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Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #5

Last night's episode of Lost ("Lockdown") turned up the suspense and drama as writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse gave us some new mysteries to ponder while simultaneously drawing others to a close. This week, Jack and Sawyer discover a mutual interest in card games, Ana-Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie go on a stroll in the jungle, and Locke bonds with the captive. Oh and the station seems to go crazy. Almost forgot about that.

Picking up where we left off last week, Ana-Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie continue to hunt for their prisoner Henry Gale's smiley face balloon, following a map that he drew. A map that might just lead them into a trap. However, the troika manages to find the balloon, caught up in the trees, exactly where Henry told them it would be. And just beneath it, a marked grave where Henry said that he buried his wife after she died. So then Henry Gale isn't an Other, right? His story checks out. Well, more about that later...

Meanwhile, back at camp, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer play poker, using mangos and bananas as collateral. Jack drops by and seems to know a hell of a lot more about cards than Hurley. He's supposed to get back to the hatch but Sawyer wants to play a few hands and Jack agrees, promptly kicking his butt. Sawyer wants to know where Jack learned to play and he says it was in Phuket. Sawyer is smart enough to know that it's a resort town in Thailand and asks if that's where Jack got his tattoo (you know, the HUGE one on his arm with the number 5 and a lot of, er, stuff around it). Jack quickly changes the subject (I am sure there is a story there) and wants to play Sawyer for all of the medicine that he took from the station's armory. (Surprise, Jack wins.) But shouldn't he be at the hatch...?

Speaking of the hatch, Locke discovers some sort of weird noise coming from the station's speakers as a female voice begins to count down out of nowhere. As her countdown reaches zero, the station's blast doors slam down around Locke, trapping inside the living quarters. But Clever Locke quickly slides a crowbar under one of the doors before it hits the floor as the lights begin to flicker. Henry wants to know what is going on out there and Locke finally has to tell him that they are trapped inside... and he needs his help. Locke frees Henry and says that he needs his help. But if Henry helps him, Locke has to promise that no matter what Ana-Lucia finds in the jungle Locke will protect him. Locke asks who he is and the prisoner replies that he is Henry Gale from Minnesota. Locke believes him and promises protection.

Together they manage to use the crowbar to gain leverage of the blast door and slide the toolbox underneath, forming an opening wide enough for someone to slip through. After all, someone needs to input the numbers into the computer and they don't have much time. Locke starts to slide through the opening but the blast door crushes the toolbox, pinning Locke in the gap and crushing his leg. Henry slips a stack of barbell weights underneath the door, but Locke is trapped and the numbers are counting down...

This week's flashback focuses on Locke's past, but if you were finally expecting a resolution to the storyline where we finally find out what caused his paralysis, this is not the episode for you (come on now, it's not even sweeps!). When last we saw Locke in the past, girlfriend Helen (guest star Katey Sagal) gave him an ultimatum: he has to choose between his no-good father (the one who conned him and stole his kidney) or her. It's no contest as Locke chooses Helen and they settle into a life together. As he prepares a picnic to propose to her, Helen discovers an obituary in the newspaper for Locke's father. They put their romantic picnic on hold to attend the funeral, where Locke spies two suspicious gentleman and a white car that drives off as soon as the ceremony comes to and end. The car belongs to his not-so dead Papa, who once again is trying to pull one over on someone. In this case, it's those two gentlemen, whom he stole $700,000 from in a retirement con.

Papa wants Locke to go obtain the $700K from a bank safety deposit box and bring it to him at an airport motel; Locke can keep $200K as a sort of apology for, you know, stealing his kidney. Locke goes to the bank and obtains the cash (from safety deposit box 1516, naturally; it wouldn't be a flashback without some appearance from the numbers). But when he returns home, those two gentlemen are there with Helen and they are mightily ticked off. They ask Locke if he's seen his dad since his death and force Locke to empty his bag. Not finding the money, they leave but their intent is clear: they are watching him. Helen wants to know if he lied to those men, but Locke lies and says no, he was just scared.

Locke takes the cash to Papa but says that he doesn't want any of it; that's not why he did this. Papa can only shrug. He's got a plane to catch. But before they can leave, Helen angrily confronts Locke at the door, slapping Papa across the face, and saying that she thought that she and Locke were past all of this. She runs off and Locke chases after her pleading with her. He proposes to her, telling Helen that he loves her, but she turns him down and drives off, leaving him on one knee in the motel parking lot as Papa just climbs into his cab and leaves. Poor Locke. But we're still no closer to solving how he got in that wheelchair than before. Unless it has something to do with those two men from earlier... Hmmm.

Lost Coincidence of the Week: When Locke checks around that client's house for structural integrity and mold, the woman he is working for is none other than Nadia (Andrea Gabriel)... Sayid's lover from Iraq who was presumed dead. But apparently, Nadia is alive (the feds were telling Sayid the truth after all) and is busy purchasing a new home and starting a new life in America. Wonder if Locke will ever see that photo Sayid is carrying around...

Meanwhile, in the present day, Locke remains trapped under the blast door, his leg wedged into the gap between the door and the floor, as the computer klaxon begins to sound. His only hope is for Henry Gale to climb into the air duct above the pantry and enter the numbers into the computer. After memorizing the numbers (a little too easily, if you ask me), Henry attempts to climb up onto the (now-bare) pantry shelves and hoist himself into the duct but falls and blacks out. Locke goes crazy and tries to rouse him but time is running out. Henry comes to and climbs into the vent as the final alarm begins to beep menacingly. There's no sound from Henry as Locke sweats it out. And then the familiar sound of the counter flipping back to its starting position. But then something different happens than usual. The station's lights go out and in the living quarters a bluish light (black light?) comes on, illuminating a hidden glyph on the wall: a mysterious map. (See below for screencap and translation of the map, via the Lost... and Gone Forever blog.)

