The freighter sends four very unique individuals to the island, but the survivors quickly discover that rescue isn’t their reason for coming.

Written by Drew Goddard & Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Stephen Williams

Flashback

An unspecified amount of time ago, an undersea salvage operation located what appeared to be the wreckage of Oceanic 815, in the Sunda Trench, off the coast of Bali. There were even bodies found with the plane.

Daniel Faraday, in Essex, Massachusetts, watched the footage of the supposed discovery on his television set, while in a strangely fragile state of mind. He was unable to stop himself from crying, though he didn’t know why. Daniel would later travel to the island on board the Freighter, for unknown reasons, where his mind was seemingly healed and he was revealed to be a brilliant scientist.

Around the same time that Daniel watched the news footage on TV, Miles Straume met with a client named Ms. Gardner, who wanted him to talk to her murdered son. He asked for $200 before venturing up to the boy’s room, where he deployed a strange device made from vacuum parts. The device seemed to enable him to talk to the boy, and he asked the kid to move on, but not before demanding to know where the boy hid a stash of drug money his mother knew nothing about. Miles took the money and went back downstairs, and reported to Ms. Gardner that it worked and her son had moved on.

In Tunisia, Charlotte Lewis traveled to an archeological dig site with a friend, where she found a newspaper telling of Oceanic 815’s discovery on the ocean floor. She told her friend she didn’t believe the discovery of 815 was legitimate, before she used a large wad of cash to buy entrance to the “closed” dig site. The site was built around the skeleton of a polar bear, buried in the dirt. Charlotte dug into the ground around the partially-buried bear and found a collar that was around its neck when it was alive — a collar with a Dharma Initiative logo on it. The logo was for a Dharma station we’ve never seen before, and Charlotte was very excited to see it.

Frank Lapidus was working at a travel agency in the Bahamas when the television report about Oceanic 815 came on. He got a look at the body of the pilot — Seth Norris — in the cockpit, from his TV, and he knew immediately that something was wrong. Frank was longtime friends with Norris, and knew that the image shown on TV couldn’t be him, because he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring. Frank called the special Oceanic hotline set up for friends and family members of the crash victims, and tried to tell them that the pilot of the plane they were showing on TV couldn’t possibly be Seth Norris — and Frank knew this because he was originally supposed to be the pilot of Oceanic 815.

Naomi Dorrit was an experienced soldier, hired by Matthew Abaddon — or rather, Abaddon’s mysterious employer — to command the freighter mission. The two of them met before the freighter set sail to discuss the team that had been assembled, and Naomi wasn’t pleased about any of them. She asked what she was to do if they found survivors of Oceanic 815, but Abaddon insisted that there were no survivors of the crash. He explained that all four of these team members were selected for a specific purpose, and her job was to protect them.

Now

The helicopter sent to the island by the freighter carries four passengers: a physicist named Daniel Faraday, a biologist named Charlotte Lewis, a medium named Miles Straume, and the pilot, Frank Lapidus. The chopper nearly crashes on the island, causing the three main passengers to jump, but Frank manages to set it down safely. As a result, each of these four “Freighter Folk” lands in a different spot on the island, separated from one another. Daniel is the first to be found by Jack and Kate, who witness his parachute falling to the ground near their position at the downed cockpit of Oceanic 815. Daniel carries a gun, though he tried to keep them from seeing it. Daniel reveals his name to them and explains that he’s there to rescue them.

The rain stops and Daniel asks for Jack’s satellite phone. He contacts George Minkowski on the phone, but George refuses to talk on speakerphone where Jack and Kate can hear. Daniel explains that he can use the sat phone to track the GPS markers each of the Freighter Folk are carrying, and asks Jack and Kate for their help in finding his friends. Later, they come across a steel crate that fell from the chopper and inside, Jack finds biohazard gear, including gas masks. Daniel’s a terrible liar, so Jack asks why he has a gun. Daniel finally admits that he and his friends aren’t really there to rescue the survivors. Jack asks what their true purpose is, but the sat phone picks up Miles’ GPS just then, and Daniel leads them to it.

Out in the jungle, Locke leads his group to the Barracks, but decides to detour to Jacob’s cabin first. Hurley chimes in that the cabin isn’t in the direction they’re going, but then shrugs it off when Locke presses him about it. Ben and Locke both take special note of Hurley’s words. Sawyer, displeased as usual at Locke’s erratic behavior, asks where Locke is getting his orders from, and Locke casually explains that his orders came from Walt, who told him he had to stop Naomi from bringing her people to the island. When he reveals that Ben had shot him and left him for dead, Sawyer wants to know how he’s alive and well. Locke raises his shirt and shows him that the bullet went straight through, in the exact spot where his stolen kidney used to be, and that if it was still there, he’d probably be dead now. Everyone is awed by this.

