By Justine Elias
"We want to caution or viewers that the images they are about to see are graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised."
Cut to: Underwater view of airplane cockpit window, smashed, with a dead, rotting pilot at the stick. It's Oceanic 815 captain Seth Norris, says the newsreader. Family members, here's a telephone number you can ring: 1-888 548 0034. The rest of you, we apologize for interrupting our breaking news about Britney Spears and killer tornadoes.
The 24 hour news cycle: tasteful.
Two months after the crash of Oceanic 815, all aboard are found dead in the wreckage in a deep trench near Bali. Or not, because this week they're back, divided into two tribes—hiders and rescue-seekers—and Lost has four new islanders to obsess over. Let's meet them:
Name: Daniel Faraday, aka "Head Case" (Jeremy Davies)
As in: physicist Michael Faraday, whose birthday is 22 Sept, same day as the Oceanic 815 crash, Faraday cages.
Hometown: Essex, Massachusetts
Known for: Essex County, where there were witch trials.
Comments: Weepy. Helpless. A lady makes his scrambled eggs for him.
Name: Charlotte Staples Lewis, aka "Anthropologist" (Rebecca Mader)
As in: C.S. Lewis.
Home: Essex, England
Known for: Essex Girls. And C.S. has got two sisters down Romford way. Betcha they're blonde and wearin' white stilettos.
Comments: Barged onto a archaeological dig in Tunisia, took credit for finding a polar bear wearing a Dharma Initiative Hydra collar.
Name: Miles Straume, aka "Ghostbuster" (Ken Leung, Uncle Junior's friend from The Sopranos)
As in: Someplace in Norway. Also, there's a physicist named T. Straume. Correction! Miles Straume as in "Maelstrom" Vortex. Whirlpool. Edgar Allan Poe's "A Descent Into the Maelstrom."
Hometown: Somewhere near Inglewood, CA
Known for: Being the hometown of Jules from Pulp Fiction
Occupation: Medium/Scam Artist. Like we need another con artist on the island.
Comments: Can actually communicate with the dead.
Name: Frank Lapidus, aka "The Drunk" (Jeff Fahey)
Occupation: Ex-Oceanic Airlines pilot and helicopter pilot
Hometown: Eleuthera, The Bahamas
Known for: Pink sandy beaches, drunk foreigners vomiting on pink sandy beaches.
Comments: Can land helicopter in electrical storm. Afraid of cows.
The quartet makes a spectacular entrance via helicopter, right in the middle of an electrical storm (shoutout to Michael Faraday, physicist, he of the Faraday cages, and the explanation as to why people inside cars and aircraft don't get electrocuted when the vehicles are struck by lightning).
Locke's group finds Charlotte, the Jacobites end up with the three men—but someone else sends Vincent the dog to the beach with a piece of their gear. (Could the someone else be Jack's father, Christian Shephard, who communed with the canine in the last Lost mobisode?) What do these four newcomers want? They want Ben—who saves his skin by telling Locke and company that he knows all about the quartet because he's "got a man on their boat."
Which makes this covert operation a fiasco, I'd say. And I blame you, Matthew Abaddon, fake Oceanic Airlines lawyer and possible demon gatekeeper of hell, for not preparing your team for the mission to Lost island. And I don't need any field experience or military training to know that this week's Lost theme is: you've got to have backup.
If you're diabolically rich enough to hire a freighter—not to mention that sinister empty loft space—why send in only one helicopter carrying a team described by Naomi Fancy Phone as "a head case, a ghostbuster, an anthropologist, and a drunk." All protected by scrawny Naomi, who was mortally wounded by...a tree. Before being revived and mortally wounded again by a knife to the back. Because no one had her back.
There can never be enough covert special ops plotting for me. I was the little girl in CCD who wondered why, if the Apostles loved Jesus so much, didn't they get guns and rescue him? As the castaways split up into two groups, one led by Jack and one led by Locke, I expect—no, demand—more skulking around the jungle with guns.
There's a bit of island comedy as Sawyer, doubting Locke, asks from whom he was getting his orders. "From Walt," answers Locke. He's seen Walt—not a ghost, and not in a dream. "I saw him. It was Walt. Only taller," Locke says.
Yeah. We've seen him, too. It's been a while. That kid has grown. The child actor now looks about 18 years old and six feet tall. "Oh," scoffs Sawyer. "Who are we to argue with a taller ghost Walt?"
Interesting that Locke basically lied about—or expanded upon—Walt's not-too-specific message.
Once again, Ben gets a beating, this time from Sawyer, whom he taunts for leaving Kate with Jack: the fan fiction writers will be inspired. As Locke says, "the most dangerous thing about him is his mouth." Ben looked shocked—scared, even—when Hurley carelessly mentioned the whereabouts of "the cabin" - Jacob's ghostly house in the woods. Is Ben afraid that Hurley, too, can perceive Jacob, and that he's not nearly as special as he believed?
Though Lapidus is described by Naomi as a boozy screwup, Jeff Fahey, with scary wolf eyes, spies a fascinating clue in the grossout news footage. Eyeing a closeup of the dead Oceanic pilot's withered left hand, he excitedly phones the NTSB investgators and declares that the man in the plane cannot be Capt. Norris; Norris always wore his wedding ring - he knows this because he, Lapidus, was scheduled to pilot Oceanic 815 that day.
Who and what to believe?
Now that we've seen airplane wreckage, and seen these new characters reacting to TV footage of the wreckage, it's a shock to see one of them, an ex-Oceanic pilot, convinced that something's phony. Lost writers can't resist folding in new characters with previously introduced ones: poor Captain Seth Norris got only a few minutes of screen time before he was consumed by the Smoke Monster. And wouldn't you know it, he wasn't meant to be in the seat that day: he was the backup pilot to Lapidus.
You've got to have backup. A wing man. Or wing woman. And on a more serious note: About the dead man in the underwater cockpit, whoever he is. No wedding ring? He was single! What a terrible tragedy.Who are the Oceanic Six?
For me, for now, only two make the list: Hurley and Jack. Hurley tells the cops he's "one of the Oceanic six" and Jack tells Hurley he still sometimes signs autographs when getting his coffee. Kate appears in a flash-forward scenes—but why would her fugitive status have changed? Mightn't she try to avoid celebrity, and with her grifter history, remain "dead" by stealing the identity of someone else on the island? There's little evidence to suggest that the "he" Kate alludes to in the airport scene with Jack is another of the Oceanic Six. "He" could be a young son, her cop husband (Nathan Fillion), or a new boyfriend. Not necessarily Sawyer.
And that man in the coffin? The Oceanic Six are celebrities of a kind. The crash was fairly recent. I find it odd that the obituary, if it came to the attention of both Jack and Kate, didn't bring out at least one curiosity seeker or bottom-feeding journalist. The dead man was known to both of them - yet he might never have been on the island, let alone on the flight.
House contributor Justine Elias blogs as Film Fatale at Movie City News. Her writing on film and television has appeared in The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix and other publications.