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Lost Recap: Love and Rockets

I'm in L.A. right now, writing this recap at the home of the journalist who did an infamous early Lost interview in which TV writer David Fury revealed that not only was there no big-picture story-planning during the first season of Lost, the creators would even insert scenes in their "earlier on" montages to suggest foreshadowing that didn't exist. My hosts are also friends with the guy who plays Miles, yet they have not watched the show since season two. It was a welcoming environment, indeed, for I, Hater.

No one who is annoyed at my excessively negative recaps will be surprised that this episode did not knock my socks off. However, I did enjoy a few things, primary among them that pre-logo conversation between Jack and Locke, which managed to be funny, crisp, and informative, even for someone like me with my weird Jack issues.

In contrast, I did not enjoy the beachside reunion of Sun and Jin, the dialogue of which was so on the nose it was practically up the nostrils.

However, looking on the bright side (my new motto!), I was happy that those two crazy kids got together before the finale, giving Frank plenty of time to break the Kwons up, or at least instigate a threeway.

And on to the recap ...

"Hello, Jack, I was hoping you'd come," says Locke, sniffing the air for Jack's maddening leadership pheromones. "I think we have some catching up to do."

The two proceed to have a very watchable expository conversation with actual questions answered, the upshot of which is that Smokey chose Locke because "he was stupid enough to believe he was chosen," and also because it was convenient. And yes, that was Smokey imitating Christian Shephard during that first-season sequence — he was trying to help Jack find water. "This may be hard for you to believe, but all I've ever been interested in is helping you."

Help him what? "Leave," says Smocke.

Smocke reiterates that he can't fly off himself: Pokemon-like, he needs to collect 'em all.

"John Locke was the only one who ever believed in this place," saith Jack.

"John Locke was not a believer, Jack. He was a sucker."

Great line (and I do love that it brings back the whole con-men meme that runs through so many of the plots), although it feels ominous if you read it with the viewers as the faithful.

In the flash-sideways ambulance, Gentle Ben exposits while Locke murmurs sadly, "Helen Norwood, I was going to marry her." Then, at the hospital, as all our characters begin to converge in an entertaining Venn diagram of woundedness and/or legal need, Sun spots Locke and gasps, "It's him, it's him" — did the "real" timeline just break through?

Meanwhile, on the island, Claire approaches Jack for some sister time. In Claire terms, she seems sane-ish, though she also says, "Whether you like it or not, you're with him now."

Sawyer fills Hurley in on the plan to leave on the submarine, ditching the dark-side nerds Sayid and Claire.

Flash sideways to Cop Sawyer, eating the apple of knowledge and flirt-terrogating Kate. "You don't strike me as the murderin' kind." "That's 'cause I'm not." He reminds her he saved her in the airport, so it seems like someone's puttin' them together. She accuses him of mackin' on her. "Wouldn't work," he says, eye-flashy. "I'm a cop, you're a murderer." I do love Kate's streak of savvy con chick: She intuits that he was concealing his trip to Australia.

Cop Miles has surveillance tapes of "bad guy" Sayid.

On the island, Jack and Kate are expositing when Tina Fey shows up, all twisty mouth and coy with the nerd cleavage. "Show them what we're capable of!" she says, and some kind of bomb goes off, releasing filler dialogue, the gist of which is that Widmore wants Desmond back. "You have until nightfall to return what you took," she intones.

In the Timeline Where Everything That Rises Must Converge, Preggo Claire heads for the adoption agency. Desmond appears, like Jacob or Locke, trying to nudge the Losties into a fresh configuration, but with added date-rapist vibe. "Excuse me if this sounds a bit personal, but I've noticed you're going to an adoption agency alone," he skeazes — then charms/manipulates her into meeting his lawyer. Read The Gift of Fear, Claire! The lawyer is Ilana, who has been looking for Claire.

"People are trying to kill us again?" says Hurley, mildly.

We're back on the island, where Locke tries another limp Band of Brothers speech and deputizes Sawyer to fetch the boat, although Sawyer never stops bridling suspiciously and keeps sneaking off to whisper at people. As ominous a-war-will-soon-begin music plays, Sawyer fills Jack in on his Widmore deal and nerd-ditching schemes. "Sayid's a zombie and Claire's nuts," he says. "She gave up her ticket when she tried to kill Kate."

