Miles gets caught in the middle of Dharma Initiative secrets, which bring him face to face with demons from his own past.

Written by Melinda Hsu Taylor & Greggory Nations
Directed by Jack Bender

Flashback

In an apartment building, sometime in the early 80s, an Asian woman is taking a look at an empty apartment (apartment number 7), the building’s superintendent following close behind. He questions her about what brought her here and who else is with her, and she says that her husband is out of the picture, so it’s just her and her small son, Miles. Just outside the front door, little Miles asks for money for a vending machine. She gives him a coin and he crosses the courtyard to a set of vending machines. But before he reaches the machines, a sensation comes over him, directing him to nearby apartment 4. As if knowing what he’s doing, he finds a buried key right outside the door and goes inside. Back at apartment 7, his mother is signing her lease papers when little Miles calls out to her in a panic. She runs to him, followed by the superintendent, and they find him in apartment 4, standing next to a man who’s collapsed dead on the floor. The superintendent recognizes this man as one of his tenants, while Miles’ mother asks what he was doing there. He explains that the dead man “was all alone. He was scared. His chest hurt. He kept calling out for Kimberly.” The superintendent says that Kimberly was the man’s wife, but she died last year, and he wonders how Miles could know this. “I heard him,” cries a distraught Miles. “He’s still talking right now! I can hear him!”

Many years later, a teenage or perhaps twenty-something Miles, sporting a Goth look complete with spiked hair, dark clothes, and multiple piercings, knocks on the front door of apartment 7. A woman we’ve never seen before answers the door and looks upon him disapprovingly. He tells the woman that he needs to see his mother, so she lets him in. In a bedroom, his mother is resting, surrounded by medical equipment, supplies, and varieties of medicine. She’s dying of cancer, as is evidenced by her hair thinning and falling out from her treatments. He becomes emotional at seeing her this way, but wakes her up and apologizes for not being able to get here sooner. She’s glad to see him, but asks why he came. “I need you to tell me why I’m this way,” he replies. “How I do the things I do. And why you won’t talk to me about my father.” She claims his father never cared about either of them. That he kicked both of them out when Miles was just a baby, wanting nothing to do with them. Miles asks where his father is, and she says he’s been dead for a long time now. “Where’s his body?” he asks. “Somewhere you can never go,” she replies.

Some years later, an adult Miles visits a man named Howard Gray, sitting at a picnic table in the man’s back yard. Miles looks at a photo of a young football player named Russell. He asks Gray to tell him what happened to his son, the boy in the photograph. About a year ago, a drive ran a red light and killed him, Gray explains. Miles asks if Russell was buried, and Gray says no, they cremated him and spread his ashes over the football field at his school. Miles is frustrated at this, remarking that it’s better for what he does if there’s a body. Gray complains that Miles’ ad said that he could communicate with the dead, anytime, anywhere. He wants Miles to ask his son if he knew that his dad loved him. Miles says his services will cost extra, since there’s no body, and Gray hands over a wad of bills. Miles asks for Gray’s hands, and tells him to concentrate on his son. After closing his eyes for a moment, he tells the man that his son knew that he loved him, always. Miles says he’s sorry for Mr. Gray’s loss, and leaves.

Out at his car in front of the house, he’s approached by a woman we recognize as Naomi Dorrit, the leader of the Freighter expedition funded by Charles Widmore and sent to find the island. She knows Miles’ name, and says that her employer (Widmore) has been following his work for some time now, and he’s interested in retaining Miles’ services. She suggests they go to a restaurant and talk, and he eagerly agrees.

They enter the rear of the restaurant a short time later, but Miles is dismayed to see that it’s closed and not in use. In the kitchen, Naomi leads him to a waiting dead body, and tells him this is his audition to work for Widmore. She throws him a wad of cash and asks what he can tell her about the dead man. Miles concentrates and listens, explaining that, “His name is Felix. He’s on his way to deliver something to a guy named Widmore. A bundle of papers, photos, pictures of… empty graves. A purchase order for an old airplane.” He comes out of his pensive state and asks if he passed the audition. She tells him she’s leading an expedition to an island, “and on that island is a man that will be very difficult to find.” He asks why she needs him for this, and she replies, “This island has a number of deceased individuals ‘residing’ on it. And as this man is the one responsible for their being deceased, we believe they can supply us with valuable information about his whereabouts.” He passes on the job — until she offers him $1.6 million.

