Hydrostatic Pressure Explained (Or Why Charlie Shouldn't Have Died)

We’re all familiar with that scene where Charlie was in the Looking Glass and Mikhail turned up with a grenade and water poured in and Charlie drowned. If you’re oblivious to this it was covered in my previous post. So you’ve no excuses to claim ignorance.

Now this scene does break the laws of physics. More specifically, it breaks the law of Hydrostatic Pressure. That’s right. Just those two words alone will get you either hard or wet depending on your sex, I know. Try to calm your arousal.

But for those that are perhaps unclear about how Hydrostatic Pressure works, and how it specifically got ignored in Lost, I’ve put together this awesome guide. It’s got ace graphics, too, that I drew all by myself.

I did this because I am awesome. And with a quick read of this you’ll be awesome too. You’ll know all about Hydrostatic Pressure and this knowledge, my friends, is guaranteed to get you laid. So let’s get to it.

Figure A

A graphical representation of Charlie in The Looking Glass communications room with Mikhail looming at the porthole window.

Figure B

Mikhail detonates his hand grenade prompting water to surge into the communications room and drown Charlie. This defies the principle of Hydrostatic Pressure.

Figure C

The principle of Hydrostatic Pressure can be simply explained using an experiment you can try at home. Take an ordinary basin and fill it with water.

Figure D

Take an ordinary empty glass.

Figure E

If the glass is turned upside down and dunked into the basin of water you will observe that the interior of the glass is not filled with water. Rather an air pocket is created.

Figure F

We can re-create the ‘Looking Glass incident’ by drilling a hole in the submerged glass. Doing so will prompt water to pour into the glass, but only up to the point where the hole is. The air pocket will shrink, but Hydrostatic Pressure will not allow the volume of water to rise above the entry hole.

Figure G

Let’s take the glass/basin experiment and apply it to the Looking Glass and communication room. Depicted above is the scene between Charlie and Mikhail as the grenade is detonated and a hole is blasted in the porthole.

Figure H

This time the laws of Hydrostatic Pressure are applied to the scene, and we can now see what really ought to have happened. The water level would have risen to the entry point of the water – the blast point – which would have afforded Charlie a small pocket of air that he could have swam up into and survived in.

So. Now you know. You feel sexier already, don’t you, y’little Lost-loving bastards!

Charlie's Sacrifice

Desmond had been banging on about it for most of Season Three. Every other sentence was "Yer gonna die, Charlie!" with that guy. So that Charlie actually did die probably didn't come as much of a shock. It was more a matter of when, and how.

The moment he elected to swim down to The Looking Glass there was very much the air of it being his last mission, and so it proved (though he lasted a bit longer than we thought he might on account of there being a living environment down there complete with a couple of trigger-happy lesbians*).

Still, what a death. For me, the best death of any major character. Drama and emotion and excitement all pulled off in one grand scene. Enjoy. . .

The reveal of that mad bastard Mikhail holding a grenade was just a delightfully twisted Lost moment. Charlie's final moments were pure heroism; scribbling the 'Not Penny's Boat' message down before surrendering to the flooding water with a last cross of his heart (harkening back to his time in the church).

I also particularly enjoy Michael Giacchino's scoring of this whole sequence. And that last shared connection between Desmond and Charlie, when he reads the message and nods his acknowledgement. So much said with absolutely no words.

A lot of words followed, mind. From people discussing why Charlie locked himself in the room in the first place (it can be justified in all kinds of ways, but the one I have settled on is that he was ensuring he died to justify Desmond's vision of Claire being rescued) and the dubious overlooking of hydrostatic principles (fear not, those who are unaware, my next glorious post covers this very issue). No matter which way you slice it, it was a terrific scene and a top class send off for one of Lost's veteran originals!

*The assertion of lesbianism to Bonnie and Greta in The Looking Glass may not be entirely, strictly factual. But it does make for a potentially interesting spin-off series - Bonnie And Greta: The Looking Glass Months. You know you'd watch it.

Analysis: 5.13 Some Like It Hoth

OMG! I don’t believe it! Pierre Chang is Miles’ father!

So the world’s least surprising father-son revelation was sprung open at last. Eagle-eyed fans would have remembered Lara from the opening of Season 5 and so spotted the ruse early when they saw this same woman looking to get a new place for herself and her son.

