Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lost - "Because You Left" and "The Lie"

It starts…


Looks like we’ve got a first-ever double episode preview to kickoff Season Five! Even though the first two episodes of Season Five are airing back to back as part of a three hour Lost bonanza on January 21st, it seems pretty clear that the Lost writers originally envisioned them to be individual episodes, as each episode has its own title and episode description. So, to stick with tradition, we’ll deal with each individually, but interspersing some overall analysis within both. Take a deep breath – here we go!


Episode Title: “Because You Left”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: The traditional pre-episode Google search of the title revealed little in terms of books / movies / songs with this title. Instead, it returned thousands of sites talking about the Season Premiere. But that’s okay, because I don’t think the “deeper meaning” of the title comes from some outside source. In fact, for the first time ever in the history of Lost, we know exactly where this episode title will come from before the episode airs.


If you actually watched all the video clips I included with my previous post, you’ve already seen it:

For those unable to view the video clip (like all my co-workers), here’s the quote:

Jack: “How did all this happen?”

Ben: “It happened BECAUSE YOU LEFT, Jack.”

 

I’m guessing that this scene is one of the very first ones of Season Five, since it looks like it takes place immediately after the last scene of Season Four with Ben and Jack inside the Hofs Drawler Funeral Parlor (but not the very first scene of Season Five, of course – more on that later).


So in this situation, the deeper meaning isn’t really the symbolism of the words, but what the words themselves actually mean. It’s the question that we’ve all been asking ourselves since last season’s finale, where we found out that some very bad things happened on the Island after the Oceanic Six left – but it wasn’t simply just that these bad things happened, but because they happened DUE to the Oceanic Six leaving.


At first, this seems totally logical – whatever happened when Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel (FDW) caused the Island to jump in space and time (in theory), which suddenly thrust our Survivors into a new, suddenly dangerous situation (like going back in time, putting them under attack from the Others). If Ben hadn’t turned the FDW, everything would have continued to be happy-go-lucky on the Island for our Survivors, aside from the occasional Smokey or Others attack.


But it’s not quite that easy.


If this were the case, Locke would have a serious, legitimate grudge against the Oceanic Six for indirectly causing all the very bad things to come about, but why would he need them to come back to the Island to make it right? This is the question I wrestled with after last season’s finale, and didn’t get very far:


http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2008/06/theres-no-place-like-home-parts-2-and-3.html


Looking back, my original theory doesn’t hold up very well now because based on the episode previews it isn’t a slow decline from Good Times to Very Bad Times, but something that is almost immediate based on the flaming arrows and explosions.


On the other hand, maybe we’re approaching this all wrong, and need to look at the two points totally separate from each other. Yes, Locke came back looking for our the Oceanic Six to return to the Island as part of some wacky scheme to save the Island (in his head, Locke probably thinks that the Oceanic Six coming back would help since it was their “destiny” to be there in the first place – and their leaving caused the Island to become “unbalanced” or something) – but maybe Ben wasn’t even talking about the Island in his conversation with Jack.


I’m reminded of the last few lines of Season Four:


Jack: “He told me that after I left the Island, some very bad things happened. And he told me that it was my fault for leaving. And he said that I have to come back. Why are you here?”
Ben: “The
Island won’t let you come alone. All of you have to go back.”
Jack: “I don’t know where Sayid is. Hurley is insane. Sun blames me for… and Kate she won’t even talk to me anymore.”
Ben: “Perhaps I can help you with that. This is the way it has to be. This is the only way. You have to do it together, all of you.”
Jack: “How?”
Ben: “I have a few ideas. Jack – I said all of you. We’re going to have to bring him too.”

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It looks like Jack’s question of “how did this all happen” has nothing to do with the Island – but rather, with all the terrible things that happened to the Oceanic Six after they returned to the “real world”. Think about it:

  • Sayid lost the love of his life, and is working as a hit man for Ben.
  • Hurley is right back in the mental institution, seeing images of dead Islanders.
  • Sun lost the love of her life and has potentially turned evil and sided with Widmore in the race for the Island.
  • Kate lost both of the loves of her life (Jack to crazy town and Sawyer to the Island), and is being haunted by images of her fake son’s real mother.
  • Aaron is being raised without a father, by a known criminal (albeit hot).

