LOST: “Jughead”

This episode could have been titled “how to dismantle a hydrogen bomb,” except that would have been misleading. Lots of twists and turns, a few answers, and a few more questions. This is quintessential Lost.

Spoilers after the jump.

Links and miscellanea:

  • Is the time travel plotline heading for a reset in which the crash of flight 815 never happened? I hope not. That would be a horrible way to end it.
  • Here’s an analysis of the change in Lost’s narrative structure brought about by the producer’s decision to set an end date. I think it’s spot-on. But I do sometimes miss those meandering tangents. And I also miss the creepy dread. A lot.
  • Sam Anderson (Bernard) has been interviewed by 411Mania. Veteran character actors are always interesting.
  • If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, you can now purchase full episodes of Lost to watch on your phone. (But I can’t imagine why would anyone want to watch a show as visually stunning as Lost on a 2″ screen.)
  • This is about the crankiest thing I’ve ever read by a TV critic about Lost (and I’ve read quite a bit). Only click through if you’re ready for some serious bellyaching from a guy who would brag about having read Joyce’s Ulysses more than once.
  • ABC has a whole new line of DHARMA-branded merch at its official store. If anyone wants to buy me an Orchid Station t-shirt, that’d be great. (Via Lost.sc)
  • The ratings picture for Lost is a bit confusing. Some are saying that it’s bringing in solid numbers, pointing to the fact that it’s scored number one in key demographics—one of ABCs few shows that has. Others are bemoaning its multi-million viewer dropoff from last year’s premier. Whatever the case, it’s worth noting that Lost is reportedly both the most downloaded show and the most pirated show on TV. Additionally, a relatively high percentage of viewers watch the show on their DVRs, which skews the overnight ratings. I’m not that concerned at this point, as it seems pretty clear that ABC is committed to supporting Lost through it’s final episode. It probably helps that Lost not only airs on ABC, but is also produced by ABC Studios, which were recently merged as a cost-cutting measure.

Observations and speculations:

