighting of Rousseau’s daughter, Alex. We find ourselves another DHARMA Station, the Staff, one of my favorites. There’s theatrical glue and fake beards in the lockers. Problems with pregnancies on the island and the Others’ great interest in children expanded.

— Lots to chew on here, in other words.

— And that’s not even talking about my man Henry Gale, who has some terrific scenes in this episode. Jack and John are in the Swan’s kitchen, debating what they should do with their prisoner. “How about you let me go?” Henry calls out from behind closed doors. Just one example of Michael Emerson’s great comedic delivery. 

— There’s Eko and his whole apology to Ben for killing two men his first night on the island. There’s Eko taking out a knife and leading both Ben and the audience to believe that murder is imminent. There’s the split-second where you think Eko’s going to slice his own throat open. Then he just chops off his two little beard nubs. I’ll miss those nubs.

— And then there’s Ben’s final scene of the episode. His first major manipulation of John Locke. The two discuss Dostoevsky and Hemingway’s rivalry, with “Henry” leaning more on the side of Hemingway.

LOCKE: "Well, Dostoevsky had his virtues, too. He was a genius, for one. Bullfighting isn’t everything."

BEN: "So, which one are you?"

LOCKE: "…I’m sorry?"

BEN: "Are you the genius, or are you the guy who always feels like he’s living in the shadow of a genius?"

LOCKE: "I … I was never very much into literary analysis."

BEN: "I just don’t understand why you let the doctor call the shots."

LOCKE: "No one calls the shots. Jack and I make decisions together."

BEN: "Right. Okay. My mistake."

— And then Locke leaves the room, goes into the kitchen, and breaks all the dishes. Just the first of many times Benjamin Linus is going to get under Locke’s skin.

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— Indeed, right off the bat in “The Whole Truth,” Locke is taking Ben’s words to heart. He meets with Ana Lucia to tell her about their prisoner in the Hatch. He wants her to talk with him, to get to the truth of the matter, to speed things up. He wants Henry out of his Hatch and he wants it done fast.

— In fact, John wants this done so badly, he doesn’t even consult with Jack until after the fact. He lets Jack know that he wants to bring “new blood” into the equation, and that he’s got Ana in mind. Jack says he’ll talk to her. Locke says he already did, and she’s in there with Ben now. The doctor isn’t pleased.

— But Ana is capable of more than Locke realized. She convinces Benry to draw a map to his balloon in the jungle, and she leaves without telling John or Jack about it. Instead, she recruits Sayid and Charlie, and the three of them go on an expedition to find the balloon and determine whether or not this man is lying once and for all.

— The Ana, Charlie and Sayid road-trip is pretty splendid. Charlie’s already starting to perk up a little bit, thanks in large to his bro-time bonding with Sayid. Ana tries to make amends with Sayid for what she did to Shannon, but she finds that effort isn’t necessary.

SAYID: "You were trying to protect your people. It wasn’t you that killed Shannon; it was them. And once we find out he is one of them, then something will have to be done."

— (A) That’s very gracious of Sayid and just one more reason why I love that dude so much, and (B) Sayid reeeeeeeeeeeeally wants Ben to be an Other so he has someone to kill. Never forget that Sayid is a human bullshit detector, so of course he knows Ben is lying; this trip to the balloon is just a formality.

— The end of the episode gives us our best John, Jack and Ben moments to date. Jack enters Ben’s cell to find him reading.

BEN: “‘Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain.’ So what’s the difference between a martyr and a prophet?”

JACK: "Either way, sounds like you end up dead."

BEN: "That’s the spirit."

— Haunting words that hold great importance for the future of John, Jack and Ben.

— But not nearly as flashy as the episode’s final scene. The breakfast nook. Ben eating a bowl of milkless cereal. He confesses that he drew a map to his balloon for Ana. This is the first John and Jack are hearing of this. Ben exploits the opening.

BEN: "Wow, you guys have some real trust issues, don’t you? I guess it makes sense she didn’t tell you. I mean, with the two of you fighting all of the time. Of course, if I was one of them, these people you seem to think are your enemies … what would I do? Well, there’d be no balloon, so I’d draw a map to a real secluded place, like a cave, or some underbrush. A good place for a trap, an ambush. And when your friends got there, a bunch of my people would be waiting for them. And then they’d use them to trade for me.”