One week before the freighter is slated to depart, Miles is abducted off of the street by an unmarked black van. The man in charge is none other than Bram, the brawny man we met in last week’s episode in the present day, as Ilana’s Ajira 316 cohort/soldier who helps her rise to power amid the Ajira survivors. Bram apologizes to Miles for having to do it this way, but he needed to talk to Miles, and Miles’ apartment is being watched. He advises Miles not to get on the freighter, and not to work for Charles Widmore. He repeats the same question Ilana asked to Frank Lapidus last week: “Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?” Miles doesn’t know, to which Bram replies that Miles isn’t ready, then, to go to the island. Instead, “if you come with us,” Bram says, “all those things you’ve spent your life trying to find out, you’ll know. You’ll know who you are, Miles. Why it is you have a gift. And most of all, you’ll know about your father.” Miles says he doesn’t care about his father, only money, and if they want him to pass on Widmore’s job offer, it will cost them double the $1.6 million Widmore’s offering — $3.2 million. Bram replies that he and the people he represents aren’t going to pay him anything, because money can’t fill the hole inside of him. They toss Miles out of the van, but Bram offers the parting words, “You’re playing for the wrong team.” Miles asks what team Bram is on, and Bram replies, “The one that’s going to win.”

Just before he leaves to meet the freighter, Miles returns to visit Mr. Gray again. He gives the man his money back and tells him he lied — he was unable to contact Gray’s son, and just told him what he wanted to hear. Gray asks why he’s admitting to it now and giving the money back, and Miles replies that keeping the money and perpetuating the lie “wouldn’t have been fair to your son. If you needed him to know that you loved him, you should have told him when he was still alive.”

Now

Miles is stationed at Dharma Security HQ when Sawyer calls, returning from the Others’ camp, after he and Kate have just dropped off young Ben there. He asks Miles to “accidentally” erase the security video of the pylons, which shows him and Kate taking Ben into Hostile territory. Miles reluctantly agrees to help. Sawyer sends Kate back to find Juliet and see if anyone has noticed that Ben is gone from the Infirmary. He tells her his intention to cover up their actions with Ben, no matter what it takes.

Just as Miles is about to erase the security tape, Horace enters Security HQ, looking for Sawyer. Miles covers for him, so Horace decides to entrust an important, deeply-guarded secret duty to Miles. Horace gives Miles a rolled up bundle of some kind, and sends him to Grid 334 to meet with Radzinsky. Radzinsky will then give Miles something in return, which he is to bring back to Horace with no questions asked. Miles points out that Dharma people are not supposed to be in Grid 334 because it’s Hostile territory. Horace agrees, pointing out that this is why it’s a secret.

Out in the jungle in his Dharma van, Miles goes to Grid 334, where Radzinsky jumps out of the foliage with his rifle drawn. He’s surprised to see Miles, and was expecting Sawyer. But Miles gives Radzinsky the bundle from Horace, and Radzinsky whistles into the jungle. He unfolds the bundle, which turns out to be a body bag. Two Dharma men wearing jumpsuits that bear the Swan logo bring a dead man out to the van on a stretcher. When Miles asks what happened, Radzinsky says the man “had an accident,” that he “fell into a ditch.” Miles notes that there’s a bullet in the dead man’s head, and asks if the ditch had a gun. Radzinsky angrily tells him to just get the body back to Horace. Back in the van, once Radzinsky and his men have disappeared again into the jungle, Miles leans back to the body bag and unzips it. “Okay,” he says to the dead man, “so what really happened?”

When Miles gets back to Security HQ, Horace is there waiting for him, talking on the phone to Pierre Chang. “Pierre,” he says, “if it was caused by the electromagnetism, we need to know… You want to see [the body] now?” After hanging up, Horace asks Miles to take the corpse to Dr. Chang at the Orchid. Miles doesn’t want to go, but Horace presses him until he agrees.

