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Quartet of Strangers Encounters Those Confirmed Dead on "Lost"

Wow. I told you last night's episode of Lost ("Confirmed Dead") was a doozy and I teased you with some intriguing clues about wedding rings and long-awaited questions from the castaways.

So what did we learn? For starters, quite a bit about the new character's backstory as well as their connection both to the dead Naomi and to Matthew Abbadon (who again, with his non-blinking ways, terrified and intrigued me in equal measure). Unlike the risible intros of doomed castaways Nikki and Paolo--who quickly became fodder for the island death pool--the intro of the four strangers was handled with precision, grace, and just the right balance of mystery and revelation.

So who are these four new characters? Let's take a look at what we know about them so far.

Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies): A physicist who quickly discovers that light doesn't "scatter" properly on the island, perhaps uncovering a clue as to how the Others/natives managed to stay nearly "invisible" in the jungle. Just why was he so emotional distraught upon finding out about the crash of Oceanic Flight 815? Is he empathic or was he just drawn to the plane for another reason? Curious. Still, he seems the most approachable of the quartet that has crash-landed on the island and his flashback was the most simplistic. Or was it?

Dan's namesake, Michael Faraday, was a physicist who researched electromagnetism and his discoveries led to the creation of Faraday cages, enclosures which can be used to block radio and electromagnetic waves. Huh, just like the island...

Kate and Jack discover some cargo from the downed helicopter that contains some gas masks and red bags (possibly containing chemicals/gas?). Was Dan lying when he said he wasn't in charge of packing? Were these items part of the quartet's plan to dispose of Ben... and anyone who got in the way?

Miles Straume (Ken Leung): What the hell is up with Miles? It definitely appears that he has the ability to commune with the dead, as seen in his flashback (replete with ghostbusting hand-vac/cold-air dispersal unit) when he communicated with a woman's dead grandson and uncovered a stash of drugs and cash (which he kept for himself) and when he speaks to Naomi's ghost (unseen) to confirm Kate's story about how she was killed.

The uber-aggressive Miles' name could be a play on maelstrom. It's unknown whether he has any scientific background (my answer: no) but his skills obviously made him a valuable addition to the team assembled by Abbadon and overseen by Naomi.

He's beyond crazed when he learns that Juliet Burke wasn't on the plane (though his flashback also reveals a passing connection to the plane crash, news of which he hears on the radio) and shows her a photo of Ben, the real reason for their presence on the island. Just where did this pic of Ben come from? And why is Miles so damn angry all the time?

Charlotte Staples Lewis (Rebecca Mader): An English cultural anthropologist seemingly obsessed with Oceanic Flight 815 (she even pauses in a desert sandstorm to read a French newspaper about the downed flight's "discovery") who uncovers the skeleton of a polar bear in Tunisia... a discovery even more shocking when she also finds a Dharma Hydra collar buried in the rock and sand. Was this a Dharma base as well? How did the polar bear get from the island to Tunisia? And didn't it seem as though it had been buried for quite some time? (There it is again: time.)

Charlotte seemed the most genuinely sympathetic of the group until she started asking questions about Locke's group. She seems particularly interested in Claire's baby and whether Aaron was born on the island... all the while not even seeming to look at Ben. Until he shoots her. Lucky for her, she was wearing kevlar. But her attitude quickly changes as a shadow passes over her face: the reason they are here is for Ben. But he knows all about Charlotte and has a man on her boat. (Minkowski perhaps? Regina?)

Charlotte is already a favorite (though I do wonder how much more I'd even like her if Kristen Bell had ended up playing her).

Her namesake? British writer Clive Staples Lewis, a Christian apologist and author, best known of course for The Chronicles of Narnia. Like Charlotte, he too attended Oxford University.

Frank Lapidus (Jeff Fahey): An alcoholic professional pilot with the most tangible connection to the crash: he was meant to have been piloting Oceanic Flight 815 the day it crashed on the island. His flashback reveals that, after dropping a toy plane into a fish tank at a travel company in the Bahamas, he is drawn to television footage of the plane's discovery in the Sunda Trench and notices that the alleged corpse of mustachioed pilot Seth Norris (our Greg Grunberg) wasn't wearing his wedding ring. Suspicious, he calls the NTSB's Oceanic hotline and speaks to a supervisor (who sounds a lot like Abbadon) and tells them what he knows.

