Wow. I did not see all that coming. In my head, I was feeling pretty confident going into this season that I had an idea about where it was going. In my head, I was trying to keep the concepts of time travel fairly reasonable (and as pseudo-sciencey as possible). In my head, it was complicated but manageable.
Leave it to Lost to totally blow my confidence out of the water and present us with one of the most complicated episodes of television ever produced.
Let's just start to wrap our minds around what happened in these two hours...
- Characters on the Island traveling back and forth in time unpredicatably.
- Some characters on the Island remembering things, others not so much.
- The audience having vague concepts of the general timeframe of each jump, but not specific enough to know if we just saw the characters visit two, three, or four different time periods.
- No one being clear on the rules of these time jumps, aside from Faraday and perhaps Richard Alpert - neither of which had time to fully explain this episode.
So what are we left with? A lot of analyzing to do!
The crazy thing is that I think we got enough information to work through a lot of answers, including some answers to questions that have been posed over the first four seasons of the show. I need some time to digest, but here is the traditional spewing of random thoughts to tide you over and pique your interests for the next few days...
- Is Charlotte suffering the same "sickness" that killed Minkowski (and almost Desmond?) Is it because she was on the Island before (as a child) and left, but returned on a different bearing? Or is it because she doesn't have a Constant? Could this be the same "illness" that killed all of CFL's crew? But CFL was somehow spared because she had Alex to act as her Constant?
- If Desmond is the only one immune to the effects of the Island jumping in time and wiping out memories, is he screwing up the space-time continuum by suddenly having the ability to actually change the past?
- Who the F is Ms. Hawking? I definitely got the vibe that she is some type of "The Matrix"-esque Oracle character who is trying to prevent the end of the world, mucked up by Desmond changing the past. Is this why she was so adamant about him not marrying Penny and just staying put on the Island?
- Who was the Jill character that Ben left Locke's body with? An Other that he is BFF with from back in the day? Or someone in the Ms. Hawking clan who are just working on preventing the world from coming to an end?
- Even with Hurley potentially being arrested, it's pretty hilarious how simple the Oceanic Six storyline is in comparison to the Island one. Every time they would jump to an Oceanic Six scene, I would feel slight disappointment on the inside.
- What are the odds that the opening scene of the season, featuring Faraday inside the Orchid as it is being built, was actually a "flashback", and that at some point this season, the Island will "jump" back that far in time, allowing Faraday to enter the Orchid to try and sort everything out? Will this lead to throwing him into the future? Is this why he was crying when we first met his character last season? Does he have this residual memory of everything that happened, and everyone that dies (Charlotte in particular), but can't quite remember it? Will he be exposed to high levels of radiation like Desmond rendering him able to remember things outside of the "jumps"?
- Locke ends up with the compass that Alpert gave him, which seems like the object that Alpert wanted him to choose as a child when he visited. However, the knife is actually what was Locke's - the compass is Alpert's. So wouldn't that mean that Locke chose correctly?
- Is this how the Others knew that Locke was going to be their future leader? Did 1970's Locke tell them all sorts of stuff that had not yet happened and they figured that he was seeing into the future and must be some all-knowing being / witch?
- My early assumption is that Island Originals are immune from the effects of the Island moving - but any outsiders are not. This would explain Alpert knowing what was going on, but Ethan and the early Dharma folks not. But there are still all sorts of questions about what this means for characters who are alive vs. dead in the different timelines. Could this be why we see characters like Christian Shephard walking around?
My head hurts.
I will say this - these two episodes probably effectively turned off any "casual viewers" of the show. It's probably going to take 100% brainpower from people to be able to keep up and appreciate how awesome this show is getting. After teasing the "sci-fi" angle for the first four seasons, it jumped in head first into the deep end with the start of Season Five. Thus far, I'm quite impressed. It takes a lot for a show to challenge me, but Lost gave me all the challenge I could ask for and more.
Time to get analyzing...
For now, discuss!