At the motor pool, Hurley opens the back door of Miles’ van (which still holds the corpse), and loads a pair of coolers inside. Miles arrives and tries to stop him, but Hurley says he’s headed for the Orchid too, to deliver lunch for the crew. Miles wants him to take another van, but Hurley says they should carpool. But then Hurley seems to realize that Miles is on some kind of “secret mission.” Before he can ask anymore questions, Miles tells him to “just get in.”

In the Infirmary, Juliet is putting away some medical supplies when Kate returns and tells her what happened with young Ben and Richard Alpert. Roger runs in with the medical supplies from the Staff station that Juliet sent him after when last we saw him, and immediately sees that Ben is gone. Juliet lies, saying she was away for ten minutes and when she returned, Ben was just gone. Irate, Roger leaves to tell security that someone’s taken his son. “Well,” Juliet calmly says, turning to Kate. “Here we go.”

In Miles’ van, Hurley is writing something in a notebook. He asks Miles how to spell “bounty hunter.” Miles asks what he’s writing, but Hurley won’t say. Hurley smells something inside the van and asks if Miles farted. Miles says no, and Hurley says it wasn’t him, so he insists that Miles pull over so he can find the source of the smell, afraid it could be coming from the food he packed. Unable to stop him, Miles has to watch as Hurley finds the body in the back of the van. “Dude, there’s a body bag back here. With a body in it,” he says. Miles retorts, “That’s traditionally what you put in a body bag.” Hurley asks who this man was, and what happened. Miles warns him not to tell anybody he saw it, but then explains what he learned earlier from the body: his name was Alvarez, he was digging a hole and “thinking about some chick named Andrea. Then he felt a sharp pain in his mouth, which turned out to be a filling from his tooth being yanked right out of its socket and blown into his brain. Then he was dead.” Hurley asks how Miles knows all this, but Miles won’t say. Hurley says he understands and he’ll keep Miles’ secret — because he talks to dead people, too.

Outside at a child’s playground in the Barracks, Roger Linus sits alone on a swing, drinking Dharma beer and getting drunk. Kate passes by, notices him, and asks if he’s okay. She says she’s sure things will work out, that she “just has a feeling that [Ben’s] going to be okay.” Roger realizes there’s more to what she’s saying, and becomes suspicious. He asks if she knows more than she’s saying, and she backpedals, saying she just believes he shouldn’t give up hope.

Back in Miles’ van, Hurley asks Miles why he won’t just admit that he talks to dead people. Miles can’t quite believe that Hurley actually converses with dead people, because that’s not how it works for him. He explains that he doesn’t talk to dead people, he doesn’t even see them. He just gets a feeling, a sense, of who they were and what they knew before they died. Hurley remarks that Miles is just jealous that Hurley’s power is better.

They arrive at the Orchid, which is under construction. Miles spots Pierre Chang in the distance and watches him warily. Chang demands to know what Hurley is doing there, because Miles was ordered to come alone. Miles explains about Hurley bringing lunch for the crew, but Chang is displeased. He threatens Hurley with demotion to janitorial duties at Hydra island, where “ridiculous experiments” are being conducted with animals. Chang orders his men to take “the package” (aka, the body) inside, and tells Miles to wait here until he returns. Hurley, watching Chang walk away alongside Miles, remarks, “Dude, that guy is a douche.” To which Miles replies, “That douche is my dad.”

Minutes later, Hurley wants to talk about Chang being Miles’ dad, but Miles doesn’t. Hurley mentions that Miles’ dad is “the guy from all those [Dharma] movies,” but he went by a different name then. He wonders if “Marvin Candle” was a stage name. Hurley asks Miles how long he’s known that Chang is his father. Miles replies that the third day he and the others were here in 1977, among the Dharma Initiative, he was standing in line at the Cafeteria when his mother got in line behind him. “That was my first clue,” he says. Hurley points out that all of these people are going to be killed in the Purge, and asks why Miles hasn’t tried to save his father from that. Miles says he can’t, that they can’t change the past and these people will die no matter what he does.

