I’m on the road for Spring Break today and will be unable to blog this episode before the weekend (if at all). Feel free to discuss and speculate about the episode “Namaste” in the comments below.
UPDATED: I’m back from vacation and have now seen and analyzed the episode. My thoughts and observations are posted below.
Observations and speculations
- Namaste, of course, refers to the Sanskrit salutation that Chang/Candle/Wickman uses at the close of each of the DHARMA orientation film. It’s also a phrase used to greet the new DHARMA recruits as they arrive on the island. It’s a phrase used in India and common to Hindu and Buddhism meaning, “I bow to you,” a humble expression, but also with a more spiritual meaning acknowledging the light within the person you are speaking to.
- After several episodes, we finally got to see the crashing of Ajira 316. As I speculated, we now have confirmation that the plane landed on the primitive airstrip that the Others, plus Sawyer and Kate, were seen constructing on Hydra Island during episode 3.3 (“The Glass Ballerina”).
- We first see Ajira 316 flying at night, then, once the plane has broken through the island’s perimeter, following the flash, it’s suddenly daylight. There must have been a slight time adjustment, although the Ajira flight seems to have landed in 2007 (roughly three years after Oceanic Six returned to the mainland, and thirty years before the LaFleur Protectorate of 1977.)
- I like that the Ajira Airlines plane has a light that says, just below “No Smoking” and “Fasten Seat Belt,” “Use Seat Bottom For Flotation.” That’s a new one for me, one that would surely inspire confidence in the passengers.
- As the co-pilot is yelling “mayday!” on the plane’s radio, you can briefly here a transmission of the numbers (with a man’s voice) being transmitted.
- As Ilana wakes following the crash, she calls out “Jarrah,” thinking that Caesar is Sayid. We’re still not sure what the relationship between Ilana and Sayid was. On the surface, it would appear to be some sort of custodial extradition, but that may have been set up to look that way.
- I have no good theory for why Sayid, Hurley, Jack and Kate flashed back to 1977 and Sun (and, for that matter, Frank) did not. Maybe the producers just enjoy torturing Jin. I don’t believe, as some have suggested in the comments, that there is any sort of “the-same-person-can’t-be-in-the-same-time-period-as-their-former-self” thing going on. After all, we’ve already seen Sawyer on the island when Claire was giving birth to Aaron, a time when his past self was certainly also on the island. What the explanation is, however, I just don’t know, and I’m not sure if we ever will know.
- Island living has been pretty good to Sawyer, and LaFleur seems to be a kind and considerate, though no-nonsense, kind of guy. He seems genuinely touched to see each of his fellow 815 survivors again, even Jack.
- Best Hurley line: “Uh…what?” Awesome.
- Second best Hurley line: “Dude, your English is awesome.”
- In 1977, Radzinsky was manning the Flame Station for the DHARMA Initiative. This is the first we’ve actually seen Radzinsky, but we’ve heard him mentioned before. He lived in the Swan Station with Kelvin before he killed himself by blowing his head off with a shotgun. There was a blood stain on the Hatch ceiling that was left from the suicide. It was Radzinsky who supposedly first started work on the blast door map (which is a little strange, since he should have had quite a bit of knowledge of the island’s geography at that point). When we first see him in this episode, he is working on his model of the future Swan Station (the geodesic dome area, to be precise). We get a brief glimpse of the blueprints for the Swan Station (which is almost certainly online somewhere already as I type this, with a detailed analysis). Presumably, 1977 is before the “incident” which caused the necessity of pushing a button every 108 minutes. That need may have been anticipated at the time however, which resulted in the planning for the Swan Station.
- When we first saw the Flame Station, it was being manned by Mikhail, an Other and former Soviet soldier who had been recruited to the island by Ben. Under both DHARMA and Other control, it was a communications outpost that was capable of receiving satellite transmissions from the outside world as well as connecting with other DHARMA stations. You might recall that Locke dispatched the Flame Station by entering “77” into the station’s computer and causing the C-4 explosives in the basement to blow up.
- On the Flame Station’s monitors, it made me smile to see the Muppet Show playing. The series debuted in 1976 and the opening shown was first used in the second season. Somewhere, a six-year-old version of me was watching that episode at the same time that Jin and Radzinsky were checking the Flame’s monitors.
- So Amy was in charge of the sub manifests? Wouldn’t she know if Juliet and Sawyer messed with it?
