Last night's Lost was one for the shippers. Lots of Jack-Kate angst and a mopey Sawyer. Luckily there were some dramatic reveals for the rest of us. Let's talk about it behind the cut.
After three episodes of solid action and excitement, Lost slowed down a bit with last night's show, "The Little Prince" (named after aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 1943 book about an enigmatic blonde princeling who lives on an asteroid called B612 — more about that later). I think we've been exposed to what is going to be an inherent problem with the last two seasons: The story of the Oceanic 6 getting back to the island is simply not as compelling as the struggle of those who remained behind. Which isn't to say "The Little Prince" was a weak episode, exactly—not with that ending—just that I don't care as much about the off-the-island storyline as I do about the action on the island.
In other words, Kate and Jack are back. The episode begins on Penny's boat, as Kate tells Jack she's keeping Aaron as her own. Jack tells her he's going to ask everybody to adhere to "the lie." Is she with him, he wants to know? I have always been with you she says, eliciting my first "ugh" of the evening. Cut to three years later. Kate borrows a suit from Sun and heads off to the law firm, at Sun's suggestion, to confront Evil Attorney Norton over the blood test. Sun says not to worry about her and Aaron, they've got a mini-bar. And they've got a gun too, after Sun gets a mysterious package filled with surveillance photos of Ben and an automatic in a box of chocolates. Mmm, candy, booze, and a firearm — Sun really knows how to babysit.
Downtown at the law firm, Counselor Norton unsurprisingly refuses Kate's request to meet with his client, giving Kate, with Jack in tow (maintaining it's purely a social call, even though Sayid found her address in a would-be assassin's pocket), a reason to track him to the hotel where he's meeting with . . . with . . . Claire's mother. Yes, Claire's mother! Who, it turns out, knows nothing about her grandson—she's just in town to collect a settlement from her attorney, who just happens to be Ben's attorney. This storyline is pure soap, but I loved Ben's deadpan explanation of Norton's identity to Sayid, "He's my attorney." Others! They're just like us.
In fact, Ben is the saving grace of the off-the-island story (Desmond and Hurley, too, but neither figured in last night's ep, except for a momentary appearance by the latter). I loved Ben's simple admission that yes, he's the one pursuing Kate, in a moment that cut through the obligatory melodrama from Kate and Jack. Ben is almost always intriguing, and Michael Emerson does such a great job making him simultaneously milquetoasty and evil. More Ben, please!
Meanwhile, back on the island, Sawyer is pining for Kate, while the constant flashing time travel seems to be taking a toll on Miles and Juliet as well as Charlotte. Locke decides, and Sawyer concedes, that they should head for the Orchid Station. Locke ominously says he has to make the small "o" others come back to the island, "even if it kills me." As they troop through the jungle night, they see a column of white light, which Locke knows, but doesn't reveal, is streaming from the hatch after he pounded on it in despair the night Boone died. Later, they hear a woman screaming. Sawyer goes to investigate; it's Claire, giving birth assisted by Kate. Sawyer gets all misty and stays that way for the rest of the episode.
Miles confesses to Faraday that he's had a nosebleed. Faraday is shocked, because the nosebleeds, we learn, are dependent on the length of time you've been exposed to the island. But, says Miles, those yahoos have been here for months, I only got here two weeks ago. Are you sure about that? asks Faraday, thus feeding fan speculation that Miles is perhaps Dr. Candle/Chang's baby.
They arrive back at the beach. The camp is there, but the people are gone, as is the Zodiac. Perhaps they've fled from the people whose canoe is on the beach. Locke, et al, jump in and start paddling around the horn to the Orchid. But first they have a violent encounter with folks in another outrigger. They are saved by a time-flash, and make for the shore in a raging storm. Come morning, they don't know where they are, but find wreckage, including a gas can reading Besixdouze. B612. The Little Prince's asteroid. I'm not exactly sure what we're supposed to make of the reference, in part because I really didn't care for The Little Prince when I read it back in high school. Aaron physically resembles the chubby blonde Little Prince, and we know he's very special to the island, but I await your literary theories.
Then it's time to rescue a slow episode with dramatic reveals! In the stormy ocean, we see an inflatable raft full of French-speaking people. Alas, they are not speaking very slowly in the first-person singular, so I can't understand them. They find a man on a raft and pull him in. It's Jin! The next morning, on the sunny beach, one of the French people, a young pregnant woman introduces herself. It's Danielle Rousseau! And while I'm glad to see them (and without a living Jin, what reason does Sun have to go back to the island?), I'm beginning to give more credence to the complaint that, with the show's time-travel element firmly in place, suddenly anything can happen. Jin meets a baby-faced Rousseau sixteen years ago — okay! Future Locke avoids confronting Past Locke — righty-o! The writers are going to have to tread very carefully to keep me willing to continue to suspend my disbelief.