"This is cool, dude. It's very old school -- you and me, trekking through the jungle, on our way to do something we don't quite understand. Good times."
Well put, Hugo. This sew, "Lighthouse," did have a heavy old-school "Lost" vibe. It was at least a eight or nine "dude" episode for Hurley, which is always a trademark of quality. And there was a "Littleton" name check, which is always a bonus for this viewer.
But I especially liked this episode because I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on the flash-sideways narratives and what it is they're telling us about the characters.
As we saw in Jack's climactic scene with his preteen son, David, the characters in the no-crash 2004 timeline still have plenty of flaws and heartache, but they're somehow better equipped to deal with their problems.Jack finds the way to communicate with his son ("In my eyes, you can never fail") -- I guess we're to presume Sarah is the mother? -- just like Locke appeared to be on his way to coming to grips with his physical limitations in last week's episode. And for good spooky fun, they're salting the stories with a few holy-cow encounters, like Jack running into Dogen at the conservatory tryouts, or Locke running in to Ben as a fellow junior high school teacher. Maybe these seemingly random no-crash 2004 encounters will pay off down the road.
My Variety colleague Justin Kroll posits that the "someone" that Jacob says is "coming" to the island are the 2004 no-crash versions of our characters. Sounds plausible to me.
Based on the promos for this episode, I was primed by the time it started to finally catch up with Claire, and catch up we did. Now we know why she disappeared into thin air and left Aaron behind. Three years later, she's in full-blown Rousseau mode: Batty but incredibly resourceful. I'll have to go back and freeze frame the images to really look at all the stuff that was in Claire's shelter. The sticks of dynamite, of course, invoked the Black Rock, as did the paddle that Jin tries to use as a crutch.
The money shot of Claire swinging the ax into Justin's belly was classic "Lost": A burst of ultra-vi that wasn't terribly gory or graphic but it still made my jaw drop, and it will stick with me. (Credit to editor Mark Goldman for letting the money shot linger just long enough to sear the image into my head but not long enough to make me turn away.)
Interesting to hear that Claire has been fending for herself, more or less with assists from her "friend" Smokey, for the past three years, rather than slip into ghost territory with her father Christian. Maybe the last time we saw Claire and Christian sitting in Jacob's cabin, they weren't particularly welcome by Jacob. We know from Claire's discussion of having been kidnapped and "branded" by the Others at the Temple that the Temple crowd believes she's "infected" and has been trying to do her harm. And just like Rousseau, she's a tough cookie who gives it back to them as much as she can and won't stay in captivity. And she's obsessing about her lost son -- can't blame her -- so much that she's got an animal skeleton swaddled in a bassinet (whose bassinet, I wonder?)
But what to make of the who's good/who's bad question after tonight's episode. To me all the signs are pointing to Jacob being more or less a good guy, even if he does have maddening tactics. But does that mean Claire is irredeemable? Are the Temple people really vessels of Jacob? The man himself seems to prefer the Oceanic 6 crowd, particularly Hurley. Is Hurley shaping up to take on a Richard Alpert-type role -- the loyal lieutenant?
Claire is on her jihad because she thinks the Temple folks are hiding her baby. "First my father told me and then my friend told me," she informs a bewildered Jin. As we know, her "friend" is one slippery fella. Why would Christian send Claire on a goose chase? Maybe he's not really allied with Jacob, or maybe he is and he knows that the Temple folks are up to no good.
Meanwhile, Jack on the island seems to be coming full circle. The evidence is mounting that Jack is the Really Special Chosen One -- but he's not the only Shephard on the island. It could be Jack will somehow be used to get to his father. It was the way he told Hurley that the ghost of Christian "led me here" that made me wonder. And also his explanation to Hurley about why he came back to the island in 2007 the flight that was definitely not going to Guam. "I came back here because I was broken. I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me."
Jack may have accepted the whole destiny business, and he may finally be over Kate (?), but he's still mad and he wants answers. "What does he want from me?!" Jack demands of Hurley when he realizes that Jacob's old-school GPS system has had a bead on the Shephard manse in L.A. for years and years. Why, it's as if he was speaking for the fans.
The lighthouse motif indicates that Jack is finally seeing some light as he gazes out at the ocean. "Jack is here because he has to do something. He has to find it himself," Jacob instructs Hurley in one of his Obi-Wan-like appearances.
Of course, I'm curious what they would have seen in the lighthouse mirror had they turned it to 108 (a number fraught with meaning for this show, natch) before Jack smashed it. I also would think Hurley would have liked to seen the view from his number, just to double check. And another thing -- why was "Shephard" scrawled in on the dial in markedly different handwriting than the fancy script for the other names? Guess we'll have to tune in next week.
** Jack has a clear rapport with Dogen for some reason. Don't ask me why.
** More "Alice in Wonderland" references, more Red Sox references, more "Star Wars" and Obi-Wan Kenobe shoutouts. Like I said, old-school "Lost."
** The Biblical character of David is a font of music.
** "I hope you find what you're looking for," Kate tells Jack when they bump into each other in the jungle. Is she (finally) over him too?
** No-crash Jack's storyline is wrapped up in the fear of failure and the emotional neuroses passed on through the generations. Hurley too is very agitated when he feels like he's failed in Jacob's eyes at the Lighthouse. "Mission Un-accomplished, dude," he confesses.
** Finding the inhaler outside the Adam and Eve cave sure seemed like a precursor to Shannon's return, no?
** Why did Jin lie to Claire at the end about Aaron, after telling her the truth about Kate? Claire's so bonkers she only hears what she wants to hear, obviously. But now we know Kate's running headlong into a likely ambush by the woman she thinks she's helping.
** Does Claire see Smokey as inhabiting something other than Locke's body when he's not zooming around the jungle but walking upright? It was the way she told Jin "that's not John...that's my friend" when F'Locke walked in to Claire's lair.
On second viewing:
** Noticed this time around that Jack is such a mama's boy! Interesting twist to his character.
** Noticed there was a lot of sports equipment in Jack's place. Another twist.
** Can't believe I forgot to mention the donkey wheel in the lighthouse.
** If F'Locke strolls into Claire's lair at the very end, where's his new recruit Sawyer?
** Hurley being able to see Jacob of course recalls the other ghosts he's seen along the way: Charlie, Mr. Eko, etc.
-- Cynthia Littleton