Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6:9 Ab Aeterno

I can't believe it finally happened. Ever since we first heard the name "Richard Alpert" we've been not so patiently waiting for his story. And it was worth the wait! I haven't enjoyed an episode this much since "The Constant", it was that good. In addition to Richard's history, we also got more answers than ever before about Jacob and the Man in Black.

This is the first episode of season 6 to center around a flashback, not a flashsideways, so my format will be a bit different this time as well. It was almost all revelations this time! With just a few questions.


-"Ab Aeterno" is Latin for "from eternity" or "from time immemorial." Wikipedia, the fountain of all knowledge, says that the phrase is sometimes used in theological language to indicate that something was "created outside of time."

-Richard was from the Canary Islands (part of the Spanish Archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa). Again from Wikipedia:
The original inhabitants of the island, guanches used to worship dogs, mummified them and treat dogs generally as holy animals. In the ancient times the island was well known about its people who worshipped dogs there, and when the Romans first visited the island, they gave it the name: 'canaari', which means in Latin: "the ones who worship dogs", or "the ones with dogs". The ancient Greeks also knew about a people, living far in the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worship dogs on an island. Some theorize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are in close connection, but there is no explanation as to which one was first, and how is it possible for those two far areas to be in contact with each other.
 So maybe later we'll see Richard worshiping Vincent! OK, maybe not.

-Richard is from the village of El Socorro, which is Spanish for "the aid" or "the help." 

-The way Richard accidentally kills the doctor is very similar to the way Desmond accidentally killed Kelvin. Sharp blows to the back of the head are brutal!

-The Bible passage Richard is reading in prison is Luke 4:24 : "Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country."

-Jacob's fellow passenger on the Black Rock is the first to see the Island and says "I see the devil! The island is guarded by the devil!" We've seen both Jacob and the Man in Black call each other "the devil," but from what we know so far, it seems like Jacob is the one who is guarding the Island - guarding it so that the Man in Black can't escape. That would make Jacob not the devil exactly, but more like a gatekeeper of hell, like Cerberus. 

-A big question answered: the Black Rock is what destroyed the four-toed statue! I'm not sure how a wooden ship breaks through a stone statue, but I'm not an engineer. 

-I didn't piece together at first that Smokey coming to the Black Rock would have occurred soon after the beach scene ("always nice talking to you Jacob") where Jacob admits that he brought the ship to the Island. That makes it pretty clear that Smokey/Man in Black was going to search the Black Rock specifically to find someone who would kill Jacob for him.

-One of the coolest moments for me was seeing Smokey scan Richard. It reminded me of the other times we saw this happen, and how much more we know about him now. Now I'm sure that Smokey/MiB isn't judging whether someone's good or evil; he's looking for malleability, a weak spot that he can exploit. He didn't find it in Mr. Eko, so he killed him. He apparently found it in Richard, Kate, Juliet, Sayid, and of course, Locke.

-The Isabella that appears to Richard in the Black Rock has to be a manifestation from the smoke monster. Smokey scanned Richard, found out what he wanted most in the world, and voilà! There's ghostly Isabella.

-It's interesting that Richard made a promise to the Man in Black first, before he met Jacob.

-Jacob describes the smoke monster as "malevolence...evil...darkness" and uses the analogy of a cork holding wine inside a bottle, the Island being the cork. This illuminates why Jacob is so hell bent on protecting the Island, but it doesn't explain why others want it so badly. Could it be that Widmore (who seems to be a pretty bad guy) actually wants the Island for unselfish reasons, to protect the rest of humanity from the smoke monster? That would be a pretty big twist.

-Richard gives the MiB a white stone from Jacob, like the white stone we later see Locke remove from the scales and throw into the ocean.

-Hurley speaks for Isabella (and presumably Jacob) and gives Richard his final task: stop the MiB from leaving the Island, or "we all go to hell."

Symbolism and Themes

-Fire and water: MiB first gives Richard a cup of water, then brings him to his campfire. Jacob dunks Richard in the ocean repeatedly, then brings him to his campfire. 

