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.

"We all know the story. If we get any questions that we don't want to answer, or that we can't answer, let's just keep our mouths shut."

So, is the above quote from Jack Shephard rallying his O6 troops around the really cool lie they get to tell, or is it what Carlton, Damon, & Friends say to each other before Comic Con every year?

Since nobody's going to tell us (everyone's in on The Big Lie, man! It's a conspiracy!), let's see if we can uncover some answers - and the questions that go before them - ourselves.

LOST Season Four, Disc Four: Checkmate, Mr. Eko

Episodes: 4.12 THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, PART ONE (O6-centric); 4.13 THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, PART TWO (O6-centric); 4.14 THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, PART THREE (O6-centric)

Things That Stuck Out

Island

The beach group debates whether it was their friends in the helicopter. If they were, why didn't they land? If they weren't, who threw out the sat phone tracker? Daniel punches in a code where he can listen to any conversation. Keamy has Frank put it down five clicks from the Orchid. Juliet doesn't know this station. Daniel does... and after consulting his journal, he is freaked out. "We have to get off this island... right now," he tells Charlotte. Why though? What real danger would there be to being on the island when moved if it's done properly?

When Kate and Jack meet Sawyer and Miles on their way to the beach, Sawyer lets them know that Keamy's crew attacked the barracks and tried to kill them all... just like Locke predicted. Still, Jack is going after the chopper because it's the only way off the island (he doesn't know about the Zodiac yet) and because he feels responsible for Desmond and Sayid. Sawyer goes with him, saying, "You don't get to die alone." Kate does NOT like being left behind because of the bundle of responsibility she's holding. So at the beach, she hands off Aaron to Sun and takes Sayid to find Jack and Sawyer.

Hurley, Ben and Locke head to the Orchid to move the island. Hugo wants to know why they didn't do it earlier. Good question, but, "It's both dangerous and unpredictable," Ben says. Apparently, they also need to get permission from Jacob or his spokespeople first.

Ben stops at some rocks, out from under which he pulls a box. Crackers for Hurley, binoculars for Locke, and a mirror for Ben, with which he signals some unseen Others on the hillside... and gets a reply. He "always has a plan," he tells Locke. And apparently, his people still listen to him.

Hurley has another great question - if they move the island, won't Keamy move with it? Ben's working on that he says. Locke tells Hugo it's too late to get off the island, even though we know he does (Locke still doesn't know everything, including what it's too LATE for).

Widmore knows what the Orchid is and that Ben and Locke needs what's inside. Oh? says Locke. I thought you had no idea why Widmore wanted the island. "I wasn't being entirely truthful," admits Ben. No duh.

With the boat's engines fixed, Desmond and the first mate try to head for the island, but the fathometer has interference from some signal (Keamy's death timer). It prevents them from getting close, as they can't see the bottom.

Jack and Sawyer find Lapidus - who is handcuffed to the chopper. He dropped the sat phone so they could find him and he could fly them outta here.

Michael insists to Sun that he does not work for Ben - he's trying to make up for what he did. Desmond screams for him suddenly - the boat is loaded with C-4.

Kate and Sayid realize from tracks that they're surrounded. Richard and the Others disarm them. Why are they back in grubby gear? And I wonder if Richard remembers Kate from 1977 when she brought him a wounded Ben?

Ben hands Locke his telescoping baton, and gives him instructions on how to find the elevator in the Orchid by the anthuriums. As all our groups march toward their respective destinies, Ben surrenders himself to Keamy at the Orchid (but only b/c he knows his people are coming).

Sawyer and Jack find Hurley, and then find Locke at the Orchid, trying to find the elevator. Jack has no intention of having a debate with Locke - he just wants to get his people on the helicopter. One problem - Hurley infomrs him the Rambo guys are on their way to the helicopter with Ben, who surrendered himself to them. So... Jack and Locke have time for another showdown:

  • Please reconsider leaving the island and stay
  • "You threw a knife into the back of an unarmed woman."
  • "Well, you put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. Let bygones be bygones."
  • You're not supposed to leave.
  • Oh, right, crashing here was our destiny.
  • You know you're here for a reason, and if you leave, that knowledge will eat you alive from the inside-out.
  • Locke is the one who tells Jack they will have to lie about everything that happened since Day One. Only way to protect it.
  • "It's an island - no one needs to protect it.
  • It's not an island, it's a place where miracles happen. If you can't believe that, just see what I'm about to do."
  • There's no such thing as miracles.
  • We'll just have to see which one of us is right.

