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'Lost' Wednesdays: 'Very observant for a dead guy'

March 17, 2010 | 11:19 pm

Charlotte First of all, in today's "Lost" Wednesday, it's time to apologize for a couple of stupid errors I made last night. The first one I'd consider honest, and the second, well, I don't know what I was thinking. I misidentified actress Sheila Kelley as Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (who was also in the episode) in a late paragraph, mostly because the two both have dark hair and blue eyes, and I was really, really looking for O'Keefe to pop up on the Island somewhere. It was a stupid error, but one of those things that happens when you're watching a video that's not of the highest quality. The other error involved me misidentifying just how many hours of "Lost" have aired so far this year. Why did this happen? I guess I can't count. Anyway, they were both stupid errors I could have caught fairly easily, and I'm sorry to have made them. (Both paragraphs have been corrected in the write-up.)

But enough about me! "Recon" proved to be an episode that didn't create strong opinions one way or the other, outside of a few huge Sawyer fans. But I was really impressed with this bit in the write-up of The AV Club's Noel Murray, who, I think, has figured out a lot of what the flash-sideways are supposed to be. His theory is that season three's "Flashes Before Your Eyes" is the pivotal episode of the whole series.

Murray writes:

"Remember how Desmond returned to the world before he went to The Island, and how Mrs. Hawking told him he had to snap out of it and resume his responsibility? Two other relevant tidbits about 'Flashes Before Your Eyes:' Desmond throws the engagement ring he bought for Penny into the Thames, just as Sawyer throws the ring he bought for Juliet into the water. And when Desmond wakes back up on The Island, his head still hurts from being whacked with the cricket bat right before he flashed—much as Jack still bears wounds and scars from his Island life in the Alterna-world. Not only am I going to predict (tentatively, of course) that the 'flash-sideways' will resolve in much the same way they did for Desmond, with Hawking or someone similar shocking the Alterna-815ers back to 'reality,' but I also predict—as many of you already have—that this resolution has already occurred, and that the season-opening scene at the imploded hatch takes place after our gang has given up their other lives and jumped back. I could be way off here, but that’s my sense of things. After all, it can’t just be a coincidence that The Hatch was the site of two of these reality-splits. "

A reader writes to ask just when Michael and Walt will be returning to the show. And I'm happy to report that I don't know. At this point, I'm essentially unspoiled for what's to come, and while I assume Harold Perrineau will be back, I don't know that the series can work in Malcolm David Kelley, who is way too old to play the age he is in the "Lost" timeline. I hope the writers figure out a way to work him in, but I'm not sure that there will be a way to do so.

Nicolas Selby writes in to ask some intriguing questions. I'm not entirely sure I understand them, so I'll just put them out there and let you guys wrestle with them in comments.

Selby writes:

"Jack is a tool of Jacob, he was 'touched' by him, so he can't kill himself.  Michael also couldn't kill himself.  So was Michael a tool of Jacob?  

"If this is the case, Jacob didn't want the ship to come to the island.  So through his influence, he somehow got Ben to order Mr Smiley to get Michael to get on the boat and stop it from getting there.  Now those facts may not be connected, but that's part of the issue.  

"Christian Shephard shows up and says to Michael 'You can go now, Michael.'  Michael is allowed to blow up.  Christian is a tool of MIB/Flocke.  Does this mean Flocke has/had the ability to control when people could die?  Even if they're off the island?

"So if Smokey-controlled-Christian controlled Michael that means he didn't want to the boat to get on the island, which means he's not on the side of Charles Widmore.  Which means that if Widmore was against Ben, Ben was on Jacob's side after all?  But if that's true - and it makes some sense, seeing as Ben knew the temple people and they were all clearly with Jacob - why wouldn't Smokey allow Ben to just die?  Did he need Ben to kill Jacob the whole time?"