— John and Jack exchange a look of panic.

BEN: "I guess it’s a good thing I’m not one of them, huh?"

— The panic continues.

BEN: "You guys got any milk?"

— SMASH to credits. One of the best endings of the series to date.

— All of that and we haven’t even mentioned Sun! So let’s do that quickly. It’s her flashback and we learn that Jae Lee is the one who taught her English. We learn that Sun and Jin tried and failed to get pregnant. Jin thinks it’s on Sun, but Sun learns from the doctor that it’s Jin who is infertile. Then we get the impression that Sun and Jae Lee might start a thing. Then we learn that Sun is indeed pregnant on the island. But how can that be if Jin’s infertile and Sun’s never been with another man? “It’s a miracle,” Jin reasons. Well … maybe.

— I love Jin and Sun in this episode. Sun struggling with her secret, and still not divulging the “whole truth” by the hour’s end. Jin struggling with his inability to “talk to anyone” on the island, his loneliness, his isolation. The two of them coming together stronger than ever. Sun telling Jin she loves him, and Jin returning the words, but in English. Powerful stuff, man. Gotta love the Kwons.

— Alright! Up next, Ben’s secret is revealed, and we get to another episode that I usually skip over. Hoping I enjoy it more this time around since I haven’t seen it in years and years.

NEXT: "Lockdown" and "Dave"

PREVIOUSLY: "The Long Con" and "One of Them"

WWW | LOST: The Long Con and One of Them

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Happy anniversary! Three years ago today, LOST came to an end. But even though the story’s over, the legend lives on … and what better way to celebrate than with a Watching With Wigler blog?

— It’s fitting that on this day, we arrive at one of the most important character introductions of the series: a man named Henry Gale.

— But before we get to the arrival of everybody’s favorite Other (other than Juliet, Ethan, Mr. Friendly, Goodwin and pretty much every Other other than Pickett), we turn to “The Long Con.”

— A Sawyer episode. In fact, we’re repeating a sequence here. Season one presented the first Charlie, Sawyer and Sayid flashbacks back-to-back-to-back, in that order. Their first (and only) set of season two episodes also occur in that order. You know how I feel about Charlie’s season two ep. How do these other two fare?

— Much, much, much better than “Fire + Water,” thank Jacob. Both of these episodes are fantastic counterpoints to that miserable hour of television. “Fire + Water” wanted to bring Charlie back to his core as an outsider with a secret, but it did so in a miserable way. “Long Con” and “One of Them” both succeed at presenting versions of Sawyer and Sayid that are closer to the darkness they embodied at the beginning of the series, thanks to compelling stories and execution.

— When I got to the big twist in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, I was floored. I had no idea what was coming with Christian Bale’s character, and it took me a minute to process the revelation, even though, in retrospect, it was staring me in the face the entire movie. Similar deal with “The Long Con.” When I saw this episode the first time, I didn’t see Sawyer coming. I didn’t think it was Ana Lucia responsible for bagging up Sun, but I never even considered that James Ford was pulling a fast one on his fellow survivors.

— But the devil’s in the details, and the details are set up right at the outset of this episode. The first time we see Sawyer in “Long Con,” he’s giving Charlie heat about his “Fire + Water” lunacy. Seconds later, he’s getting in Jack’s face, because the doctor is going through his stash. Sawyer warns Jack that he needs to back off. Jack doesn’t listen. And because a tiger doesn’t change his stripes, this tiger strikes, preying on the paranoia of people like Jack and Locke and Ana and even Kate, getting himself a whole stash of guns in the process.

— What I really didn’t see coming was Charlie’s involvement. And I’ll give “Fire + Water” this much: it put Charlie in a place where he could pull off some seriously dark shit in the coming episodes. The fact that he bagged up Sun and dragged her through the jungle — while she’s pregnant, no less, though he doesn’t know that yet — all because he wanted to humiliate Locke for punching him in public … that’s sort of great. 