-The MiB tells Richard "If he [Jacob] speaks, it will already be too late," the same thing Dogen told Sayid when he sent him to kill the MiB. In many mythologies, speech is a powerful force.

-It's interesting that the Man in Black always finds what people want the most and then promise it to them if they will do what he asks. It's a very Doctor Faustus-like strategy. In contrast, Jacob's promises are much more realistic, and require a lot more blind faith.

-I loved the scene where Jacob plunged Richard into the water. It reminds me of this Zen parable:

A Zen monk and his student were walking by the river when the young student begins to plead with his master, "How do I become enlightened? What must I do?" The master grabbed him roughly, pulled him into the river and pushed him under the water until the young student was completely submerged. The Zen master continued to hold the student under water and soon the student began to thrash frantically. But still the master held him under the water. Desperately the student tried to free himself, to no avail. Finally, just at the point of drowning, the master released his grip and the student surfaced, gasping for air.
"What were you thinking while I held you under the water?" the master asked. "At first I thought of many things," the student answered. "But after a few seconds, when there was no sign that you would let me up, all I could think of was: Air! Air! Give me air!" "When you desire enlightenment with the same intensity," said the master smiling, "you will soon have it."
 Once Richard realized that he could still die, what he wanted most of all was to live forever.

-Jacob's wine bottle analogy immediately made me think of the story from Greek mythology of Pandora's box. Pandora (which means "giver of all gifts") was the first woman. In the story it's actually not a box, but a jar. The type of jar described in the story was often used to contain oil, grain, or...wait for When Pandora opened the jar, she unleashed evil, sickness and pain on the world. In some versions of the tale hope was released as well, but in others hope is the only thing to remain inside the jar. The story has many similarities to the Biblical story of Eve being tempted by the serpent; in both cases all the ills of mankind are blamed on the first woman (ahh, misogyny!)

-My favorite part of the episode was when Jacob and Richard sit down and hash out Jacob's theology - because it definitely is theology at this point (and I love it!). Jacob reiterates that the Man in Black believes that all people are corruptible because "it's in their very nature to sin". Jacob brings people to the Island to prove the Man in Black wrong. He says "When they get her their past doesn't matter." This is interesting, because from what we've seen of the main characters since season 1, their past DID matter; in fact, it influenced and interacted with their present in a huge way. But some of them were able to overcome it.

The best lines from this exchange:
Richard: Why didn't you help them?
Jacob: Because I wanted them to help themselves, to know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them. It's all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything. Why should I have to step in? [At which point I have to ask, who is the Mormon on the writing team, because wow!]
Richard: If you don't, he will.

-Some people have commented that the scene with Hurley translating for Isabella was too much like a scene from Ghost. I loved it. It's a perfect illustration of the difference between MiB and Jacob. MiB "resurrects" dead people that aren't really themselves - they are tangible and believable, but ultimately they're fake. What Jacob offers is much harder to believe in because it's not visible, but it's real.


-Why was Ilana in the hospital? I would love to know more about her background, but I'm not sure I want a whole episode dedicated to her at this point - there's not enough time! Maybe we'll get a nice expositional soliloquy from her, à la Dogen.

-Richard says that they are all dead and in hell, which was hinted at many times during season one. The other person who has insisted that they were in hell? Anthony Cooper. I wonder if Cooper got that idea from the same person Richard did?

-Why do all these Catholic people (Isabella, Mr. Eko, Charlie) wear crosses instead of crucifixes? Not a big deal to the story, but it's an interesting prop choice.

-Could the Man in Black really believe that Jacob is the devil, keeping him in hell? I'm inclined to believe that he only said this to manipulate Richard. Also, the MiB says that Jacob ("the devil") betrayed him, and took his body and his humanity. Could this be true, or is it another part of the manipulation?

-Why can't Jacob bring back Isabella or save Richard from hell, but he can give Richard eternal life? Is it a matter of "can't" or "won't"?

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

THE WHOLE THING. My heart was racing from start to finish, and when I realized it was almost over I couldn't believe the hour had already gone by. It felt like half the time. Just flat out amazing.