Lost does like to indulge in such familial relations business (Jack / Christian / Claire and Faraday / Eloise / Widmore immediately spring to mind). And this episode also presented some ‘daddy issues’ (all the best cowboys have them, you know), another firm Lost favourite. If you got the impression you’d been here before then I don’t blame you. On Lost whatever happened, happens!

Well, maybe. This episode probed the idea of defying ‘whatever happened, happened’ – and the one man perhaps most able to bend, or even break, his own rule just came back to the Island.

Hurley’s ideas about re-writing Star Wars were one such courting of this principle. For the uninitiated, the ‘Hoth’ in the episode title is the name of the ice planet that The Empire Strikes Back begins on. The Empire Strikes Back was the script Hurley was writing, and amending, with the intention of submitting it to George Lucas to try and right some wrongs. Namely:

In Hurley’s script, Luke would not have turned from Vader when he learned he was his father and, instead, would have accepted his offer to rule the galaxy as father and son and rid the universe of the evil Emperor. Interestingly for Lost, Luke not taking this path resulted in him having his arm chopped off.

Anyone else missing an arm spring to mind on Lost?

I am reasonably sure that Pierre Chang will lose his arm in the event known only as ‘the incident’. Perhaps it was the realisation that disaster was on the horizon that prompted Pierre Chang to quickly ship his wife and baby Miles off the Island and out of his life with little explanation. It’s not entirely unreasonable to wonder if grown-up Miles, bonding with his apparently-doting father, is the one that warns him about ‘the purge’. Another cyclical time loop. And Pierre Chang claims to be unaware of circles!

Alternatively, the very nature of ‘the incident’ may be to do with Pierre Chang attempting to change history. To stop ‘whatever happened, happened’. This is totally unchartered territory but, as stated, Faraday is back on the Island looking like a man with a plan having spent an unknown period of time with the Dharma Initiative off-Island, at Ann Arbor; maybe he has designs on preventing Charlotte’s death.

What I think is most likely is that Miles will tell Pierre Chang about who he is, and when he is from, and this will cause Chang to have a panic (similar to his concern when two rabbits were in the same timeframe during The Orchid Orientation film).

Maybe ‘the incident’ was created by Chang and Faraday attempting to get Miles and the rest of the Oceanic mob back to where they belong. I do believe ‘the incident’ is going to play a large part in the Season 5 finale so this seems an altogether viable resolution to this 70s Dharma phase. ‘The incident’ jolts the Oceanic and Freighter groups (and Juliet) off to 2007 to rendezvous with Locke and Ben and Ajira and co.

That paves the way for Season 6, the last season, to focus on this upcoming ‘war’ that we received more tantalising information about, mainly from Bram in the van. . .

. . . who we already saw was part of the Ajira survivor group in Dead Is Dead.

Bram’s attempts to get Miles to not work for Widmore pretty much confirm that the Ajira group were not sent by Charles. As I have previously asserted, my favourite candidate for their chief is Eloise Hawking. What lies in the shadow of the statue? Potentially it’s Jughead. The nuclear bomb. If there’s a war coming then a weapon of mass destruction isn’t a bad thing to have. Possibly what was in the crate Ilana and co were taking to the main Island was suitable material to extract the warhead safely. And Eloise Hawking, as a young lady on the Island, was the one informed by Faraday to bury Jughead in the first place.

That puts Eloise Hawking as knowing where the bomb is buried, knowing about the Island and the statue, and knowing about Ajira 316 being the plane to get her team to where she wanted them to be. Fits like a glove to me! Until I know better, that’s what I’m sticking with!

Another Star Wars link: Luke can see dead people!

Miles and Hurley had some time to discuss their own experiences of communion with the dead. Whilst Miles’ sixth sense differed from Hurley’s there’s reason to believe they stem from the same source. Hurley speaks with the dead in real-time interactions, like playing chess with Eko, but we’ve seen other people do the same thing, like Jack/Sun/Frank/Locke/Claire all seeing Christian (and Miles too, for that matter!) and Michael seeing Libby. Hurley’s ‘gift’ for communion with the dead is not at all unique to him and instead appears to be phenomena linked with, and maybe even sourced from, the Island.

Miles, on the other hand, has a unique skill, but it too may have derived from his time on the Island. What I mean is, whatever ‘force’ allows Hurley and co to see dead people somehow resides within Miles, in a different means. Bram said that if Miles joined them he could learn more about it – evidently linking Miles’ ‘gift’ and his history with his father and the Island.

