Jin witnesses some important events in island history. Locke takes the final step on his quest to leave the island. Charlotte confides a startling secret to Daniel. And Sun prepares to kill Ben.

Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Paul A. Edwards

On the Island

Some time after his rescue by seven-months-pregnant Danielle and her French science team pals, Jin is with them on the beach, at a makeshift camp they’ve set up, still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that he’s in the past. Danielle informs him that it’s currently 1988, and he’s stunned, but seems to be putting the pieces together that he has traveled through time.

[Side note: here are the names of the entire French science team, for the completionists out there. There’s Danielle of course, and her boyfriend/lover Robert (aka, Alex’s daddy). There’s Montand, the blonde jerkwad who got his arm ripped off. Nadine, the smoke monster’s latest victim. And finally, Brennan and Lacombe, who we never really learned much about.]

The French scientists hear the infamous cursed numbers being broadcast from somewhere on the island, and want to find the radio tower the broadcast is coming from. Jin is convinced by Danielle to help, though he wants to get back to the Oceanic 815 survivors’ beach camp. The group ventures into the jungle, where Danielle feels a labor pain, and she and Robert engage in a cute argument over the baby’s sex. (He thinks it’s a boy, to be named Alexander, she insists it’s a girl, Alexandra.) Someone notices that Nadine, the only other female on the team besides Danielle, is missing. And then everyone hears a faint rumble in the distance.

Jin recognizes this rumble as the sound of the smoke monster approaching, and he warns everyone that they have to get out of there. But the Frenchmen won’t hear of it, and insist on searching for Nadine. Nadine’s body falls out of a tree, and she’s been brutally killed by the monster. Jin tells them to run, but the monster appears and grabs Montand, dragging him away towards a hole in the ground. His friends and Jin all chase after him, and manage to stall his descent via a firm grip to a single hand. But he’s almost inside the hole, which rests just under a large stone structure, or ruins of some kind. Pulling for all they’re worth, it still isn’t enough as the monster snakes its smokey tendrils around Montand’s body and gives a final tug — tearing him free from his friends, and ripping his arm from his body.

Moments later, the sounds of the monster fade, and Montand is heard from under the stone ruins, calling out for help. He claims the monster has gone, so his friends decide to climb down and retrieve him. Danielle starts to join them, but Jin holds her back, reminding her that she’s pregnant and it’s not safe.

The first of many time flashes in this episode occurs, and Jin finds himself all alone at the stone structure. He finds Montand’s arm on the ground right where he last saw it, but it’s decayed a bit, so he’s moved forward in time by a matter of weeks or maybe a month. Jin sees black smoke rising in the distance, and he returns to the Frenchmen’s beach camp, only to find it better assembled than he last saw it. He finds Danielle’s musicbox — the same one Sayid fixed for her later in the first season episode “Solitary” — only here it’s still brand new. He finds two members of the team dead on the beach, having been shot. He watches from a distance as Danielle has her fateful final encounter with her lover, Robert (who’s now sporting a full beard). Both of them are aiming rifles at the other, but Robert seems to just be trying to defend himself. He begs Danielle to see reason, to stop killing everyone, but she believes that the monster changed him when he descended underground. She thinks he’s sick now, and he’s different. Shockingly, he tries to shoot her, but his rifle won’t fire, and she shoots him in the head.

She spots Jin and tries to shoot him as well, but he flees into the jungle, where another time flash saves him. Jin wanders back into the jungle, hoping to return to his own beach, but is stopped by a gun being leveled on him from behind. He turns around slowly… to find Sawyer, and all the rest. After a quick reunion with his friends, he asks where Sun is. Sawyer attempts to explain to him that they’re all traveling through time, but in spite of the English Jin has picked up recently, the language barrier still stands between them. He turns to Charlotte, remembering from an earlier encounter that she speaks Korean, and asks her to translate. Everyone else is shocked to learn that Charlotte speaks Korean, but she grudgingly obliges and explains everything that’s happened to Jin.

Later, as the group continues its jungle trek toward the Orchid station, Locke explains why he’s trying to reach the Orchid, that he intends to leave the island and bring the six who left back, including Sun. Daniel and Charlotte discuss whether or not Locke’s plan will work, and Daniel seems to think it’s a sound theory, that since the time jumping began at the Orchid, the Orchid might be the best place to stop it.