Not So Awesome

-I'm being really nitpicky here but...I wanted to see Magnus Hanso! I wonder if there's a reason we never saw his face, or if it's just a matter of the writers not wanting to introduce yet another character this late in the game.

-I was holding out hope that we'd learn the Man in Black's real name (if only so I don't have to keep typing "Man in Black" all the time!) but no such luck. 

Tell me your thoughts! Did you find this one as amazing as I did? Are you happy with the direction they've taken in the mythology? And what do you think will happen next?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

6:8 Recon

My apologies for getting this up so late. Yesterday was Eric's birthday and I spent all day preparing for the festivities, wrapping gifts, and baking the ugliest carrot cake in the world.

Flashsideways Connections

-I love the double entendre title: "Recon" could be short for "reconnaissance", which Sawyer does in the Island story, or it could mean "con again,"  which he does as part of his police work off Island and in his interactions between Locke and Widmore.

-I love that Sawyer and Miles are working together fighting crime. (All in favor of a Sawyer/Miles spinoff cop show, say "aye"!) I also loved the fake-out where we think Sawyer is still a con man, and then realize that he's a cop... but is still conning people in that capacity.

-I wonder if Miles still has the ability to speak to the dead. Did he still spend time on the Island in this timeline?

-For all that seems better in his life here - Sawyer decided to be a cop, not a criminal - he is still out to avenge his parents' death. It is interesting though that he this time he doesn't go by the name of his parents' killer, even though he's still out for vengeance.

-Also the same in Sawyer's world - his taste in books. Watership Down is on his bureau when Charlotte goes rifling through it.

-I haven't gone back to verify this, but it seems like Sawyer has more connections with other Island characters than anyone else. In this one episode he interacted with Miles, Kate, Charlotte, and Liam (Charlie's brother).

-Sawyer looking at himself in the mirror is a great visual representation of what this season is all about - mirror images. They're not being especially subtle about it either - every character (except for Sayid) has looked at their mirror image during the flashsideways. More about that in an upcoming post.

-Funny that Sawyer still watches "Little House on the Prairie." ("You call it 'Little House'?")


-The scene where Locke slaps Claire into submission shed a lot of light on the type of relationship they have. He says "This is completely inappropriate, I'll deal with you in a minute," as if she's an unruly child. He seems more like a father figure than a friend.  

-Locke says that he lied to Claire about the Others taking Aaron because he wanted to give her something to "keep her going". Interesting that what keeps Claire going is hate, but what keeps Kate is her love for Aaron.

-Sawyer seems to have given himself a haircut while he was in New Otherton, and his hair is shorter in the Sideways too. COINCIDENCE? (just kidding)

-Charles Widmore wants to kill Locke/Smoky! I am so confused about this, because I was sure he was on Smoky's side. 


-Maybe this fits under "Revelations", but on this show sometimes it's hard to separate the questions from the answers. Locke/Smoky says he had a crazy mother, and this "resulted in growing pains." Obviously this description fits Locke's life perfectly, but does it also apply to Smoky as well? If so, how can a column of smoke have a mother?

-Locke also says that if his mother hadn't been crazy, problems could have been avoided and "things could have been different." What we're seeing in the Sideways is the result of things being different - so which specific things are the crucial ones?

-The same question I have every week when we see these flashsideways - what exactly caused Sawyer to make different decisions in this timeline? Why would he choose to be a cop rather than a criminal?

-Which side is Widmore really on? I am pretty convinced that Jacob is "good", but I don't know if I can stomach the idea of Widmore being on the good side.

-And the biggie - what is in the locked room in the submarine? The writers keep giving us these kinds of situations where we have to guess what is inside the ________ (the hatch, the "magic box", the coffin, the container Ilana and Bram were carrying.) If the past can tell us anything at all, whatever is inside the room will end up being a person.

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

-Finally having Josh Holloway back! Yay!

-Once again, we have fire and water - Sawyer boiling a kettle over an open fire. Like mirrors, this is an image that has appeared in just about every episode this season.

