Apologies for what I think is the longest post subject line I've ever used, but Sawyer made the "Avenue Q" shout-out obligatory. "Lost" spoilers coming up just as soon as I pack some s'mores supplies...
After I panned last week's largely-praised episode, my friend Joe suggested it was time for me to stop watching the show, that I was now too bitter to ever appreciate anything they were doing, so why bother? I started to suspect he was right when, early in last night's episode, I started laughing at the revelation that Desmond used to be a monk. "Wow," I thought. "They're devoting an entire episode to why Desmond likes to call everybody 'Brother.' Not since they kinda sorta explained about Jack's tattoos have the producers bothered to answer such a hotly-debated question."
But after that, I grew to like "Catch-22," suggesting that my unrelenting bitterness really only comes in to play when The Others are involved. Much less of consequence happened or was revealed in this episode compared to last week, yet I can enjoy the show much more when we get away from all of Ben's convoluted mind games to nowhere. Desmond's been one of the better additions to the show, and if the flashback didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know -- he's a believer who tends to run from his problems -- at least I enjoy spending time with him. And even though I suspected Charlie would live (dammit!), there was still plenty of tension as Desmond did his best to give in to fate. Important question: in the universe where Desmond didn't save Charlie, was Penny the one in the parachute rig?
There were echoes of the "Little Miss Sunshine" episode, with Desmond taking Sawyer's place in our quartet of half-drunk outdoorsmen, and Jin's Korean ghost story was comic brilliance. I knew that Hurley was going to jump out of his chair even though he didn't understand the words, and I laughed anyway. That's the mark of a good joke.
(Also in good comic form? Sawyer, with the mix tape joke, stealing a Phil Collins tape from some guy named Bernard who I don't believe exists, and the 108 minutes gag at the ping pong table. The quadrangle bores me -- even with Evangeline Lily in her skivvies -- but the no-nicknames bet has really taken away the writers' crutch about Sawyer jokes, and the show is the better for it.)
Others have already pointed out that the parachutist's copy of Catch-22 was in Portugese, the same language as the researchers working for Penny in "Live Together, Die Alone," that Fionnula Flannagan (the mysterious time-bending figure from Desmond's last flashback) was in the photo on the monk's desk (a detail I would have missed had I not been watching on my computer, as I multi-task when it's on the TV) and that the monastery specifically makes only 108 cases of wine a year, but I mention them in case you're not trolling a half-dozen different "Lost" blogs and message boards today, and in the hopes of stirring some discussion even at this relatively late hour.
So what's going on here? How do Desmond's powers work? How do you parachute out of a helicopter? Will Sayid get to fix the satellite phone before Locke conveniently blows it up? Etc.