Friday, March 6, 2009

5.5 This Place is Death

If I was stranded on The Island and had to pick a partner for Pictionary, I would pick the member of the French team who fingers a perfect line drawing of a radio tower as an example for Jin. As we discovered at the end of the previous episode, Jin has somehow survived the boat explosion, and is now hanging with Danielle’s team. The team have picked up the repeating numbers radio signal and want Jin’s help to find the tower. Jin says he wants to go back to his camp to find his wife, but the best he can hope for is to run into one of his Significant Others. He agrees to help them find the tower first. But on the way, they encounter the Smoke Monster and lose two members of their team (well, they lose one member, and he other member loses an arm and disappears down the Smoke Hole). The entire team decides to go into the hole to attempt a rescue, but Jin manages to convince the very pregnant Danielle not to follow. Soon after, Jin flashes away.

When Jin emerges, it is a few months later (based on the state of the decomposed arm, which looks mummified). Danielle’s crew have gone mad, and she is in the process of putting them out of their misery. She shoots and misses Jin, then pursues him. He is saved by another flash, and finds himself rejoined with Locke, Sawyer and gang.

As Locke and company head for the Orchid, a series of flashes mean nosebleeds all around and a weakening condition for Charlotte. She is babbling now, but scattered among the nonsense, she says some important snippets:

  • She tells Jin not to let Sun return to the island, because ‘this place is death’.
  • She tells Daniel that she grew up on the island with her mother and father as part of the Dharma initiative, and that her mother later took her back to England and told her the island was all in her imagination. She became an anthropologist for the sole purpose of finding the island again.
  • She said there was a scary man on the island that told her if she returned she would die, and that the scary man was [drumroll] Daniel! At least I think she said ‘scary’; it might have been ‘hairy’).

Having exhausted her confusing quips, Charlotte passes away.

At the site of the Orchid, there is only a well, but Charlotte tipped Locke that this was the place. Based on the words of Charlotte, Jin makes Locke promise not to bring Sun back. He gives his wedding ring to Locke and tells him to tell Sun that he died. Locke descends by rope but a flash buries him in an underground chamber and he injures his leg badly in the fall. He is met at the bottom by Jack’s father Christian, who admonishes him about letting Ben move the island when he had been specifically instructed at the cabin that he, Locke, should move it. Locke receives explicit instructions to bring everyone back to the island. He struggles to his feet, turns the donkey wheel and disappears in a flash of light.

Back on the mainland, Sun points a gun at Ben and is ready to kill him to avenge the death of Jin, when Ben drops the bombshell by claiming the Jin is not dead. He says proof is 30 minutes away (not allowing for traffic). Sun agrees to accompany him, as does Jack, but Kate is incensed at knowing that Jack is in bed with Ben – she leaves in a huff, as does Sayid. With Hurley still incarcerated, Ben is going to have some serious problems getting everyone together.

Outside the location of the mystery woman, Ben produces Jin’s wedding ring and gives it to Sun. Ben had made no promise to hide the survival of Jin, and he is playing it – in fact, if he can get Sun on his side, she can probably convince more people to come back to the island. Desmond walks up out of nowhere, and together, they enter the church. Inside is Eloise Hawking, ready to reveal important information (but not until the next episode).


I’ve made no secret that I’m not a big fan of time travel, but in this episode, it is used to good effect to go back to a time on the island that was a lot more enjoyable to me. It was great to see campfires, basic survival, and the Smoke Monster.

When Jack’s father appears underground, I had a sudden flashback to long ago, when I was watching another show called Twin Peaks. It felt almost the same – and it wasn’t necessarily a good feeling, because Twin Peaks ended up going off into areas that it could never resolve.

Locke does not know that the mystery man who is giving him save-everyone instructions is – or was – Jack’s father.

So does Locke have to bring back everyone who left the island, or only major cast members? Weren’t there some other people who made it to the boat that blew up? Do they have to be brought back (dead or alive) too? And what about Michael, and Walt, and Claire?

Memorable Moments

  • The Smoke Monster is one of the most original entities ever created, an exhilarating combination of vapor, mechanical sounds, and sentience


Jin’s English has improved markedly since we last saw him, despite the fact that very little time has passed since we last saw him, and he spent most of that time alone floating at sea.

That mummified arm should probably simply be stripped down to the bone by organic creatures. What would cause it to be mummified in a damp, creature-filled rainforest environment?

In early episodes of Lost, why didn’t Danielle remember Jin from these encounters? According to my theory anyway, if you travel back in time and meet someone, they should have that memory of the meeting from then on.

Quotable Quotes

Jin: Please! Translate.
Sawyer: You heard the man – translate!
Miles: Uh…he’s Korean; I’m from Encino.

- Jin (oft-repeated basic strategy/advice on Lost)

Daniel: So, you speak any other languages?
Charlotte: Only Klingon.

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