-When Sawyer tells Zoe that he's not alone and can take her back to the main Island she says "Thank God" and he responds "Trust me, God's got nothing to do with it." I think he's alluding to the Jacob/God parallel, and since Smoky/Satan is the one who sent him back to get Zoe, it's not God's doing. And how great was Zoe? I loved the whole sequence with her and Sawyer. You can see on his face precisely the moment when he realizes that she's lying.

-Kate telling Sawyer that they ate "rabbit, I think."

-Is it just me, or does Claire's fake baby look like Jar Jar Binks?

Not So Awesome

-Sayid just sitting there while Claire tried to kill Kate. I hope we'll get more information about his state of mind, because the way he's acting doesn't make any sense. That's not what regular Sayid would do, and it's not what Locke/Smoky would do either.

 Your turn! What did you think of this episode?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God vs. Satan, Jacob vs. Esau, Jacob vs. Smoky

There's a great post over at By Common Consent called "Yahweh, Satan, and Lost". The author (Ronan J. Head) notes a similarity between the beach scene with Jacob and his nemesis and the Biblical story of Job. In the story, God and Satan converse about how Job will be tested, and essentially make a wager about which side Job will eventually wind up on. [On a completely unrelated side note, I can't hear the name "Job" anymore without thinking of GOB on Arrested Development. Curses on you, funniest show ever made!] Satan believes that if everything Job cares about is taken away from him, he will give up on God. In the end, Job refuses to abandon God and remains faithful. In the LOST narrative, Jacob keeps bringing people to the Island, believing that they will make progress, whereas Smoky believes that it's all for nothing. This season is all about which side our characters will end up on. Will they pass the test and choose the good side, or get fed up with all they've been through and choose Smoky/Locke?

Interestingly, I've seen a lot of discussion about whether or not Jacob actually is on the good side, because he's done a lot of things that don't seem particularly benevolent. I've wondered the same thing, and I've decided that this confusion isn't really our fault because 1) we know by now that the writers love to fake us out and 2) our modern concept of God is extremely different than the one I think LOST's writers are referencing. We (and I'm using "we" in an extremely broad sense here) tend to see God as a kind of omniscient, smiling, wise grandfather. He loves everyone, is all-powerful, merciful, and answers our prayers. Yahweh, the God of the Hebrew Bible, is characterized completely differently.  He is incredibly demanding of his followers, requiring them to give up everything they hold dear. He acts violently out of vengeance and anger, wiping out thousands of lives on a whim. And at times he even seems less than all-powerful. To quote the aforementioned BCC post:
The writers of Lost have made [Jacob] remarkably Yahweh-like. At times he seems beneficent but also demands absolute loyalty and, from the perspective of the humans at least, he takes an indifferent view of human life. Many people have suffered and died to maintain his vision for the island (whatever that is). Richard’s loss of faith in the last episode was exactly like of that a believer ultimately crushed underneath God’s capriciousness.
On the flip side, Smoky/Man in Locke/Whatever You Want To Call Him rings true as the Satan archetype. He tempts characters by promising them knowledge, berating Jacob for keeping his followers "in the dark." He tells Sayid he can have "anything you ever wanted" and appeals to Ben's ego by telling him he should be the one running the Island. He coaxes Richard "Come with me, and I promise I will tell you everything." (I have to admit that after 5 1/2 seasons, I might fall for that one!) And when the smoke monster is on a rampage it greatly resembles a snake; it even hisses sometimes.

Another story that comes to mind is the story of Cain and Abel (when Dr. Linus writes "Elba" on the blackboard in last week's episode a lot of people recognized it as an anagram for "Abel.") Cain was the world's first murderer, and he killed his brother Abel because God accepted Abel's sacrifice, but not Cain's. There are numerous different interpretations* as to why Cain's offering wasn't accepted - that he didn't give the best of his crop, that he gave it grudgingly, or even that God didn't approve of cultivating crops but approved of hunting/gathering - but whatever the reason, Cain was angered by Abel's status before God and killed his brother. Cain is then cursed to wander the earth in exile for the rest of his days, but also protected from harm with an identifying mark. Smoky as Cain and Jacob as Abel works pretty well, but I can't help picturing Benjamin Linus saying "What about me?" and Jacob answering "What about you?" Ben had sacrificed everything, and still his offering was not acceptable.

