Lost (“Maternity Leave”)

Season 2, Episode 15
Date of airing: March 1, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 16.43 million viewers, 9.9/15 in Households, 6.9/16 with Adults 18-49

If there was ever any doubt that Henry Gale was one of them or an innocent who got himself involved in one of the crappiest moments of his entire life, this episode made sure that you know who the guy really is. It’s his first full episode of being a prisoner in the Swan station and he is already starting to manipulate Locke into seeing the villain in Jack, to create that conflict between the two prison guards, to make his life a little easier behind that locked door. It’s the first real sign of Henry Gale not being so innocent, and it’s the first move by the writers to depict that who Jack and Locke have locked into the weapons chamber is actually a villain. So far we have only come to see the Others from the distance, in a group, unknown to everyone but themselves, almost as they were ghosts. But Henry could be the first step towards humanizing the villainous characters and to make sure that they appear human in future episodes, and not like ghostly monsters who show up when they need to kidnap a kid or draw metaphorical lines in figurative sands. For one and a half seasons the others haven’t been much of villains, and with the writers barely using and explaining the black smoke monster or other dangers coming from the jungle of death, it was about time that at least the human villains would start become more integrated in the plot. Henry Gale is that point of connection, and he is starting it off like a good villain.

Best friends forever, or at least until Claire gets her memories back.

The episode was otherwise solid, even if someone like me didn’t get much out of it being a Claire-centric episode. Emilie de Ravin hasn’t shown why she was allowed to be a central character in the show, but she did show why the writers gave her less and less screentime, as she isn’t much of a great actress when things are demanded of her. Claire stood in front of Danielle Rousseau as she was starting to remember things and connect the dots, but de Ravin’s face was of an actress who just stepped out of a daily soap opera to guest star on a weekly primetime television mystery science-fiction survival drama. I wonder no more why Claire has always been drawing the short stick when it comes to storylines in the show, but I do have to ask myself why I liked the character when I first saw the show back in the spring of 2005. Was it just because de Ravin was an attractive young woman whom I could easily have a crush on and that is all my 18-year-old mind needed back then? Or is this episode one of those prime examples of a high-concept television drama with an extra order of episodes has to be produced on the fly whenever the producers have the chance, and the scenes in the DHARMA hospital station were produced more with speed and less with precision? There could have been a great conflict between Claire and Danielle about who scratched whom and why, and whether or not Danielle was actually bringing Claire back to the Others, but the writers didn’t focus on that story at all and instead just went with the team-up of three women, who decided to head into the jungle with one pistol and one rifle (and whatever else Danielle had in her backpack — probably some more explosives) and enter a DHARMA station for the sake of advancing the mythology. Okay, now I know what happened: The writers chose quantity over quality.

And of course the writers had to wait until it was time for Claire’s episode to let her have a few flashes and start remembering, although I do found it to be a nice idea that this is the first episode with flashbacks set after the plane crash on the island (let’s exclude “The Other 48 Days” for now, because that whole episode is a flashback). With Claire it seemed quite obvious, since she couldn’t remember what happened in the two weeks between episode ten and fifteen of the first season, but now I’m sort of wondering if there will be other instances that includes characters flashing back to times on the island after they have crashed, instead of before. Is there even logic behind this idea?

Kate is doing all the tense work in this creepy DHARMA station.

The rest of the episode was good enough to awaken my interest for a few minutes. Granted, Mr. Eko wasted his conversation with Henry, although it was a scene that pretty much had Eko believe Henry was one of them. I was however a bit disappointed that Sayid was nowhere to be found during this hour — yes, he may be shocked of himself again after using torture techniques to get a person to answer questions, but it’s not like his actions came out of nowhere in the previous episode (for heaven’s sake, he introduced himself as a torturer), but it’s almost like the writers did not want to deal with the character, considering this was Claire’s episode, and it was supposed to advance Henry’s manipulative tactics, which would have otherwise been in the way for a story headlined by Sayid.

