LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 1: “Because You Left”

23 01 2009

Wow, was it me, or did a whole heck of a lot of stuff happpen in the 2 hours of last night’s premiere?  I’m still reserving judgment on the quality of the episodes, but we were certainly given much to ponder.  Let’s jump right in and discuss.

“Baby’s awake!”

Boy, they really get things started with a bang, don’t they?  It was awesome to see a little more of “Dr. Marvin Candle” right off the bat, but if you took a minute or two to get back in the groove and re-adjust your thinking cap for the start of the season, you may have missed something that appears to be very meaningful: Dr. Candle appears to have a baby, and it appears (although you can never be sure with LOST), that he was born on the island.  Now I’m sure there are ways for the baby to have been brought to the island after conception, but I get the impression that the writers wanted us to believe that the baby was born on-island.  (At least that’s how I’m going to interpret it.)

So what do we get out of that?  Well, apparently, the problem with having children on the island is specific to Ben’s group.  Perhaps as a result of the timeframe on the island, or perhaps, because of who their leader is.  There isn’t much in the way of clues to help decipher an answer, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for as the season progresses (especially considering how on-island events are being told this season).

Oh, and if Dr. Candle had a child on the island, do you think he died during the purge?  Or, by some chance, did he manage to escape?  Not sure if there’s anything there at all, but it’s another thing that I suspect we at least want to keep in the back of our minds.

“Sir, we’ve got a problem down at the Orchid”

5x01_arrowfilm

The most interesting part of this sequence (at least to me), is that Dr. Candle is not just the face and voice of the Dharma Initiative in front of the camera.  In fact, the dude’s running the show.  Not only is he approached when things go a little sideways in the Orchid station, but he knows exactly what they’re doing, and apparently why they’re doing it.  This tells us two things: the Dharma stations being built next to the island’s phenomena is absolutely no accident, and that the Initiative clearly has some higher purpose, and is not on the island simply to study its effects.  They want to harness the island’s powers–the question is, to what end?

Faraday and the oxygen tank

5x01_faradaybackintime

2 things hit me as I watched this scene, both containing elements of foreshadowing.  First, the guy doing the drilling into the cavern wall near the donkey wheel has characterized as having intense headaches, and a massive nosebleed.  This may be some sort of “time-motion sickness”, where people who are sensitive to moving through time exhibit these effects.  Now you might ask yourself, where the heck did I come up with that?  Well, it’s a guess, admittedly.  But based upon future behavior of a certain individual on the island, it may make sense.  But more on that later.

The more interesting bit of foreshadowing is with respect to Faraday himself.  You probably asked yourself, what the heck is he doing there?  Especially since this scene was well before we  were introduced to the idea that the island is moving back and forth through time.  But with that info in mind, this scene is very intriguing.  Faraday is clearly trying to infiltrate the area with his Dharma disguise, but we’re not given enough time with the scene to make any kind of guess as to why.  Of course, I’ll still give it my best shot and say that he’s there to blow a hole in the cavern wall with that oxygen tank, and se if he can’t get the island to stop skipping through time…perhaps by turning the donkey wheel back the other way.

By the way, before I leave Dr. Candle fo rthe remainder of this episode, let me point you in the direction of a great article over at EW.com.  Most of you have probably already read it, but from the category of “why didn’t I think of that” comes a great article by Doc Jensen about Dr. Candle.  More specifically, about how his videos might actually be a commentary on LOST in a self-referential way.  Fascinating stuff, and a must-read for any of you that haven’t yet seen it: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1550612_20245769_20253740,00.html

Ben and Jack make for a truly odd couple

Ben & Locke had a real chemistry between their characters.  Maybe it was because they were both fighting for control, maybe because they had varying forms of understanding of the island at its power.  But Ben and Jack?  These guys are not meant to share time together.  It’s interesting, in a train-wreck sort of way, to see the way they interact now as opposed to back in Season 3.  But for the most part, seeing these two interact is like having your teeth pulled.

“Did he tell you what happened to them after the island moved?”

