On the mainland, Ben wriggles his game board, tilting Oceanic balls toward the Island hole. On Lost Island, Charlotte coughs up backstory while Jin flashes through Rousseau's tragedy. These Island sequences have the eerie weirdness of early Lost, and while the Charlotte stuff feels insanely rushed — we'd have liked to know the character before she became a victim-oracle — we can never get enough of Locke tortured by contradictory Daddy replacements.
We don't rate episodes, but hey: B+?
Vulnerable and/or evil Sun introduces her daughter (over the phone, via babysitting mom) to a new playmate: narcoleptic Aaron. Then she struts across the parking lot to plug Ben. "Jin's still alive, and I can prove it," he informs her with bug-eyed suavity.
Meanwhile(ish), a flummoxed Jin consults with Baby Rousseau: It's 1988. Her freakishly handsome companions — blond Montand, brunet Robert — bicker with Jin in a sexy exchange of broken English, and they agree to go to the radio tower, then find Jin's camp. When Rousseau and Robert kiss (and later talk baby names), it is terribly sad because we know the the fuuuture.
Tromping through the jungle, Danielle has a contraction. Then, uh oh, a Frenchie disappears: Nadine. There's growling in the distance. Jin explains: MONSTER!
Sun's pissed, but Ben offers to drive her to someone who'll prove Jin is alive, and hey!, take them back to the Island — an explanation that causes Kate and Sayid to storm off.
Ben didn't account for traffic. In the van, Jack apologizes to Sun for leaving Jin, but as the two tentatively bond over their Ben-hate, Ben himself pulls over for a hissy fit over all he's done to help the O6 — though he doesn't explain what the hell he's going on about.
The three arrive at Eloise Hawking's house, where Ben offers up proof of Jin's aliveness — his wedding ring — explaining he got it from Locke, which seems true (see below), but also a lie (see below again!). Jack whines about Ben's lying lies, but Ben gets Clintonian: Locke didn't come to see him, he came to see Locke. Then he hypnotizes Sun with dreams of rescuing Jin.
Aaaaand Desmond appears. "You're looking for Faraday's mother, too?" They walk into the church and meet ol' key-to-all-mythologies Eloise Hawking. She was hoping to collect all six, but settles for the Oceanic 3, for now.
On the Island
As the Frenchies panic, Jin suggests they flee — but there's rattling, growling, and Nadine's corpse falls from a tree. The Smoke Monster gulps up Montand, and though the Frenchies and Jin valiantly form a chain and try to pull him back from the monster's lair, grotesquely, they detach Montand's arm. He howls from down in the monster-hole.
Robert — a French mensch — descends to rescue the injured Montand, but there's a FLASH and Jin is alone. Ooh, cool hieroglyphs on the wall. And yikes, a detached arm. Sipping water from a leaf, he spots a column of smoke, and finds at the beach a campfire, Rousseau's sad music box, a violin, a lean-to — and two dead men, coated in flies.
This sequence is wonderfully eerie, like something out of Myst, and then in the distance, Jin hears shouting: It's Baby Rousseau, disheveled, aiming a gun at Robert. He's NOT Robert, she screams, he's been changed by "that thing," a monster. Robert gently reassures her, but when she lowers the gun, psych!, he raises his and shoots. But his carriage is empty. She kills him, then hears Jin, and screams, "You disappeared! You're sick, too, you're a carrier!" God, pregnant women are so damned emotional.
Jin runs off and FLASH! he hears a rifle cocked."Turn around," says Sawyer. Loving hugs and narrative reconciliation!
After a commercial break, the Freighties unpack for non-Lostpedians: Jin, too, has been flashing through time. Confused, Jin demands a translation — not from Miles ("I'm from Encino," he deadpans) but from secretly-Korean-speaking Charlotte, who fills Jin in on the whole Locke-leaves-the-Island plan, then spookily intones, "She should never have left."
Jin and Locke bicker (as usual, Locke wants to go alone) while Faraday and Charlotte flirt. Then she staggers and: FLASH. It's night. And: FLASH. They're all freaking out over too many flashes and Charlotte collapses, nose gushing, then gets very intense and incantatory and rants to Jin in Korean — saying, "Don't let them bring her back! This place is DEATH."
Charlotte's clearly caught in that coma lunacy that trapped Faraday's earlier victim: First she's a child, then she says something about marrying an American, then about Ancient Carthage. "Oh, turn it up, I love Geronimo Jackson," Charlotte grins, and FLASH. Daniel refuses to abandon her, so the Losties head off, Sawyer worried about finding the Orchid; Charlotte tells him, "Look for the well."
Sure enough, at the Orchid, there's a FLASH and the Orchid is gone. They find the well, but Miles wonders how Charlotte knew that.
A question she promptly answers, suggesting she'll die soon. As suspected, Charlotte grew up on the Island, a Dharmite. But when her mom hauled her to England, she refused to admit Charlotte's memories were real, so Charlotte became an anthropologist to find it again. Now she remembers something new: A scary man told her never to come back to the Island or she would die. "Daniel, I think that man was you!"
As Locke preps to go down the well, Jin makes him promise not to bring Sun back: He hands over his ring as evidence of his death. "If whatever you're attempting to do actually works, thank you," whispers Juliet, as we whisper the same to the writers, and then wonder why Juliet isn't trying to leave the Island, too — wasn't that her chaotic neutral endgame, back when she did more than whisper and console?
FLASH! "I think you can let go of that," snarks Miles — Sawyer's rope is sticking straight into the earth. Juliet consoles him.
David reassures Charlotte his mom is on the way. "I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner," Charlotte says. She dies; Faraday's sobbing; we have mixed feelings.
Poor Locke! Crippled again, he hears scary footsteps — it's Jack's Dead Dad, a.k.a. Christian, possibly also Jacob. Christian explains that Locke was supposed to move the Island, not Ben, and poor Locke — such authority issues — gets new marching orders: Gather the O6, bring them to Eloise Hawking, return to sender. Alpert said he'd die, worries Locke. "Well, I believe that's why they call it a sacrifice," remarks Christian.
The Donkey Wheel is dislodged, causing the flashes, so tormented Locke lugs himself over to shove it. "Say hello to my son!" says Christian. "Who is your son?" moans our clueless savior.
What We Know Now
• Charlotte was a Dharma Youth.
• Ben met Locke before he died.
• Rousseau's "illness" involves people possessed by some evil consciousness. Which could explain Claire's behavior, and if you stretch a bit, Jack's.
The Wha? Factor
• Daniel must time travel to warn Charlotte — but then why would he, given what she just told him, and the fact that it didn't work...?
• Is the Island "death"? Should she "never have left it"? Trust Ben? Trust Jacob? Trust Christian? Make up your mind, Oracular Visions!
• What's Sun's game? Did Ben kill Locke? And is Mom Sun willing to babysit for the rest of the season?