There was one weird thing about Danielle though: Not only was she the catalyst for characters heading straight into the jungle of doom again to experience an adventure and a development in the mythology, but I found it quite convenient that her daughter is both alive and obviously the person who helped Claire escape. As if this world didn’t have another teenage girl with blue eyes to offer who somehow ended up on this island to be the voice of reason, the person with empathy. It would make sense that the girl who helped Claire is Alex (this is still a television show, and Alex still being alive is a well-done twist), but damn, if LOST isn’t a show that likes to put on a show of conveniences…

Lost (“One of Them”)

Season 2, Episode 14
Date of airing: February 15, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 18.20 million viewers, 10.8/16 in Households, 7.8/18 with Adults 18-49

This episode created a bit of an uproar on German television. It’s torture sequences put it into the restricted list of programs to watch and sell — in Germany, programs that are restricted for youth under 16 years is to be aired on television past 10 p.m. (or the violence will be cut out if it airs before that time) and even then it’s not guaranteed that violence will be censored. LOST has already been a show that could not be sold to youth under 16 when the DVDs were released, but this particular episode and the torture sequence made the FSK, the German board that rates programs for the appropriate ages, rate the second season of the show to be restricted to anyone under the age of 18. Consider the second season of LOST be so restricted that parents had to buy the DVD box of the show for their kids, who were more than likely the worldwide target audience. And let’s not forget how messed up the ratings system is in both Germany and the United States, and how different they are. We Germans don’t care about sex and language — BEFORE MIDNIGHT is restricted for an audience under 6 years of age in Germany, and it’s well-known that Julie Delpy is shirtless for parts of the film. But you Americans don’t care about violence and gore — HOSTEL is a freaking hit that I don’t understand, and Jack Bauer gets to torture and empty out living Russian hitmen on primetime television and no one bats an eye, yet have problems with sex and nudity. I think it’s something we Germans talked about when season two of LOST was released on DVD and got the red stamp of restriction. We were all shaking our heads.

Henry Gale is about to learn what pain feels like.

This was a good episode. I was bitching and moaning just a little bit about how this season was moving forward in a snail’s pace when it comes to character development or anything regarding the mythology of the series, but this episode may have changed things. Henry Gale could be the innocent man from Minnesota who just got to the wrong place at the most wrongest of times, but he could also be one of them (the title of the show should pretty much spell it out already), which means Sayid has all the reason in the world to keep torturing this man, and Jack and Locke have all the reason in the world to keep Henry locked in the armory (it’s a good thing all the weapons were removed in the previous episode, because now the Swan stationers conveniently have a prison cell they can make use of). It seems quite obvious from the beginning that Henry is one of them and that there is more to come to the story, because for one, there is no way that an innocent man would easily answer all of Sayid’s questions without constantly asking in return what he is doing here, what this place is and why he is being tortured (meaning, Henry is rarely scared, and that means he was anticipating fists hitting his face, which makes him a spy for the Others), and for two, every time Michael Emerson was allowed to do one of his weird and mysterious faces (especially his final moment of the episode), it essentially spelled out in visuals that he is not who he says he is. Besides that, the episode ended with a cliffhanger when it comes to the story of Henry Gale, but I would only assume that the writers never even intended Henry’s story to end either way, as this hour was about Sayid and what he felt he was destined to do. This being Sayid’s episode, there was no time and space for Henry’s story to finish in the same episode it began and join the other survivors, but then again, the show was never really good in concluding major character arcs within 60 minutes.

Tree frogs get killed within the hour, but that’s just because Sawyer and Hurley’s trip into their jungle neighborhood was here to fill time and give the audience something to breathe in-between Sayid’s torturing session and flashback story. First of all, I’m sort of shocked that Hurley would even hang out with Sawyer after the stunt he pulled in the previous episode, but here we are — the writers found a way to force Hurley into Sawyer’s story, and I am wondering how much food Hurley took into his secret stash before he gave it all away for the greatest feast the island has ever seen. But if the writers needed a construed way to bring Hurley and Sawyer together, then maybe the story wasn’t a good idea to begin with. Considering how much Sawyer we’ve had ever since he woke up from unconsciousness, I am a little surprised that the writers gave Sawyer the B story instead of a character we haven’t gotten busy with lately.

Sayid stands in the middle of a greenscreen world.