It could be that they both are. Miracles, one might argue, are nothing but a higher-ranking being allowing or disallowing an event that one would normally expect to happen for their own purposes, purposes that those who rank lower than them on the chessboard of life don't know or understand, or possibly can't even fathom. In this scenario - do they exist? Yes, from one perspective. No, from another. Either way, the result is that the event happened however you define it. And to Jack, who can't possibly calculate that there's a frozen donkey wheel under this island or that one could "move" the island (who would/could?), what he sees when the island disappears looks like magic and miracle indeed.

Ben and Locke take the elevator down.

Ben: Didn't you tell him?
Locke: I tried.

Keamy would like to hear from Ben why Widmore would pay him such a huge sum to capture Ben and bring him back alive. All Ben wants to know is whether Widmore ordered Alex's death. When the mercs bring Ben to the chopper, Kate comes running. They stop her. She says she was being chased... by Ben's people. We did know that Richard & Co. had captured her, so this is likely their strategy. The mercs fan out, and the whispers begin. The Ohters kick some mercenary tail.

Once Ben is rescued and Keamy is down (but clearly not dead, because the freighter didn't blow up), Ben thanks Richard for coming - this was obviously Ben's suggestion with the flashy mirror trick he used - and Richard does indeed act like it was a favor rather than a requirement for him to have done so. Ben asks what the arrangement was for procuring Kate and Sayid's help. They get to leave the island in the helicopter. So be it. Ben lets them.

Michael's last sacrificial act - the one that frees him to die (and perhaps redeems him? He does see Libby once more before he goes) - is freezing the battery to slow the explosion and give people some time to get clear.

Miles doesn't want to leave the island, and he's surprised that Charlotte doesn't want to stay, after all the effort it took her "to get back here." She asks what he means, but he definitely knows something.

Did the chamber opening in the Orchid look like an angel when Ben opened it?

Locke still thinks there's a magic box. Wonders if the Orchid is it. Ben's eyes nearly roll out of his skull as he tells him it's not (it's not a complete denial there is one, but we do know he told Locke once before that the magic box was metaphorical. Locke just so much wants to believe in magic... even though in his first ever dialog with Jack he told him he didn't much believe in magic - and this was even after Locke had already met Smokey. Locke won't stop asking questions, so Ben treats him like a father might treat a son who came up to the dad's office: "Why don't you watch this very informative video, and I'll take care of some business." Ben sets to filling the chamger with metallic objects (something the video says NEVER to do), while Locke watches...

Orchid Orientation

  • Orchid is station 6 of 6 (so the final one to be finished?)
  • Chang this time is "Edgar Halliwax" - and his candle theme continues. But why the ruse?
  • The unique properties of the island have created a Casimir Effect, a real physical term involving electromagnetism
  • The result is that Dharma can conduct experiments involving both space, and time
  • The vault is built next to a pocket of "negatively charged exotic matter"
  • Never put metallic objects in there (Ben is doing this as he speaks)
  • Chang moves the test rabbit ahead 100 miliseconds into 4-dimensional space (meaning ahead in time). This will cause it to seemingly have disappeared. It's in the same spot, the observers just haven't caught up to it yet. This explains why there is a time difference between freighter and island, and why the island can not be found. You can have the coordinates but still not be able to see it because it hasn't shown up yet.
  • At this point, the video auto-rewinds, and Locke can't learn any more right now

Hurley wanted them to come back and look for Claire after they drop at the boat. :-( Over the ocean, the chopper starts losing fuel. It took a bullet to the tank during the skirmish on the island. They have to jettison weight. It hurts to see Hurley's face. This is when Sawyer makes his great sacrifice.

Another Catch-22 - with the chopper leaking fuel, they could make it back to the island, but there's no fuel there, which would make the helicopter worthless, though they'd be safe. If they fly around looking for the freighter they might make it to safety, or they might have to ditch in the ocean. Jack will only accept the latter. Good leadership for being single-minded and making a command decision, or obsessed control freak actions? You decide.

