Lost – ‘The Little Prince’ – 5.4

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I had an epiphany while watching this episode. The time travel gimmick is the greatest thing to happen to Lost. Aside from the tantalizing twist it gave the story, it also works as a decent vehicle to get the show’s writers from here to the end point (May 2010) and allow them to work in all of those answers to our unsolved mysteries before the show sadly departs. With the island in a constant state of flux, those left behind are pinballed through time, giving them (and the viewer) a unique view into the island’s formative years.

Last night’s episode demonstrated this brilliantly. And while we merely got teases of what’s to come, it was clear that the writers can use time travel to dump all the information on us. Now, I don’t think every last dangling thread will be sewn shut, nor do I want it to be (sometimes a mystery is best left unsolved – thereby letting your mind jump to all kinds of conclusions) – but I do think that through Locke’s journey, we’re going to learn a lot.

With that said, on with the show. Let’s get Lost.

1.   There was a lot of stuff happening on the island, so I’m going to deal with the off-island stuff first. The title of the episode is The Little Prince which is an allusion to a classic children’s story that I never read. So, I’m taking a leap that The Little Prince refers to Aaron – as the off-island stuff was focused on the battle for his custody, but I have no clue how it relates to that story. If anyone is familiar with it, give us a synopsis in the Comments below and we’ll see if we can link the two.

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2.   So, we open with Kate on the run with Aaron, holed up in Sun’s hotel room. No sooner do they get there does Kate depart for her meeting with those mysterious lawyers who were going door-to-door looking for DNA donations. As Kate exits, Sun takes receipt of a package containing some reports, photos of Jack and Ben, and a concealed weapon. I think it’s fairly safe to assume that the Valentine is from Charles Widemore. We know he wants Ben dead and it appears he shares Ben’s habit of manipulating others to his own gain. Here he’s exploiting Sun’s grief over her dead husband. Now, it’s not enough to assume that Sun would be driven to murder simply by Chuck Widemore giving her the resources. I’m guessing that he may have promised her something in exchange. For instance – Jin’s resurrection through the island’s powers. Probably a leap. So how about this. Not once have we seen Sun’s child since she gave birth. Could she be doing this under duress (i.e. Widemore has her baby)?

3.   The lawyer thing was a bit of a bait-and-switch. In week one, we debated whether it was Widemore or Ben that hired the lawyer and I think Sean nailed it. Ben hired the lawyer to get custody of Aaron. I think Aaron is among those who absolutely have to return to the island and Ben knows this. The fact that he was born on the island may be crucial. And if he gets Aaron, then it stands to reason that he forces Kate’s hand by manipulating her maternal instincts. He’s just trying to get everyone to the island – he’s not interested in getting them to like him.

4.   Which makes the presence of Claire’s Mom slightly confusing. Essentially, we were fishing for red herrings when Kate and Jack followed the lawyer to her. It seems a little too convenient and coincidental that Ben’s lawyer happens to be representing her in her case against Oceanic. Ben’s obviously behind her presence too but I haven’t a clue why.

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5.   Up until last night’s episode, I wasn’t clear why Kate had bonded so intently with Aaron. And that’s where the genius of the time travel comes into play. I’ll get to the flashes in a moment but that sequence where Sawyer viewed Aaron’s birth neatly tied the two together. She was present for Aaron’s birth and she bonded right there. That scene, coupled with the opening scene where she tells Jack that she’ll tell the world Aaron is her baby, cinches it.

6.   Meanwhile on the island, we pick right up where last week’s episode ended – with Charlotte knocked out by the latest “flash”. Faraday explains that the body has an internal clock and that time travel could be causing havoc with the brain – “like really bad jet lag”. But, not everyone is impacted by this. In fact, Daniel theorizes that maybe it has something to do with the length of exposure to the island. Now, most of the 815ers are not impacted, but Charlotte and Miles are. And as far as we know, they just got here. Maybe not.

7.   First, Charlotte. On the episode where we were introduced to her, she’s jettisoned from the crashing chopper and lands somewhere remotely on the island. When she first comes to, she seems to recognize the place – almost like she’s home. In the same episode, there was a flashback to a Tunisian dig site where the remains of a polar bear and a DHARMA symbol are excavated. Charlotte appears to be directing the dig. This may point to Charlotte having been a “child” of the DHARMA initiative. That she is an Other or descended from them and had at one point lived on the island.

