Note: This blog is counting down to the premiere of LOST's final season on Feb. 2 by spending the month leading up to it racing through every one of the previous 103 episodes. We're looking specifically at Christian/religious themes, other important or interesting concepts, literary references, and the theory that it's largely been about a game in which someone has won, and someone has... LOST. To follow us from the start, click here.

This is why I go back and watch. I've forgotten more LOST than I'd forgotten I had.

If you've been reading along, you know that I had NO recollection of the fate of Miss Klugh. I thought they just had her fade off into the temple sunset with the rest of Others. But now I see, oh yeah, Patchy killed her, and she asked him to!

For more examples of how my brain - like Mikhail's - has been through the Sonic Fence of Death and - like Mikahil's - somehow survived, press on, gentle reader.

LOST Season Three, Disc Three: Ready to Play?

Episodes: 3.9 STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (Sun & Jin-centric); 3.10 TRICIA TANAKA IS DEAD (Hurley-centric); 3.11 ENTER 77 (Sayid-centric); 3.12 PAR AVION (Claire-centric)

Things That Stuck Out

Island

Half-way across the channel between islands, Kate tells Sawyer to go back for Jack. He talks her out of it. Even Jack didn't want them doing that. They also argue about whether to make straight for shore and from there hike to camp (Sawyer's plan) or whether to sail around the island until they find camp (Kate's plan). I'm with her. Nobody would have to carry Karl, and you wouldn't have to abandon the boat. But he wins out. They land, and camp. Karl says they shouldn't fight because they're lucky to be alive. We could actually extend that thought to the bigger picture if we were so inclined.

Jack assumes he's going to be killed now that the Other are done with him. He did his part - did the surgery, bought enough time for Kate (and Sawyer) to get away. But Tom only wants to move him somewhere. He and Juliet pass in the halls, both in handcuffs, both being escorted. She still smiles at him and says, "Hey," though. Always time for politeness you know.

Insult-to-injury -- Jack is moved right into Sawyer's old cage, the very one where he saw him and Kate getting all friendly-like. As if it weren't obvious enough that the Others want to break him down, get him to leave his friends behind, Tom comes out and even emphasizes the point: "You risk your neck to cut them loose, and they run away and don't look back..." But Jack's not having any of it. He does learn from Tom, though, that Juliet is in trouble, she's being kept in Jack's old cell, and there's a stern looking woman Tom refers to as "The Sheriff."

Kate Chats Up Karl
Hydra Island is the office, where they work. On "projects."
They live on the main island.
The kids they took? "We give them a better life." Better than what? "Better than yours."
They even have backyards.
His and Alex's pasttime used to be making up new names for the constellations, i.e. "Ursa Theodorus - the Teddy Bear"
I was just wondering the other day about the idea of the Others taking the children and other "good people." If someone lands on an island which can not be found and from which there is probably no escape, and you bring them into your culture, give them a nice life, keep them safe, feed them, comfort them... is that bad? It LOOKS bad since you began it with what looks just like kidnapping and acting against their will and the will of those who have been protecting them but are no more their guardians than you are, but in the end, is it so bad?

Juliet is allowed to come to Jack because Ben's stitches are infected. She asks Jack's help, not for the Others' or for Ben's sake, but for hers. She's in trouble for killing Pickett. Jack refuses to help Ben or her.

Isabel the creepy sheriff lady comes to meet Jack. She speaks Chinese, which is the language of his tattoos. Reads them. Says they're ironic. Asks if he knows what they mean. He insists he does. She's not so sure. Then she asks him to come with her. This time, they pass Alex in the hallway. It's just a regular county lockup in Otherton. Jack is led to an office where Tom sits on one side, Juliet the other, and him in between. Isabel sits behind a desk -- the same desk in the same office that Locke will put his feet up and ask Ben in Season Five why he killed him. Jack covers for Juliet, says he made up the whole, "She asked me to kill Ben" thing because it was his best shot at turning his captors against each other. Isabel knows he's lying - even asks him why - but he clams up.

Next morning, Jack awakes in his cage and finds out what it's like to be a monkey in a zoo. There is a crowd of Others just staring at him! One of them approaches the bars, and says his name. It's Cindy! We haven't seen her since 5 minutes before Shannon was shot, and she remembers Jack from serving him alcohol on the flight. Cindy says they're there to watch, and that "It's not that simple" having been taken and kidnapped and all. The little girl wants to know how Ana-Lucia is doing. Jack's had it. If he were a monkey this would be where he starts throwing feces. Because he starts slinging it verbally real good. "Are you serious?! If you got something to watch Cindy, go watch it!" The little boy gives Jack the stink-eye as they all wander off to Juliet's trial.