Charlotte has been looking for where she was born.

As Keamy dies, Michael, Jin, and Desmond see the light go red. Michael has about five minutes left in the nitrogen tank, and, he knows, in his life. They dispatch Des to get everyone off the boat... just as the chopper wants to land on it AND needs to take on fuel. Michael's last conversation is to tell his friend Jin that, being a father now, he has responsibilities, so get out of here and get your wife and kid to safety. Michael knows only all too well what a father does to protect or save his family. So with this, and with the nitrogen running low, Christian - representing the island/Jacob - can appear to him and tell him, "You can go now, Michael." Boom.

I really wish I could say that I can't stand to hear Sun scream because I have sadness and sympathy. But no, it's because I really can't stand to hear her screams. And besides, Jin lives, dude. Fast-forwarding commenced... Now, with the freighter gone, the chopper has nowhere to land but the island. As they head for it, Sun screams some more, because not only is her husband presumed dead, and she's separated from him, but now she has nowhere to go other than the island that's going to kill her and her baby in a matter of weeks. So more screaming.

Ben finishes putting metallic objects in the vault, closes the doors, turns it on. Explosion in the vault, charged particles and sparks aplenty. Ben says, "I better change." Gonna be pretty cold down there I suppose.

Juliet looks up from her bottle of Dharma rum, blinking repeatedly as she can't believe a shirtless Sawyer just swam up on shore. He asks what she's celebrating - she says she's not. Her eyes direct his to the horizon... where the freighter is nothing but a column of smoke now.

Locke's getting REALLY whiny about being left out again, and thinks Ben has usurped his special mission, but Ben hands him some truth - whoever moves the island gets banished from the island. Therefore, John, it is indeed your time to lead. Go meet my people - they'll be waiting for you. Now, whether Ben has ultierior motives for wanting to get off-island, or whether he truly believes this is the will and punishment of Jacob, or both, he does it. He could have been rid of this loser Locke if he'd just let him turn it, and he wouldn't have even had to convince him to do it. So he's either telling the truth, or he has one heck of a convoluted plan to: get banished, trick Sayid into becoming an assassin of Widmore's people, get the O6 back together, kill Locke (who he would somehow know would also eventually get off-island), and make it back on Ajira 316 in 2007. He has told us he always has a plan, but for now, it's just much easier to believe he's resigned to fate here. But as soon as I type that, I know it's wrong. But even as Richard tells Locke, "Welcome home," as he arrives, Locke is still unsure of himself, having just asked Ben, "what do I tell them to do?" Locke! Come on, dude. Either you need to buck up and "always have a plan," like Ben did, by making one up yourself, or you need to stop worrying about it so much and just calm down and wait to see what you should do. Do we really have to be "do"-ing every minute, King John?

Ben digs through the rubble - steps through into a horizontals stone tunnel (the one we see being drilled in Season Five). At the end, he comes to some Stonehenge (but smaller)-looking stone pillars, and lots of blue glowing ice stuff. Perhaps this is why the polar bears were used (and we know at least one bear turned the wheel at one point in the past). Ben climbs down two levels, but slips on the ice ladder into the final leve and hurts his arm (we see this injury when he comes out in Tunisia in october 2005). There are heiroglyphs on the walls, and a lantern. AND ONE BIG FROZEN DONKEY WHEEL built into the side of the wall. "I hope you're happy now, Jacob," says Ben, who has nobody there to fool or lie to, so we can assume this is a true sentiment and a true belief in Jacob and his will. Ben knows he is saving the island (one last heroic act), but he knows it sucks, too.

More purple sky sounds (like the day the hatch blew up). Problem is, Ben will get the wheel off its axis, such that the island will not stop time-moving. He basically turned the thing into one big broken scratched record... until Locke will fall down the well to set the wheel aright upon its axis again (something Locke will do - paradoxically enough - BEFORE Ben unhinged it in the first place!). How's that to blow the mind? Does it indicate that the donkey wheel is some sort of "time zero" location - the one spot that just keeps moving on its own timeline, or outside of time?

