There? How hard was that? You devote your flashback to a relatively unexamined character, you pay off a mystery that you've been dropping clues about for only a few episodes (albeit ones that aired months ago, due to the hiatus), and you end with a cliffhanger that actually means something for both the audience and the characters. I would've liked more present-day island action, but beyond that, a vast improvement over "Not in Portland."
So, questions and other random thoughts:
- Back when the show began, Lindelof used to say that everything that happened on the show could be explained by non-supernatural means, no doubt to give the writers options on their Grand Unified Theory. Now that they've definitively established Desmond as unstuck in time -- not to mention the physics-defying smoke monster -- I'm wondering at exactly what point the show abandoned that philosophy.
- So who's Fionnula Flannagan supposed to be? A hallucination? A fellow (time) traveler? Sawyer's mom?
- Given that the producers have said someone else is gonna die soon, and given Desmond's revelation about Charlie, will it be lame if they don't kill Charlie or lame if they do? I go with don't, largely because Charlie is the most insufferable person on the island this side of Jack, if not worse than Dr. God.
- What's with all the movie references? You had Desmond throwing down his tie, Jack Foley-style; the man with two red shoes suffering the fate of one of the Wicked Witches; and Desmond trying to pull a Frank Sullivan by using a sporting event on a nearby TV to prove the existence of time travel.
- Where this week's "Studio 60" beat you over the head with references to 1999, I like how this one was vague about how long ago Desmond and Penny's courtship took place, though I'm sure some music or soccer buff is going to tell me how bleeding obvious it is that she moved in with him in, like, 1997.
- Speaking of which, people at several sites pointed out last week that, according to the show's chronology and Juliet's explanation of how long she's been on the island, she would have had to leave for "Portland" on or around 9/11. Hasn't Desmond also been on the island roughly the same length of time? And how icky would it be if the show goes there?
- Because I didn't get my plasma TV until December, and because I got a screener of "Not in Portland" that I watched on my laptop in January, this was the first episode I've ever seen in HD, and the show -- particularly the beach scenes -- look amazing in high-def.
- The promo amused me. The show used to try to pull in viewers by promising a death; now they've realized that promising answers is the better way to go.