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Messages in a Bottle: LOST Thoughts #11

OH. MY. GOD.

That's really all I could formulate after seeing last night's second season finale of Lost. Over two of the most stressful, tense hours of television (take that, American Idol!), we saw the return of Desmond (and a few other familiar faces), learned what really caused the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, and left half of our beloved characters in some serious peril.

First things first: the sailboat. The beautiful little sailboat (named Elizabeth, from Newport Beach) that appeared in the castaway's ocean backyard last week did in fact end up belonging to poor Desmond, who's been attempting to sail away to Fiji for the last few weeks, only to end up right back at the island. And apparently he's been drunk the entire time.

Down in the hatch, Locke and Eko fight over the continued pushing of the button. Eko believes that it is the most important work in the world, but Locke thinks that it's all a joke. With the counter at four minutes, Locke won't let Eko push the button and the two struggle. (Oh, Locke, when will you learn?) Eko punches Locke and forces him out of the computer room, managing to push the button in time. Whew. While Locke goes and cries in the jungle, where he's spotted by Charlie who, with a rather sadistic satisfaction, tells him that his fellow button-pusher Desmond has returned and maybe Locke would like to join him for a drink. Locke rushes off to the beach.

Jack and Sayid launch a plan to use Desmond's boat to gain an advantage over the Others who are expecting them. Sayid will sail around to the north side of the island and surprise the Others in their camp and then light a signal fire to alert Jack to make his way to the shore. Jack and his ragtag group follow Michael into the jungle and fortunately Jack was smart enough to give Michael a gun, but he doesn't give actually load it with any bullets. (Too bad that Michael realizes this way too quickly.) In the jungle, they encounter a HUGE green bird--like a falcon or something--that swoops down from the trees. Hurley is convinced that the bird was saying his name, but no one actually confirms this. What they do encounter is two people following them on the opposite side of the stream they're walking along. Kate alerts Sawyer and they start firing at the strangers, killing one of them. (I found this sequence really oddly rushed and poorly done, strangely enough. Were these two people Others? Why were they very obviously following them like this? Why didn't we even see the face of the person they killed? Or the one who ran away?)

The gang is concerned that the stranger who got away will alert the Others to their arrival, but Jack says that they already know that they're coming, as they were warned by Michael. Michael plays dumb for a little while but finally cops to the fact that he's been compromised (to use Sayid's phrasing) and that he had to do it in order to get Walt back. Hurley sadly asks if he killed Ana-Lucia and Libby and Michael says that he had no choice, there wasn't any time. But if there had been time, he still would have done it... As for why he needed the four of them, he tells them that the Others had made a list and their names were on it. I half-expected Hurley to punch Michael's lights out, but instead he just says that he's turning around and heading back to camp, but Jack won't let him. They've come this far and, for all they know, the Others could kill them if all four of them aren't present. Reluctantly, Hurley reconsiders.

The Lost Flashback of the Week belongs, aptly enough, to Desmond, who in his three episode-appearance on the show has managed to shake things up quite a bit. We first see Desmond as he's dishonorably discharged from the British military and released from prison. (His full name, I should note, is Desmond David Hume, an allusion to philosopher David Hume, a contemporary of John Locke who believed that all reality was relative and could in fact be someone's imagination.) He's handed very few items as he's released: a photograph of himself with a beautiful woman (we've seen that before) and a copy of Charles Dickens' novel, "Our Mutual Friend." Desmond says that, having read all of Dickens' work, he saved the novel to be the last thing he reads before he dies.

The Lost Literary Allusion of the Week: "Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens, naturally. "Our Mutual Friend" is widely regarded to be one of the more difficult works that Dickens produced and centers around the effects of money. At the book's opening, a man named John Harmon is en route to "receive his inheritance, which, according to his father's will, he can only claim if he marries Bella Wilfer, a beautiful, mercenary girl whom he has never met. However, before he can arrive, a body is found in the Thames and identified as him. The money passes on, instead, to the Boffins, and the effects spread throughout various corners of London society." (FYI, it's actually a fantastic story about greed, assumed identities, murder, revenge, and coincidental meetings of diverse characters. Hmmm....)