Chang reappears and instructs Miles to take him to Radzinsky at the work site, right now. Miles asks what happened to Alvarez’ body, but Chang brushes the question off, with no intention of explaining himself.

In the Dharma schoolroom, Jack is cleaning a chalkboard when a still-very-drunk Roger barges in. He says the schoolroom is on his rounds, and asks what Jack is doing here. Jack replies that he was covering for Roger, considering what’s happened to Ben, and asks why Roger came to work. Roger says he has nothing else to do. He mentions to Jack that Kate “has some kind of weird thing for my kid,” and says he’s starting to think that she might have something to do with Ben’s disappearance. Jack assures him that he knows Kate, they’re friends, and she would never do anything to hurt Roger’s son. “Sure,” Roger replies, skeptical of Jack’s words.

Back in the van, there’s an awkward silence in the front seat between Miles and Pierre Chang, while Hurley watches in the backseat with much interest. Hurley strikes up a conversation with Chang, trying to not-so-subtly get him to interact with Miles, so Miles can learn more about his father. He asks what Chang does at the Orchid, but Chang says it’s classified. He asks about Chang’s family, and Chang says he has a three-month-old son named Miles, a “coincidence” Hurley shows great fascination over. He asks if adult Miles and Chang ever hang out, having both been here on the island for at least three years. Miles pipes up and says they don’t exactly travel in the same circles. Chang remarks that he wasn’t aware that there were circles. Hurley suggests they all get together for a beer sometime and hang out.

Chang says to stop the van. He hops out, unlocks a hidden fence covered in foliage, and swings it open. They drive inside, down a path, where they find a new Dharma station being built in a big area that’s been dug out of the ground. Chang tells Miles and Hurley they can go, that he’ll get a ride back to the Barracks with Radzinsky. Hurley asks what this place is; Miles doesn’t know and doesn’t care. Just then, a construction worker carries by a familiar object right in front of them: it’s the Swan hatch! The worker asks a buddy what the serial numbers are for the hatch, and his friend recites the cursed numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. The man carrying the hatch engraves those numbers into its side (and these are the same engraved numbers Hurley discovered on the side of the hatch back in Season 1). Hurley whispers the numbers to himself, completing the sequence before the workers do. Miles asks how he knows the numbers. “Because they’re building our hatch,” Hurley replies. “What hatch?” Miles asks. “The one that crashed our plane,” says Hurley.

That night, the two of them are still in the van, on their way back to the Barracks. Hurley explains about the Incident at the Swan hatch, that led to the creation of the button that had to be pushed every 108 minutes “to save the world.” He asks Miles if he knows his dad in the future, and Miles says no. Hurley thinks this is awesome, because now Miles has a chance to get to know his father. Miles slams on the brakes and says he doesn’t want to know his dad, because his dad was never around while he was growing up, he’s dead in the future, and he never knew the man in his entire life. His dad didn’t care about him or his mom, he explains, and nothing Miles does here and now will change that. Hurley argues the point that where they are now, his dad isn’t dead yet.

Miles shouts, “You want to get into my business? Let’s get into yours!” He grabs Hurley’s mysterious notebook and jumps out of the van. Flipping through the pages, he recites poorly-written script pages from The Empire Strikes Back. Hurley explains that he’s writing the script to the movie, because it’s 1977 and Star Wars has just come out, so George Lucas will be looking for a sequel soon. He figures he’d make life easier for everyone and send Lucas the script… “with a few improvements.” Miles says this is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard, to which Hurley jabs, “Well at least I’m not scared to talk to my own dad.”

At the Barracks, Sawyer comes home from a rough day to find Juliet talking to Jack. Jack reports that Roger suspects Kate of being more than she appears, but that he covered for Kate to Roger, and he doesn’t think Roger will press the matter. Jack just wanted Sawyer to know. Sawyer is frustrated at Kate’s loose lips, but Jack covers for her, saying her heart was in the right place. Jack leaves, and Sawyer thanks him for filling him in.