At least Sayid was given this episode, since enough time has passed for him to grieve over Shannon’s death and have it affect his decision-making and actions. His flashback story may have been a little underwhelming and artificial (especially that last shot of the trucks driving away and the oil fields burning in the background — just a little too much greenscreen here), but this was the best episode to get him out of the funk, with the best story to showcase that Sayid is not at all over the death of the woman he loved (in spite of that love only having existed for less than a month, but I guess island magic was involved again). Will it make him less calculated over the course of the Henry Gale storyline, or is the prisoner in the Swan station a nice plot device for Sayid to come to the realization that he is a changed man and that he craves to be the man he was before the Americans invaded his country?

Lost (“The Long Con”)

Season 2, Episode 13
Date of airing: February 8, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 18.74 million viewers, 11.2/16 in Households, 7.7/17 with Adults 18-49

In which Sawyer turned into the villain of the story again, because for some reason the writers needed to undo all the work they have done with the character, who has become more likable over the course of the previous dozen-or-so episodes. For some reason the writers needed to hammer home that Sawyer is not the antihero we thought he would be, that he would never be interested in joining Jack and Ana Lucia’s planned militia, that he would never want to be seen as the good guy of the group, as he always thinks of himself as the villain. It begs the question why Sawyer wants to be seen as evil and terrifying, and why he never had any interest in going into the good place of life. Maybe his life as a con man has defined him as the villain of the world and he simply cannot do anything else, because he feels unhealthy doing good things, but why did he decided to be part of the raft, let alone help his fellow raft passengers when the crap was about to hit the proverbial fan? Sawyer got a bullet in his shoulder to save Walt (maybe he got that bullet trying to protect himself from dudes who wanted to kill him), and Sawyer was very much interested in not being too much of an asshole when he was a prisoner of the tail-section survivors group. And now that he is all healthy and ready to go, he decides to be a dickhead again? I’m not so sure what this has to do in his character arc and why the writers needed Sawyer to be the villain again. Maybe it’s part of an ongoing story, but maybe this episode was also just proof that the writers needed a flashback story to coincide with the island story, so here we have Sawyer, pulling long cons in both timelines, just so the flashbacks and island stories sync up for once.

When a woman sees a suitcase full of money, her head starts smoking.

This made the episode a little less interesting, despite Sawyer being a more intriguing character ever since he turned somewhat into an antihero. It’s sort of astounding how the series is tracking back his development and turning the clock around on him, almost turning this episode into a bottle show story-wise, as neither the Others nor the big and deadly dangers from the jungle made huge appearances throughout 13 episodes of the season so far (the black smoke monster itself became visible for two scenes, and the Others were mostly silent and invisible and only sometimes deadly for most of the appearances, before suddenly drawing a line and making a “deal” two episodes ago). It’s almost like the writers retreat between the first and second season did not lead to much during the season, because the writers were still stalling. Was it because they didn’t know when to make the big story moves, not knowing when the show would need them or did they fear they would lose audiences? Did the writers not know how to treat the back story they developed and when to include them into the narrative, knowing that the first big step towards it would completely change the show? This episode was essentially like most of the first season, in which some fo the characters track into the jungle for no reason to deal with their personal demons. Only this time around the jungle was replaced with Sawyer’s con and wishes to get some guns.

The con artist has the guns now.

At least Sawyer has proven that he can be a major villain. Telling Charlie to attack Sun, facing his survivor mates to tell them all that he is armed and pretty much dangerous, which means no more messing around with him — I’m pretty sure everyone hates Sawyer now (and Hurley was the one who initially thought he is going to lose all of his friends earlier in the season), which means Jack and Ana Lucia should think about training an army not to bring down the Others, but to subdue Sawyer. There is actually an idea behind all of that, as the levels of dangers are being removed from the show’s elements you rarely get to see (the Others, the black smoke monster) and kept “in-house” among the survivors. In hindsight, Sawyer always seemed like the more interesting villain among the regular characters, which is why the attempt at placing him in his redemption arc via being part of the raft kind of made sense. But now that the writers were retreating the story, I’m getting a little disappointed. But if it means that Sawyer is placed to the back of the row for a few episodes, giving attention to the other characters, I will accept the moves partaken during this episode. And it looks like Sawyer is about to have a break — after Ana Lucia killed a woman, she only had one or two scenes for the next few episodes. After Shannon died, Sayid had ample time to grieve and now it’s time for him to wake up again. Which is probably something he did when trying to fix the radio and turning it into… a radio. Hurley will be happy, because the batteries of his CD player ran out long ago. Oh wait, I just remembered there is a record player in the Swan station. No radio or new batteries that may or may not be in the station needed.