At the beach, Sayid and Juliet talk about the coming freighter, and why Ben said earlier that the Freighter Folk intend to kill them all. Juliet points out that Ben’s a liar, though there’s always the chance he could have been telling the truth this time. The two of them decide to gather their remaining weapons and be ready, just in case.

Out at the bluffs, Jack, Kate, and Daniel find Miles’ unconscious on the rocks, still tethered to his parachute. When Jack attempts to revive him, Miles suddenly jumps up, gun in hand, and says he knows that Naomi’s death wasn’t an accident because her final words — “tell my sister I love her” — were a code. He demands to be taken to the place where Naomi lies dead. When they arrive, Miles “talks” to Naomi. Meanwhile, Daniel notes that “the light out here doesn’t scatter quite right.” Miles reports that Jack and Kate were telling the truth, that they didn’t kill Naomi. Charlotte’s GPS blips onto the phone’s screen just then, but Jack and Kate suddenly refuse to help anymore unless Miles and Daniel put down their guns. When Miles argues, Jack explains that his friends are in the woods nearby holding guns to Miles & Daniel’s heads, and right on cue, Sayid and Juliet appear with weapons pointed at the two of them.

Out in the jungle, Locke’s group stops at a creek for water. Ben tries to talk to Alex, wanting to tell her something, but Karl uses a gun to threaten him into being quiet. Ben tries to get Karl riled up, but Sawyer comes to his rescue. So Ben turns his attention to Sawyer, playing with Sawyer’s unrequited feelings for Kate until Sawyer starts hitting him. Locke stops him, pointing out that they need Ben because he’s been on the island longer than any of them, but Sawyer’s had enough of the mind games and washes his hands of Ben for good, leaving him in Locke’s care alone.

Charlotte Lewis wakes up, dangling upside down from a tree that her parachute has gotten tangled in. She’s hanging over a river, so when she frees herself, she falls into the water. Wading out of the river, she’s ecstatic at the sight of the island around her, until Locke and his group arrive at the river’s edge. The group stops to talk to her, and she tells them about the GPS devices and suggests they all sit tight until rescue arrives to cart them all back to the freighter. But Locke and the others are suspicious of her, pointing out that none of them want to be found by Charlotte’s friends.

Juliet explains that she and Sayid grew worried when Jack and Kate didn’t return to the beach, so they went out to the cockpit and tracked them from there. As they walk towards Charlotte’s signal, carrying Naomi’s body on a stretcher, Sayid tries to interrogate Daniel and Miles about why they seem unsurprised to find survivors from Oceanic 815, when the rest of the world believes everyone on that plane died. Miles is cagy and sarcastic in response, but confirms that they weren’t surprised to find the survivors alive. Sayid tries to use the satellite phone to contact the other members of Daniel and Miles’ team, but the phone blinks to life, showing that Charlotte’s GPS is on the move. They give chase and quickly catch up to the signal, but it’s not Charlotte they find — it’s Vincent, who’s been given the GPS by Locke.

Frank wakes up on the island and finds his sat phone broken. So he sends up a flare to signal his friends.

Charlotte sees the flare and wants to go find her friend, but Locke refuses to allow it. Charlotte turns to go anyway, but is shot by Ben, who’s lifted the gun Karl had tucked in his pants. But it turns out Charlotte was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and she’s okay.

Jack’s group tracks down Frank’s flare and asks him what happened to the helicopter. He says the chopper was struck by lightning, but it didn’t crash after all. He managed to land it safely, and the survivors are thrilled to discover he’s telling the truth. Sayid inspects the chopper and finds it to be intact. Miles asks for the sat phone back, but Jack wants to know the real reason Miles and his friends have come, in exchange. But Miles is unable to reach Minkowski on the boat when he calls in, because “he can’t come to the phone right now.” In a secluded spot, Juliet patches up a gash in the forehead Frank suffered when the chopper went down, and as they talk, he realizes that she was not on Oceanic 815. He calls out to Miles to tell him this, and Miles comes running. Miles finally explains what the Freighter Folk have come for, as he pulls out a photo of Ben. “We’re here for Benjamin Linus,” Miles says.