Outside of Sawyer’s house, Phil approaches and says that Sawyer is needed back at the Security office. Sawyer argues, tired and not wanting to go back to the office. Phil pulls out the security tape and tells him he knows that Sawyer took Ben. Sawyer says he can explain everything, and invites Phil inside his house. After confirming that Phil hasn’t told anyone else about the video tape yet, especially Horace, Sawyer knocks him out and tells Juliet to get some rope.

At the motor pool, Miles and Hurley return the van. Hurley apologizes for what he said about Miles being afraid to talk to his dad. He says that when he was ten, his dad left him and his mom, but the best thing he ever did was give his dad a second chance. “We got to be the best of friends, and although I may never see him again… I miss him. And I know he feels the same.” Miles says that his dad didn’t leave when he was ten, he was just a baby. He never knew his dad, and doesn’t want to. Hurley says that that was Luke Skywalker’s attitude too, and that even though Luke and his father worked it out eventually, their peace came at a high cost. It all could have been avoided if they’d just put down their lightsabers and talked.

Despite himself, Miles seems to hear some wisdom in Hurley’s words. He walks alone to Chang’s house, and peeks inside a window. Inside, he sees himself as a baby, sitting on his father’s lap, and Chang is doting over him, reading a story to his son in a silly, baby-friendly kind of way. There’s love written all over his face, and the baby feels it too, laughing and cooing at his father. Miles is shaken, can’t believe his eyes. He’s emotionally overcome.

Chang gets a phone call and hands the baby off to his mom, needing to leave. He spots Miles outside the house, and tells him that he needs his help. The sub has arrived from HQ, not carrying new recruits, but scientists from the Dharma Initiative’s home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The two of them drive to the dock.

There, the sub has already docked and Miles helps the passengers disembark with their belongings. The last passenger off the sub climbs out, and it’s none other than Daniel Faraday. “Dan!” Miles exclaims, surprised to see his old compatriot. “Hey, Miles,” Dan replies. “Long time no see.”

  • Naomi Dorrit visited Miles personally and extended Widmore’s invitation to join the freighter crew, for a payment of $1.6 million.
    Question: How did Miles join the freighter’s crew? [4.02]
  • Miles was hired to talk to the many dead people on the island in the hopes that they might help Naomi’s team locate Benjamin Linus.
    Question: What is Miles’ mission on the island? [4.02]
  • Miles was offered $1.6 million by Charles Widmore to help bring in Ben, so he asked Ben for double that amount to lie to Widmore.
    Question: Why did Miles ask Ben for $3.2 million? That seems like an oddly specific number for simple blackmail. [4.04]
  • Miles was born on the island and lived there as a baby with his mother and his father, Pierre Chang.
    Question: Miles’ nose bleeding next, after Charlotte’s, means that he’s spent more time on the island than any of them except her. The fact that Juliet came next, means that Miles spent more than three years on the island (because that’s how long Juliet spent on it). When did Miles live for more than three years on the island, and why doesn’t he remember it? [5.04]
  • Construction began in 1977.
    Question: When was the Hatch built? [2.01]
  • For unknown reasons, the Dharma Initiative designated it as the Hatch’s serial number.
    Question: Why are the Numbers inscribed on the side of the Hatch? [1.18]

  • Is Pierre Chang really dead in the present? Did he die on the island? If so, how?
  • If Pierre Chang really loved his wife and son so much, why did he “kick them out,” aka off the island, and never have any further contact with them?

This episode’s playful title, “Some Like it Hoth,” is a reference to the icy planet in The Empire Strikes Back. Yet the play on words of the title Some Like it Hot doesn’t seem to bear any direct references or similarities to the characters or setting of Lost. Though I’m sure that won’t keep Doc Jensen from finding some bizarre, miniscule parallel to expound upon.

Did you see the microwave in the opening scene? Its readout was 3:16, which is the Ajira Airways flight number the Oceanic 6 used to get back to the island. (Yeah, I know, it has no real significance. Just throwing it out there for those who like to examine the little details.)

I’m wondering what kind of life Miles led that kept him from visiting his dying mother sooner than he did. Obviously he went through some kind of rebellion, which was no doubt triggered or aggravated by his unusual ability, which probably led him to feel different than other kids all his life.

