Friday, February 8, 2008

A physicist, a ghostbuster, an anthropologist and a drunk walk onto an island…

From polar bears on tropical islands to polar bear remains in the North African desert, from ghosts in the cabin to ghost whisperers, Thursday night’s brilliant episode of LOST continued to take the show in new directions. We meet the goofballs who are supposed to rescue the Losties, and Ben gives us even more reason to love and hate him. “Tell my sister I love her”, cuz after this episode, I feel like my brain exploded with LOST goodness. “Comment” below with your fave freak out moments.

LOST 4x02: Confirmed Dead

Under the sea - The open of tonight’s episode is an underwater mission to retrieve shipwrecks – the Black Rock? – in the Sunda Trench, in the Indian Ocean off of Bali. However, the crew stumbles upon Oceanic Flight 815 – just where Naomi mentioned they found it. The subsequent news reports triggers a series of flashbacks that introduce us to the ragtag crew of the chopper that has arrived from SS “Not Penny’s Boat”.

Animal magnetism - Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) is watching the news coverage of the discovery of 815 at home in Massachusetts when he starts to weep. When asked why he’s crying, he says he doesn’t know. (Is he an “empath” who tuned into the emotions of the family seeing the report?) Next we see him on the island, in a vest and tie. I’ve never seen ties in the outdoor equipment store at the mall, but maybe I’m shopping at the wrong mall. He tells them he’s a physicist. Kate, Jack and Daniel come upon a container of gas masks and bags with biohazard symbols. Were they anticipating a “purge”, like the one where Ben and team gassed the Dharma folk, or were they expecting to defend against being “purged”? Homeboy is all twitchy and stuff, so add that to his not-so-fly paratrooper gear, and this was our first clue this ain’t The A-Team.

(Geek alert: Michael Faraday was a physicist who studied electromagnetism in the 1700s. One of his findings was named Faraday’s Law, which became one of the four Maxwell equations, which would only mean something if you were insane enough to have spent several weeks playing ABC’s game and were introduced to The Maxwell Group who are looking for 815. Later in life, Michael Faraday also discovered what’s known as the Faraday Effect, which established magnetic force and light are related.) So was Daniel Faraday’s comment to Jack and Kate that the light didn’t “scatter right” on the island a reference to the magnetism scattering the light to keep the island invisible to the outside world?

Who you gonna call? - Next we meet Miles Straume (Ken Leung) – probably a play on “maelstrom”, or a dangerous whirlpool in a body of water. He’s entering the house of a Mrs. Gardner to remove a spirit of her grandson from his bedroom with some Dustbuster-looking contraption – while he’s at it, he removes some cash from the room as well. (Geek alert: the photo frames of her grandson are completely different on the way up the stairs than they are on the way down. No idea what this means. Did he open an alternate reality in the room?)

On the island, he plays possum until Jack and Kate are upon him and then forces them to take him to Naomi, who he knows is dead. He knows not cuz he’s all Sixth Sense, but because she relayed the “Tell my sister I love her” code for “Got a gun pointed at my head” before she died. He seems pretty attached to Naomi, and when they arrive at her body, he knows they were telling the truth about Locke having killed her.

Charlotte Sometimes - Next we’re in Tunisia and Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), a pushy archaeologist, makes her way into an illegal dig site and finds a polar bear skeleton – with a Dharma Initiative Hydra station collar! Dun dun dun… Did it get there through time travel? Dimensional travel? Something tells me it’ll take a few episodes to find this out. ;)

Her full name, Charlotte Staples Lewis, is certainly a nod to C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. (Geek alert: Narnia is a land with magical animals you can only get to through a secret entrance…like the magic box?) Her parachute became entangled with a tree and she was dangling over a lagoon. She cut free and encountered Locke and his merry band of Losties. She seems genuinely confused about why they wouldn’t be excited to see her when – POW – Ben pops a couple of caps in her chest. Good thing she was wearing body armor – it’s what all the stylish archaeologists don in the field.

Guess it's not better in the Bahamas - We meet Frank Lapidus (Jeff Fahey) in The Bahamas when he calls Oceanic’s crash info number following the discovery of 815. Frank was supposed to have been the pilot of the flight, so he knows the body they claim is the pilot in the recovery video is not that of Seth Norris, his friend who piloted the flight.

Frank lands on the island and the first thing he encounters is one of Mikhail’s cows, a nice call back to last season, and he shoots off a rescue flare. He later says the helicopter was struck by lightning, but he’d been able to land it safely.

Naomi may be gone, but she's not forgotten - Naomi was not only part of the rescue team, but it seems she was leading them. Only problem is, they weren’t there to rescue the 815ers, they were sent to get Ben. She and the spooky Matthew Abaddon, the “Oceanic lawyer” who visited Hurley in the flash forward from last week’s season opener, had a meeting in a warehouse where they discussed the crew for this mission. Abaddon was adamant that the team he assembled would get it done because she was leading them. So when he asked Hurley, “Are they still alive?”, did he mean the other people from Oceanic 815 or the rescue crew?

(Geek alert: Naomi’s last name is Dorrit, perhaps a reference to Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” satirical novel that condemned his era’s debtor’s prisons, where people who owed money were held until their debts were repaid. Could the island be a “spiritual debtor’s prison”, where you have to work at repaying your debts to karma before you can leave?

Meanwhile, back on the island - Team Locke is making a detour looking for Jacob’s cabin. Hurley almost reveals that he’s seen it and Ben’s eyes bug out of his head – even more than usual.

After Ben shot Charlotte, Locke appears ready to kill Ben. Fearing for his life, he offers Locke answers. In a nod to the audience who’ve complained about the pace of answers, Locke demands to know what the black smoke is. (FINALLY!) Ben says he doesn’t know. (DRATS!) Locke is about to shoot him, and Ben opens up like a fountain – revealing he knows every detail about Charlotte and the rest of the rescue team. Ben knows this…how? He has a spy planted on the freighter working for him who alerted him to the rescuers’ identity. Who’s this mystery man? Richard Alpert? Oscar Talbot, who works for the Maxwell Group? My money’s on Michael. We all know Ben likely didn’t really let him and Walt go…

With cautiously optimistic reports of a deal in the WGA strike, there could be even more reason to celebrate LOST. Hit me up with some comments on your thoughts on the show.

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