Miles’ skill allows him to know the mind of the deceased up to the point where they died. Situating himself close to the body he can naturally read the memories and feelings of the dead person to understand what was going on with them, apparently as a voice in his head from them. (I find this a pleasing idea, being as it dodges the problems inherent with spirits and the afterlife.) Interestingly, the first time we saw Miles ‘commune’ with a dead person it was when the body was not present.

In Confirmed Dead Miles went up to the deceased’s bedroom and there attempted to communicate. Now, by his admission, Miles shouldn’t have been able to do this. However, the intriguing aspect to this scene was the machine Miles switched on.

Since Miles appears to have derived his powers from the Island, potentially this machine generates a similar Island-like electromagnetic force that heightens Miles’ capabilities. Obviously this is all total scientific hogwash but it is a viable explanation for Miles’ ability, and a further validation of his skill being intrinsically linked with the Island that Dharma tapped into.

We saw Miles fail to contact the deceased (probably because he didn’t have his machine with him!) and yet he lied and told Howard Gray what he wanted to hear. He could have left it there, but instead Miles came back and told the truth. The idea of Miles bursting Dharma’s bubble and breaking news of the truth about ‘the purge’ to Pierre feels paralleled to this same idea. At least this way Miles may eventually realise why his father abandoned him – it was to save him!

Dharma’s construction of The Swan (how are The Others not aware of an enormous building site on their side of the Island!?) is evidently fraught with danger, the electromagnetism located there volatile enough to yank out the filling from a man’s tooth and shoot it through his brain like a bullet through the head. (Top marks for an inventive death, mind.) Whilst the 4 8 15 16 23 42 numbers on ‘the hatch’ turned out to be a serial number, that doesn’t fully explain why they were used to enter in to a computer, let alone what Valenzetti made of them! Meanwhile, in exchange for taking the body, Miles handed Radzinsky a package. Another package we don’t know the contents of! We’ve had Ben’s vent bag, Ilana’s Ajira case and now Radzinsky’s Swan package. . .

What was in the bag Horace gave to Miles? God knows. My guess is it’s the Fail Safe switch, but whilst it remains in the bag it’s anyone’s guess. One cat that is out of the bag, however, is the security tape that Miles failed to erase. It was always going to be the astute and paranoid Phil that found it and got into Sawyer’s face about it (to be fair he was doing his job, well, no matter how irritating he may be!). Sawyer knocked Phil out to buy some time, but time is a quantity rapidly running out. With Jack and Kate registering on Roger’s radar, Sawyer and Juliet on Phil’s, Miles and Hurley on Chang’s, and Sayid on everybody’s the pressure is mounting and the temperature is rising. Some may like it hot, but a nice cool planet Hoth might be more preferable right about how. . .

Eko Meets Smokey

Given the recent Black Smoke (well, it was more like a grey colour, actually) activity in Dead Is Dead I thought it would be good, for these Finest Moments clips, to take a look at the moment when Mr. Eko confronted Smokey for the first time, and we got our first good luck at the thing.

When I first watched the episode (The 23rd Psalm) I thought we were just going to get another 'monster's eye view' shot, the same way we did when Locke encountered it. So it was a real jaw-dropping moment when we got a good look at what this thing was that had been smashing through the jungle and killing pilots.

That we then got to go though the thing was just a whole new level of surprise. . .

If anyone was under any illusions about just how hard Mr. Eko was, you only have to see him staring down the Black Smoke to be left in no doubt. Oh I do miss him.

The real quality of this moment lies in the fact that, although you may have caught little flashing glimpses of the images within the Black Smoke there's no way you could have understood exactly what was going on there. That's where the good old Internet came into play, adding another level to this amazing scene, with us more devoted Lost fans heading online and discovering that the images that briefly flashed were actually snapshots from Eko's past.

Not only had we now seen 'the monster' for the first time, we were given a whole new means of thinking about what it was doing ('scanning' as a mean of making judgement) and therefore what the thing was. Calling it a 'monster' was not really sufficient after this moment. Oh no. The Black Smoke revealed for the first time showed it was much, much more than just a mere monster.