Kate and Sawyer wake up to the sound of Karl crying. Sawyer gives him advice about women, and tells Karl that if he loves Alex, even if they do kill him as he goes back to get her, it'll have been worth it.

Alex smashes a camera so she can talk to Jack. She wants to know why Jack saved Ben, fixed him, when he should hate him. Jack wants to know why his daughter wants him dead. Jack learns from her that Juliet's verdict is about to be read, and the Others are firm believers in "eye for an eye." Juliet killed the man who was going to kill Jack's friends, which makes him realize she did it for him. As for Jack, he saved Ben because he said he would. Jack has an idea. Asks if Ben is still in charge, if Isabel will do what Ben says. Yes.

Ben's infection is so bad he may never walk again, says Jack. He'll need round the clock doctor care. Jack offers that, if Ben will give the word for Juliet to be leg go. Ben agrees.

Juliet will not be executed, per Ben's orders, but she will be marked. To Alex, this seems almost as horrifying. The mark is on her lower back, and is an 8-pointed star.

"He walks amongst us but he is not one of us." -- Isabel reads Jack's tattoo. This is why she thought it was ironic, with Jack being among the Others. Jack says that's what it says; it's not what it means. Jack gets into the boat to keep his promise to go with Ben and care for his wounds.

Sawyer let Karl go. Said the kid was a target by Ben, so might as well be far from him. Kate and Saywer argue. She feels guilty about leaving Jack. No, he thinks she feels guilty about sleeping with him, something he thinks she only did since she thought he was a dead man.

Charlie tells Hurley what Desmond told him - that he's gonna die. Hurley thinks it might be his fault, due to the curse. As they talk, Vincent comes running out of the jungle with a decaying human arm, around which is a set of keys and a lucky rabbit's foot. He leads Hurley to a VW bus on its side.

Inside the blue VW is the corpse of "Roger. Work Man." His Dharma jumper has the Swan patch on it. Who ever would have guessed this would turn out to be Ben's father. Whereas people liked Hurley's Season One mission to play some golf to "have some fun" and take their minds off things, nobody's up for helping him fix the car for the same reasons this time around. Jin joins him, because he doesn't know what he just agreed to.

Sawyer and Kate return to much rejoicing. But she's jealous when Nikki gives James a hug. And Jack's absence is palpable.

Charlie asks Desmond when it's gonna happen. But Des doesn't have knowledge, he just gets flashes when he gets them.

While Sawyer was gone, Charlie and Hurley bogarted his stash, including his scotch. Sawyer wants it back. Hurley says no can do, but if Sawyer will help them fix the VW, he can have some of Roger's beer.

Sawyer finds blueprints in the back of the VW. "Looks like those Dharma freaks were building some sort of dirt road." What I really wish was on there was the name LaFleur. Probably good it's not. My head might have exploded. He also comments on all the recycling stuff in the back of the van.

Hurley tells Sawyer that Roger had a mom, a family, friends... if he only knew who that family was, that Roger really didn't have any friends, and how he met his end...

When Hurley jump starts the VW by rolling it down a steep hill, he keeps believing, "There is no curse, you make your own luck." And... the bus starts. Hope worked, but it also required getting the van up, getting it to the right place, and getting it moving. And then it gave more hope in return.

Jin found a ping-pong table when he was looking for firewood. They made legs and paddles. Hurley says all they need is a ball. Sawyer is able to provide one, on the condition that there be stakes.

Kate, as always unable to sit still, stays back at the beach long enough to fill up her water bottles and tell Sayid and Locke what happened before she takes off again for some form of unspecified help -- Rousseau. She needs Rousseau's help to find where the Others live. Danielle asks why she should help. Kate explains the story of the 16-year-old girl who helped her escape... the girl named Alex. Locke and Sayid are coming along, believing that the message on Eko's stick "Head north 3:05" will give them their bearing. Doesn't stop Sayid from making light sport of John, though.