Meanwhile, Locke demands Sayid whack Desmond. "If you're gonna shoot me in cold blood, brotha," Desmond argues, defenseless, from down a well that, correct me if I'm wrong, should have killed him last week, "I have a right to know what you get in exchange." Sayid tells him about Dead Nadia — and that he trusts Locke because he brought Sayid back from the dead. "So what will you tell her, this woman, when she asks you what you did to be with her again?"

"Just FYI," my hostess announces to her husband, "if you kill someone to bring me back from the dead, I will not be mad."

In Flashforwardville, Sayid is dealing with this exact conundrum, informing an edgy Nadia that he can never see her again and packing clothes rather than, say, FLEEING. When Cop Miles shows up, Sayid sneaks out the back, where he's caught by Sawyer, utilizing the madcap garden-hose technique he learned in Benny Hill cop school.

On the beach, Sawyer exposits to Kate and hilariously calls Frank "that pilot who looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie." Skate argue about ditching Claire.

... just as Claire offers up her therapeutic damage to worst-brother-ever Jack: She trusts Locke because "he's the only one who didn't abandon me." Logic, not her strong suit!

Sun snubs Smocke with a note: "You did this to me."

Jack sneakily herds the Losties away as Claire quivers with rage, realizing the cool kids are ditching her. Meanwhile, Locke consults Sayid, who claims he killed Desmond in that soft voice liars use when they lie.

When Team Sawyer finds the dock, Claire arrives, armed. Kate talks her down movingly, if illogically, apologizing for raising Aaron (lady, Claire abandoned him!) and explaining the only reason she came was to to reunite them. Claire gets onboard, though she mutters that when Locke "finds out we're gone, he's gonna be mad."

In the flash sideways, Jack and his son — magically cured of all traces of "Cat's in the Cradle" — arrive to hear Christian's will. The lawyer explains Claire is his half-sister. Jack is either plussed or nonplussed, hard to say, then gets called to the hospital.

Sawyer explains his plan to Frank and us: go to Hydra, cozy with Widmore, seize sub.

But now that he's on the boat, Jack suddenly "doesn't feel right" leaving the island. His point, which is insane: If Smokey wants them to leave, they should stay. Sawyer demands Jack get off the damn boat. "The island isn't done with us yet!" Jack says.

He then apologizes for Juliet's death and jumps off the boat to swim back.

Kate flips out.

Sawyer forges on.

In the hospital, Jin and Sun confer. The baby's fine.

Jack and son chit-chat about Claire. When he scrubs in, he discovers Locke on the table.

"Nice day for a swim," snarks Smocke to Jack.

While on Hydra Island, Sawyer et al are met by Tina Fey, who spouts more unthreatening threats. And then, suddenly ... SOUL MATES REUNITED! In English, which apparently for Koreans, is the language of love.

"I love you." "I love you, too."

Everyone beams nonsensically.

"Someone got their voice back," says Frank for the benefit of complete morons.

"I never stopped looking for you." "We'll never be apart again." Look, I love the actors who play Sun and Jin, but this is so generic it's like banging Barbies together and making smoochy sounds.

Then suddenly, on orders from Widmore, Tina Fey sets off the bombs. There's a nice visual callback to episode one, as Jack lies traumatized on the beach. Locke rescues him. Team Jocke?

What We Know Now:
• Either Smocke's management techniques could use work or he's crazy like a fox.
• Other than Locke, though, no one's really all that evil or crazy.
• Smokey = Christian Shephard ...

The Wha? Factor:
• ... but wait, does that mean Smokey was the "Christian Shephard" off-island too? How about the one who appeared to Michael on the freighter? What the ... ?
• Do near-death scenarios cause timeline leakage? Is that why Juliet was having coffee with Sawyer when she died? Is Juliet Jack's ex-wife?
• Why doesn't Smokey smokify non-candidates like Tina Fey when they threaten him?

Photo: Mario Perez/ABC