Sawyer must act fast to bring Jack, Kate, and Hurley into the Dharma Initiative. In the present, the fate of Ajira 316 is revealed.

Written by Paul Zbyszewski & Brian K. Vaughan
Directed by Jack Bender

The story begins as we rewind briefly to the final moments of Ajira 316, flying over the Pacific at night. Everyone on board experiences the first signs of turbulence, as the Oceanic 6 wait anxiously for what they know is coming. In the cockpit, the copilot tells Frank Lapidus that he recognized Hurley back in the main cabin, as a member of the Oceanic 6.

The turbulence gets worse, so Frank switches off the autopilot and goes to manual. The big flash of light comes, the Oceanic 6 disappear, and suddenly the plane is going down — and now it’s  daytime! Frank manages to just barely pull the plane out of a nosedive into the island. They spot a dirt runway in the distance — the very runway the Others were building on Hydra Island back in Season 3 — and Frank brings the plane in for a treacherous landing.

Frank awakens after the impact covered in cuts and scrapes, to find his copilot has been impaled by a tree limb sticking through the front window. Back in the main cabin, Caesar awakens Ilana, but she finds that her prisoner, Sayid, is gone. Unlike the rest of the Oceanic 6, Sun was on the plane when it crash landed, and is there still. Frank helps her to her feet, though she’s unhurt. Ben turns up alive and well on the plane, also.

Thirty years before Ajira 316 landed on Hydra Island, we return to the scene that ended the last episode, where Sawyer is reunited with Jack, Hurley, and Kate. Hurley’s delighted to find out that Sawyer’s still alive, and when Sawyer teasingly calls him “Kong,” Hurley admits that he actually missed Sawyer’s nicknames. Jack acknowledges Sawyer cordially. And Kate and Sawyer embrace in a rather chaste fashion.

Sawyer is amazed that Locke really did it — he got them to come back. He asks where Locke is, and Jack tells him Locke’s dead. Hurley asks why Sawyer and Jin are wearing Dharma jumpsuits, and Sawyer explains that they’re part of the Dharma Initiative now. Jack asks if Dharma came back to the island, and Sawyer says no, he and the others went back to Dharma. He drops the bombshell on them that they’re in 1977.

A few minutes later, Jack sums up Sawyer’s story: they jumped through time back to the 70s, and have spent three years as members of the Dharma Initiative. Both groups notice with curiosity that that three years have passed “since the helicopter” for both of them. Hurley notes that Jin’s English is “awesome.” Sawyer thinks fast, saying he’s going to have to figure a way of bringing the three of them into the Dharma Initiative if they hope to survive in 1977. Jack asks what they’ll do about everyone else — there were other passengers on the plane that brought them here. He explains that Sayid and Sun were both on the plane as well.

Hearing this, Jin takes off in his Dharma van, saying he’s headed for the Flame station, that if a plane crashed anywhere on the island, “Radzinsky will know.” After Jin dashes off, Kate asks Sawyer who else from the original survivors is still here.

Juliet marches into the Security control room, where Miles is on duty. She’s looking for Sawyer after the strange way he left in a rush without offering any explanation this morning. They go to the security feeds, where they see Sawyer’s security van pull up in front of Sawyer and Juliet’s house.

At the house, Juliet finds him in the bedroom, looking for 70s clothes he can give to Jack, Kate, and Hurley, to help them better fit in. She asks him what’s going on, and he tells her, “They’re back.” He’s got them waiting out at the North Point until he returns. Juliet sinks onto the bed, confused about how Jack and the others could have gotten back. Sawyer says he has to bring them into the Initiative before they screw everything up. She points out that a sub is arriving that afternoon.

Sometime after the Ajira crash in ’07, the survivors have made it down to the beach. Sun is there, pondering Jin’s wedding ring, which she holds in her hand. Ilana approaches her, and asks if she lost someone on the plane. Sun says no, that she was traveling alone. Frank calls everyone to attention, tells them that the radio is dead but he believes that help will come once they realize that the plane went down.

