By Jeff Jensen
Updated January 29, 2009 at 07:52 PM EST

Many thanks to my colleague Adam B. Vary for taking on the Lost recap this week while I tend to other matters pertaining to our mutual obsession that will soon come to your attention. Adam mentioned I might have more to say about “Jughead” next week, but my utter enthusiasm for last night’s episode prevents me from waiting that long. So some quick observations/theories.

“Jughead” rocked. Let me be clear and plain about this before cluttering your mind with my usual nonsense: I loved the episode. The pleasure it gave was visceral; it was a fun episode to feel your way through, from Desmond and his son beholding the London skyline at night to the in-passing revelation that Des and Pen had named their boy after the man who sacrificed his life so their relationship may live, Charlie. Killed me. The storytelling was strong and assured, and the story itself flowed in a surprising, unforced way. And has there been a funnier episode of Lost in recent memory? Not in a jokey way, but in an organic, character-derived sense—the kind of chuckles you get from clearly drawn characters and knowing them well. Faraday asking Miles if by chance the dead guys mentioned what year it was. Locke’s reaction to the Widmore reveal. Juliet and Alpert’s droll line readings. (Must be an Other thing, like Latin.) Sawyer to Faraday: “You told her?!” If you put a gun to my head and made me give you right here, right now, my top 10 list of all time fave Lost eps, I’m sure “Jughead” would be on it. Take the gun away, and I think it would still be there.

My “Arrow” Theory. Adam mentioned this in his recap. Have you noticed the recurring arrow symbolism this season? Episode 1: Pierre Chang produces the orientation film for a Dharma station called “The Arrow.” Episode 2: The Left Behinders are attacked by flaming arrows. And now, Episode 3: Arrows everywhere, in the text (see: the Others’ archery brigade) and the subtext. A leaking or missing hydrogen bomb is known as a “Broken Arrow” event in military parlance. In physics, the “Arrow of Time” is the name of a body of theories pertaining to the nature of time; the term “broken arrow” is used to characterize an idea like time loops. Google “broken arrow” and you’ll get any number of movies, TV shows and songs about Native Americans… and wouldn’t you know, “Jughead” was a peek into the past of the Island’s indigenous peeps, the Others. But the coolest arrow connection comes via the Other cutie with the shot gun, British accent, and terse line readings: Ellie. Short for Eleanor, which is French for “the Other.” (Or so wikipedia tells me; I don’t speak it. Me stupid American.) On a whim, I combined “Ellie” and “Eleanor” and “Arrow,” and came back with an awesome connection: Ellie Arroway, the heroine of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, which was adapted into the Jodie Foster film of the same name. I’m going to leave it to you to explore the significance, but Sagan’s story certainly resonates with Lost themes, and perhaps functions as a clue to wormhole theory.

The Others Don’t Like Geeks. So the Island’s “natives”tangled with military scientists testing hydrogen bombs during the1950s. Then, 20 years later, they warred with the scientific enclaveknown as The Dharma Initiative. No theory here. Just an observation.

Is He A Lover Or A Liar? Daniel Faraday told Charlotte thathe [hearts] her last night. But we also learned that Danny-boy gave anold girlfriend the time travel STD and left her to waste away while heskipped off to America. Faraday probably carries about 9 tons of guiltin that backpack of his, so it made me wonder: when he told Charlottethat he dug her red headed, nose-bleeding cheese, was he genuinelyserious—or was he just trying to save from the time travel sickness byplaying the part of her constant? If I’m correct that Doc Faradaydoesn’t really love Charlotte, but he’s just trying to save her, thenhe reminds me of another romantically-challenged, messiah-complex MDprone to becoming emotionally enmeshed with his patients. All to say…

Daniel Faraday = Jack Shepherd. Both doctors. Both calledupon to be castaway leaders/heroes. Both wear backpacks and grow badbeards. I wonder how much we should make of that? I really liked Adam’stheory that Daniel is a new variable in the Island’s past, effectivelyaltering the destinies of the people that will live there or be bornthere. If the Island was always destined to go skipping through time,but the Oceanic 6 were never supposed to leave, then I wonder: was Jackoriginally supposed to be doing all the things that Faraday iscurrently doing on Lost? That could be the reason why theIsland brought Faraday here: to serve as Jack’s understudy in the granddrama of its history. But now that Jack has pulled a Jeremy Piven-in-Speed The Plowand flaked out on the production, the role has fallen permanently toFaraday—and he’s playing the part differently enough to rendersignificant consequences.

“Jughead” = U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Mysoundtrack choice for the episode. “Vertigo” = Charlotte. “City ofBlinding Lights” = Desmond and Charlie beholding London. (Yes, yes, thesong’s about NYC, but go with me.) “All Because of You” and “SometimesYou Can’t Make It On Your Own”: all about “constant” thematics.“Miracle Drug”: the greatest Lost theme, the reconciliation of science and faith, head and heart.

More next week. Namaste!

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