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What Comes Around, Goes Around: The Season Five Premiere of ABC's "Lost" ("Because You Left" and "The Lie")

Yes, Lost is back. And, yes, we've all got questions.

The fifth season of ABC's labyrinthine drama Lost kicked off with two back-to-back episodes ("Because We Left" and "The Lie") that set up the new format and action for Season Five. (You can read my advance review of the first two episodes of Season Five here and read what Damon and Carlton had to say about this episode here.)

The two-hour season premiere also seeks to answer the two sides of a single question: do bad things happen because people leave (as Jack believes) or because people lie (as Hurley believes)? Is one truly worse than the other? And are their actions to blame for the horrors that befall them? Or is it fate?

You've already read my advance review of these episodes, which teased some developments, but let's discuss now in depth.

While I've already seen the third episode of the season, the usual rules apply: I won't be spoiling anything from that episode below and will keep my thoughts and comments restricted to "Because We Left" and "The Lie."

Marvin Candle. I loved that the episode began with a record player (skipping, no less just like the castaways through time) and Dr. Marvin Candle. Candle has been a crucial but enigmatic figure throughout the previous four seasons of Lost so I am happy to see that Team Darlton will be exploring his character this season. Here, we see Candle with both arms working, a beautiful wife, and a child... who is noticeably not Asian. So who's kid is it? Did the Candles (or Halliwaxes or Changs or whatever you prefer to call them) adopt? And is the child a Dharma orphan, someone from the outside world, or a fostered native? Curious...

Even more curious is what's imparted in those opening minutes: that Station Two--The Arrow--was designed to "study the hostile indigenous population" of the island, that the Dharma workers discover the donkey wheel accidentally while building the Orchid Station (though Candle is searching for a source of "almost limitless energy" nearby that will enable them to travel through time, two drill bits melt when attempting to drill through the wall outside the wheel room, and we see the first example on the series to date of the possible and mysterious "sickness" (more on that in a bit) as one of the workers collapses, bleeding from his orifices after coming in contact with the wheel room wall. Uh-oh.

And there's Faraday, which means that our castaways, skipping through time as they are, will eventually end up in the 1960s/70s as the Dharma Initiative constructs its stations on the island. Very interesting.

Locke. While the castaways encounter, er, issues of their own traveling through time, Locke ends up stranded on his own in the jungle, where he witnesses the original crash of the drug plane (carrying
Eko's brother Yemi and those lil' Virgin Mary statues with the heroin), gets shot by Ethan Rom, and is saved by Richard Alpert, who had been instructed by John to find him by the plane's wreckage and save him. Which means that the castaways are likely traveling in both past and future timeframes... Loved that Richard is aware of what's going on and gives Locke the compass to show him next time they meet and tells him that, in order to get the others to come back to the island, he has to die. Spooky. And who else loved the fact that Richard said, "What comes around, goes around" when Locke tells him that Ethan shot him?

Kate. You can always count on Kate to run. It's what she does best. So it's only natural that she would pack bags for herself and Aaron as soon as those menacing lawyers from Agostini & Norton would show up at her door looking for blood samples to determine Aaron's parentage from a Mystery Client. Still, she nearly phones Jack for help but the bad blood between them makes asking him for anything an impossibility... so she's overjoyed when Sun happens to phone her as she's trying to figure out what to do next. (More on that in a second.)

Sun. Absolutely loved the scene between Sun and Charles Widmore at the airport in London. Sun, usually so demure and non-confrontational, has transformed into quite a lioness after Jin's death and her return from the island. I got chills when Widmore said, "You showed me no respect," alluding to Sun's taboo-breaking encounter with him in front of colleagues... and when Sun said that the common interests they share aren't the location of the island but rather "to kill Benjamin Linus."