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So if you add it all up, each member of the Oceanic Six would have been better off if they had stayed on the Island. I have to think this fact is not lost on Jack, someone who was more determined than anyone to make it off the Island – but also someone who more than anyone wanted to help / “fix” people. Unfortunately, the two goals seemed to be at odds with each other. And through a cruel twist of fate, accomplishing the first goal made the second impossible – all because they left.

  

Episode Description: The remaining island survivors start to feel the effects of the aftermath of moving the island, and Jack and Ben begin their quest to reunite the Oceanic 6 in order to return to the island with Locke's body in an attempt to save their former fellow castaways.


Guest Cast: L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Sam Anderson as Bernard, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, William Mapother as Ethan Rom, Francois Chau as Dr. Marvin Candle, Sonya Walger as Penelope "Penny" Widmore, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, William Blanchett as Aaron, Sean Whalen as Neil Frogurt, Tom Irwin as Dan Norton, Michael Dempsey as foreman, Stephanie Smart as ticket agent, Leslie Ishii as woman, Cindy Paliracio as TV anchor, Brad Berryhill as anxious guy, Sven Lindstrom as crew member, Chantal Boomla as counter girl, Jeremy Colvin as security guard.


Guest Cast Breakdown: This year, I’ve decided to give a dedicated paragraph or two each week to the guest stars for each episode – because they often offer as many clues to an episode as the Episode Description, if not more.


This week, we’ve got two guest stars that jump out at me – Ethan Rom and Marvin Candle. First up, we’ve got Ethan Rom, the Claire-kidnapping Other who was killed in Season One courtesy of multiple gunshots from Charlie. His inclusion in the episode means one of two things:


  1. We are going to see a flashback to before Ethan was killed (probably pre-Oceanic Flight 815 crash)
  2. When the Island went back in time (which I am assuming based on my previous post), it truly “resets” in every way, bringing people who have died since that time back to life, Ethan Rom included.

Both explanations seem pretty reasonable. As I argued in my “Destiny Calls” post, the most logical explanation for why the Others would suddenly be attacking our Survivors would be if the 1970’s Others have no memories of the 2004 Others – and if that’s the case, the space-time continuum seems like it would get out of whack really quickly if you had people die in 2004 and suddenly no longer exist in 1974. As insane as it sounds, bringing dead people back to life would be the easier and more logical way to deal with this proposed time jump.


On the other hand, I was racking my brain to figure out how this season is going to start. A quick refresher down memory lane:

  • Season One – started with Jack’s eye opening, having no idea what was going on until we realized he was a survivor of a plane crash on an Island.
  • Season Two – started with Desmond waking up and going through a daily routine, having no idea what was going on until we realized he was the man inside the Hatch.
  • Season Three – started with Juliet hosting book club, having no idea what was going on until we realized she was living with the Others in a totally normal appearing Island neighborhood.
  • Season Four – started with Hurley leading the police on a wild chase, having no idea what was going on until he screamed “I’m one of the Oceanic Six!”

 

So as you can see, the Lost writers seem to love putting us in situations where we have no idea where (or when) we are at the start of the season, only to have us finally realize what the heck is going on right before the big black LOST hits the screen. (Okay, Season Four was a pretty weak example of this – and broke the trend of introducing a new character, but let’s play the odds).


Keeping all this in mind, here’s a thought for the Season Five opener – what if we see what happened when Ben turned the FDW, only this time from the perspective of the Others in the 1970’s? From their perspective, what if the sky suddenly went white and all the sudden there were all these new people (our Survivors) on their Island? I’d probably start shooting flaming arrows too! Or – what if the jump in time correlates with roughly the time that Dharma came to the Island for the first time? The Others would be in full-fledged “attack mode” for these newcomers to the Island.


I think it would be a pretty cool opening scene in the same vein as past seasons’ openers.


What about Marvin Candle’s appearance in the episode?