Upon leaving the prison, Desmond is sidelined by the owner of a rather lovely luxury car. It's Caleb Nicholls! Oops, I mean Charles Widmore (aha!), owner of the Widmore company, makers of home pregnancy tests, construction supplies, and underground island bunkers, perhaps? Widmore tells Desmond that his relationship with his daughter Penelope is over. Penelope is getting married and he made sure that she never received a single one of Desmond's prison letters to her (he hands them back in a box to Des) and tries to give Desmond a large amount of cash to stay out of Penelope's life.

The first of many Lost coincidences this week: Desmond runs into a rather floofy-haired Libby at LAX and they meet cute when Desmond only has British pounds in his wallet and can't pay for a coffee. They sit down and Desmond tells Libby about his plan to win a race around the world in order to gain back his honor. While there's a cash prize at the end, the real key is to win the money from the race's sponsor, Charles Widmore, who took away the only thing he ever loved. Now the only thing he needs is a boat. Libby sadly tells the story of her late husband, who died a month earlier, and how he had bought a boat and named it after her (yes, I had wondered if she was the Elizabeth the boat was named after). She gives Desmond the boat and he says that he is going to win this race for love.

Desmond arrives at a sports stadium one evening to do some running and (ding ding) we see Jack get out of a neaby car as well and begin jogging. But another car pulls up and out steps... Penelope Widmore (guest star Sonya Walger). Desmond wants to know how she found him. Penelope says that given the amount of money and resources at her disposal, she could find Desmond anywhere. (Aha!) She's obviously still in love with Desmond and wants to know why he never wrote to her from prison. Desmond won't answer her and instead asks when her wedding is. Penelope says that they haven't set a date. Did he ever read "Our Mutual Friend"? (Interesting.)

Meanwhile, Sayid attempts to set out on the sailboat and asks Jin for help sailing. When it's time to depart, Jin shows up... with Sun, who refuses to be separated from her husband. Besides, Sayid will need a translater and it will take the two of them to sail the boat. Sayid says that Desmond did it fine on his own, and Sun replies, "Look at where he ended up." (Zing!) The threesome set off for the island's north shore, but along the way, they encounter a rather ominous sight: a giant foot of what must have been an enormous Lord of the Rings-style statue, hundreds of feet tall. All that remains is that one foot. Sayid's not sure what worries him more: what happened to the statue... or why that foot only has four toes. Creepy! The boat makes its way around the shoreline to that familiar hole in the rock formation. Sayid gets out and furtively makes his way to the Others' camp, where he discovers.... no one. Not a single soul. Every hut is empty. It's all just window dressing. And when he sees the metal doors of their hatch, he doesn't hesitate before flinging them open... and seeing nothing but a shallow space in the rock. It's all fake. They've been set up. Sayid lights the signal fire.

Locke and Desmond bond over their time in the hatch, pushing the button. Locke tells Desmond about what he saw in the Station of the Pearl but Desmond don't believe him that it's all a joke. Locke tosses the Orientation video from the Pearl at him. He's going to show Desmond what he believes to be true; he's going to let the counter go past zero. The next day, Eko is distracted by a voice on the loudspeakers and wanders away from the computers. Desmond is somehow able to get the blast doors to lower, trapping Eko on the other side, away from the computer. Eko is furious and manages to make his way up through the hatch that Locke had blasted open last season. Eko notices the blasted quarantine door and heads towards the beach, where he finds Charlie. Eko demands to know how they opened the hatch door and Charlie says that they blew it open with dynamite... and he knows where there's more hidden. Charlie leads Eko to the hidden stash of dynamite in the jungle but urges him to be careful or he'll blow up like Dr. Artz.

Back in the hatch, Charlie tries to reason wth Locke and get him to raise the blast doors but Locke isn't listening. Eko prepares to detonate the dynamite and Desmond tells Locke that the dynamite won't work; the blast door will hold. Charlie tells Eko that they're in a confined space, it's dangerous, etc. Eko lights the fuse and Charlie tries to run for cover when a huge fireball rips through the space and out through the open hatch.