Two time shifts occur back-to-back, leaving the survivors dazed. Even Sawyer bleeds from the nose this time. Charlotte collapses, bleeding again, and she speaks to Jin in Korean, telling him not to let them bring Sun back. “No matter what!” she says. “This place is death!” Charlotte begins to hallucinate, seemingly experiencing moments from her past, much like Daniel’s last girlfriend did (as we saw in “Jughead”). Locke and Sawyer want to resume their quest for the Orchid, and express intentions to leave Charlotte behind. It’s cruel, yes, but if the time jumps continue, they’re all going to end up like her, so it has to be stopped.

After yet another time flash, Daniel refuses to go with them, saying he’s going to stay behind with Charlotte. Charlotte tells Locke that should they arrive at the Orchid at a time before it was built, they need only to “look for the well.” They’ll find it there. Straightaway, they find the Orchid station very nearby, but no sooner do they arrive than another time flash occurs and the Orchid station is gone. But following Charlotte’s instructions, Locke spots a large well nearby, surrounded by small stone pillars or ruins of some kind.

Back where Daniel and Charlotte were left behind, Charlotte seems to have a moment of clarity, and she reveals to Dan that she grew up on this island. Her parents were part of the Dharma Initiative, but her mother moved away and took Charlotte with her. She never saw her father again. Later, as she continued to grow up, Charlotte would ask her mother about the island, but her mother would tell her that it wasn’t real, that Charlotte had made it up. But Charlotte never believed that, always knowing that the island was real, and this is the reason she became an anthropologist. She’s spent her entire life trying to get back to the island.

Charlotte then tells Daniel that she remembers a crazy man who scared her, who came to the island when she was a little girl. This man told her that she had to leave the island and never come back, or she would die. Daniel is stunned when Charlotte says, “Daniel — I think that man was you!”

Back at the well, Locke prepares to climb down a rope dangling in its center, when Jin stops him and makes him promise not to bring Sun back. After witnessing what the island did to Rousseau’s people, and what it’s doing now to Charlotte, he doesn’t want Sun or his daughter to return here. He tells Locke to tell Sun that he died, that Locke saw Jin’s remains wash up on the shore and Locke buried him. He gives Locke his wedding ring to give to Sun, as proof that he’s dead. Juliet thanks Locke for attempting to save them, just as he climbs down into the hole.

He makes it about halfway down, when another time flash hits. Locke loses his grip on the rope and falls far down to the bottom of the well, where he cries out in agony. Up above, Sawyer clings to the rope, until he looks down and sees that the well is gone, and the rope runs into the ground. Wherever they are now, it would appear that the well hasn’t been dug yet.

Charlotte deteriorates fast, and Daniel tries to get her to hold on. He tells her that he has a plan to save her, that he went to Desmond and sent him to visit his mother in Los Angeles. She doesn’t understand how Dan’s mother can help, but before he can explain, her eyes go rigid, her body limp. She’s dead!

At the bottom of the well, Locke is badly injured. He’s broken his leg, with the bone sticking far out from his knee. He sees a shadow as someone approaches, and it’s Christian Shephard, who says he’s here to help John make it the rest of the way. He explains that around the corner from where Locke landed, there’s a wheel. And this wheel has slipped off its axis, and needs to be righted. Fixing it will allow Locke to leave the island. Christian says that it was John Locke who was supposed to move the island and leave it, not Ben, despite Ben’s insistence that Jacob meant it to be him. Christian tells him to go visit Eloise Hawking in L.A., and she will tell them all how to get back to the island. Locke says that Richard told him that he would have to die to convince the others to return, and Christian replies that this is a sacrifice Locke must make.

With his broken leg, and Christian unable to help him, Locke struggles to reach the wheel. He pushes it back in place, turns it a little bit, and the white light begins to shine from behind it. Christian tells him to “Say hello to my son.” Locke asks who his son is, but he vanishes into the light before Christian can answer.

Off the Island

At the pier where Jack, Sayid, and Kate have met with Ben, Sun still sits in her car, watching. She gets a call from her daughter, Ji Yeon, who’s being cared for by Sun’s mother. Both of them want Sun to return home soon, and Sun tears up at their requests. She promises to be back soon, saying she’s finishing up the thing she came to L.A. for now.