Caesar speaks up and argues with Frank’s calm approach to the situation. He wants to know where they are, and why there are buildings nearby, with animal cages, and a larger island off the coast. Caesar quickly wrestles control from Frank, convincing everyone to help him search the buildings.

Ben, standing in the background, listens to their exchange before quietly sneaking off. Sun sees him go and follows him into the jungle. He sneaks up on her from behind, and asks why she’s following him. She asks where he’s going. He says he’s going “back to our island,” and asks if she wants to come.

In ’77, Jin arrives at the Flame station, the hub of all of Dharma’s communication on and off the island. Radzinsky is there, assembling a scale model of the Swan station. Jin races inside, checking readings and video feeds. Radzinsky is furious, and stops him from messing with the equipment — equipment he believes he alone is qualified to use. Jin says that he has to check the radar for a plane crash. When Radzinsky argues the ridiculousness of this, Jin threatens him into submission. Radzinsky checks with the other stations for any signs of a plane crash on the island, and the two of them wait for responses to come in.

In 2007, Ben and Sun are trekking through the jungle when they find the three outrigger canoes. When Sun questions his actions, Ben says that he’s taking one of the outriggers to the main island, and she can come with him, or she can stay behind. It makes no difference to him. She asks if the main island is where Jin is, and he says he doesn’t know, but it’s where he would start looking. Frank finds them, having gone looking for Sun after she disappeared from the group of survivors. Sun explains that she’s going over to the main island with Ben. Frank questions her trust in Ben, reminding her that the Freighter was filled with commandos sent here to get Ben. Ben counters, “And how’d that work out for everyone?” Sun asks Frank to come along, but he refuses, feeling responsible to stay with the Ajira passengers and see to their safety. Ben steps forward, telling Frank of the Dock on the main island, and the Barracks just beyond. He says his people may be there, and if anyone can help the Ajira survivors, it’s them. But Sun sneaks up behind Ben and knocks him out with an oar.

Juliet checks in on Amy in 1977, who’s asleep in a hammock, watching over her newborn. Amy stirs and Juliet explains she just came for the submarine manifest, something Amy would normally oversee but which obviously she can’t since she just had a baby yesterday. Amy reports that everything went well with this new batch of recruits, except that two of the recruits dropped out at the last minute because they didn’t want to take the sedative required for the trip. Juliet picks up the baby boy, and asks if Amy and Horace have decided on a name yet. “We’re going to name him Ethan,” Amy replies, to Juliet’s veiled astonishment. Amy asks when Juliet and “James” are going to have a baby of their own, and Juliet replies that she doesn’t know. “The timing’s got to be right,” she says.

Out at the North Point, where Jack, Kate, and Hurley await Sawyer’s return, Kate asks Jack if Eloise Hawking told him that it would be thirty years in the past when they got back to the island. He says no, she left that part out. She asks what they’re supposed to do now, and he says he’s not sure yet.

Sawyer arrives, and fills them in on the plan. A “second batch” of Dharma recruits is arriving on the sub today, and he’s arranged to smuggle the three of them in as part of that batch. It won’t be a problem, he says, because all recruits are sedated for the trip and none of them meet one another until they arrive. But they have to work fast, he says, because the sub will be here soon and there are no more recruits scheduled to come to the island for six months. Jack asks his friends what they think of following Sawyer’s plan, and they all agree it’s their best bet for survival.

Back at the Flame, Radzinsky hears from the last station to check in, the Looking Glass, and no one is reporting anything arriving at the island except the submarine. Radzinsky tells Jin to go home, and he’ll call him if anything changes. An alarm goes off just then, and a computer readout says, “Pylon Breach, Grid 325.” Radzinsky explains that a Hostile has entered the perimeter and tripped a motion sensor. Jin runs from the building, secretly hoping that it might be Sun.

