Part one of the two-part season finale, “There’s No Place Like Home,” barely delves into the most intriguing aspect of last week’s captivating “Cabin Fever,” Locke’s plan to move the island (they’re saving that one for next time). The hour functions more as setup for what’s bound to be a gripping two-hour installment that the L.A. Times has already called “a three-tissue affair.” Last year’s finale, “Through the Looking Glass,” was the game-changer. It looks like “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2″ will be the tearjerker.
(Spoilers after the jump)
A satphone was tossed to the 815ers by Frank (Jeff Fahey) while he flew the mercs back to the Orchid, and Jack uses the phone to follow the copter pilot’s signal. With Sawyer in tow (“You don’t get to die alone”), Jack finds Frank handcuffed to the chopper’s passenger seat. The pilot warns the duo about the mercs, who will attack anyone who gets in the way of their mission to snatch Ben. Sawyer reminds Jack that Hurley is with Ben, and the doctor doesn’t want to leave the island without Hurley, so their next move is to journey to the Orchid to rescue him.
Sayid returns from the Kahana with a raft to take the castaways off the island and heads for the jungle with Kate to retrieve the copter, but their journey is interrupted by Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) and an armed group of surviving Others, who take the two 815ers prisoner.
Daniel ferries Jin and Sun, who’s looking after the abandoned baby Aaron, to the Kahana, where they have an awkward reunion with Michael. Desmond directs Jin, Sun and Michael to a startling discovery inside the freighter: a room filled with C4.
The most fascinating and enjoyable parts of the hour follow the Oceanic Six’s return to civilization. A yet-to-be-revealed figure has coached the Six to lie about their ordeal on the island. An awkward press conference where each question gets more hardball and each lie becomes bigger than the last is the ep’s most tense and suspenseful sequence, and it doesn’t even involve guns. Jack lies about the details of the crash landing with ease (foreshadowed by Kate’s observation back on the island that he’s able to look a person in the eye when he lies to them), while Sun hesitates as she gives a fake answer about her husband’s fate during the crash, and Kate becomes visibly uncomfortable when a journalist pulls a David Gregory on her about the bizarre time span of her “pregnancy.”
Sayid is reunited with his lost love Nadia (Andrea Gabriel), whom he will later marry (and lose again, thanks to a Widmore assassin). Sun stands up to her ruthless, mob-connected father, Mr. Paik (Byron Chung), whom she partly blames for Jin’s death, by using money from the Oceanic Airlines settlement to take control of her father’s company. For Hurley’s birthday, David Reyes (Cheech Marin) gives his son the vintage Camaro that they were trying to rebuild together before Hurley disappeared—the same Camaro that Hurley fled in during the very first scene of the season—but the 815er becomes upset when he notices the odometer and trip meter display his favorite numbers, “481516 2342.”
At Christian Shepherd‘s funeral, an Australian woman named Carole Littleton (Susan Duerden) reveals to Jack that her daughter Claire was his half-sister during a scene that’s beautifully underplayed by Matthew Fox. It’s Fox’s best bit of acting this season. Fox terrifically conveys that a million things are going through Jack’s head as he has to silently lie to Carole about how well he knew the young and possibly ill-fated Aussie mother, while also discovering that she was his sister. Then Carole approaches Kate and Aaron and compliments the baby without realizing that he’s her grandson.
-Wow, I felt really bad for Kate and Sayid when the other members of the Oceanic Six were greeted and embraced by their loved ones at the tarmac, while no one was there to wait for Kate or Sayid. As Morris Day once said, ex-cons and ex-torturers get lonely too.
-In Sun’s flash-forward, she tells her father, “Two people are responsible for my husband’s death. You are one of them.” Who’s the other? Is she referring to Jack, Widmore (who also happens to be her father’s business partner) or herself?
-Karen Decker, the Oceanic Airlines rep, is played by one of my favorite serial guest stars, Michelle Forbes, a.k.a. Admiral Cain, a.k.a. Ensign Ro. Forbes is awesome even when her character is an ill-conceived one, like the awkwardly added M.E. character she played on Homicide. (What a missed opportunity on Homicide—the staff writers should have made Forbes’ feisty character a detective instead of an M.E. Forbes would have been far more convincing as murder po-lice than Jon Seda, Callie Thorne or Michael Michele. I try to block out the Seda/Thorne/Michele era of Homicide.)
“Cabin Fever” theories from the Interwebs
Everybody and their mama has a theory about the puzzling events of “Cabin Fever,”particularly young Locke’s Buddhist-style recruitment test. Here are some of the most noteworthy theories I’ve clipped and saved:
“My boyfriend theorized last night that Alpert is somehow moving through time and that, having met Locke on the island, he has gone back in time to test him. The ashes in the vial were Locke’s own ashes, after he had died and become Jacob. Perhaps choosing the knife proved that he simply wasn’t ready to be who Alpert needed him to be. Could Alpert be trying to somehow change history by going back and getting Locke to join Mittelos? Perhaps he thought that if he could get Locke, then he wouldn’t have to deal with Ben?” [What's Alan Watching?]
Hold up. Jacob is Locke’s future self? Then how does he get all his hair back? Does Sy Sperling live on the island?