Lost (“Fire + Water”)

Season 2, Episode 12
Date of airing: January 25, 2016 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 19.05 million viewers, 11.2/16 in Households, 8.0/18 with Adults 18-49

I would consider this a filler episode, simply because of the horrendous behavior of one Charlie Pace, and how he did not seem to be able to think through his plans, or realize how much he would alienate himself from the rest of the survivors by taking Aaron away from Claire for a quick and impromptu baptism. When Charlie had his dreams and Mr. Eko explained what they could mean, he could have convinced Eko from the beginning to do the baptism (and maybe even be baptized himself), but for some reason that probably have to do with the fact that ABC gave the writers and producers 24 hours to fill, Charlie was dealing mostly with his drug addiction, essentially ending what could have been a very tedious season-long arc dealing with Charlie and the Virgin Mary statues. He goes to his hideout, he looks at the statues, he takes one into his hands, and he contemplates whether or not to get high and just screw life from here on — no one wanted to listen to him, Claire hates him, and he pretty much has no life on the island without his music or Claire. What else is there to do but focus on the bags of heroin, which could bring Charlie through a few months of great and disgusting feelings and emotions?

Charlie so desperately wants to be the father.

It took the show half a season to come to a head-on collision between Charlie and his drug addiction after he took one of the statues with him by the end of the previous season finale. Twelve episodes to tease or not tease Charlie’s drug addiction and relapse, twelve episodes to think about if it is the right choice for the character and if the season was supposed to have a story arc involving rehab on the island. If it was the writers’ purpose to alienate Charlie from the rest of the survivors and have him be in the background of the show for the next few episodes like Ana Lucia was, then there better not be any stories for Charlie in the next four episodes. Besides that, I get the feeling the writers were positioning a few characters to create room for the main stay of the show. Michael has disappeared, Ana Lucia has become background noise over the past four episodes, Libby became a love interest, Jin and Sun have peace and quiet with each other ever since they reunited, and Claire is only having screetime when the story of the episode is about Charlie, essentially making her a supporting character. Therefore, the writers have all the time they need for Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke and maybe Sayid (as soon as he has finished grieving), and go back to where the show was before, and what the writers were really interested in.

Anyway, half a season for that drug addiction to become a problem for Charlie again — let’s just hope it’s a story that has just been breakfasted with this episode and Charlie can move on from all of it and become a normal person again. The thing is just, Locke left the statues in the weapons vault, which kind of means the writers put the story on the back burner, ready to be taken out of the vault again if needed, just in case Charlie needed to be gotten rid of via a drug overdose (when it could have been this easy to have him get eaten by the shark from “Adrift” or shot to death by Ethan’s girlfriend or wife out for revenge). I don’t know why the writers didn’t think it was the better idea to bury Charlie’s drug addiction with this episode, have him go into rehab on this island of death and find a way to the path of redemption for him. Granted, Charlie was very much rock bottom with this episode and the only way is up, but it irks me that Locke put the statues into the weapons vault. Why in the goddamn hell would he do that if it isn’t to keep the story of Charlie and heroin alive?

Baptism among plane crash survivors.

Meanwhile, not much else was happening on the island. Jack and Ana Lucia may have had a conversation about “hitting that” while Hurley and Libby had a moment of liking each other very much (Hurley’s very pregnant “Do I know you from somewhere?” and Libby’s very talented way of deflecting that question is definitely the kickoff to another storyline). That is what happens when you give all the attention to Charlie and his weird prophetic dreams, all while not at all going into whether or not it was the island that gave Charlie those dreams. Because really, as soon as Locke had known about Charlie’s dreams, Locke would have seen something else was up and the episode could have been about something else, maybe something more interesting.