8.   As for Miles, Faraday sort of hints that Miles may have been on the island at one point. The very first scene of this season focused on Dr. Candle (the orientation video guy) waking up and tending to his baby before being called to the under-construction Orchid Station. Could Miles be his son?

9.   I thought this episode did a nice job of addressing a potential criticism – which is what would happen if they interact with their past selves. Locke summed it up perfectly. He needed that pain in order to get to where he is now. That was a great scene with them coming upon the light shining into the sky. A tempest of emotions rolled across Locke’s face. There was shame at how “weak” he had been and that ultimately gave way to acceptance. Locke seems to have put his demons behind him. I always thought that first season episode, which intercut between Boone’s death, Aaron’s birth and Locke pounding on the hatch was an amazing narrative and this quiet reflection on those events really hit home. Here’s Locke looking back upon his past – from a distance (both literally and figuratively) and really taking the role of leader.

10.   And it’s a direction that Sawyer adopts. Spying Kate helping bring Aaron into this world, his heart breaks but he’s willing to put that behind and to not interfere. “What’s done is done.”

11.   This episode featured two more jumps. The first appears to have gone into the future. Their camp is decimated (and to Sawyer’s chagrin, someone drank all his booze) and there is evidence of another set of visitors. The water bottle comes from an Indian airliner. Is that how Jack and company get back to the island? Does it take another plane crash?

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12.   If that’s the case, it’s unlikely Jack and company have adopted a shoot first, ask questions later policy – which is what happens on the high seas. Who’s shooting at them? I have no idea. I would guess Widemore’s people have made it back to the island (in the future) but… who knows.

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13.   And then the next flash brings us back to the past. The second I saw the French debris I had a hunch. And this is where the time travel gimmick works wonders. One of the lingering questions has been around Danielle Rousseau and what happened to her squad of French researchers. It appears, Jin may soon find out, assuming he doesn’t get blasted back to the future.

14.   Last thing – just keeping track of time. We know Flight 815 crashed in September 2004 and that current time for Locke and company is sometime in early 2005. Danielle’s daughter Alex would have been around 17 when she died last season so I think Jin is waking on the beach 18 years in the past, placing this around 1987. By that point, Ben was deeply entrenched in The Others (although likely not their leader) and DHARMA was a thing of the past.

All right, that’s enough for now. Let me know what you guys have.

See you next week for Episode 5.5 – ‘This Place is Death’.

[tv 4.5]

Comments now closed (14)

  • Okay, if I’ve got this straight then when we see Kate and Co, we are three years in the future,and when we are back on the island, we are starting 3 years back and moving forward to closure three years in the future…Or do the islanders just have no concept of time at this point?
    If I remember correctly, the distress signal from Danielle had been playing for 16+ years at the time Sayid ( still my favorite whether he is in a wife-beater or Armani) climbed up with the radio, so the timeframe would be about right, assuming that her daughter, Alex, was kidnapped at birth. I’m a little fuzzy how events of 1987 can be running headlong into 2004, which would be Jin , but that could be the Dr. Brown in me screaming about the space-time continuum. Then again, maybe Jin will blast out and Danielle will stay.

    I think you are right about Miles being the baby…there would have had to have been a specific reason to have him on the original mission

    And, having been to Hawaii three times, I just went ” Ahhhhh….” when they paddled out into that beautiful water….

  • @Aunt Sharon – Here’s where everyone is on the timeline.

    When we first saw Locke and company, it’s early 2005. Essentially, right after the Oceanic Six departed and Ben turned the wheel. At least, early 2005 is their “present” but they keep jumping back and forth in time. So they started in 2005 but now they are all over the place.

    When we cut to the LA stuff, that is 3 years later – 2008. At that point in time, Locke is dead and apparently bad things happened on the island. Bad things that we haven’t seen yet.

    Jin is in the same time period as Locke and company. In the first episode of this season, Daneil mentioned that even though he was at sea in that little boat, that he was in the “radius” and thus caught up in the time travel stuff. So, it stands to reason that Jin was adrift in the same radius.