Kate, Sayid, and Locke have been following a compass heading of north 305 for two days, but nothing yet. Sayid's not sure it's getting them anywhere. He goes to pick fruit, and hears a cowbell. I'd like it if we got a bigger sampling, got more cowbell, because I got a fever, but we only get a few rings. Sure enough, there's a cow! Is it another creepy vision like Kate's horse? No, someone whistles, and the cow moves. Sayid follows... and finds more livestock and an above-ground station with a satellite dish on the roof! And there in the yard is Patchy Mikhail!

Sayid goes in unarmed; Danielle retreats to the stream to avoid the encounter. Sayid gets shot by Patchy, who yells, "I didn't cross the line. We had a truce! This is my land; you said I could stay here!" What's that about? He's not talking to Sayid like he's an 815er, and isn't Mikhail one of the Others? So who is he talking about having a truce with, and allowing him to stay on this land? (Answer: he's lying, it's his cover story). When Locke and Kate get the drop on him, he identifies himself as "Mikhail Bakunin, the last living member of the Dharma Initiative." Mikhail is Soviet Army, and spent time in Afghanistan. He lives in the Flame Station.

Locke finds typed pages in Russian that Mikhail has been editing with a red pen. Significance?

Mikhail's good at cock-and-bull. He says he likes computers, communications equipment, and being alone, like a lighthouse keeper. The Flame's purpose is external communication. Mikhail tells Sayid Dharma is all dead, because "they foolisly initiated a war against the Hostiles - a purge they called it." He says he survived by not participating. He sews up Sayid's bullet wound expertly. Says he's been there 11 years (1983). He uses elements in his story such as being told there was a line not to cross and he'd be fine in hopes that it will ring true, because these details are familiar to what our Losties have been told. But Sayid had him pegged all along that he was lying, and not alone in the station. He finds a trap door in the floor, where he and Kate find Miss Klugh hiding. Sayid knew there would be someone else because he knew the Others had lost communications with each other.

We learn about the existence of the Looking Glass - the destination of the cable Sayid found on the beach that day long ago. Mikhail describes it as an underwater beacon that helps the submarine find its way. But it, like all communications, has not worked since the Swan implosion.

Sayid and Kate see that the Flame is wired with C-4, and find Dharma procedural manuals in the basement.

Locke discovers that beating the computer at chess is not just possible, it is how you access various communications or emergency protocols featuring Dr. Chang. You can select a palette drop, station uplink, mailiand communication (can't - sat dish is down), sonar access (can't - currently inoperable). Has there been an incursion on this station by the Hostiles? If so, "Enter 77." Locke enters this, which we come to find out triggers the C-4, blowing the whole place up. Sayid already knows Locke doesn't want anyone to have any ways to communicate and get off the island, so he's not happy with Locke. Locke protests he was just doing what the computer/Chang told him to do. He didn't know it would blow up. But his lie is exposed when Sayid finds a block of C-4 in Locke's pack. He knew what entering the code would do, and before he did it, he went and took some of the explosive for himself (we find out later why).

Mikhail was tied up but he had a knife. He got loose, and captured Locke, as Sayid and Kate capture Klugh, leading to a stalemate outside. She undoes it by having the following conversation in Russian with Mikhail:

(Translation according to Lostpedia)
Klugh: Mikhail. Mikhail! You know what to do.
Mikhail: We still have another way.
Klugh: We cannot risk it. You know the conditions.
Mikhail: There is another way.
Klugh: They captured us. We will not let them get into the territory. You know what to do. That's an order.
Mikhail: We still have another way!
Klugh (in English): Just do it, Mikhail.
Mikhail: Forgive me. (shoots her)

Mikhail begs Sayid, who has him at gunpoint, to "Finish it! Kill me." Is this because he wants to die, or because he knows that it's his method of escape, since we know that he is one tough sucker to finish off. He has had his brain fried by the sonic fence to the point his ears bled, and he has been shot through with a harpoon, but he somehow keeps on chugging. He is the first Other to display a superhuman characteristic like this since Ethan and his super strength.

Mikhail admits to Sayid that his story about being in Dharma was a lie, "but everything else I told you was true," including the purge. "The purge, in which a group of scientists attacked your people?" asks Sayid. "Believe what you want, but that is what happened," says Mikhail. Dude, I don't think the Original Hostiles + Ben qualify as scientists. Do they?

Sayid wants Mikhail to take them to the barracks to find Jack, Alex (for Danielle), and a way home. But he doesn't really need him, as he found a map. So why keep Patchy alive? Danielle doesn't trust him and would prefer to kill him, especially because Mikhail promises to kill Sayid the moment he lets his guard down.