Running through the jungle, Jin soon comes face to face with not Sun, but Sayid! They’re happy to see one another, though Sayid is very confused and still wearing his handcuffs from the plane. Jin asks where Sun is, and Sayid says he doesn’t know. Radzinsky catches up with Jin and raises his rifle to bear on Sayid, believing him to be a Hostile. Jin has no choice but to play along, and he takes Sayid into custody.

Sawyer drives his van back to the Barracks with Jack, Kate, and Hurley all on board. The three of them are now wearing the 1970s clothes that he brought them from his and Juliet’s closet. Hurley is still trying to wrap his brain around the idea that Sawyer and the other remaining survivors are now part of the Dharma Initiative. He reminds Sawyer that Dharma eventually gets wiped out; he saw for himself the pit where they were all buried. He asks why Sawyer hasn’t warned them that the Purge is coming. Sawyer replies that he’s “not here to play Nostradamus,” and that “Faraday’s got some interesting theories on what we can and can’t do here.” Jack speaks up at the mention of Faraday, asking if he’s here too. “Not anymore,” Sawyer mysteriously replies.

At the Processing Center in the Barracks, there’s a big welcome celebration going on for new recruits. Sawyer explains that Jack, Kate, and Hurley’s names have been added to the list of new recruits by Juliet, so all they have to do is go inside the Processing Center, watch the orientation video, and get their jumpsuits and work assignments. He worked out their work assignments himself. Miles drives up, surprised to see Jack, Kate, and Hurley back on the island. Sawyer asks what he’s doing here, and Miles replies that Jin called with “a 14J at the Flame.” Sawyer radios Jin, who reports that he has a hostile in custody who breached the perimeter. As he talks, Radzinsky locks Sayid away in a closet. Sawyer doesn’t understand, saying this is a blatant violation of the treaty between Dharma and the Hostiles. Jin steps away from Radzinsky and whispers into his radio, “It’s Sayid.”

Night has fallen by the time Sun and Frank reach the Dock on the main island in 2007. The Dock is damaged since we last saw it, in a state of disrepair. When a few trees shake on the shore, and sounds like those the smoke monster makes can be faintly heard, Frank is stops in his tracks. But Sun pushes on, dismissing it as “probably just an animal.”

They find the Barracks abandoned and in the same state of ruin as the Dock. A now-familiar sign hangs free that reads “Processing Center.” They hear a few Whispers in the dark, and then a light comes on inside one of the houses. The front door opens, and out steps Christian Shephard. He identifies himself, and Sun asks if he knows where her husband is. He replies, “Follow me.”

In 1977, Jack and Kate are inside the Processing Center, watching the orientation video and waiting for their names to be called. Pierre Chang appears on the video, welcoming them to the Dharma Initiative, and warning them to stay inside the safety of the Barracks. Kate wonders aloud how they’ll pull this off, just before Phil (who we met in last week’s episode; he’s one of Sawyer’s security guys) calls out Jack’s name.

At the “Uniforms” booth, Pierre Chang enters, frustrated that Jack’s file isn’t in with any of the other recruits’. He mumbles something about “them” being “disorganized on the other side.” Chang asks who drove Jack’s shuttle from the sub. “Mr. LaFleur,” Jack replies, and Chang approves, remarking that LaFleur is a good man who runs a very tight operation. He apologizes for the disorganization, explaining that the woman (Amy) who was supposed to be handling uniforms processing had a baby yesterday, so he was pulled out of his lab to assist. Jack’s work assignment is something called “the Shed.” Jack doesn’t understand what this means; Chang explains that based on Jack’s aptitude test, he’s to be a janitor.

After nearly everyone has been processed, Kate is approached by Phil, who asks her name. She gives it, but he can’t find it on his list. He asks who her recruiter was, and she fumbles for an answer. Juliet enters, explaining that she just got a new list from Amy and that Kate is on it. Phil hands Kate off to Juliet, and the two share a conversation of formal greeting, as if they’ve never met before. “Welcome to the island,” Juliet concludes.