She exits the vehicle and approaches Ben, pointing her pistol at him. Kate demands to know where Aaron is, and Sun says he’s in the car. Kate runs off to retrieve him. Ben tells Sun that Jin is not dead, and he can prove it. Sun hesitates, still pointing her gun at Ben, but wants to see his evidence. He says that they have to go to see a woman at a church to get the proof. Kate returns with Aaron in her arms and freaks out, believing Jack was in on Ben’s scheme to take Aaron from her as a means to get her back to the island. She leaves. Sayid leaves as well, threatening both Jack and Ben that “it will be extremely unpleasant for all of us” should he see either one of them ever again. But Sun agrees to go with Ben to the church, and Jack goes with them.

Later, as Ben drives his van with Sun and Jack on board, Jack tries to apologize to Sun for leaving Jin behind back on the freighter, just before it blew up. Sun is unimpressed, pointing to his newfound alliance with the manipulative Ben. Jack replies that if she doesn’t kill Ben, he will “after what he just did to Kate.” Ben slams on the brakes, and says the two of them should never stop thanking him for all he’s done to keep them safe, that they have no idea how much he’s done for them. Ben tells Sun that if she’s going to kill him, she should do it now. Sun relents, and Ben resumes the drive.

The van arrives at the church, and when the three of them get out, Ben produces Jin’s wedding ring and gives it to Sun. He says that Locke gave it to him. Jack protests that Ben said Locke didn’t come to see him; Ben replies that that’s right, that he went to see Locke. Locke gave him the ring to offer to Sun as proof that Jin is still alive. Ben tells them both that the woman inside this church is named Eloise Hawking, and that she can help them all get back to the island. He asks if Sun will come, and with her husband’s wedding ring in hand, she says yes.

Just then, Desmond shows up, asking what they’re all doing there, outside the church. Ben says the same thing he is. Desmond replies, “You’re looking for Faraday’s mother, too?” Ben seems surprised to hear that Faraday’s mother is Eloise Hawking. He leads them inside the church, where Hawking is dismayed to see that Ben didn’t bring all of them. Ben says it was the best he could do on short notice, and Hawking supposes that it will have to do.

“Alright. Let’s get started,” she tells them.

  • The enigmatic Eloise Hawking.
    Question: Who is Daniel Faraday’s mother? [5.01]
  • The “sickness” Danielle spoke of was, in reality, the smoke monster. It took the rest of Danielle’s team and changed them somehow, so that they became completely different people. “Sick” was the word she used to describe them, but they don’t appear to have ever been infected by any sort of actual pathogen.
    Question: Danielle’s story about the rest of her science team was ambiguous. What exactly happened to them? [1.09]
  • Only what she witnessed first-hand when it attacked her and her teammates, and then took the rest of her team and altered them somehow.
    Question: What does Danielle know about the monster? [1.09]
  • Danielle believed that after her friends encountered the monster, it altered their personalities, making them dangerous to her and her child.
    Question: What is the sickness that took Danielle’s teammates “one by one”? [1.09] & Question: What is the infection Rousseau spoke of? Is it the same sickness that “took” her French crewmember friends? Could it be related to the injections Desmond was taking daily in the Swan station — the same reason the Hatch door was labeled “quarantine” on the inside? Is it even real? [2.15]
  • Danielle was prevented from getting close to the monster by Jin, while he was moving through time. When her friends went down beneath the Temple and found the smoke monster, she stayed on the surface.
    Question: Why was Danielle not infected by this sickness? [1.09]
  • Montand’s arm was ripped off by the smoke monster as it dragged him beneath the Temple.
    Question: How did Montand lose his arm in the Dark Territory? [1.23]
  • Presumably, the monster was taking Locke to the Temple — or rather, under it — just as it took Montand. I think we can infer that it planned to alter him the same way it altered Montand and his friends. To what end, is unknown.
    Question: Where was the monster taking Locke, and what did it intend to do with him there? [1.25]
  • After he had been changed by the smoke monster, Robert told her that the smoke monster isn’t a monster at all. He called it “a security system.”
    Question: Why does Danielle believe the monster to be “a security system”? [1.23]
  • Looks like.
    Question: Does the monster live in the Dark Territory, and that’s why it’s such a dangerous place? [1.23]
  • Charlotte grew up on the island because her parents were members of the Dharma Initiative, but after she moved away with her mother, her mother tried to convince her that the island wasn’t real. She returned to get back to the place where she was born.
    Question: What is Charlotte’s mission on the island? [4.02]
  • Because she knows it was where she grew up, and she needed to prove to herself that it was real.
    Question: Why has [Charlotte] been trying to get back [to the island]? [4.13]
  • To get the Oceanic 6 to return with him. Locke had been told by both Richard Alpert and Christian Shephard that the only way to save the people on the island (presumably from the time jumps) was to bring back everyone that left.
    Question: Why did Locke leave the island? [4.14]
  • The same way Ben did: by turning the frozen wooden wheel.
    Question: How did Locke leave the island? [4.14]

