Oh, but this show knows how to throw curve balls. I think this episode of "Lost" is jarring because the many plot developments that were just thrown at us for the most part seem so darn…straightforward. It must set a record for a "Lost" episode in the characters' use of clear and explicit language.

Before we get to the review of the Big Moments and Great Lines of this seg, "This Place is Death," let's think about some space-and-time questions. Not so much the specifics of all the time traveling we've been doing this season, but the time frame for the milestone moments of the "Lost" chronology as we know it so far.

The Dharma Initiative is a 1970s-era invention (or does it go back to late '60s?). Rousseau and her team land on the island in 1988. Desmond and Faraday meet up with each other at Oxford in 1996, which would seem to be around the same time that  Faraday runs out on Theresa Spencer. The 815 castaways arrive on the isle of mystery in September 2004. Desmond gets there a few years earlier, right? From the "Jughead" seg, we know that Richard Alpert and his band of hot-tempered followers were there in 1954. And we believe the Black Rock pirate ship goes back to the heyday of sea-farin' men in the 1800s, right?

I'm thinking there's generational tectonic shifts going on with the island, at least in the modern era. It seems that every 10-15 years something mega happens. I wish I could place the time frame of Ben's gas attack that kills the Dharmas. Gotta be '80s, right, like maybe just before the time Rousseau arrives?

To me, the most interesting thing about this most interesting episode — written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and helmed by Paul Edwards — is the return of Christian Shephard. Onward Christian Shepherd. (I try hard not to overuse that one more than once a season.) He just pops up like the proverbial bad penny in the strangest places.

After revisiting most of season one last year while waiting for season five, it struck me that a case could be made that the whole crazy mess starts with Jack's courageous, principled decision to blow the whistle on his father for getting behind the scalpel after having a few too many at lunch. That incident strips Christian of his medical license, and sends him spiraling into the bender that takes him to Australia, and eventually to the pine box that his bitter progeny has to come collect. And we all know what happens on the return flight.

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