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Lostwatch: Baby Love

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SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched last night’s Lost yet, drink this glass of orange juice…

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ABC/ MARIO PEREZ

Oh, Juliet! You naughty girl! I had been worried that last night’s Lost was going to try to win us over to Juliet’s side, making her a sympathetic new member of the gang immediately. Fortunately, the writers realized that the audience is more Sayid than Jack–more inclined to suspect than to trust–and revealed that she is in fact a mole. (Speaking of Sayid, Sawyer et al. as audience surrogates, could Jack’s line, “Eventually, they’re going to need some answers,” have been more of a meta comment?)

In all another solid episode, and it stood out for one particular reason: for once, the flashback was as interesting or more so than the present-day storyline. Or rather, it naturally connected to and advanced the present-day storyline. I had a few quibbles. (A disease-inducing “implant” in Claire? That’s barely more plausible than Sawyer’s booby-trapped pacemaker, which the writers sensibly revealed was phony.)

But there was a good question-to-answer ratio, though I’m sure there will be complaints. It’s getting harder, I think, to make the case that the show’s producers have been making everything up as they go along, given the number of payoffs from the first and second seasons we’ve been seeing recently. (Last night, the explanation[s] for Ethan’s nighttime visits to Claire.) I’m not saying they had five years of the show drafted out to the letter, but you can’t convince me that they didn’t have a strong sense from the get-go of what was going on on the island and why.

I know that Others-centric episodes bore some people, including the formidable Alan Sepinwall. But I love them; I love, especially, how they teeter between being invincible manipulators and a humdrum bureaucracy, with interoffice politics, romances (Goodwin was getting it on with Juliet! Score, dude!) and annoying coworkers. (“He never leaves his walkie on,” Ben grouses about Mikhail.) They’re half-cult, half-dysfunctional nonprofit organization–two institutions with considerable overlap in the personality types they attract.

So we know that the Others are having some self-perpetuation problems. What’s maybe more interesting is that Juliet told the castaways that too, consistent with Ben’s longtime strategy of mixing in a certain measure of truth with his mindgames and deceptions. And we got another hint at the Others’ all-powerful “Jacob,” who may or may not be “Him.” Any chance we meet him in the season finale? I’m taking bets.

It also looks like Jack is starting to take over Locke’s second-season role as the sucker, blinded by his will to believe what he wants to believe. And since Lost loves to polar-reverse the situations of the Man of Science and the Man of Faith, does that mean that Locke–rather than being a turncoat–had something up his sleeve in going with the Others? We’ve seen that–because he was able to get the island healing that Ben couldn’t–he’s the one character who’s truly able to get under Ben’s skin. Could he be the guy who can out-Ben Ben?

Who knows? But, as Ben told Juliet: see you in a week.

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