• After seasons’ worth of teasing, the Temple is finally revealed, and it’s….well, it’s a temple. Kind of a Mayan-looking one. Some folks, myself included, theorized that the Temple wall might have been built to hide the Temple because it was anachronistic – maybe even futuristic. It’s kind of a relief to find that it is what it sounds like.
• As Kate escapes from the Marshall via the ancient art of Countertotheforehead, she runs into both Sawyer and Claire. We haven’t seen Claire since Season 4, and we’ve still got no idea what happened to her. We don’t even know if she’s pregnant in this “off-Island universe.”
Cindy: “I know who they are. They were on the first plane – Oceanic 815, along with me.”
• A whole new group of Others populates the Temple. In addition to “turban Other,” there’s also “Pai Mei Other” and “John Lennon Other,” among a bunch of other Others (ugh) and some familiar faces – namely, Cindy the flight attendant and the two kids from the tail section. John Lennon Other is actually named Lennon, apparently, so that’s appropriate.
• I’m assuming that when Cindy refers to ‘the first plane,’ the second plane she’s referring to is the Ajira flight. Does this mean that the Temple Others anticipated it? Merely witnessed it?
• Hurley keeps the entire group from being gunned down by telling the Others that Jacob sent him with a guitar case – which is exactly the sort of bizarre detail that makes this show so much fun. And speaking of bizarre details: how about that ENORMOUS ANKH?
I’ve talked briefly about ankhs before (We see the statue of Taweret holding one, Amy’s first husband had an ankh necklace). The shape of the ankh may relate to the shape of the castaways journey – up along the central stem and forward in time (birth through post-crash events), looping back along one side to the center of the ankh (the 1970s) toggling right and left between “alternate universes,” and looping back up along the other side of the ankh to present day again. Did that make sense? It makes sense in my head, but that’s no guarantee.
• For no discernable reason, Jacob hides one of his infamous lists inside of this enormous hand-carved wooden ankh. I find that hilarious. The list appears to contain the names of the people standing there before them – all of whom were touched by Jacob in the Season 5 finale. Are these Jacob’s “candidates”? Will the Others need to test them to determine who the “reincarnation” of Jacob is? Judging from what Lennon says to Hurley, and by Sayid’s status at the episode’s end, I’d say that’s a definite possibility. Why are they all in trouble if Sayid dies? Let’s talk about that a little further down.
• Back in the off-Island universe, Jin’s bag is searched at customs and he’s discovered to be holding a large amount of cash secretly. In this “universe,” is Jin the one planning to leave Sun? Is he the one secretly capable of speaking English? And is the Paik watch the same watch from the first season? Or is it different?
Lennon: “Pick him up. Get him to the spring.”
• One of the questions this episode answers is “how did Richard heal Ben Linus?” Apparently, he did it in the spring – apparently a kind of combination Lazarus Pit/Bethesda Pool/Fountain of Youth/Pet Semetary hybrid. Back in the Rewatch column for “He’s Our You,” I mentioned the weird Pet Semetary undertones of Richard’s words, and that undertone remains here. What do we learn?
• We learn that the Temple contains a “spring” which possesses water and/or “power”/energy capable of healing people and of bringing them back from death. In order to achieve this, a person must effectively be drowned for a specific amount of time. It’s implied that this process risks serious potential side-effects/consequences (there’s that Pet Semetary echo), though we don’t really know what this means. Maybe it explains what happened to Rousseau’s men, and how they ‘changed.’ If the process isn’t timed correctly, maybe the person ends up “damaged,” psychotic. Maybe this explains Ethan’s temperament.
As I mentioned above, I believe that the Island acts in part as a kind of battery, “storing” the souls/energy of the dead who reside there. Having died, I’m guessinf that Sayid’s ‘soul’ passes into that ‘battery,’ and the spring offers a means to both physically heal the body and reconnect the ‘soul.’ What’s the time limitation about? My guess is that it’s meant to ensure that the right “soul” ends up in his body, and not someone else, or that the person comes back unchanged. If any of that is true, the question becomes: has Jacob’s “soul” entered Sayid during this process? Has he “reincarnated” as Sayid? That’s left for us to agonize over til next week.
• John Lennon Other points out that the spring’s water isn’t clear, which is ominous. Is it somehow tainted? Did Jacob’s death trigger some change in it, reflecting the shift in Island power?
• Note the irony of Sayid the torturer being “mock-drowned” in this scene. Jack attempts resuscitation just as he did in the pilot, and with Charlie, but here it’s to no avail. Sayid is dead. Sayid looked awfully Christ-like when they took him from the water, huh?
• I have no idea what the Temple hieroglyphics suggest.
• John Lennon Other performs effectively the same service for Pei Mai Other as Richard did for Jacob – bringing his word to others. Pei Mai tells Hurley that Sayid was “beyond saving,” which is, again, ominous. Does this mean that someone else, possibly Jacob, is inhabiting Sayid? Or is this a more philosophical comment?
