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Incense and Peppermints: The Castaways Get Oriented on "Lost"

"Wha-huh?"

Last night's episode of Lost ("Namaste"), written by Paul Zbyszewski and Brian K. Vaughan, filled in some of the blanks between the Oceanic Six's disappearance aboard Ajira Airways Flight 316 and the resurrection of John Locke and featured the reunion between Sawyer and the time-tossed castaways and the Oceanic Six. (And, yes, between Sawyer--here posing as Jim LaFleur--and Kate.)

It also featured one hell of an amazing emergency landing, courtesy of pilot Frank Lapidus, on the Hydra Island's runaway. Hmmm, which Ben oversaw the building of just a few seasons back. Coincidence? I think not.

So put on your Dharma jumpsuit, grab an Apollo bar, and let's discuss "Namaste."

The Landing. I thought that this was handled remarkably well and, given that we're talking about episodic television and not a feature film, the special effects were great. Frank knew enough to know that lightning does strike twice in the same place and, having seen the Oceanic Six aboard the plane, knew that something was bound to happen. Which is a good thing that he was piloting this plane, as he was possibly one of the only people with a level enough head to land the tin can on the runway he spots... and not be distracted by the fact that it's suddenly daytime and they're about to crash into an island that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Instead, Frank proves why he's the coolest pilot in the business, not only landing the plane but attempting to keep the survivors of Ajira Airways calm and under control... and not wandering about the island.

Which makes me wonder if that's why Frank was prevented from flying Oceanic Flight 815 in the first place. He was meant to pilot that flight but was replaced by Seth Norris but he didn't fly that original flight... and therefore stayed alive, so he could fly Ajira Airways and manage to land the plane more or less safely. Did the island keep him alive so that he'd be able to complete this mission? Curious.

And did Ben authorize the building of the runway back in Season Three, when Kate and Sawyer were tasked with clearing the field before its construction? And if so, did he know that its use would be required in the future by Ajira Airways Flight 316? Was this part of Jacob's plan all along?

Sun and Frank. I don't know why but I just love these two together. The way that Sun called out for Frank immediately after the crash left me with a little sense of frisson. I loved that he followed her into the jungle and how awesome was it when Sun took out Ben with a paddle after he told her what she needed to know? (I think I literally cheered.) It seems clear to me that Sun knew that it was the smoke monster rustling in the bushes and making those noises... because it was pretty blatant that it was. But why did she lie to Frank about it being an animal? And just what destroyed the dock and the barracks? Was it the smoke monster? Keamy's men when they invaded the barracks in Season Four? Or something else altogether? And why didn't Sun travel back to 1977 with the others? (That more than anything else is intriguing me.)

Christian. Once again, Christian is there with a literal lantern to light the way for the castaways, stepping out of the darkness with some answers for Sun and Frank... who seem a little too uncurious who this guy is, what he's doing in a ruined town, and why he seems to know much more than he's letting on. Loved that he showed them the 1977 Dharma Initiative orientation photograph, which depicted their missing friends. And he rather mysteriously tells Sun that she has "a bit of a journey ahead" for her. Just how will Sun and Frank be able to travel back to 1977? And will they be taking Locke and Ben with them? Or will they be turning the wheel in order to bring the others back to the present-day? I'm leaning towards the latter as I don't see the entire season playing out in the 1970s, as much fun as it is to see the groovy Dharma Initiative. And it's hardly a coincidence that Christian appears just after Sun saw the smoke monster. Just how are these two connected? Christian seemed to be flesh and blood and was able to hold the photograph so he's not a materialization of the monster. Did the monster go and get his master when it saw some visitors? Hmmm.

The Cabin. Why did the door of the cabin blow open so mysteriously? And did anyone else see a split-second shot of a little girl or a woman standing behind Sun in the shadows? Creepy. Just who was she and what was she doing there? Did she open the door? Is she a manifestation of the monster? Or something else altogether?

Ethan. So Amy and Horace's son is Ethan, after all. I'm not sure that this quite works with the timeline established (but if there's one thing that flexible on Lost, it's the timeline) as it would make Ethan in his twenties during the events of Season One... and actor William Mapother is clearly NOT in his twenties. So is there another jump through time that messes up the timeline? And why does Ethan become an Other when his parents are seemingly in charge of the Dharma Initiative? Hmmm. Did Ben not kill everyone off? Were some members of the DI absorbed into the Others? Or could this give credence to my earlier theory that Amy herself is a plant from the hostiles within the DI? Curious.