Desmond wants to open the blast doors but Locke refuses. Desmond says that his friends could be hurt and Locke callously replies that they are not his friends. Locke tells Desmond that he once believed in all of this, in pushing the button, in thinking that whatever was down in the hatch was his destiny. He talks about Boone and how he was stupid enough to follow and get killed because of him. And that he thought it was a sacrifice to the island. And when he saw the light come on in the hatch, he thought his cries of desperation were answered. But it was probably just Desmond going to the bathroom or something.

Locke intends to wait out the counter and hands Desmond a stack of reading material from the Pearl, including the computer print-out he found. He says that everything going on here is an experiment, that two men in chairs in the Pearl were supposed to record everything that they saw going on here. Desmond says that what if Locke got it backwards, what if this station's work was real, but the Pearl was just an experiment?

Jack and his group aren't heading towards the camp at all. Michael seems to be leading them somewhere else entirely. But before they realize this, they come across an enormous pile of those nifty pneumatic tubes from the Station of the Pearl. They're baffled by what they find: notebooks filled with handwritten observations ("moved the ping pong table... took a shower") and the cursory hand-drawn map that Locke had drawn. Jack sees the signal fire and realizes that they are miles from the beach. Michael says that he had to do it. And then Sawyer is hit with some sort of venomous dart and begins writhing on the ground. Jack screams out to run, but they are all hit by darts (Jack nobly tries to carry Kate to safety) and dragged off into the jungle by the Others (incuding Zeke and Alex). Damn it.

Back in Desmond's flashback, we see his ship crash on the island during a rather brutal storm and he washes ashore (with his copy of "Our Mutual Friend" safely tucked into his clothes). He's dragged through the jungle by a man in a yellow "hot zone" jumpsuit and taken down into the hatch. When Desmond awakens, he's inside the hatch we've come to know and love, but he's not alone. The man who saved him is Kelvin Inman (guest star Clancy Brown)... who just so happens to be that American military officer who forced Sayid to torture his own people. Kelvin asks Desmond that familiar riddle about two snowmen, asking Desmond if he is "him" (his replacement, I imagine). But he's upset to learn that he's not. The computer begins beeping and Kelvin imputs the numbers, saying that he just "saved the world." Desmond watches the Orientation film strip and realizes that parts have been cut out. Kelvin says that his partner Radvinsky did some editing. (Why? And how did those pieces end up hidden inside a Bible in another station?)

Later, the two have gotten to know one another. We learn that Kelvin's partner killed himself with a shotgun when Kelvin was sleeping and that it was his partner that started that nifty invisible map on the blast door that Locke discovers. It's Kelvin who continues to draw the map (using laundry detergent) and he's able to force the blast doors down by messing around with the fuses. We also learn that there's a trap door in the computer room that leads down underneath the station, which Desmond discovers when Kelvin is nowhere to be found. Des drops down into the pit, where he finds Kelvin, who tells him that there's a failsafe. A key can be inserted which will "make it all go away" as a drunk Kelvin tells Desmond. The station is at an enormous supply of electromagnetic energy and every time the energy builds up (every 108 minutes, to be precise), inputting the numbers correctly vents the pent-up energy safely.

Kelvin is going to take one of his frequent trips into the quarantined area but Desmond wants to join him. Kelvin says Desmond can't come, that it's quarantined and there are "hostiles." (Ooh, an allusion to the Others... are they the enemies of the Dharma peeps then? And not Dharma itself?) Kelvin says no, that Desmond left Her Majesty's Army because he couldn't follow orders. So why did Kelvin leave his army? Apparently because "people kept following [his] orders." (An allusion to Sayid?) And then he joined up with the Dharma Initiative and had been pushing that button for years now. Desmond can't come and that's an order. But Desmond notices that Kelvin's yellow jump suit has a large tear in it and he follows him to the surface, where he sees Kelvin takes off the oxygen mask and breathe normally. Desmond follows Kelvin to his destination: a little harbor that happens to contain... Desmond's sailboat?!?

