Thursday, February 14, 2008

Season 4 Episode 1
“The Beginning of the End”
Written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse
Directed by Jack Bender


Thus does the Mystery Box that is Season 4 open, and even as we pick up from where we left off on the Island, we get a flash-forward with Hugo front and center, timeline, somewhen before the Season 3 finale flashforward.

While Jack and company at the radio tower are awaiting rescue, Hurley and the Beach Patrol meet Des as he rows ashore, only to learn that Naomi’s been a lying little b!tch and it isn’t Penny’s boat out there at all, and oh, by the way, Charlie’s dead.
That’s one of the episode’s great moving bits, as we see the news clearly hit Hurley, hard. And since Sayid votes against radioing Jack with that bit of news (suspecting that these new interlopers are keeping tabs on their transmissions), and besides, Hurley smacks the walkie talkie out of Sawyer’s hand and into the water, the Beach Patrol heads out to warn Jack (which is the episode’s fantastic boo-yah! moment as everybody starts arming themselves as they head on out into the jungle).

On the trek, there another nice bit as Sawyer clearly shows concern for how Hugo’s taking Charlie’s death. It’s nice to know the con man can be a person too…
But because Hurley lags behind the rest of the Beach Patrol, he ends up getting separated from them, and finds himself… right outside Jacob’s cabin!
And when he looks in one of the windows, he sees Jacob! There’s also someone else in the cabin, who scares Hurley, who then scampers off. But he somehow finds himself back outside the cabin again.
So he shuts his eyes, tells himself there’s nothing there.
And Locke finds him. (Now, I couldn’t tell if that other someone in the cabin was Locke. It could’ve been…)

Meanwhile, it turns out Naomi wasn’t dead after all, and she seems to have crawled away while no one was looking… (Wow. Dying girl on stealth mode…)
Danielle finds a trail of blood, but Kate finds another trail and suspects that Naomi made a fake trail to throw them off her scent. Jack however, doubts this whole “fake trail” scenario, and opts to follow the obvious blood trail, with Danielle and Ben in tow, sending Kate off with the others to head back to the beach.
They hug and they part.
It turns out though, that Kate was right, and she filched the NaomiPhone from Jack during the hug. Kate finds the bleeding Naomi in time for Naomi to fiddle around with the frequency of the NaomiPhone’s signal emitter (or some techy gobbledygook like that) so the Boat People can find them, then tells the dude on the other end to tell her sister she loves her, before she dies.
For real this time.

All the parties intersect in the jungle, near the 815 cockpit, and there’s another moving bit as Claire is clearly looking around for Charlie, and Des looks like he’s moving towards her, but Hurley says, “I’ll tell her.”
And he does…

Then, to balance out all the sniffly moving bits, Jack punches Locke, then points a gun to his head. Locke says “You won’t shoot me, Jack, any more that I would have shot you,” referring to Season 3’s finale.
But in what’s arguably one of the episode’s biggest shocks, Jack pulls the trigger. But the gun isn’t loaded…
So Jack starts wailing on Locke instead, but he’s pulled off Locke (who didn’t seem to be fighting back anyway).
Locke makes his pitch: I’m trying to keep everyone safe, and those Boat People are not who they say they are, and they’re bad. I’m going to the now abandoned Dharma barracks, which is defensible, and I’m going to come up with a plan. Anyone who wants to stay alive, come with me.
And the tribe splits.

With Locke: Hurley, Claire, Sawyer, Danielle, Alex, Karl, and Ben (who amusingly asks Jack’s permission to take his leave).
With Jack: Kate, Rose (who refuses to go anywhere with Locke), Bernard.
These are the people I’m certain of. I missed some of the others during the exchange, though I assume that Sun, Jin, Juliet, and Sayid, are with Jack’s group. (Not quite sure where Des ended up…)

After a brief interlude at the remains of the cockpit, where Jack and Kate recall all the way back to the Pilot, traveling here with Charlie, Jack hears a helicopter, and they see someone land in a parachute, and Parachute Guy takes off his helmet, and he’s Jeremy Davies!
And he asks Jack, “Are you Jack?”
Which is the episode’s cliffhanger.
But let’s go back to the future, shall we?

Hurley’s chased by the police after he tears out of a convenience store, having seen someone (or something) that spooked him. Just as he’s arrested, he’s shouting, “I’m one of the Oceanic Six!”
At the police station, he’s interrogated by Ana-Lucia’s former partner, but he goes looney when he sees someone swim up to the mirror and touch it, letting tons of water into the room. This is, of course, apparently all a hallucination, and Hurley is only too grateful when they send him back to the same loonybin he spent some time at before. (Sniff. I miss Libby.)