From what I can gather, it shows the six Dharma stations pointing inwards to a large question mark, something at the center of it all. The six stations are arranged in a circular pattern around this question mark, themselves inside the familiar I Ching shape of the station symbols. What could it mean and where does it lead? But before Locke can get any closer to deciphering its meaning, the lights come back on and the blast doors rise up. Injured, Locke drags himself into the computer room, calling out to Henry. There is no sign of Henry anywhere. Just as Locke begins to think that Henry escaped, he steps out behind him and helps him to his feet. Locke didn't really think he just leave him there? Locke is relieved. Meanwhile, I am not so sold...

Jack makes his way back to the hatch when he is surprised by Kate, who was hoping to take a shower at the station. Realizing that Kate can't see Henry Gale, Jack makes up a lame excuse about the water being contaminated due to a cracked pipe somewhere. Kate is suspicious but believes him. As he offers to walk her back to the beach, they notice a flashing light from inside the jungle. Following the light, they discover a large parachute in a clearing, hooked up to a supply drop containing, among other things, Dharma Initiative brand macaroni and cheese.

What does this mean? It means: (1) that the Dharma Initiative is still very much active, (2) that they are continuing to drop off supplies at pre-designated times, (3) that this explains how the hatch has a brand-new washing machine and drier and those nifty new Eames chairs from Design Within Reach that Locke stood on earlier in the episode, and (4) that the Others are most likely Dharma Initiative operatives themselves.

As Kate and Jack ponder the meaning of the parachute, they are surprised by the appearance of Ana-Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie returning from their quest for the balloon. They tell Jack that they did find the balloon but also something even more curious. Back at the hatch, Henry helps Locke recover from his injury as the group bursts in. Sayid draws his gun and orders Henry to back away from Locke, who tries to explain that Henry is helping him. Sayid throws Henry against the wall and says that they found his balloon, exactly where he told them where it would be, and the grave of his wife, which he said he dug with his own two hands. But, Sayid still wasn't convinced and he dug up that grave and, guess what, it didn't have a woman in it, but it did have a man. A black man, in fact, who still had his wallet and his identification.... identification for one Henry Gale, resident of Minnesota. Which means that our guy is definitely an Other.

Next week, on an all-new Hurley-centric episode of Lost ("Dave"), the big guy begins having visions of his friend from the mental hospital, attacks Sawyer when he calls him crazy, and turns to clinical psychologist Libby for help; the castaways fight over the food; the Other-Formerly-Known-as-Henry-Gale refuses to tell Sayid where the Others are ("He'll kill me!") but provides some new insight into the hatch.

What’s On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Panama--Exile Island (CBS); Will & Grace/My Name is Earl (NBC); Smallville (WB); Extreme Makeover: Home Editon (ABC); That '70s Show/The Loop (FOX); Everybody Hates Chris/Love, Inc. (UPN)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC); Supernatural (WB); American Inventor (ABC); The OC (FOX); Eve/Cuts (UPN)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Primetime (ABC)

What I’ll Be Watching

9 pm: My Name is Earl/The Office.

Unfortunately, Everybody Hates Chris is a repeat this week. But over on a new episode of My Name is Earl ("Boogeyman"), Earl terrifies a young boy when he hides under his bed. Oh that wacky Earl, always causing trouble.

Meanwhile, a half an hour later on NBC-should-thank-their-lucky-stars-to-have-this-comedy The Office ("Michael's Birthday"), Michael gives the Dunder Mifflin employees a real treat when he takes them all out ice-skating... to celebrate his own birthday. How depressing... is that really the only way Michael can get anyone to his own birthday party? What am I thinking? It's Michael Scott we're talking about. Of course it is.


Anonymous said…
I love that I click that I am an "other" when leaving a note.

I thought this was going to be the ep where we finally find out how Locke was paralyzed. Thought he got shot by the two men, or something. I was a little bothered that John would think he could go to the bank and the motel unnoticed. But then again, back then he wasn't really the sharp-minded Locke he is today.

I didn't recognize Nadia. Thought that scene was a little weird, like something was important. Very interesting....

That ending was amazing. Gave me chills.

Do you think that the lockdown and the dropping of the supplies happened at the same time?

That ep was so juicy. So many great things. And great character stuff with Jack & Sawyer.
Jace Lacob said…
LOL about clicking that you are an "Other."

I had figured that it was the episode about Locke losing use of his legs, but then I looked at the calendar and realized that we weren't in sweeps...

It took me a second to recognize Nadia, but the flashbacks ALWAYS (especially lately) use characters from the other castaways' lives, so I was trying to pay special attention.

I didn't even think that the lockdown and supply dropoff could be related, but you raise a very valid question. Perhaps the blast doors are supposed to prevent the hatch-ers from leaving during the supply drop-off? To prevent them from contacting the plane? The timing is too coincidental and they DID happen at roughly the same time. But why did no one see/hear the plane?
Anonymous said…
Michael sunk to new lows in this week's Office ep, didn't he? -- bringing a box of donuts and then standing next to it in the kitchen while waiting for people to come by -- so sad. :)
Jace Lacob said…
Tanster, I totally agree with you about this week's episode of "The Office." Michael was so pathetic that you had to feel bad for him. The doughnuts, the trip to the skating rink, etc. But worst was his feeling that Kevin's possible skin cancer was stealing the spotlight away from what should have been a national holiday, in his mind.

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