As this week’s episode of Lost came to a close, I at first thought that it was a slow and disappointing installment. After thinking about what went down in this episode, however, I think I may be getting a grip of what is going on this season, and only time will tell if my assumptions are correct.
When last we left our favorite castaways (Screw you, Professor and Mary Ann!), the mortally-wounded Sayid had been mysteriously resurrected by some of the remaining Others. Sawyer, still bitter about the death of Juliet, escapes the temple where they are being held and heads out into the jungle. Sayid is then taken by Japenese-speaking leader and his “interpreter” (played by yet another Deadwood alum, John Hawkes) and is subjected to some “experiments” that resemble the torture methods Sayid himself once practiced. Jack, ever the busybody, confronts them about it, and by the end of the episode, Jack finds out that the Others are not trying to save Sayid but were trying to kill him in order to stop what they called a “Darkness” growing inside him that will soon take him over, the same darkness that they say claimed Jack’s sister, Claire.
While all this is going on, Kate and Jin volunteer to go find Sawyer, escorted by two of the Others (one of whom is played by Rob McElhanney of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia). After a brief tussle with their guards, Jin branches off on his own, desperate to find out what happened to his wife, Sun (who we all know is with “John Locke” and the Ajira castaways). Kate finally catches up with Sawyer at the former Dharma camp, where he and Juliet made a life together. Kate and Sawyer have a heart to heart where he says he was going to propose to Juliet before she died and Kate reveals to him that she came back to the island to find Claire and return her to Aaron. Kate leaves Sawyer to brood at the camp and, at the end of the episode, Jin runs into Claire herself, all Rousseau’d out and packing heat.
Both of these subplots are told in conjuction with glimpses of the Losties arriving safely in Los Angeles in 2004. As seen last week, Kate successfully escapes her captor and hijacks a cab with Claire in it. The driver bails, and Kate kicks Claire out, only to return to her when she finds Claire’s bag with all the baby accessories in it. She takes Claire to the people who were going to adopt Aaron, only to find out that they’ve changed their minds. Claire then immediately goes into labor, and Kate rushes her to the hospital, where she is treated by an eerily familiar doctor. The labor turns out to be a false alarm, and after ducking out, Kate tells Claire that she should keep the baby.
I’m still a bit fuzzy on how these flashes of the characters never crashing on the island fit into the overall narrative. At first I thought it was a divergent timeline, but now I’m wondering if it’s an extended epilogue to the entire series. After viewing and contemplating this week’s episode, I have come up with what I have dubbed the “Groundhog Day” theory. Nearly everyone who got off of Oceanic 815 in the season premiere seemed relatively mellow, as if they left all of their emotional baggage in Sydney (as well as Jack’s literal baggage). Kate of course had to escape her handler and perform a random act of kindness to find some sort of redemption, and then she hints to Claire that she may be innocent of the crime she was accused of, which would completely retcon her back story. The surprise appearance in the hospital also suggests that in this scenario, not only did the Losties not crash on the island, but perhaps none of the other characters ever set foot on the island as well. All of this leads me to believe that this scenario is the real ending of the series, resulting from what will happen this season on the island. Apparently their attempt to blow up the Swan last season was not what needed to be done in order to bring everyone home and that the island is giving them one last chance to make everything right again. I’m sticking with this theory until I’m proven completely wrong and will remain glued to the screen to find out.
This episode was lacking a bit in “Holy Crap” moments, at least until the last fifteen minutes or so, but the revelations that this episode may have helped reveal earn it 4 out of 5 Friendly Mechanics.