  • The phrase that Desmond is shouting at the beginning of the episode is “Efran Slonga,” which is most likely the name of the doctor he was looking for. My guess is that the location is The Phillipines. The banner in the background when Desmond and Dr. Salonga are running to Penny says “Mabuhay,” which means “welcome” in Tagalog. Mabuhay is also the name of a small, coastal Phillipino municipality.
  • Which of course, presents the episode’s first question: why are Desmond and Penny in the South Pacific at a time when Penny nine-months pregnant? The answer seems to be that they are hiding from Penny’s dad, Charles Widmore. What we find out later in the episode is that Mr. Widmore is happy to have his daughter in hiding. If you think back to the confrontation between Ben and Widmore in Widmore’s London penthouse, Ben promised to kill Penny as retribution for Alex’s death.
  • When we next see Penny and Desmond, their son is maybe two years old. That would mean that Penny gave birth approximately a year after Desmond left the island.
  • Yet another couple of redshirts got killed in tonight’s episode, this time blown up by landmines. I have a feeling that killing off redshirts is going to be a regular feature this season.
  • The old-generation Others we meet once again have posh English accents. Here’s a theory to try on for size: the young female who is holding a rifle for much of the episode is Daniel Faraday’s mother (aka Ms. Hawking).
  • Locke mentions that the old-generation Others have a “30 caliber M1 Garand Rifle” and that it’s new. The M1 Garand was used by the U.S. Military in World War II and the Korean War, mostly by the army and marines. Of course, it’s just another of the huge arsenal of weapons that have at one time or another been on the island.
  • We never knew before that the Others spoke Latin. Now we do. We also know that the uniforms that these old-generation Others are using do not have their real names on them. Young Charles Widmore’s uniform says “Jones” on it. It’s possible they may have taken these uniforms from dead U.S. soldiers. Or they may just be aliases. Another one says “Smith.” Yet another is called “Cunningham.”
  • Richard Alpert does appear to be something like immortal and not just someone who travels back and forth through time. Alpert doesn’t seem to know anything about time travel when Locke meets him, and even seems incredulous. According to Juliet, Alpert’s “always” been among the Others.
  • When Faraday was at Oxford, he doesn’t seem to have been operating in an official capacity for the University. Instead, it appears that he was doing research funded by Widmore himself, no doubt related to finding the island or uncovering its abilities.
  • The maintenance guy who hung the “Fumigating” sign on Faraday’s lab mentions that Desmond is “not the first one” to come asking about Faraday. So who was? Ben? Someone from Ben’s faction?
  • Now we know what was kind of hinted at last season: that Faraday is in love with Charlotte. I have a feeling that there’s even more to the story, and that we’re going to find out exactly why Faraday is so connected to her. I think there may be details in both characters’ past that link them together.
  • Young Charles Widmore is, as are all true Others, brutally efficient. He knows how to snap a man’s neck and run off in the jungle. He’s got a problem at this point, however, with underestimating his foes.
  • John Locke fully considers himself kin with the Others now. This was the end-point of last season’s character arc for Locke.
  • The name of Faraday’s female assistant (the one pictured with him in the framed photo in his abandoned lab) is Theresa Spencer. This could be another literary allusion. Or it could refer to any number of Spencers. Her sister’s name is Abigail. Abigail’s accent is decidedly un-posh. She’s wearing a clerk’s vest from the “QuikMart,” where she presumably works.
  • Theresa Spenser seems to be unstuck in time, but stablized—as in, there are no signs of nosebleeds or imminent death. The big reveal in this scene is that Charles Widmore has been paying for her in-home medical care. All-in-all, Widmore comes across as perhaps less malignant than he did in previous episodes. Keep in mind, of course, that most of the bad things we’ve heard about Widmore, we’ve heard from Ben, and Ben’s a lying liar. Then again, there was the matter of Widmore sending Keamy and friends to kill everyone on the island, including Widmore’s former compatriots.
  • Richard Alpert tells Faraday that he answers to someone, someone who forced him to kill all the U.S. soldiers when they refused to leave the island peaceably. Presumably, this “someone” is Jacob.
  • Best line of the episode goes to Sawyer yet again: “Hate the bust up the I’m-an-Other-You’re-an-Other reunion, but…”
  • The H-bomb is named “Jughead” and the episode is named for the bomb. Jughead was the name given to a certain class of 21-ton cryogenic nuclear bombs dating to around 1954, the time period in which most of the events are supposed to take place.
  • The paintings in Widmore’s office, which we have seen before, were actually painted by Lost director Jack Bender, and refer to things from the island (e.g., Namaste and polar bears). This has new meaning now that we know that Widmore lived on the island as an Other when he was a young man.
  • Faraday’s mother is in Los Angeles, at an address that Widmore knows. He suspects that she won’t be pleased to see Desmond. It seems almost certain now that she is Ms. Hawking, the woman working with Ben on how to return to the island.
  • So Penny and Desmond named their son Charlie, which is kind of touching, given the way Charlie died. It’s also a little odd when you consider that neither Desmond or Penny seem to think highly of Penny’s father.
  • It’s interesting to find out that the reason Richard Alpert was at the hospital on the day that Locke was born was that Locke told him to be there.
  • And the episode ends with a cliffhanger involving Charlotte’s bloody nose.

This was a really strong episode. Spending lots of time with Desmond instead of Kate and Jack isn’t a bad thing at this point.

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51 thoughts on “LOST: “Jughead”

  1. Can I just say how much I freaking loved this episode?

    Didn’t we already know Widmore had been on the island? I seem to remember a dialog between Widmore and Ben about that. Still it was a surprise.

    I think we’ll find that Widmore ousted Richard (Batmanuel – that joke never gets old) and that was why Ben kills everyone. To regain the Others for Richard.

    I’m thinking the uniforms came from the soldiers. The big question is Dharma and its relationship with Widmore.

    I don’t think killing off redshirts will be a common occurrence because from what I can tell of the original Losties not too many are left alive.

  2. I can’t really keep up with all the random stuff that happens in LOST – but each week I enjoy going along for the ride. Reading these posts reminds me of just how much is going on … it’s kind of amazing it still works. But it does.

  3. re: red shirts. I brought this up last week. It seems like the writers just keep adding more and more of them when they need them. How many were on that plane anyway?

    What we find out later in the episode is that Mr. Widmore is happy to have his daughter in hiding. If you think back to the confrontation between Ben and Widmore in Widmore’s London penthouse, Ben promised to kill Penny as retribution for Alex’s death.

