On ''Lost,'' Locke and Jack face off over a question of faith down in the hatch; meanwhile, the rafters may have met the Others
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Credit: Terry O'Quinn: Art Streiber

”Lost”: Someone pushes the button

Hey, kids. I’m back here for one week and one week only, filling in until a more permanent replacement for Jeff Jensen can be found. He sends his regrets, but last I heard, he was sitting in the lobby of EW’s L.A. office, asking stranger after stranger if they know what the snowman said to the other snowman. Too bad.

We open on Sawyer and Michael, who have just crawled up on the beach to find Jin (who so totally ditched them when that raft blew up, right?) being chased by some rather menacing-looking individuals who we are to presume are the Others. Our boys go down after Barry Bonds delivers some solid swings to their heads with a stick, and they’re dragged off to a pit. It is a very large pit. It is almost as if the Others had been expecting them. It made me think that this is a group of people who do not deal well with adversity. Anyway. Eventually, Barry Bonds throws in Michelle Rodriguez, who pulls a lame-duck affair just to milk the boys for information and steal Sawyer’s gun. (The idiots clearly never saw Girlfight.) But now we know that the Presumed Others were on the back of the plane, or at least they are sympathetic to Michelle Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, back at the Hatch, the showdown at the Not-OK Corral continues, with everyone pointing guns at each other, so what the hell, let’s flash back! Seems that before he was paralyzed, Locke was in a support group for people with parental issues and also he had a girlfriend named Helen. The point here seems to be mostly about the moment when Helen says, ”It’s a leap of faith,” which has the ring of a line we might hear again, but frankly, Locke’s Sad Backstory — much like the Michael Sad Backstory from last week — was just Sad and didn’t learn me nothin’. I mean, Locke’s not entirely well and used to just sit outside his dad’s house and cry all day, seeing as how the dude stole his kidney and all? You are so kidding me! (Wait — how did Locke get paralyzed? [Crickets.])

But enough of that. Back in the now, Kate has wriggled through the air shaft and snagged a sweet shotgun, which she uses to knock Desmond down, but not before his gun goes off and shoots the poor ancient computer all to death, at which point poor Desmond totally freaks. ”I’ve gotta Enter the Code!” he laments. ”I’ve gotta Push the Button!” Wait. Didn’t Backwards Drippy Walt say, ”Don’t Push the Button; the Button is Bad”? (Am I the only person who saw that website?)

Turns out, three years ago, Dezzie was in a solo race around the world — a race he was training for when he met Jack in the stadium. His boat crashed on the island, and someone took him down into the Hatch and told him he had to Enter the Code and Push the Button every 108 minutes or else. Or else what? Shh, stop asking questions. Desmond, clearly one hell of a sucker, was shown an orientation video, the contents of which I will now post in exactly the way I typed them without pausing the TiVo during the show:

Narrator: Dr. Marvin Candle. The Dharma Initiative: Created in 1970 by two doctoral candidates at Michigan. A large-scale communo-research compound where scientists study — meteorology psych parapsych zoo POLAR BEAR electro-magnetism large building something Danish huh? 540 days island has E-M fluctuations INCIDENT???? every 108 minutes, the button must be pushed OR EPCOT GETS IT do not attempt to use the computer for anything else, you know, internet porn, whatever. the Degroots, Alvar Hanso. wow best movie ever.

(”We’re gonna need to watch that again.” Oh, shut it, Locke.)

So some creepy company has dudes locked underground, Pushing a Button every 108 minutes. If you are Locke, you view this as something to get all wide-eyed and twitchy about. If you are Jack, you decide the whole thing is an experiment set up by the Dharma people to see how long some dude keeps pushing a button over and over again in the absence of anything else to do. Desmond, for his part, seems (1) remarkably sane, all things considered, and (2) more on Jack’s side of this quandary. Still, what with the computer into which one must Enter the Code being shot and all, and something big and electromagnetic behind that one wall, he’s not taking any chances, so he bolts. And leaves Our Heroes and Also Hurley to potentially save the world. How did Hurley get there? Oh yeah, ’cause Kate ran out to go find Sayid, who was once in the army and thus is very good at fixing things after they have been shot, and Hurley came along, too, because someone needed to say ”dude” at the sight of it all.

And then it begins: the Big Scene. Jack follows Desmond out into the jungle, points a gun at him (oh, all the guns), and screams, ”You don’t even know what you’re running from!” in about as loud a voice as he’s used this whole entire time. And then Desmond realizes that yes, Jack was the dude he saw in the stadium, and Jack starts to freak out, and I’m not sure why he’s so upset until I put on my Compassionate Thinking Cap and realize that seeing Desmond there, he must be considering the possibility of Fate or a Larger Purpose or a Higher Being, and also Desmond must remind him of his wife, Carol Vesey, who, we are to assume, is no longer with us for whatever reason and not just because she’s on Boston Legal now. But Desmond takes the whole having a gun pointed at him thing in stride, tells Jack the Code, and takes off into the jungle again, never to be seen again until he runs out of whatever that crap was that he has to inject into his arm, and then I say the odds are about 2-1 he’ll be back.

Jack gets back to the Hatch just as Locke is Entering the Code into the miraculously fixed computer, and he actually corrects the final number for Locke — it’s 42, not 32. (Yeah, thanks for the help, Hurley.) And then Locke tells Jack that he must Push the Button, that he can’t do it without him. And Jack’s all like, Dude, I don’t wanna Push the Button. And Locke’s all, You must Push the Button, and Sayid’s like, Screw it, I’ll Push the Damn Button, and everyone’s like, No, that wouldn’t be interesting, and finally, Locke says, ooh, ”It’s a leap of faith,” and Jack Pushes the Button.

And then Locke says, ”I’ll take first shift,” and sits down to begin 108 minutes of Waiting to Push the Button. And I suddenly realize that this is about to become the most boring show ever.

Ha ha, just kidding, I know it’s not. But I do have a serious question for the group, and then I’m going to bed:

If for the last three years, someone has Pushed the Button because they were told to do it just because, and for the last three years, nothing has changed, then which is a bigger ”leap of faith”: Pushing the Button and maintaining the status quo, or not Pushing the Button and seeing what happens?

Boom. Lost.

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