That Charles Widmore really gets around, doesn’t he? We know that he funded Daniel Faraday’s scientific research. We know that he owns part or all of Oceanic Airlines. And now we know that he’s been following Miles’ career as a ghost whisperer. It stands to reason that Widmore’s interest in Miles is rooted in his knowledge of Miles’ lineage.

We also learned that Widmore was receiving hard copy reports about empty graves and an old airplane, which points directly to the faked version of Oceanic 815 that was found at the bottom of the ocean. We’re meant to believe that the man taking Widmore this information was reporting back to him about operations conducted at Widmore’s orders. But it’s equally possible that this operative was spying on the actions of another party, and reporting back to Widmore about what someone else was responsible for. Or maybe even the guy was an enemy operative, and Widmore captured him and confiscated the info from him. This is Lost, so anything’s possible…

So Miles was on the Freighter because Widmore believed his skills as a medium could be put to use there to help find Ben. There have to be dozens, if not hundreds, of dead members of the Dharma Initiative on the island after the Purge (all buried in that big pit where Ben shot Locke), and Widmore believed these dead souls would still be on the island, and would be more than willing to help Widmore’s people locate the man who killed them. It’s a sound theory; too bad Miles never got the chance to put this plan into action.

Now we know why Miles was after $3.2 million from Ben. It still feels like a completely arbitrary number — he wanted $3.2 million because it was double the $1.6 million Widmore was willing to pay him? I kept hoping they would explain that $1.6 million was the amount Miles needed to pay for an experimental cure for his mother’s cancer or something. But no, the $1.6 million was given no explanation at all. And it’s just as strangely precise a number as $3.2 million is. Why not the more “nice round number” sum of $1.5 million? Why $1.6? Guess we’ll never know. Aside from showing a bit about Miles’ lust for money, this reveal was pretty much a waste.

But I am curious about why Miles is so interested in money. As we saw in his first flashback last season, he regularly fleeces his grieving customers for large amounts of cash in exchange for his services (but also sometimes gives them part or all of their money back, so at least he’s not a total heel). Naomi’s $1.6 million told him all he needed to know to get him on the freighter, and his counteroffer to Bram of doubling Widmore’s paycheck to keep him from going to the island spoke of arrogance and greed. Does the guy just like money, and there’s no better explanation for it than that? If so, that’s a bit disappointing, because Miles has left behind all pursuits for wealth while spending three years in the Dharma Initiative. He could conceivably have left the island any time he wanted on the sub, gone off to the 1977 mainland, invested some money in the likes of IBM, Microsoft, or another major tech company, and made a killing. What’s kept him on the island, if his primary motivation is money and (until now) he hasn’t cared anything about his dad?

Does Hurley have an actual ability to talk to ghosts? Or is this more of the paranoid schizophrenia surfacing that once landed him in a mental hospital? I tend to think the latter, though it would be cooler if Hurley had similar abilities to Miles. Miles’ ability just feels more legitimate in how it’s portrayed. Plus, Hurley only talks to dead people that he knew before they died. If he could really talk to dead people, it should be a universal rule, not limited to friends of his.

A recurring theme this season for the writers is not dragging out the payoff for viewers. We all went into this episode wondering if Miles Straume is Pierre Chang’s son, and true to form, the show didn’t make us wait long to find out. It was at the exact midpoint that they got that revelation out in the open.

I went back and looked at the opening scene of Season 5, right at the beginning of “Because You Left,” and the Orchid station under construction in that scene is almost identical to the state of the construction we saw in this episode. So it looks like my assertion way back in my recap for “Because You Left” could be coming true: before the season is out, we’re going to catch back up with Daniel Faraday and find out the exact circumstances of how he wound up sneaking into the Orchid, and what he was trying to do. (My guess: he’s hoping to find a way to use the Orchid’s time-controlling powers to send the time-traveling castaways back to the present.)