    Not for long, Desmond is going to lead her right into Ben.

    The whole Locke/Alpert thing opens a can of worms for me. Am I to believe that the flashback we saw last season with Richard visiting Locke as a child never would have happened had Locke not suggested it? So that would make that flashback really a flash forward of a flashback?

    Or, does Locke suggest it, even though it already did happen in his youth. If so, will the results change? Will he be “ready” this time?

    I guess what I’m asking is was the childhood flashback we saw placed in the narrative well before it actually happens? Which is to say that yes, both scenarios take place in 1954, but one takes place after cycling through Locke’s life and island experiences first.

    This is the kind of thing that can really cause them to lose me. I hope they are careful.

  4. Could Faraday’s mother be the white haired lady helping Ben get everyone back on the island? Is it that Widmore is married or had relations with Faraday’s mom. I believe the girl holding the gun to Faraday is Faraday’s mother as a youth, hence him staring at her and stating she looked familiar. This places Faraday’s mom and Widmore on the island together.

  5. I love every Lost episode. The fact that Ms Hawking is in LA also answers the question on how Ben got to her so quickly, as when he tells her, “We lost Reyes tonight,” because I kept thinking, how’d he get to Oxford in the same night? So it pretty much confirms it must be Faraday’s mom.

    Knowing that Widmore was an underling on the island makes me wonder how/why he feels so entitled to the island itself. He calls it his island. I guess this will be explained!

  6. John,

    I guess what I’m asking is was the childhood flashback we saw placed in the narrative well before it actually happens? Which is to say that yes, both scenarios take place in 1954, but one takes place after cycling through Locke’s life and island experiences first.

    Locke told Richard that he was born in 1956. He said, why don’t you go and see me. Then Richard goes, in like 1961 or so, and sees John as a boy. We get the following scene:

    Richard begins to pull items from his bag. “I want you to look at these things and think about them.” He pulls out a baseball glove, a book, a small bottle of sand, a compass, a comic book, and a knife. “Now, tell me, John, which of these things belong to you?”

    “To keep?”

    “No, John. Tell me which of these things belong to you already?”

    Locke looks at the items. He brings the bottle of sand close to him. He opens the compass. He looks at the book. He picks up the knife and then looks at Richard.

    “You sure the knife belongs to you, John? You sure about that?”

    Locke nods and Richard looks disappointed and annoyed. “Well it doesn’t.” He grabs the knife away. Richard puts the things back in his bag and gets up to leave.

    Because John gave Richard Richard’s compass back to Richard, Richard thinks that John should pick up the compass as a boy. He is upset when John doesn’t and leaves.

    The thing is that Richard made a mistake. He asked John which one belonged to John, but the compass was Richard’s. That’s why John didn’t pick it up and say it was his.

  7. It’s also important, I think, that John hasn’t been told by Faraday that the future/past cannot be changed.

    I think the important question is:

    is Faraday right?

    It sure seems that after tonight events can be put in motion by the time travelers.

    And, Richard is there the day Locke is born.

  8. Probably my favorite episode in a while.

    My favorite line was young Widmore to Alpert about Locke. “You think he can track me? You think he knows this island better than I do?”

    I have a bad feeling that the Desmond/Penny story is not going to have a happy ending.

  9. I agree that we have yet to figure out for sure whether Faraday is right. Maybe that’s one of the major issues of the season- can the past be changed?

    I thought Locke’s inability to shoot Widmore was proof that you couldn’t change the course of time. If he had shot Widmore, the whole course of time would have changed in a lot of ways. But there was some force stepping in there to make it so Locke couldn’t do it (okay, maybe that force was ABC, who didn’t want the major force behind all the mystery killed, thereby obviating the need for any show at all).

    Anyway, I thought the reveal of young Widmore was among the biggest, most shocking and entertaining reveals we’ve ever had. I love seeing him as a young, cocky Other on the island, long before he had a fortune or a daughter or an angry son-in-law. Creepy.

    As with all Desmond episodes, this was nothing less than fantastic. I sort of think that if I were to rank all episodes, the Desmond ones would all be my top four (five?) They’re always excellent.

  10. I don’t think the past/future can be changed in Lost. The question of Faraday’s appearance to Desmond is the argument against this. Or is it? There’s no contradiction. Just that Desmond only remembers it.

