Lost Review: "Because You Left" and "The Lie" (Episodes 5.01 and 5.02)

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If you watched the back-to-back episodes of Lost last night, you know this will not be a recap. It's simply not possible. When Ben worked loose the frozen wheel in Season Four's finale, he scattered the house of cards that was any semblance of order to Lost's storyline. Now, hapless fans don't just have to follow a double plot of flash-backs and flash-forwards, but a "present" completely unglued from chronological time.

As Daniel, the show's resident physicist, explains, the blinding light and sonic boom that erased the island last season occurred because Ben turned back time...sort of. In Daniel's analogy, Ben shook loose the "record of time" that was smoothly spinning forward, and now the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are skipping around like a scratched LP. The question is no longer where are they, but when are they.

In the midst of this roller-coaster ride, Rose makes a good point. While rubbing two sticks together to make fire, she snaps, "We are trying to focus on what we can control!" In the face of crisis, the survivors turn to detail. In the face of a story so complex that ABC aired an hour-long recap, here is a list of memorable details; sometimes it's all we can do.

1. Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie" opens the episode, and then proceeds to skip around in a hefty little piece of foreshadowing: "If you can't make a record...if you can't make a record..."

2. We see enigmatic Dharma Initiative speaker Dr. Change off-camera. After all his stiff recordings, it's nice to see him let a "What the hell?" fly as he learns there are problems at one of the stations.

3. Sawyer's never-so-subtle power-grabs. While trekking toward the hatch in search of "anything man-made," he stops Daniel, saying, "First thing's first! Give me your shirt!" It's closely followed by another Sawyer signature, the misogynistic nickname, this time directed at Charlotte: "Shut it, Ginger!"

4. Richard Alpert's sense of karma. When a breathless Locke exclaims, "It was Ethan that shot me!" Alpert quips, "Well, what comes around, goes around."

5. Hurley's (imaginary?) chat with Anna Lucia, and her parting words, "Libby says hi."

6. Back on the beach, while Rose tinkers with fire, Sawyer still hasn't given up his hope for a shirt. He claims Neil's, muttering, "Thanks Frogurt!"

7.
Everyone's looking for a new shirt. Hurley finds a yellow one that reads "I (heart) my shih-tzu."

8. Locke's (possibly) not-so-real death. When Ben says he needs to take the casket somewhere safe, Jack asks, "Safe? He's dead, isn't he?" Ben responds, "I'll see you in six hours, Jack."

9. Hurley's dad watches Expose while eating his salami sandwich, the show in which ill-fated Nikki supposedly appeared.

10. The final Gothic scene: the swinging pendulum that creaks across the screen like a rusty porch swing in a '70s horror movie, the elderly physicist in a head-scarf scratching equations on the chalkboard -- Ms. Hawking, the physicist that guided Desmond through his first time travel, as it has been pointed out -- the chapel with the ivory crucifix and flickering candles, and the woman's cryptic words "God help us all."

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