Jack. Love that Jack is assigned the role of Workman within the Dharma Initiative as his aptitude tests pointed towards skills in that area. Which means that Jack will likely be working very closely with Roger Linus, Ben's father, whom you'll recall was also assigned to the Workman designation. (And the look of horror on Jack's face when he was told that he had an aptitude for custodial work? Priceless.) Meanwhile, he's clearly chafing against the fact that Sawyer is now in charge of their merry band of castaways and he's not quite the leader he thought he was. Yes, he got them off the island... but not all of them and they're back now.

Sawyer. I am really enjoying the fact that Sawyer has finally found his own leadership role within the group and has excelled, in fact. Both he and Jack spin lies in order to protect those people in their charge, but while Jack's ends up nearly destroying each of the Oceanic Six's souls, Sawyer seems to have carved out a comfortable life for himself and the other castaways within the Dharma Initiative. I love that he has an ease with Juliet that was completely missing from his life, now wears glasses, and reads a book before bed every night because he heard that Winston Churchill did the same thing in order to get him to think. Does Kate's return to the island complicate things? Youbetcha. Just the way he looks at Kate longingly from his front porch in the night speaks volumes about his unresolved feelings for her... and while likely lead to some serious issues between him and Juliet. (Which makes me quite sad as I do love the two of them together.)

Sayid. If there's one person who could destroy everything that Sawyer has worked so hard to build as Jim LaFleur, it's Sayid Jarrah. Sayid, unlike the others, is wandering the jungle and sets off a 14J alarm within the Dharma Initiative's perimeter. Jin finds him but is forced to claim him as a hostile in front of the irritatingly shrill Radzinsky... who then locks Sayid up in the Flame's pantry. I'm not really sure how Sawyer is going to talk his way out of this one. Getting Jack, Kate, and Hurley on the sub manifest was hard enough (and Phil was definitely suspicious of Kate), so I don't see how he's going to be able to let Sayid stay. After all, his presence at the barracks is a clear sign that the truce between the Dharma Initiative and the hostiles has been broken. And what Sawyer doesn't know is that Sayid is a changed man from when they last met: he's been through hell and back and killed numerous men for Benjamin Linus. His worldview is perhaps hopelessly skewed now and he's dangerous as all hell. This does not bode well.

Young Ben. While it was hardly a reveal that the young boy who brings Sayid a sandwich was Ben Linus, I do like the fact that the people he encounters (other than the cell-bound Sayid, who is identified as a hostile) are Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer: the four people whom he instructs Michael to bring to him on the dock back in Season Two. It's hardly a coincidence that these are the very same people who manage to infiltrate the Dharma Initiative in the 1970s... and likely points to the fact that they will be leaving them under some mysterious circumstances in the near future.

Faraday. Just what happened to Faraday? Why is he "no longer there"? And just when was Daniel involved with the construction of the Orchid Station? And what happened between that event and the arrival of Jack and the Oceanic Six? Very strange... Could Faraday have suffered another nervous breakdown? Did he run off? Or was he taken?

Radzinsky. No wonder this guy killed himself in the Swan. Just from the little bit that we saw of him in this episode, Radzinsky seems to be a nasty piece of work, prone to throwing his authority around in front of Jin and affecting a superiority around just about everyone, including Sawyer/LaFleur. Loved that he was working on a model of our beloved Swan Station (complete with geodesic dome!) but I am now confused as to why he would have created the map of the stations on the Swan blast door. To pass the time? To try and remember something? Because he was going mad? If the Orchid was build on the site of the massive energy source of the frozen donkey wheel, why did the Dharma Initiative build the Swan right on the electromagnetic site? Or, rather, chicken-and-egg time: did they build the Swan and the button because of the EM? Or did the EM exist because of the Swan and the button-pushing? Why was Radzinsky so scared that someone would see the blueprints/design for the Swan? Curious.