Hurley tells Sawyer he can call him Hugo if he wants. But Sawyer doesn't make the connection to what he found out about a guy named "Hugo" when he read everyone's messages in the bottle on the raft.

Claire's eyes open to see Charlie has left her an array of fruit and would like to take her on a picnic. He's decided to stop feeling depressed and "seize the day." This is great - get busy livin' and all - but it doesn't take much to send him into despair again once Desmond has another flash.

At the picnic site, Claire sees migratory birds flying overhead, and gets an idea to catch one, since they are tagged, and attach a note to it - a note which will be read when the bird lands in Australia or New Zealand or wherever. If this seems a little too smart of an idea for our Claire, it's because she used to while away the hours at her comatose mom's bedside watching nature programs. Desmond has another vision about Charlie that involved Claire's bird idea. So he asks Charlie to hunt with him instead, so that he won't fall into the surf and get his neck broken by being pounded into the rocks.

This is the episode we find out the big bombshell that Christian Shephard has TWO kids on that island. It's a bloody family reunion! Claire had been told her father died when she was two.

Mikhail tells his captors that the Others can come and go as they wish, but with the underwater beacon not working, the sub can not currently bring anyone in. Kate doesn't understand. Why would she? She's not ready to. There are things too big or implausible for the mind to wrap around until they are revealed slowly. She asks Mikhail:

Why would you want to come back?
You would not understand.
Try me.
I misspoke. What I meant to say is, you're not capable of understanding.
And why not?
Because you are not on the list. (Ohhh... I wasn't even thinking of that as the reason. I was just going with Kate have no faculty to assume for a second that this island is special and there are people who love it and war over it and would give anything to get back to it. But Patchy begins to talk about Jacob (without mentioning him by name) as "the man who brought me here, who brought all of my people here. He's a magnificent man." She assumes he is talking about Ben. No. Mikhail explains to Kate that she didn't make the list because she's flawed. Locke's angry. And Sayid's weak and frightened. And he knows all of their names. Seems confused as to why Locke's not paralyzed though. He gets interrupted before he mention that further, as Danielle has found the sonic fence.

Mikhail tells Sayid he has guessed correctly - the pylons are a security perimeter. But he lies when he says it hasn't functioned in years. I say he lies because, even though it has occurred to me he could have faked his seizure and pretended to be dead, it would have been hard to fake the very obvious sonic sound effects we get, and the ear bleeding he experiences. Locke decides not to waste any more time or bother with Mikhail's games. He forces Mikhail through the fenceline, which I think is a brilliant decision. Either we learn Patchy was telling the truth and the fence is off and he was just stalling them because it's safe after all, or he will be fried and they will be rid of a captive who it has already been established is of no value to them while being extremely dangerous to them, and they'll know what they need to do. Kate and Sayid do not see it this way, however, after watching Mikhail cook. So strange, though, that Mikhail says "thank you" just before he buys it. Again, is this because he wants to die, or because he can't be killed and so Locke has just set him free?

When arguing why Locke pushed Mikhail into the fence, Sayid asks Locke why he's there. Is it for Jack? Why else, says Locke. Sayid says they'll discuss that later. He also lets Locke's lie about why he took the C-4 go on hold until later. But we can discuss Locke's motives now if you like. Why IS Locke there? We know his motives once he learned about the existence of the submarine. And originally, he very much intended to help find and rescue Jack, and I don't think that's changed. But more than anything, I think he just wants to see where Eko's Jesus stick clue leads him, where the island would have him go.

Kate is the one with the idea to build a tree bridge over the fence. She tries it first, and makes it fine. Examines Mikhail's body. He sure looks dead.

The Note Claire Writes to Attach to the Bird:

To Whom it May Concern,

We are survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. We have survived on this island for 80 days. Six hours into the flight, the pilot said we were off course and turned back towards Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed. We've been waiting here all this time, waiting for rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are, we only know you have not found us. We've done our best to live on this island; some of us have come to accept we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived since the crash, but there is new life, too. And with it, there is hope. We are alive. Please don't give up on us.

Claire encourages Charlie that she's not giving up on him either; believes he's going to be okay. Why is it that the image of birds soaring tells the mind to hope?

Sayid's group has found the barracks. It's a lovely afternoon, and everyone's having fun in the backyard - including JACK.