Perhaps the most obvious Biblical story to look to is Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah who started fighting each other in the womb. Esau was born first and Jacob came out holding onto Esau's leg, which gave him his name (Jacob means "leg-puller" or "supplanter", which makes me picture all kinds of unfortunate practical jokes during their childhood.) The narrator implies that Jacob was favored by his mother, but Esau was favored by his father (daddy issues abound). Eventually Rebekah helps Jacob pretend to be Esau in order to steal the birthright from his older brother. In LOST there is clearly much jockeying for power going on between Jacob and Smoky, and we've seen a few instances of Smoky pretending to be Jacob. Has Smoky been displaced in some way? Or has Jacob always had the upper hand?

We're getting close to the end - it's the final countdown [not GOB again!] Who will it be - Jacob or Smoky? Both? Or neither? I like the idea that the flashsideways are the result of individual characters making a deal with either Jacob or Smoky - those who choose Jacob are relatively happy in the sideways world, and those who choose Smoky remain unredeemed. Like the devil himself, he makes big promises, but rarely follows through.

*One tradition says that Cain killed Abel because he wanted Abel's intended wife...who was his twin sister. This version has the added bonus of concluding that "thus because of a woman was the first blood shed." Ahh, misogyny.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

6:7 Dr. Linus

Oh, how I love Benjamin Linus episodes! They are the best of the best.

Flashsideways Connections

-This was the first flashsideways of a character who is not an 815 survivor, and who has not been visited by Jacob.

-Dr. Linus teaches his history class about Napoleon's exile, and his loss of power. By the end of the episode it becomes clear that the Napoleon in our story is Charles Widmore, who Ben himself forced into exile. Elba Island is also a parallel to the Island, like the famous palindrome says: "Able was I ere I saw Elba." The Island is the controlling force in all of their lives.

-Ben as the sponsor of his school's History Club cracked me up, because I was one of those HC nerds in high school. (Although at my school it was the largest club, mostly due to the awesome Victorian Ball we hosted every year, which got better attendance than prom.)

-I loved seeing Dr. Linus have lunch with Leslie Arzt (why is it so funny when a guy is named Leslie??) and got a good laugh out of Arzt complaining about having something on his shirt. HA!

-Ben's strategy when he blackmails Principal Reynolds seemed familiar to me, and it took me a while but I finally figured out why.  On the Island, Ben blackmailed Charles Widmore for having an off-Island affair in order to take over his position, and eventually exiled him. In retaliation, Widmore had Alex killed. In this mirror image, Ben is unwilling to sacrifice Alex's well being - not even her life this time, just her college education! - to gain power for himself.  Despite Arzt's comment that "You really had me fooled with that sweater vest - you're a killer!", this is a very different Ben than the one we've known. He's not a killer. He really does have his students' best interest at heart. What caused this difference? The defining moment of Ben's life on the Island is being shot by Sayid and brought back to life by the Others, which Richard said would change him for the rest of his life. Since that didn't happen in this timeline, we get to see who Ben really is at heart.

-Along the same lines, Ben has a good relationship with his dad - instead of giving him poisonous gas, he's giving him oxygen and frozen dinners. And here's a big one: Roger Linus says that they "should have stayed on that Island."  Which leads me nicely into....


-I know it's not happening as quickly as a lot of us would like, but we really are getting answers! I think we can assume the big ones will come at the very end of the season, and although I get just as impatient as the next fan, I can't imagine it working any other way.

-For me the big one of this episode was that the flashsideways timeline appears to have nothing to do with Jack and the other survivors detonating the bomb. But the Island WAS around when Ben was a child (i.e. it wasn't underwater yet.) So what was the defining moment that made this version of time happen differently than the one we've already seen? What caused the Island to be underwater at the moment 815 flew above it?