While there, a mysterious stranger who claims to be a lawyer for Oceanic (introducing himself as Matthew Abaddon, creepily played by The Wire‘s Lance Reddick) offers Hurley an “upgrade”: a better loonybin to recuperate in.
Well, that’s… thoughtful.
But Hurley smells something suspicious, and when he says, “Okay, we’re done,” Supposed Oceanic Lawyer Guy asks, “Are they still alive?”
Hurley freaks, and SOLG makes his escape.

Later on, one of the other residents warns Hurley to be careful, “‘cause someone’s watching you.” And when Hurley looks, it’s (and this is the episode’s other possible biggest shock) Charlie! (With a cool, short haircut!)
So Charlie claims he is dead, but he’s also right there, and slaps Hurley to make his point. (And the other loony did see Charlie, right? So Charlie wasn’t a Hurley hallucination. Of course, the other guy who saw Charlie was loony…)
Apparently, Charlie’s who Hurley saw at the convenience store, which made him hightail it out of there. Charlie says to Hugo, “They need you.”
But Hurley’s having none of that sort of talk, so he shuts his eyes and counts to five, and when he’s done, Charlie’s gone.

Later on still, Jack pays Hurley a visit. (Jack saw the car chase on TV at the top of the episode.)
It’s a great scene, as we see a whole lot’s changed since the Island, and Hurley apologizes for going off with Locke, and says he should have stayed with Jack. Jack says it’s okay and that’s all water under the bridge.
But even as Jack’s leaving, Hurley says “It wants us to come back,” or something to that effect, and at this point in time, Jack doesn’t want to hear it, and leaves…

Now, though the episode’s teaser (the car chase leading up to Hurley’s arrest) is arguably not as strong a season opener as either Season 2’s (the inside of the hatch) or Season 3’s (the Others witnessing the 815 crash), the episode itself is solid enough, giving us some teasing bits to gnaw on: so what’s the “Oceanic Six”? Did they claim to the public that only a half dozen survived the crash?
Why does Supposed Oceanic Lawyer Guy ask, “Are they alive?” Did some characters lose themselves on the Island? Did Jack, Hugo and the rest of the Oceanic Six cover up for those other people? (I’m also going to assume that Kate is one of the Six, as we see her off the Island in the Season 3 finale flashforward. Speaking of Kate though, I’m surprised that when she’s asked over the NaomiPhone who she is, she actually gives her real name…)
And speaking of names, with a name like Abaddon, how can you seriously trust Supposed Oceanic Lawyer Guy?

It also struck me that back in Season 3, Ben talked about needing to sacrifice something in order to join them, before telling Locke he had to kill his father to do so. And Ben killed his father as a sign that he was joining Richard’s crew.
Must one always kill the father? Again, with the Daddy issues…
Also (and this is something I brought up before), doesn’t it make a difference that Locke didn’t do the deed himself? That he got Sawyer to get his hands dirty?

Getting back to this episode though, I’m jazzed that Davies has already been introduced, as I do think he’s one of the better young actors out there who always brings something edgy and dangerously unstable to his performances.
And speaking of “dangerously unstable,” I also loved that bit where Hurley sees Jacob.
Does one have to be slightly mentally unbalanced to see Jacob? One must admit, both Ben and Locke can seem a tad loopy at times.
And there’s the Charlie “yes, I’m dead, but I’m also here” bit. Is that what the Island (and/or Jacob) can do? Does that explain why Christian appears in the final mobisode, on the Island, at the moment of the crash? Is Vincent slightly mentally unbalanced too, since he apparently saw Christian as well?
Where is that damned dog, by the way? Did anyone see him in this episode?

Parting shot: Speaking of Christian, didn’t John Terry’s name pop up during the opening credits? Wasn’t he at the tail end of the regular cast?
Since he didn’t show up in this episode (or did I blink and miss him?), does that mean we’ll be seeing more of Christian later on in Season 4? On the Island or off the Island? Dead or alive? Or like Charlie, “dead but here”?

Post-parting shot: During the usual lag time between when I get to watch something and get to write a review for it, and when I actually get to post the review, something happened.
It was brought to my attention (thanx, Mika!) that the guy in the chair in Jacob’s cabin was actually Christian. (There’s a screenshot up at wikipedia.)
So if that was Christian, my question at this point is: was that really Christian, or was that Jacob somehow using the form of Christian? And that question also goes for all the other dead people that have been seen by the living throughout Lost: Charlie, Yemi, Ben’s mum.


(Lost Season 4 ad courtesy of; image courtesy of

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