Because I don't have a lot of time, I'm just going to post a few quick thoughts on the two-hour, fifth season premiere of "Lost." Please feel free to share your comments in the space below -- and if you want a more substantial rundown, click on the link to Nikki Stafford's blog, in the blogroll on the side of this page. Ok, with that out of the way, let's start with the first episode, shall we?
"Because You Left"
I have to admit, when I first saw the opening sequence of this episode, I was totally disoriented -- yes, even more so than with a typical episode of "Lost." The alarm clock turns over to 8:15 (the flight number of the Oceanic plane that crashed, as we all know) and we see a couple in bed. The woman makes the man get up and feed the baby. He obliges, while listening to a record of Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie." The record skips (Daniel, of course, later compares the island becoming unstuck in time to a skipping record, so this is significant). The man then goes outside, into what is clearly New Otherton, and we see that he is ... Dr. Marvin Candle, man of many aliases, and orientation video appearances. Wow, maybe I'm idiot, but I totally was caught by surprise. He's filming the training video for The Arrow, one of the Dharma stations, when someone breaks in and -- calling him Dr. Chang -- calls him away urgently to the Orchid. There's funky goings on there (melting drills, collapsing construction workers, etc.) and the construction crew has found the Frozen Donkey Wheel -- the one that moved the island -- buried in a wall. Then, a worker comes in and bumps into Candle/Chang/etc. We eventually see that it's...Daniel? Sigh. What is going on here?
This is by far one of the craziest openings to the show ever. I've seen it three times and it still befuddles me. How did Daniel get there? Why is Chang filming the orientation videos under different names? How did Frozen Donkey Wheel get unearthed, and who put it there to begin with? And why didn't Chang/etc. fix the skipping record?
More thoughts on "Because You Left":
* Episode takes its title from a line spoken to Jack by Ben
* The island definitely is unglued from the time/space continuum, with flashes signifying time travel.
* I didn't realize that Sawyer and Daniel hadn't met before, but now that I think about it, Sawyer decamped for Team Locke before Team Jack met the freighter folk.
*Sawyer doesn't like Daniel insulting his intelligence and gives him a soap opera slap to the face. Nice.
* Hurley and Sayid get my vote for Hollywood's next great action-comedy team. Hurley advising Sayid that his violence is caused by an absence of comfort food was priceless.
* Sayid's "crazy ninja moves" with the people at the safe house were awesome. And further proof that you should always load knives in a dishwasher with the blades down.
* Richard is the one who tells Locke he has to die to bring the O 6 back to the island. But why?
* Desmond wakes up next to Penny after his "memory." She's wearing a wedding ring. I couldn't see if he was.
Ok, running out of time, so onto the second episode
No one part of this episode leapt out at me (except Hurley flinging a Hot Pocket at Ben), so here's just a rundown of thoughts.
* Always happy to see Cheech Marin on this show as Papa Reyes. Is it me, or is Hurley turning out to have the best parents out of all the islanders? His mother had maybe the most loving moment I've ever seen on this show, after Hurley spills his guts about what really happened: "I believe you. I don't understand you, but I believe you." Don't those sentences just crystallize the purity of mother love?
* And, is it just me, or is there something more to Hurley's visions of the dead? I think they're not just the hallucinations of an unbalanced man, but some sort of guidance being given to him by an unseen force. I buy Charlie being a manifestation of Hurley's guilt, because they were friends. But why would he see Ana Lucia?
* So Ben has an off-island network of workers, that includes the creepy ring store woman from Desmond's past? Hmmm....
* Just what is Sun up to? Has she really forgiven Kate for pulling her off the freighter? Is she using Kate to get to Jack? What is going on?
* That sudden ambush of flaming projectiles has earned its place among creepy "Lost" moments. Who were the people who sent them? And why couldn't they have taken out the annoying Frogurt (aka Neil) a lot sooner?
* This has no bearing on the greater plot, but I loved the crestfallen look on Bernard's face when Frogurt called him "Bernie the Dentist," as if "Dentist" was the worst insult ever.
And I'm out. I may add more as stuff occurs to me.