    What this means is that Jin, Locke, Sawyer, etc are all currently in 1987 (at the moment) with the French Woman. I think the debris that Locke and company found on the the beach is just part of the French woman’s ship. She mentioned in the first season that her ship wrecked on the island. So, that stuff could have washed ashore ahead of the actual French expedition.

    I think Jin and his French cronies will come face-to-face with Locke and company and they’ll blast out of there to a different time.

    Also, this show is amazing in HD. Amazing in that it makes me say every single week – I NEED TO GO TO HAWAII. Ask Andi – I say it every week. Never been but I need to go.

  • I thought at one point Sun said the baby was with her mother. I don’t think Widemore has the baby, but I do think they have some agreement of some sort. Like Ben, Widemore may know that Jin is alive and may have made the kind of promise you suggest.

    I’d love to take credit for the lawyer working for Ben, but that goes to Chris. He was the one that threw it out there. Although I never stated it, my thought was the lawyer was working for Claire’s mum or the Aaron’s father, so it was interesting — for a little while anyway — to see him visit her. Now, like you, I don’t know why she’s involved.

    Here’s my take on everyone getting nose bleeds due to the time travel. Those that are getting them don’t have constants. It was already established that Daniel’s constant is Desmond. I think Kate is Sawyer’s, the island is Locke’s and Sun is Jin’s. Everyone else has been bleeding. They haven’t shown any other 815ers lately, but you assume they aren’t all dead. Particularly Rose and Bernard who are probably each others constants.

    I do think there is a good chance that Daniel, Charlotte and Miles were all on the island previous to now. I like the theory that Charlotte was a child of the Others and also that Miles is the good doctor’s son. If we think the old lady is Daniel’s mum then we know that connection to the island already.

    The wreckage they find on the beach definitely made me think of Danielle’s ship. Jin would have to get away from them soon in order to not change anything. Of course Danielle was just crazy enough that maybe she wouldn’t have remembered their meeting. With the time travel stuff, I don’t know how they are going to handle it. Daniel already indicated you can’t change anything, but then started changing things, so…

    No idea who was in the other boat shooting at them. They might be fast paddlers, but horrible shots.

  • 2. I think Sean is right that Sun’s baby is with her mother and I think her mother called her just before she spoke to Widemore and said something to the effect that someone (he daugther) wanted to say hi. Also, didn’t we see the baby last season when Hurley was in Korea and they visited Jin’s grave? What bothers me about the Ben filing the lawsuit to try and get custody of Aaron (which Sean is right I made that call, finally got something right)is what legal right would he have to take custoday even if he proves that Aaron is not Kate’s child? He would have no basis. It was a total bluff and Kate should have realize that now that she knows who it was. I think it was a little contrived to have Clair’s mom there to pick up her settlement check. Unless there is some other reason for Ben to want her there, which I can’t see it was kind of strange thing to just throw in there. Unless Ben threaten’s Kate by telling her she will tell Clair’s mother that Aaron is her grandchild and continue to push for blood tests.

    8. I too believe that Miles is the Dr’s son and has been on the island before and that Widemore would know that he was on the Island and sent him back. Sean it is more than a good chance that Daniel was on the Island, they showed him on the Island when they were building the Orchid station. When the Dr. came down and told them to stop drilling they showed a shot of Daniel working on the site. I just wonder if there is not more to Daniel than we know. With what we found out about his relationship to Widemore (the fact that he funded his research) it makes you wonder if they are cahoots (just wanted to use that word).

    I think what Daniel said about time spent on the island is interesting because Charlotte was the first to get “sick” followed by Miles and now Julia seems to be getting it. That would mean Charlotte was on the island the longest? So how long was Daniel on the Island, shorter than Sawyer? Since the others don’t jump I think that would rule him out of being an orginal other, although at this point I am not sure what makes an orginal other or if Richard is the only one? Do the other, others also not age or just Richard. They need to a back story on him and fill us in before they end the show.

    Ed, I agree the time travel is a great vechicle to feed us information in a rapid manner. I think we all knew that young woman was Rouseau as soon as we saw the French shipwreak items. But I wonder if they are going to make a point of why they see her now! I am wondering if they will go back and show us how the statue (with the foot with four toes) go there!