Lost (“The Hunting Party”)

Season 2, Episode 11
Date of airing: January 18, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 19.13 million viewers, 11.3/17 in Households, 8.0/18 with Adults 18-49

The survivors and the Others met for a campfire chat and one of the two groups created some rules the other group needs to live by from now on, which will most likely not make the survivors very happy. As much as Jin and Sun don’t like it when they’re told what to do, Jack doesn’t like it when he’s told by murderers and kidnappers what to do, and voila, suddenly the writers created the premise of a potential army, led by Jack, going up against the Others, promising an action-packed season finale, if the writers were going for it in eleven or twelve episodes. The thing is just, there was no way that the show and its writers would have ever tried to get to a survivors versus Others conflict. If a firefight occurs, characters have to die — you may have a lot of redshirts with all the extras among the survivors, but it would look ridiculous if not more than two of the regulars would be written off the show that way. I would love to know what the conversation was in the writers room about that topic and the idea of a showdown between the two groups, and whether it was a season finale premise or maybe even thought of as a potential story for the series finale. Because really, would it be not deserved of LOST and its audience to go quietly into the good night via an action spectacle with a high body count?

Kate is in some form of danger again.

The episode was good enough, although sometimes I am wondering if the writers were even interested in getting some of the other characters into hiking gear to go after someone who has just stolen some weapons and pretty much declared war against the Others. I can accept that Claire would never go after Michael, because she has a baby to watch out for, and Charlie may not be ready to go back out into the wilderness after that adventurous trip to the fire Danielle Rousseau made to lure the survivors into a trap, but it would have been wonderful for Jin to take over Kate’s role in this episode, and maybe it would have even been a great time for Ana Lucia to come back to the living and go straight into more violent and dangerous confrontation with the Others. Only one scene per episode with Michelle Rodriguez is nearly not enough for me, and the writers even could have given Jin a purpose besides being Sun’s husband with the hour, even if I am already glad that the “I don’t like being told what to do” plot gave him (and Sun) at least some seconds of screentime, taking the attention away from the hunting party and reminding the audience that LOST is still an ensemble drama. But I guess the episodes around “The Other 48 Days,” during which characters like Jack, Kate, Locke and Hurley had a little bit of time off, was too hard for the writers to deal with, so all the seconds and minutes they have lost with these episodes while the narrative focused on the tail-section survivors need to be taken back.

Hence this episode being a Jack-centric hour of television, which I don’t think was even necessary. First of all, the season premiere told us how Jack and Sarah met, and ten episodes later they are already separated again. It’s almost like the Best and Worst of their marriage is being put into the record player for the viewers to follow, but it’s not like Jack’s life and troubled and apparently short-lived marriage (so much for miracles) is somehow defining his life on the island. Especially after the crazy depressing life Jack had before the crash, maybe he should be happy that he gets something else to do on the island. But then again, Sarah said that Jack always needs something to fix, and the first thing Jack thought of after Sawyer unlocked the door is that he needs to go after Michael. Will this be Jack’s destiny? Is he always going to fix things that are not to his liking, and will it always bring other people in trouble, maybe even in life-threatening danger? And why is it that Jack always needs something to fix? Is this part of his hero complex that he did not want to do anything with during the beginning of the season when he didn’t want to be the leader and yet still became exactly that with his “live together, die alone” speech?

It’s so sad to see Jack sad.

Part of the hunting party’s trip was sort of interesting though. First of all, the notion that Michael knew where he was going and it was not the directing the hunters were thinking of almost made it seem like Michael got directions from his son via the 1970s microcomputer. And because this seemed to have been a trap from the beginning, it also tells us that Michael was lured in said trap, and that the Others pretty much know about the Swan station and its little secrets (also, they called it their island, so it would be kinda crappy for them if they didn’t know about the island and its mysteries, if they aren’t the ones who direct said mysteries). I found it also interesting that Michael was not found and that the show will have to deal without him for however long the writers figured was the best time to keep him absent from the rest of the character pool. His decision to go after Walt did lead to Jack’s intriguing plan of training an army, because now he is not interested anymore in waiting. Jack needs to fix something, and he needs about 30 or 40 more people to do so.