— So, Sawyer has all of the guns now, putting him on everybody’s shit-list once again. I can dig it. At his core, Sawyer doesn’t want to be liked, because he doesn’t like himself. He’s fueled by that kind of thing. I buy his reasoning for wanting to get his hands on the group’s most powerful assets to keep himself ahead of John and Jack, and to keep other people from putting him on a pedestal.

— The episode is even better because it’s filled with Sawyerisms. Let’s get into the best ones.

— Sawyer and Kate are discussing whether or not it was actually one of the Others who went after Sun. “How’d she get away?” he asks. “The woman doesn’t weigh 100 pounds soaking wet.”

— KATE: "She was fighting for her life. People are capable of almost anything."

SAWYER: You couldn’t get away. You versus Sun in a hot oil death match? My money’s on you, Sheena.”

— Later, others are putting pressure on Jack to bust out the guns and start tracking down Others. Sawyer watches all this from a distance, and Kate asks him what’s going on.

SAWYER: "It looks like the good folks of Island Town are about to form a posse … get themselves armed up. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack didn’t find that horse of yours and start leading the charge in a big white hat."

— Later still, Sawyer is manning the button in the Swan Station, while Locke is off hiding the guns. Jack comes in demanding to know what’s going on. Sawyer, casually inputting the numbers, cuts him off.

SAWYER: "One second. I’m this close to the high score on Donkey Kong."

— Since the episode is called “The Long Con,” and long cons are a big part of LOST, I want to quickly go over how Sawyer describes the concept of the con to Cassidy.

CASSIDY: "A long con. How does it work?"

SAWYER: "It works by getting someone to ask you to do something like it’s their idea, but it’s not their idea. It’s your idea. But none of that matters because the one thing you need for the long con, we ain’t got. Money.”

— You could sub out “money” with a whole lot of other words, and Sawyer would be describing exactly what the Monster is up to with Locke … and, I would argue, with Eko.

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— Okay. While we’re on the subject of confidence schemes, it’s now officially Henry Gale time.

— You know, for the longest time, I couldn’t adjust to calling him Ben. He was Henry. Henry Gale from Minnesota. And that’s a testament to a few things. One being that the Henry character is so good, so compelling when you don’t know what’s coming next. The other being the name itself, a Wizard of Oz reference, is just fun to say. 

— Of course, nowadays, we think of him as Benjamin Linus without blinking an eye. And now he’s here. One of the most important characters on all of LOST. More than that, one of the most repeatedly beaten-up characters on all of LOST, and his debut episode is no exception. When we first see him, he’s caught in one of Rousseau’s net traps. When he’s cut free, Rousseau shoots him through the shoulder with a make-shift bow-gun. When he’s brought back to the Hatch, he passes out from the pain of having the arrow removed from his shoulder. When he’s locked inside the armory with Sayid, he spends the rest of the episode on the business end of Sayid Jarrah the Torturer’s torture tactics. It’s a brutal, bloody introduction for one of the most brutal and bloody characters we’ll meet on the show. Seems more than fitting.

— I’m so happy that we have three more episodes of Henry without concrete confirmation that he’s an Other. It’s amazing to watch how fast Ben can come up with a lie. He thinks so quickly on his feet. Every line Michael Emerson spits out comes with such conviction, and it’s all bullshit. You can almost feel his brain on the cusp of explosion with all the fabrications he’s spouting out. It’s such good stuff. 

— Beyond the Gale of it all, there’s a lot to like in “One of Them,” including the origin of Sayid as a torturer, the introduction of Kelvin (love me some Clancy Brown), the fact that Juice from Sons of Anarchy is in Sayid’s flashback (yeah, I know, I couldn’t believe it either!), Sawyer trekking through the jungle with Hurley all because he wants to kill a loud tree frog, the timer reaching zero and turning into scary red and black hieroglyphics, the continued battle between Jack and John … so much to like.

— Also, in “One of Them,” we see Sayid hanging out with Kate’s dad. In “The Long Con,” we see Kate’s mom serving Sawyer. Always love it when those flashbacks come together.

— More Henry Gale tomorrow, plus the discovery of a new DHARMA station. Good times.

NEXT: "Maternity Leave" and "The Whole Truth"

PREVIOUSLY: "The Hunting Party" and "Fire + Water"