Kelvin, it seems, has been fixing up Desmond's boat and plans to sail off into the sunset in about a week, leaving Desmond to keep pushing the button. Desmond's not having it and the two begin to fight, brutally... and Desmond "accidentally" ends up bashing Kelvin's head in on a rock. As Kelvin bleeds to death (or so it seems, anyway), Desmond rips the Dharma key off his neck and runs back to the station, where the countdown has already reached zero. As the hieroglyphs begin to spin around, the entire station starts shaking and objects begin moving around the room. (Just like in Eko's dream last week.) The computer won't even accept the numbers at this point, just showing "System Failure" across the entire screen. Fortunately, Desmond is able to repeatedly press the execute button and stop the countdown, but it seems that something terrible has already happened...

While Charlie and Eko might lay dead on the other side of the blast door, Desmond goes through the computer print out, looking for something specific. And among all the "accepted" listed next to the numbers, there it is: System Failure. Repeatedly. Just like on the computer. And next to it: there's a series of other numbers 0922044:16, a date and time. Desmond asks Locke how they got on the island, when the plane crash was. Locke says it was September 22, 2004. Desmond shows him the date on the print out. It's his fault that Oceanic Flight 815 crashed; he brought the plane down by failing to input the numbers. Locke doesn't believe him and Desmond says that they have to stop the countdown right now. They have to enter the numbers. But Locke's not having any of that and smashes the computer on the floor. Desmond is horrified.

Back in the flashback, Desmond prepares to kill himself. He has no escape. He can't leave the button and he's killed Kelvin. He takes out his gun and lays it on the table, along with his copy of "Our Mutual Friend," which he opens up. As he does, a piece of paper falls out. It's a letter, from Penelope written before he went into prison, in which she talks to Desmond about her feelings. She does love him and she'll wait for him, for however long it takes. All one needs in order to hope is to know that there is one person out there that cares about you. Desmond is shaking and as he goes to shoot himself, he hears screaming from outside. It's Locke, banging on the hatch, screaming about what's he's done. And Desmond shines a light out of the hatch, illuminating Locke. He's saved.

Back in the present day, the Others force Jack and the gang onto a rather desolate dock, which reads Pala Ferry, just like the one mentioned in the Pearl Orientation film. Zeke and Alex are there, along with Miss Clue (or Klugh as some people spell her name). Zeke begins to talk to them and Kate says (from behind her gag) that they know that his beard is fake. "They know your beard is fake, Tom," says Miss Clue. He happily pulls off the beard. "Oh, and thanks for telling them my name, Dee," says Zeke-Now-Known-as-Tom. The castaways watch, helplessly, as a boat pulls up and off steps... the Other-Formerly-Known-As-Henry-Gale?!? He steps out of the boat in a regal fashion as all of the Others step backwards. Wait, Henry is their leader after all!??!? He chastises Tom for taking off his beard, but Tom says that they already know.

"Henry" says that Michael did well, and a deal is a deal. He's come through on his end and they always hold up their end of a bargain.Where's Walt? He's in the boat. Michael has done good. And besides, Walt ended up being more than they expected. Henry tells Michael to go to a specific compass reading and there, he'll be rescued. But Michael asks what's going to stop him from telling people about this place. Well, says Henry, Michael can't ever tell anyone about the island; for a start, once he leaves, he'll never be able to find his way back... and second, he'd have to tell people what he did to get his son back. Michael asks, "Who are you people?" And Henry smiles and says, "Michael, we're the good guys."

Michael gets in the boat and sees Walt hidden underneath the counter and the two have a joyful reunion. But Michael can barely make eye contact with Jack and the group as he steers the boat towards safety and rescue. But something tells me we haven't quite seen the last of Michael and Walt... not by a longshot.

