Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lost episode recap – “Before You Left” (S5E1) and “The Lie” (S5E2)

For those of you who remember next to nothing about what happened on the last Lost, click here. I include myself in "those of you," by the way.

“Before You Left” (S5E1)

After a mislead involving a crying baby and an Asian woman who is definitely not Sun, it becomes evident that we’re on the Island, several decades before current time, filming the Dharma orientation videos with Dr. Chang. There’s a problem down at the new Orchid station, however, and Chang has to go check it out. The Dharma crew has been drilling and both people and machinery are malfunctioning. The crew boss wants to build the station on different coordinates but Chang insists that they can’t change anything: this station will allow them access to an energy source that will enable them to manipulate time. Chang stalks off as a hard-hatted worker totes a tank of something into the cavern. It’s Daniel Faraday, looking exactly the same age as he will several decades later when he arrives on the Island via the freighter.

At the Los Angeles funeral parlor, Jack and Ben load Locke’s coffin into Ben’s van. Ben wants to get going as they still have to collect Hurley from the mental institution. Jack is feeling sorry for himself but Ben snipes that all this trouble is happening because they left the Island in the first place. Later, at a motel, Jack shaves that fugly beard off (yay!), asking Ben when it was that he last saw Locke. It was at the Orchid Station, just before Ben moved the Island. Jack muses that when he saw Locke last, in California, Locke said that all the Losties who were left on the Island would die if the Oceanic Six didn’t come back. Ben asks if Locke told Jack what happened to the folks on the Island after it moved, but Jack doesn’t know and Ben guesses that they never will.

Three years earlier: we get a replay of the exact moment the Island moved. The bright light fades and Locke finds himself in the middle of the jungle in the pouring rain. Richard and the Others who were with him have disappeared. Daniel and the zodiac Losties have been moved with the Island – “we must have been within the radius,” muses Daniel. Juliet and the shirtless (yay!) Sawyer boggle on the beach, wondering what happened to the wreck of the freighter and the helicopter. Bernard joins them to report that the Losties’ camp, everything they’ve painstakingly built, is gone. Daniel rushes up: “It’s not gone.” He says they need to get to something man-made – like a Dharma hatch – “before it happens again.” Sawyer wants to know WTF is going on. Daniel reiterates that the camp isn’t gone: it just hasn’t been built yet.

Off-Island: Aaron is now old enough for some talking, but should perhaps be talking MORE if he is actually a 3 year old. When the doorbell rings, Kate answers it: it’s a couple of lawyers and she won’t let them in. They have a court order to collect blood samples from her and from Aaron to determine their exact relationship – and their client is a secret. Kate slams the door in their faces and runs upstairs to pack. Too bad – that’s a sweet house she’s got there. She’s prepared, however, having huge stacks of cash and a gun stashed, and she and Aaron say goodbye to their house.

On-Island, three years earlier: Sawyer still wants to know WTF; Daniel condescends to him, saying he couldn’t possibly explain – it’s so complicated – and Sawyer slaps him. Basically, Ben has dislodged the Island (and/or the people on it) from the regular timeline. See, that wasn’t so hard to explain, Daniel – we don’t need to see the math.

Meanwhile, Locke has hiked up to the ridge just in time to watch a small plane crash into the valley below. He finds a Virgin Mary statue on the ground: it’s Mr. Eko’s plane! Are we pretty-please going to get to see Mr. Eko again? Locke finds the plane wreckage (stuck on the cliff, remember?) and starts to climb up to it when shots are fired at him. He gets hit in the leg and falls to the jungle floor. There is rustling in the underbrush: it’s Ethan, pointing a rifle at Locke and wanting to know who he is. Locke just goggles, thinking “didn’t Charlie kill this guy already?”

After the commercial break, Locke introduces himself and says that Ben appointed him as the Others’ new leader. But before a scoffing Ethan can shoot him, the Island sideslips in time again and it’s night all of a sudden. In the Sawyer-Juliet part of the jungle, Sawyer asks Daniel (“whiz kid” – first nickname of S5) when they are now. Either the past … or the future, Daniel says helpfully.

Off-Island: Sun is in an airport, heading for L.A. Her passport has been flagged, however, and she is detained in Security. Charles Widmore is behind her detention because he’s pouty about how she spoke to him when last they met. He wants some respect. Fine, whatever, says Sun (who is turning out to be a real badass). He wants to know what their “common interests” might be and she replies, “To kill Benjamin Linus.” Widmore seems intrigued.

As Jack and Ben get ready to go liberate Hurley, a television newscast says that there had been a shooting at the mental hospital and Hurley has since disappeared. Humph, says Ben, the plan has changed. Of course, you will recall that it was Sayid who shot the guy at the hospital and drove off with Hurley. As they catch up, Sayid tells Hurley that he had been working for Ben for some time but that if ever he sees Ben, he should do the opposite of whatever Ben says. When they arrive at the safe house, a couple guys burst out of the room, attacking them. Despite being tagged by a tranquilizer dart, Sayid throws one of them off the balcony and impales the other on the knives sticking up out of the dishwasher (note to self: pointy ends down). Hurley is rather overwhelmed by all of this but manages to grab a gun in time for a bystander to snap his photo. Oops. Hurley drags Sayid back to the car muttering, “I thought this was supposed to be a safe house. We never should have left that Island!”