Lost (“The 23rd Psalm”)

Season 2, Episode 10
Date of airing: January 11, 2006 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 20.56 million viewers, 11.9/18 in Households, 8.5/20 with Adults 18-49

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje may have saved this episode from the boredom virus, because his portrayal was more interesting than the premise of the episode, let alone the decision by the writers to not move ahead with any of the stories at all. A decision was made to explain where the Nigerian beech plane came from, who its passengers were and what the back story of its arrival and crash on the island of mystery was, but with most of the mysteries LOST has introduced and will introduce, I’m not even sure they need explanation. While it makes for a nice-looking construction of back stories that meet on the island and build an entire world, I wouldn’t mind that some of the mysteries don’t get a back story at all and just remain a mystery. So, there is a Nigerian beech plane full of drugs and dead priests on the island — what that story did was focus on Charlie’s heroin addiction, as well as his own way of recovery by taking the Virgin Mary statues, collecting them and always remembering that they are close by and he could get into a drug binge any day. Especially now that Claire has forsaken him and thrown him out of her tent. That’s all the beech plane was good for if it hadn’t been for the existence of Mr. Eko and I would have been perfectly fine with it. But now there is this whole other back story with the plane and when I think of the crashed beech plane with all its drugs and dead priests on it, I think of Mr. Eko and now how it created Charlie’s unique way of recovery. It didn’t help Charlie that he didn’t even get into why he kept the statues or why he didn’t explain things a little better (and with more honesty) to Claire and Eko. It didn’t help that the writers brought Charlie into the story, game him and his drug addiction slash recovery the spotlight, and then turned it all around by giving Eko the important back story. It also didn’t help that the “Previously on” part was mostly about Charlie, making me think that this is episode is centered on him. It makes me wonder if that ruse was intended or just accidental, due to the Virgin Mary statues being a guest character in this episode.

Michael readies himself for war.

Again, Eko was the savior of this episode, as his portrayer made for an interesting character study. Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s silent, stoic, calm, static way of performing the role in this show is kind of fascinating. He is always thinking, he is always rational, and even in the crosshairs of fear and death he is keeping it together and all he could probably think about is how his lord and savior Jesus Christ will protect him on his journey (and if not, Jesus will greet the newly-dead Eko at the front door of Heaven). He is standing in front of the black smoke monster, which is a first for him when it comes to that kind of fear (Eko only having been dealing with evil people so far and not knowing anything about the supernatural dangers of the island), and all he does is stare at it, as if this is a staring contest which the black smoke monster clearly lost. If you are a fan of mysteries and many questions, you get them all during that scene (what is the black smoke monster, why was it staring at Eko, why didn’t it kill, why was it following Eko through the jungle, and all that jazz), but what I got out of it is that Eko may be the coolest character of the bunch. This man cannot be shaken up even when facing almost certain death. I would love to have him on my team if I ever need one to fight the devil.

Smoke monster, meet Eko. Eko, meet the biggest point of mythology of the show.

The episode barely managed to stay interesting on all other levels though. Michael did some more online chatting with his son (the “are you alone?” question wreaked of a con against Michael, to lure him into a trap) and had some weapons training with Locke, which is essentially just the lead to Michael heading out into the jungle again to declare war against the Others (that would be a great story arc, no question). Sawyer gets his hair cut by a very happy and flirtatious Kate and that was the end of their story for the hour. Claire just kicked Charlie out of the tent and didn’t even have an argument (serves him right — you shouldn’t be arguing with a drug addict). Since this was also Charlie’s episode, maybe the writers could have focused on giving him a new friend to hang out with, to recognize the religious undertones of Eko’s life and maybe join him in spirits from here on. I don’t even think that Claire was wrong when she told Eko that Charlie doesn’t know he’s religious — that would have been the great beginning to areligious storyline on LOST that could have gone from actual sermons to divulging the viewers about fate, and I don’t mean fate in a storytelling sense. Besides that, if Charlie would see religion as more important in his life, the writers would completely get into how drug addicts are being saved by Jesus, which is a story almost everyone believes anyway. But the writers figured this was Eko’s story and Charlie is just the sidekick. Half of the episode could have been made more intriguing and tense if Charlie’s story wasn’t just about getting caught with drugs.