And what does this say about Ben Linus’ experience in the Temple? Is Ben really “himself” after Richard takes him there? Richard pretty much tells us that he won’t be – that he’ll “always be one of us.” Does Richard mean this literally? Did young Ben literally become “one of them”? And if not, can we attribute some of Ben’s darkness to the “risks” of the pool?
• When the Others learn of Jacob’s death, all hell breaks loose and what has been up til now a fairly slow-boiling episode rockets to full-on life. Again I ask: what effects does Jacob’s death really have? It seems to “free” the Smoke Monster/Man in Black to act, where before he could not.
Lennon: “Prepare the ash!”
• In a mirror of Season One, the Others send up a flare just as the castaways do when they’re triangulating. They’re communicating “distress” to Richard and any Others elsewhere on the Island and fortifying their defenses as if they’re expecting an orc army.
Ben: “You’re the Monster.”
Anti-Locke: “Let’s not resort to name calling.”
• Anti-Locke points out that he didn’t “make” Ben do anything to Jacob, again reinforcing the theme of free will. And then Anti-Locke utters what is probably the single saddest line in Lost’s history: “Do you want to know what he was thinking while you choked the life out of him, Benjamin? What the last thought that ran through his head was? ‘I don’t understand.’”
The Man in Black seems to have full knowledge of everything Locke knew, down to his last thought (of course, he could be lying about that, but I doubt that he is). That, in and of itself is creepy enough. We’ve seen the Smoke Monster “scan” people before. Can he only do this with the people he’s scanned? Or with any of the dead on the Island? If the Island does “store” the dead like some kind of eerie organic handdrive, is he pulling his information from that place?
What’s creepier, though, is the implication that Locke, whom a lot of us loved, died so terribly and so confused. When the Man in Black talks about how Locke was the only one who realized “how pitiful the life he’d left behind really was,” there’s true contempt in his voice. We’ve seen how cynical this man is already, courtesy of the Season 5 finale. Now, he seems openly disgusted.
So what is it that the Man in Black wants? Why did he kill Jacob? To return home, apparently. In two of my Too Much Information articles on Back To The Island, I talked about the Man in Black and his potential goals and motivations. I theorized at the time that the MiB wanted “freedom,” which seems to be the case. So what’s “home” for this man? Some point in time? The distant future? Another world entirely? A nice doublewide trailer somewhere in Utah?
Great Hurley Line: “Goodbye dude. If you ever want to talk – I’m around.”
• Miles seems to sense that something’s up with Sayid, but he won’t say what it is.
• By the end of the episode, Sawyer’s gone from wanting to kill Jack to wanting him to suffer on the Island with the rest of them.
Locke: “They didn’t lose your father, they just lost his body.”
• In what’s maybe the best scene of this very long, very stuffed premiere, Jack and Locke meet in the off-Island universe. Both of them have lost something (which is true on a lot of levels), and in their time together they connect in a way that they never did on-Island. It’s genuinely touching, and the notion that Jack, who helped a woman walk again when all involved said it was impossible, may try to help Locke walk again is one of those after-the-fact obvious twists that I can’t believe I didn’t see coming. Giving Locke his card gives our favorite dead man the means to contact Jack again. I hope that happens soon.
• I love that what Locke loses are his knives – an echo of the instrument he wrongly chose from Alpert as a boy. Is that symbolic of a change in off-Island Locke’s character? Will he become the leader the Island needs?
Anti-Locke: “Hello, Richard. It’s good to see you out of those chains.”
• Did we just get confirmation of Richard’s place on the Black Rock? It sure seems like it. I’ve theorized that, rather than slaves, the Black Rock may have been hauling criminals to the then-penal-colony of Australia. Having Richard turn out to be an ‘ex-con’ would be appropriate, given the number of criminals among the castaways.
• Alternatively, the Black Rock might have come bearing an 18th century version of the Dharma Initiative, of which Richard may have been a part. Whatever the truth, Anti-Locke easily smacks the crap out of him and hauls him away. To be “changed”? To be interrogated? To be killed?
Anti-Locke: “I am very disappointed. In all of you!”
• Maybe one of the most important lines of the season. What does the Man in Black/Anti-Locke mean by this? Is he disappointed in humanity as a whole? He sure seems to be. The parallels between this character and mythical archetypes like Lucifer and Set continue to apply.
• We end with the Others wanting a private conversation with Jack, but whatever that’s about has to take a backseat to Sayid, who rises up like Lazarus from the grave and croaks, “what happened?”
Hell if we know, Sayid. My guess is, you don’t either, and that your memory’s been partially wiped by your experience, just as Ben’s was. Are you actually Sayid at all? Has Jacob “reincarnated”? Or have you come back “damaged”? There’s a reason the Ramones didn’t want to be buried in a Pet Semetary, after all.
We’ll get more information (and probably new questions) in a week. Which is way too long. Sorry for the length of this one, folks. Next week will be more manageable.
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