When the island disappears, the O6 and Desmond and Frank are in the chopper, and Farday has a group of folks on the Zodiac. Locke is with the Others, while Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, and Charlotte are on the beach. Jin? Apparently time-skipped WITH the island, as did the Zodiac folks. The chopper did not. Why? Were they outside the range (how was Jin not)? Does being in the air have something to do with it?

With nowhere to land, the chopper crashes into the ocean, but everyone makes it to the life raft. Jack has some pangs of guilt, but swallows them by telling himself, "It's okay - it's okay - we're alive." Exactly one season after he made that ill-advised phone call to the freigter, he did indeed get himself and a few others off the island... at what cost?

Hurley's no longer going to put up with Jack's unbelief. Hurley is amazed that crazy old Locke really moved the island. Jack says he didn't. "Oh really? 'Cuz one minute it was there and the next it was gone, so, unless we like overlooked it, dude, that's exactly what he did. If you've got another explanation man, I'd love to hear it."

We've been here before -- group of Losties on a raft off the island spotted by a boat at night. But this time, it couldn't be cooler. Only thing is, Jack only has a few minutes to explain to all his raftmates that they are going to have to make up one helluva lie - just like Locke told him.

The lie isn't just to protect their friends, though. It's also to protect them, from powerful enemies who would shut them up if they started spouting off to the world that the wreck on the ocean floor isn't their plane. So sometimes, is the truth just impossible? Is it not even an option? Or does it remain an option, just one with a heavy burden and possible sacrifice? Perhaps. So does not wanting to make that sacrifice excuse the lie?

Penny's boat The Searcher (great name for several reasons) finds our castaways, and there is a wonderful reunion at long last. My only question is - Penny was in her London flat on Christmas Eve. Did she get out to her boat in the Pacific that quickly following her conversation with Desmond? It's not at all outside the realm of possibility, just a tad odd.

On week later, Penny's boat has made for Membatu 3,000 miles away so the lie can be perpetuated as we've already seen it explained in the O6 press conference. Hurley's NOT cool with it. Frank and Desmond are staying on board the Searcher, obviously.

"Don't let 'em find you, Desmond. And I'll see you in another life, brotha."

"Let's go home." -- Jack

Off-Island

Oceanic is not forcing the O6 to speak to reporters. But considering they have this nice lie cooked up to, supposedly, protect all their friends, they might as well start sharing it, right? Jack almost seems eager to do so.

The O6 Press Conference
(from Lostpedia.com)

"Oceanic Airlines public relations representative Karen Decker moderated the press conference with the Oceanic Six in an airplane hanger in Honolulu shortly after they had returned. Relying on the location of the crash wreckage in the Sunda Trench, she approximated where the crash occurred on a map of Indonesia, stating that the survivors were carried by the ocean's current to an island known as Membata. Membata, she stated, is an uninhabited, uncharted island in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Decker stated that at some point while on Membata, Kate Austen "gave birth" to her baby, Aaron.
She then stated that 103 days after the crash, a typhoon washed up the remnants of an Indonesian fishing boat, including basic supplies and a survival raft. Five days later - exactly 108 days after the crash - the Oceanic Six survivors used the survival raft to travel East to Sumba, where they came ashore near a village called Manukangga."

It still bothers me that this crash site is nowhere near the route between Sydney and LA, and that Jack will later - at Kate's trial - say they crashed in the South Pacific. Why nobody in the real world or in the O6 or Oceanic is making a fuss about this bugs me.

Also, how is it being explained that the submersible cameras supposedly counted 324 people aboard the staged crash... and yet here sit five of those?

In discussing Boone, Libby, and Charlie, Jack explains how and when they died. Libby's last name is, as always, conspicuously unmentioned. Hurley hangs his head when Jack mentions her. Why did they O6 choose these three and not others as part of their story?

Kate's legal issue is "off the table" for the press conference, Decker says.

Sayid is asked if it's "possible" that anyone else survived. I mean, you six did. He flatly answers no. Hey, anything's possible, but the O6 just doesn't want anyone even going looking for any other survivors.

Nadia has shown up after the press conference, and at long last, she and Sayid are together, if only briefly.

