OK, Reality Check. Discussion after the jump ...
Before I say anything else, I want to review a couple of axioms about the show. First of all, as they say on "House," everyone lies. Well, maybe not Hurley. But everyone else. And death is a tricky thing on the island, so I'm not concluding that Locke is done yet.
In fact, I can imagine a season finale where the Others (whom we now know are actually the much-anticipated Other Others) and Our Heroes are engaged in a brutal battle when Locke arrives -- perhaps even descending from the heavens -- to stop the conflict and promise peace and wisdom. For next season, of course.
I'd also like to bring up once again one of my crackbrained previous "Lost" theories, posted in the blog in January 2006. The key passage:
How could you not look at the Others in this context and not think eventually of Native Americans confronting unwanted settlers? The scene illuminated last week's -- and this week's -- increasing focus on the survivors' camp as a town, making it even more a colonial outpost, or a miners' settlement in the farthest reaches of the Wild West. It made ''Lost'' a companion to ''Deadwood,'' only while ''Deadwood'' is so often about the lack of civilization and law on society's fringe, ''Lost'' is about building that civilization and finding law. And, even though I keep harping on it, that nation-building also suggests strongly that the people of ''Lost'' are involved in a social experiment, perhaps one set up as part of the Dharma Initiative.
I got the equation wrong, but we sure were slammed with that Native Americans/Settlers notion again in last night's show -- specifically by Ben's referring to the Other Others as the original people on the island.
Of course, Ben lies. Of course, everyone lies. And not everyone dies, I insist, clinging to the notion that Locke -- the "faith" half of "Lost's" "faith vs. fact" argument -- is not done yet.
And so to last night's episode. Was Ben crazy? Was the incident in the cabin all just some kind of electronic trickery? Is there, in fact, a man behind the curtain?
Did anyone else think there was a lot of "Carnivale" in that scene?
Wary as ever of what passes for explanation on "Lost," I will at least admit that last night kept me watching closely for the hour. No drifting, no urge to channel-hop, no fast-forwarding the DVR. And it did seem as if we were learning things -- and once again being taken toward an explanation that has a practical, human underpinning. Still, I am not sure what we really learned.
We do not, for example, know who was behind the Dharma Initiative. Or where the Other Others came from, since their appearance suggested they hadn't been on the island all that long. There's the whole no-aging question with Nestor Carbonell.
And wouldn't you have expected the survivors to act with just a bit more urgency when the possibility of rescue has landed on the island?