One thing that’s constant: Ben’s lying ways.  I don’t believe for one second that “we’ll never know” what happened to the people that were left on the island.  Mr. Linus knows exactly what happened.  But he doesn’t want to share it right now because it would jeopardize the chances of him getting the Oceanic 6 back to the island.  I won’t be surprised if some really ugly stuff happened on that island during the past 3 years.  Speaking of which…

“We can’t go back to the camp!  There is no camp!”

Ah yes, let the fun begin.  While I’m not exactly crazy about LOST pulling back the curtain and going full-on sci-fi, this little twist–the one where the LOSTies are moving back and forth in time on the island–definitely has the potential for some really fun moments.  And maybe, just maybe, it might be the explanation of one of LOST’s biggest mysteries.  But more on that later…I want to give you a chance to think about it for a bit.

“I’m not at liberty to divulge the name of my client”

It appears as though Kate’s ruse of Aaron as her son is up.  Someone’s on to her…although it’s entirely possible that it’s someone who already knows without any doubt that she’s not Aaron’s mom.  Someone that wants to push her into going on the run, so that returning on the island isn’t such a completely awful thought…

Sawyer bitch-slaps Faraday

Now that was somethng I didn’t see coming.  Faraday was getting a bit too holier-than-thou about his knowledge of time travel, but I sure wasn’t expecting the open-handed treatment.  It worked though, as Faraday spilled the beans about the island’s moving back and forth through time, and opened up a world of possibilities about what we might get to see this season.

Enter stage right: plane of cocaine!

5x01_helloethan

The writers waste no time having a little fun with the time travel possibilities, as Locke encounter’s Yemi’s (Eko’s brother’s) plane just as it’s about to crash land.  And if that wasn’t enough, Locke gets an up close and personal visit from Ethan the Other and the business end of his shotgun.  Oh yeah, the writers are giving us just a taste of what’s to come.  It was almost as if they were saying, “look at what and who we can bring back to the show on a whim!  You have no idea what’s in store for you!”  I love it.  And all the while, Locke has no freaking idea what’s happening.  Remember, he doesn’t have Faraday around to explain it to him.  Poor Locke!

Sun and Widmore get on the same page

5x01_sunandcharles

After flexing a little muscle to show who really has the upper hand, Widmore is ready to get down to brass tacks.  And Sun is listening.  And just in case you think Sun might be playing, remember, she holds him responsible for Jin’s death.  She’s out for blood, and I bet Mr. Widmore would be happy to oblige…especially since we’re led to believe that he can’t do the dirty work himself.

Hurley and the news

Man, this guy just can’t stay out of the spotlight, can he?  First he wins the lottery, then he becomes a celebrity as a member of the Oceanic 6.  Now he’s on the news for escaping a mental institution.  Is there anyone who wouldn’t immediately recognize this guy?

Sayid’s not playing fair

OK, so he’s clearly outnumbered.  But while his attackers are doing their best to abduct him without causing him bodily harm, Sayid is throwing people over rails to their death, dropping them on a nasty bed of knives, and overall just showing no respect human life.  He’s definitely a new man off the island, and apparently, not for the better.

Flashes?

It was about this time that I came to realize…we’re getting any flashes anymore.  No flashbacks, no flash-forwards.  The “3 years ago” intro doesn’t count: those scenes are not insight into the main character’s past or future.  They are, in fact, stories of a completely different set of individuals.  Not that I mind at all…the “flashes” were storytelling devices that were great in the beginnning, and were very clever last season as flashforwards, but their time was up.  Kudos to the team for not trying to force them after their usefulness was up.

However, I must admit, the lack of flashbacks or flash-forwards made me feel like the episode was a bit all over the place.  Not keeping the crux of the narrative focused on a single individual made me feel like we were getting only a little bit of plot development (albeit with a lot of individuals).  In other words, I felt as though there was an overall lack of focus to the episode.  Hopefully this was just a temporary thing, and I’ll get used to it as the season progresses.

“If we try to do anything different, we will fail, everytime.”

All I have to say is, thank goodness!  I’m glad they invoked the “past is immutable” rule for time travel, otherwise, things could get ridiculolusly messy (see Heroes for examples).  And this, of course, is just one more bit of evidence towards my theory that this time travel stuff is going to be the explanation for one of LOST’s biggest mysteries.  But I’m going to hold off on sharing it with you for just a bit longer.