- Congrats to the commenters who guessed that Horace and Amy’s child is Ethan. He, apparently, was another who (along with Ben) defected from DHARMA and became a true convert. Obviously, he also survived (and perhaps participated in) the Purge.
- Small, but interesting detail: as Jack and Kate are waiting on the North Point for Sawyer to return, Jack is examining his watch. It seems to have stopped working. This may be the same watch that Christian gave Jack before Jack married Sarah. (If you don’t remember it, that’s okay. It was in a mobisode.)
- We still don’t know what the deal is with Hurley’s guitar case, by the way.
- Sayid is savy enough to go along with Jin and Sawyer’s captive-hostile scenario. You’ve got to feel for him, though. He’s got to be mighty confused, and he doesn’t get the aid of any boring exposition at all. He may be the only character who could hold up under those circumstances.
- Faraday is not on the island (or at least not with the DHARMA people) in 1977. So where has he gone?
- During the new recruit’s arrival to the DHARMA compound, the song “Ride Captain Ride” by The Blues Image is playing. Chorus: “Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship/ Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip /Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship /On your way to a world that others might have missed.”
- I love the blue and white DHARMA helium balloons. So festive.
- Best Ben line (responding Lapidus’s boat-full-of-commandos comment): “And how’d that work out for everyone?”
- Best Sun line (after sapping Ben from behind with one of the outriggers’ oars): “I lied.” Now that’s the Sun we know and love (though she scares us sometimes).
- I like that Sawyer made Jack a “Workman.” I think it was premeditated on Sawyer’s part. He is somewhat threatened by Jack’s return, and it’s also a commentary on Jack’s former leadership. Sawyer does not want Jack to be in any sort of leadership position among the DHARMA folk.
- Best Sawyer line (reacting to Radzinsky’s suggestion to shoot Sayid): “Well, I appreciate your input there, Quickdraw.”
- When Lapidus and Sun arrive on the main island’s dock, they see what looks like the Monster moving through the trees, then hear whispers, then see Christian. This suggests that the Christian they see may be a manifestation of Smokey. I’ve gone back and forth on this and, frankly, it’s driving me crazy. We know that the Monster is capable of assuming the identity of dead people on the island because we saw it do this in the form of Eko’s brother, Yemi (whose corpse was in the Nigerian drug plane). Still, we don’t know conclusively who these Christian (and other walking dead) apparitions are.
- My DVR cut off, then picked up again due to a scheduling issue. Consequentially, I missed out on probably the most controversial scene in the episode: inside the DHARMA house with Christian and Smokey. (See more here.) I also missed the mysterious woman standing behind Sun. (See here. It reminds me of the great Three Men and a Baby controversy of 1990. I’m sure that’s totally unrelated, though.) I was able to go back and watch these scenes on ABC.com, and can confirm that, on my computer screen, both Smokey and the woman seated in the background behind Sun seemed pretty clear.
- I’m not sure what to make of Christian showing Sun the photo of her friends at their DHARMA orientation. Shades of Back to the Future, and not in a good way. Did the photo exist when the survivors first arrived on the island. If so, how come no one noticed? Makes my head spin. Stupid time travel.
- It was ironic when Phil told Jack, “I wouldn’t call him James. He hates it.” James is Sawyer’s real given name. Sawyer is a bit self-loathing at times. But he’s always been confortable with his aliases.
- Poor Jack. From this episode, it looks as if he likes both Juliet and Kate a lot more than they like him.
- Sawyer was a bit harsh on Jack, but he was spot-on. Jack never thought, only reacted. Sawyer, the guy without any college education, is much more cerebral than the spinal surgeon. Strangely, Jack seems genuinely relieved at this point that he’s not the one calling the shots, while Sawyer has the weight of the world on him and has come a long ways from the every-man-for-himself ethos that he used to live by.
- Now we know that young Ben was on the island in 1977. We don’t know whether this is before or after his encounter with Richard in the jungle. I suspect this was after, and that’s what drew him to visit Sayid (who he thinks is a hostile). Already Young Ben is feeling sympathetic with the Others. I have to question LaFleur’s security, though, if a young boy can come to visit his sensitive prisoner. I half expected the “sandwich” to be a file and a revolver.
I liked this episode a lot. It really moved things along and brought the story lines together. We seem tantalizingly closer to understanding how everything fits together. Next week also looks very promising.