This episode would have rocked our world even if it didn't feature the comedic stylings of Jeremy Davies, a.k.a. the Twitchiest Actor on Earth. Since 1994, when Davies was seduced by his mom in Spanking the Monkey, he's specialized in playing the most neurasthenic, sexually damaged, meek, fantastically emo men on earth. The man is a walking gulp. He makes Crispin Glover look like George Clooney.
And Twitchy is only one of four wonderful new dwarves to land on the island, the others being Spooky, Indy, and Jimmy Buffet — a team summed up contemptuously by Naomi as "a headcase, a ghostbuster, an anthropologist, and a drunk." (I hate ethnographies too, but that's a little harsh.) Their broken chopper has dumped them on the island with nothing more than one "transponder" and a single flashback each, a super-efficient structure that works, like last week's melancholy flashforward, to shove the show's game board out at least 15 squares on every edge.
Because apparently, there is a whole planet of people who believe that Oceanic Flight 815 is lying at the bottom of the ocean, with no survivors. Except for our new buddies, who seem bizarrely unsurprised by the news.
The Semi-Past: A Few Months After the Original Crash
It's the day authorities announce the discovery of Oceanic Flight 815, and the TV news is airing footage of bobbing corpses. The rescue dwarves react. Daniel Faraday, Davies’s antsy physicist, weeps and doesn't know why. Miles, a dead-eyed psychic–con man played by Ken Leung, is unfazed as he enters a grieving mom's home to, basically, blackmail a ghost — a hilarious sequence featuring a hoodoo vacuum and Miles’s deadpan warning: "No matter what you hear, don't come up."
There's Charlotte Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis?), a cocky Indiana Jones–ish Brit, who finds the Dharma-tagged remnants of a polar bear in the middle of Tunisia. And there's pilot Frank Lapidus, who was supposed to fly Oceanic Flight 815 and recognizes the footage is a hoax.
And then there's a flash to now-dead Naomi, getting orders from Evil Lieutenant Daniels.
Last week, we expressed a definite preference for Team Locke, because they have more crazy people. The powers that be clearly listened, since this week they sprinkled two obviously crazy people into Team Jack, in the form of Twitchy and Spooky, who elliptically reveal that they are not there to rescue the survivors, exactly, and who seem, respectively, as fragile as a teacup and hair-trigger paranoid yet delightfully snarky, like a bizarro variation on Locke and Ben.
Kate, Jack, and their two new buddies pull guns and jockey anxiously over the issue of Naomi (where is she? Who killed her?) — which is easily resolved when Miles uses the Shining to confirm Kate's story. Sayid plans a rescue mission with Juliet, once again demonstrating chemistry with everyone on earth, from a morally ambiguous Other to a helicopter. They find Frank, who discerns that Juliet was not on the plane, and Miles blurts out their real mission: They're looking for Ben.
Meanwhile, on Team Locke, Ben and Locke and Sawyer bicker hilariously about what in hell they're doing. Sawyer calls Locke "Colonel Kurtz," and Locke explains that he's following the orders of Walt, only a really tall Walt, and that he'd be dead from Ben's gunshot if it weren't for his missing kidney. (A perverse twist on the old bullet-in-the-Bible story!)
But as usual, Ben gets all the best lines, with bonus points going to his hilarious rrr-roll while saying, "Karrrl, now if you're going to sleep with my daughter, I insist you call me Ben." Sawyer tries to kill Ben, but Locke talks him out of it. And there are a lot of shots of Claire looking increasingly certain that she is on the wrong team, at least if she's looking for babysitters.
Anyway, Charlotte lands among Team Bickering Psycho. For a while, she holds off Locke's hostility, but he's clearly considering killing her, though he compromises by merely kidnapping her. In other words, Locke has completed his transformation into a season-one Other: He's obsessed with staying hidden on the island and will rationalize any act that achieves this aim as morally justified. GO TEAM LOCKE!
Then Ben grabs a gun and tries to shoot Charlotte himself and suddenly all bets are off. Locke is especially furious, because he is the only one allowed to murder rescuers in cold blood. So he turns the gun on Ben, and just as he's about to kill him, Ben offers to tell him ANYTHING, ANYTHING! He has information! Hilariously, Locke turns into an addled online fan of the show and sputters, "What is the monster? The black smoke monster?" Ben, speaking for the writers, has no idea.
Luckily, Ben is able to save his skin once again by dishing up a huge amount of backstory on the rescue dwarves and revealing, correctly, that he is their target. Which he knows because … he has a man on their boat.
What We Now Know
Somebody built a big fake airplane under the ocean, complete with Pirates of the Caribbean–style corpses. Or real corpses.
Television stations in Lost have lower standards than TMZ.
Abbadon is a Hebrew word for Satan.
The Wha? Factor
What sneaky bastard has been time-traveling polar bears into the desert?
Who is Ben's man on the boat? Michael? Walt? Beautiful Eyeliner Richard? Annie?
And who is running this whole cockamamy operation? Here's hoping it's the International Conspiracy of Bad Dads. —Emily Nussbaum