“John said the item that belongs to him was the knife. Then Richard just told his foster mother ‘He’s not ready to go to our school yet’ Meaning that, as much as he might want to be, John was never meant to be ‘The Great White Hunter’ He was meant to be a scientist.” [Yahoo! Answers]
“Locke chose the compass, sand and knife – which pretty much sums up his life thus far. He refused the ball glove and the book – meaning he’s never going to be a team player or follow the rules.” [Yahoo! Answers]
“It was insinuated that Richard wanted John to choose the ‘Book of Laws’ instead of the knife.” [Yahoo! Answers]
“I think Alpert was mad because Lock is traveling thru time like Desmond is.” [IGN Boards]
I’m still sticking to my “Alpert could be Locke’s papa” theory, but this next person doesn’t think it holds water:
“I’m pretty sure Alpert isn’t Locke’s real father. The way Locke’s grandmother reacted it seemed like if Alpert HAD been the father, she would have recognized him. Plus I got the impression in the opening scene of the flashback that she had seen the man before. Also, knocking up a teenage girl seems a lot more in character for Anthony Cooper than Alpert. I think Alpert was there because Locke was born at a specific time… there’s a definite Dalai Lama thing going on here.” [A.V. Club]
“Faraday’s bearing is the only one that gets you to the island in real time. The doc’s dead body drifted into a different bearing and washed up in the past.” [Blowing Smoke]
“I’m beginning to think… Abaddon is actually a good guy as well.” [What's Alan Watching?]
“Seems to me Abaddon is still operating on behalf of Widmore/Dharma (his flashback was a contrast to the Other flashbacks which had no prodding or quid pro quo) — empowering Locke so that they can easily take the island out of his confused or grateful hands. So, yes, Jacob/The Island have ‘entrusted him,’ given him a chance to prove himself, but it’s also a move that falls into the ‘bad guys” hands. Abaddon wasn’t being nice — self-serving is more like it.” [io9]
“I don’t think Abaddon answers to ANYONE.” [A.V. Club]
“Now, I’m just going to throw this theory out there. I haven’t really thought it through. But is it possible that Widmore and Richard, and possibly others (though not necessarily ‘The’ Others), were originally crewmembers of the Black Rock? That, somehow, their crashing on the island granted them immortality and, possibly, other powers? Some of them left the island, and now Widmore is one of the ones who want it back. Just a thought. Perhaps Christian is one of them.” [io9]
“I was sad when Locke asked Christian, ‘How do I save the island?’ He could have asked ‘How do I save the people on the island?’ But that is not Locke’s priority. That is not the mission he believes he is on.” [What's Alan Watching?]
“Is it possible that everything leading up to the plane crash was to get John Locke on that island?” [What's Alan Watching?]
“John returned to Hurley and Ben and said ‘He wants us to move the island.’ But we didn’t hear what Christian (or Jacob) actually said to John. We heard his interpretation. And Locke could be dead wrong about what he is actually supposed to do.” [Celebritology]
“I wondered if he again failed the test — which would explain Claire and Christian’s knowing glance when John asked how to save the island.” [Celebritology]
He’s not supposed to move the island then? I wouldn’t be surprised if Locke misinterpreted Jacob/Christian’s words. If so, “Cabin Fever”‘s last three flashbacks make more sense now. Alpert and the high school teacher try to push Locke towards the right path, but he doesn’t listen and instead chooses to heed Abaddon’s misleading advice about embarking on the walkabout, as the commenter from io9 theorizes about Abaddon.
“The six get off the island, and then (somehow) Locke and Co. move the island. If it can’t be found, no more survivors can be ferried back to the freighter. And that’s why Jack is so anguished about wanting to get back — nobody can find the place anymore.” [A.V. Club]
I also wouldn’t be surprised if Locke’s stubbornness about playing the superhero and saving the island—the seeds of which were planted by Abaddon when he was disguised as an orderly at the Delerue Center for Rehabilitation—has tragic consequences for the other 815ers, and it turns out to be the impetus for Jack’s desperation to go back. To borrow a certain catchphrase from another current mythology show, Locke could really be the harbinger of death. Awesome!
“The cover of the comic reminds me of the season 4 promos we saw earlier this year, with the island above and the Los Angeles skyline reflected below. Maybe just a coincidence, but interesting.” [Celebritology]
I almost forgot about the L.A. skyline in the island’s reflection from the show’s fourth-season ads. If Locke does accomplish moving the island, maybe he moves it to a spot a lot closer to L.A. than the Oceanic Six think. Or maybe the island has been at that spot all along. To rehash an outdated theory about the island from the show’s earlier seasons, is the L.A. skyline a hint that the island is fake and was built inside a giant Truman Show-style dome in L.A.? Perhaps the island is L.A. (as outlandish a theory as the Galactica fans’ theory that everyone’s a Cylon)? Nah, scratch that. It’s already been established that the island is located in the South Pacific and the freighties have traveled quite a distance to arrive there. Perhaps the L.A. skyline is a hint that some sort of portal to the island is actually located within L.A. itself—could it be a wormhole?
“Well Locke’s last comment about moving the island certainly explains why a drug plane from Nigeria and a slave ship in the pacific all ended up on the same island….the island has moved all over the oceans of the world for centuries to avoid detection from people who want to exploit its mysticism and technology…it’s Atlantis! A people who were technologically advanced and spiritually evolved. They are the ones with the four toes (the statue) and why Richard Alpert never ages, he is one of them and the Atlanteans basically discovered how to remain immortal as evidenced in the Locke flashbacks. But they also can’t reproduce. What a sucky side effect.” [Pop Candy]
The citizens of Springfield also sport four toes and have stopped aging. I guess this means even Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel is an Atlantean.
Here’s an amusing reference to both Locke’s encounter with Claire inside Jacob’s cabin and another equally creepy show from ABC’s history:
“‘Hey, Locke! I’ve got good news. That game you like is going to come back in style.’” [A.V. Club]
I love the A.V. Club.
Speaking of which, their recapper liked this ep but found it to be an incomplete viewing experience without the two-hour conclusion, which won’t air for another two weeks (way to build momentum, ABC), so he gave “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1″ an incomplete grade. I feel the same way about Part 1, so on a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…
“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1″: undecided