Pierre Chang. So is this Marvin Candle's real name? Throughout the series, he's been addressed as Marvin Candle, Edgar Halliwax, and Pierre Chang, but this is the first time we actually see him interact with the castaways in the flesh... and he is a whiner. He's unhappy about the disorganization within the Dharma Initiative with their files and speaks of some problems. Oh, and moans that because Amy had her baby the night before, he has to fill in and do the orientation and greeting with the new recruits. Very curious to see just what role Pierre/Marvin/Edgar will play in the coming weeks.

All in all, "Namaste" was an intriguing installment that offered some answers to some of the series' most recent mysteries while also seemingly setting the stage for some major drama next week. (It helps now that the castaways seemingly know as much as we do now.) After all, there's only so long that things can stay happy and mellow in the groovy 70s before the darkness creeps in.

What did you think of this week's episode? Any theories on Ethan, Christian, Frank, or the smoke monster? Discuss.

Next week on Lost ("He's Our You"), things begin to unravel when Sayid goes rogue, endangering the lives of everyone on the island; Juliet issues a warning to Kate.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Right now I can't remember when, but I have this feeling it was mentioned that not all members of the DI were killed in the Purge - that some turncoated like Ben. Now if only I could remember where it was said... or if my brain just made that up this whole time...
Anonymous said…
The popular theory about the half-seen woman in the cabin is that it's Claire which makes sense as she's been seen with Christian before last season. Maybe she opened the door? Or they're both smokey the monster?
Anonymous said…
The door appeared to be opened by Smokey. I wasn't sure, but we backed up to watch it a few times... Definitely some smoke that dissipates quickly. Maybe it's Christian's backup?
rockauteur said…
I did appear at first that the smoke monster opened the door, but then after watching it a second time, it appeared to just be fog and rain... (though it could have been black smoke)... The girl in the background could be Claire - it would defintiely make the most obvious sense.
Anonymous said…
Argh! I totally missed the girl in the shadows! Will have to go back and watch again when I get home. (Thank goodness for Tivo!)
Anonymous said…
I read Jack differently--more bemused than angry at being assigned janitorial duties, rolling with the punches Sawyer landed regarding Jack's prior leadership, not getting his back up at anything (well, maybe briefly, once, when he reminded Sawyer that he had gotten the O6 off the Island). He goes through most of the episode with a half-smile--you can see it both in his eyes and around his mouth. He's clearly been changed by the experience of his last month or so, and underlying everything is a clear delight at being back on the Island. (Am I right that Jack was one of those who saw the Swan orientation film in season 2? He clearly seemed amused to encounter Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang). I enjoyed the new Jack in this episode almost as much as I enjoyed the new Sawyer in LaFleur.
Anonymous said…
I wasn't that crazy about this episode. I thought the plane crash at the beginning was brilliant and really enjoyed the scenes with Sun and Frank but the rest of the episode felt pretty stagnant.

The problem was that we, the audience, knew more than most of the characters. We had to sit patiently while Jack, Kate, and Hurley learned that it was 1977, that their friends were working for the Dharma Initiative, that Sawyer and Juliet are together, etc. It wasn't a bad episode but it have the same momentum as the episodes proceeding it.
Shaun said…
I think Sun did not go back to 1977 because when she left the island, she was pregnant. Since she did not bring her daughter with her, she was different. It could also have something to do with Aaron not coming back. Mrs. Hawking told them if they did not bring back everyone, the results could be unpredictable.
Anonymous said…
Anyone else hear the numbers coming through the radio as the co-pilot was trying to issue the Mayday call? Such a small detail, but I loved it when I heard "15, 16..." as they were landing.
Anonymous said…
i don't even know whats going on these days
Anonymous said…
@cheyne What is there to be confused about? Plane went down, the O6 went back in time to 1970s where Sawyer and others are part of Dharma, the rest of them crash landed in 2008. End of story, no?

@michpils I heard it too but it's weird b/c didn't they turn of Rousseau's distress call ages ago? Or is it a case of the radio waves still bouncing around?
Rebecca said…
The woman in the cabin behind sun has red hair not blonde, could it be charlotte??
Anonymous said…
Early in the season we see Daniel Faraday on a work crew building the Swan station when Pierre Chang comes to check on a hurt worker if I'm remembering correctly. The question now is if Daniel is on a work crew for the Dharma Initiative or if he was infiltrating the Dharma Initiative for the Others (Hostiles).

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