I had planned to post a look at Lost's season premiere, but conversations on- and offline kept enlightening me until the next episode rolled around. [Update: One has now been posted after all.] The same thing happened, to a lesser degree, over the following week. I'll still put up a good ol' big-picture "think piece" in the near future, but in the meantime, for any of my readers who don't frequent Nik at Nite, I thought I'd post my specific initial reactions to tonight's episode...
Holy frackin' shoot!
I think this makes up for any perceived apathy or frustration over last week's episode. As a matter of fact, they could have run nothing but deleted scenes of Nikki & Paulo getting tattoos in Thailand last week and this still would have redeemed my faith in the show.
The Numbers were finally explained:
4. 8. 15. 16. 23. 42.
Locke. Reyes. Ford. Jarrah. Shephard. Kwon.
Does that, by the way, make Kate 108? 'Cause we definitely saw Jacob touch her in last season's finale. Esau (or Not-Locke, or the Lockealike) may not have felt that it was in his interest to point her name out to James — or he somehow might not have known it was there.
I did wonder if maybe she was a hidden sibling of one of the others, Leia-style. Her being a Kwon or Jarrah is unlikely, and having her be a Ford or Shephard would be beyond icky. But that in turn got me thinking if, her legal name aside, Claire qualified as a Shephard being Christian's daughter and whether she was now out of the running or, conversely, already fulfilling part of her role.
You could really get your brains in a twist wondering if Aaron's biological father was some long-lost sibling of Sawyer or Locke's, or even if Ji Yeon was the Kwon in question — the plane having been brought down on the Island so that Sun and Jin could conceive a child — although that feels like a stretch. When "Jacob's list" was first mentioned in the Others' camp, one of them said that "Shephard" was not on it, but at this point we have no idea what that means.
And maybe saying the Numbers were "explained" isn't exactly true, since we don't know how the six corresponding to these specific castaways were chosen for the Swan's hatch door or the computer in that same station, let alone broadcast in the South Pacific at such a point that they'd find their way to Hurley and become his winning lottery numbers or, even more freakily, the mileage on his restored Camaro. But the simple fact that they're etched in a cave on the Island and tied to Jacob is enough for me to regard them as having some inherent power, particularly since this group of people out of all those who were called to the Island seems to be special.
The first act of the episode just rocked:
I loved seeing John laugh at the sprinklers starting up. And seeing Helen walk out the door, after which the surprises just kept on coming.... The wedding? John's Dad?!? The, um, conference? (I'm glad that last part got worked out, as secrets and lies really wear thin this late in the game.)
Our Smokey's-eye-view rumble through the jungle got played back several times just for the cool factor. It was only on the third go-'round that I noticed you could see a billowing grey cloud reflected in the window of Sawyer's house as Smokey reared up to it. How is that robot-cricket, roller-coaster-chain chika-chika sound so oddly infectious*? *No pun intended regarding last week's episode. I have not been "claimed".
You can't really call the revelations of circumstances in the alternate timeline surprises, since we know things are different there, but there were surprises galore on the Island in the present day of the established universe. Even before the title card appeared, we learned that Richard can get beat up, get thirsty, and even get scared. I don't like seeing him that way, but the chiseling away at his mystique hopefully means that we're close to finding out more about him, so I'll take it.
The great lines were plentiful:
Helen: "I mean, Who knows? Maybe it's destiny."
Esau: "Richard, I'm sorry I hit you in the throat and dragged you off the beach, but I had to do something." Funny.
James: "Well, I guess I'd better put some pants on." Ditto.
Esau: "Don't tell me what I can't do!" Not funny ha-ha, but funny ironic, and the first time that I've felt a twinge of sympathy for the Man in Black, who despite arguments from friends I still highly doubt is the good guy.
Esau: "No, James. That... is why you're all here." Awesome!
Frank: "This is the weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to." Funny. Grade-A, laugh-out-loud funny.
Esau: "Jacob had a thing for numbers." Funny, and tied as the best dry, sly wink to the fans with his tossing the white rock into the ocean and saying, "Inside joke."
The final act of the episode rocked too:
After learning that Richard wasn't necessarily as unflappable or as invulnerable as he seemed, we learned as he chased the blond-haired boy that neither is Esau. He can feel surprised, wonder if what he's seeing is really there, and even run out of breath in this body.
Was that Young Jacob? Did he rise like a phoenix from the ashes and get to 10 years old already? Is this the Genesis planet or something (Star Trek Genesis, not Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel Genesis), where dead bodies are reconstituted? Did the boy just slip away before Richard could see him, or could Richard flat-out not see him yet James somehow could?
I suspect it behooves the producers to bring together the characters on the Island as quickly as possible, because flipping back and forth week-to-week between different storylines is something that roused viewer discontent in the past. And while I'm very interested in the Temple, this week's focus was much more edge-of-the-seat intriguing than last week's. Whether that has to do with the script and direction or with the fact that direct glimpses into the Jacob & Esau mythology trump anything else I've not figured out yet, but even before we got tonight's bountiful bonanza folks seemed concerned that for all their potential the Temple scenes would quickly devolve into this season's version of the interminable layover at the Hydra station.
One thing I'll say for Esau is that he did give us some answers, even if their context or backstory haven't yet been fleshed out. He was annoyingly cryptic to both Richard and James early on, which was worrisome, but darned if the torch he struck in that cave wasn't a metaphor for some welcome enlightenment.
What did you think?