  • Why did the smoke monster kill Nadia, but leave Montand, Robert, and the others alive? Was it so it could “change” them, as it seemed to?
  • What exactly happened to Montand and the other Frenchmen beneath the Temple? Did the monster do something to them, as Danielle believed?
  • Why did the monster single out Montand to attack and drag beneath the Temple? Was he merely bait to get the others to go down there on their own, or was there some significance to the monster picking him over the others?

For the first time this season, an episode began without a flashback. Just felt the need to point that out.

Also from the (probably) pointless trivia file: Counting the flash that occurred when Locke fixed the frozen wheel, there were a total of eight time flashes in this episode. Eight, as I’m sure you know, is one of the cursed numbers.

Speaking of the numbers, who made that recording of them — the recording that Danielle and her people heard from their boat, which they changed course to investigate, and caused their shipwreck? Don’t forget, this is the recording that Danielle herself would later record over with her repeating S.O.S. message that Sayid, Sawyer, Kate, Charlie, Boone, and Shannon would hear in the very first episode of the show. I’m going to guess it was someone associated with the Dharma Initiative, just because the timing lines up, though I have no idea who or why such a recording would have been made.

This episode was positively overflowing with easter eggs for longtime fans, like Danielle’s musicbox. Or how about Montand’s quip regarding Jin: “First a boat. Then a helicopter. Next thing you know he’ll be talking about a submarine.” Jin very well could have mentioned a sub, since the Others possessed one, and like the boat and the helicopter, it was another means once used to reach the island. By Juliet, for example.

Nadine’s death at the hands of the smoke monster is eerily similar to the death of Seth Norris, captain of Oceanic 815. Both were yanked away and viciously killed by the smoke monster. Coincidence? Is the monster programmed to kill those it identifies as threats, or perhaps as leaders? Does the island require a death of some kind anytime a new group comes to it? I suspect we’re not going to know the answer to this one until Season 6, but I also firmly believe that Nadine and Seth’s deaths were presented to us in similar fashion on purpose. There is a method to the smoke monster’s madness, we just can’t see it yet.

Another similarity to something we’ve already seen came when Montand was captured by the monster. This was almost exactly, beat-for-beat, what happened to John Locke in the Season 1 finale, “Exodus.” In that episode, Locke was grabbed by the monster and dragged through the jungle toward a hole in the ground. Jack and Kate managed to save him by dropping a stick of dynamite into the hole, which forced smokey to turn John loose. So why is the monster dragging certain people underground? And what does it do to them down there? According to Danielle’s story from when the Oceanic survivors encountered her, Montand lost his arm to “the sickness” but survived. (Until she later shot him, of course. More on that in a minute.) So presumably, Montand was able to return from underground. Further, we saw his friends climb down into the hole after him, and we know that they survived as well. So why does the monster drag people underground, and what does it do with them there? Does it infect them, or change them, as Danielle believed? It seemed at first like she was crazy, but her assertions appeared to have been proven correct when her lover and father-of-her-child Robert tried to shoot her.

What the heck happened to them underground, in the monster’s lair? Since we know that the smoke monster can imitate human form, as it did with Eko’s brother Yemi, I can’t help wondering if the people Danielle shot were in fact… people. Is it possible they were facsimiles somehow created by the monster, and that’s why they seemed so different to Danielle? If so, then the four men all died underground, in the monster’s lair, and were almost immediately replaced. Something about the way that Montand began calling for help the second the monster’s noises faded away… And Montand didn’t even sound like he was in that much pain, after just having his arm ripped off. Was it really Montand calling to them for help, or was it the monster?