Analysis: 5.12 Dead Is Dead

Dead maybe dead, but this episode was very much alive and kicking with massive plot pieces, revelations and grand mythology. No time for poetic introductions – we’ve gotta roll our sleeves up, stick our hands in the water, turn that switch and get things moving. . .

Once upon a time a paralysed man woke up from a plane wreck on a beach and found he could walk again. Whilst this may have been considered miraculous, on a healing Island it was not altogether as momentous an event as we might have first thought. What is miraculous, however, is a dead person coming truly back to life on this same Island.

Ben reported as much to Sun. Dead Is Dead, he told her. Now it’s a matter of opinion about whether you think Ben was telling the truth here, but I think he was. What we ultimately got shown in this episode was that these people. . .

. . . and all the other various manifestations of the dead are not actually a dead person returning to life as a breathing, flesh and blood, alive physical being. Dead is dead. Therefore Locke is a miracle. (For the record, I don’t think he is a manifestation of the Black Smoke or anything of that sort. The episode toyed with the idea – in having Locke stride out of the jungle when Ben, and the audience, were expecting ‘the monster’ and having Locke conveniently out of the scene when the Black Smoke made its appearance – but I don’t see it being a tenable proposition for the long haul.)

You have to wonder what Miles would make of all this. We’re dealing in his speciality and I would seriously like to know what he makes of, say, Christian Shephard. He did see him, remember, when Claire went with him. Does Miles subscribe to the ‘dead is dead’ ideology? He’s referred to corpses as pieces of meat, but he’s definitely attuned to a more spiritual side of what’s beyond death. A person may be dead, but there’s still something that Miles is communicating with. . .

And speaking of Christian, notice Ben’s alarmed look when Sun mentioned his name, and that it was he who instructed her and Frank to wait for Locke to show up? Ben knows dead people don’t come back to life, and he apparently knows something about Christian Shephard that alarmed him, so what are we to make of that?

I’ll be making a more thorough examination about Ben and the Black Smoke sequence further on, but I am falling upon the conclusion that the apparitions are generated by Smokey, but both Smokey and the apparitions are operating under the service of the Island. This idea fundamentally leads to enormous notions about what the Island actually is. Let me throw a grand theory bone your way to chew on.

The hieroglyph apparently shows us Anubis – the God of the Dead – facing the Black Smoke. Is that Anubis taking something off the Black Smoke? Or the other way around? Personally, I believe Anubis is taking whatever the Black Smoke has collected from the people it has judged. That’s the function of the Black Smoke, or Cerberus, on the Island – because the Island is purgatory.

You read that right.

The Others, Dharma, the survivors of Oceanic and all the rest of the characters we have seen on the Island are not dead, they are simply alive in the place where the dead go for judgement: The Island. These lost souls are either cleansed of their sins, which are swallowed up by the Black Smoke before they move on, or they are condemned to the ‘underworld’ by Cerberus/Smokey for being unrepentant. Anubis being the God that protects the dead to bring them to the afterlife, he accepts the souls old Smokey has passed fit for judgement. . .

It puts a certain kind of angle on that remark Ben once made about how God couldn’t see the Island and it’s a new spin on the debunked purgatory idea. Our heroes aren’t in purgatory in the sense that they died in the plane crash – they’re just in the place where purgatory is. And those Whispers they hear could be the genuine dead, in purgatory, waiting for Smokey to pass judgement. . .

Don’t think I’m going all out over this ‘Island is the location of purgatory’ theory. It very well may be that this concept of purgatory, and souls being cleansed, was merely the understanding that the ancient civilisation that existed on the Island believed in. It's their mythology presented in the hieroglyphs but not essentially the precise truth. There’s always the chance they got it wrong, right!?

For one thing, I still saw a distinct link between The Others and The Whispers. When Ben decided he couldn’t kill Danielle (and leave a child with a dead mother like he had been) he warned Danielle that she should run the other way if she ever heard The Whispers.

Since Ben was expressly warning Danielle away from The Others, from ever coming looking for her daughter, it strikes me that warning her away from The Whispers served the same purpose. The Whispers and The Others are linked, controlled, part of each other. Still, at least we now have an explanation as to why Alex was called Alex by The Others (Ben learned her name) and why Danielle stayed away from places like The Flame – in her head, interfering with The Others meant death.

(We just have to give her some leeway regarding her behaviour with Ben when she had him caught in a net! (I guess he did keep himself in shadow so maybe she didn’t recognise him?))