At the Flame station, Sawyer arrives to see Sayid. Outside, away from Radzinsky, Jin reports that he found Sayid wandering around the jungle after he inadvertently set off the perimeter alarm. They both go inside, and Sawyer demands the key to the closet. Radzinsky hesitates, saying that Sayid saw his model of the Swan as they brought him inside, and could have seen the survey of the site where they’re planning to build it. He concludes that Sayid is a spy sent by the Hostiles, and he wants to kill him, here and now.

Sawyer blows him off and demands the key again, wanting to talk to the prisoner. Jin retrieves Sayid, who can’t hide his surprise at seeing Sawyer again. Sawyer sits him down and interrogates him, asking Sayid to identify himself as a Hostile. He says that under the terms of the truce, if he doesn’t identify himself as a Hostile, Sawyer has the right to kill him. Sayid catches on quickly, replying that his people don’t call themselves Hostiles, but he is one. Sawyer is satisfied and orders that he be taken back to the Barracks as a prisoner until they can figure out what to do with him. But Radzinsky objects strongly, arguing that he’ll go directly over Sawyer’s head about this and speak to Horace. Sawyer tells him to go right ahead.

In ’07, Christian takes Sun and Frank to the old Processing Center, which is in shambles just like everything else. He walks to a far wall, where several “class photos” are hanging, and he retrieves the one from ‘77. When Sun asks again where Jin is, Christian replies that Jin is “with your friends.” He shows her the “class of ‘77″-style photo, in which are all of the second batch of Dharma recruits — including Jack, Kate, and Hurley. “I’m sorry,” Christian tells her, “but you have a bit of a journey ahead of you.”

After the “class of ‘77″ photo is taken (the same one Christian Shephard shows to Sun thirty years later), the new recruits are dismissed by Phil. Phil gets a call from Sawyer, who says he’s coming in with “the 14J,” aka Sayid. When the van arrives, Sayid is escorted by Sawyer and Jin down into the security HQ, underground, and placed into a holding cell. Sawyer says Sayid will wait here until they figure out what to do with him, and orders Phil to bring him something to eat. After Phil leaves, Sawyer makes eye contact with Sayid, offering him a reassuring-but-concerned look.

That night, Jack passes Phil outside and asks where James LaFleur lives. Phil points out LaFleur’s house, but warns him not to call him “James,” because LaFleur doesn’t like it. Jack knocks on the door of Sawyer’s house, and a smiling Juliet answers. Jack is stunned to find her there, but she embraces him warmly, saying it’s good to see him. After an awkward silence, Jack says he was looking for Sawyer, but “I guess I came to the wrong house.” No, she replies, this is the right house. She invites him in.

Sawyer is reading a book in the living room, and Juliet leaves the two of them alone to talk. Jack says he has so much to discuss he doesn’t even know where to start, but he settles on Sayid. Sawyer says he had no choice but to arrest Sayid, the situation forced him to improvise. Jack asks where they go from here, and Sawyer says he’s working on it. Jack shoots back that it looks like he’s just reading a book. Sawyer says that back when Jack was calling the shots, Jack never thought about anything. He “pretty much just reacted.” Sawyer, on the other hand, likes to handle things by thinking first. He blames Jack for a lot of people being killed, because he didn’t think before he acted. Jack argues that he got people off of the island, but Sawyer counters that despite that, here Jack is, right back where he started. Sawyer says he’s going to think, because thinking’s what saved Jack, Kate, and Hurley earlier today, and it’s what’s going to save Sayid tomorrow. He shows Jack out, telling him that all he has to do is go home, rest, and let Sawyer do his thing. “Ain’t that a relief?” he says. Jack actually looks sincere when he replies, “Yeah.”

