After a few slightly disappointing episodes the previous one put things back on track for me. Thankfully that quality has continued into this episode. With amazing action scenes, new and old characters as well as the Smoke Monster, "Namaste" has pretty much everything you could want from an episode of Lost.
When we weren't shown how or why the plane crashed after "316" I was pretty annoyed. Thankfully we do get to see exactly what happened from Frank's perspective right at the start of this episode, and it was fantastic! The CGI on Lost has always been first rate, but they really pushed the boat out here. Frank's awesomeness combined with how they finally managed to incorporate the runway Kate and Sawyer were working on was just superb. Whether or not the writers new this would happen back at the start of season 3 is up for debate, but it was a great use of it either way.
Back in 1977 we get our emotional reunion scene with Sawyer, Hurley, Jack and Kate. As always it was handled well with each character's reactions perfectly fitting them. Hurley happily showed his feelings outright; Jack and Kate not so much. Again the time travel aspect of the show needed to be addressed as Hurley's reaction "uh, what?" was priceless!
Once back at the barracks we got to see some more familiar faces with the return of Pierre Chang as he helped handle the inductions. We also found out that Amy's baby was none other than Ethan. Whether or not this has a large significance on the rest of the show, or was just another Lost link remains to be seen. The fact that everyone had to pretend they didn't know each other was great and played very well by each actor. There was also a moment where it looked like Juliet may have purposely left Kate's name of the list out of jealousy, but fortunately that wasn't the case.
Then there was the return to the Flame station and finally meeting the infamous Radzinsky. Having been mentioned by Kelvin in the season 2 finale we know he survives the purge, and as we see him here designing the Swan it's probably a safe bet that he'll become a major character on the show. From this encounter they find poor Sayid wandering in the jungle. The complete confusion across his face was great and Sawyer having to think quickly about what to do with him is something that should make for a very interesting story as the season progresses.
After the plane crash landed we get confirmation that Sun didn't time travel along with the rest the Oceanic crew. Hopefully a good reason for this will be given at some point but for now it worked thematically to leave her in the present. Frank's great, but not a main character so you need someone else we know whose eyes we can see the events through. And there was some great stuff. Her following Ben only for him to turn it around on her was great and for once I think Ben was actually being honest when he told her he didn't care whether she came with him or not.
It seemed odd that Sun would trust Ben, so I probably should have seen her double-cross coming, but for once I think I just wanted someone to tag along with him as he probably knew what he was doing. Still having her and Frank head to the mainland instead worked just as well, if not better. We see that the barracks have been completely abandoned and partially destroyed. This could simply have been caused by the Monster when it attacked Keamy's team last season, which would seem to be backed up by the fact it was still around. Still I think there's more to it than that. Christian then showed up to have a nice ominous chat with Sun and Frank. During which I couldn't help notice the door swing open and a cloud of dust come in. It could've been nothing, but it seemed a bit too prominent to not have any meaning.
The episode could well have ended there and it still would've been awesome, but there was still more! Jack finally got his reunion scene with Juliet and then had a talk with Sawyer. After three years you think they would've put everything behind them but the animosity was escalated here by Sawyer well and truly establishing his role as leader amongst the castaways. The final scene was the icing on the cake as a young Ben came to see Sayid. Almost every major character reveal this season has been done the same way: we've heard there voice ages before seeing their face and still meant to be surprised when we eventually see it. I guess for more casual viewers they might not recognise it and to be honest for us hardcore ones we get the goosebumps when we recognise the voice anyway, so it doesn't really make much difference. Anyway, it was a great little moment that addressed the fact Ben is on the island as a child at the same time as our time-travelling castaways and hints at more of his story.
So this episode was pretty much the perfect amount of both story and setup. All the major characters have been moved into position to propel the rest of the season, but thankfully there was enough excitement on offer here to quench our Lost need for another week. Despite a slightly shaky first half I think this season can give us a fantastic second half.