Okay, I’ve been a faithful devotee of this show for years now. Even when it didn’t make sense, even when it seemed they were making it up as they went, even during the polar bear cage days of Season 3. But I have to confess: this premiere was a major letdown, at least on initial viewing. I’m holding out hope that they’ll right the ship here, but its hard not to be a little disappointed at this stage in the game.
I’m REALLY not digging the “flash sideways” storytelling device. With the phrase “flash sideways”, the producers are referring to the LAX storyline. (For a detailed explanation of the “flash sideways” from Damon and Carlton, click here.) It seems that for at least part of this season, we’ll find out what would have happened if Oceanic 815 had indeed never crashed. We saw several of these implications early in the episode, most notably Desmond never shipwrecks on the Island. (I still wonder about Farraday’s comment to him from last season: “The rules don’t apply to you.”) I definitely wasn’t expecting this and I don’t really care to see “what would’ve happened”. How are we supposed to interpret this storyline? Is it “real”? Another possibility? How can it possibly be reconciled with any of the previous 100+ hours of the series we’ve invested in to this point? Like I said, it’s hard not to be disappointed.
At the same time, we’re witnessing an “alternate reality” where the bomb detonated and our castaways are blown back to the Island present in 2007. Juliet has a tearful goodbye with Sawyer, but she imparts this one little piece of info (via Miles) as she exits: it worked. Is Juliet somehow aware of these alternate universes? Will she and Sawyer have a fortuitous encounter in this off-Island universe? If so, I’m betting we hear her utter the same words she spoke as she died in Sawyer’s arms: something about grabbing coffee and going dutch.
As for revelations in this episode, we had several.
- We were correct to link the Man in Black with Smokey.
- The Man in Black alludes to Richard and his “chains”. I’m pretty sure this is a reference to the Black Rock, a slave trading ship from the 1800s. I’m betting Richard was a slave on the ship, the same ship we saw coming to the Island in the Season Five finale.
- We finally got to see the inside of the Temple. Lots of hieroglyphs. Lots of dudes with guns and turbans. And muddy water that drowns you and then saves you. Weird.
- We finally got to see what was inside the guitar case. I’m wondering if all of this means Jacob has now inhabited Sayid’s body, in a way that’s similar to the Man in Black’s use of Locke.
- The volcano ash that surrounded Jacob’s former cabin was explained (sort of). Seems it was intended to keep Smokey out.
I still have plenty of questions:
Why the blood on Jack’s collar when he looks in the mirror in the airplane bathroom?
How does Charlie know he’s “supposed” to die?
What is it that has changed Hurley’s luck? How is it that he thinks he’s the “luckiest man alive” in the alternate timeline?
Why can’t the show spring for some better CGI graphics?
Most of all, what happens in an “alternative reality” when Jacob & the Man in Black have been presumably blown to smithereens with the rest of the Island? Isn’t this whole thing about some age old argument / feud between these two? How can this be played out in the “new” timeline?
What about you? Your thoughts? Did you love it or were you disappointed?