Once again, Lost knocks it out of the park this week. What’s impressing me more than anything is their pacing this season; there’s no way there’s going to be a season-long drag back to the island for the Oceanic 6, and it looks like the time-jumping is over with, at least for the time being. But it’s not without its down side. Inconsistencies are starting to appear from time to time. Spoilers follow, of course.

The most concerning is the events concerning Rousseau and Jin. It’s hard to believe that Rousseau would ever forget the mysterious Korean man who they saved from the water, who vanished into thin air in front of her, and was present at the murder of her boyfriend and Alex’s father. Yet, though I haven’t researched it myself, the internet seems to indicate they have met in previous seasons and she gave no sign of recognition. Perhaps this will be explained.

Very interesting last night was the appearance of the smoke monster and its clear association with a temple we’ve never seen before; a character says it’s “just a security system protecting that temple”. Apparently, this was the origin of the “disease” which “killed off” Rousseau’s team. It was clear that her boyfriend, after entering the temple in pursuit of his abducted teammate, had undergone some kind of change. He unquestionably tried to kill Rousseau, and his unborn daughter, but had the poor luck of a misfire which allowed Rousseau to kill him first. Rousseau clearly believed this was an infectious disease of some sort, as she was convinced Jin was also a carrier, and he barely escaped from her without being shot. Yet there’s no evidence to indicate this was the case. Was it a disease, was it the Others, or even the Dharma Initiative (can’t remember if they were still active at that time) performing some kind of brainwashing? Answers to this will be forthcoming I expect; answers about Rousseau’s lack of recognition for Jin are as well, I hope.

Christian appears again, and we see how Locke made it off the island; apparently, Charlotte is dead and they’re bouncing around in time because Locke didn’t follow instructions correctly. He was told he had to move the island; Ben doing it wasn’t good enough. Christian indicates a distrust of Ben that could mean anything or nothing in this scene, but was interesting nonetheless. Presumably, with Locke knocking the equipment back into alignment the rest of the islanders should be spared from having their brains come out their nose.

Charlotte’s death was anticipated, but I’m still wondering who she was. It’s going to play a key. Born and raised on the island… for awhile I was going with the idea that she was Annie, Ben’s childhood friend, but lack of revelation about a name change and the important role Annie will eventually play, according to the creators, seems to take that off the table. The identity of her parents will be a big reveal, I expect. We should find out soon, as Faraday will be warning the child-Charlotte before long if the flashes are indeed stopping or, at least, slowing.

Off-island, little happened other than the usual distrust of Ben and the fracturing of the O6. Here’s the other bit to me that smacked of deus ex machina – while it came as little surprise that Eloise Hawking is Faraday’s mother, her abrupt reversal of the requirements to get off the island is hard to swallow. Outside Ben & Locke’s body, we’ve gone from requiring Sayid, Kate, Aaron, Jack, Hurley and Sun, to saying that having just Jack and Sun and the previously-unmentioned Desmond will “have to do”? I hope it’s not that simply glossed over. My hope or bet is that their recent contact or reasonable proximity may pull the rest of the O6 into whatever Mrs. Hawking is doing regardless of their current whereabouts in the LA area. Or maybe having the unique Desmond show up changes the formulae. Of course, it’s not like that’s the last we’ll see of 4 of the core cast, so something will change soon. We’ll see next week, I expect, and I’ll be thinking about it until we do.