We saw Ben with a Young Ethan, and he returned to The Others camp pretty much as one of them. Given we saw Ben pushing Alex on the swings at The Barracks then it seems all the flashbacks we saw of Ben as an adult took place after ‘the purge’.

When Ben returned to The Others camp with Alex there was a crucial exchange with Widmore. Ostensibly, Ben had apparently been sent to kill Danielle purely because they didn’t want her running loose. Alex changed that, and Ben asked the salient question: “What was it I was supposed to do?”

Widmore’s response was: “Kill it.” But when Ben proposed that he do it, Widmore backed away.

The question still stands, though: Was Ben supposed to kill Alex? My personal take on it is that Ben, in not killing Alex, took her life into his own care. You own the life you save. As such, when Keamy had Alex at gunpoint and Ben elected to call his bluff he put his own sake over hers, and this was his sin. He had granted Alex life, but he didn’t give up his own for her sake.

Widmore was banished from the Island for continuously taking trips off it and having a baby with an “outsider” (presumably Penny’s mother, whoever she is). When Ben went to see him at the pier he pledged that he would sacrifice anything for the good of the Island, which would make him a better leader than Widmore had been. Widmore called his bluff on that, and stated that he wouldn’t sacrifice Alex.

Curiously, when Keamy shot Alex, Ben remarked: “He changed the rules.” This has been a remark that has long been poured over by Lost theorists. My take on it is that Ben believed it was the will of the Island to let Alex live. He knew it. Widmore knew it. There’s a kind of ‘Island-first’ understanding to their game, but Widmore changed the rules of that when he sent Keamy to the Island, presumably with no instruction that Alex should not be harmed. In that sense, I suppose, Ben assumed Widmore had changed the rules by defying the Island’s will.

The trick is, we don’t know for sure whether the Island did or didn’t want Ben to kill Alex that night he took her. An impossible riddle, all right.

So riddle me this. What lies in the shadow of a statue? Cryptic clue aside, this was evidently a calling card question for a select group on the Ajira flight to know one another. Someone has put together a group who don’t know each other, given them this question to ask to identify other members of their group, and sent them to the Island for a specific purpose.

It’s reminiscent of that “What did one snowman say to the other?” code question Desmond asked. But who would put together a group of people, and know how to get them to the Island to fulfil some mysterious agenda? The kneejerk reaction is to assume Widmore, but I am thinking more along the lines of Eloise Hawking.

Funny thing about Eloise Hawking helping the Oceanic 6 is this: What did she have to gain? In all the time jumping and flashforward trickery, it’s an obvious yet overlooked question. What was her agenda? Seems to me that if she wanted to get people back to the Island then using the Oceanic 6 to replicate the circumstances of Oceanic 815, and knowing the Ajira 316 flight that was to be used, makes her the prime candidate for getting the likes of Ilana to where she wants her to be. So: What lies in the shadow of a statue?

Instant reaction is to assume that Ilana and her group are going to head off towards the remains of the four-toed statue. Taking that crate with them, they are going to head there to either retrieve something, uncover something, set something off or. . . Well, who knows? But I am guessing that’s their destination – but their agenda remains tantalisingly unknown. Definitely got my interest though, and suddenly makes new character Ilana an intriguing proposition. Which is more than can be said for the other new guy.

It was good fun to watch Ben work his manipulation skills on Ceasar. Ben didn’t know whether he would need this guy, or for what purpose, but he seized the opportunity to get him on side and learn where he kept his gun. And just when you thought he would use Ceasar to stop Locke from taking him to the main Island – blam! Turns out Ceasar was a big mis-direction all along. (Though, knowing Lost, this probably won’t be the last time we ever see him!)

Locke appears to have learned a thing or two about manipulation, mind. Has he come back from the dead with some new-found deep understanding of the Island? I’m not so sure. He told Sun he was still the same person. I think he’s come back with a new-found confidence, and a capacity to play Ben the way Ben once played him. The scene in the office, where Locke made Ben blather out his reasoning for killing him when all he was after was a simple apology displayed this power shift. (As did Locke sitting in Ben’s chair at his desk with his feet up!)