-Richard confirms that he came to the Island on the Black Rock, and that Jacob gave him the gift of longevity when he touched him. He also confirms that he's not young from time traveling, and he's not a cyborg or a vampire (thanks for asking the tough questions, Hurley!)

-Ben learns that Jacob really did know who he was, and was hoping he would choose the good side. This definitely affects Ben's decision to follow Ilana rather than Locke at the end (and parallels Ben choosing to protect Alex rather than himself in the flashsideways.)

-Ilana reiterates that the candidates are supposed to be the ones to replace Jacob. Now that we've heard it from both her and Locke, I'm more inclined to believe it. I think it's interesting that Ilana calls the candidates by their last names, just as they appear on the cave wall and in the lighthouse.


-This is one of my favorite theories floating around: Are Jacob and the smoke monster the same person? There are a lot of things that point to them being two sides of the same coin. I haven't thought it through yet, but I like it.

-Another theory comes from what Ben said to Lapidus when Lapidus tells him that he was supposed to be the pilot of 815 but overslept. Ben says, "The Island still got you in the end, didn't it." Maybe the flashsideway is what happens if the Island DIDN'T get them in the end.

-Richard says that Jacob touched him, and gave him a "gift" that actually turned out to be a curse. We've seen Jacob touch many characters, so what gift/curse did he give each of them? Is it as simple as not being able to kill yourself until he is done with you, à la season 4 Jack and Michael? Or is there something else involved? 

-Where is James? How is he playing into Locke's plan?

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

-Locke telling Dr. Linus "Maybe you should be the principal."
-Miles finding Nikki and Paulo's diamonds. I didn't expect those two to be referenced at all, but I' so glad they were. Hilarious!

-Jack saying about Richard "If he wants to die we're not going to do anything to stop him." Because that is sooooo not a Jack thing to say! He has changed more than any other character (except maybe Locke, but that doesn't count because Locke isn't really Locke anymore.)

-Ben finds The Chosen by Chaim Potok in Sawyer's stash (right next to "Booty Babes"; Sawyer's taste is nothing if not eclectic!) I haven't thought yet about how it ties into LOST, but it is an awesome book.

-The scene where Jack and Richard watch the fuse burn down to the dynamite was SO well down. Pure suspense.


Not So Awesome

-I was really, really hoping for a lot more information on Richard - how the Black Rock got to the middle of the Island, whether he was a slave on the ship, how he first encountered Jacob. It was so disappointing that he just blew past all the questions Hurley and Jack asked him without revealing much of anything. I'm going to hold out hope that the answers will come in a future Richard-centric episode.

-I am beyond ready for a Sun and Jin reunion. And for Sawyer to come back. Maybe next week.


I had a dream last night that I was hanging out at the beach with Josh Holloway. Just sitting in the sun, drinking lemonade, reading books. He asked me to go back to the house to get his shirt, and the rest of my dream involved me looking all over this huge beach house for the shirt.

Which makes NO sense at all, because why, WHY would I EVER put any effort into helping Josh Holloway put on MORE clothing?

Dreams are crazy like that.

(Don't worry, there is a real post coming later.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is Kate a Candidate?

There's been a lot of speculation about why Kate's name did not appear to be on the cave wall, yet it was on the wheel in the lighthouse - AND she was visited by Jacob as a child. Here's an interview with Carlton Cuse that may put the whole issue to rest! They also go on to discuss some other interesting details about the flashsideways and the season in general (don't worry, no spoilers!)

So there you have it. Kate's name WAS on the cave wall, and it was crossed out. The lists on the cave and in the lighthouse are the same.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

6:6 Sundown

Talk about an aptly named episode. With creepy Claire, scary Sayid, and Smokey cleansing the temple, this was definitely the darkest LOST yet (and the darkest part of all - no Josh Holloway!)  Remember those promos that promised "The time for questions...IS...OVER"? Yeah, they lied.

As I watched new alliances developing and sides forming, I couldn't help but think of this promo photo for season 6.

