Episode 9 - Namaste
20 December 2009
Present: Frank lands the plane on the island. Ben walks off into the jungle. Sun follows him, Frank follows her. She knocks Ben out and takes one of the boats to the main island with Frank. At the Barracks they meet Christian who tells her she has a long journey ahead of her.
Flashback: Sawyer and Juliet fake papers so that Jack, Kate and Hurley can pose as new Dharma recruits, fresh off the submarine. Jin rushes off to the Flame to ask Radzinski to look for a plane crash. They come across Sayid who Jin has to pretend is one of the “Hostiles”. Sawyer locks him up to keep him safe and Sayid is visited by a young Ben. Sawyer tells Jack to let him think about a solution to their problems.
The Good: This is as pretty much plot exposition. The Oceanic Six are back on the island in two time periods and now they are both in intriguing situations going forward. But for plot exposition, this is excellent stuff.
For the first time since the finale of season three we don’t know the future anymore. To be fair we do know a couple of things Daniel is going to do (warning Charlotte  and helping to build the Orchid ). But apart from that the show is finally back in a situation where the real tension of people living, dying and suffering consequences has been restored. So hooray for now.
The best part of this episode though is the emotional reactions of Sawyer, Jack and Juliet. When Sawyer tells Juliet that their friends have returned she doesn’t look happy. She looks anxious and confused. Sawyer’s comment is that he doesn’t want them to “screw up everything we’ve got here.” Sawyer and Juliet have found the kind of bizarre fulfilment which the island offers. They have found respected jobs in a peaceful community and love with one another. The return of their friends is a reminder of the painful times they went through and the genocide awaiting their new people (320).
Jack comes to see them to ask what’s going to happen next. Quite reasonably he asks why Sawyer is sitting in a chair reading instead of rushing to the aid of his friends. Sawyer almost sounds bitter as he points out that when Jack was in charge he just reacted instead of thinking things through. Sawyer has grown so much in the last three years that he now looks down on Jack for leaving the island. It’s interesting that he says of Sayid “He got caught by my people.” His people are no longer just the Oceanic survivors. His needling of Jack continues as he tells him that he (not Jack) will deal with Sayid and asks him “Ain’t that a relief?” Seemingly to his surprise Jack responds with an earnest sounding “Yeah.”
Jack too has changed in three years. He was so headstrong for so long and he is now finally letting go. Jack just had to fix everything. He “reacted” on the island because he had learnt as a surgeon to trust his own instincts and make instant decisions. But his life fell into such ruins (323) that he has now had to learn to trust others (Locke, Ben, now Sawyer) to get him where he is supposed to be. When he is assigned work as a janitor he laughs. The old Jack is still in there bristling at the thought of his talents being wasted, but the new Jack sees the humour in it. His humbling process is continuing and for now at least he seems content to let it play out.
Amongst all the exposition there are a couple of moments of good dramatic tension. Jin rushing off to find Sayid is intriguing stuff. Poor Sayid is threatened at gunpoint as Sayid tries not to blow his cover. Then later Frank and Sun are confronted by all the traditional creepiness of the island as the trees move, the whispers whisper and Christian emerges from an abandoned house of a ghost town.
And there are revelations and questions answered throughout which is always pleasing. Jin rushes off to see Radzinski at the Flame Station. Radzinski was Kelvin’s partner (223, 224) in the Swann. He drew the map of the island on the hatch door (217), he edited the orientation film (209) and he killed himself. Presumably because he couldn’t stand the insanity of pressing the button for the rest of his life. Here he is constructing a model of the Swan station which will lead to much speculation (see The Unknown). The fact that Radzinski is working at the Flame answers one of the long standing questions about the map he drew. As he was a very active and knowledgeable member of Dharma we now know how he knew where all the stations were and got much of the information which he had inscribed on the map.