  • Oh, one more thing. Sean I agree, what horrible shots.I mean it looked like Juliet hit one of them when she fired back. How did she become such a good shot? Must be more “other’s 101” traning like learning Latin.

  • @Ed- Thanks for the timeline-it’s what I think it was, but it helps to have it written down. I will have to make a copy for Uncle Ron, who is getting frustrated with the bouncing back and forth!

    Put Hawaii on the list-we went for the first time in 1989 for 20 days ( yes, left the kids with Nana and never looked back!). It truly helped that Ron’s company held their now-taboo company conferences in exotic locations, and the spouses/SO’s were included. We would add on extra days at our own expense, but the company got us over there. It is simply the most beautiful place I have ever seen…On our last trip, we flew Jason and Jessi out to join us for a week in Kauai-although Maui is the place for Jessi! More bars in trees and shops!

  • @Chris – I think you pieced together exactly why Claire’s mother is there. It’s Ben’s contingency plan. Plan A is to use the lawyer/DNA gambit. But if Kate were to discover the identity of the client (Ben) then Plan B is to threaten her with exposing the whole thing to the mother. As the lawyer was visiting the mother, it makes perfect sense. They flew her out there under the pretense that she was collecting a settlement but in reality she is there, unwittingly, as a pawn in case Ben needs to use his back-up plan.

    Regarding the 4-toed statue, Entertainment Weekly has an article on their site today talking about this season, and the producers say that we learn more about the origins of the Others, the Smoke Monster and the 4-toed statue this season. Check out the article (it’s right at the top of ew.com and is a must read).

    @Aunt Sharon – Tell Uncle Ron to stick to Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives, Ghost Whisperer or whatever televised chick flick strikes his fancy.

  • I thought this was a good episode. It was an interesting twist to throw Claire’s mother in there. I can only presume that she’s there for a reason, and not something Ben did haphazardly. That is of course presuming that Ben knows that the lawyer is representing her as well. I’m sure that Ben went with someone he trusted or an off-island “Other” or perhaps someone else was involved. For a brief moment I thought that Sun may have hired the lawyer to manipulate Kate, but that obviously isn’t so.

    I just looked up The Little Prince on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Prince) and skimmed through the article. There doesn’t seem to be any direct reference yet, unless there’s something I’m not seeing. The only connection I can see is that the book was written by a French aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

    One theory I read about the smoke monster is that it could actually be a physical manifestation of time correcting itself. I don’t know if I buy into that idea, but it certainly is interesting.

  • Okay, so I cheated and went to Lostpedia and found this:

    Le Petit Prince: The episode’s title refers to the novel of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer and aviator. Though outwardly a children’s book, it has varied themes on life, perception and human nature. Exupery was French, like Rousseau’s science expedition, and met with disaster while travelling and disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Additionally, “Besixdouze” (“B612”), the apparent name of the expedition’s lost boat (as per the wreckage on the beach), is a reference to the asteroid on which The Little Prince lives in the book.

  • @prkttear: Awesome work. I meant to drop that “Besixdouze” to see if anyone knew what it meant but you beat me to it. Glad to have you aboard.

    And I agree that Ben, a guy who manipulates and controls everything, would not just hire some hack attorney. That guy is either a trusted aide or another “Other”.

    One additional point:
    1. My buddy Joe pointed out that there is speculation that the Other girl, Ellie, the one from their flash last week to the 50’s who led Daniel out to the bomb, is likely Mrs. Hawkins – the old woman that we saw in Episode 1 looking for the next “Event Window” as well as the old woman that Desmond encountered in his travels. And if that’s the case, she may be Daniel’s mother. The last names don’t match but the first names do. Her name was Ellie in the past and Daniel tells him to seek out “Eloise”. The fact that Daniel is sending Desmond to find her, a woman Des has already met once, makes for a nice plot twist.

  • ok, i’ve now forwarded your LOST recaps to at least 5 people! i’m loving them!

    can’t wait for next week….

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellie is Mrs. Hawkins.

    Now that we’re nearing the end, they’re not going to arbitrarily introduce new/random characters. So, if we see someone on screen, then they most likely are of some significance. I think their links to each other will start getting smaller and smaller.

    -x