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'Lost': Get your lies straight

February 22, 2008 |  8:47 am


After three episodes of increasingly mind-blowing revelations, this week's "Lost" settled into a bit of a lull. Maybe it's my general apathy about Kate's legal and familial problems or maybe I'm just sick of seeing courtroom scenes on TV, but the witness stand as forum for revelation just holds no appeal for me.

Once again, we were treated to flash-forwards to the Losties' post-island life, and in Kate's case, she finally faced the consequences of killing her father. But in the grand scheme of the show, do we really care anymore? To people living mundane, desk-bound lives, the seeming life-and-death decisions of a courtroom seem thrilling, but compare that to outrunning a smoke monster. Which is more exciting? Matlock should thank his lucky stars smoke monsters didn't exist back in his day.

The interminable courtroom scenes were good for one thing, and that was the revelation, courtesy of Jack, that  according to their post-rescue lies, there were eight survivors of the crash. Since Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Aaron (more on him in a bit) and our unnamed sixth survivor are collectively known as the Oceanic Six, we can surmise that two of the supposed crash survivors didn't live to make it back to civilization. Are they going to use Boone and Shannon as their dead survivors or will two other Losties bite the big one?

After the big revelation at the end of the episode, that Kate's child is really Aaron, the future (or past -- these time-shifts are so hard on us Show Trackers) doesn't look so hot for Aaron's real mommy, Claire. If "Lost" is predictable about anything, it's fingering the person most likely to die based on the person with the least relevance in the story arc. Charlie was standing around with nothing to do for a long time before the writers finally decided to bump him off. And for most of the past two seasons, Claire has done nothing but hold her baby on the sidelines and look worried. Not the basis for great drama or series longevity.

Based on Jack's reluctance to face Aaron in his post-island life, I'm guessing he's learned of his true relationship to Claire and, by extension, her son. He is, you'll recall, Claire's half-brother. But why the guilt? What happened to these people before they left the island? Each season so far has set up one major mystery and then solved it for us. My guess is that by May, we'll finally know the circumstances surrounding the rescue of the Oceanic Six.

In other developments, the producers added two more books to the ever-expanding "Lost" reading list. This episode showed us Philip K. Dick's "VALIS," a science fiction novel about a Vast Active Living Intelligence System, or a scientific explanation of one aspect of God himself. The other book is the one Sawyer is reading, another science-fiction novel titled "The Invention of Morel," about a fugitive hiding from society on a tropical island in the South Pacific. Both novels hint at the overall themes of the series without explicitly revealing any answers. Are we to infer, for instance, that Jacob isn't organic at all, but some kind of artificial life, powered by the mental powers that Ben so obviously possesses?

Finally, what are we to make of the odd bits of behavior being exhibited by the rescuers? Daniel and Charlotte were conducting some kind of memory experiment on the beach, with Daniel trying to remember which playing cards were laid out in front of him. Charlotte stated that his memory seemed to be getting better. One friend floated the theory that Daniel has a brain tumor and the island is slowly healing him and his memory. I buy that, and it would seem to explain why we saw pre-island Daniel weeping uncontrollably at the sight of the Oceanic 815 wreckage on TV. In keeping with the series' frequent allusions to the works of Lewis Carroll, Daniel made sure to remember the queen of diamonds as the "red queen."

Is that reference just another allusion to Carroll's literary creation, or are they referencing the evolutionary theory? If the science is indeed foremost in the minds of the writers, it might explain how Ben and some of the Others seem to have higher mental powers. If you live on an advanced island, you have to advance yourself, or risk being rendered extinct (like the Dharma people).

And what about the amount of money Miles tried to extort from Ben? The price was $3.2 million, a pretty specific sum. Is there significance in that number? There's nothing crazy about 32, but 23 is, of course, one of those eerie numbers. If there's a connection, the mind boggles.

--Patrick Day

(Photo courtesy ABC)