Let’s do the time warp again… I almost got dizzy from all the “three years later, three years earlier” shuffling in this episode – and that’s not a complaint! I was pleased by this shift in the Island time continuum, or rather, in the storytelling structure. This season we’ve grown accustomed to alternating between the time traveling adventures on the Island, and the “three years later” activities of the Oceanic Six in L.A. This week, we were firmly planted back on the Island, but with our sense of time thrown for a loop.
I had already suspected that Kate, Jack, and Hurley had landed on the Island circa 1970ish (given the Dharma worksuit Jin was wearing, along with a couple other clues), so I wasn’t too surprised when Sawyer’s crew found themselves assimilating into the Dharma village. What did surprise me was the gang’s final time flash before Locke turned the wheel, and what they saw there. Apparently, the Others of the distant past worshiped cat people. At least, that’s my best guess about the giant statue they saw, with its pointy ears, and resembling Egyptian art. I was glad that we finally learned something else about the giant four-toed statue on the Island. Hasn’t it been at least two seasons since Sayid noticed it on the shore when he was circling the Island in a boat? Another possibility, but one I am still hesitant to entertain, is that there is something extraterrestrial about the Island, its indigenous people, or both.
No sooner had Miles pointed out the statue to Juliet et al, then Locke was turning the wheel beneath them and setting the world right again. Too bad for our gang that this involved sending them back to the 1970s. (As Daniel put it, “The record has stopped spinning. We’re just not on the song we want to be on.”) This era didn’t mean anything good for Sawyer’s hair, but it was fun to see the flowery, hippie clothes. Left with few options, Sawyer and the gang agree to wait for Locke to come back (since that’s what he promised to do), for as long as it takes. End scene, cue “three years later,” and welcome to the 1970s. How crazy that they figured they’d be waiting a couple of weeks, and that turned into three years!!
Three Years Later = Thirty(ish) Years Earlier
- Welcome back to the age of the Dharma Initiative. We are reintroduced to Horace, who is drunk and blowing up trees on the perimeter. Meanwhile, his wife, Amy (Michelle from 24 – nice to see her alive and well again), is going into labor. The main purpose of this storyline – involving Horace, Amy, and her deceased husband Paul – was to set up the complicated love triangle between Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate. But more about that later.
- The “Amy going into labor” development gave Juliet a chance to finally achieve her purpose of helping a woman give birth, and live to tell about it, on the Island. (How funny was it that Juliet “came out of retirement,” and blew her cover as a mechanic, to do this.) Since the Others were trying to kidnap Amy when Sawyer rescued her (three years before – see below), I wonder if it is only the Others who can’t survive pregnancy and childbirth on the Island. Since Amy was able to have her baby, we have to assume that either it’s the Others who can’t go full term with pregnancies, or that the cause of this “curse” hadn’t happened yet in the ’70s.
- 1970s Jin is sweeping the grids looking for any sign of “our people.” Sawyer tells him to keep looking for as long as it takes. Are they looking for Rose and Bernard, and the other faceless Flight 815 survivors, who have been MIA since the time flashes began? Or, are they looking for Locke, Jack, Kate, and any of the others who left the Island, to see if they’ve made their way back? And what “grids” is he searching? Different areas of the Island, or some other type of grid?
- Miles is now all buddy buddy with Sawyer. And we don’t know what Daniel is up to. Based on the previous episode when we saw him lurking in the Orchid station, we can assume that he is working for Dharma like the rest of them. I wonder if he’s still mourning Charlotte’s death three years later.