As he watches Jack walk away from his front porch, Sawyer turns and makes distant eye contact with Kate, who’s also out on another front porch. They wave at each other, but say nothing, before Sawyer goes back inside his home.

Down in security HQ, Phil is on duty as a young boy enters and says he’s here to deliver some lunch to the prisoner. He goes to the cell and asks Sayid if he’s a Hostile. When Sayid evades the question, the boy asks him his name. “I’m Ben,” the boy says. Sayid is stunned, replying, “It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

  • Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were transported through time to 1977. Everyone else remained on the plane.
    Question: What happened when Ajira 316 went through the bright light? [5.06]
  • Nope. They remain in the present.
    Question: Where are Sun, Sayid, Ben, and Frank? Did they travel back in time as well? [5.06]
  • Ajira 316 survived its encounter with the Oceanic 6’s “window” that allowed them to return to the island. Most of the passengers appear to have survived, but several were injured.
    Question: What became of Ajira 316, and the rest of its passengers? [5.06]
  • The specifics aren’t entirely clear, but what we know for sure is that after the Oceanic 6 (all but Sun) disappeared from the plane, Ajira 316 found itself losing altitude above Hydra Island. Frank worked fast to bring the plane to an emergency landing on the Hydra runway.
    Question: How did Ajira 316 wind up on the island? Did it land? Did it crash? [5.07]
  • One assumes the runway was built so that Ajira 316 would have a place to land. How the Others and/or Jacob knew it would be coming three years prior to its arrival on the island remains to be explained.
    Question: Why were the Others building a runway on Hydra island? [3.22]
  • Sun.
    Question: Which passenger did Frank leave Hydra Island to go to the main island with? [5.07]
  • Sun wanted to go searching for Jin, and asked for his help.
    Question: Why did Frank steal a canoe to go to the main island? [5.07]
  • Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s baby is Ethan Rom. How and why he came to use the last name “Rom” is unknown.
    Question: Who is Horace and Amy’s baby boy? Is he someone we’ve met on the island in the present? [5.08]

  • Why was Sun left behind in the present, when all of the other Oceanic 6 were transported through time to the past?
  • Presumably, the Hydra Island runway was ordered built by Jacob, who knew that Ajira 316 would be coming to the island in 2007 and would need a place to land. So how did he know it would be coming?
  • What’s become of Daniel Faraday in 1977?

Is Lost juggling dozens of storylines this season, or what? And doing it remarkably well. Even in the midst of all that was going on in this episode, I found myself wondering when we’ll see Locke again, and what’s doing with Desmond. And Faraday, too. Hm.

The title “Namaste” is a word we’ve heard many times before, always on Dharma orientation videos and in other Dharma-related contexts. It’s a word that originates from Sanskrit, and it goes far beyond its common use in India and Nepal. It’s a gesture of great respect used all over the world, and is even used in yoga as a spoken-word common greeting between the yoga instructor and his or her students. It has many different meanings — all related to respectful greetings — but literally translates as “I bow to you.” I figure all this must have some relevance to the events in this episode, but I’ll leave it to others to speculate on the specifics of that.

Why did Ajira 316 crash? We assume it’s related to the pseudo-wonky “science” of the Oceanic 6 time-jumping their way back to the island, but all of them (except Sun) jumped through time before the plane went down. So what was it that made the plane go down?

And speaking of, why was it daytime outside the plane after the time flash took the Oceanic 6? Is it because the island’s normal progression through time seems to operate independently of the rest of the world (remember Faraday’s rocket in Season 4)? Or did the plane time-jump as well, only to something a little more current? I also noted the presence of all of the wrecked Dharma signage still lingering around the Barracks when Sun and Frank arrived; I don’t remember seeing all of that Dharma stuff around when the Others lived there in recent years. So are the Ajira passengers really in 2007? (I’ll come back to this in a few minutes.) Or is something else afoot?

