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"This is cool, dude. It's very old school — you and me, trekking through the jungle, on our way to do something we don't quite understand. Good times."

Well put, Hugo. This sew, "Lighthouse," did have a heavy old-school "Lost" vibe. It was at least a eight or nine "dude" episode for Hurley, which is always a trademark of quality. And there was a "Littleton" name check, which is always a bonus for this viewer.

But I especially liked this episode because I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on the flash-sideways narratives and what it is they're telling us about the characters.

As we saw in Jack's climactic scene with his preteen son, David, the characters in the no-crash 2004 timeline still have plenty of flaws and heartache, but they're somehow better equipped to deal with their problems.Jack finds the way to communicate with his son ("In my eyes, you can never fail") — I guess we're to presume Sarah is the mother? — just like Locke appeared to be on his way to coming to grips with his physical limitations in last week's episode. And for good spooky fun, they're salting the stories with a few holy-cow encounters, like Jack running into Dogen at the conservatory tryouts, or Locke running in to Ben as a fellow junior high school teacher. Maybe these seemingly random no-crash 2004 encounters will pay off down the road.

My Variety colleague Justin Kroll posits that the "someone" that Jacob says is "coming" to the island are the 2004 no-crash versions of our characters. Sounds plausible to me.

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