Previouslies. Rousseau pines for her lost daughter, stolen by the Others. We are reminded of Ethan Rom's wet, evil-grinned mini-reign of terror. He wasn't a passenger! And you know who else wasn't? Henry Gale: the hot air balloonist-slash-maybe not a hot air balloonist but an Other who's been shut in the Hatch hoosegow and tortured by Sayid.
Nightfall on Lostie Beach, where the blitheringly unconcerned populace might slowly be moving back to a war footing, what with Sayid namechecking Daryl Worley at the end of the last episode and whatnot:
Have yew fergotten how it faylt that dayClearly, the next great Driveshaft hit.
To see yer airplane all on fire
And that dude get sucked away-ayyy?
Have yew fergotten when that, um...other plane fell?
The one with Boone stee-yel inside
Goin' threw a living hay-yell
And we shouldn't worry 'bout the Others we been spottin'?
Have yew fergotten?
Anyway, Claire is holding Aaron, whose all inflamed and in tears. Guess Locke's magic swaddling has worn off, or maybe the kid is just used to being kidnapped that any night where someone isn't running off to the other side of the island or trying to baptise him just traumatizes him. Who knows? Claire runs right to Locke to ask him where Jack is--Aaron seems sick and as long as jack is willing to, you know, not start some sort of affair with him, she'd like his medical advice. Locke tells her that Jack's caught the night shift in the Hatchery, but before Claire can run off to the hatch and find him, Locke steps in and stops her, offering to go himself. Yeah, because after the plane crash and the stompy monster and getting kidnapped by Ethan and losing her memory and having her baby taken a bunch of times and watching Charlie melt down, the prisoner in the Hatch is going to be the thing she DOESN'T take in stride.
Locke arrives at the Hatch to wake up the sleeping Jack--and once again, we say that Hatch duty is the cushiest job EVER. Why everyone on the island doesn't want to hang out, listen to some tunes, shoot some Desmond juice, and just relax in relative comfort is beyond me. Locke tells Jack that Aaron has the fever...for the flavor of a Pringle! And all they have on hand are Dharma Initiative Brand Ovoid Potato Shingles! Jack springs into action.
But back at the beach, Rousseau, who got the misprinted version of How To Win Friends and Influence People that encourages people to forge alliances by skulking in the shadows and jumping out at them muttering scary sounding non sequiturs, emerges from her nightly stalk to warn Claire that Aaron is "infected." All of the sudden, Claire has a series of wack-ass flashbacks. It's not a full on trip to Flashbackistan. More like brief visit to the Flashbackistan Consulate. Kate is quick to get all amont sa tête and chase her off, but Rousseau's warning and the strange memories are enough for Claire to plant a seed of worry.
As the sun rises on Lostie Beach and Aaron continues to cry in a fashion unbecoming of his Biblical namesake, who was nobody's bitch and would jam a rod down your throat if you looked at him crosswise, Claire's seed of worry has become a lush garden of panic, where bloom the hydrangeas of worry, the gladiolas of concern, the daffodils of existential angst. She's gone totally hypochondriac, "Jack! Jack! Aaron's sick! He's got a rash! He's infected! He's feverish. He's got the galloping consumption, the vapors, the croup! Jack tries to get Claire to chill the fuck out, that Rousseau's cracked in the head, but nothing can assuage her concern.
So, naturally, Claire turns to a complete stranger, Tonic, who she discovers hanging out with Hurley! Oh, yeah! Let the fanfic commence in earnest! How do you combine Libby and Hurley? I say Hurby, because you know that he wants to show her his Mr. Clucks and get her fully loaded.*
Claire tells Tonic that she needs her help to remember what she forgot during her period of amnesia, because she, after all is a shrink. "A clinical psychologist," Tonic reminds. Shut up, Tonic.
Claire commences with the exposition, describing everything Tonic missed from Season one. Tonic comes to the conclusion that she may not be suffering from amnesia. Instead, she suggests that the trauma of the experience may have resulted in repressed memories. This excites Claire! Hooray! Pseudo-science! Tonic is all: whatevs.
Meanwhile, back at the Hatch, Locke comes to feed Henry Gale, who's still a prisoner in the Armory. Gale takes the food and confesses that he's looking forward to taking a whiz. Hey, man, it's most definitely a part of every morning's balanced breakfast. Locke has brought Gale a copy of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It's been way too long since I've last read the novel to ascertain whether it bears special ention here, but I recall that the characters in Karamazov, like the ones in Lost, have huge daddy issues as well.