- I like the progression in character development that this jump ahead allowed for. Granted, it is weird for us to see Sawyer and Juliet declaring their love for one another. But let’s give them a break. They went through this insane ordeal together, they are stuck 30 years before their time, and thus they have a lot more in common with each other than with any of the available Dharma-ites. You couldn’t expect Sawyer to wait around for Kate forever, since he figures he’d never see her again, separated as they are by time and space. Another character who is affected by the skipping ahead is Jin. He’s had three years to improve his English-speaking abilities, so now it is realistic for him to be fluent (whereas before it was pretty amazing that he could understand so much after only a few months). I like the idea that these characters have had three years to become a close-knit group. The previous group of 815 survivors only had a few months together on the Island, always with the assumption that they would eventually find a way home. This group, on the other hand, after a couple of years, probably were mostly resigned to the idea that they were permanently stuck in the past. These three years, which we’ve only seen glimpses of, should be a firm foundation for their relationships – Sawyer, Jin, Juliet, Miles, and Daniel. It will be interesting to see how their time together changes the dynamics in the Island politics.
Three Years Earlier from Three Years Later/30ish Years Ago
- In order to understand where the characters found themselves three years later, living in the Dharma village, the writers took us back to the events that led them there, from the moment they flashed into the ’70s. Basically, Sawyer made up a story, and the rest of them went along with it, that their salvage vessel wrecked while searching for “an old slaver,” the Black Rock. They bought themselves some time on the Island by claiming they were searching for some of their crew members who were missing. Apparently, Sawyer has been paying close attention to the Island mythology, and he used it to his advantage. He’s also going by the name Jim LaFleur. I don’t know of any literary or historical figures by that name, but since la fleur means “the flower” in French, perhaps this is just a reference to the Orchid station, and its importance to this whole time travel mess.
- Daniel was mourning the loss of Charlotte. Apparently, when they jumped, because she was dead, her body stayed behind. Even though I never cared much for Charlotte, this scene was very sad, when Daniel was trying to explain to Juliet what had happened to Charlotte. I can understand this sending him into shock and him becoming virtually useless to the gang. He was already teetering on the brink of insanity, and it looks like, for the time being, he has fallen in. On a positive note, he was able to see Charlotte again, as a little girl, in the Dharma village. For some reason this makes me think of the Twilight series, and the whole imprinting business between Jacob and Renesmee.
- As soon as Juliet found out there was a sub available to take them off the Island, she was ready to go, even though she’d be going to a 1970s world that she was a stranger in. But she didn’t see that as a reason not to go, since she’d been waiting more than three years to leave. She reluctantly agreed to stay two weeks, until the next sub’s departure, at Sawyer’s request. After all, he didn’t want her to leave him with “the mad scientist, and Mr. ‘I Talk to Dead People,'” and Jin, who at the time still wasn’t a great conversationalist. I wonder what happened in those two weeks that convinced her to stay. Or maybe the offer of that second sub was revoked. And somewhere along the way, she and Sawyer fell for one another.
- Sawyer really stepped up as the leader, from the moment they rescued Amy from the two Others (what were she and Paul doing having a picnic in the Others’ territory, anyway?), to his “moment of truth” encounter with Richard. I loved Sawyer in this episode, even more than normal – despite his greasy, flat hairdo. He certainly played the hero, and easily earned Richard’s respect with his confidence and blatantly honest explanation about what was going on. While all the Dharma folks were hiding out, Sawyer sauntered right up to Richard ( Horace’s “buddy out there with the eyeliner” – ’70s Sawyer is still on with the nicknames), sat down on the bench, and had a little chat. He got Richard’s attention by revealing his knowledge about events in the past: “Did you bury the bomb?” “Twenty years ago some bald fellow limped into your camp and fed you some mumbo-jumbo about being your leader.” “That man’s name is John Locke. I’m waiting for him to come back.” With these words, Sawyer convinced Richard that he wasn’t a member of the Dharma Initiative, and therefore rescued the Dharma-ites, for the time being, from being attacked by the Others. The trade-off? They had to agree to hand over Paul’s body to the Others. I wonder what they did with it.
