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.
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.
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?
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.
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’.