episodes: lost, "because you left" (5.1) and "the lie" (5.2)
I'm not going to recap this episode for three reasons. One, I'm posting this five days after it premiered, so any recap would be silly since everyone and their mom has already watched the double-episodes. Two, recapping Lost is not easy to do, and telling you the plot is not the same as experiencing the episode. And three, Alan Sepinwall already wrote a recap, and it's much better than anything I could ever write. So below I'm offering a few thoughts on Lost as a whole, now that we have some concrete answers (emphasis on some) concerning time-travel and the island.
• There was some underlying creepiness during Sun's exchange with Kate. Although Sun says she doesn't blame Kate for Jin's death, I think Sun wants revenge, and I think it is Sun who is coming after Kate with the maternity test for Aaron. Some of my friends think Claire's mother might be behind this, but she doesn't have the money or clout to remain an "anonymous client," and there was no sign at Jack's father's funeral that Claire's mother would think the baby was alive. (By the way, in remembering back to that episode, I think Matthew Fox did an excellent job at reacting to the news that Jack had spent so much time with his half-sister without even realizing it.) Also, I found it suspicious that Sun was in LA and called Kate. The only problem with this storyline is... why would Sun be coming after Kate after three years?
• Speaking of Sun, something happened between her and Widmore. They are cooking up something together (or allying together, at least) against Ben. That scene in the airport security room seemed very out of place narratively, so there should be something more to be explored later.
• It really bothers me that no one's looking for Claire. If Kate went out into the jungle or was captured, they would look for her for as many episodes as needed until they got her back. But Claire? If Locke says she disappeared, then no one cares. This seems like very convenient (i.e. lazy) writing. Just because Claire's not planning an appearance until next season, her name and existence should not be forgotten by the other characters.
• First, I really appreciate that Lost is going the time-travel route of 12 Monkeys and not Back to the Future. In the latter, the past can be altered to create alternate timelines, so you could in theory kill your grandfather. In the former, however, you cannot interact with the past if your past self did not interact with your future self. Thankfully, this episode explained how Desmond knew Faraday but Faraday didn't recognize Desmond. It seems that present Daniel encountered past Desmond. (And then present Desmond, who is in bed with Penny, wakes up from the dream and realizes that Faraday was actually a memory. Did I miss something here? Does this mean that Desmond didn't even remember meeting Faraday in the past because present Faraday hadn't met his past self yet?) So I appreciate this notion that the present cannot conflict with past events or create new timelines. Besides, that would be hell for Lost's continuity guy.
• Second, I love time-travel, and I was excited that this not-so-new element was brought into full fruition, but it still doesn't explain how Richard is ageless. (And if you recall, Richard visited a young Locke, who chose the knife instead of the compass, and Richard said he wasn't ready yet. That compass had a cameo appearance in the premiere.) When the Losties first jump through time, Locke is no longer surrounded by the Others, from which it can be concluded that Richard doesn't jump through time either. So how is Richard ageless, and how can he pick and choose where he's going to be?
• Another question about Richard: After Locke is shot in the leg by Ethan, Locke jumps and Richard finds him and heals his leg. Richard explains that Locke told him where to find him (obviously talking about a future Locke), but how did Richard know when to find Locke? There was no time frame from which Locke could calculate what day it was. So how did Richard know when to find Locke?
• This theory belongs to my mother, and I really hope that it's true (because it makes sense), but I don't have enough faith in the writers to actually pull this off. This can be filed under The Donnie Darko Theory. In the "correct timeline," Oceanic Flight 815 really did crash into the bottom of the ocean and everyone died. (This means that Widmore did not set up this elaborate and expensive hoax.) But something created an alternate timeline -- perhaps the crash itself or something else -- and so a new timeline has been created. (This goes against what Faraday believes to be the rules of time travel.) No matter what the characters do, bad things happen. This is why Hurley goes back to the asylum when off the island, and this is why Jack becomes an alcoholic (as part of discovering he has a half-sister), and this is why Kate never seems to be a at peace in her new life with her fake son. This could also explain why "the island" won't let anyone kill themselves in the real world. Nothing they do will be good or better -- not until they "correct" the timeline. This could involve Ben's ominous message that Jack cannot return. (Of course, "return" is delivered ambiguously, but I don't think there's any doubt that Jack will die by the end of the series. In the Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle, one of them has to die, and Sawyer's character needs to be redeemed, as does Kate's, so Jack, ever the hero, will eventually sacrifice himself.) The main reason why this theory probably isn't true has nothing to do with the various plot holes, but rather... no audience wants to learn that these characters that they love and care for are all dead. ABC (who is owned by Disney) would not like that very much.
• This is another thought from my mom, but it's a valid one that I keep pushing to the recesses of my brain (as to alleviate my problems with this show). When Flight 815 crashed, why did Ben keep everyone on the island? Why didn't he put them on a boat and send them far, far away? He had the means to do it, and he could have avoided a lot of the problems and suffering he's encountered/caused as a result of all the mysteries and lies. And they better explain -- soon! -- what the deal with Goodwin and Ethan's lists were.
• Writers, please stop with the stunt casting. Bringing back Ana Lucia was gimmicky, and the "Libby says hey" line was cheap.
• Lastly, I think it would be fantastic if we encountered scenes of the past in the present (rather than just creating new scenes, like the Locke-Richard-leg-wound scene). For example, during season one, the Losties heard whispers in the jungle, and when we discovered there were "Others" in the second season, we assumed the whispers belonged to them. But what if the whispers actually belonged to the Losties' future selves? And on this note, I think it's a smart move that the Dharma Initiative will be explained in the present tense. As in, we will learn more about them as they are building and constructing all of the stations. It's much meatier than discovering new orientation tapes every season.