I'm also not sure that I trust the new Sun at all. She claims that she doesn't blame Kate for Jin's death, yet here she is provoking Kate into taking action against Agostini & Norton and their mysterious client, asking Kate if she would do anything to keep Aaron, even if it meant making hard choices like the one she made on the freighter. Anyone else think she's up to no good? After all, why was she heading to Los Angeles? And isn't it a bit of a coincidence that she just happens to call Kate as she's running away and offers her a friendly face? Hmmm... Could she be behind the visit from Agostini & Norton that sends Kate right into her arms?

Hurley and Sayid. The beginning of "The Lie" shows us just where and how The Lie about the Oceanic Six was born, with everyone agreeing to be complicit in the cover-up... except for Hurley, who doesn't want to lie. And yet they force him to put aside his moral reservations in order to preserve the safety of those they left behind. Even Sayid sides with Jack and his plan, against Hurley's protests. "Someday you're going to need my help," promises Hurley to Sayid," and Im telling you now, you're not getting it."

And yet Hurley DOES help Sayid after Sayid comes to his rescue at the mental hospital at the end of Season Four and, following a kick-ass fight involving a deadly dishwasher (go, Sayid!) and some tranquilizer darts, Hurley smuggles him into his parents' house and eventually gets his dad to take Sayid to see Jack. I loved the fact that Ana Lucia's ghost turned up when Hurley was swerving like a madman but I am curious as to whether Ana Lucia was actually a ghost, a manifestation of the smoke monster, or just Hurley's subconscious? I'm leaning AWAY from the latter as (A) it was hella creepy the way it said hello from Libby, (B) Hurley's subconscious would likely take another form other than the much-maligned Ana Lucia if it had a choice, and (C) the ghost clearly wants Hurley to return to the island and NOT get arrested under any circumstances. And yet, remembering that Sayid said to do the exact opposite of whatever Ben tells him to do, Hurley chooses to get himself arrested rather than go with Ben.

Jack. Jack, meanwhile, is trusting Ben far too easily. After learning that all of them would have to go back to the island in order to save the others, Jack is more than ready to cast aside his half-life to go back, even shaving his Unabomber-style beard (the second such display of shaving in the episode, BTW), and readily agreeing to drop everything to Go Back. He even trusts Ben enough to tell him that Sayid is at the hospital and Hurley is by myself. Far too trusting, Dr. Shephard.

Charlotte. I'm very worried about poor Charlotte Staples Lewis. After the flashes, she's disoriented, has nosebleeds and headaches, and is having trouble remembering things like her mother's maiden name. And she claims that she hasn't had nosebleeds since she was a little girl; she previously claimed to have been born on the island as well. So was the last time she had a nosebleed on the island then? Could she be the second example of The Sickness that we've encountered to date... and is it connected to the time jumps or proximity to the donkey wheel?

Faraday and Desmond. I don't know about you but I am absolutely loving the character of Daniel Faraday; he's clearly a crucial element to understanding what exactly is going on here and his shared history with Desmond allows him to do what the others can't: knock on the door of the Swan Station and tell Desmond that he has to go to Oxford and find his mother in order to save everyone on the island.

And then Desmond wakes up next to (wife!) Penny and he remembers; he knows that seeing Faraday on the island wasn't a dream but a memory. A memory of an event that he couldn't remember previously because it hadn't happened yet. So why was it okay for Desmond's past to be changed? As Faraday tells him, "The rules don't apply to you. You're special." Those rules are clearly out of whack due to the events of "The Constant" and "Flashes Before Your Eyes." Even Candle says that there are "rules" that they all must follow about altering the past but it's seemingly Desmond alone who can break these rules. Very interesting.

Frogurt. Poor Neil, we hardly knew ye.

Sawyer and Juliet. I can't help but feel that these two are clearly heading towards becoming romantic interests for one another, especially after seeing these two episodes. Loved that Sawyer tried to take Faraday's shirt... and later takes Neil's instead (after walking around shirtless for two episodes). The little touches that stood out: the subtle way that Sawyer and Juliet take over Jack and Kate's leadership positions, protecting the castaways, organizing plans, and winding up alone in the dark jungle together. That they are ambushed by what appears to be British paramilitary officers is only the icing on the cake. One of them, Jones, appears to be particularly blood-thirsty as he claims he'll cut off one of Juliet's hands because it's "non-negotiable" but if she lies, he'll take the other. Shudder. Could this brand of Biblical justice explain why there are so many fake arms and eyes about the island?

