No, Jack, you're with him.You might as well have a dog collar around you're neck because you are sooooo subservient to Benjamin Linus now that it's hard to take. Just ask Kate.
For all the curve balls that tonight's "Lost" installment, "The Little Prince," threw at us -- and they were fast and furious in the last 15 minutes (JIN! ROUSSEAU! JIN! JIN! JIN! JIN!), the one big moment of clarity I had was that Jack is just a goner. He may be cleaned up a bit, having sworn off the OxyContin and the facial hair, but he most certainly has lost his mind -- the sharp, skeptical, strategic mind that helped the castaways so much in the early going of Our Great Adventure.
I saw it most particularly when Jack and Kate were sitting in Kate's car outside the motel, when Jack talked Kate into letting him go confront Claire's mother. (It's always a good "Lost" episode when there are multiple references to Claire's surname, or in this case "Mrs. Littleton," though in point of fact I am not a Mrs. Littleton, but it's still cool...)
Jack pleads: "I can fix this, Kate." So cloying. If you have to spell it out, you're doomed. Jack of old would've been up the staircase before Kate had time to react, and he would've tried to punch out the lawyer on his way down the stairs. And then he would've wigged out some more and made sure he hadn't given the guy a concussion.
In the closing scenes, Jack just sounds ridiculous trying to convince Kate "we all need to be together." Earlier in the episode he tries to convince Sayid "Ben is on our side." Can't he tell how ridiculous he sounds? Sayid wisely corrects Jack: "The only side he's on is his own." But does Jack listen? Nooooo.
This emotional drama in this episode, written by Brian K. Vaughan and Melinda Hsu Taylor and helmed by Stephen Williams, also made me stop and think about some of the show's core thesps, and who's grown as an actor over the course of the show so far and who hasn't. Josh Holloway gets my vote for most improved. Matthew Fox is a close second. Evangeline Lilly, well....lovely to look at but... In all fairness, I don't think she's bad. I think her strength is portraying fear, terror and gumption, and running like hell through the jungle, rather than the heavy-duty emo stuff. Me thinks she's going to get many more chances to show off her best work in the very near future.
A shoutout is warranted here to this episode's d.p. Edward Pei. This episode had a fantastic look. I love the contrast of the hard-edge, super-focused, in your face look of the scenes back in civilization, and the contrast with the gauzy, often dream-like feel of the island scenes.
The end of the episode makes it clear why it opens with Jack and Kate on Penny's boat three years earlier, when we learn that it was Kate's idea to claim Aaron as her own. As if to bolster her case, she even tells Jack that Claire had been on her way to L.A. to give her baby up for adoption. (BTW, what kind of "nevermind" did Jack have to deliver to Claire's mom when he started babbling about Aaron, a name that meant nothing to her. "Ooops. Sorry - no need for me to explain. Have a nice day!")
Noting all the others who have died since Flight 815 went kaboom, Kate tells Jack "I can't lose him too." The exchange that follows seems telling:
Jack: "Sawyer's not dead."
Kate: "No, but he's gone."
There were a lot of things in this seg that harked back to staples of the past. The pouring rain in the scene at the motel, the liberal use of the numbers (Kate's address was "42 Panorama Court" and Ben told Jack to meet him at "Slip 23" in the Long Beach Marina. I'm sure there were others I missed.) and Jack once again asking Kate "are you with me?"
Also by the end of the episode, we learn that the lawyer Dan Norton (nicely portrayed by Tom Irwin, pictured right) who has been after Kate for her blood sample is working for Ben -- an in that capacity he's somehow arranged for an Oceanic 815 settlement check for Claire's mother. (Or maybe Ben's just dipped into his reserves.)
The scolding Kate gets from Norton when she goes to his office (in a borrowed suit from Sun) -- "You did this to yourself" and "You are going to lose the boy" -- are of course designed to push her buttons and send her on the run for a safe spot in some remote corner of the world. But I'm still not convinced that Sun doesn't have something to do with this effort to rattle Kate's case -- the timing of her arrival in L.A. and call to Kate a few episodes ago was just too coincidental, even for this show.
That said, it's hard to see Sun and Ben being in cahoots, since we know (or think we know) that Sun is in biz with Charles Widmore. We saw in this seg that she's receiving reports and pictures of Ben's whereabouts in Los Angeles, and Jack's.
I won't even hazard a what-happens-next guess about the last scene of Sun getting out of her car with gun in hand, and Aaron in her back seat, to presumably go confront Ben and Jack? Maybe Sun reached out to Kate because she knew Ben was in town and would be trying to get at Kate? Maybe she really does want to help Kate? ("It's what any friend would do," Sun says after loaning Kate some clothes and offering to babysit Aaron. So not sincere!) And what was with the strange way that Sun looked at the gun that was sent to her at the hotel hidden in a box of chocolates? Might it have once been Jin's at some point? So many threads, so little time.