Off-Island

Jack's in Thailand, staying in a hut right on the beach. We'd learned previously that he'd been to Phuket, and that he learned to play cards and got his tattoos here (we never see him play any poker, though). He stinks at kite construction, but a local woman named Achara giggles and helps him get it ready to fly - it looks like a bird. She also speaks English.

Jack eats dinner with his new friend. Her brother is their waiter. She assumes Jack is there to "find himself" because after all, he's an American. During dinner, a man gives her a wad of cash in an envelope. She explains that, "I have a gift."

Jack's been with Achara for a month. She comes and goes, and he knows nothing about her. "There are things about this place that you could never understand," she tells him. Right, right, like her gift... and like the island.

Jack follows Achara one night. Down a back alley and through some beads he finds her. She works in a tattoo parlor, but is adamant she is NOT a tattoo artist, she helps people see who they are. That is her gift. Jack INSISTS she do it for him. But as he's an outsider, she's not allowed to mark him. She tells him he's "a leader, a great man," but that makes him "lonely, frightened, and angry." She warns there will be consequences if she does it. The next day, some locals beat Jack up, spit on him, tell him to leave the country after seeing he is inked up. Achara cries.

Young Hurley, who isn't overweight, wants to work on the car with his dad. Dad gives him the key, some encouraging words about hope... and leaves. Gives him a candy bar, saying, "Live a little Hugo, it's just a candy bar."

Hurley is being interviewed for a local news fluff piece by stereotypical Asian on-the-spot reporter Tricia Tanaka. With his winnings, he bought a Mr. Cluck's because, "I like chicken?" Randy, his former boss, now works for him. She's trying to lob him softball questions, but he's awkward, and goes on about his run of bad luck. We also learn that his former best pal Johnny ran off with his would-be girlfriend Starla. When Tricia goes in to get some footage of Mr. Cluck's, it's hit by a meteor (something Hurley had referenced previously in another episode).

Hurley returns to his mom's house covered in dust. Hilarious dialogue ensues about meteors and curses. His mother can prove there's no curse because... look! Your father returned to us after 17 years!

Hurley's dad takes him to a psychic to attempt to break the curse. She:

  • Sees he's come into a great deal of money
  • It hasn't brought him happiness, but misfortune
  • Sees numbers. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. There's darkness around these numbers.
  • Pulls the death card. Says it surrounds Hurley.
  • Says there is a curse on him, but it can be removed.
  • Asks him to remove his clothes to purge the curse.
  • Gives up the game when Hurley offers her $10,000.

Hurley's dad gives a great speech before Hurley leaves for Australia. Talks - like he did when he was the one leaving - about hope and luck. Admits he did come for the money, but that's not why he's talking to his son now. Says he should give all the money away, just leave enough for the new carbuerator the Camaro needs, and they can take that road trip to the Grand Canyon. But Hurley leaves anyway.

Sayid's whole flashback isn't very useful. We already know he was an torturing inquisitor. We already know he regrets this past. We can assume the memories of every face he tortured are burned on his brain. But we get this whole episode to make sure we know that. Sayid was working as a cook in Paris (were have these skills been on the island?). A man hires him to work in his restaurant, but it's just a trap to capture him and get him to admit he is the one who poured acid on the man's wife for a crime she didn't commit. Sayid denies it, until the woman comes to him personally, when he admits all. The woman has saved an old ragged cat who kids were abusing. The cat bites sometimes because he doesn't realize he's safe. That's how she feels. Sayid apologizes, so she lets him go by telling her husband they've found the wrong man. Back on the island, Sayid sees a similar-looking cat at Mikhail's Flame Station house. His cat is named Nadia, which gets Sayid's attention, but it's after gymnast Nadia Comaneci. So you tell me - what did we learn? Anything crucial? I'm seeing neither things we didn't know, couldn't have guessed, or clues to the story.

Claire has an aunt, Lindsey, who chased Christian Shephard off when Claire was two. Carole's attending doctor tells them that Carole's bills are paid for by a confidential source. This also probably explains why in an earlier episode when we see Christian go to Australia and ask to see Claire, the woman he talks to didn't look like Carole. Carole was in her coma, and this is Lindsey's house.