The runway we saw the Others building waaaaay back in early Season 3 finally has revealed its purpose in the overall story. But in true Lost fashion, this only leads to new questions: did the Others know that the runway would be needed for the future arrival of a commercial jet? And if so, how? The simplest answer would be that they were directed to build it by Jacob, who somehow knew that Ajira 316 was going to need it in the future.

I still think we’re going to get to the end of the show and find out that Jacob is really a character we already know, like maybe Jack. The way the castaways are becoming integral parts of the history of the island — and there’s probably more time-hopping to come, in that regard — only reinforces this theory. Heck, maybe they’ll at the end of the show they’ll wind up really far back in time, and we’ll find out that the Others are their descendants! I’ve always wondered about the so-called “destiny” of the original group of survivors, whose arrival on the island (aside from John Locke) always seemed so random. It’s feeling less and less random with each new episode.

Who’s the man? That’s right, Frank Lapidus is the man. He’s one heck of a pilot, managing to land Ajira 316 on the island, and not crash, after all. I’m glad Frank is back in the game. He’s a fun character. Looks like he and Sun are heading off on their own buddy cop adventure… either to travel back through time to 1977 and join their friends, or find a way to bring their friends back to the present.

Okay, here’s one of the biggest questions I came away from this episode with, and I’m sure it’s bugging you too: Why didn’t Sun time-jump off of Ajira 316 with the rest of the Oceanic 6? I can tell you why, from a storyteller’s point of view: because it gives her a dramatic new hurdle to overcome before she can be reunited with her husband Jin. But how this will be explained in the show, I have no idea. My best guess is that it has something to do with the Oceanic 6 having to return to the island in order to save it, as Richard told Locke back in “Because You Left,” the Season 5 premiere. If I’m right, then for reasons yet to be explained, Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were all required by the island to return, to join their fellow castaways. (The island even has a part for Desmond to still play, as Eloise Hawking recently told him.) This would mean that Ben was not required, and neither was Frank, even though like Desmond, he was with the Oceanic 6 when they left. And whatever the island has planned for Mr. Resurrection himself, John Locke, it’s in 2007, not 1977. (This is not surprising since it’s been hinted that Locke is meant to be a key player in the war between Ben and Widmore, and that war is happening in 2007.) But I have no idea why the island wouldn’t require Sun to return when it still needs all of her friends. Any guesses out there?

Funny that Jack failed to mention that Ben was among the Ajira 316 passengers, when he was telling Sawyer and Jin who else was with them. Maybe he figured it wasn’t the right time for that conversation. Or maybe he was just too chicken to tell them.

We finally got to meet the famous Radzinsky. We heard all about him four years ago, in the Season 2 finale. We know that eventually he’s going to be in the Swan station with Kelvin Inman, and the two of them will work together to keep pushing the button every 108 minutes for many years. Until Radzinksy, for reasons we don’t yet know, decides one day to kill himself. After the small taste of Radzinsky’s persnickety personality we got in this episode, I’m suddenly starting to empathize more with Kelvin’s general bad attitude, as we saw four years ago when Desmond first met him. Years of being stuck alone with someone like Radzinsky would probably make me grumpy too.

Radzinsky’s assembling of the Swan station model was likely a bit of foreshadowing. We know from his later comments to Jin that the Swan hasn’t been built yet, but the plans are underway, and they’ve already selected a site for it. And that the Others probably aren’t going to like the site they’ve chosen for the Swan (maybe because it’s far away from all the other stations, and therefore closer to Others’ territory?). It seems inevitable that the rest of this season will see the construction of the Swan. The fact that Radzinksy was instrumental in its design and construction is entirely new information, though.

There have now been two mysterious commercial airplane crashes in the Pacific Ocean over three years’ time. Shouldn’t this raise a flag for authorities and/or conspiracy nuts off the island?