When Sun arrives at her father's office, he's wondering how something could have happened. Whoever did this thing used five different banks. Sun tells him she did it - she bought a controlling interest in his company that morning... with her O6 settlement money? We're supposed to believe that she got enough in a settlement from one company to buy a controlling interest in another? Not in a million years. But fine. The point is she's really angry at her father for what he did to Jin, and she blames him and one other unspecified person (Ben).

Hurley pulls up in a clunker car with a bag of Mr. Cluck's at his mom's mansion. Nobody's around, but he sees tropical fruits and hears whispers. It's a surprise party, of course! What did you think - that the Others were hiding in his house?

Jack's dad's memorial service is 10 months after he died, so probably around July 2005. Why'd they wait so long after getting back to do this? Afterwards, Claire's mom introduces herself, tells Jack her story, in which he learns Claire was his sister. Of course he can't even pretend to have known her. Carole also thinks Aaron is beautiful. Kate overhears the convo, gives him an "are you kidding me?" look.

This Jeremy Bentham cat has been visiting the O6. Kate "knew" Bentham was crazy. Jack, meanwhile, believed him, because that was the only way to keep Kate and Aaron safe. She slaps him - he's not allowed to say his name.

"I spent the last 3 years (late 2007?) trying to forget all the horrible things that happened the day we left. How dare you ask me to go back!" -- Kate, announcing the finale of Season Four is about to begin, take your seats.

Hurley now snacks on fruit roll ups rather than candy and other junk in Santa Rosa. He is doing so when Walt's grandmother visits, having brought Walt all the way from NYC to see him:

  • Walt has gotten big
  • Walt was waiting for one of the O6 to come see him, but no one ever did (they couldn't because of their lie - which has now hurt yet another person)
  • Bentham did go see Walt
  • Walt knows the O6 is lying - he doesn't understand why. But, he should understand, since he and his dad had to lie a bit, too, not using their own names and such, when they first returned
  • "We lied because it's the only way to protect everyone that didn't come back."
  • "Like my dad?"

Sayid breaks Hurley out of Santa Rosa after killing the man who was keeping tabs on Hugo. Sayid's been spooked into action by Bentham's death, something with bothers Hurley too. "They said it was suicide," says Sayid. Hurley seizes on the "they said" part of that. Hurley is also good here to ask what we would like to ask - come on, guys, WHY do you keep calling him Bentham when his name is Locke? (Sayid even stopped him from saying the name Locke).

"Dude, I've been having regular conversations with dead people." -- Hurley. So we know it's moved on past Charlie.

Sun is in London. She talks to Ji Yeon on the phone as she tracks down Charles Widmore. If her daughter can talk, this is 2007, probably shortly before the O6 returns to the island. Widmore pretends not to know who she is at first. Then...

Widmore does business with Sun's father.
She says he knows they've been lying all this time about where they were and what went on there.
She hands him her card, saying they have common interests.
"As you know, we're not the only ones who left the island." (So does she mean Desmond, or Ben? Almost surely Ben).
Widmore's final question: Why would you want to help me? She looks at him like, duh, this should be obvious, and walks away, but perhaps there's more to it. He wants Ben, but maybe he thinks she knows that he really has bad intentions?

Kate wakes in the middle of the night, hearing something. Her phone rings. Some clicks and a backwards-talking male voice (which we have found out says, "The island needs you. You have to go back before it's too late"). She hears a door creak, grabs her gun, runs to Aaron's room. On his door is a big black and white drawing of the white rabbit. Over Aaron is a figure... Claire. All she says is, "Don't bring him back, Kate. Don't you dare bring him back!" I have a few thoughts on this: 1) "Him" - though Claire is standing over Aaron - is not totally specific. Could be Claire means Ben, or Locke, or even Jack. 2) I'm going to assume she means Aaron. Which a) means that this functions as the reason none of us fans will throw a fit later when Kate doesn't bring Aaron with her when she returns to the island where Aaron's mother - we think - is residing, b) perhaps is a warning that while Claire loves Aaron, she realizes now that he HAS been "raised by another" (no fault of Kate's, she did fine, it's just that prophecy worked against her), he is somehow changed, maybe even in some Damien / Omen/ Antichrist weird way, and no one who has a priority of guarding the island as we might assume Claire does now would want that sort of child to get near it.

Kate wakes from this dream... and realizes Aaron is fine, and Claire is not there. But she's willing to listen to Jack now. She cries and says "I'm sorry" to Aaron.

Crazy beared Jack blaring the rock music drives to the funeral parlor that night, and breaks in. Ben has followed him there. Who's in the coffin? Who is this mysterious Jeremy Bentham? The one and only John Locke, dead as dead can be. Bentham had told Jack that Ben was off the island. Jack saw him about a month ago, as did Kate. He told Jack that after they left, bad things happened on the island. It was Jack's fault for leaving, and he had to come back.

  • "The island won't let you come alone," says Ben. They all have to go back. Sounds impossible to Jack:
  • No idea where Sayid is
  • Hurley is insane
  • Sun blames me for what happened to Jin
  • Kate won't talk to him anymore

(Ben offers to help with that (he'll be sending that lawyer to her house soon enough, we know, to get her into her old pattern of running)

  • Appearances of the Numbers: 8 people survived the wreck of 815 in the O6 cover story - Kate, Jack, Sayid, Sun, Hurley, plus Boone, Libby, and Charlie, who all died. That made 5, then Aaron being born made 6; 108 is the day the O6 set sail in a raft from the island they had been on in their lie; 15 years old are the Dharma saltines that Hurley munches on; all the numbers are on the odometer and guages of the Camaro Hurley's dad restored. He doesn't want it; 15 is the number painted on the white rabbit in the Orchid video; 8:15 the time Sayid kills the man keeping tabs on Hurley outside Santa Rosa.
  • Deaths: Keamy's whole team, via attack by Others; Omar, by Keamy kicking a grenade away from himself and next to Omar; Keamy, by Ben; lots of people on the freighter, including Michael and perhaps Jin, by Keamy's death causing the C-4 to explode/

Themes Established or Revisited

  1. Luck. The co-pilot of the cargo plane carrying the O6 to Hawaii cites "bad mojo," and therefore strokes a rabbit's foot for luck ... Hurley doesn't want his money back - any of it. It was "bad luck" ... the keys to the Camaro are on a rabbit's foot keychain.
  2. Lies. The most important of which is THE lie that the O6 are telling, and which only Jack seems really committed to. It includes Kate having to lie about Aaron's age, because surely the Marshall service would have noticed if she had been 8 months pregnant, but maybe if she was just 6 she could have hidden it.

    "You know when most people are lying and they can't look you in the eye? You do the exact opposite." -- Kate, to Jack.

    "Lie to them, Jack. If you do it half as well as you lie to yourself, they'll believe you." -- Locke.
  3. Time.

    "At least we'll have a warning - buy ourselves some time." -- Michael

    Locke: Is he talking about what I think he was talking about?
    Ben: If you mean time-travelling bunnies, then yes.

    Charlotte: I'm going to stay Daniel. For now.
    Daniel: There is no more 'for now.' If you don't come with me now, could be forever.
    Charlotte: Nothing's forever.

    "Pardon me sir, do you have the time?" -- Sayid, the first words of the final hour of Season Four.
  4. Safety.

    Jack: Sayid, how'd you get here.
    Sayid: I took the Zodiac from the freighter.
    Jack: Is it safe?
    Sayid: It's safe now.
    Safety might be the most relative condition in the human experience. In the same situation, one person might feel or be perfectly safe, while someone else feels or is unsafe. The freighter is safe from having any mercs on it, but that doesn't mean it's safe as in not going to explode. We have this incredible yearing we can't ignore to be safe. But considering the world can reach us anywhere, or considering that the worst that can happen is death (and for those who know God, this is a blessing), it's illogical that we would spend so much time striving for and worrying about safety. In other cultures where there is less to lose, they do it less. And one might argue they are more free than those who live in the world's freest country for it.

    Sayid: This isn't a visit. I want you to go with me.
    Hurley: Go where?
    Sayid: Somewhere safe.

    "Fly safe," says Sun's mother to her over the phone in the flash-forward.
  5. Sacrifice. Ben gives himself up to Keamy (but he has a plan to get out of it) ... Sawyer sacrifices by jumping out of the helicopter ... Michael sacrifices himself to hold off the explosion as long as he can, and to hopefully redeem himself ... Jin sacrifices to make sure Sun gets on the helicopter. At the end of Season Three, we had Charlie's sacrifice, and at the end of Season Two, Desmond's (which he was blessed to survive). At the end of Five, we'll have Juliet's.
  6. Fear. This was much more prevalent in the first season, but we see the O6 starting to deal with it more and more. Here, it presents as paranoia. Hurley doesn't want to slip into it, Sayid finds paranoia is what's keeping him alive. Now that's a sad life.

The Game

Keamy tells Ben he's not bluffing about his dead-man's trigger.

"My name is John Locke, and I have no conflict with you." -- to Keamy. Locke here tries to save the people on the boat, too. Locke once told Ben he wasn't him, and it's proved clear and true in a good way here. Locke wants to find a mutual solution, Ben believes (knows?) there isn't one, so he kills Keamy, knowing the boat people - "innocents" (relative term) - will die. Different approaches. Which is right, which is wrong? If we knew that, this wouldn't be such a heavy topic around election time and during war time. But one clue as to how the producers feel is that they make Ben - once he has immoblized and neutralized and beaten Keamy - still has no intentions of helping Locke stabilize him so that the boat people can live. He's too focused on watching Keamy did and satisfying his angry vengeful bloodlust.

Hurley is playing chess against an empty chair, but he apparently believes he is having a game with Mr. Eko

Before Hurley leaves Santa Rosa, his black queen goes all the way diagonal across board to take the white rook: "Checkmate, Mr. Eko."

Keamy [dying]: Wherever you go, Widmore will find you.
Ben: Not if I find him first.
My first question is, what makes Keamy so sure Ben is going anywhere? Does he know Ben either can't or is not going to stay? Either way, the game and the hunt remains on.

Widmore says Sun's father is "quite the golfer," and he owes him dinner. It's enough for me to distrust Widmore that he golfs with that guy. Nobody on LOST creeps me out more than Mr. Paik and his Popeye stare.

"It's dark, Jack. Very dark." -- Ben, to crazy bearded Jack, about flying planes hoping they'll crash. Indicating Jack has switched sides of the board?

Black-and-white: chess pieces in Hurley's room at Santa Rosa.

Religious References

"Ready, willing, and able to share what they know, and they will follow your every word." -- Ben, to Locke, about going to lead the Others. This is TOO GOOD to be true. It's Locke's version of heaven. Which is why it's so perfect that Ben - perhaps knowing or expecting the time-skipping that could occur when he turns the wheel, sending everyone flying like they had been on a record player that stopped suddenly - only lets him have a few minutes IN his Heaven before he is yanked away.

On the life raft, Kate says "it's a miracle" that Aaron is okay... despite the crash, his mom's abandonment, everything. And I'm a little uneasy at this - is Aaron special too in surviving childhood injury/accident/trauma, like Locke, Ben, etc.? Is he the next creepy island leader?

"God Almighty," says Lapidus right after Hurley has explained the the island got moved... and right before Penny's boat comes into view.

Mysteries or Questions Since Solved

  • How is it that Miles and Charlotte both have been to the island before?
  • What does Sawyer whisper to Kate before he jumps?
  • Is Kate the "other person" Sun blames for what happens to Jin? Since she said she was going back for him but didn't bring him back? Might it be Jack, who didn't let Kate
  • Did Jin survive the freighter explosion?
  • When the island "disappears," how come those on the ocean (Jin, Zodiac folks) stayed with it, while those in the helicopter did not?
  • Is Locke really dead? How did he die? Did he really kill himself? Might the island bring him back to life?

Mysteries or Questions Still Needing Answers

  • Is Claire alive, dead, or somewhere in-between?
  • How does Faraday know about the secondary protocol? Who would have let him in on it?
  • Why have the Numbers continued to follow Hurley back to the states?
  • The Whispers - are they related to ghosts/spirits, smokey, the Others, Jacob... who? Sometimes it seems like the Others are using them (like when Richard's group attacks Keamy's), other times it seems more like it has to do with the island or possibly spirits on it.
  • Why does Pierre Chang bother with candle-based aliases on the orientation videos? It's not like he's a mysterious unknown person to the folks in the DI - he's all around the compound, living with them, overseeing things, etc. They KNOW he's Dr. Chang, man. What gives?
  • How did the donkey wheel get there? Aliens? Is the island built on the remains of a crashed spaceship? What civilization might have put it there?