Hurley’s re-writing of The Empire Strikes Back was so cute and geeky, you just had to love it. When he asked Miles early on how to spell “bounty hunter,” I figured he was writing down a record of how all of the Oceanic 6 got back to the island, since Sayid was brought onto the plane by a supposed bounty hunter (Ilana). When Miles finally took the notebook and revealed what Hurley was up to… it was funny sure, but also sweet and naïve in that Hurley kind of way. He goes from downright silly to sagely in touch with his emotions faster than any character on the show. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Hurley has the purest heart of anyone on Lost.

Why does Chang regard the animal experiments on Hydra island as “ridiculous”? Is there no solidarity among the Dharma Initiative’s science crew? Are not all of their experiments of equal importance? And does Chang consider the experiments being performed at other stations around the island to be of equally trivial consequence? We know he doesn’t feel that way about the Orchid, but then, the Orchid is disguised as a nursery for plants and flowers — its true nature (studying time travel) buried deep beneath the surface. Maybe all of the truly important scientific stations — like the Orchid and the Swan — are hidden from view, and kept top secret.

The fact that Hurley asks aloud what the deal is with Pierre Chang’s multiple pseudonyms means that this is a question that we should be asking, too — a question that the show intends to answer, probably sooner than later. The only reason I can think of to disguise one’s true name is for security purposes, but I admit I find that a very dissatisfying explanation.

Did you notice that the chalkboard Jack was cleaning off was filled with notes about ancient Egyptian history and even some hieroglyphs? (We’ve been speculating a lot lately about the nature of the island’s ancient culture, which seems to be steeped in Egyptian symbols. And the fact that the island’s “exit” through turning the frozen wheel deposits people in Tunisia, which is very close to modern-day Egypt.) Note to Lost’s producers: “wink wink, nudge nudge” received, loud and clear. Ten-four, over and out.

What shall become of poor Phil, all tied up in Sawyer’s house? Will Roger mention his suspicions about Kate to Horace, or someone else of authority? Sawyer’s carefully constructed reality is starting to crack, what with Sayid’s escape, his friends’ slip-ups around other Dharma people, and his own complicity in Ben’s abduction. We’re building toward something here… Something that I would propose is going to end with our castaways’ need to escape from 1977 back to the present. And most likely this will happen at the end of this season, which is just a few short episodes away.

Now we know where Dan has been all this time: he left the island in 1977! He’s been in Ann Arbor, where the Dharma Initiative is headquartered. The question is, what has he been doing there? Is he the “very clever man” responsible for building the Lamp Post station in L.A.? One assumes that his big priority right now has to be finding a way to get around the laws of time travel so that he can save Charlotte’s life. Or, he could be looking for a way to help the castaways escape the past and return to 2007. Whatever he has planned, you can bet it involves Desmond, since he’s all “uniquely and miraculously special.” Though reaching Desmond won’t be easy, since they’re separated by 30 years at the moment. Daniel managed to use Desmond to change the history once before, at the beginning of this season when Dan told Desmond to go find his mother. The change came when Desmond suddenly, out-of-the-blue remembered his encounter with Dan outside the Swan station that happened years ago. Can the two of them somehow reunite and change time again, to save Charlotte? The change Dan made with Desmond the first time was small, just the conveyance of information. No historical events were actually changed. So I tend to think that Dan and Desmond will find it impossible to truly alter history. Desmond can have unique knowledge of future and past events, and pass that knowledge on to others, but physically manipulating the flow of history? I don’t see it happening without some kind of major change to the rules.

As suspected, the Swan station is being built in Hostile territory, without their knowledge. So why the big secrecy? What is it about the Swan that makes it so important (particularly to the ever-cranky Radzinsky) to guard its secret at all costs? Is the “Jughead” atomic bomb buried there, and Dharma doesn’t want the Others to know that they’re planning to tap into its power source to conduct electromagnetic experiments? Very possibly. Or it could be that the Swan is set overtop another unlimited power source, just like the Orchid is. I’m guessing we’ll know sooner than later.