Ms. Hawking. After learning that Faraday's mother is in Oxford, it's very clear to me that his mother is none other than the mysterious Ms. Hawking. After all, she's British and, as we saw from the end of "The Lie," she's a scientific force unto herself. Operating out of the basement of a chuch in Los Angeles, Hawking is using an old computer and something resembling a pendulum scratching patterns into a glass to track the movement of the island throught time and space when she's alerted to an event window occuring in 70 hours' time. (Of note, among the locations the island seems to appear on her monitor, near Alaska--which could explain the polar bears--near Africa, and the South Pacific.) Yeah, she's definitely Faraday's mummy.

The Butcher. Who is the mysterious butcher Jill and how does she figure into Ben's scheme? It's clear that they are old friends and that Ben would trust her enough with Locke's body to keep it safe. She knows all about Jack and his pill addiction and expected to see Ben, so she's clearly in on the plan. But who are "Gabriel and Jeffrey"? And what larger organization are Ben and Jill a part of? Something tells me we've only barely scratched the surface here...

Ben. More than a few questions about Benjamin Linus after these episodes: Just what is in the box that Ben takes out of the air vent? And why was it so important that he conceal it, even from Jack? What happened between him and Sayid to make Sayid distrust him so? If it's not Sun who is behind the lawyer's visit to Kate, is he the mystery client? (If you couldn't tell, I cannot stop thinking about this series.)

What else did I love? Sawyer slapping--rather than punching--Faraday when he refuses to explain what's going on; the way Sawyer slips in "she" rather than "they" when talking about why he jumped off the helicopter in order to save the others; Richard telling John that he would have to die (so that explains it!); Faraday's explanation of time travel for the laymen (and an impatient Sawyer); Hurley's dad watching Nikki's series Exposé on TV; Penny explaining "There's no calling my father off"; the I Heart Shih-Tzus t-shirt that Hurley buys at the gas station; the way that Kate coincidentally drives into said gas station just as Hurley and Sayid pull out; that Damon and Carlton would actually have the temerity to kill off a Red Shirt... who is actually wearing a red shirt; Hurley admitting that he was "never really clear" on why Desmond was pressing the button every 108 minutes; Bernard and Rose's reunion after the first flash and their attempts to start a fire (while, of course, squabbling).

Best lines of the evening, many of which belong--not unsurprisingly--to Hurley:
"Libby says hi." - Ana-Lucia's Ghost
"It points north, John." - Richard Alpert re: what the compass does.
"I need a cool codename." - Hurley to Sayid.
"Go home and get a suitcase. If there's anything in this life you want, pack it in there, 'cause you're never coming back." - Ben to Jack.
"Actually, it's ketchup." - Hurley
"He also has a double life where he does crazy ninja moves and spy stuff." - Hurley to his mom about Sayid.
"I'm not an easy person to trust." - Ben

Next week on Lost ("Jughead"), Desmond goes in search of Faraday's mother, who could hold the key to stopping the island's erratic movements through time; Locke discovers the identity of the unknown forces that have been attacking them. (For my advance review of "Jughead," click here.)


Unknown said…
Fast on the post tonight Jace! Mad props.
A good episode to start off with. But the time travel, white flashes REALLY threw me off. I feel like it's so unlike the lost writers to introduce such a huge theme so fast! I would understand if they had one flash or even two but four? Unnecessary and quite confusing. Richard Alpert is easily becoming my favorite character while Mrs. Hawking takes a fast second. Although it's more of those highly sci fi scenes that are introduced way too fast for my own good. Simply attempting to process these two episodes as fast as you Jace would be pretty impossible for me so bare with my unconnected sentences and frazzled ideas. This whole Charlotte thing has really got me. I completely forgot about her history on the island and now I'm really hoping we find out more about her before she inevitably dies (the previews for this season kinda spelled it out blankly). That's all I can comprehend right now but all I know is that Ben is still the best character ever written!
Anonymous said…
And don't forget Hurley's "Maybe if you ate more comfort food you wouldn't have to go around shooting people."