Locke called Ben out about going back to the main land and forced him to go there to seek his judgement. He worked out that Ben’s guilt lay in what he had done to Alex. And when Ben had failed to summon the Black Smoke (turning that switch appeared to function as some form of pressure device, presumably for all these ‘vents’ that Smokey operates through) Locke lead the way as though he knew what to do next. Personally, I think he was just hazarding a good guess that they would find Smokey at the Temple Walls he had seen before. Turned out he was right.

To better understand what happened with Ben and the Black Smoke, it’s perhaps pertinent to analyse what happened with Mr. Eko during The Cost Of Living. Between that episode and this we have some good comparative sources for examination.

In The Cost Of Living we saw that Mr. Eko, in Nigeria, installed himself as the priest of the town in Yemi’s absence. There he witnessed gangsters holding the town’s supplies to ransom, but refused to bow down to them. There followed a bloody massacare, resulting in Mr. Eko taking a machete to one gangster – Emeka.

On the Island, in the jungle, the Black Smoke stalks Mr. Eko and eventually he is confronted by phantasm apparitions of the gangsters he killed, attacking him. This then switches to a young boy – Daniel – also from Mr. Eko’s past, encouraging him to “Confess”. Later still, Mr. Eko is eventually confronted by Yemi who, in a longer conversation, pretty much encourages him to “Confess”.

Mr. Eko doesn’t confess. Mr. Eko is killed.

The Black Smoke, then, having ‘scanned’ Mr. Eko back in The 23rd Psalm. . .

. . . had identified all the aspects of Mr. Eko ripe for judgement and produced them as manifestations for him to confront. Upon showing Mr. Eko his ‘sins’, the Black Smoke then summoned both Daniel and Yemi to urge him to “Confess”. Mr. Eko’s defiance in not acceding to this confession was what ultimately riled the Black Smoke into delivering a death sentence.

Now let’s compare and contrast with Ben during Dead Is Dead. Here we saw Ben turn up at the ‘altar grill’ of the Black Smoke where he was subsequently enveloped by old Smokey.

Within this maelstrom, Ben was shown Alex – his relationship with her and the key moments that ultimately lead to her capture by Keamy and the pivotal decision that lead to her death. Like Mr. Eko was shown Emeka, Ben saw his own ‘sin’ before him. Then the Black Smoke withdrew, and an incarnation of Alex appeared. Again, similar to Yemi’s last appearance to Mr. Eko.

Now here’s the thing. If Ben had been defiant here, had refused to repent like Mr. Eko did, then I think it’s a certainty that the Black Smoke would have emerged once more – this time in ‘Kill Mode’. But, as it turned out, Ben (with some assistance from Locke along his journey) acknowledged his guilt and admitted that Alex’s death was his fault. He was allowed to live but that wasn’t strictly a complete blessing, as it came with the caveat of a threat from Alex/Black Smoke/Island that his plans to kill Locke were to be abandoned and he was to pledge his devotion entirely for Locke’s purpose.

Maybe it was just because French girl Alex was present in this scene, but I was reminded very much of a moment from Les Miserables the musical. There’s a character called Javert, a staunch God-fearing lawman, that had devoted his entire life in pursuit of a man, Jean Val Jean, who he perceived as a vile criminal. However, when Javert finds himself at Jean Val Jean’s mercy his life is spared, and Javert is left to go free. It’s a musical so, naturally, Javert sings:

“Is he from heaven or from hell? And does he know?
By granting me my life today, this man has killed me even so.”

For Javert being allowed to live was a poison chalice. Ben being allowed to live, but only to live in service to Locke, is a similar living hell. The Black Smoke has completely endorsed Locke. Any defiance from Ben would be in direct conflict with the Black Smoke. In Les Miserables, Javert finds this life is impossible to continue. I wonder if Ben might eventually feel the same way. Indeed, whilst I think Ben will be around to the end of the show I don’t believe he will survive – and I think this man that did bad things in service of a higher goal may eventually falter into true villainy starting from this moment, and ultimately pay the price for it.

Analysis: 5.11 Whatever Happened, Happened

The explanation for What Kate Did with Aaron turned up sooner than I expected, and turned out to be more elegant and promising for Kate’s character than I anticipated. It has now become firmly established that whatever happened really did happen and Kate accepts the facts of her history whilst forming a determination to fix her future based entirely on her own will.

Mr. Fix-It “Old Jack” has turned into Mr. Passive “New Jack” and so Kate has become the new Old Jack! (And if you can wrap your head around that sentence then all the time travel pondering is going to be a piece of cake.)