    I am really hoping they don’t do a Back to the Future.

    I will say that if they hate me and do go that route then probably there’s going to be some paradox created by Locke being killed when he shouldn’t be.

  11. Outstanding.

    I thought it was pretty clear that Daniel Faraday’s mother is the woman Desmond knows as Eloise Hawking.

    I was giggling like a schoolgirl after Alpert referred to the young Other as “Widmore.”

    I also cracked up at another of Sawyer’s lines: “You told her?”

    I agree that Desmond-centric episodes really take the cake!

  12. Also, I suspect Daniel is correct about the rules of time travel in the Lost universe. That is, I don’t think there was a version of 1954 without Locke visiting Alpert, and then as of 2005 there was somehow a new version of 1954 in which 48-year-old Locke did visit Alpert.

    Is that clear? I don’t believe the past was changed. Just say no to temporal paradoxes!

    Of course that leads to some sort of determinism in which Locke must grow up, go to the island, and flash back to 1954, but I think I’m okay with that.

  13. It’s interesting to find out that the reason Richard Alpert was at the hospital on the day that Locke was born is because Locke told him to be there.

    Holy crap, I just fell out of my chair. Awesome.

    Desmond-centric episodes are great. And I love Sawyer’s humor. Now I need some Sayid action.

  14. It’s funny, I never thought the surly-yet-cute blonde with the rifle was Eloise Hawking AKA Daniel Farraday’s mom. I thought she was Penny’s mom. Her and Widmore hook up and what Farraday was recognizing in her was the resemblance to Penny. Duh.

    That’s my theory anyway.

    Personally, I think if I ran into a past version of my own mother at any age, except for perhaps under 3, I would recognize her instantly.

    BTW, I hope none of you caught any of the re-broadcast of last week’s Hurley episode that aired before the new one. It was so stupid. It had a little pop-up bar with factoids about Lost added to it. It drove me nuts. Heavily annoying.

    I think any talk of declining ratings for Lost is a little bit silly. Not only is the show highly DVRed, downloaded etc., but the demographics of the incredibly loyal audience suggests they’re young, well-educated, high earners, and have more spending power.

  15. So basically the Alpert/Locke childhood scenes from last season were really a flash forward in a way? In Locke’s story (as we follow it) he isn’t visited in the 1950’s until he has this interaction with Alpert as an adult in 1952.

    My question would then be, did Alpert ever not visit Locke as a child?

    Sorry, I get mixed up a lot with time travel stuff.

  16. Here’s a theory to try on for size: the young female who is holding a rifle for much of the episode is Daniel Faraday’s mother (aka Ms. Hawking).

    I like it. Great analysis.

    Ben’s a lying liar.

    I’m not sure I agree. A persistent theme throughout the series has been Ben’s insistence that he never lies. That always bugged me a bit, but it wasn’t until last week’s Hurley-centric episode (appropriately titled, “The Lie”) that it seemed to come together: a connection between the ability to time-travel (or at least reside on the island) and telling the truth.

  17. But has Faraday ever met Penny? I would sort of doubt that.

    I kind of thought we were meant to conclude that he found her similar looking to Teresa Spencer, the lady whose mind he messed up. But now in thinking about it, that’s not very intriguing.

    Better guess: it’s Charlotte’s mom. (but then you’d expect Charlotte to recognize her, unless she never knew her mom).

  18. You may be on to something with Charlotte’s Mom. Wasn’t Charlotte born on the island? She was on the island when she was younger at some point at least, right? Someone said something about her trying to get back to the island.

    I wouldn’t doubt that the baby was taken away from her, or something awful happened to where she really never knew her Mom.

    Also, didn’t the girl say something to Faraday about “not being able to stay away?” What was that all about? Because after that comment, they acted as if they didn’t know each other at all.

  19. I like the rifle girl being Faraday’s mom too.

    Ben might not lie but he sure deceives. The best lies are told with the truth…

  20. Her being Charlotte’s mom is intriguing…so why does Charlotte state “I can’t remember my mom’s maiden name” etc, after some of the flashes.

    Have the Losties changed the future somehow? Did they kill her dad, or have they otherwise affected her future?