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Well, if we assume it’s early Dharma days then it’s logical to think that Pierre Chang himself would be walking around on the Island, filming Orientation videos and coming up with fun candle-related pseudonames for himself. On the other hand, one of my other cool thoughts for the Fifth Season would be if Radzinski was alive and well operating the Swan Hatch, pre-Kelvin and Desmond. I think it would be fascinating to see a glimpse of Radzinski learning about the Swan Hatch for the first time, watching the Orientation video in whole, and starting on his whole invisible ink Blast Door Map.


The other fun cameo this episode is Neil Frogurt, a Survivor who has been mentioned a few times in the past, but has only appeared in one of the Webisodes before last season. Given the scant number of Survivors left on the Island, it’s kinda cool that they are finally putting a true face to his name for consistency’s sake, rather than just having new random background characters in the Island scenes. Although, with all the people on fire and things blowing up, we may see him for only a moment before he is quickly killed – irony!



Episode Breakdown: On to the episode itself.


The first thing that caught my eye was the word “effects” – it’s not just one side-effect to the aftermath of turning the Island – but multiple ones. I have to think the first one is that the Island went back in time. As for the others? They could range from anything like being under attack from the Others to losing their memories similar to Faraday’s apparent memory loss.


It makes you wonder – does this put all the Survivors on the Island in the same boat as Faraday / Desmond? Do they need a Constant now to be able to keep “in touch” with 2005, even though they now exist in the past? That could really escalate things quickly.


Wait a minute, that could also provide the perfect explanation for why the Others would “forget” about the Survivors! If they spend their whole lives on the Island, they wouldn’t have anyone in the outside world to become their Constant, and would be victims of losing their memory every time the Island jumps!


At any rate, I’m expecting the Survivors to suddenly be in very bad shape – totally confused as to what’s going on, under attack, and possibly experiencing weird side effects like memory loss. Thank God Faraday is there to explain everything to them. Here’s hoping we get a few minutes of exposition before the episode is over so that we, as the viewers have an understanding about how this is all happening in “science terms” (good luck).


The other main storyline obviously will focus on Jack rounding up the Oceanic Six in their effort to return to the Island and save the Survivors they left behind. As Jack mentioned in his Season Four Finale speech, this seems like a much more difficult task than one would think, since everyone’s lives are in shambles post-Island.


If we were being realistic about this – it would take Jack years, if ever, to get the Oceanic Six to all agree to return to the Island. But in TV world, I sure hope it doesn’t take more than a few episodes. I think that there is a risk of a number of unnecessary scenes of Jack trying to convince the Oceanic Six to see his side of things, work with Ben, go back to the Island, etc – when as viewers, we’re all going to be thinking “okay, okay – just do it so we can see what happens!” The Lost writers have never let me down in the past (except for portions of the first half of Season Three), so I have faith that we can get this storyline resolved in four or five episodes – then the real fun of the season can begin.


As for Locke, the only possible reason to bring him back to the Island is because he’s going to come back to life, right? As insane as that sounds, I don’t know that Ben would insist on bringing him along for the ride if it was something as poetic as “burying him in the place that he belongs”. If not truly back to life, then at least becoming a Jacob-equivalent on the Island – but this should be even more entertaining to see Jack try and pull off. How do you lug around a dead body without people taking notice?

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Lots to think about – and we’re only half done. On to the next episode!

 

Episode Title: “The Lie”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Another episode where the “deeper meaning” is pretty light – in fact, the episode title is referenced in the episode description itself! Those Lost writers are getting lazy in their old age…


Episode Description: Hurley and Sayid are on the run from the cops after stumbling into trouble at the safehouse; the island survivors come under attack by unknown forces; and an old friend offers some shocking advice to Kate in order to ensure that "the lie" remain a secret.


So who is this “old friend” that is offering Kate shocking advice? Let’s check the Guest Cast for potential candidates!


Guest Cast: Michelle Rodriguez as Ana Lucia, L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Sam Anderson as Bernard, Sonya Walger as Penelope "Penny" Widmore, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Lillian Hurst as Carmen Reyes, Cheech Marin as David Reyes, William Blanchett as Aaron, Sean Whalen as Neil Frogurt, Tom Connolly as Jones, Mary Mara as Jill, Dana Sorman as Darlene, James Jeremiah as police officer, Stephanie Conching as nurse, Matthew Allan as Cunningham, Todd Bryant as Mattingly.