Why does Dharma require new recruits to take a sedative before getting on board the submarine and traveling to the island? Is it to help keep safe the location of the island, or is there more to it than that? You’ll remember that Juliet had to undergo the exact same procedure before boarding the very same sub, back when Richard Alpert first recruited her to the island. (And is it just me, or are the present-day Others starting to feel more and more like the 70s Dharma people? They use a lot of the same procedures, and their numbers are made up of numerous non-natives.)

So Horace and Amy Goodspeed’s little boy is none other than Ethan Rom. Wow! Admittedly, he was one of very few viable candidates, given the timeframe of his birth, but still… I wasn’t expecting it. This means that Ethan was not a native of the island; he was born into the Dharma Initiative. Which makes his story very, very similar to Ben’s. But now we have new questions about Ethan: How did he survive the Purge? He would have been a teenager at the time. Until now, we’d been led to believe that Ben was the only Dharma member to survive the Purge. Did little Ethan strike up a friendship with teenage Ben, that eventually saved him from Ben’s plan to wipe out Dharma? Were there any other members of Dharma that survived the Purge and went on to become Others? And why is Ethan’s last name Rom instead of Goodspeed?

Just because I like to keep the timeline straight in my head… The fact that the “second batch” of Dharma recruits was introduced in this episode means that every Dharma member that’s been on the island since 1974 and before was all part of the first batch. From this, we can deduce that Roger and Ben Linus were part of that first batch of Dharma recruits, since we’ve met up with young Ben again and he’s older now. This is further verified by small details like Horace’s hair, which was much shorter when Roger and Ben first arrived on the island, than it is now in 1977. Not to mention the mysterious Olivia, Horace’s presumed first wife, who we saw teaching young Ben in school back when he and his dad first came to the island, and now she seems to be out of the picture.

Where is Daniel Faraday? Sawyer said he’s “not here anymore.” Are we to take that to mean that he’s not on the island anymore? That he’s not in the Dharma Initiative anymore? Or what? If he’s off the island, then is he off the island in 1977? Or is he back in 2007? We have yet to see him confront Pierre Chang with what he knows about the future of the Dharma Initiative, as we know from last year’s Comic-Con video that he will at some point. Nor have we seen how he wound up at the Orchid station as it was being built. Plus, he has to warn Charlotte not to return to the island after she leaves, if he hasn’t already. So if he’s off the island, we have to assume he’ll be back.

How awesome was it seeing this new and improved Sawyer interacting with his old pals, confident, cool, and in command? Sawyer was never a character I found myself rooting for very much (sorry, ladies), but I’ve warmed to him greatly since he joined up with Dharma. I find him a more likeable character now, and I think a lot of that has to do with how intelligently the writers are writing him post-Dharma. He used to be the angry redneck character who blew his fuse and spouted off at people at the drop of a hat; now he’s reserved, smart, and dependable. Three years of stable living, a good woman at his side, and all those books he’s read have done the guy a world of good. He’s even won the respect of the always-cranky Pierre Chang.

The Sun/Ben/Frank scenes in the jungle were pretty anticlimactic, since we already knew that Sun and Frank escaped to the main island on one of the canoes, and Ben wound up in the makeshift infirmary inside the Hydra station. We just didn’t know how they all wound up where they did. But it wasn’t hard to see Sun’s turn on Ben coming a mile away.

Was that a Swan logo on Pierre Chang’s lab jacket in the orientation video? Odd that he’d be wearing a logo for a station that hasn’t been built yet. Continuity error?

Who’s the “them” that Pierre Chang told Jack was “disorganized on the other side”? Most likely, the recruiters working for Dharma on the mainland.

Looks like Christian Shephard is still doing his help-people-find-their-path thing (which is very similar to Matthew Abaddon’s job of “helping people get to where they’re supposed to be”). He did it with Locke. He told Michael when it was okay for him to “go,” aka die. He seems to have helped his daughter Claire find her path in some way. And now he’s helping Sun (with Frank in tow). His assistance doesn’t seem to be rooted in any one particular time period, either. Locke was in the distant past when Christian last came to him, but we’ve also seen him many times in the present. Which makes sense, considering that he functions as the mouthpiece or oracle of the all-powerful Jacob. But we’re still no closer to knowing who and what Jacob is, and what it all means.