    And, perhaps Locke telling Alpert about going to watch him be born doesn’t mess with the time continuum, but I am scratching my head. Alpert fixes Locke’s leg and hands him the compass and says that he won’t recognize him. But, future Alpert most certainly recognizes him and remembers the meeting. Ugh, ugh, ugh. My head hurts.

    Save the island. Save the world.

    May it never mirror that show…

  21. I’m not sure I agree. A persistent theme throughout the series has been Ben’s insistence that he never lies. That always bugged me a bit, but it wasn’t until last week’s Hurley-centric episode (appropriately titled, “The Lie”) that it seemed to come together: a connection between the ability to time-travel (or at least reside on the island) and telling the truth.

    Of course Ben’s a liar. Sometimes he tells half truths, but here’s a quick list off the top of my head of things he’s lied about:

    * Being named Henry Gale
    * Being born on the island
    * That Juliet’s time on the island would be short, then she’d be allowed to return to her sister in Miami

    Ben is a master at manipulation, and if he thinks lying will serve his ends better than telling the truth, he’ll lie.

  22. If the woman is Farraday’s mom, why didn’t he just tell her then what he sent Desmond to tell her in the future?

    She could be Charlotte’s mom, that is intriguing, I agree.

    But she could easily be Penny’s mom too. We don’t know that they haven’t met. Certainly, Farraday and Desmond’s lives are intertwined. Farraday has been all over time and space, I’m sure he’d pick up what his constant’s girlfriend looks like sooner or later. To me, that the woman is Farraday’s mom seems like an obvious choice.

    Interestingly, the rat Farraday used in “The Constant” is named Eloise. After Farraday’s mom?

  23. Incidentally, Brian G (#18), the only reason I knew Ms. Hawking’s first name was Eloise was from catching the end of the rebroadcast of “The Lie” last night. It was in the pop-up bar.

    There was something in last night’s episode that I hadn’t noticed until today that supports the theory that the young woman with the gun is Eloise Hawking: her name is given in the episode. It’s Ellie!

    John K (#19) said:

    My question would then be, did Alpert ever not visit Locke as a child?

    Note my comment in #15 above. I don’t think anything changed, and I think that opens up a very interesting can of worms regarding determinism. A can of deterministic worms, if you will.

  24. I think the promise to Juliet was a half-truth, not a lie. I never said that Ben doesn’t lie, only that he frequently and adamantly insists that he doesn’t. Why? I think there’s something more to it than good leadership tactics. Maybe with lying, as with time travel, “there are rules.”

    So who are the candidates for the identity of the rifle woman?
    – Charlotte’s mom
    – Farraday’s mom
    – Theresa Spencer (the girl he wrecked in Oxford)–not likely, but would explain Widmore’s interest in helping that girl
    – Theresa Spencer’s mom
    – Penny’s mom
    – Your mom

  25. More interesting to me than the question of who Daniel’s mother is is the question who his father is.

    I’ve come around to thinking Ellie is most likely Daniel’s mother, but who’s his Dad? Widmore?

  26. BrianJ, I’m going with “your mom.” LOL

    The best lies are told with the truth…

    Clark (#23), that’s awesome. I’ve also noticed that the best truth is told with lies. It’s like undergraduate studies. They shovel you a bunch of crap because they don’t have time to teach you all the exceptions to the rules, yet when you get out into the “real world,” everything is an exception to the rule and you have to un-learn what you have learned (high-five to my man Yoda) because you were “lied to” the whole time. Those undergraduate “lies” are just necessary vehicles to give the student the vocabulary and general know-how of the industry, but the actual on-the-job mechanics never work out as they were presented in the texts or on the chalkboard. I was an accounting/finance major. Maybe this isn’t the case for other disciplines.

    I think we’ll see as things progress that Ben’s a good guy, which will bug the crap out of me forever and ever because I seriously hated the dude since back when they had him captured down in the hatch in season 2 or whenever that was.

  27. I’m fairly sure Ben’s not a good guy. At best he’s mixed like Locke. However he may be working for a good end. Ben’s problem is that he always thinks the ends justify the means.

    The real question is Jacob.

  28. Oooh, I am liking the notion that it is Faraday’s mom, or at least Mrs. Hawking (if Mrs. Hawking is indeed Faraday’s mom).

    Good stuff.