Speaking of, I just wanted to point out a gap in Lost's usually inpenetrable pop-cultural armor. The character of Henry Gale is a straight line allusion to the character of the same name in The Wizard Of Oz, who was Dorothy's uncle in the real world. However, the character who crashes his balloon is the Wizard himself, whose real world counterpart was Professor Marvel. So, nice try, film geeks, but you're off by a smidge here. Unless of course, you just wanted a general allusion to the Wizard of Oz, and in that case, I've allowed myself to sound like every itinerant geekazoid who ever attended a science fiction convention. Better go wash myself.
Anyhoo, Gale doesn't much care to read Karamazov, which is his loss, asking after a Stephen King novel instead. And not The Tommyknockers. That one was ass.
Unable to oblige, Locke leaves the Armory and immediately gets into it with Jack over what they are going to do with Gale. Jack is pretty nonplussed. Locke tells him that he wants a "long-term plan." Excuse me? Who was it that agreed to help Sayid stow his ass in the armory? If I were Jack, I'd be all: "Dude. You come up with a fuckin' long term plan, asshole. You're the one who stuck him with us." But I'm not Jack. We hear Gale shout from the armory: "Why don't you let me out?" Great. So he's got super-hearing in top of everything else.
Back at the Beach, Tonic and Claire are sitting down for their first attempt at unclogging Claire's faulty memory hole. The "technique" she displays, if you can call it that, is thoroughly half-assed, and it's hard to believe that it would do a patient in Claire's condition a lick of good, but whatevercakes, it's just enough to send Claire back to the Flashbackistan Consulate.
From what we see, Claire is in some sort of medical facility and she's being tended to by an unseen doctor, who's treating her as if she's not yet left Australia for Los Angeles. Claire's too drugged up to realize that, DUH!, the doctor isn't speaking with an Aussie accent. Among other things, Claire receives what she is told is a vaccine for her baby. We see the vials from which the vaccine is drawn and they're the same thing Desmond shot up in the first episode of this season. And of course, they are marked with The Numbers. How the hell did the Dharma Initiative plan on getting anything done if every thing they had on hand was marked with The Numbers? The Numbers are like La Isla de Encanta's version of "Aloha." They mean everything! Hello. Goodbye. Happy birthday. Feliz navidad. "It's not you, it's me." "No controlling legal authority." "Stop, drop and roll." Anyway, the camera dangles and dawdles, teasing us with who the mystery doctor might be, but we can smell Ethan Rom a mile away, and soon enough, the camera cantilevers around to reveal Ethan, jauntily dangling a pocketwatch. Remembering Ethan, Claire wakes up and commences to freaking.
We return from commercial and Claire is still batshit. We don't blame her. We found some of those advertisements disturbing ourselves. Kate's got her "quick to blame" panties on, so she immediately runs over and accuses Tonic of doing something nefarious. But Claire wheels on Kate and tells her that she needs to find that room, and get the vaccine inside to save her baby. Kate reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the beach, Eko is chopping down a tree. I thought he liked that one! It's marked with an "X". I have no idea why he's chopping down the trees, but I suspect he's building a bad ass log flume ride, which would be genius, because they've already got a golf course. If Eko can build the log flume ride that he always dreamed of having but couldn't get--because of a) Africa's general environmental hostility to most flumes and b) the sad fact that even today, in our own country, international drug dealers frown on colleagues who express the fond wish to build log flumes because of the perception that such persons are soft--then Eko can help win the war with the Others without a drop of blood beign spilled. Because everyone loves a log flume--even mysterious island natives who kill and kidnap with impunity. They'd be totally jealous of the log flume and say to the Stevedore from Kansas' Greatest Hits album, "Dude, we're tired of living this way, kidnapping psychic children and skulking around the forest. We totally want to ride on the Lostie's log flume. Look--they even have funnel cake! You love funnel cake!"
Anyway, Eko comes to the Hatch, unexpectedly, to borrow a saw. Jack and Locke make every attempt to conceal Gale's presence, but it's so obvious that Eko has got spidey sense or something because you can tell by looking at him that he knows exactly what's going on.
Back at the beach, Kate needs a gun, so she becomes the first to test the new Sawyer regime on its gun policy. It begs the question, though--if Sawyer is willing to grant someone the use of a gun, why not simply use that gun to strongarm Sawyer of his gun cache? At the very least, why give it back? Is he going to charge overdue fines? If he does, at the very least he could use the revenue to buy the encampment a dope microfiche machine.
Kate goes to find Claire, who's being desperately interrobanged by Sun, who can't for the life of her figure out why she wants to drop off he baby and go gallivanting off into the woods looking for God knows what. However, Sun's shrill counterinsistence must have the same therapeutic effect of Tonic's half-assed relaxation bullshit, because suddenly we're back inside Claire's memories again.