The “ghost or not a ghost” debate about Christian got a few more votes in the “not” column in this episode, as he was seen opening doors, turning on a light, and physically handing a picture in a frame to Sun. Dead spirits are typically believed to be too incorporeal to manipulate so many objects in this way. But then again, this is Lost, where absolutely nothing is “typical.”

I wonder what the significance is of “14J.” It’s the designation Dharma security gave to a Hostile intruder, but I’m talking more specifically of its significance to the overall mythology. Remember, names and titles always have special meanings. Nothing on Lost is ever named carelessly.

I’m willing to be that young Ben’s final exchange with Sayid was the start of a major new storyline between them. It’s no surprise that young Ben was interested in meeting the “Hostile” currently in captivity; we already know that his father’s poor treatment of him has driven him to an interest in the Others, and a desire to join them. He’s even made contact already with Richard Alpert, after wandering into the jungle late one night (as we saw in Season 3’s “The Man Behind the Curtain”). On the other side of the coin is Sayid, and his recent history with grown-up Ben, where he was manipulated into serving as Ben’s assassin against Widmore. We’re all thinking the same thing now, right? Sayid is going to try and kill young Ben, and prevent all of his own future sins in one fell swoop.

If there was a motif in this episode, it was undoubtedly subtext. It was everywhere. It was in Sawyer and Juliet’s quiet exchange on their bed after he tells her that Jack, Kate, and Hurley are back. You could see in her quiet reaction that she understands full well that the happy life she’s found with Sawyer is never going to be the same again; and Sawyer seemed to sense her sadness, even though he kept the conversation all about how to keep their friends safe. There was subtext in every exchange between Sayid and one of the survivors, as he was forced to masquerade as a Hostile, and in his final scene with young Ben. But my favorite instance was the scene where Kate and Juliet were reunited. Juliet totally saved Kate’s skin, and then played all warm and friendly in bringing this “newcomer” into the Dharma Initiative. While Juliet was being super nice, underneath that, you know she was saying, “Hey, been a long time. Glad you’re back and everything, but make a play for Sawyer and I will bust you up.”

The power play at the end between Sawyer and Jack I’m sure is far from over. For the most part, Jack seems content to let Sawyer take the reigns for a change, knowing that he has his own destiny on the island to find now. Maybe Jack was never meant to be the group’s leader at all, and he’s probably considering that notion right now. Sawyer’s doing a fine job so far. But then, the question of who is the proper leader on the island is also a source of unending conflict between man-of-destiny Locke and destiny’s-old-flame Ben, too. Plus there’s Charles Widmore, who was once the island’s big cheese and wants to be again. So many people on the island want to be in positions of power. In the end, only one of them is likely to emerge victorious.

When Caesar woke Ilana up after the crash, she was mildly delirious as she thought someone she knew was calling to her. It sounded like she said “Shara,” though I’m not positive. Any guesses? Is this someone we’ll find out about in Season 6?

My best guess about the Hydra runway situation is this. We saw in “The Incident” that Jacob visited Ilana sometime in the past and asked for her help. Based on her actions at the foot of the Tawaret statue, she and Bram and their friends appear to be working to do just that: help Jacob. So my guess is that Jacob’s bedside appeal for Ilana’s help happened sometime prior to 2004, when he ordered the runway built on Hydra island. This theory assumes that Jacob has precognitive abilities, in order to know the circumstances of Ilana’s arrival on the island three years later, but it’s the only explanation that fits the facts as his reason for building the runway. So… if Jacob has the ability to see the future, then he must have known that his nemesis would eventually assume Locke’s identity and arrange his murder. This can only mean that Jacob’s plan for Ilana has a purpose beyond protecting himself from Fake Locke and Ben. Hmm…