Back at the hatch, the countdown has ended. The station has gone into system failure. Charlie and Eko are still alive, but barely. Eko is unconscious and Charlie is partially deaf after the explosion. He helps Eko to his feet as, on the other side of the blast door, Desmond triggers the door release. Charlie carries Eko into the living quarters as items begin flying about the room--knifes, darts, garbage cans, the washer and drier. Desmond says that Locke saved him once so that he could save him now and pushes aside a unit concealing the trapdoor. He jumps inside the pit with the Dharma Swan key and makes his way to the failsafe mechanism. Charlie runs for it as Eko and Locke tussle inside the hatch. Desmond turns the key, causing an enormous electromagnetic release that turns the sky violet and creates a deafening buzzing noise, felt from the castaway's beach all the way to the Pala Ferry. People scream out as the ground shakes. It all feels rather apocalyptic. And then, just like that, it stops.

Charlie makes his way back to the beach, still partially deaf from the explosion. Claire is overjoyed to see him and Bernard rushes up to him, asking where Locke and Eko are. Charlie's confused; they haven't come back yet? Later, by the light of the campfire, Charlie and Claire share their very first kiss.

Things are not going so well back at the dock. Hurley is released by Dee. He's to return to camp and tell the castaways why they must never come back to this place. "What about my friends?" Hurley asks. "They're coming home with us," says the Other-Formerly-Known-as-Henry Gale. Hoods are pulled over Jack, Kate, and Sawyer's heads and they are taken to god only knows where. What will happen to them? Are Eko and Locke dead? Will Desmond make it out of there alive? How can we wait four months for resolution?

But before any of that, we're left with one final sequence, in which two Portuguese men play chess at what appears to be an EM monitoring station... somewhere in the Artic. (North Pole? South Pole?) They notice that the computer has picked up a large signal again and, unlike last time (the plane crash?) they didn't miss it this time. They pick up the phone and dial a number. Elsewhere, a ringing phone awakens someone sleeping in a darkened bedroom. We see a familiar photograph on the nightstand and then (surprise!) we see that the call is taken by none other than Penelope Widmore. She did swear that she had the money and resources to find Desmond anywhere in the world... and it answers that question I've been wondering: is there anyone else left in the world? Yes, there is. And it appears that help might finally be on its way.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NUMB3RS (CBS); My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC); Smallville (WB); Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (ABC; 8-10 pm); So You Think You Can Dance (FOX; 8-10 pm); Everybody Hates Chris/Love, Inc. (UPN)

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

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

What I'll Be Watching

8-10 pm: My Name is Earl/The Office x2.

Catch a two-hour block of comedy goodness as NBC brings us two back-to-back blocks of My Name is Earl and The Office. On tonight's first episode of Earl ("Didn't Pay Taxes"), Earl attempts to pay for the back taxes he feels he owes, but discovers that Uncle Sam doesn't want his money. Thirty minutes later, on The Office ("Halloween"), the Dunder-Mifflin Halloween party hits a snag when Michael must fire someone. On the second episode of Earl tonight ("Dad's Car"), Earl tries to give his mother a Mother's Day gift, but she asks him to do something nice instead for his father (guest star Beau Bridges). Back at the Office ("Sexual Harassment"), Michael's behavior becomes even more inappropriate when his best friend, Dunder-Mifflin sales rep Todd Packer (guest star David Koechner), drops by the office.

10 pm: 5 Takes: Pacific Rim on the Travel Channel.

New night, new time, new episodes. The 5 Takes gang returns with a new batch of episodes, this time from New Zealand. On tonight's episode ("Wellington"), the travel journalists head out to Wellington, the capital city of Middle Earth, I mean, New Zealand.

10 pm-Midnight: Waking the Dead on BBC America (or 9 pm for you East Coasters).

The fifth season of one of my favorite British crime dramas continues. On tonight's episode ("Black Run"), Boyd is summoned to a prison to see former cop Eddie Vine, who is serving a life sentence for murdering his partner.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The "Klugh" spelling comes from the closed captioning, and given the unlikelihood that the CCer would have misspelled it that way, it must have come from the show. Also according to the CC, the scientists in the Artic [sic] were Portuguese.
Winston said…
Lost is awesome and so's Gray's Anatomy.
Anonymous said…
IMDB also has "Klugh"
Brock said…
Do you think that Libby's husband DAVE is the same DAVE that is Hurley's imaginary friend?

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