“Love is Space and Time Measured by the Heart” – Marcel Proust
- This quote from Proust seems especially appropriate for describing the new love triangle of Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet. Just when Kate and Sawyer were hitting their stride, three years ago (in the future, or whatever you want to call it), he jumped out of the chopper, thus forfeiting any chance (or so he thought) of having happiness with her. For the next three years, they were separated by time (she in the 2000s, he in the 1970s) and space (she in L.A., he somewhere on an island in the Pacific). Meanwhile, Sawyer found himself sharing a lonely raft of sorts with Juliet, as they struggled to stay afloat in the alien landscape of the 1970s. There they were, thrown together in the same foreign time and space, and because of that, as well as because they depended on one another for friendship and support, it is natural that they developed feelings for one another. As viewers who see the big picture, it seems obvious that Sawyer and Juliet are more a relationship of comfort, commonality, and convenience; whereas Sawyer and Kate were more a relationship of passion between two lost souls both searching for redemption (Kate from her past as a fugitive, and Sawyer from his days as a con man. Obviously, during their three years of separation, Kate and Sawyer still had feelings for each other, feelings that survived the distance between them. Now that all three of them – Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet – are back in the same space/time continuum, the question is, which relationship has stronger “heart ties”?
- And now to the scene that got me thinking about these questions of love, space, and time: After Amy has given birth to a son, and Horace wakes up from his hangover, Sawyer shares the news that Horace is a daddy. The next thing Sawyer wants to know is why Horace wandered off to get drunk when his wife was about to give birth. The answer? He found a necklace in the back of Amy’s drawer that had belonged to Paul, which led him to question whether or not Amy loved him, or if she was still in love with her former husband. The interesting and relevant question raised by Horace is, “Is three years really long enough to get over someone?” This sends Sawyer into a monologue about how he wondered if he’d ever stop thinking about Kate, but that now he can barely even remember what she looks like. “She’s just gone, and she ain’t never comin’ back.” Is three years long enough to get over someone? According to Sawyer, “Absolutely.” But his resolve is about to be tested, as an early morning phone call from Jin reveals that the impossible has happened, and Kate has returned to the Island.
- And so we came to the end of the episode, and to the beautiful vista of the North Valley. This scenic byway was the site of the reunion of Hurley, Jack, and Kate with their old sidekick Sawyer. Jack and Hurley looked a bit shell-shocked, perhaps a combination of their weird time flash from Flight 316 to the heart of the jungle, and now fluent-in-English Jin’s explanation that they were now stuck 20+ years in the past. Kate looked like seeing Sawyer again made it all worthwhile, and Sawyer looked like he was thinking, “Oh, crap. What am I gonna do now?” As usual, I can’t wait to find out! Too bad we have to wait two weeks this time.
- We know that at some point in the Island timeline, the Others, aided by Ben, took over the Dharma barracks and wiped out most of them. I’m a little nervous about the timing of our gang being sent to the ’70s and joining the Dharma Initiative. Where is that Ben during all of these events? Is he going to strut into the village with his gas mask while our beloved Sawyer and the rest of them are still there? Or is that still ten years away?
- Richard said that the Dharma fence doesn’t work on the Others. Why doesn’t the fence keep the Others out? Is it because they wear special ear plugs, like Amy was wearing when she tricked Sawyer et al to walk past the perimeter? Is it because they are aliens? (I hope not!) Or is it for the same reason that they don’t move when the Island experiences the time flashes?
- Is the four-toed cat person statue connected to the Temple that the smoke monster guards? If so, how? What ancient civilization, species, or way of life are the Others protecting?
- Are the Flight 316 survivors in the same time period as Jack, Kate, Hurley, and the Dharma-employed gang? I would assume so, since we assume Sun was on the beach before she and Frank went off in search of Jin. Perhaps Flight 316 landed on the adjacent island, which could explain why Jin and Sawyer haven’t found them yet.
- What will happen to Sawyer and Juliet now that Kate is back? And what about Kate and Jack, who rekindled their romance the night before they boarded Flight 316?
- How will they get back to the 2000s?