Tuned In

Lostwatch: The Tribe Has Spoken

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Oceanic Airlines flight 815 crashed in September 2004. At that point, we were several seasons in to the run of Survivor. And yet, amid all the pop-culture references of Lost, no one breathes a word about the show. Come on! Sawyer, of all people, would be calling Hurley “Richard Hatch” constantly.

But last night Lost–which, after all, originated with Lloyd Braun’s idea of making a fictional Survivor as a drama–became an episode of Survivor. There was an (admittedly fictitious) banishment vote. There was an actual banishment, or, rather, the Others banished themselves, sans Juliet. Sawyer went out and caught a fish to prove he was pulling his weight around camp. There was one of those Mark Burnett swap gimmicks, as one from our tribe (Locke) got exchanged for one of theirs (Juliet). There was a pig roast. I’m surprised nobody won a Pontiac Aztek.

Seriously, a solid episode from a show that seems to have a good head of narrative momentum. It probably deserves a serious unpacking, but I’m still on “vacation,” so I’m just going to unload a round of bullet points into you:

* Is Locke an Other now? Is he just out to get answers / closure from his produced-from-the-magic-box father? Either seems plausible: as we saw in his first flashback this season, he’s definitely susceptible to cultish mumbo-jumbo. And for once, it seemed to make sense not to give the answer, since it’s definitely in Locke’s character to keep his own counsel.

* So Kate and Juliet get handcuffed together… and get their t-shirts soaked in a sudden downpour… and fall into a mud pit? What, was there no pool of Jell-O available? Nice nugget we got there, that the Others don’t control the monster–“We don’t know what it is, but we know it doesn’t like our fences”–as well as the code Juliet entered to activate the security fence: did I catch 6-2-3 in the number sequence? (As in 15… 16… 23…)

* The rapid-fire sound that accompanied the light when the monster spied Kate and Juliet: did it sound like gunfire? or photography?

* An interesting side effect of bringing Locke’s dad into the story: suddenly, things we learn in the flashbacks may have more direct bearing on the present-day story, such as this flashback, which brought Kate together with Sawyer’s ex, and, perhaps, put Kate on the road to Tallahassee.

* “Just for today, they can eat boar, laugh and forget that they’re totally screwed.” Sawyer’s position as “temporary leader” promises an interesting dynamic now that Jack has returned, having nearly gotten a ticket home from their mortal enemies. But not nearly as interesting as Sayid going Jack Bauer on Juliet for information next week. (Until, I’m guessing, Jack breaks up the party seconds before Juliet is about to spill something vital.)

The floor’s open to your guesses as to the Others’ whereabouts. Exile Island?