Up in Flames

The bad thing about tonight’s episode: it probably raises more questions than it answers. The good? The next episode is only six days away. Ignore that. It’s nice to know we’ve got an uninterrupted slate of new episodes from here on out. No more two and three-week hiatuses makes Lost fans happy, despite their apparently dwindling numbers. (Last week’s episode had a series-low audience of 12.78 million viewers.) I’m still enjoying the ride, questions be damned.

Thursday Morning Quarterback Edit: Ignore the preceding paragraph, preserved solely for posterity’s sake. I think I’m going to start waiting until the next day to publish these. My vast reservoir of writing talent can only truly come through after sixteen revisions. Plenty of questions raised and re-raised, but on the whole, last night’s episode had plenty of answers, albeit answers to (relatively) inconsequential questions.

I think the biggest item-of-note to take from “Enter 77” was the revelation of the Others being on the island long before the Dharma Initiative, when I tended to believe it was just the opposite. This is all under the assumption that Flame Station staffer Mikhail “Patchy” Bakunin was telling the truth to Sayid and Kate.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say we’ll get to see the “purge” Mikhail referred to near the end of the season in flashback mode. That should make for a pretty good episode, neh? The bodies of Initiative members that keep popping up (the couple in the polar bear cave, Roger Work Man in the van) might offer a hint of what happened during the conflict. More specifically, I’d venture a guess (I’m doing a lot of venturing in this paragraph) that Mr. Work Man was attacked while driving the Dharma Bus.

As far as the aforementioned “weak” ratings, I think this episode will give the show a bit of a boost. The most interesting episodes of the series have typically centered around Locke and, to a lesser extent, Sayid. They’ve always been propulsive forces that drive the plot forward, in stark contrast to Jack, Kate and Sawyer’s lamer-by-the-second love triangle.

Quick Hits

  • We finally get to see the oft-alluded-to Flame Station, which serves as the communication and electrical hub of the Dharma stations. This appears to be the one station whose staff isn’t the subject of psychological experiments, judging by the Dharma manuals Locke finds. Whoever manned the station had knowledge of the food drop protocols and overall Dharma operations. Who knows what else might’ve been on that shelf. I’m hoping Locke stowed one or two of ’em away in his rucksack.

  • Our updated station tally:
    The Pearl
    The Arrow
    The Staff
    The Swan
    The Flame
    The Broom Closet
    The Hydra

    We also see a new location on the power grid map Sayid finds, called the “BARRACKS.” I’m guessing this refers to the Othertown we saw in the season premiere.

  • It looks like Sawyer’s got the week off from his nicknames, so here are a few highlights to tide you over: “Avalanche,” “Zorro,” “Jumbotron,” “International House of Pancakes,” “Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon,” and “Grimace.”
  • Interesting that the cat shares the name of Sayid’s lost love, Nadia. And, on top of that, the cat seems to point Sayid toward the hidden hatch in the floor of Flame Station.

    But wait–did that cat stow away on Flight 815 with the rest of our castaways? How did the cat from Sayid’s flashback get to the island? Well, Jack saw his Dad, Kate saw the horse, Hurley saw Dave, Eko saw his brother. Is Nadia the Cat yet another manifestation of our old friend Cerberus (the security system)? Cerberus has had more than enough time to scan Sayid for his memories (as it did Eko), so it certainly could manifest itself as such.

  • I thought compasses didn’t work on the island. Perhaps the forces disrupting the magnetic field around the island ceased at the same time Swan Station imploded, which makes sense when you figure that’s a giant, electromagnetic anomaly at the center of the station.

    Davo the All-Knowing Seer Update: the compass readings have always been off, but they were never spinning around crazily as I thought I remembered. If true North could be determined by the environment and sun position, the compass could still be used.

  • The restaurant Sayid served as a cook at, “Le Portail d’Arabie,” translates to “The Gate of Arabia.”
  • Our old friend Dr. Candle/Wickman makes an appearance, advising Locke that both sonar and satellite communications are down (likely as a result of the Swan Station implosion). He does however, have the option to enable “hostile incursion” countermeasures by entering 77, although I’m guessing Locke might’ve thought that meant a helicopter rescue instead of blowing the whole damn place up.

Other Stuff from Other Sites

  • A rough translation of the Russian text on the printouts Locke was reading:

    .. lost in his land, and they most
    … necessary, through complete social
    (break)

    …pushed away Andrew (underlined). Nadji was not
    … resistance, however he was an excellent
    … (either half or something else) brother, however he was an excellent
    … one of the north-western
    (break, paper scrolls down)
    .. radicals of that time…
    …about that they (something) the West and…
    …road of Allah, so that he erased from the face of the earth (looks like) unbelievers…
    … Andrew thought, that the fall of Afghanistan will become …
    … of revolution
    … came today, so that Nadji with a strong …
    … russian language.
    … ICI (some Russian acronym) will be …

    The handwritten, red text reads as “My nickname was Andrew/Andrei also,” and “I have forgotten so much about Afghanistan.” The alias Sayid used in his flashbacks was Najif (sp?), which seems pretty similar to “Nadji.” Perhaps one and the same.

  • And here is the translation of Ms. Klugh’s (who you should remember as 2nd-in-command to über-Other Ben back in season two) conversation with Mikhail:

    Klugh: Mikhail! You know what to do.
    Mikhail: We still have another way.
    Klugh: We cannot risk. You know what to do.
    Mikhail: We still have another way.
    Klugh: We cannot risk. You know the conditions.
    Mikhail: We have another way.
    Klugh: They know us. We will not let them [unintelligible]. You know what to do. It is an order.
    Mikhail: But we still have another way! (pause) I’m sorry! (shoots)

    [Lostpedia]

    It seems strange that both Klugh and Mikhail were so willing to die to protect Othertown from discovery by Sayid, Kate and the rest of the castaways. What is the “risk” Klugh referred to? Are they trying to protect the utopia they’ve created? If they’re the “good guys,” as Ben described the Others, do they fear some sort of corruption at the hands of the (relatively) new arrivals to the island? What do they truly have to lose at this point?

Updated: March 8, 2007 — 1:27 pm

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