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This Place Is Death Recap

February 12, 2009

This Place is Death” is the fifth episode of Season 5 of Lost, originally broadcast on February 11, 2009. Locke takes on the burden to stop the island’s increasingly violent shifts through time. Meanwhile, Ben hits a roadblock in his attempt to reunite the Oceanic 6 and bring them back to the island. (’s synopsis of the episode. Definitely click here to read it!)

Key Points from this episode (in no particular order):

  1. There is a quick scene in 5×05, “This Place is Death” that features Montan listening to a transmission of The Numbers on a radio. They make a plan to head to the radio tower to see if they can make use of the antenna to call for help. Those with sharp ears, however, recognized something familiar in the voice repeating 4 8 15 16 23 42 on the radio. Could it really be Hurley? (from Sledgeweb’s Lost…Stuff. link has audio samples!)
  2. We also got our first look at the mysterious Temple we’ve heard so much about in tonight’s episode. We learn that the temple (which is where Montaun lost his arm) has similar looking Glyphs on the side of it as what was used on the countdown timer in the Swan Station (the hatch). This seems a little odd when you consider that the Temple is supposedly an ancient building that predates the Dharma Initiative, and the Swan Station was built in the 70s/80s. It is also possible speculation at this point that the Temple may be Smokey’s home. I base this mostly on the connection with Ben, who seemed to be able to call Smokey to the slaughter last season, and also is the one who sent his people to the Temple for safety. Ben has referred to the Temple as “the last safe place on the island.” (from Sledgeweb’s Lost….Stuff)
  3. Are there any inconsistencies with Charlotte’s backstory? She says she was on the island as a child, and then moved away. Last season we found out she was born in 1979. If she moved away when she was 7 or 8, it would have been in the late 1980s… around the same time Rousseau landed on the island. Ben killed his father in 1992, the date of the Purge. He came to the island in the early 1970s and lived there from that point on, so he would have had some memory of Charlotte, even if she’d just been a child. Why didn’t he say anything about that last season, and instead let on like he believed her backstory, that she’d been born in Essex, England? Season 5 opened with Pierre Chang putting on “Shotgun Willie” by Willie Nelson, a song from a 1973 album. So it couldn’t have been before that, but it could have been after that. The clothing he’s wearing suggests it’s still early 70s. We see them constructing the Orchid, because he goes down into it and passes by Daniel. SO… how did Charlotte know about the well? If she was born in 1979, but the Orchid had been built and the well destroyed in the early 70s, how could she have known about it? (from Nik at Nite)
  4. Did You Notice?:As Sun approaches Ben and company at the marina, she walks by a boat called the Illusion…The Temple is covered in hieroglyphics, some of them the same as the red symbols that appeared in the Swan station when the countdown clock reached zero…Jin picks up the ballerina music box on the beach, the same one that Sayid will later fix for Rousseau when she’s holding him captive in “Solitary.”…The church where Hawking is looks exactly like the one they used for Christian’s memorial service….Desmond totally knows who Hawking is the moment he sees her…Just two episodes ago, Ms. Hawking suggests that if Ben doesn’t get EVERYONE to her immediately, “God help us all…” [Music swells, terror sets in….] And now she’s more like, “Jolly good, pip pip, let’s all to the batcaves!” Huh? (from Nik at Nite)
  5. Now turning the attention to the old architecture featured in this episode. The temple itself – the house of the Monster? If the temple is in the Dark Territory, that would make sense. But the blast door map referencing a number of Cerberus Vent points – which I had always assumed were where the Monster came from… so either there are multiple temples or the blast door map CV points mean something else. Speaking of the temple though, much love to DocArzt and friends who have a translation screencap of those hieroglyphs here! Nothing stands out as amazingly revelationy though, I’m afraid. (from Lostpedia Blog)
  6. Sympathy to Charlotte, who could be Annie? Her dying words are about chocolate… and when we first meet Annie in Ben’s flashback she’s offering him an Apollo bar. It’s a stretch of a theory, but one might think Charlotte’s mom would make her change her name after they left (though this theory doesn’t work when Charlotte is much younger than Ben).  (from Lostpedia Blog)
  7. Digging deeper into the Charlotte/Lewis connection, we sinker deeper into an abyss of subtext. Along the way, we pass A Grief Observed, Lewis’ chronicle about the death of his companion, Joy, and how it tested his Christian faith. Then, there’s The Great Divorce, which actually isn’t about marital dissolution but a fantastical vision of the afterlife, à la Dante’s Inferno, although it was actually meant as a parable about living in the here and now. (The title is a riff on — and the book a response to — William Blake’s surreal manifesto, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.) These are stories about the underworld, the mythical place where souls hang after they’ve shed the mortal coil. And now recall the Egyptian hieroglyphics in “The Hatch,” which according to the producers of Lost translated into ”Underworld.” And Smokey’s scene-stealing, arm -ripping presence in this episode reminds us that the guy who made the Map in “The Hatch” called the Monster by a different name: ”Cerberus,” the three-headed demon dog that guarded the gates of Hades. And finally, know that Christian Shepherd, the dude with the Jesus pun name, played the part of ”psychopomp” in this episode — a ”psychopomp” being a mythic underworld figure who serves as a ”guide to souls,” escorting the dead between states of existence. Psychopomp?! Yes: Psychopomp! Psychopomp! Psychopomp! Psychopomp! You can’t just say it enough. PSYCHOPOMP! (from Doc Jensen)
  8. Remember when Rousseau totally freaked out when she saw Jin again on the beach? ”I saw you disappear!” she exclaimed. In her shock, I saw a simple answer to the time travel noodle-cooker that many of you have been puzzling over since last week: Did the French Lady recognize Jin when she first met the castaways in Season 1? The answer could very well be: Does it matter? For Rousseau, Reappearing Jin was one more scary, inexplicable thing in a scary, inexplicable situation that was about to become a way of life. By the time their lives intersected once more in her future timeline, seeing Jin again (if she even recognized him), the significance probably just bounced off her. ”Oh. You again. Whatever.” (from Doc Jensen)
  9. The implication of all these ”clues” is that there seems to be some kind of time loop in play, one in which some or all of the castaways are the Jinns in the aforementioned magical novel analogy; they are objects that must be returned to where they belong in order to avoid catastrophic paradox and preserve the established time-space continuum. Which, I think, is a pretty good explanation for what Ms. Hawking and her off-Island crew of quantum mechanics are attempting to do. (Too supernatural for you? Well, tough. The naturalists in the crowd got a big disclaimer from Faraday last night when he said: ”Bringing back to the people who left to stop these temporal shifts, that’s where we leave science behind.”)

    Crazy. Okay. But here’s where all of this gets really great. The mysterious author of The New Time Travelers? His name is David Toomey. Ring bells? It should. David = Dave, Hurley’s imaginary friend from the Loony Bin. Another Jinn. Toomey = Sam Toomey, another victim of The Numbers’ curse. Best friend to Leonard Simms, one of Hurley’s loony bin friends. In fact, the whole reason Hurley went to Australia was to find Toomey. Instead, he learned the dude had shot himself years earlier. (from Doc Jensen)

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One Comment
  1. matthewdavis permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:49 pm

    once again, this is too much for me to wrap my head around…

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