As Charlotte recovers from her near death experience, Sawyer holds a gun to Ben’s head and slams him up against a tree. Locke tells Sawyer he was wrong, that they shouldn’t be keeping Ben alive after all, and asks for the gun so he can end Ben’s life at last. Ben tries to bargain for his life by offering answers about the island. Locke immediately asks him what the black smoke monster really is, but Ben says he doesn’t know. As Locke is about to pull the trigger, Ben shouts to the entire group a detailed biography of Charlotte, including her name, birth date, collegiate information, and facts about her family. Ben knows the names of her three companions as well, and he knows that they’ve come for him. Locke asks how Ben could possibly know all this, and Ben reveals that he has a double agent on their boat who’s been feeding him intel.

  • The woman who parachuted onto the island was a professional soldier for hire named Naomi Dorrit. She was commanding a mission to locate the island and either abduct or kill Benjamin Linus, on the orders of someone yet to be revealed. She did not work for Penny.
    Question: Who is the woman who parachuted onto the island, and how did she find it? Why did she come? Does she work for Penny? [3.17]
  • The presumed-fake Oceanic 815 wreckage was found in the Sunda Trench, off the coast of Bali.
    Question: Where was Oceanic 815’s wreck supposedly found? [3.18]
  • Most likely, they aren’t. This was another half-truth from Ben, who was trying to keep the Freighter Folk from finding him. The island doesn’t seem to be in any immediate danger from the freighter, though it remains to be seen the lengths the Freighter Folk will go to, to get to Ben.
    Question: Why are these people that Naomi works for such a threat to the island? [3.23]
  • The island isn’t under assault — Ben is.
    Question: What is the “assault” that the island is under, according to Ben? Is this related to the freighter? [3.22]
  • The Freighter Folk haven’t come to the island to rescue anyone. They’ve come to find Benjamin Linus.
    Question: If the people on the freighter aren’t there to rescue the survivors, then why are they there? [4.01]

  • Who owns/sent the freighter to find the island?
  • Why did Daniel Faraday cry when he saw the television footage of Oceanic 815 found in the Sunda Trench?
  • Why is Daniel Faraday so interested in the island?
  • What happened to Daniel’s mental stability in the past?
  • How did Daniel join the freighter’s crew?
  • What is Daniel’s mission on the island?
  • Is there a scientific reason Miles Straume is able to contact the dead, or is his gift merely an inexplicable trait, like Walt’s odd abilities?
  • How did Miles join the freighter’s crew?
  • What is Miles’ mission on the island?
  • How did one of the Dharma Initiative’s polar bears wind up in the desert of Tunisia?
  • What’s the Dharma station represented by the logo Charlotte found on the polar bear’s collar?
  • Charlotte recognized the Dharma logo on the polar bear’s collar. How does she know about the Dharma Initiative?
  • How did Charlotte join the freighter’s crew?
  • What is Charlotte’s mission on the island?
  • If Frank was originally supposed to be the pilot of Oceanic 815, why was he replaced by Seth Norris?
  • How did Frank join the freighter’s crew?
  • What did Daniel mean when he said that the light in the jungle didn’t “scatter quite right”?
  • How did the Freighter Folk know that the Oceanic 815 survivors were alive?
  • Why was Minkowski unable to come to the phone when Miles called?
  • Why are the Freighter Folk out to get Ben?
  • Who is the double agent on the freighter who’s working for Ben?

I love the boldness of this episode. It positively crackled with electricity, energy, and momentum. The producers set an end date to the show midway through Season 3, so by this point, they’ve charted their exact course intricately. Lost’s storytellers are so confident here, plowing dead ahead with exciting new storylines, and I think you can feel a faster pace in this episode as well — a portent of things to come. The character development and mythology elements have become so entwined at this point that they are inseparable. This is the show at its best.

Sadly, this episode represents the one and only Charlotte flashback we ever got. Of the four flashbacks in this hour, hers was by far the one that really jumped out at me. A polar bear from the island in the Tunisian desert? Holy crap! I was hoping we’d eventually get a full hour devoted to Charlotte, outlining her entire backstory, but it never happened. Probably because of the writer’s strike that famously shortened Season 4. Instead, the most vital parts of her history were crammed into one brief scene in the Season 5 episode “This Place is Death.”

At the time of this writing, we have yet to get a proper Frank flashback episode, either. Hopefully this will be rectified at least a little in Season 6. I’m still curious to know why he got bumped aside as the captain of Oceanic 815.