Guest Cast Breakdown: Ana Lucia?! Could this be the “old friend” that offers the advice to Kate? I wouldn’t call Ana-Lucia and Kate “friends” by any means – they were both fighting over Jack in a way back on the Island, but she jumps out as the most likely candidate from the guest list. We’ve seen Kate having visions of Claire warning her about not “bringing him back” (which we all assumed meant Aaron – but thinking about it now, could have meant anyone from Locke to Ben), so seeing a vision of the dead Ana-Lucia also seems possible.


However, looking at the other Guest Stars this episode, it seems pretty clear that it’s a Hurley-centric outing (since his mom and dad are guest stars). Keeping in mind that Jack is working on rounding up the Oceanic Six, could it be that Hurley himself is the “old friend” that comes in contact with Kate and offers her shocking advice to keep “the lie” secret?


I guess it all depends on what “the lie” actually is. With the Oceanic Six, there are a number of strong candidates, since their whole lives have been a lie since returning from the Island, but if we’re talking about Kate, my money is on “the lie” being about Aaron. The lie is that Aaron is actually her child. So what is the shocking advice that someone would give to keep this lie a secret? What if someone figured out that Aaron isn’t Kate’s child? It really shouldn’t be that hard. Anyone who saw her pre-flight could confirm that she didn’t look pregnant. Any DNA evidence would confirm that he is not her child. In that case, what could Kate do to ensure that Aaron wouldn’t be taken away by the authorities?


Even more importantly, finding out that Aaron is not Kate’s child would basically prove that the Oceanic Six were lying about the crash, the Island, and the Survivors – and would immediately put all of our Survivors back on the Island in great danger (even bigger than the danger that they are facing anyways). How would Kate be able to keep this lie a secret to protect Aaron, the Oceanic Six, AND the Survivors back on the Island?


She would need to run and hide.


What better place to go than BACK TO THE ISLAND?


Out of all the Oceanic Six, Kate seemed like the one least likely to be able to be convinced to go back to the Island. But if it meant protecting EVERYONE, I think she might be able to be convinced. It might be the only way to keep “The Lie” intact.


Back to the Guest Stars – the other truly noteworthy guest this episode is none other than Frank Lapidus. As I mentioned during my Season Four wrap up last spring, I had some real concerns about Frank ever appearing on the show again. He seemed like a character whose storyline might be sufficiently wrapped up, especially with less than forty episodes remaining. However, his inclusion gives me hope that he’ll continue to be an integral part of the Oceanic Six’s return to the Island – flying the plane they use to get there, or maybe when Ben said “you all have to go back”, it meant every single person who has ever set foot on the Island. Either way, I like Frank, and am happy to see him back.


Episode Breakdown: If you remember last season’s finale, Sayid went to the Mental Institution to “rescue” Hurley, killing a man stationed in a car outside in the process. The assumption was that the man in the car was one of Widmore’s people, keeping an eye on Hurley, seeing if they could gather any information from him (or those who visited him).


I have to assume that Sayid was taking Hurley back to his “safehouse” – a place that would be safe from Widmore’s spies. I’m guessing the “trouble” is that Widmore discovers the safehouse and has his men attempt to kidnap / murder Hurley and Sayid. My money would be on Sayid kicking ass and taking names using his sweet break-dance fighting style… but gunshots will be fired, drawing the attention of the police. From there, they’ll stumble upon the dead bodies and assume that Sayid and Hurley are criminals (which to some extent, they are).


Unfortunately, this adds an extra degree of difficulty to Jack’s mission to bring everyone back to the Island. With Hurley and Sayid on the run from the cops, not only do the Oceanic Six have to worry about Widmore’s hit men, but also the regular police. The good news is this should expedite the time it takes the Oceanic Six to get back to the Island, since there won’t be time for everyone to sit down and talk through the pros and cons of trying to go back. All the sudden, almost everyone has a reason to get back to the Island as soon as possible:

  • Jack – life is a wreck because he left
  • Kate – needs to protect the lie that Aaron is her son
  • Sayid – on the run from Widmore’s people and the law
  • Hurley – on the run from Widmore’s people and the law
  • Sun – working for Widmore to find the Island?
  • Aaron – is able to be picked up and carried to the Island, so he doesn’t get a vote


