TV Recap

''Lost'': Chute First, Ask Questions Later

As Locke flees with his rebel tribe, four crew members from the freighter land, each with a mysterious past and dubious motives

Terry O'Quinn, Lost | WHIZ KIDNEY Locke survived a bullet thanks to his missing organ
WHIZ KIDNEY Locke survived a bullet thanks to his missing organ

''Lost'' recap: New hostilities

I have been told by people who also received preview screeners that they thought last night's episode of Lost, ''Confirmed Dead,'' was flawed. The opening-sequence flashback — in which the wreckage of Oceanic 815 was found on the ocean floor — was a narrative cheat because it relied on perspectives not known to its character. Similarly, the moment when sisterless secret agent Naomi recalled receiving her Island infiltration orders from castaway-denier Matthew Abbaddon played fast and loose with flashback logic because...well, because Naomi was dead. (Maybe consciousness seeps out slowly on Soul Trap Island.) If Frank Lapidus really landed the freighter chopper as he claimed, how come he woke up so far away from it? (Maybe there's a story to be told there.) And come on: Isn't the whole business of Ben manipulating Locke with the promise of Island secrets getting just a little bit old? (Maybe...nah, you're right about that one.)

Bah! Mere quibbles. For me, ''Confirmed Dead'' was downright alive with fascinating new characters, mind-blowing new possibilities, and exciting new theory fodder. Like this one: I am utterly convinced Charlotte Staples Lewis has been to the Island before. Maybe it was her giggly delight as she splashed about in the Island's inland waters. True, the would-be freighter savior (or devil) could have been celebrating the mere fact that she had survived her harrowing arrival. But there was something more to her reaction — something that reminded me of another fantastical tale about an enchanted homecoming. The book is Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis, the sequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story starts with a chapter called ''The Island,'' in which the Pevensie kids return to Narnia via a mysterious island marked by ancient ruins and odd creatures. First thing they do: play in the water. Maybe I'm just fishing again. But if you think I'm wrong, then you owe me a better explanation why Charlotte Staples Lewis has been assigned a name so conspicuously similar to the author's unfurled handle, Clive Staples Lewis.

(Don't roll your eyes at me — especially since we're only getting started! I spent 90 minutes researching Apocalypse Now and by extension the complete canon of Heart of Darkness author Joseph Conrad for Lost resonance thanks to Sawyer's snarky ''Colonel Kurtz'' crack. I found some, too: Check out The Shadow-Line, Chance, The Inheritors, and The Secret Agent. And for those who want to take me up on my C.S. Lewis challenge, consider investigating The Space Trilogy. C'mon, people! Support your local library!)

But for the more casual, less geeky Lostophiles who'd rather not engage the show with their English degrees (what else are they for?), the episode was equally worthy of watercooler kibitzing. For example, it looks like a monster more troublesome than Smokey might be setting its sights on the castaways — a certain green-eyed bugger named jealousy. The Jack-Kate-Juliet love triangle began to simmer anew. Ben mercilessly taunted Sawyer by poking at his I'm-not-as-good-as-Jack sore spots. And Locke was quietly rocked by Hurley's disclosure that he, too, could dial up Jacob's ghost shack. I don't think Mr. Mystic likes having to share the office of Island high priest with anyone. Hurley's recent flash-forward hinted at a looming rift with Locke; might a disagreement over properly interpreting Jacob be the cause?

But topping the talking points list: that WTF? opening sequence, in which remote-controlled cameras belonging to a salvage vessel called Christiane 1 stumbled upon Oceanic 815 — plane, passengers, and all — in the Sunda Trench of the South Pacific. (The backstory for Christiane 1 — which was actually hunting for the Black Rock — was recently told in an online story called ''Find 815.'') Does this wreckage prove that powerful forces are trying to hide the existence of the castaways — or does it prove that we're dealing with alternate-reality theory? Our message boards await your quantum leaps of logic.

NEXT: Flame on!

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