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Lostwatch: We All Know the Story

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The Oceanic Six meet the press. / ABC

SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, enter the greenhouse through a hole, find the patch of anthuriums, flip the switch behind them and watch last night’s Lost.

To be continued!

Not that much to say about the penultimate episode of Lost, since it’s really the first third of a three-hour finale. As such, it was more about air-traffic control than anything: 44 minutes, basically, of moving characters from one place to another on the island so the pieces could be in place two weeks from now. (This episode, I think, is where we see our strike-related story compression. The machinations of getting Kate into the jungle, getting the baby, handing him off to Sun and hustling back—it was like a freaking relay race.)

But let’s talk a little about one bit of “No Place Like Home, pt. 1” that bears a little investigation, the flash-forward. The opening scene, with the Oceanic 6 on the transport and the tarmac, was the one I saw at the upfront this week, and while I didn’t think it was very spoilery, it does contain a big riddles of this finale. “We all know the story,” Jack tells the rest of the Six, who numbly play along (and don’t necessarily seem that pleased with him). What is the story? It involves a wrecked Indonesian fishing boat and, it seems, doesn’t hold water nearly as well, though Michelle Forbes extricates the Six before they get caught in any inconsistencies.

But more important: Why the story? We’re two hours away from the season’s end, and presumably the rescue, yet there’s no indication yet of any reason the survivors would need to cover up their rescue. There are plenty of reasons you could imagine, though. For instance: the lie seems to involve their hiding the fact that there are still people on the Island, right? Does it also involve their covering up the existence, and the location, of the Island? If so, who is it that would want the Island undiscovered? Someone hiding it from Charles Widmore, perhaps? Are the Six hiding something for Ben? Was he responsible for their rescue? And even if so, why would they possibly want to co-operate with him? What leverage does he have?

(You’d have to think it isn’t Widmore imposing the lie on them, right? After all, we know that he’s unable to locate the Island—which you would think does not bode well for the fate of his henchmen, who could otherwise report back to him on what has happened.)

Two more weeks of wondering. In the meantime, the hail of bullets:

* Besides showing us the Oceanic Six getting their story straight, the plane and landing scene gave us a good character moment for Kate, which has become a rare thing. The image of her standing isolated and forgotten on the airfield, with only someone else’s baby to cling to while everyone else gets a warm welcome home (even Hurley pulls Sayid, but not her, aside to meet his folks—dis!) pointed up her loneliness nicely.

* I love Badass Future Sun! Having said that, how could any airline settlement give you enough money to purchase a controlling interest in a South Korean conglomerate? Or is this an alternate universe in which the dollar is really strong?

* Interesting that, when the Beachies overhear the conversation about the Orchid, it’s nice-guy Daniel, not shifty Charlotte, who holds back that he knows what the Orchid is, and how this move means that anyone remaining on the Island is toast.

* Good to hear Sawyer spouting Sawyerisms again, but he also got off an allusion to season finales past: “You don’t get to die alone.” Any others I missed?

* Yet again Hurley becomes the conduit for addressing a fan theory/criticism, when the reporter asks him how he managed to survive months on a desert island without dropping an ounce. (“Was that directed at me, dude?”)

* Speaking of Hurley, the interplay between him, Locke and Ben has been so good that I hope the show isn’t about to enter some extended period (as hinted at in the flash-forwards) when Ben doesn’t have contact with any of the Losties except Sayid.

* And speaking of Sayid, recall Ben’s words to him in his flash-forward about what happened the last time he thought with his heart. Are we about to see that in the finale, or was that a reference to Nadia’s (future, yet at that point in the narrative past) death?

* The revelation (to Jack, not us) that Claire was his half-sister was nicely done on a few levels: it made Jack confront yet another of Christian’s deceptions after having the closure of the memorial service; it was a good character moment for Matthew Fox; and it looks like the first crack in Future Jack’s determined belief that they had done the right thing in getting out and telling the cover story—since he not only has to face that he left a blood relative behind, but cannot tell her mother what happened to her, nor that she has just met her own grandson.

* So what about Daniel, Myles, Frank and Charlotte going forward? Do they manage to have a role next season, or is their purpose on the Island another casualty of strike compression?

* Either way, I’m inclined to think that the strike had unintended benefits for Lost. Whatever season 4 had to drop in terms of story and plot mechanics, it gained in speed and urgency. Agree or disagree?

* The Others! Oh, yeah, them.