This week, Lost flashes back to the time when Ray Parker Jr. recorded his biggest pre-”Ghostbusters” hit.
(Spoilers after the jump)
I’m kidding. The “Other Woman” of the title is Juliet, whose flashbacks in this rather average Lost episode deal once again with her distrust and hatred of Ben, who refused to let the fertility doctor leave the island until she finished medical research that she thought was going to last for just six months. We learn more about the deceased Goodwin (Brett Cullen), the Others member Juliet slept with in the flashbacks during “One of Us.” It turns out Goodwin was married to Harper (Andrea Roth from Rescue Me), the Others’ therapist (“It’s very stressful being an Other,” says Juliet).
The stalkerrific, lovelorn Ben, who was jealous about Goodwin shacking up with Juliet, found a way to put an end to their affair: he sent Goodwin off on a suicide mission, the infiltration of the tail section survivors (or “tailies”) in “The Other 48 Days.” I guess neither Harper nor Ben have ever heard of the Cheaters Detective Agency (which is understandable when the entertainment options on the island are limited to creepy-looking Hanso Foundation instructional filmstrips, smuggled-in tapes of the Red Sox’s 2004 World Series win and Xanadu). The agency could have devised a less messy method of separating Juliet and Goodwin, but it’s unlikely any of their investigators would want to fly all the way to a South Pacific island, especially one that’s temporally displaced.
Daniel and Charlotte have disappeared from the camp, and Harper appears from out of nowhere to deliver a message from Ben to Juliet about why the two freighties are missing: they’re headed to the Dharma Initiative’s Tempest electrical station, which powers the island. Ben wants Juliet to stop Daniel and Charlotte from “deploying” the Tempest’s toxic gas, which will kill everyone on the island.
Of course, what Harper has delivered is unreliable intel, because after getting into a brutal brawl with Charlotte at the Tempest, Juliet discovers that Ben is the one who wants to release the gas. What Daniel and Charlotte are actually trying to do is disable the gas systems before Ben can get to them.
The only true part of Harper’s intel is that Ben is in much more control of the island than his “captor” Locke believes. The Others leader manipulates Locke into releasing him by first showing Colonel Kurtz the contents of a secret videotape labeled “RED SOX.” “I taped over the game,” says Ben, who’s as much of a sports fan as Nathan Lane was in The Birdcage. Locke watches footage of Charles Widmore (Alan Dale)—the owner of the freighter—kicking the crap out of one of Ben’s spies back on civilization.
“Charles Widmore wants to exploit this island, and he’ll do everything in his power to possess it,” says Ben, who also offers to reveal to Locke the identity of his spy on the freighter. Locke learns his identity (offscreen) and releases Ben, to the shock and dismay of Hurley and Sawyer.
-Nice fakeout at the beginning of “The Other Woman”: at her session with Harper, we’re led to think Juliet is one of the Oceanic Six (“I guess I don’t like being the center of attention”), but the flashback device is given away when now-deceased Others member Tom (M.C. Gainey) interrupts the session to introduce Juliet to Ben.
-Last week, a PopMatters columnist complained about Lost‘s overreliance on gun-toting. The latest ep—with its scenes of Jack aiming his firearm at a vanished Harper, Charlotte pistolwhipping Kate and a pissed-off Freckles and the freighties pulling guns on each other—doesn’t do much to assuage the columnist’s thirst for less gats. The show that the PopMatters guy should really be focusing his ire on is Jericho, which recently killed off the deaf girl by having her go out in a Scarface-style blaze of glory, but not before she sprayed a barrage of gunfire at D.B. Sweeney’s thugs. Jericho makes Lost look like Pollyanna. Plus, Ben’s minions have been far from friendly, the lostaways are split into two factions and rescue has been the last thing on the freighties’ minds, so no one knows who to trust anymore. This wouldn’t exactly be an island full of Drew Barrymores.
When Jack busts his gat, mutha*uckas take dirt naps.
-In one of the flashbacks, Harper notices that Ben has been fancying Juliet because she “looks just like her.” The shrink doesn’t identify the woman Juliet resembles. Who is she?
-Ben shouts to Juliet, “After everything I did to get you here, after everything I’ve done to keep you here, how can you possibly not understand that you’re mine!” Ben: the whitest pimp U’know.
-There’s no way “The Other Woman” could measure up to last week’s mind-bending “The Constant,” which several Lost recappers have called one of the series’ finest moments and quite possibly one of the best hours of television ever. If I weren’t so burnt out on time travel, I would have dug “The Constant” even more than I already do.
-Next week: the expected return of Harold Perrineau as Michael, the hot-tempered and long-missing father of Waaaaaaaaaaaalt!!!
On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…
“The Other Woman”: 15