When Claire meets her dad, he is lingering nostalgically over Carole's bed. Christian and Lindsey argue. Claire figures out he is the one paying the bills, and wants to know why. He reveals that he's her pops. All he wants from her is one conversation over one cup of coffee. He used to come out several times until she was two. Mentions that he would stay over, give her toys, sing to her... His only bit of "fatherly advice" to Claire is to consider pulling the plug on Carole. "She's alive, but she's not really living" (this could be true in some ways of all of us, or of Charlie if he lets the mopeyness win out). Christian says it would be illegal to turn off Carole's machines but he knows of other ways. She can't believe her ears. A doctor, a dad, coming all the way from the U.S. to tell her this. It does seem a little skeevy. But his final point to her is: Don't keep your mother 'alive' for the wrong reasons, and guilt would qualify as one of those. At least he doesn't pull the "false hope" card.

Carole Littleton was still in a coma when Claire got on flight 815. Claire tells her she's pregnant and flying to LA to give it away during her last visit to the hospital. She also apologizes for being horrible and awful to her mother. Apparently she lobbed some major bombs just before the accident. The "I hate you," "I wish you weren't my mother," and "I wish you were dead" grenades. They don't come more devastating than those.

  • Paths Crossing Off-Island: Claire meets Christian, learns he's her father but never learns his name.
  • Appearances of the Numbers: "815... you were the stewardess," says Jack to Cindy; the psychic Hurley visits recites all the numbers; 4 men, Mikhail says, who appeared and offered him a truce post-purge.
  • Deaths: Miss Klugh, commanded Mikhail to kill her; Mikhail, brain hemorrhage at the sonic fence (if he's indeed dead); unknown - Claire's mother, who is in a coma.

Themes Established or Revisited

  1. Home (again). Disc opens with Sawyer singing "Show me the Way to Go Home."
    Kate: Welcome home, Sawyer.
    Sawyer: Welcome home, Kate.
    (They continue to argue as they get closer to their beach. He says he has nothing to be sorry for, she gives him the line as if great, nothing's changed).
  2. Time (again).
    Jack: What time is it?
    Achara: It's late.
    (The time concept and the notion of being late - again)
  3. Hope (again). "Having hope is never stupid. You gotta believe good things will happen, then they will." -- Hurley's dad. Hurley twice tries to start cars he knows won't run, once at the encouragement of his father who is about to leave him, the other time in the jungle on his own volition. He makes the same face, almost prayer-like. Confesses he has hope. And we've learned that hope might be the most powerful force here, especially when folks lose it. But it's still limited. No matter how you try, you can't start a broken car with hope alone.
    Sawyer: Why is this so important to you?
    Hurley: Because we could all use a little hope.
    Sawyer: If it's hope you're looking for, you're on the wrong damn island. There sure as hell ain't no hope here.
    "I don't want to advocate false hope, Claire, that's all." Charlie uses this as his excuse to Claire as to why he's not on board with her bird idea. And just like in EVERY other instance that "false hope" has been brought up on this show, it's a cover for the REAL reason someone's got a bug up their behind. No such thing as false hope. Hope is hope.
    "Now there is hope, and there is guilt, and believe me, I know the difference." -- Christian, to Claire. The implication is that these two often look the same in how they are carried out in our actions. But one motivation is much more honest and helpful than the other.
  4. Fear (again). Hurley is talking to Libby's grave, explaining that everyone's scared, with what happened to Eko, with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer being gone. He's scared too.
  5. Fixing (again). Young Hurley - who didn't gain weight until his father skipped town (and the last thing he gave Hugo was a candy bar) - asks, "What do you want to fix today?" ... Jin tells Hurley the van's beyond his ability to fix ...
  6. Saving (again). "I can't believe it - you saved it. You saved it." -- Hurley's father, about the Camaro 17 years later ...

The Game

"The rules don't apply," are the words Ben uses on a note to tell Isabel that Juliet's sentence is communted. She is, however, to be marked.

Hurley's dad told him we have to make our own luck in this world.

"Oh man, I suck at charades. You wanna what?" -- Hurley

"If you don't die, then we win. Things have really sucked for me lately, and I could use a victory." -- Hurley, to Charlie.

"Victory or death!" -- Charlie, to Hurley.

Jack plays catch with a football with Tom.

Black-and-white: Tom comes to fetch Jack in a black-and-white plaid flannel; the Dharma procedural manuals found in the Flame basement; the tattoo samples on the walls of the parlor where Claire works.

The Episode "Enter 77" is one of the thickest in the whole series with games, game metaphors, and game strategy. The examples below are all from it:

Several Losties haul a ping-pong table down to the beach and begin a tournament. Sawyer wants his entire stash back if he wins. The rest of the gang is thinking up what they want if they win. When he calls Sun and Jin "Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon," that gives her the idea that they will play for no more nicknames from Sawyer. For anyone, for a week. Seriously? Well I hope you don't win then!