What happened to poor Alvarez, aka the dead guy Miles picks up from Radzinsky in the jungle, near the Swan construction site? He was shot in the head, but by who? The Hostiles? Other members of Dharma? From what Miles said, it didn’t sound like Alvarez did anything to justify an unwarranted attack. He was daydreaming about his girlfriend, from the looks of it. Was he contaminated somehow from whatever the power source is at the Swan, and they had to kill him before he could spread the contamination? That’s what Horace’s phone conversation with Pierre Chang makes it sound like. And the body is being brought back to the Barracks (and then sent to the Orchid) so that Chang can study it somehow and determine the exact cause of whatever happened to Alvarez. Then when Chang does study it at the Orchid, he finds something that requires him to visit the Swan immediately. Did he detect radiation on the body, or something similar?

So, understanding the timeline as we do now… I have a theory about the Chang clan and how things ended up the way they did. We know from last year’s Comic-Con video that at some point yet to come (I’m betting on the season finale), Daniel Faraday is going to approach Pierre Chang and spill his guts about being from the future, and tell him that the Purge is going to one day destroy every last member of the Dharma Initiative. Despite his gruff, irritable persona when he’s working, I believe that the Pierre Chang we saw at the end of this episode was someone who truly loved his wife and son, and wouldn’t kick them out of his house or off of the island out of meanness. The Comic-Con video proved that Chang takes Daniel’s account of what’s going to happen to the Dharma Initiative very seriously. Seriously enough to fake a change of heart toward his wife and son, in order to get them off-island before the Purge, and therefore save their lives? You betcha. And I’d be willing to bet we’re going to see Chang’s wife and baby Miles shunted off of the island on Chang’s orders before this season ends.

IS there a reason that Miles can do what he can do? Miles seemed to suspect all his life that there was a reason for it. Bram promised to tell him the reason for it, if Miles rejected Charles Widmore’s employment. Did Miles’ father do something pseudo-scientific, back on the island, that caused his young son to be able to sense the remnants of a departed soul? Is the island itself directly responsible for Miles’ unique gift? Or is there another explanation?

Man oh man, I did not see it coming when the guy who abducted Miles turned out to be Ilana’s big friend with the rifle on the present-day island, Bram! And the really crazy part is that despite his maniacal harshness towards Frank in last week’s episode, here he was a very nice man who was exactly right that Miles needed more than money to fill the hole in his heart — and he even offered to give him what he needed, in the form of answers about his father.

So here’s my Big Question of the Week: Who the heck are Bram and Ilana working for? Bram claimed that he was not working for Widmore. When Ilana (and Bram) came into contact with Ben in last week’s episode, neither Ben nor Ilana seemed to recognize one another. So if Ilana and Bram aren’t working for Widmore… and they don’t know Ben at all… Who are they working for? We’ve been led to believe since last season that a war is coming over control of the island, and that there are two sides in this war: Ben Linus and Charles Widmore. But the actions of Ilana and Bram, if taken at face value, hint at the possibility of a third side — someone else out there who’s interested in controlling the island. Assuming this is true, who could that third party be? Who else is big enough of a power player to have known about Ajira 316’s true destination, and planted operatives on board (along with what’s got to be some fairly important cargo in that big steel crate)?

Ben and Widmore are both Others, regardless of how they came to enter that society. Is this third player someone from another party interested in the island? Say, the Dharma Initiative, perhaps? Could Ilana and Bram’s boss be Alvar Hanso, the man who founded (and funded) the Hanso Foundation, and its branch devoted to studying the island, the Dharma Initiative?

Did Pierre Chang somehow survive the Purge after all, and in the present day, an older and wiser Chang is trying to reclaim the island? (He’d be quite the heel for never visiting his wife and son over the years, if so.)

Could it be Sun’s father and his powerful company, Paik Industries?

Or is it an entirely new player, perhaps someone from the outside world who’s pieced together information about the island and has their own designs on it?

Whoever it is, they’re using the mysterious question, “Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?” as a sort of pass phrase. A riddle to determine either who is worthy of joining their ranks, or who is, as Bram suggested in this episode, ready to go to the island. Why, and to what end… These are things I look forward to finding out. And methinks they are going to have a lot to do with setting up the overarching scenario for Season 6.