Then we learn that the new born baby (to Horace and Amy) is our old friend Ethan. Being born on the island and quite possibly the last baby to be born there until Aaron gives us a huge clue about his motives. He abducted Claire (110 against Ben’s orders) but was very kind to her (215) and deeply concerned about Aaron’s welfare. Now we can imagine that he grew up in a world where he was the last child born on the island and was keen to know why he was so special. His kindness to Claire may have been partly inspired by his love for his own mother and empathy for what she must have gone through (giving birth on the island).
Then we have young Ben approaching the supposedly “Hostile” Sayid. The assumption would be that this takes place after his meeting with Richard Alpert (320) where he confesses his desire to leave Dharma. So he seems to be friendly and curious about the new arrival because he sees Sayid as an ally and not an enemy. This could not raise more questions if it tried (see The Unknown). There is also of course the irony that thirty years from now their roles will be reversed with Ben in Sayid’s prison (214).
Finally some other nice moments: I was glad to see Frank Lapidas looking grim and uncomfortable with the coming plane crash (after I complained about his initial reaction in 506). The visual of the plane flying over the island and landing was suitably spectacular. Jin rushing off as fast as he could was exactly how he should have reacted to the news that Sun might be somewhere on the island. The island heals Ben’s broken arm nice and quickly, ditto Frank’s painful looking cuts.
The Bad: Caesar seems needlessly rude and confrontational with Frank. He basically accuses him of knowing where they are and lying to them all which seems bizarre. Couldn’t he have just said “Hey I just found some buildings over there, whoo hoo! We aren’t on a deserted island!”
Jack meeting Pierre Chang is such a surreal moment; the direction probably could have made a lot more of it. More than that I suppose it would still be nice to see someone freak out about having time travelled to the 1970s. It might slow the plot down but it would acknowledge the kind of emotion you would naturally feel.
The Unknown: Oh boy. Let’s start with the easier stuff. Where is Daniel and what’s he up to? I know we have some idea (501) but we need more. Why did Sun not jump back to the 1970s? As the plane is crashing you can hear the numbers being broadcast very briefly. If true that would be very weird. Danielle turned off that broadcast in 1992. Could something have changed that event? The alternative would be that this isn’t “the present” but some time between the purge and 92. But that seems impossible because of the Hydra being deserted, Ben knowing where the boats are and the Barracks being torn to pieces. So why do we hear the numbers? Why does Ilana say Sarah (or what sounds like it) when she wakes up? Why does Frank just abandon all the survivors to help Sun? Just after he claimed they were his responsibility. Is “The Shed” another station we haven’t seen yet or just a generic name for Jack’s workplace. What does Christian mean that Sun has a journey ahead of her?
The producers have all but confirmed that Rose and Bernard are still alive. If we assume they are in the 1970s, could they be Adam and Eve (the skeletons found by the caves in 106)? It would make sense that they might head for the caves with all the crazy time jumping going on. It would certainly be a neat way to tie up one of the smaller island mysteries.
Ok so Ben will presumably have met Sawyer, Miles, Jin, Juliet, Daniel, Jack, Kate and Hurley before he grows up and meets them all again. If true then does he remember them all? Does this throw a new light on his confrontation with Miles (404) or his recruitment of Sayid (405)? Or more creepily, Juliet (406)? One of the Others commented that she looked just like “her.” We speculated on whether this referred to his mother or his childhood friend Annie (320) but could it actually refer to Juliet herself? The mind boggles. So the question becomes how does this time travel affect the future and what will Ben remember of it. And of course how will Sayid and company treat the young version of their future tormentor?
If we assume that our friends aren’t going to stay in the 70s for ever then we have to speculate on whether they are “the incident” (203) which created the Swan station countdown clock being put in place. Perhaps Daniel finds a way to get them to all jump back to their time using that electromagnetism. This would of course conveniently get our survivors out of the way in time for the purge (320).
Best Moment: Sawyer and Jack’s confrontation. The same guys arguing like they always did but three years makes all the difference.
The Bottom Line: An episode which gets everything ready for the rest of the season and does a great job doing so. The questions raised here could be the key to some of the great mysteries of the show.
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