Locke comes across a computer chess program in the Flame station. It asks, "Ready to play?" Mikhail - in an attempt to dissuade Locke from playing - tells him the game can not be beaten, and it cheats. Locke knows that cheating is a uniquely human quality, though.

"Your move."

"So, you really the Number One draft pick, Grimace?" -- Sawyer, to Hurley, who is the people's choice to take on Sawyer in ping-pong.

Hurley asks Sawyer if a mercy rule is being employed. Some rules are negotiable, others are designed to end the game early to avoid pain or embarrasment.

"Why are we continuing to play our little game, when we all know it has moved to the next stage?" -- Mikhail.

Hurley: Sorry I beat you so bad, dude.
Sawyer: Sorry you hustled me, you mean.

Locke: I just played that silly chess game again. And now, I realize why you didn't want me to beat it.

Religious References

"God loves you like he loved Jacob." -- Karl, randomly, to Kate and Sawyer on the boat.

Tom: What kind of people do you think we are, Jack?
Jack: Oh, I dunno, Tom, the kind of people that would kidnap a pregnant woman? That would hang Charlie from a tree? That would drag our people out into the jungle, kidnap children?
Tom [knocks on glass of Jack's cell]: You see this glass house you're living in, Jack? How 'bout I get you some stones?
The implication is that we've all got dirt on our hands and do what we need to do. And that's fine. But then don't give us the "some people are good, some people are bad" routine with your Others-ish brand of morality, because you can't have it both ways.

Kate: You know, all you have to do is say sorry. We could start again. Give each other a clean slate.
A tabula rasa? We covered all this born-again stuff in Season One, no? Well, I guess we have to extend it to blossoming relationships now, too.

Charlie: I have a right to know when I'm gonna die.
Desmond: It doesn't work like that.
Dang straight it doesn't work like that. It's been a while since I consulted my Book of Human Rights, but I don't think this is one of them Charlie. We're all dying. Where is the line that defines immediacy and therefore a right to know? A day? Month? Year? Ten? In fact, Hurley will later smack Charlie and tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself because someone said you're gonna die. He's right. Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.

Sayid: Why would he say don't come back?
Kate: He sacrificed himself so we could escape.
Well, that's part of the reason. The other was some combination of love + woundedness.

"Now that's a hell of a Jesus." -- Hurley's dad, admiring the new centerpiece on the table.

As Hurley prays for help, Sawyer tosses him a beer. It rolls down a big hill, giving Hurley the inspiration he needs.

"Would you like to save the world" is how Dharma's newspaper ads read, according to Mikhail.

Mysteries or Questions Since Solved

  • Who is Roger, the Work Man from the VW? Why was he dead in the abandoned vehicle?
  • Why did Locke take a hunk of C-4 from the Flame before blowing it up?
  • Why does Jack seem to be happy and enjoying himself with the Others?

Mysteries or Questions Still Needing Answers

  • What's the meaning of "God loves you as he loved Jacob?"
  • How does Mikhail survive his encounter with the sonic fence that showed all signs of causing a brain hemorrage?

Add to the LOST Library:

  • The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. Sawyer is reading it on the beach, and takes off his glasses for a second to ponder something. From Wikipedia: "The book often appears [in other media like TV or movies] to suggest Objectivist-related thought or change within a character, such as with... Sawyer in the television series Lost."

Excellent Lines

Humorous

I've not made a point of cataloguing every nickname Sawyer has for everyone because it would take forever, but "Captain Bunnykiller" is truly inspired.

Karl: What was that for?
Sawyer: So you'd Cowboy up. Cryin in the jungle. I thought you people were supposed to be tough.

Jack: I'd be much more impressed with you people if you had a good surgeon.
Ben: We had an excellent surgeon, Jack. His name was Ethan.

...and... another instance in what has become the running joke about Jack's bedside manner...

Locke: It's an electrical wiring map, Sayid. I don't think it's as accurate as you think.
Sayid: Well it's certainly not as infallible as the magical carvings on your stick.
This is great and underrated dialog, because not only is it funny, but it can be extended to the reason/faith, science/Bible argument. Science can describe what it sees but it may not be 100% accurate. But some would say that's still better than trusting in mystical writings. Those who disagree would come back, as Locke does ("The stick did get us to that station."), to say that those mystical writings were good enough to get us this far as a society and in our objectives. And on we go.