“It’s a compass.  It points north, John.”

5x01_compassinmyhand

Oh, you gotta love that Richard Alpert guy.  Not only does he patch Locke up, but he wisecracks with him along the way.  Oh, and that compass that he gives to Locke…does it look familiar?  Yeah, of course it does.  It’s from last season’s “Cabin Fever”, where Richard asks a young Locke to pick items that are “already his”.  Looks like he should have picked the compass instead of the knife…

Charlotte’s got time-motion sickness

Remember that poor Dharma guy at the beginning of the show with headaches and a bloody nose?  Yeah, things aren’t looking too good for Charlotte, are they?  Anyone want to take bets as to whether or not it gets worse the more time travelling you do?

Desmond, Faraday, and non-linear communication

First of all, I love the “are you him?” comment.  Great stuff.  But even better is the way that Faraday can communicate with Desmond in the past, and have it register with him in the future.  And they can do it without explicitly breaking their “past is immutable” rule due to Desmond’s flashes.  Is it a cheat?  Maybe, but it’s well enough within reason to make sense, and besides, it makes for great storytelling.  I can’t wait for Desmond to find Faraday’s mother (maybe he’s already met her, but just doesn’t know it?), and for he and Faraday to have more conversations in Desmond’s “memories”.  An excellent way to end a truly trippy episode.

Post-episode questions

  1. What does Faraday hope to accomplish by having Desmond meet his mother?  Unless of course, it’s someone we (and Desmond) have already met…
  2. Will Locke ever get to lead the Others?  Poor guy didn’t get but 5 minutes with his followers before the time travelling started
  3. Why did the time travelling only affect the LOSTies, and not the Others?  They were all in the same vicinity when the donkey wheel was turned.  What’s the distinction that allowed them to stay grounded in their time?
  4. How do Sun and Widmore plan to kill Ben?  And how ready for it will he be?
  5. Can the Oceanic 6 get back together?  And even if they do, how the heck are they going to get back to the island?

I hope you enjoyed the episode!  Back tomorrow with a recap for the second half of the premiere, “The Lie.”

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3 responses

23 01 2009
Brad

Great post, I never noticed some of those things the first time around. Here’s just a thought–suppose Dr Chang and Ben are working together? They both seem to know everything there is to know about the island (at least more than any other corporeal human thus far). I predict we’ll soon be seeing Ben having some mysterious one-sided phone conversations.

Here’s one more followup question: Why is Dr Candledick always so grumpy?? Seems like every time we see him outside of the orientation films, he’s complaining or snapping at people.

28 01 2009
Rosie

One thing that’s constant: Ben’s lying ways. I don’t believe for one second that “we’ll never know” what happened to the people that were left on the island. Mr. Linus knows exactly what happened. But he doesn’t want to share it right now because it would jeopardize the chances of him getting the Oceanic 6 back to the island. I won’t be surprised if some really ugly stuff happened on that island during the past 3 years. Speaking of which…

Who told Ben about what was happening on the island? Locke? Didn’t Locke tell Jack before his death?

28 01 2009
hablodepablo

OK, so here’s how I see things: Ben was booted from the island the moment he turned the frozen donkey wheel, so theoretically, he has no knowledge of what happened on the island after he left. Additionally, we know that Locke visited each of the Oceanic 6 prior to his death off-island.

But while it’s certainly possible that Locke could have told the Oceanic 6 everything, and Ben got told nothing, my hunch is exactly the opposite. First of all, Locke is compelled to convince the Oceanic 6 to return. The idea that he’s embracing death (whether it’s true or faked somehow) leads me to believe that he’s willing to do anything (for instance, lie) to get them to come back. Even if Locke told them anything at all (and I’m not convinced he has), the idea that he would bend the truth in some way to convince everyone to return wouldn’t be out of the question.

On the other hand, we’re led to believe that Ben has many more off-island contacts that know what’s happening on-island than the Oceanic 6 or Locke. In fact, it’s really not out of the realm of possibility at all that Ben and Richard communicated somehow after Ben’s departure.

I guess what I’m suggesting is that we don’t really know what Ben knows, but that he’s prone to lying, and that I wouldn’t be even slightly surprised if he knows much more than he’s letting on.

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