On the island, he managed to land the helicopter safely after all three passengers bailed out. He seems to have memorized the passenger manifest of Oceanic Flight 815 and recognizes Juliet's name as one that WASN'T on the list. Uh-oh...

Lost Literary Allusion of the Week: Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Loved that Sawyer--back to using nicknames again--called Locke Colonel Kurtz, after Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now, itself based on Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Classic.

I also loved that Locke finally asked the question we've all been dying to ask: what is the black smoke monster? Of course, Ben claimed that he didn't know but did say that he knows things about the island, things that they need to keep him alive to learn. Of course, Locke is taking orders from "tall ghost Walt" so we'll see if he's merciful, especially after getting shot by Ben.

Concidence that Ben shot Locke where he doesn't have a kidney (thanks to his villainous conman father)? Or fate?

Still, why does Locke need to go back to Jacob's cabin? And did you see how both Locke and Ben were perturbed by the fact that Hurley seemed to know about the cabin? It's Twilight Zone music time...

Next week on Lost ("The Economist"), Kate and Sayid attempt to find Locke and negotiate with him into calling a truce when they learn that Charlotte may be the key to getting off of the island.


Bill said…
So I had a mini-argument with a friend I watched the episode with about Charlotte. I was under the impression that she was acting with Locke's group. She seemed cold and unfriendly in her flashback, and she definitely seemed to know something was up with flight 815.

But when she ran into Locke and friends, she was friendly and seemed genuinely surprised that there were survivors. And she seemed still friendly after Locke cut off her transponder and tied it to Vincent, which I'd think would have just about anyone else freaked out and angry.

I dunno, my friend seemed to think she was somehow clueless to the Ben-centric mission and the plane hiding conspiracy, but I just assumed she was acting to throw them off.
Anonymous said…
So far, I really love the four new characters. Each of them seem to have their own mystery. I really want to know why Daniel was crying when he saw the news coverage about Oceanic 815.

So happy that Locke finally asked about the "monster" (even though we didn't get an answer) and also though it was hilarious when he said he'd been talking Walt...but taller. Hopefully we'll get to see Tall Walt soon!
Anonymous said…
I'm sorry, but this feels like Nikki and Paolo all over again. It's a bummer because -- for the most part -- I really like the actors they've cast, but at this point I'm too invested in the Losties and The Others to get myself wound up over the backstories of an entirely new group of people. Perhaps if we saw only the new arrivals' interactions with the show's core group of characters, I could have gotten behind this episode more, but last night I felt like I was watching what LOST detractors have said this show has become. An enterprise that is treading water. Please let next week's entry is better.
Anonymous said…
So KB was supposed to play the Rebecca Mader part? Interesting. I really like Rebecca Mader. I am glad they let her be British. Her american accent is so-so.

When Faraday said he was a physicist, I said (quite loudly) to my friends, "Imagine that! He's a PHYSICIST and his last name is FARADAY!"

CS Lewis - oooh, good one.

I thought it was another great episode. I am so glad this show is back.
rockauteur said…
Maybe Michael is the man on the boat....

Also what is the timeline in terms of when Oceanic was found?
alison said…
If you follow the timeline from (the online game where you find the wreckage), it happens right around or before christmas. where are we on the island?

I thought this espisode was just what we needed. Everyone complains about no answers, but we would be disappointed if Ben just blurted out what the smoke monster was. We watch for the suspense and the roundabout ways that we have to figure things out.
I love the new characters and season 4 is so far living up to expectations!
rockauteur said…
A.Rein -

I think you misunderstood me... I understand that Day 94 - when the episode took place - is near Christmas Eve 2004.

My real question was - when was the wreckage found in relation to the events on the island? What day on the island does that correspond to? Since it would obviously take a while for Abbandon to put together the team and send a freighter out to those waters.

Was it upon the discovery of the survivors by the Others? After Walt was abducted? After Claire gave birth? That's the question I want to know.

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