But even if they all agree to return to the Island, I’m still wondering how exactly this can happen. Will they go back into the past? That seems pretty unlikely. Even if they do find some type of Dharma Station in the real world (the Lighthouse logo referenced in my previous post?), it having the ability to send them back in time seems outside the realm of pseudo-science… because the station exists off of the Island. On the Island, it’s easy to explain something like “jumping back in time” thanks to the “exotic matter” and “unique properties” there. But if Dharma could create a station that could send people back in time, that’s straight up inventing time travel – and while it could explain some of the happenings we’ve seen on Lost, it’s a little too far out there for me. Also, it seems like it could have been used last season to solve some problems, rather than resorting to turning the FDW.


The other alternative seems to be waiting until the Island catches up to the present – but that also seems really unlikely since the Survivors are under immediate danger and probably wouldn’t survive for 30 years on the Island – and it also brings up the pesky aging issue of the characters which creates a messy situation for all the love triangles on the Island. Kate making out with old man Sawyer? Gross. Jack hooking up with Grandma Juliet? No thank you!


So what’s left?


The only thing I can think of is that the Island somehow finds it way back to the present (2008). I don’t know if this would involve Faraday figuring something out, or our Survivors making their way to the Dharma Lighthouse station (if it exists on the Island), but it seems to me that the only way for the Oceanic Six to find the Island is for the Island to find them – at least from a timeline perspective. This would go along with Ben’s comments that once you leave, you can never go back… unless the Island wants you to come back, because the Island – or those on it – would have to proactively do something to make it happen.


The last part of the episode description is also quite intriguing. The Island Survivors come under attack by “unknown forces”. I was operating under the assumption that the flaming arrows and explosions attacking the Survivors in the preview were coming from the Others or possibly Dharma… but both of these are pretty well-known by our Survivors. Is it possible there is some new entity on the Island back in the past that existed pre-Dharma? Or does this comment simply refer to the fact that our Survivors are puzzled because the Others / Dharma are suddenly attacking them, tied to the fact that suddenly they don’t remember / know about our Survivors?


I guess I’ve always thought that in the grand history of the Island, it’s been the Others… and then Dharma, and then our Survivors. Sure, there might have been some other random visitors here and there (the Black Rock pirates, Henry Gale, Yemi), but I never thought about any other large group spending time on the Island – but if there are “unknown forces”, maybe that’s exactly what we’re going to find. However, that would mean the Island jumped back more than 30 years, which would contradict some of the other clues we’ve received via the Comic-Con video. Confusing.


Of course, I could just be getting caught up in the wording – and the “unknown forces” are simply unknown to our Survivors at the time because they don’t know who is attacking them – and it ends up being Dharma or the Others. I suppose I’ll settle on that for now since it’s the least confusing possibility.


 

Wrap Up. Okay, between that post, and my “Destiny Calls” post, I think I’ve pretty much thrown all my thoughts out for how the first few episodes of the season. In summary:

  1. The Island went back in the past. This has put the Survivors on the Island in danger, because they are suddenly strangers to the 1970’s Island inhabitants (Others / Dharma).
  2. The Oceanic Six all have various reasons to go back. The tricky part will be figuring out how to do it.
  3. We are all relying on Faraday to explain all this using pseudo-science.

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The tricky part is going to be in the details. I’ve got a feeling that after the first two episodes of Season Five, our heads are going to be about to explode, trying to digest the time jump concepts, and what it might mean for the Others, the history of the Island, and some of the yet unanswered questions we still have.

 

It should be a fun season of analyzing.


Happy Losting! See you back here for Instant Reactions Wednesday night!

http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=361.0


17 comments:

Brian said...

Let me be the first to apologize for how crappy the formatting of this post looks. I don't know what Google did once they took over Blogger, but they have made it impossible to make the spaces between paragraphs nice looking. They are either to far apart or too close... and it seems like the text changes font sizes and shapes midway through paragraphs at some points.

I tried my best to clean it up, but this was the best I could do. Hopefully you can muddle through it.

Annoying.

Anonymous said...

WOOOO!! Lost is coming back...

