SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this edition of Lostwatch until you’ve seen the 2004 World Series.
So apparently this is what Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof meant by "the context of time." Part of me wished there was a more complicated, twisty answer to the question of what "the present time" meant in connection with the show–since we saw that four-toed statue, weren’t we all waiting for our Planet of the Apes "Damn you all to hell!" moment?–but in fact last night Lost proved, to the extent that it proves anything, that the island is not in a time warp. The plane crashed in September 2004, we heard Ben tell his captive Jack directly, and it is now November 2004. He demonstrates by telling Jack that, in the meantime, George W. Bush has been re-elected, Christopher Reeve has died and the Red Sox won the World Series. In an obvious but still funny joke, Jack laughs derisively: "If you wanted me to believe this, you should have picked somebody besides the Red Sox."
(It never could have happened, but I was so hoping the line would be, "If you wanted me to believe this, you should have picked somebody besides George Bush." Though I guess the plane crashed before Kerry tied up the race in the debates.)
Ben then proved the point by playing a recording of a game from the Series–less, it seems, to convince Jack than the audience at home. Other than that, his interrogation did little to advance the show: we learned (if we choose to believe him) that Ben has been on the island his whole life, that his full name is Benjamin Linus (I don’t have a spelling of it, so I’m trusting the capable obsessives of Lostpedia on this one) and that the Others have contact with the outside world.
We’re in the middle of the opening six-episode "miniseries" the producers have promised, so that means, as in the middle of any other Lost season, a flat patch of "eh" episodes sprinkled with a few minutes of tantalyzing revelation in the closing act of each. It was nice enough to see Kate and Sawyer kiss romance-book-cover-style, but we still have little clue as why they’re being caged, observed and made to break rocks, except, I assume, that focus groups have requested more sweaty, bare-chested Josh Holloway.
I’m also concerned that the flashbacks are becoming less useful as a narrative device. Although it’s nice to see Sun getting a bit of a harder edge (breaking a glass figurine as a girl and blaming it on the maid, consummating her affair in flashback and shooting Trixie the Whore from Deadwood), the flashback didn’t really add much to her character or her relationship with Jin. Maybe it was thrown in to remind viewers that the pregnant Sun has secrets from her husband, but it was, like the tape Ben screened for Jack, basically a replay of a game we’ve seen before.
I mean, this is Lost, people! We don’t come here to be pitched to down the middle! Throw us some curves and spitters! And don’t make me bust out any more bad sports metaphors on you!