Nighttime on the Island. Daniel, Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Charlotte, et al., find the remains of the blown-up hatch. So this when is sometime after the Losties crashed on the Island. The Losties want to go back to the beach and warn their friends away from the freighter to save their lives. But Daniel says they can’t change anything: time is like a string and you can move forward and backward, but you can’t switch strings.

Locke, still shot in the leg, looks over and sees Mr. Eko’s plane now on the floor of the jungle. He uses a seatbelt as a tourniquet then cowers as a torch-bearing figure approaches. It’s Richard, who helpfully digs the bullet out of Locke’s leg. Locke’s brain is reeling and he wants to know when he is. “It’s all relative,” says Richard. He also tells Locke that when the Island timeslipped last time, he (Richard) didn’t go anywhere – but Locke and everyone else did. (This must be why Richard never ages: the time around him ebbs and flows but he stays the same.) Locke is practically hyperventilating as Richard tells him to listen up – he’s sorry to be so short, but they don’t have much time before Locke slips away again. He tells Locke that the only way to save the Island is to bring back the ones who left, assuring Locke that Jack, Kate et al. are alive and well. How do I convince them to come back? Locke wants to know. Richard: “You’re going to have to die, John.” Then time slips again and the plane is back up on the cliff. Locke just sits there, not a little dazed.

When Daniel’s crew recovers from the time slip, the hatch is back and whole – before the Losties even found it. Sawyer heads for the back door immediately, wanting to get supplies – he ain’t startin’ over and he ain’t huntin’ boars. Daniel tells him to stop – he can’t change the past – and Sawyer snarls that everyone he cares about just blew up on that damn freighter … he knows what he can’t change. Juliet calms things down and they head back to the beach, for no good reason really other than it’s not in the middle of the jungle.

However, Daniel lags behind to check his journal and then knocks on the hatch door himself. Desmond (yay!) opens up, HAZMAT-suited, armed and crazy-eyed. Daniel tells Des that he (Des) is uniquely special and that he must remember this: if the helicopter goes down, everyone left behind is in trouble and Desmond must go to Oxford to find Daniel Faraday’s mother … Desmond’s eyes roll wildly as time slips away before Daniel can finish.

Off-Island. A terrified Desmond wakes up, in bed with Penny on her sailboat. She reminds him that he has been off the Island for three years now, safe and sound. Des tells her that he thinks it wasn’t a dream he just had – it was a memory. He goes topside and starts hauling up the anchor. Penny wants to know where they’re going. Des: Oxford, of course!

“The Lie” (S5E2)

Three years ago: the soon-to-be Oceanic Six are still on Penny’s boat with Penny, Des and Frank. Jack elicits a promise from the assembled to tell the story he’s concocted. Hurley is uncomfortable with the lying but Jack points out that no one would believe the crazy truth anyway. Except for Charles Widmore and they need to protect the left-behind Losties from him. Hurley tries to win Sayid over to the side of the truth but Sayid says Jack is right. Fine, says Hurley, but one day you’ll need my help and I won’t give it to you.

Off-Island: Hurley is driving while Sayid is passed out in the passenger seat, still doped from the tranq. He doesn’t wake up even as Hurley shakes him, in a panic when a traffic cop pulls him over. But the cop is a hallucination - Ana-Lucia! – and she reads him the riot act: “What if I were real? Why did you pull over? You’re a mess! Get somewhere safe and take Sayid to someone you trust ... Oh yeah, and Libby says hi.” And then she disappears. Hurley looks over at the still unconscious Sayid: “Well, you heard her.”

On-Island, the beach. The poor Losties are trying to start fires again. Sawyer finds a shirt (darn it!) and Juliet finds the zodiac still on shore. When Daniel strolls out of the jungle, Sawyer wants to know if there’s any plan. Daniel says that for them to leave, he has to chart a new course but that means he has to figure out where they are in time. Miles sighs, heading off to find something to eat; Juliet says she’ll fetch some water.

Off-Island. On the run, Kate gets a phone call from someone she wasn’t expecting to hear from, but is pleased about it regardless. She says she’ll meet the caller right away. I’m guessing it’s Sun. Meanwhile, Ben removes a wrapped crate from the motel room vent, tucking it into his bag as Jack slouches into the room. Ben says they’re checking out now and Jack is to go home and pack; Ben’ll pick him up in six hours as right now he needs to move Locke’s coffin to someplace safe. Oh, and he’s flushed all Jack’s pills down the toilet. Jack is bemused by this and blearily asks if Locke is really dead. Ben sidesteps the question, of course, and simply reiterates that he’ll pick Jack up in six hours.

(How is it that Jorge Garcia has lost NO weight at all in the years this show has been on?) Hurley’s on-screen dad, Cheech Marin, is just tucking into a salami and caviar sandwich when Hurley shows up, Sayid slung across his shoulders. Cheech goggles. Hurley: “Hi, dad.” He brings Sayid in the house and explains – sort of – what happened. They are concerned that Sayid has still not woken up and try to figure out a plan that doesn’t include hospitals.