This time, she's once again at the strange medical facility, except now we see it's Dharma branded up the yin-yang. Ethan Rom is guiding her down the hall to show her a "little surprise." Claire is wearing a Dharma logoed robe, and it's pretty cool looking--when I stay at their hotel, I'm totes stealing one for myself. They come to a nursery: there's a crib and a rocking chair and it's all decked out for a little bundle of potentially apolcalyptic psychic savior joy! There's a little mobile of Oceanic Air planes that plays "Catch a Falling Star"--which, as you know, is at the Top of Claire's Pops--as the planes circle round and round.
Claire is even more drugged up that she was in the previous scene, and you know what? I think that having remembered all this, the first thing she should do is march her ass over to "Cholly" and offer him a big fat apology for being all holier-than-thou over his heroin addiction. Seriously. Charlie's proven that he's able to handle his smack. Claire, on the other hand, is acting like the last girl to leave Rohypnol Night at Indebleu.
As Claire and Ethan explore the wondrous new post-birth showcase that will be hers, if...the Price is Right!, there's a knock at the door. It's the shaven and showered Mr. Kansas Greatest Hits, and he's mightily miffed that Claire's been brought to the facility before the "list" is finished. Ethan has to explain that he got outfoxed by Hurley and his manifest brilliance at using the manifest to census his ass right out of hiding. Mr. Dust In the Wind suggests that "he" shall not be pleased. Ethan's all: well, "he" can suck it. As we come out of Claire's scrambled memories, we see a young woman implore, "Let's get you out of here."
Kate and Claire set off on their quixotic quest to find the room full of baby vaccine, and Kate has the smart idea to start by tracking Rousseau. Which brings up another question: I can say that I can count on virtually no hands the number of people I know who can "track" other people in the woods. Maybe my brother can--he went to school in the mountains and works at a secluded mountain resort, and he received some hardcore orienteering training during his studies. Like: final exam is dropping you off in the middle of a swamp and you have to find your way home. Here on La Isla, it's like every third person's got their hand up saying: "Yeah dawg, put me on track duty."
Still they find Rousseau, or rather, Rousseau pulls her patented lurk and pop out maneuver again. Rousseau is just as interested in finding Claire's maternity hideout, because she hopes it will reveal the whereabouts of Alex. And she's correct in that assumption, because we know that Young Miss Let's Get You Out Of Here from Memory Repressia is totally Alex. So, Kate, Claire and Rousseau set off together as the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team, no doubt skipping off into the jungle gaily humming "My Favorite Things."
Back at the beach, Eko walks up to Jack and lays it down: "So, dude. I want to talk to that guy in the armory" "What guy in the armory?" "The guy you totally have in the armory, Jack. I see all. I know all."
The Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team are walking through another nondescript section of the jungle when they stop and Rousseau tells Claire that this is where she found her after their abduction. Claire only remembers Rousseau scratching her violently. She tells Rousseau that she wants her to take her the rest of the way to Vaccineland. That's when they realize that the two of them are having one of those "What? But I was following you moments" that usually ends in genial hilarity but here ends in an argument of mistrust that threatens to tear apart the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team and all the dreams they've had for themselves since five minutes ago.
But as Kate aims her weapon at Rousseau (and as Rousseau very Frenchly says "Do eet" in a wonderful fit of contained melodramatic passion that would do Dumas, fils, proud), Claire wanders into a clearing and stumbles upon a Magical Memory Inducing Log, which effectively renders Sun's shrill insistences obsolete and Tonic's lame-ass clinical psychology skillz doubly so.
Born aloft into memoryland by the all-powerful Magical Memory Inducing Log, Claire is back at Dharma Permanente, sitting in her chair making booties, and doing an especially good job of it considering she is high as fucking fuck. Ethan comes to get her and tells her that he wants to take her for a walk outside.
They go outside to sit on the Magical Memory Inducing Log. Ethan generously offers her some water. Claire drinks it, then makes a funky face and complains that the water is sour. Ethan says, "Sour? Really? Because I totally didn't put anything in it!" Ethan explains that he is going to miss her when she goes away, because, if she remembers, there's only enough vaccine for either her or the baby, so she'll have to leave the baby in their care while she goes back to the Beach camp. "Of course," Ethan offers, "You have a choice: coughgaff-exceptyoureallydonthaveachoiceatall-coughcough--if you want to take the baby with you, that's totally fine--cough-noitisntfine-gaffcough."
So, here's what's going on: The Dharma folk, seemingly anticipating the release of some contaminant, have stockpiled the vaccine and have chosen the "good people" from outside their ranks to join them in inocculation. In fact, they took stock, and started developing a list of who was going to receive treatment. But Ethan's hand was forced, and he had to bring pregnant Claire in without knowing whether she'd make the list along with her baby. She didn't make the cut, so she has to go. But the baby is wanted because they have a thing for special children with psychic ability. Perhaps even the island somehow attracts them. And by the way, it looks like Sun is preggo, too, now. What are the odds her offspring finds it's way onto the Dharma wishlist?
