''Lost'': Just when we start to like her, Shannon is killed when Ana Lucia mistakes her for one of the Others; meanwhile, Sawyer's wound gets worse and Locke gets closer to Claire
Maggie Grace, Lost
Credit: Maggie Grace: Art Streiber

”Lost”: A shot in the dark

Sic transit Shannon. And dude, that was some sick transit: a one-way ticket to Deadsville, courtesy Ana Lucia, Shannon’s successor as island bitch goddess.

Not that we didn’t see this coming. Well, maybe not Ana Lucia’s fog-of-war, shot-in-the-dark maneuver. But the death of Shannon was no giant shocker, thanks to the promo department at ABC. (”One of these castaways… will be lost… forever!”) As my friend Liz pointed out, Shannon engaged in some high-risk behavior this episode: She had sex with Sayid and later declared her love for him. She was redeemed by her sad flashbacks (in which her dad dies and her Wicked Stepmom attempts to crush her ballerina dreams). Then she went running through the jungle in the rain. ”And she didn’t listen to Creepy Wet Walt! Creepy Wet Walt told her to shut up. She didn’t listen, and she went screaming off towards him. People who don’t listen to Creepy Wet Walt… are dumb.”

Word. On a related note, this is what Walt was saying to Shannon (backwards): ”They’re coming and they’re close.” How much clearer can he make it? (Okay, significantly clearer, if he didn’t Twin Peaks-ify his prophecies.)

All right, enough bawling. It was a good episode, well-built, with a chilling final shot of Sayid transitioning from lover’s agony to soldierly fury. (Already, you can hear the chants of vengeance coming from the jungles of fandom: Everyone wants the guy to unleash his inner-Republican Guardsman on Ana Lucia.) So what have we learned? Well, as suspected, Shannon’s father was the man in the SUV who smashed into Sarah, Jack’s brokeback fiancée. This was confirmed by a quick shot of Jack marching past the doctor who notified Shannon and Wicked Stepmom of Mr. Rutherford’s demise. (On a side note: The ER doctor tells Shannon and Wicked Stepmom that Mr. Rutherford died at the scene. Yet, in the season opener, we see Mr. Rutherford die in the ER when Jack makes the choice about which patient to treat. Does this mean someone in the hospital lied… to protect Jack? The same way Jack wasn’t willing to lie for his father? Just spitballing.)

Anyhoo, we also determine that either a) Shannon was lying about her age, or b) the writers are asleep at the chronological continuity switch. Shannon is 18 in her flashbacks, but she told Hurley she was 20 when he took the census. However, Jack married Sarah two years after he ”fixed her” — but then the marriage ended, Jack’s father killed someone on the operating table…at least a year’s worth of activity. And Desmond, who met Jack pre-crash, said he’d been in the hatch for three years. Then again, Shannon was a dancer, and you know how showbiz people are with the age thing…

We also learned that Boone gets even femmier in flashback: Boy, they didn’t spare the pancake and eyeliner on that poor guy; with that feathery hair, he looked like she’d just stepped off stage and run right over half out of drag. ”Death sucks, doesn’t it?” he said lamely, comforting Shannon at her dad’s funeral. Still, it was nice to see the provenance of Shannon’s heretofore unexplained behavior: The wheedling, the money-grubbing, the hostility and cruelty to Boone and his mother. Still, as Liz said, ”Why can’t she just be a bitch?”

But, as Edward Albee put it, that’s all blood under the bridge. The Rutherford-Carlisle clan is completely obliterated now, which means it’s highly unlikely the island will be getting a chain of bridal shops anytime soon.

While Shannon and Sayid were plumbing the soon-to-be irrelevant depths of Shannon’s psyche, some far more interesting developments were taking place on a jungle escarpment not too far away.

The Tailies and their new friends, Michael, Jin, and Sawyer, were hiking towards Forward-Section camp when they came upon a steep embankment. They began to scale the rise, dragging Sawyer (feverish from his gunshot wound) on a makeshift stretcher. Bringing up the rear of their little caravan were Libby and Cindy. Now here’s where things get interesting: By the time they reached the top of the ridge, Cindy was gone, presumably ”taken” by the Others. How did this happen?

With Libby’s help.

I’m calling it: Libby’s a plant. She’s the Ethan of the Tailies’ camp.

First off, go to the tape. Libby’s the last one to interact with Cindy. And Cindy’s carrying a large blue knapsack. By the time they’ve climbed to the top, Libby’s carrying the knapsack. You’re telling me she took the knapsack from Cindy and then proceeded to forget all about her? This is a ridge, not K-2 — you don’t just ”lose” people like that. Also notable: Cindy hands Libby a walking stick of some sort, just before we lose track of her completely. As this handoff takes place, we see a cavelike opening in the background, right where Cindy’s about to pass. And it looks as if there’s some sort of shape inside.

But here’s my best evidence of Libby’s treachery: Tonight, she told Sawyer she’s a clinical psychologist. Well, who appears to have designed this tropical house of horrors, according to a certain orientation video? A team of clinical psychologists, that’s who. Coincidence? What do you think? Is there such a thing as coincidence in the world of television drama? Consult the little Locke on your left shoulder (as opposed to the tiny Jack on your right).

Speaking of Locke: Terry O’Quinn once again managed to steal the show with little more than a twitch and an ambiguous smile. I enjoyed the establishment of his quiet rivalry with Charlie over father-figure status vis-à-vis Claire’s baby. I enjoyed his low-key buttonholing of Charlie for his (continuing?) heroin habit. And I enjoyed the fact that we’re nearing a better explanation of Charlie’s increasingly irritating behavior. Maybe it’s not just the pressures of surrogate fatherhood. Or maybe Charlie just needs to take daddy lessons on something a bit less high-stakes than a real baby.

Because I know a certain dog he could adopt.

What do you think? Will you miss Shannon? Are you with me on Libby being evil? And are you rooting for Sayid to pull out the torture instruments again?

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