Season 5 Episode 5

This Place is Death

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 11, 2009 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (37)

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out of 10
988 votes
  • An episode that lives up to its name

    We're getting some big time revelations in this episode, as well as a fulfillment of a pledge the writers made way back in Season 2. We were promised a flashback that would tell us the history of Rousseau, how she got to the island, and what happened while we there. They kept putting it off, and after Rousseau was killed in Season 4, it seemed it would never happen. Thank you, leaping through time island for keeping your promise.

    The first fifteen minutes of 'This Place is Death' essentially tell us the story of Danielle Rousseau, as seen through the eyes of Jin. Because of the language barrier (and the fact that Jin and Sun had probably the least contact with the woman while she was alive) , he can't tell her what's about to happen. Instead, he has to witness a lot of the horrors play out. Rousseau, who is the youngest member of a six-person French team of explorers, have gotten shipwrecked on the island. They begin to explore, searching for the radio tower, which is broadcasting the numbers. (It's now likely that they were being relayed from the Swan station, via the antenna.) They move into the jungle to search of the source of the numbers. Then her team is attacked by the monster (This is something of an inconsistency, but considering that Danielle changed the story in 'Numbers' from what it was in 'Solitary', we'll give the writers that discrepancy.) The monster kills Nadine, the other woman almost identical to the way it killed the captain in the Pilot, and then attempts to attack Montand, near a temple. Montand loses his arm, and is pulled away into a recess. When he begins to cry for help, the others go in after him, but Jin stops Danielle. At this point, the island shifts again (and now we know that it's happening to the survivors; Rousseau is right next to Jin, and nothing happens to her) and Jin is alone. We soon find out that it's about a month later, and that Danielle has now formed a camp on the beach, has killed Brennan and Lacombe, the other two team members (their bodies are on the ground) and is arguing with Robert, her lover, and the baby's father. Robert is frantically trying to convince her to lower the gun, and the instant she does, he fires--- but because she's removed the firing pin (like she said in Solitary) nothing happens, and she kills him. I'm pretty sure this drove her over the edge (though sixteen years of solitary living at the loss of Alex didn't help), and that's probably the reason she doesn't recognize Jin when she came across him in 2004. (Maybe she thought he was an illusion of the monster.)

    Jin then is reunited with the other survivors, who really are stunned to see him (he must also be overjoyed that someone else who speaks Korean is still on the island, though his English is even better than it was in Season 4), but things are getting worse. The flashes are starting to happen even closer together, and Charlotte's condition begin to completely degenerate. Furthermore, now Sawyer and Juliet are starting to suffer nosebleeds. Whatever this is, it's getting worse, and right now, Locke seems to have the only valid idea--- return to the Orchid.

    Before they get there, though, Charlotte collapses, and begins to ramble incoherently. She does, however, manage to get one clear message out to Daniel, and it's a killer--- she lived on this island before, as part of the Dharma Initiative, and when she was a girl her mother and she left the island, never to see her father again. Since then, she has spent all her life searching for the island (which explains some of her behavior when she returned) The kicker is before she left, a crazy man told her to never come back--- and she now thinks that man was Daniel. It seems insane, but given what we saw in the teaser of the Season 5 premiere, we can no longer say that it's impossible. Is that how Daniel will join the Dharma Initiative? And then, in a last bit of incoherence, Charlotte dies, and Daniel is broken. We don't see much of Dan until the second half of Season 5, but it's clear that this has broken him somehow. Even though he defines the rules that "you can't change the future" he will spend the rest of his life trying to prove otherwise. Unfortunately, the cost will be even more devastating than he knows

    Eventually, the rest of the survivors make it back to where the Orchid was. Jin implores Locke not to bring Sun back to the island--- he's seen enough to know that it might kill her--- and is willing to risk never seeing his wife and child again to ensure their safety. Locke intends to keep his promise, and he is an honest man. So he is lowered into an old well (which we will see again) Before he goes, Juliet says, if this works "thank you." This is the first time anybody on the island has ever expressed gratitude to Locke on a course of action (and there's significance that it's Juliet, not anyone else who's been with him every step of the way) and the look on his face speaks volume. This is significant, because none of them will see Locke again.

    Unfortunately, before he can get to the bottom, there's one more flash, the well disappears, and Locke plummets to the ground, shattering his right shinbone. There he is greeted once again by 'Christian', who says he's there to help him the rest of the way, and then just stands there, giving instructions that he must gather all his friends and bring them back. Poor Locke. All his life, off and on the island, people have been using him. Now, as he listens to the idea that he may have to die in order to get everyone back to the island, he doesn't realize he's being used again. He thinks he has to bring everyone back to stop the flashes when all he has to do is push the (not) Frozen Donkey Wheel, and get it back on its axis. All he's done is seal his own fate.

    We may not yet know Locke is being used, but we're pretty sure that Ben has been using Jack, and by extension the Oceanic 6, so that he can get back to the island. The problem is the other members are adamantly opposed to just this manipulation. When Kate hears that Ben's behind her current horror, she doesn't hesitate a second before taking Aaron and leaving him behind. