Everyone feel that engine kick?
Tonight's episode pushed things forward for the characters on a number of levels (off-Island folks converging! On-Island folks fleeing!), seemed to answer a few questions (the MiB was Christian! Maybe! Sayid was brought back by the MiB! Probably!), highlighted some other questions, and delivered a lot of flat-out exciting stuff (Zoe: "show them what we're capable of.").
There's a ton of fun things to talk other in this one. Did Sayid shoot Desmond (my money's on 'no')? Is Sayid capable of 'redemption'? How about Sun's trauma-induced recognition of Locke? Widmore's sudden change of heart w/r/t Sawyer and the others? Jack's decision ("This feels wrong.")? Desmond's off-Island Jacobosity? The Jack and Anti-Locke sit-down (with a surprising lack of Jackface)? Claire's comment that Anti-Locke had spoken to Jack, making Shepard 'his'?
I loved it. It was an episode fully driven by attention to it's characters and observing how they've changed, how they remain the same (how great was that Sawyer/Kate scene off-Island?). It pushed us closer to The End firmly but slowly, as if daring us to peek over the edge before shoving us over it.
What did you think? Was Anti-Locke telling the truth about being Christian? That's been my longstanding theory, but Terry O'Quinn pregnant pause gave me room enough to doubt. If he can't leave the Island, how did Christian appear off-Island? On the other hand, Claire asks Jack if he's been told that the MiB was Christian, and we saw her hanging out with her dead dad in "Jacob's" cabin back in Season 4.
The MiB seems to have brought Sayid back from the dead (and Sayid calls himself a zombie in this episode, mirroring his previous denial ("I am not a zombie.")). How'd he do it? Richard says that he's never seen the dead brought back to life on the Island. Does that mean this is the first time the MiB has done this? Just that Richard was never aware of this? And what does it "mean"?
"There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a'blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of hell a'glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!"
Those are the lyrics to "The Wondrous Boat Ride," the memorably insane and completely creepy song from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you've seen the Gene Wilder original, you know exactly what scene it is: the one with the Boat, obviously, and also the one in which someone chops the head off of a chicken on the wall of a darkened tunnel.
It's messed up. And I can't wait to scar my as-yet-nonexistent children with it.
That song provided the musical basis for last week's teaser, creating an aura of menace and madness (and more than a little of-a-certain-age nostalgia) that promises events both Great and Terrible. Will we get our answer to the question of "infection"? Will Sayid speak the words "I have no choice"? Will we come to understand the Man in Black's true name/identity? Will the meeting between Jack and Locke be as brain-meltingly awesome as I'd like it to be?
Only one thing is more-or-less for certain:
There Will Be Jackface.
Leave you comments, criticisms, hopes, fears, and whathaveyous here in the comments section. I'll be in after the episode airs in the US on the East Coast to give my Instareaction. Enjoy it while it lasts, people. This is truly The Beginning of the End.