This week’s hella good episode of Lost revolved around a massive, dangling bombshell, and here’s another: As that byline above implies, I am not Jeff Jensen, a.k.a. Doc Jensen, a.k.a. your regularly scheduled guide through the wormholes, rabbit-holes, and bottomless hatches of all that is Lost. And unfortunately, unlike all the misdirection and outright deception packed into “Jughead,” I’m not kidding. I’m just Asst. Prof. Vary, filling in for Doc Jensen while he tumbles down another secret-for-now, Lost-related rabbit hole. Worry not: He’ll be back next week with his regular Doc Jensen column and another episode of Totally Lost (which totally rocks, and you should totally check out), but for now, you’re stuck with me, so be kind in the comments.
The deception in “Jughead” started early, with a triple audience fake out in less than three minutes: The opening shot made us think we’re on the island, only to reveal it was some unnamed coastal city in the South Pacific, through which Desmond was racing to find a guy named Efren Salonga. (Asst. Prof. Vary extracurricular reference No. 1: Best I can tell, “Efren Salonga” means nothing, but there is a “Salonga monkey,” or “Dryas monkey,” that Wikipedia tells me is a critically endangered species that may number less that 200. Which probably means nothing, though it did make me think about the ever-diminishing number of nameless Flight 815 survivors on the island. By my count, based on the number of total 815 survivors presented last night? that’d be 20, minus Juliet — there’s barely ten “Red Shirts” left alive. Stay safe guys!) Des needed Dr. Salonga, it seems, because Penny was in severe medical distress. “There’s a lot of blood,” Des told the doctor, and we wondered if she was somehow been struck with the time-travel sickness (or at least I did), until we discovered, nope, it was a wee Hume-Widmore bairn being born on their yacht. Then we jumped to what appears to be the “present” again, more on that in a second — as Des says to his son that out there, in the ocean, close to their vessel is a “very special island” that he left “a long time ago.” What? They’re back at the island already?! Nope. The island’s name: “Great Britain.” Yeesh.
It felt to me like the show was telling us “don’t automatically take everything we’re telling you, or what you think we’re telling you, at face value.” Like, for example, the notion that the Desmond-Penny story line is taking place at the same time as the Oceanic Six-Ben storyline. The timing would seem to work out — add nine months for Penny’s pregnancy to what appears to be the two years their kid has aged and you get just about three years since the island disappeared. But, as Penny put it to Des, why didn’t he remember Daniel Faraday until now? If, as we’ve been led to believe, Faraday confronted Past Desmond on the island pretty much the same day the island went poof, wouldn’t Present Desmond’s memory have changed when he and the Oceanic Six first arrived on Penny’s yacht? And did that last question make any sense to you? (I’m beginning to understand why Doc Jensen’s developed that eye twitch — but don’t tell him I’ve noticed it.) I will say that, given all the time-twistiness this year, I am quite grateful the show slowed down this week rather than try to cram Jack, Kate, Ben et. al. into this already story-rich hour, and it bodes well for how Lost’s new hop-scotching narrative structure will work this season.
NEXT: It’s all Latin to me