“The Constant” was one of those episodes of Lost that makes you not even want to tune in the following week, because you just know in your gut that there is no way in hell the Lost boys are going to be able to follow up. Well, if you thought that way – and I know I did – you were very likely as pleasantly surprised and dumb struck by “The Other Woman” as I was.
By this point, I think we’re all getting a little spoiled here. Lost has chosen to throw information at us at multiple levels week to week, and “The Other Woman” didn’t step out of line. What made this episode awesome was the fact that the writers proved they could still reach back and tell us an aspect of the story that we have no indication of, a fresh ‘twist,’ while keeping the other cylinders of the show firing with total efficiency.
“The Other Woman” was working on three different levels; I call them the Goal, the Gotcha, and The Gimmie.
This is the ‘race against time,’ portion of the episode. In this case it was Juliet and Jack pursuing Daniel and Charlotte across the island towards a mysterious station called the “The Tempest.” The chase was set in motion by an “Other” from Juliet’s past Harper – she appears in the “Gotcha” too – who claimed to be delivering a message from Ben. The race was to stop Daniel and Charlotte before they reached a cool new hatch called “The Tempest” – hatches are just born cool, aren’t they? – and released poisonous gas that would kill everyone on the island. Turned out, that they were actually disabling the gas before Ben could use it. Yes, this was the straight action adventure thread of the episode, but there were some very cool learnings:
- Ben is able to get messages out from that little room in his basement.
- Ben/Harper were lying ab
out Daniel and Charlotte’s intent. Ben lie? Say it isn’t so.
- Daniel and Charlotte are aware of “The Purge.” So the freighter folk obviously have a lot of Dharma information.
- Juliet lied to Jack as well, saying that “The Tempest” was the power station. Alas, another week and no giant hamster. Sad, sad, sad.
It was nice to have a bit of plot that wasn’t anticipated, in the case of “The Other Woman” it was the elucidation of the title. Interesting play on words, right? The “Other” Woman? Almost as cool as when Jack said Harper seemed a little “Hostile,” a cool nod to the fans with regards to her ability to teleport ala Richard Alpert, et al.
The back story of Juliet and Goodwin’s romance provides some nice emotional connective tissue that really makes you second guess some of your assumptions about Ben Linus’s motivations. On one hand, there is the matter of Juliet’s wanton adultery with Goodwin who turns out to be Harper’s husband, Harper is also the therapist of the others.
Here we find the underlying theme of the episode, coveting what is not yours and what is beyond your possession. In the flashback it is demonstrated first in the forbidden fruit of the Juliet/Goodwin hookup, and subsequently in the final reveal of Ben’s desire for Juliet. Harper is pissed that Juliet is bedding down with her man, but she is also concerned that Ben will lash out at him. This turns out to be the explanation for why Ben sent Goodwin to intercept the tailsection. The bizarre part of the story comes later when Ben takes Juliet to Goodwin’s body; naturally she is shocked and wants to know why Ben led her to her lover’s corpse, to which the fretting man-child proclaims “Don’t you get it? You’re Mine!”
But there were other things revealed here of interest.
- Harper says Juliet is favored by Ben because she looks just like “her.” Is “her” mommy Linus? Annie? Hamster of Mystery girl?
- The gassing of Dharma may have bee
n executed with “The Tempest” instead of those funky canisters.
- Ben works in duplicity with his own selfish interests at the core of everything he says and does.
Ah, how nice is it that “The Gimmie” is a part of Lost’s weekly architecture? This time around it is Ben appealing to Locke for a little freedom, and offering to reveal the owner of the freighter in exchange.
Is it any great surprise that it is Charles Widmore? Widmore, according to Ben, is there to exploit the island. He creates the similie of Jesus’s image on a grilled cheese sandwich attracting thousands against John Locke’s miracle cure attracting millions. Of course, he is not LITERALLY talking about John Locke, and yes I know it was tree mold and not grilled cheese but we’re talking analogies here so I’m safe. (I think.)
Well, it is a great surprise to those of us who watch with eyes and mind wide open:
- Didn’t we just learn that Ben’s possessiveness brings out his killer/weirdo hat?
- Didn’t we just learn that Ben, or his representative, lied about Daniel and Charlotte. Ben wanted that gas ready to fly.
- There are Widmore Logos all over that island. On Henry Gale’s gondola, the pregnancy tests, just to name a few. Mark my words, Widmore was invested in Dharma to their teeth.
- Isn’t Ben guilty of, amongst other things, mass murder, patricide, and going all freaky when he wants his toys all to himself?
I saw a comment appealing to label Widmore the “White Witch” of the story, and I’m all for it. Yeah, he’s a cranky old bastard when it comes to his daughter but as any man who has ever dated “Daddy’s Little Girl” knows, this may not necessarily be the mark of evil.
And to top it all off, an attempt to stoke the latest shipper fire: Jacket (that’s JACK + JulieET for the uninitiated.) Does this pairing have the heat? Well this time we got a little bit of confirmation that the attraction is mutual at least. In “Through the Looking Glass” when Jack and Juliet smooched, it was Juliet initiated all the way. This time not only does Jack plunge in, but when confronted with the fact that Ben’s jealousy can be a bit dangerous he gives a hearty “Bring it on.” As someone who really doesn’t care about shipping, all I can say is: were Matthew Fox’s eyes puffier than usual this week or was that just me?