Warning: If you are a Lost fan, read this only if you have seen last night’s episode, but not if you missed it and are planning to watch it in the next few days somehow.
As the time travel season of Lost approaches, it may be easy to get a little fed up with the constant time movement, and wonder when things will move along in one set time period. “This Place Is Death” is an episode of Lost that may have put us one step closer to the end of this little arc. But the time travel has some added benefits in giving more clues to another part of island history. Then it just goes on overload before taking the life of a long-doomed character – but not before a couple of more big clues.
“This Place Is Death” goes right back to the return of Jin and the debut of a young Danielle Rousseau. Lost viewers had to study all the way back to Season One’s “Solitary” to double check Rousseau’s story on what happened to her, how she went nuts, and how she killed her team. But one didn’t need to study this Lost history to be thrilled at one of the more terrifying smoke monster attacks in Lost history.
The increasingly annoying flashes stopped us from learning too much about young Rousseau. But “This Place Is Death” did tie in the monster to “The Sickness” that older Rousseau kept talking about, and revealed the location of it, and the monster, from a long anticipated island landmark.
After Jin got to see this island history, he got reunited with Locke and company in an unspecified time period. With this, Jin fits right in as if he never left, and gets to represent a fairly large Lost fanbase – the kind that wants hard answers that Locke, a.k.a the show, isn’t ready to give. Locke is questioned more than ever about what has to happen and how he knows it, which even he doesn’t know.
As always, Locke is taking it on faith, like most of us Lost viewers. But Jin has no time to go on faith with so much at stake for him. Once again, it bears remembering on how the formally cold, unloving Jin has turned into one of Lost’s biggest emotional pillars, and its best redemption story.
“This Place Is Death” also brought us back to Sun, who is following through with her revenge on Ben at the pier. After seeing Sun chill us out all season, she got to be both icy and heartbreaking again. However, it is becoming even less clear how she concluded that Ben is responsible for Jin’s fate, and why she even needed Charles Widmore’s help in the first place. But Ben, as always, has a plan, though it wasn’t enough for more than half of the Oceanic 6 to come along.
One big complain in Season Five is that the off-island material is disappointing to many fans. “This Place Is Death” is yet another episode that amps the insanity on the island, while slowing things down off of it. But as usual, Ben is the saving grace of it all, as he even gets to explode at Jack and Sun in a way that will make his many supporters stand and cheer.
But for those who are more upset at the time jumping, “This Place Is Death” may very well annoy them with a record setting number of flashes. And as many expected, Charlotte continues to be more fragile to them than most. However, before meeting her expected fate, Charlotte finally spills some important background information – on herself, and on Daniel Faraday.
“This Place Is Death” could very well be the last episode of this current format, and perhaps not at a moment too soon. With the flashes no longer bothering to shed more light on island history, they may have run their course. Locke may have made sure of that, but not before the most sinister appearance ever from Christian Shepherd, which is saying something. And at last, the true identity of Ms. Hawking is made official, which may mean an Oceanic 6 – plus one or two – return is closer at hand than any of us expected.
It appears that Lost fans have all survived another game-changing arc in show history, and now must get ready for the next one. Perhaps now the off-island action will finally ramp up for fans as the return back gets even closer. And now that Locke is on his way to fulfilling his path as Jeremy Bentham – whether it is the right one or not – answers may finally be ready for that plot point as well. If Terry O’Quinn gets to shine like he does at the end of “This Place Is Death” that episode may very well be a Lost landmark. Even more poignant is the chilling new suspicion that his mission, and the Oceanic 6’s return, could actually make things far more worse.
For now, “This Place Is Death” serves as yet another Season Five episode that offers big, important new scenes and clues at almost every turn. If most of these hints and foreshadowings actually pay off by the end of the year, this Lost season could be the most historic ever when all is said and done. At the moment, “This Place Is Death” will settle for being another wild step towards Lost’s uncertain future/past, with the promise that things can only get even better from here. And what a treat it would be if it did.