"Tricia Tanaka is Dead" gets my vote for funniest episode so far. Each of the below is from it:

"Yeah, chase the dog with the skeletal arm into the creepy jungle, be my guest." -- Charlie, to Hurley.

Jin: Crafty?
Hurley: Yeah, crafty. It's like when you're good at... crafts.

"I'll be damned, y'all found yourself a hippie car!" -- Sawyer

Jin: Good to see you.
Sawyer: Well look at that! Somebody's hooked on phonics.

Hurley's mom covers the ears of her Jesus statue as she explains why his father will be staying. "I have needs." Hurley covers his own ears. "No! No! No! This can't be happening!"

Hurley: Dude, that beer's been sitting there since before Rocky III, maybe even II. It's probably poison by now.
Sawyer [indicating Roger]: Skeletor seems to like it! Bottoms up!
Hurley: That's not funny, dude, that guy had a mom, a family, and friends, oh and a name. It's not Skeletor, it's Roger Workman.
Sawyer: It's Work Man, ya blockhead! That's his job, he was a Dharma janitor!

Hurley: I'll give you 1,000 bucks right now to tell me if my dad put you up to this.
Psychic: The mystic arts are not subject to bribes! How dare you...
Hurley: 10,000.
Psychic: Your dad put me up to it.

"Let's look death in the face and say, 'Whatever, man.'" -- Hurley.

Sawyer teaches Jin the English for "the only three things a woman needs to hear." I'm sorry, you're right, and those pants don't make you look fat.

Sawyer: What's your problem, JumboTron?
Hurley: Shut up, red... neck... man!
Sawyer: Touche.

More Meaningful (and double-meaningful)

Amazingly, none that I didn't already list in another section. 

Characterization

Hurley won ping-pong fair and square, but he nonethless "comes to bring back some of your stuff. 'Cause I know you're the kinda guy that needs stuff."

Claire used to be a goth girl, with black hair and the attitude to match. Apparently she was saying some pretty mean things to her mom in the car at the moment of their accident. She used to work in a piercing and tattoo parlor, which is of mild interest since this disc is bookended by one episode in which Jack gets his tattoos, and another in which his half-sister gives them.

Opening & Closing

3.9 Open - Canoe on the ocean between islands. Sawyer sings "Show me the Way to Go Home."
3.10 Open - Jambox plays tunes, a curly-headed kid in a Latino neighborhood sets out tools and pops the hood on a red Camaro.
3.11 Open - Shot into Sawyer's tent, then out, to see him walking along the beach.
3.12 Open - Claire's eye opens. She has black hair. She's regaining consciousness following a car accident. Her mother's gone through the windshield.

3.9 Close - Jack and Juliet on a nighttime boat crossing looking at each other. Is Jack actually smiling?
3.10 Close - Rousseau's face, hopeful but not daring to hope too much, when Kate tells her about how Alex helped her escape.
3.11 Close - Flame blows up, Sayid and the cat give each other one last stare in the bushes, Sayid turns to go.
3.12 Close - Barracks. Jack runs hard straight at Kate's concealed position, but he's just running a football pattern. Tom passes to him. Kate's and Locke's faces go, "What the... ?" Jack, obviously having fun, spikes the football.

Probably Unimportant, But I've Always Wondered...

Sawyer's confused about what became of the hatch, as is the audience. How could they have found a ping-pong table from it if the hatch "collapsed," or imploded? So did it implode or "explode" (the term Hurley uses)? Hurley answers Sawyer's confusion with: "Look dude, all I know is the sky turned purple. After that I don't ask questions." In other words, crazy people like me, please stop being nerds and just watch the show. You'll know when something's important, like the purple sky.

More references to Hurley's weight not changing. Hurley says he doesn't ask questions anymore, just makes himself a salad and moves on. "Yeah, I can see that's working for you," says Sawyer.

"The computer said if there was an incursion by the Hostiles I should enter 77. So I entered 77." I'm sure it's coincidence (or is it fate?), that in Season Five several of our characters will again "enter (19)77."

How do migratory birds find this island if nobody else can? Does the mysterious impenetrable invisible dome not apply to them? I would have liked the story more if instead of this story line, someone had at some point made a seemingly-throwaway comment early on along the lines of, "You know, why are there no migratory birds ever flying by?"