Back on the island, nosebleeds are a growth industry. Charlotte survives the seizure she had at the end of last week's seg (with "Lost," you gotta give 'em a little "Buck Rogers" license in every episode) to wake up bloody but mostly unbowed. She manages to hike clear across the island and pull her weight on the rowing team. By the end of this hour, Miles (who's hair is definitely getting grayer) and Juliet are starting to get them too. Hmmmm. As Faraday says at some point in the seg, the timing of the onset of nosebleeds may have something to do with the amount of time a person's been on the island. Which does give us some clues about how much time Charlotte and Miles may have spent on the island.
"Like really bad jet lag." Faraday tries to explain, he who's always ready with a handy simile.
Juliet pushes Faraday pretty hard when their trying to revive Charlotte about whether he has any idea of what's happening to them physically. (There's a fantastic shot from the ground's perspective as Juliet and Faraday crouch over Charlotte.) Given how terrible a liar he is, I'm thinking he's being truthful. I also noticed in that Faraday is getting to be a little bit deferential to Locke -- as if he's realizing that he is special and specially attuned to the island in some way.
A whole lot of blog commentary on last week's seg advanced the theory that Charlotte is actually Faraday's daughter. I'd buy that, especially after watching his body language around her in this episode. And I have my own theory on who Charlotte's mother might be. How 'bout Theresa Spencer, the bedridden Brit who Faraday ran out (or so we think) when he ditched Oxford for the United States. I noticed that Theresa has long curly hair, just like Charlotte.
Just as the lawyer is dispatched to push Kate's buttons in L.A., Locke is in charge of getting under Sawyer's skin on the island. He finally tells Sawyer and Juliet that Kate, Jack, Hurley et al are not dead. He doesn't tell them how he knows, but it's part of his "I have to make them come back even if it kills me" mantra. "Don't you want her to come back," Locke needles Sawyer, without even using the K-word.
I'm glad the writers addressed a question I had from episode two when Jack brought Sayid into the ER. Wasn't he suspended from the practice of medicine for all of his dope-addled rampaging? Jack does get called out by a femme doctor, but she walks him out of Sayid's room just as the male "nurse" comes in to use Sayid for target practice with his dart gun, so maybe she's on the Ben and/or Widmore payroll too. Noticed that they keep shooting Sayid with darts, presumably tranquilizers, rather than bullets. I guess they need to bring 'em all back alive. Sayid's a mad man with that IV!
Right around this midway point of the seg we get some serious comic relief, in the form of Hurley in a bright orange L.A. County jail jumpsuit, calling Jack on his cell. He looks like a giant tangerine.
Sayid and Ben have a very tense reunion after Jack runs off to find Kate somewhere on Wilshire Boulevard downtown. (I would've figured Ben for a Century City law firm kind of guy.) Sayid don't ride shotgun. "I'll drive," Sayid snarls at Ben, snatching the keys to the carpet van (I kept missing the actual name of the business on the side of the van).
Back on the island, Sawyer, Locke, Juliet, Charlotte, Faraday and Miles are trudging back toward the beach to get to Locke's ultimate destination of the Orchid Station when voila, Sawyer runs into the sight of a rerun of the season one scene where Kate coaches Claire through the delivery of Aaron. This was a good moment for Josh Holloway, he registered a lot of emotion without a word.
More drama ensues when the group finally gets to the beach to find their old camp somewhat intact but Rose, Bernard et al gone along with the Zodiac cruiser. But wait! There's some strange catamarans parked in its place.
"Other-others?" Sawyer asks. "Don't look at me," Juliet says. (Those two may have the most complex relationship of any characters on this show. The way she draws him out later to talk about the feeling of seeing Kate was touching, though it may have been calculated too.)
The Sawyer-Locke crew hop into the catamarans and row right into an ambush. So who was shooting at them as they were paddling so furiously? And has our James found religion? Sawyer screams "Thank you Lord," as another time-skip hits just as the bullets are coming closer. Is this an indication that he believes Locke and now has something to live for, namely Kate? (I'm the only viewer on the planet who didn't hear Sawyer follow up with "I take it back!" when the time-skip put them in a downpour. Don't ask me how I missed it but I did.)
I'll completely admit to being floored by Jin's entrance floating on a big piece of something-er-other in the ocean. But I suspect that most every "Lost" fanatic knew, after a time skip and seeing Locke kick a can with a French word on it, that we were in for an encounter with Rousseau and her crew. (Should've been tipped off by the episode's title -- a nod to the classic novelof the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Among the famous lines from the allegorical fantasy about a young boy who is displaced from his home planet: "When the mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey.")
So Jin appears to have also skipped a groove in time because of his proximity to the island when Ben turned the donkey wheel -- right? Right. Maybe. Tune in next week. It was just nice to see him again, sunburn and all.
As Sawyer would say: "Time travel's a bitch."
Thursday afternoon update: Duh, can't believe I forgot to mention the appearance of the Ajira Airways water bottle in one of the catamarans. Credit Variety's Justin Kroll for uncovering this website for Ajira Airways. Specializing in trips to mystery locales, Australian walkabouts, polar adventures, island adventures, etc. Their motto is "Destiny Calls." Fun stuff.