I ... really have no idea. Hopefully, the show will clear up some of these contradictions or at least give us a way to explain them away. (Or hopefully some of you can help Nicolas and I make sense out of this.) I do think we don't know enough yet to speak confidently on these matters.

On to comments!

Kyle has a different read of which relationship the Sawyer storyline is most interested in:

"The episode was reminding us of Sawyer's love for Juliet? Really? It seems that the big flower that is so symbolic of Sawyer and Juliet's relationship can be handed to any girl, even a one-night stand. The name Lafleur was used as a code for a con. I think the show was reminding us of Sawyer and Kate. The cages, them meeting in the alternate timeline, the dress, their love theme played while he was holding the dress. Well, I guess you're going to view it based on which relationship you prefer."

Honestly, my theory here hinges entirely on that scene where alterna-Sawyer is watching "Little House" and hearing about how when people die, they don't really disappear. The show has also invested so much in showing us just how destroyed Sawyer was by Juliet's death that I think it would feel abrupt if the series suddenly shifted to him pursuing Kate again. I read that scene where Sawyer holds Kate's dress as a scene where he's remembering something past but not necessarily feeling it reignited. There's more rue in his face than lust or love. (And the encounter in the flash-sideways is more about how often these two will be pursuing each other but never catching each other at the same level than anything else.) Could the show push Sawyer and Kate back together? Sure. But I just don't see it heading that direction with so little time left.

Brad asks if I'm kidding when I ask if it really matters if the flash-sideways pay off in some spectacular fashion. And while I don't imagine the show will let the flash-sideways go without some sort of explanation that tries to tie them into the wider mythology, I have to say that I'll be fine if they're just a story device designed to examine these characters in their purest states. I do realize, however, that this is a minority opinion.

Laura reminds us that Ana Lucia was in the LAPD, so it might have made sense for Sawyer to be working with her in some capacity. And, yeah, it was a little weird that she wasn't there. But, still, I wouldn't trade the Miles 'n' James show for anything, so I'm glad we got to see them working together.

Finally, Inthemix writes:

"Let's face the white elephant in the room: Seasons 2,3 & 4 were a complete waste of time. Everything we learned in those seasons could have been packaged into Season 5. I'm sure ABC saw lots of $$ after season 1 and the writers had to milk the cash cow for as long as they could. So it's natural for a lot of us fans to believe the 'flash sideways' are a waste of time because we've been down this path before.

"Having said that, I do buy into your theory that the sideways timeline will tie into the overall theme of the show and not just become another season about the tail section revisited.

"I like where you're going with the whole life w/o Jacob's influence, it's makes sense. However, I don't believe Jacob is dead and I don't believe the candidates are there to replace him. Let's not forget the Zeus-like child character who appeared to Locke monster this season and said 'you can't kill him' with much disdain after he manipulated Ben into killing Jacob. This seems to be the Demi-god who's really in charge and won't let Locke Monster change the rules. Maybe the Lighthouse wheel and its list of names is like a giant chessboard and whoever ends up with the most people under their influence wins the game. The remaining names are the last pieces up for grabs."

While I can appreciate the fans who felt burned by the three seasons Inthemix points out, I have to say that season three, while problematic, has maybe my favorite sustained stretch of episodes ever, with its last seven or eight hours, concluding in the fantastic "Through the Looking Glass," and I quite like almost all of season four, which is maybe the show's most tightly plotted season. (Indeed, it may be too tightly plotted, as there are points where the characters are just running from place to place because they have to.) I also seem to like season two more than Inthemix, though I'd agree it's the weakest season of the show.

That said, I'm intrigued by the theory that there are even higher powers than Jacob and Smokey at work here. It may be too late to introduce such a concept, but, yeah, it sure seems as though that little kid was working for someone other than our main players.

And with that, we're done for this week. Send me your links for the "Lost" weekend at my e-mail or Twitter.

--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)

Photo: Charlotte (Rebecca Mader) returned in Tuesday's episode of "Lost." Credit: ABC

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