What else is down there, underground on the island? One would imagine there are all sorts of tunnels by which smokey accesses various locations around the island. Whatever it all is, it seems to be connected to the history of the island, with all those symbols and hieroglyphs. But I’m willing to bet there’s a lot more down there than we currently know. We’ve already seen two other locations underground with similar symbols: the frozen wheel well which we saw in this episode was surrounded by more ancient ruins, and the tunnel beneath Ben’s house at the Barracks, where he summoned the monster to wipe out Keamy’s men. It’s a natural conclusion that all of these underground places are connected to one another. The mind spins, wondering just what all that’s about, and what it has to do with the origins of the island.

My first thought when Jin spotted the plume of black smoke rising into the air, was its similarity to the black smoke the survivors saw before the Others came for Walt. Danielle told them she had seen that smoke one time before, when Alex was taken from her. But once Jin investigated, it looked as though this was merely smoke from the fire at the Frenchmen’s camp. It couldn’t have been the Others’ smoke from when Ben stole baby Alex from Danielle, because Danielle was still pregnant.

Danielle’s present-day story to Sayid was that her people were infected by “the sickness,” and she had no choice but to kill them. This appears to have been more or less true, but her referring to the effects of the monster as a “sickness” is quite a surprise.

I loved the little full-circle moment when Robert told Danielle that the smoke monster wasn’t a monster at all, “it’s a security system protecting that temple.” Danielle told Jack, Locke, Hurley, and Kate back in “Exodus” that the monster was “a security system.” Now we know where she got that idea. She also told Sayid that “there’s no such thing as monsters,” even though Jin repeatedly referred to smokey as a “monster” in this episode.

But this brings up the Temple itself, which is almost certainly the smoke monster’s lair. Did you see the symbols and hieroglyphics carved into the walls? Some of them matched symbols seen before, such as when the Swan station’s button counted down past zero, or when Ben descended to the wheel well beneath the Orchid station. Would this temple be the same Temple that Ben sent his people, the Others, off to last season for safety? Seems likely to me, though that would imply that Ben knows enough about the monster to know that his people would not be in any danger there. Why they wouldn’t be in danger there… is yet to be revealed, and probably relates to the Others status as supposedly indigenous to the island.

There’s one last Danielle-related matter to attend to, and that’s the obvious question of why she didn’t appear to recognize Jin when she met him sixteen years later. One could make the argument that her time alone on the island drove her mad, or that she’s suppressed her memories of the time shortly after the shipwreck, and genuinely doesn’t remember Jin as the man she encountered back then. But that seems too easy, and I ain’t buyin’ it. Young Danielle knew Jin’s name, for crying out loud, and he was the reason she didn’t contract the same “sickness” from the monster that her people did. No way would she forget someone like that. I think what we’re seeing instead is the effects of the Oceanic survivors’ travels through time. Even though Daniel swears history can’t be altered (and I’ve got a LOT more to say about that later), that “time has a way of course-correcting,” that doesn’t preclude them from making some small changes to the timeline, which have no real impact on the overall outcome of events. Perhaps in the original version of history, Danielle stopped herself from descending underground at the last minute. We’ll probably never know. The point is, Danielle survived unchanged, while her people did not, and that is true in either version of history. If this theory is true, then Jin was sort of inserted into Danielle’s story, but unable to make any real changes to it. And conveniently (not to mention sadly), Danielle is dead in the present, so there’s no way for Jin to go ask her older self if she remembers him from the past.

Did you notice that when Locke was climbing down the well and the time flash started up — the bright light that they always see in the sky seemed to be originating from down in the well? That would seem to make sense, given the frozen wheel’s significance to the island’s stabilization in time. But it was a nice little detail to see in action.

I still wonder where that wheel came from. Whatever power or energy is behind the wheel could eventually be explained as part of the island’s mysterious existence, but that wheel was man-made, and it was put there on purpose. Who, when, how, and why?