Can't wait.

Thanks for the preview Brian.

Dennis from Oz.

Anonymous said...

Couple observations on a wonderful analysis...

1. When Juliet went to Portland and drank the OJ was there ever a Lighthouse seen in that episode (the Lighthouse station may be in Portland)

2. With the Constant talk coming into play what about Faradays journal, "Desmond Hume will be my constant"?

Excellent post Brian!

Anonymous said...

It has been said several times by Ben and in your analysis Brian, that "All of you must go back." Brian, you mentioned this refers to anyone who ever has stepped foot on the island. Wouldn't this also include Walt? He is not mentioned as a guest but it would make sense that he would be there since he appeared to Locke to let him know his work was not done yet after Locke got shot by Ben. (At that time Walt was living in NYC with his grandmother???) What do you think?

adamgibson11 said...

I cant wait to see if you're right about the time travel concept of the new series.

i know all the clues are pointing towards it but I just don't understand how they're going to make it work.

The anonymous post above makes a good point about the Lighthouse station being in Portland.

That makes me think, why can't Richard just go there and meet Ben and take them back to the island.

I guess we'll find out tonight anyway.

Rebecca said...

O_o I can't wait!!!! Great post! I can't wrap my mind around it, too excited!

jennifer said...

Plenty of intriguing ideas here, Brian. Thanks for the excellent preview!

I'm just so excited that this day is finally here!

Anonymous said...

Have you covered the sneak peaks on ABC.com in other posts? Looks like some of what you "think" might happen has already been shown to be true.

Also, is Faraday a regular cast member this year? He isn't on the guest stars list and aren't his whereabouts unknown? When the island moved he and a boat full of survivors were half way between the island and the sinking freighter. If the chopper passengers didn't go with the island then Faraday and his bunch would not have either, leaving them SOL.

orangejack said...

I am so glad LOST is back -- and I'm glad your blog is kicking again! A lot to take in, but this is the only show on TV worth the effort! Blog on!

Anonymous said...

It is great having the blog back to read every week! Woo-hoo!

Nice seeing you Brian - thanks for the hard work.

Only what, 7 hrs to go?

Anonymous said...

Great post.

The Oceanic Six all need to go to Dharma stations in the real world to get back to the island.

Eric said...

I wonder if your thoughts about time travel don't explain Richard Alpert. I mean, it seems time travel must be involved, but your mentioning the idea of the island catching up to 2008 (and the impact on the love quadrangle) got me thinking about whether the characters would actually age. Maybe they don't age while the island is catching up to 2008, because if they did then not only would we be faced with the prospect of Kate making out with Old Man Sawyer, but also all the paradoxes that Team Darlton says they are going to avoid. So perhaps you don't age while the island catches up to the time you started. This would explain why Richard never appears to age: whenever he is actually from, he had gone back in time to test Locke and to recruit Juliet, so as he catches up he doesn't age.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back Brian, you're blog is a good one third of my glee that lost is back

Brian said...

Have you covered the sneak peaks on ABC.com in other posts? Looks like some of what you "think" might happen has already been shown to be true.

Also, is Faraday a regular cast member this year? He isn't on the guest stars list and aren't his whereabouts unknown?


Actually, I've been staying away from the ABC.com two minute clips of episodes. I don't know why, but I've always considered those a little spoilery for my blood.

I do believe that Faraday is a regular cast member this year. We know he is featured pretty heavily in the commercials for this season, so since he is not listed as a Guest Star, it seems like the only logical answer.

Whiza said...

Yeh happy times - LOST (and Brian) is back!
Rewatching previous seasons over the hiatus I was struck by how continually deceiving the script is and often the meaning of what people say turns out differently. So by the time I got to end of Season 4 and the 'Don't you bring him back' OR 'you're not supposed to RAISE him' lines rang bells and I thought suppose they're NOT talking about Aaron (which we all naturally assumed) but INSTEAD it's referring to LOCKE - (don't raise him (..from the dead); dont' take him back (..to the island)!!!

Anonymous said...

Grandma Juliet?

There are actually plenty of grandmas who are younger than she is (almost 39), so Juliet could technically be a grandma already!

Anonymous said...

I agree google messed it up.