Claire, awoken from her remembrances, plunges into the brush and begins digging around. Within minutes, she's found the doors to Hatch Number 3, and appropriately enough for the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team, it sits like a dark, moist hole gaping wide open on the lush and verdant folds of the hillside. Get it, folks? It's symbolically vaginetic.
Pulling back the wide doors, the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team enter the capacious maw of Dharma Permanente. Inside, they find flashlights. Kate goes to try to get the power on. Claire and Rousseau start down the long, dark hallway. The power comes on and we see a faded silhouette of a palm tree on the wall as if something formerly affixed to the wall was taken down. They also find lockers which contain silly costumes and a jar of what I think was called something like "fake mustache glue", which is weird, because it's not like every Lost fan in Christendom hasn't already proven themselves up to the task of Googling "spirit gum."
These scenes are intercut with Claire's resurgent memories. In one, we see the Young Miss Who Is Totally Alex tell Claire again that she has to get out of there. Down the hall, we see that our friends at the evil HMO are preparing for a babyectomy.
Back in the present moment, the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team stumble upon the refrigerator that stored the vaccine. They lift it up off the ground, and discover that it's empty. Flashing back again, Claire remembers So Totally Alex telling her that Dharma Permanenta plan to take her baby and kill her. If you ask me, that's a real onerous copayment.
No vaccine. Rousseau c'est la vies, "You are not the only one who did not find what you are looking for." True, but these guys didn't even make that much of an effort! It would be one thing if the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team had climbed the highest mountains and run through the fields. I'd be impressed if they had run, crawled, or scaled these city walls! All they did was blunder off into the woods ONE TIME and find this hatch by luck. No one spoke with the tongue of angels or held the hand of a devil. At no time were honey lips even lightly kissed. Frankly, I'm not even convinced that the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team, at any time, even felt the feeling in their fingertips. Sorry ladies, but you'll have to do a lot better than that.
However, as the defeated Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team trudge back to the beach, Claire remembers one last thing--that it was Rousseau who intervened in the nick of time to make sure her drugged out ass didn't end up recaptured. Realizing that Rousseau basically saved the life of her and her child, she tells Rousseau that it was So Totally Alex that succeeded in getting her out of Dharma Permanente, and that she was one of the good ones. Rousseau looks at Claire and tells her that if Aaron is infected, she hopes that she will do "what must be done" and walks away. Way to kill the moment there, Frenchie. Kate looks puzzled. I don't blame her one bit.
And so the Estrogeneration Orientation And Mastertracker Team part ways for now. But whenever the soft and rolling fecundity of La Isla Encanta beckons them forth for further Sapphic explorations, they will be there.
Back at the Hatch, Jack has brought Eko to the Hatch to meet with Gale. Eko sits down next to Gale and launches into the story of what happened when he came to the island. In all fairness, maybe Gale missed that episode. Eko finishes to a puzzled look from Gale, who wants to know why he told him about all that shizz. Eko replies, "Because I had to tell somebody." He then cuts the two bottom knots off of his beard and gives them to Gale. So, uhm, yeah. That.
Aaron gets well under Jack's care, and soon he's frisky enough to reveal that he has the peculiar talent of being able to stick his entire hand inside his mouth. Yes. Truly he is the Golden Child. Clare looks down at him and launches into an extended monologue about how she wanted the Dharmas to take him with them but that now she feels like they were meant to be together. Jesus. After everything she's been put through for the sake of this baby it's nice that she's finally deciding this NOW.
Finally, we go back to the hatch. Locke enters the armory with food for Gale. They once again discuss literature, talking about how Ernest Hemingway wanted to be the greatest writer in the world but always lived in the shadow of Dostoevsky, to which I reply: Ernest, your problem wasn't with Dostoevsky. You problem is that you wrote mind-numbing, monosyllabic drivel.
Interestingly, Gale jumps off from that point to ask Locke if he always followed Jack's lead on things. Locke swallows and haltingly states that he and Jack consult each other before making decisions, which is doubly untrue: not only is their relationship far less collaborative than Locke admits, but it's actually Locke who makes the lion's share of the unilateral decision. Gale's certainly pushed a button though--because when Locke steps outside, he freaks out and swipes the dishes onto the floor in a violent snit.
Which of course, we know Gale with his elephant ears has heard. So, Gale: is he an other? An innocent man who's simply a lot more clever than he lets on? Or is he the brother of the person who writes ABC's Lost Diary?
* With jizz.