Ben goes to a butcher shop. The lady butcher knows him by name: I think she may be an Other on an on-shore assignment. He asks her to keep an eye on something for him; she knows what it is and says she’ll keep him (Locke) safe. The plan is moving forward.

On-Island. Some guy named Neil is complaining about everything. He’s wearing a red shirt, though, so I’m not too attached to him. Charlotte brings Daniel a mango and tells him that she’s got a nagging headache and some memory loss; Daniel thinks it’s connected to the nosebleed she had earlier but doesn’t want to worry her. When Miles comes out of the jungle with a dead boar, everyone is excited about some fresh meat … except for Neil. He starts ranting about how they don’t have a knife to carve up the boar, and he’s hungry and tired, and they can’t even build a fire. And as he says “fire” he gets shot in the chest with a flaming arrow. See what I meant about not getting attached to those annoying red shirts? The Losties look back at the jungle in terror as a whole flight of flaming arrows comes at them. They scatter – was that Vincent the dog I just saw?! – several no-name extras falling victim to the arrows.

Off-Island. Cheech is not buying Hurley’s story, saying that he’s either crazy or he’s lying. Hurley insists that he’s lying for a good reason but before he can explain, his mom comes home and wants to know why a “dead Pakistani” is on her couch. Hurley protests that Hurley isn’t dead; his mom notes that he’s not breathing. Cheech throws Sayid in the SUV and takes off for help, leaving Hurley to hide in the house.

Kate (whose hair extensions are completely out of control) and Aaron meet Sun at her hotel room. Kate tells her about the visit from the lawyers to find out who Aaron’s mother really is. Sun notes that they must not be interested in exposing the Oceanic Six’s lie or else they wouldn’t have hidden who their client was: they must just be after the little boy. Sun asks if Kate is ready to do whatever it takes to protect Aaron and Kate gets all offended: “What kind of person do you think I am?” Um, the kind who’d murder your own step dad by blowing up his house? But Sun flashes back to the freighter, recalling Jin screaming after the departing helicopter, and reminds Kate that she had no trouble doing what she had to do then – and if she hadn’t, they probably all would have died, instead of just Sun’s husband. A guilty Kate sniffles but Sun says she doesn’t blame her. Then, rapidly changing the subject, Sun: “How’s Jack?” Kate gets cranky-face.

Meanwhile, Cheech has brought the still unconscious Sayid to Jack. Jack says he’s going to take Sayid to the hospital (in his supercool truck); Cheech says fine, but stay the hell away from my son. Jack drives off with Sayid, calling Ben to let him know of this latest development. Ben loves it when a plan comes together.

At home, Hurley frets, waiting for his dad to come back and fending off questions from his mom. She is so worried about the trouble her boy is in. Hurley finally cracks under the pressure, saying that all of the Oceanic Sixers lied: they did crash but there was no rescue, and there was a smoke monster, and the Others, and pushing the button every 108 minutes, and Desmond’s girlfriend’s evil father, and the Island disappearing … and the rest of the folks who are still stuck on the Island. He breaks into tears and his sweet mom takes his hand, saying that she doesn’t understand him but she believes him. “We shouldn’t have lied,” cries Hurley.

On-Island. Juliet and Sawyer hear something as they look for water: it’s a number of folks moving through the jungle with their guns. At first it seems like it must be the Others – because that’s what they do, walk through the jungle with guns – but no, it’s seems to be a bunch of soldiers (soldiers or Dharmites?) who grab Juliet and Sawyer and demand to know what the intruders are doing on their island.

Off-Island. Jack has, indeed, brought Sayid to the hospital although no one seems to know they’re in there. He hooks Sayid up to machines and oxygen and gives him an injection. Sayid comes to abruptly, grabbing onto Jack’s throat until he comes to his senses. Sayid wants to know who is with Hurley and who else might know where he is. Jack stays mum.

But over at Hurley’s house, Ben has shown up, saying that Sayid is with Jack and he is here to take Hurley to them. Hurley is resistant until Ben plays his “we all want to go back to the Island and stop lying” card. He seems to be wavering but then lumbers out of the house, hands in the air, shouting that he killed all those people and the cops should take him in. Outmaneuvered, Ben watches grimly from the doorway as the cops take Hurley into custody.

On-Island. The soldiers manhandle Juliet and Sawyer: they’re are pretty wound up and are about to cut off Juliet’s hand as incentive to cooperate when Locke bursts out of the undergrowth and smites them all with thrown knives. Attaboy, Locke!

Off-Island: Now this is weird - in a strange, dark laboratory with swinging pendulums, a be-cloaked figure moves from computer to chalkboard, making calculations. It’s the basement of a church and the woman is the one Desmond bought Penny’s ring from. She goes upstairs to where Ben is waiting and tells him that he has just seventy hours. He protests, saying “I lost [Hurley] tonight – what if I can’t get them all to come back?” Witchy-woman intones: “Then God help us all.”

Next time on Lost

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