Of all the Oceanic 6, it turns out Kate has been the one most freely telling the truth about what happened. First up was a visit to Cassidy’s, to fulfil the request Sawyer made of her before he took a running jump out of a helicopter. It didn’t take Cassidy the con artist long to realise when she was being to lied to, but Kate hearing that Sawyer wasn’t quite the heroic figure she had built up in her mind was the first step to shattering those love hearts in her eyes.

Indeed, this episode was fundamentally about Kate learning to dispense with the various men in her life – Jack, Sawyer, Aaron – and reclaim her own self-reliance.

Curiously, despite Kate’s friendship with Cassidy (Clementine referring to her as Auntie Kate displayed they’d met frequently), it seems Kate didn’t tell her anything about her relationship, and engagement, with Jack. The scene where Kate went to discuss the proposal to go back to the Island prompted Cassidy to remark, “Jack sounds like a piece of work.”

“Sounds like”? Hasn’t Cassidy heard anything about Jack from Kate over the past three years? Seems not.

Small detail, large potential. Kate was with Jack during the time of her friendship with Cassidy. Indeed, as we saw during Something Nice Back Home, Kate’s mysterious phone call, which she told Jack was merely her fulfilling a promise to Sawyer, almost surely can now be identified as her talking to Cassidy. And yet if Kate didn’t even mention Jack to Cassidy back when they were together it suggests to me that there was a large part of Kate that knew her and Jack were never going to last.

Same goes for Aaron. Kate’s time off the Island was just some strange transitory otherworld, where she settled down with a child and potential husband. The antithesis of the girl that was born to run. She’d gone through the looking glass to a fantasy land, but finally she realised it was not sustainable. Seeing Aaron walking hand-in-hand with a woman that, from the rear, could easily have been Claire was the final watershed moment.

The illusion was kind of shattered when she turned around. . .

. . . but we’ll gloss over that.

Coincidental symbolism showed Kate where Aaron really belonged (good luck explaining it all to him – that is going to be one messed up kid!) and she duly went and dumped him on his grandma, the same way Sun dumped Ji Yeon on his grandma. It’s not ideal, but it does suggest that Kate is on a total rescue mission – find Claire and bring her back home. (Maybe that one-time vision Desmond had of Claire getting on a helicopter may one day yet come to pass!) Whether Kate intends to return with Claire is another matter – Sawyer might have a big say in that. . .

So Kate has come to liberate people from the Island, much the same way Jack has decided now’s the time to stop being a fixer, to stop standing in the way of the Island’s will, and just go with the flow. When opportunity came knocking for the surgeon to step up and fix Ben he turned it down flat. Unwittingly, by doing this, Jack is pivotally responsible for Ben being delivered into the hands of Alpert and The Others where he will, apparently, undergo irrevocable changes that will forever bind him to their group and, as a convenient side-effect, erase some of his memories.

Ah yes, that good old caveat of amnesia to avoid time paradoxes. At least Lost has never used that ruse before!

The concerns that Hurley held about becoming like this guy. . .

. . . have been proven unfounded.

Miles was on hand (in place of the-still-absent Faraday) to attempt to dispense some clarification about time travel and the role of the time travellers within it. Frankly, he didn’t do a great job. Stick to ghosts, man. Faraday summed it up best with his “whatever happened, happened” credos and nothing’s changed since. The only important thing our heroes need to be aware of is that, just because they’re in their own history, it doesn’t mean they can’t die in it.

But then a bunch of folk who were shot by a rain of flaming arrows could have told them that. (Well, they could have told Miles that, if he or Lost seemed at all interested in his ability to commune with the dead!)

Disappointingly then, it would seem the Ben we first met – that watched the crash of Oceanic and got caught in a net and tortured by Sayid – genuinely didn’t have any recollection of having met them before. It may be a plot contrivance that helps neaten up any potential loose threads, yet I can’t help but feel that it was an overly-precautious measure and a whole new dimension to Ben’s character got snatched away. Still, Alpert taking Ben to The Temple to undertake whatever mysterious process occurs within opens new doors of possibility.

Mention is made that, when taking Ben, Alpert ought to run it by Widmore and Ellie – Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking, of course.