It's clear now why Locke is the central figure - not only did he rise from the dead like Christ, he is the one directing most of the action so far. Now look who's on Locke's right - Claire and Sayid have already been "claimed" by him, and Kate also seems to be going along with his group. What does this mean for Kate, Sawyer, Richard and Ilana? (Also, comparing character placement to the real Last Supper, Sayid is standing in the place of Judas. Will he change allegiance near the end?)

Flashsideways Connections

-Nadia is married to Sayid's brother. Poor Sayid. Maybe it's because I'm really trying to see it, but even though this is an unhappy position for him to be in, he seems more at peace than we've seen him before. He seems to know who he is.

-One thing that's the same for Sayid - he is still doing other people's dirty work. We saw this theme begin when he killed a chicken for his brother, and later when he works for Ben.

-Keamy is the mob boss. Now there's someone I never wanted to see again. What a D-bag. 

-I was completely surprised by Jin being the one tied up in the closet. It makes sense though, since Widmore hired Keamy to be on the freighter, and Mr. Paik and Widmore were apparently business associates. It's all connected in this reality too.

-Sayid gives Nadia's kids a boomerang, which ends up breaking a vase. A symbol for karma? ("It'll come back around.")


-Dogen tells Sayid that Locke is "evil incarnate." Throughout the whole series we've heard both sides insisting that they are the good guys, but after this episode I'm more inclined to believe Dogen than I was before. Whatever is going on with Claire and Sayid, it's not good. Of course, this doesn't mean that Jacob is necessarily the personification of good, but I think it's leaning that way.

-Dogen says that Sayid failed the test because "the scales tipped the wrong way", showing that he had more evil than good in him.  A machine that measures morality? This could be useful for people who are dating, or looking for a business partner. The image of balancing the scales is one we've seen recently, when Locke and Sawyer visit the cave and the scale is balanced with a white rock and a black rock. Is this whole game about balancing good and evil?

-The Smoke Monser/Locke wasn't able to get into the temple until Dogen died. Apparently the protective ash only works as long as the temple master is alive.

-When Sayid stabs Locke there is no blood on the knife. This is interesting to me (and probably only me!) because it's a bit of Mormon folklore/pseudo doctrine that a resurrected body has flesh and bones, but no blood. I'm sure that's what the writers were going for! In any case, it definitely suggests that Locke/Smokey is not in a mortal body, which most of us had already guessed.


-Dogen reveals how he came to the Island after making a deal with Jacob that if he went there, his son could live. Is this an example of Jacob's goodness, or just a selfish manipulation?

-What does Dogen's baseball represent? It seems to have been his son's, or at least it reminds him of his son. Dogen seems ready to kill Sayid until that baseball falls onto the ground, and he suddenly stops. Is not killing anyone part of his bargain with Jacob? If he kills, will his son's life be in danger? (On a side note, I learned today that there are 108 double stitches on a baseball.)

-Miles tells Sayid "Whoever brought you back [to life], it wasn't them [the people in the temple.]" What does this mean about Ben's experience in the temple as a child? Did Jacob bring him back, or Smokey?

-Dogen warns Sayid that if he lets Locke speak to him, it's already too late. Locke says "Hello" to Sayid right before Sayid stabs him, so he did speak. Is that why he was unable to kill him? 

Moments of Pure Awesomeness

-Claire was so, so scary. Singing "Catch a Falling Star" to a pretend baby, telling Kate "he's coming"...she's right out of a horror flick. I bet Emilie de Ravin (who always gets cast as the innocent sweetheart) is having the time of her life with this character.

-The samurai/banker goes head to head with the Iraqi soldier/torturer! Epic.

-Sayid stabbing Locke in the heart and Locke saying, "Now why did you do that?" as if he had just spilled a glass of milk. The look on Sayid's face was pure fear, not something we see from him very often.

-Sayid telling Dogen "I want some answers." Me too Sayid, me too. I hope that doesn't mean I'm also under the influence of the Smoke Monster.

-And not from the show, my favorite part of Jimmy Kimmel's monologue last night: "Tonight we learned that John Locke (or at least the guy that's renting John Locke's body) is evil incarnate. He's he tried to block the Island from getting unemployment benefits."