That's all I've got right now. I'm still processing . . .
Anonymous said…
You hit all the points I hoped you would! I am still floored by these eps and trying to work my mind around the flashes but you seem to have figured it all out all ready! Ben terrifies me even when he's being "good" and glad that Hurley doesn't believe him. Definitely think your right about Faraday's mom being Mrs Hawking!
technotory said…
I had been thinking, and after Ben's non-response regarding John's death, that they've actually used a Medusa spider to feign his death and drag the reluctant O6 back in.
annebeth said…
Your Record hint prooved right :D
Kerry said…
I think that Hurley said, "I need a cool code name."
Unknown said…
These episodes require multiple viewings, but I so appreciate everyone's input and impressions. The flash/fastforward stuff now explains to me the previous eps. where Desmond can see into the future. And he clearly wasn't able to do that before he turned the "failsafe" key---but was he special (as Farraday says)before that happened or because it happened? aAnd do you think Charlotte is Dr.Chang's (or whatever his name is)daughter? It was noticeable that there was a baby right at the beginning, underscoring that at some time, the Island's unwillingness to allow reproduction wasn't a factor. So much to savor and consider!
Anonymous said…
@annebeth: Why wouldn't it? He saw the eps in advance.

@Chris: Do you think he would have faked his death even though Richard told him he had to die? I thought he hung himself? I think he is dead but will come back to life once he gets to the island.
Anonymous said…
Kerry it's I need a cool coat I went back and watched it again to make sure thats what he said and he did. I think they were great eps but I liked the 1st one more than the 2nd and I liked the flashes but it was confussing at first what was happnng and if they were in the future or in the passed. Why is Desmond special and why is Farraday in the passed with the drills?????? Sorry about my spelling
Anonymous said…
I also think that Hurley said, "I need a cool code name." He said it right after Sayid used "Bentham" to refer to Locke.
Jace Lacob said…
Don and Kerry,

You are correct; it is "I need a cool codename."

But more important than the quote, what burning questions/theories does everyone have after watching the episode?
Mazza said…
Totally agree that Mrs Hawking is Faraday's mother. It just makes sense and gives her more purpose in the series. Not sure what was going on with the creepy old computer and pendulum thingie but I think you are right with your theories on Alaska, Africa, SP, etc. What happens if the O6 miss the event window in 70 hrs?
I love that, as you said, Sawyer and Juliet are now taking charge on the island and that Daniel Faraday is becoming more of a central character. I love him! He kind of reminds me of how Locke was towards the beginning of the series - mysterious but somehow greatly connected to the island. Of course, he's much more scientific whereas John has been on more of a spiritual journey.
Anonymous said…
Now that's how to kick off a season! A most excellent start to the season.

Hurley was gold this episode. His recap of what happened on the island to his mother was hilarious. ie "Yeah the 108 minute thing. I never really got that part."

And his line to Sayid, 'You know if you ate more pleasure food maybe you wouldn't need to kill so many people.'

Plus he is the emotional heart and conscience of the show. He helped Sayid even when he told him he would not back on Penny's boat.

The time travel stuff is being handled well too. An object lesson for other shows. Heroes, nudge, nudge. Lay down the ground rules and stick to them.

The show continues to entertain, delight, and touch emotional chords. So glad its back.
Anonymous said…
So now we know why Locke "lost" his leg for some time when he went to the drug plane with Boone some seasons ago.

Did you get any other time-traveling details?
Anonymous said…
"that Damon and Carlton would actually have the temerity to kill off a Red Shirt... who is actually wearing a red shirt;"

They did that before in New othertown. Last guy out of three who got killed was wearing a red shirt!


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