    And, if that is the case, it sure calls into question her adamant statements to Desmond, that if he doesn’t push the button, “all of US will die.” This is said by more than one person, and she said it again at the end of the “Lie.” The ambiguous pronoun “us” doesn’t necessarily mean mankind, but it could be confined to those others who have been expelled, left, etc… from the island. THEY are in jeopardy because the island’s future/present/past is in flux.

    Just a thought…

  29. No that anyone asked for it, but here’s a theory. Apologies if it’s been mentioned before.

    Alpert and the original ‘others’ are all the crew of The Black Rock, and were shipwrecked on the island a long time ago.

    Might explain why Widmore paid a huge price for the captains log of The Black Rock at auction a few seasons ago.

    Also might explain why the young Widmore didn’t think Locke had any chance to know the island better than he did.

    Being on the island for so long affects aging which might explain why alpert looks the same.

  30. John K: Whoops! I meant to conclude my list with the idea that a combination was possible; i.e., Ellie the Rifle Girl could be Dan’s mom and Charlotte’s mom and Widmore’s lover, etc. She could even be Charlotte’s mom through Dan, but Dan’s mom through Widmore—Luke and Princess Leah meet Back to the Future. Or maybe Dan is his own father? Wouldn’t we all just revolt?

    jm: interesting idea about Black Rock—though we still need to work in the four-toed statue.

  31. I think the producers chimed in on the four-toed statue that it’s only purpose was to show that the island had a long history. It seemed like we shouldn’t really expect much more about it.

    I’ve been waiting for the Losties to meet the Black Rock crew in one of these flashes.

  32. I think the producers chimed in on the four-toed statue that it’s only purpose was to show that the island had a long history. It seemed like we shouldn’t really expect much more about it.

    I think you’re only partly right. I believe Cuse and Lindelof said that the statue was there to show how old the island’s history is, but also indicated that they will get back to it with an explanation at some point.

  33. When the flashes started and Faraday asked about a landmark on the island for them to find, I thought for sure they were going to go to the statue. Instead they go to the hatch. Booooo…

  34. I believe Cuse and Lindelof said that the statue was there to show how old the island’s history is, but also indicated that they will get back to it with an explanation at some point.

    Here’s the quote I was remembering:

    Cuse: This season will give greater sense of island’s history. [The statue] was meant to show that the history of the island was a long one. People have been on island for a long time. We’ll learn about what has happened on the island in the past.

  35. Has everyone forgotten that we already did the whole Star Wars sibling thing with Jack and Claire? Charlotte and Daniel and Penny are not long-lost siblings. But you know, Charlotte and Teresa (that girl that Desmond visited that Faraday sent time-traveling) are both British…maybe they’re half-sisters???? I’ve solved all the mysteries to Lost now!

  36. I didn’t forget they did the story line with Jack and Claire, I remembered that many of their characters have similar issues. They retread a lot of things. They already had Boone in love with Shannon. Didn’t stop them from doing Jack/Claire and wouldn’t stop them from doing Daniel/Charlotte.

  37. Jack’s dad is pretty important. (Is he Jacob? I don’t think so but…) So I think the interrelation of all the characters will become more important.

  38. Is it mere coincidence that one of strongest episodes in awhile is the one that featured not a single frame of either Kate or Jack?

  39. that’s a great question Brian. Equally important is why Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, or Sawyer have anything to do with the island, any actual real importance. I don’t feel the writers have conveyed that.

  40. Dan, I think they clearly conveyed that Hurley had a connection to the island long before the airline crash. Both the phantom at the asylum and then the picking up the numbers.

  41. I’m still anticipating the “big reveal” that Christian Shepherd spent some time in Korea with a prostitute who later gave birth to…Jin.

    I think Dan’s question is more along the lines of: Why does the island want Jack, Kate, Hurley, et al? There’s a sense that Locke is needed in some way, but why Kate? why Sayid?

  42. I’m going with the darkhorse theory – that Daniel and Charlotte are in fact brother and sister! Perhaps Daniel already knows this, and the “love” that he has for Charlotte is in fact the love a brother has for his sister. I don’t recall any reference to his feelings for Charlotte being shown to be explicitly romantic – being willing to do anything for someone, loving someone, these are also characteristic of a sibling relationship…

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