Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lassie! Timmy's in the well! Oh, wait...that's John Locke.

Like BSG, Lost is firing on all cylinders right now, chalking up another stellar eppy with last night's "This Place is Death."

And sadly, the title turned out to be true for the character who uttered those words. Yes, Losties, our dear ginger, Charlotte Staples Lewis, finally succumbed to the nosebleeds and time travel sickness that's been eating at her all season. Rebecca Mader did a fantastic job with her swan song, giving us a look at someone who's destiny caught up with her and who eventually began to unravel mentally and physically. The close up on her piercing blue eyes and blood stained face was horrifying as she gasped the episode title, and haunting as her last words trailed off with a remembrance of a time long gone, "I'm not supposed to have chocolate before dinner.''

But before she put another notch on the island's scythe, she did give us a few tidbits of information, some know, some not:
  • She was born on the island.
  • Her mom and dad were part of the Dharma Initiative, but dad freaked out and mom took her off the island when she was young. She went into archaeology to try and make sense of it all, and get back to the island.
  • She knew where the well was, and apparently, that it served some other significant purpose. (Who knew there was a damned mystical well?)
  • She spoke Korean. (Which Miles did not, as he pointed out in the episode's best line:
  • “Uh... he’s Korean. I’m from Encino.” Of course, Charlotte had my second favorite line, when Daniel followed up and asked her what other languages she spoke: “Just Klingon.” Oh dear Charlotte, how I'll miss your saucy, geeky ways.
  • A scary man from her youth told her ''Leave the island and never come back." She thinks that man was Daniel. Hmmmm.
  • And of course, when they are having the conversation with Jin about Locke bringing Sun back to the island: “Don’t let them bring her back...this place is DEATH!"
So what do we make of (presumably) Dan's past warning to Charlotte? Is this something that, in a sense, he's already done? Or something he will do? If he's already done it, does this help burnish his belief that you can't change the future with visits to the past? Or if he does it in the "future," does this mean that he's changing his mind and will attempt to change the timeline in order to protect Charlotte? (Or, could he have sent/send "unique" Desmond back to give the warning? After all, when Des is all bearded up, he could look like Faraday to a small girl, especially one with time travel sickness retrieving past memories). I still don't think we, the viewers, have a good handle on exactly "what" Daniel has done or will do, "why" he's doing it, and even more importantly, "when" he's done (or is doing) it.

Other thoughts, comments, quotes and questions from "This Place is Death:"

Who were Charlotte's parents? Will we know them, and will they be significant in the mythology?

Welcome back Smokey! Well, I guess those theories that Widmore might have chopped off Montand's arm were for naught. The good ole' Smoke Monster did it, while the French crew and Jin tried to save him from being drug into Smokey's lair. Holy shit. HIS ARM WAS RIPPED RIGHT THE FUCK OFF. There went any chance of Montand doing push ups other than Jack Palance style. And how creepy was it to hear Montand beckoning his mates down into the cave? (In addition to being a cranky-sounding, arm-ripping, body-smashing poof of amorphous death, Smokey is also good at ventriloquism. I think his Charlie McCarthy act with limbless Frenchmen might work in Vegas. I'd forsake Wayne Newton to see that). We also heard the "chain pulley" noises very prominently during the whole attack. Still no clue exactly what Smokey is, but he does appear to "reside" in that cave prominently marked with hieroglyphics (which resemble those on the countdown clock in the hatch).

Also, after their experience in the cave, the rest of Rousseau's crew were affected with "the sickness" that made them into homicidal nutters, and they (or at least Robert) referred to Smokey as the "security system".

Now here's what keeps cooking my noodle. I seem to ponder this after each and every episode where our Losties interact with someone in the past, and go back and forth with fellow Lost addict (and Dawgs fan!) Scott in the comments here and on his blog. What are the "rules" for remembrance and interactivity when a "present" Lostie converses with someone in the past? Take the Jin/Danielle scenario. Let's assume the timeline was linear before the spin of the frozen donkey wheel. We know Rousseau told us all about the sickness. The "dark territory." Smokey. The lost arm. The tower. She knew all of these things prior to encountering any 815ers. She didn't seem to know Jin on that linear timeline, because Sayid was the first 815er she met, and she didn't recognize Jin in any other outings with our 815ers. But now, with the time travel and flashes, she has met Jin in the past. How exactly does this work? If Danielle was alive NOW, would she suddenly have a dream (a la Des's hatch conversation with Dan) and then recall these "altered" past events, but only in the "present?" I guess we'll never know, because well, Danielle is island fertilizer. But if on the "original" timeline, Jin was NOT there, then who stopped her from going in the cave after the rest of the crew? Someone or something did, because she didn't get the sickness. And it was apparent she was determined to go in there after Montand, only stopping because Jin made her think about her baby. (Also, if the theory sketched above is the working theory on the show, there are some holes. Check out the comments for last week's eppy for a discussion on that). Okay. Head hurts. (Nose isn't bleeding though. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice).

