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“Lost”: Episode 8, “LaFleur”

Holy Horace Goodspeed, this is why I love this show.Lost5lafleurjhem

Just when all of us smarty-pants obsessive Lost fans start to think that we have (some of) it figured out, by gum, along comes an episode like this to knock us back on our heels. I’m a little light-headed after absorbing everything that was presented to us in “LaFleur.”

I think it felt particularly intense because a lot of it seemed to be pretty straightforward. I lost track of time after the second or third “Three Years Earlier/Later” slate and just tried to keep up with the ride as best I could. There were too many WTF and OMG moments to count. I was scribbling the whole hour; for once, I didn’t mind the commercial breaks (except the Victoria’s Secret spot with the skeletal model. That bugged the hell out of me. Enough with the emaciated look, already.)

One big question that popped into my mind right as I sat down to write: Where’s Ben in the ’70s Dharma groove that we’ve settled into?

By the end of this captivating seg, written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Kyle Pennington and helmed by Mark Goldman, we learn that our ragged band of time-travelers — Juliet, Sawyer, Miles, Jin and Faraday — first integrate themselves with Dharma in 1974. And three years from that time would be, of course, 1977 (summer of “Star Wars” – I remember it well).

Ben, as we know from that great season three episode), was born by the roadside in Portland, Ore., sometime in the early 1960s (to the best of my recollection at this moment) and of course was delivered by good ol’ Horace Goodspeed and his girlfriend/wife who were kind enough to help Ben’s mom and dad in their moment of need, and then help Ben and his no-good dad come to the island when Ben was 10-11-ish. So doing the math, you gotta believe that Ben definitely arrives on the island somewhere between the 1974-1977 time frame, if not before. And, if memory serves, he’s about 20-21-ish when he helps deliver the gas attack on the Dharmas, on his birthday no less.

During the episode, I kept thinking about how the presence of Sawyer et al for these years will turn out to have influenced the course of the Dharma story. As Faraday reminded us yet again tonight, “What happened happened.” I’m sure our “Lost” leaders have answers for us, at some point.

Another thing that made this seg so engaging was the superb casting. The scene early on with the Dharma guards in the monitoring station who are afraid to go get “Mr. LaFleur” was a fantastic case of When TV Worlds Collide. Guard Jerry was the great Herc from “Friday Night Lights,” played by Kevin Rankin. And Guard Phil was the unctuous, but somehow charming, Jimmy Barrett from “Mad Men,” played by Patrick Fischler. Whoo hoo. Bonus points for TV junkies!

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