Lost (“What Kate Did”)

Season 2, Episode 9
Date of airing: November 30, 2005 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 21.54 million viewers, 12.3/18 in Households, 8.9/21 with Adults 18-49

Michael chats with a stranger on the mystery island internet and the first thing he thought about was smiling about how cool it is to be internet chatting on a stranded island. Michael’s first thought wasn’t to write SOS and tell the stranger on the other end of the line to send help, but Michael’s last thought was all about his son. The cliffhanger ending was quite neat, although this might be the episode in which LOST turns into the weird mystery question mark that it will become with the third season, with even weirder scenes spliced into the episodes to give the viewers pause for thought, wondering what the hell all of it means and if the horse Kate and Sawyer saw was real or part of the hallucinating imaginations of the characters, similar to how Jack saw his father, which led him to the cave, how Shannon saw Walt, which led to her death, and how Ana Lucia heard the whispers in the jungle after never having faced the supernatural dangers of the island for 47 days, which led her to the camp of the prime group of survivors. You could think that all the hallucinations the characters experienced led to something they needed for survival, maybe even hope. It begs the question what Michael experienced at the end of this episode. Was he really chatting someone up on the island internet or was it just another hallucination to have Michael act upon it?

Locke is now the editor of DHARMA orientation films.

The black horse that Kate saw could have been a hallucination to help her get over her murdering her father, which is something she didn’t seem to have been thinking about for 33 hours of the show, but suddenly was pressured to deal with. Maybe one of the island’s mystery pieces is that people on it not only face physical dangers, but also metaphorical ones in their head — they go onto the island as broken people, they come off it as healed people who have fought all their demons and can now live life unimpeded by their fear of life. Locke already got all that healing power and he might even be able to get rescued and live a happy life, but chances are there will be something in his life before the crash the writers were waiting to reveal, because Locke’s happiness with the island can’t be the final result of his character arc (except he dies in one of the upcoming episodes). Kate is definitely broken on so many levels, especially now that she is dealing with her feelings for two men. In fact, the island may have forced her to make a choice about which man to love, and here we are. So, was the horse real or just a figment of Kate and Sawyer’s imagination to help her choose him and have Jack go buddy-buddy with Ana Lucia instead?

The episode was okay. It was as slow as the character-focused hours of the previous episode, but at least it had a solid B story focusing on the back story of the DHARMA Initiative, creating another point of mystery for the characters to deal with and for the viewers to eat up like candy on Halloween. The new footage of the orientation video was not that interesting though. It may have been a nice plot device to lead straight into Michael’s instant messaging chat with his son, but I would rather have followed Michael trying to make something out of the tech in the room, giving us answers as to what might be going on there and whether he would have brought the viewers and characters closer to the electromagnetic happenings behind the thick concrete walls. Because really, watching Michael touch the cables was a little boring — the writers were just waiting for Locke and Mr. Eko to watch the extended version of the orientation clip, so that the episode can end the way the writers envisioned. The way they created the plot device of a missing piece of film, for Locke to edit and fix, was hilariously bloated up though. Mr. Eko had an entire story for Locke to lead to the reveal of the missing footage, the episode had an entire scene of Locke splicing the footage, and there was Michael roaming around the room and looking at cables. Just for that one big fat “Dad?” ending. What a waste of time…

There’s a black horse in the jungle.

The rest of the episode was almost forgettable because of the way the writers wasted time for this huge plot device. The funeral could have had more meaning and emotion for the characters, but Sayid barely got full sentences out and before we realized that this was an actual funeral service, the episode went back to Kate and Sawyer and the turn of the sick guy into a dead ghost from Kate’s past. Also, what an asshole Kate is for running out of the Swan station, just because she was getting scared. What if Jack and Locke would not have been back in time to push the button? What if the island and the entire world would have exploded, just because Kate was freaked out by Sawyer acting like the ghost of her dead deadbeat dad?