I guess we know what happens to those "left behind" when our Losties move through time: Danielle tells Jin "I saw you disappear!"

Sun apparently isn't the awful parent we thought she was, as we saw her interactions with Yi Jeon. And Yi Jeon isn't dead, or kidnapped. (Still, "fuck yeah!" for 100 channels, french fries and mini-bar. Box o' chocolates handgun optional).

Sawyer: “You just HAD to say something.”

There was a nice moment when Juliet thanked Locke for trying to help them. Lord knows, not many people send John Locke a Hallmark card for many of his efforts, and that was nicely and warmly underplayed by both O'Quinn and Mitchell.

Sawyer holding a rope doing straight into the ground? Awesome. Bone sticking out of Locke's leg? Shudder.

"Next thing you know, he'll be talking about a submarine." Hee.

So is Smokey's lair the same "temple" Richard wanted to go at the end of last season? The one he referred to as the "last safe place on the island?" It appears so, and coupled with Ben's "control" (or ability to summon) Smokey, it seems The Others have some type of relationship with good old Smokey.

Why is Sawyer's nose bleeding? The quick succession of flashes catching up to everyone, including Daniel now, too? And now that Locke has played Mr. Goodwrench and gotten the wheel back in alignment, are we (or more accurately, our island folks) through "flashing" through time?

The moment when Sawyer recognized Jin was fantastic, and worth a couch fist pump.

"Since when did listening to him get you anywhere worth a damn?"

Ben driving the "reincarnation van" with Sun and Jack cracked me up. "What I'm doing is helping you. If you had any idea what I've had to do keep you safe, to keep your friends safe, you'd never stop thanking me." I thought he was going to turn around and smack them, and tell them that unless they pipe down, they are NOT stopping at McDonalds for a Happy Meal on the way home!

Christian: “Say hello to my son.”
Locke: “Who’s your son?!”
AWESOME. Nice symmetry there, too, since Christian got (back?) to the island in a box and is now apparently roaming around in a ghostly haze, and John is "destined" to arrive on the island the same way.

What do we make of that little encounter outside the church basement of Eloise Hawking, who we all now know to be Daniel's mom? Desmond's greeting, “Are you looking for Faraday’s mother, too?” produced another enigmatic reaction from Ben, once again (as always) beautifully played by Michael Emerson. Did Ben not know that Hawking was Dan's mum? Did he not expect Des to know this? Did he not expect Des to show up, looking for Hawking at all? Also, we should keep in mind that I don't think Des knows the whole freaking backstory (or any of it) between Widmore and Ben. Interesting.

And will Hawking recognize Des?

Finally, what the hell do we make of Hawking's attitude about Ben's gathering of the O6ers? Earlier this season, she was all "they must ALL come back, or it's the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!" Now, she's like "Eh, you got a couple. That'll do."

Wow. Mind Blown. Again.



  1. Yeah, I just watched it again. My mind is still blown.

    And, to continue our ongoing discussion...did you notice that Charlotte said she JUST remembered that crazy man who told her she couldn't come back to the island? Wonder why she didn't have that memory before? Maybe because the conversation JUST happened? Maybe Daniel is breaking his own rule and trying to change the future by going back and warning young Charlotte?

  2. Yes, she did say that. But wouldn't that mean that Dan wouldn't be with her in their current timeline, and instead, actually separated physically from her, and back in time telling her younger self not to come back? Or is there some "delay" in the remembrance, and that Dan actually did go back in time to warn her (Perhaps on his trip that we saw when he was in the cave with the wheel) and she's only new remembering it? Do we know that Des/Dan were in the same (supposed) linear timeline, when their conversation suddenly appeared in Des's memory? I think there's a thread of something here, but we just can't put our fingers on the "rules." And dear god, I hope they do have some "rules" that line up and make sense when all is said and done. I think that Dan has some understanding of the mechanics of how this is supposed to work, and of the "rules," but despite that, he is probably trying with his heart (vs. his head)to try and save her.

  3. Or...Daniel from some point in the future goes back and warns young Charlotte, and the conversation she's having as she's dying is in the middle of that timeline. I hope I'm explaining that like I'm seeing it in my head...wish I could draw a picture on this thing.

    Bottom line is, I think you're right...there are rules regarding it, and maybe they'll lay it all out for us at some point and maybe they won't. It's certainly not taking away any of my enjoyment of the show...I actually enjoy my travels down these wormholes of logistics, so even if they don't spell it all out for us at some point I'm enjoying the storytelling device.

  4. Is this kind of what we're talking about?

  5. I don't know if that link worked. Maybe this one:

  6. Yep, that looks about right. And in the Daniel/Charlotte example, Daniel would go from some point in the future back to when Charlotte was a child. Then, the encounter they had as Charlotte was dying would be somewhere in the middle of the timeline.