Is Christian Shephard really… Christian Shephard? I’ve always thought he was more of a manifestation of the island, a messenger from Jacob, or something similar. He’s clearly not a ghost, because he can physically manipulate objects — like baby Aaron in the jungle last season, the rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin, and now the lantern he carried in this episode. On the other hand, he couldn’t help John get up off the ground, and though he knew how to fix the wheel (“just give it a little push”), he insisted John had to do it, instead of doing it himself. If Christian is really himself… How the heck does he know so much about the island, about Jacob, about Eloise Hawking, and what Locke must do to save the island?

Now we have at least a partial explanation of why the island has been jumping through time, and just exactly what went wrong when Ben turned the wheel. Ben accidentally caused the wheel to slip free from its axis, and the wheel appears to very much be the island’s anchor — both in time and space. With the wheel all wobbly, the island was as well.

It’s confirmed at last: Eloise Hawking is indeed Daniel Faraday’s mother. Wowza.

So why was Ben surprised to learn this fact? And how could he not have known it already? We need some backstory on Faraday and Hawking, stat!

Daniel’s story arc for the season is starting to come into focus, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to see it. Let’s look at the evidence:

  • At Comic-Con 2008, attendees were shown a video of Dr. Marvin Candle admitting his real name was Pierre Chang, and recording this message for people of the future. In the video, he said that he knew that the Dharma Initiative was going to be destroyed in something called the Purge, and he asked whoever saw the video to help him and his people, to save the Dharma Initiative. The person videoing Chang was never seen, but Daniel Faraday’s voice could clearly be heard as he stopped recording, claiming that “this is never going to work.”
  • In this season’s premiere episode, “Because You Left,” one of the first things we saw was Daniel Faraday passing by Pierre Chang, disguised as a Dharma grunt, during the construction of the Orchid station.
  • “This Place Is Death” revealed that Charlotte was warned as a small girl not to return to the island or she would die — by Daniel Faraday!

Is the picture coming into focus? At some point this season, Daniel and the other survivors are going to time travel to the earliest days of the Dharma Initiative, and despite all his protests that history cannot be altered… I think the rest of this season, we are going to see Daniel Faraday on a quest to try to save the woman he loves by doing the impossible: changing history.

As sad as I am to see Charlotte go (and as poorly utilized as I found her to be of late compared to the force-to-be-reckoned-with she was last season), from a storytelling standpoint, it makes perfect sense. Charlotte dying is the one thing that could make Daniel throw caution to the wind, forget everything he knows about time travel, and attempt to change the past. And most of our lingering questions about Charlotte’s past were tied up with a neat bow just before her death.

I do still wonder just who she is, though, to the Dharma Initiative. Who were her parents? Is it possible she’s someone we’ve met before? I can’t possibly swallow that she’s Annie, Ben’s childhood friend. She’s the wrong age to be Annie, for starters, but Annie would also remember Ben, given all the time those two spent together in their youth. I don’t think she’s someone we’ve seen before as a child, but I am all kinds of curious to find out who her parents were — and why her mother left the island.

I would be remiss without pointing out that the fact that Charlotte was born and raised on the island tells us that whatever has happened to keep the Others from being able to procreate is a very recent development, probably well after the time of the Dharma Initiative. I wonder if it might have something to do with Jughead, the buried atomic bomb. Could it still be leaking radiation, or playing havoc with the island’s unique magnetic properties? I don’t think for one second that we’ve seen the last of that bomb.

The big question we’ll be facing next week, for episode 5.06 “316,” is just who will be going with Ben back to the island. Jack and Sun are a sure thing, while Hurley seems game, Kate is iffy at best, and Sayid is dead set against. I hope Kate brings Aaron along, because if she doesn’t, what will become of the little tyke? But I have a bad feeling about Aaron’s chances of returning to the island. And what about Desmond?

I also wonder what the consequences will be if Ben can’t get all six of them to return to the island. It’s as though there’s a balance that must be restored, and having everyone who left to return is the only way to restore that balance. Even though Hawking said that “it will have to do” to take back only the few of them that Ben was able to assemble, Ben himself has insisted all along that it has to be all six of them to go back. Christian Shephard was adamant when he told Locke the same thing in this episode, “it must be all of them.” It looks like Hawking is willing to settle for what she can get, but at the same time, I wonder about the consequences to the island and this notion of its balance should all of them not go back.