People say that LOST is at its best with character-centric episodes and last night's episode, "What Happened, Happened", did not disappoint the people of that opinion. Not only that, but we finally got one of the lost histories that we have been missing since that portentous night at the docks with Ben, Sun, Jack, Kate and Sayid. Woohoo for back-story! Woohoo for a new kernel of Others insight! Woohoo for even more parental issues! Woohoo for Island time-travel explanations! Er...semi-explanations, cause let's face it, Miles is no Daniel Faraday...
Carry On Wayward Physicist
And speaking of Faraday, I say again, WHERE THE FRAK IS HE?!?!?! Seriously, does anyone know the last time we saw him? Oh yeah, it was 3 (THREE!!) episodes ago! Where is my adorable, absent-minded mad-scientist? Is he still mourning for his dead Charlotte? He is perhaps off stalking her younger, and let's face it, probably less bitchy self? Or, after three years, has he forgotten her and instead moved on to working on becoming the 1977 Pulitzer Prize winner for solving the time-space paradox? Has he grabbed his hard-hat and snazzy Dharma jumpsuit and exiled himself to the Island's netherworld, where he can study it's mysterious, magnetic energy core and thereby discover some possible way to save Charlotte in the future...er past...er....? And now that we're thinking about it, LOST's amusing and geekified executive producers, Damon and Carlton, have confirmed the title of the finale episode as "The Incident". Is this is the same incident that is connected to the Swan station and the annoying button-pressing dilemma that plagued our castaways in Season 2? The strange absence of Faraday and the reminder of one of our very first scenes from the premiere episode this season, of Faraday in the caverns right next to the Island's power source, leaves me with the strange conviction that Faraday himself might be behind "the incident". Take that Jeff Jenson!!!
Happiness is a Warm Explanation
Even though we seemed to have misplaced our resident Time Travel 101 instructor, his unlikely substitute has stepped up and attempted to teach the severely baffled class himself. Unfortunately for us, once Professor Miles' seemingly heaven-sent, much-desired time-travel lesson is thwarted by Hurley's non-stop inquiries, all the information he offered up is now suspect to being a load of BS. And there again goes our rug, pulled out from our time-traveling distracted feet. Should we believe Miles' explanation that the future is in fact in the past and that our castaways are still on a straight line, that even though they are alive in future years, they can still die because they have already crashed on the Island, met the Ben and the Others, left the Island and came back in 1977? Just nod your head yes or no...So, who are we to believe? Miles is hardly the expert, but with Faraday off doing...whatever it is he does, his is the only word we have to go on.
I have to say, on a personal level, I do NOT like this development. Even though I like the idea of everyone having their own personal destiny, especially Jack, I don't like the idea that they can't change all the bad things that will happen in the future. Even more so, I HATE the idea that they themselves are the cause of all their future pain, that even though they know the future, they are doomed to keep it on it's intended path. That they came back to the Island for that very reason is just too morbid to accept. I have always looked at this show as a show about redemption. Redemption for villains, redemption for fallen heroes and redemption for everyone in between. If our lost castaways have no chance at redemption, no chance at changing things or ever being happy, I see no point to the show at all. I doubt that's what the writers have in mind, but you never know and Miles' statements about time-travel certainly point to that end.
You Give Motherhood a Bad Name
Kate's lost back-story turned out a bit...anticlimatic. When we saw her waiting in Jack's bed and then again the following day on the plane, we couldn't help but fear the worst when it came to the whereabouts of dear Aaron. How could we not? She just looked so...destroyed. I'm not a mother myself (my own mother tells me to NEVER have children. Apparently I don't have the patience) so my opinion might be meaningless but it seemed like an awful lot of drama for merely leaving Aaron safe and sound with his own grandmother. Ok, so maybe it was her basically giving up what she had come to think of as her own child, but if she really cared that much, why did she decide to go back to the Island? I'm certainly not buying that whole "I'm going back to find Claire" excuse. Was she just running away, afraid that she didn't, in the end, possess the mommy-gene? Was she going back for Sawyer? They never actually gave us a specific reason for why she suddenly changed her mind so drastically. One minute she thinks everyone trying to go back to the Island is crazy, then she almost loses her son in a store (honestly, what mother hasn't?), and the next minute she suddenly joins the crazy "WE HAVE TO GO BACK!" group. What gives?
So, she gets back to Island, only to find exactly what she left behind; a young boy who needs her and who she needs in return. Ever since arriving on the Island, Kate has kept to herself, going with the Dharma flow and never once acting like her old Island-self (eagerly joining or creating various missions, being a badass, etc). Was Kate so gung-ho about saving young Ben because she had just lost her own son? Probably. So what's the next logical step in Kate's story? Or with everything else that is developing, do we even really care? For all we know, Kate has fulfilled her pre-destined duties by getting Ben to The Others and is now a completely useless character, unless of course you count riling up the native macho men (Sawyer & Jack). *Yawn* Bored now.
Try a Little Otherness
This is where the questions REALLY started, the first being, why does everyone think that The Others can save Ben when they couldn't? Do they have a mystic healer? A Charmed whiteligher perhaps? A temporarily evil witch by the name of Willow who can telepathically pluck the bullet out of him? A leashed reaper who would spare his life? Or is this the same thing/being/process that healed Locke and Rose once they landed on the Island? From what Richard claimed, that Ben would never be the same, that he would forever be one of them, that his innocence would be lost, it all reminds us of our original impression of The Others, sans the seemingly rational and even helpful Richard Albert; BAD, EVIL, CREEPY. Richard Albert has put a benign face on The Others, and as Ben has done multiple times before, he has temporarily blinded us to the true nature of what our castaways are dealing with; something far more dark and complex than merely a people who have had their lands forcefully occupied by Dharma hippies.
So back to the never-ending questions. Does Richard have ANY idea what is going on? Does he know anything about what the future holds, about who the nearly-dead boy in his arms will eventually become. And why is he bringing him to Smokey's digs, The Temple? Is Smoky the "mystic healer"? And how are they going to brain-wipe Ben and isn't that awfully convenient? That does answer one question though, that Sayid shooting Ben is not, in fact, the catalyst that creates the older, creepier Benjamin Linus. Ben won't remember being shot so does that also mean he won't remember any of the castaways? That when he meets them as Henry Gale, he didn't in fact know them all previously? Looks like it.
And why, oh why, does Richard Albert NEVER AGE?!?! Can we please get a hint, a clue, anything? It's very vexing!
One last awesome clarification. In the last scene, we see how shocked Ben is to see Locke alive and well. This answers a major question for us, that Ben indeed killed Locke thinking that he was dead for good, with no idea that bringing him back to the Island would bring him back to life. As if we needed more clarification that Ben is a slimy, manipulative jerk-face. Still, it's good to know and I certainly hope Locke smacks him one good. At the very least.
Ok, LOST-amores! See you next week for "Dead Is Dead", where maybe Benjamin Linus will get what's coming to him. Adios!