Add to the LOST Library:

  • Other than more Alice in Wonderland (white rabbits, bedtime stories) and Wizard of Oz ("There's No Place Like Home") allusions, nothing new or noticeable.

Excellent Lines

Humorous

"They're referring to you as the Oceanic Six. That's not the best branding as far as we're concerned, but it's catchy." -- Karen Decker.

"Jesus Christ is not a weapon." -- Hurley's mom, when Hugo holds a statue like a club. Hilarious. And true.

Sayid [on the island decor of Hurley's party]: Interesting choice of theme.
Hurley: Yeah, mom... really doesn't get it, dude.

Ben: Couldn't find the anthuriums, could you?
Locke: I don't know what they look like!

Sawyer's nicknames for Lapidus include "Shaggy" and "Kenny Rogers." HAHAHA.

More Meaningful (and double-meaningful)

Kate [seeing Sawyer with Aaron]: Where's Claire?
Sawyer: We LOST her.

"What's with you and gettin off the island? You're like a... broken record!" -- Sawyer, to Jack. The broken record motif is going to be very important skipping ahead into Season Five...

"How many times do I have to tell you, John? I always have a plan." -- Ben. Okay, we get it. We won't doubt it anymore (even though I do - just barely - above).

"We have to - we need to go back!" -- Sun, screaming this, despite Lapidus's protests they can't land again. Your screams are just three years too early is all, Sun.

"Sometimes good command decisions get compromised by bad emotional responses." -- Ben, to Locke. Ya think? This makes for a convenient and almost laughable excuse when Ben uses it (it's not the first time). But the thing is, he's also telling Locke, don't judge me man, because when you lead, you're gonna be prone to this too. You might not have the same kind of bad emotional response (i.e. anger/revenge, maybe yours will be melancholy or fear), but the results in a command situation can be just as disastrous. He even goes on to sarcastically say as much to Locke: "I'm sure you're going to do A MUCH better job of separating the two than I ever did..."

Characterization

Jack is still so obsessed by his promise to get folks rescued and to see it through that he goes out hunting a day or two after surgery.

The family greeting sequence when the O6 lands is nice and all, but doesn't have much to do with our purposes here. Most notable: nobody there for Kate (of course - she has a tough litany of things to face, sudden motherhood among them); no family for Sayid, so Hurley's family 'adopts' him; Sun has plenty of hugs for her mother but won't even look at her nasty old daddy.

Opening & Closing

4.12 Open - One white cloud in a blue sky above the ocean. Pull back into the cockpit of an airplane. The co-pilot strokes a rabbit's foot for luck considering the bad news cargo they're carrying.
4.13 Open - Tires screech. Kate didn't just drive away the night crazy bearded Jack screamed "we have to go back!" at her. She backed up and chewed him out.
4.14 Open - A man sits in a car reading a paper at night. Sayid knocks on the window, asks for the TIME. It's 8:15. Sayid blows his head off.

4.12 Close - "My name is Benjamin Linus. I believe you're looking for me?" Keamy points gun at his head, instead uses it to knock Ben out.
4.13 Close - Locke: You just killed everybody on that boat! Ben: So?
4.14 Close - "I said all of you - we're gonna have to bring him, too." -- Ben, as the camera finally pans up and over the coffin lid onto the face of Dead Locke.

Three hours of episode titled "No Place Like Home." But of course. You only get home if you click your heels and say it three times...

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

As I noted during Milepost 20 where Jack testified at Kate's trial in the Eggtown episode: "During Jack's testimony he says they crashed on an island in the South Pacific. How is this being reconciled with where the wreckage was found? I'm drawing a blank." In "No Place Like Home," the O6 press conference is all about the crash site in the INDIAN OCEAN, near Bali, just like the world has been led to believe the plane is. Is this not bothering anybody else? Why doesn't anyone flip out during Kate's trial when Jack mentions crashing in the Pacific?

In this episode, I did for the first time see two helipads on the freighter. So my problem last time with figuring the two-helicopter problem in last milepost is moot.