It would seem that they are definitely an item on the Island in the 1970s, and if they are not joint rulers over The Others then one is definitely a second-in-command (probably Ellie). This we already knew anyway, since Widmore had claimed that the Island was once his and it was Ben that tricked him off it. What’s perhaps more interesting is Alpert’s defiance over them, caring little about what they had to say over his actions.

The ageless Alpert apparently has no time for the duties and responsibilities involved with being leader of The Others, remaining answerable only to himself. Perhaps the key difference between Alpert and, say, Widmore or Ben, is that he cannot commune with Jacob whilst they can. The capacity to commune with Jacob is what qualifies them to carry out his word and be leader of The Others. Hence Locke’s status as Island Chief being awarded as he, too, has at least heard Jacob speak.

“Help me.”

Charles Widmore and Ben Linus met as adults after apparently a long time apart during the episode The Shape Of Things To Come. There Widmore made the proclamation that he could not be killed, and also stated, “I know what you are, boy.”

What is Ben the boy going to become in The Temple? We the audience don’t know, but Widmore apparently does. And so Ben’s claim of being born on the Island, that he once admitted to Locke wasn’t necessarily so, does contain more truth than it previously did. The good-natured Young Ben was killed when Sayid put a bullet in him, when Jack refused to operate on him, and when Kate and Sawyer delivered him to The Others – in his place came the colder, calculating leader of The Others.

I feel certain that Young Ben cannot remain apart from Dharma for too long. We saw already that he does get back with them, as a Workman with his father, when ‘the purge’ occurs. Given Dharma’s paranoid insecurity over ‘the hostiles’ it’s hard to imagine them welcoming Ben back with open arms if he has spent a considerable amount of time with The Others.

Perhaps being made a Workman was a form of punishment for helping Sayid escape, and a way to ensure he never found out or got involved in anything important within the Dharma Initiative that he might betray to ‘the hostiles’. Whatever, it didn’t work! (Although it further explains why he had no clue about The Swan until after the crash of Oceanic 815.)

So this was an episode full of rebirths. Kate finding a new-found sense of purpose after confessing the lies she had been carrying for three years. The moment Roger Linus (himself cast in a more sympathetic light for the first time, displaying genuine concern over the son he mostly ill-treats) asked Kate if she had kids her response was telling: it took a moment for her to conjure the truth, and saying it aloud confirmed it more for her than it did for Roger. She doesn’t have children. She’s not a mother. The words caught in her throat but she spoke them anyway.

Young Ben as stated, is set to be brought back from the dead and born again. And Jack stepped out of the shower like a baptised baby, cleansed of his controlling nature, and willing to accept the Island on its own terms and wait and see what he is supposed to do next. An episode of rebirths indeed. And yet with all these new prospects opening it only further spells the end for the likes of Sawyer and Juliet and the Dharma Initiative.

Juliet’s angry confrontation with Jack in the shower stemmed more from him being responsible for sending Sawyer and Kate out together into the jungle on an adventure than anything else. She’s pessimistic about this Dharma life remaining and since we know ‘the purge’ happened, and what happened definitely happens, she’s right to accept as much.

I don’t think Juliet holds any kind of torch for Jack – that seemed apparent. And likewise Jack doesn’t appear to hold any affection for her, or Kate, or indeed anyone other than himself for that matter! So all of those love triangles that once meshed together in such a complicated way appear to have sprung apart with little chance of pulling back together. I won’t be so rash as to write off Sawyer and Kate, though. Whilst Kate may have been warned by Cassidy that Sawyer is a coward and will run away from anything serious, he mentioned that he had done a lot of growing up in the three years they had been apart. No, I don’t think that door’s wholly shut just yet and, for one thing, I think Kate will find an ally in him in the hunt for Claire.

When Alpert asked Kate who she was, Sawyer quickly interjected: “She’s with me.” I think, for the first time ever, that he’s right. I am convinced it will be Kate and Sawyer together by the finish.

The last scene felt more like an appetiser for what will be, hopefully, longer time spent with Ben and Locke and the Ajira crash survivors. There are still bits and pieces about this group of people that need addressing (like who was in the canoe that chased Sawyer and Juliet and co back in The Little Prince!) The question I’ll leave you with is this: Was Ben startled to see Locke when he awoke simply because he was in a strange place and would have been startled no matter what? Or was he startled because it was Locke who woke him and he didn’t expect to see Locke alive?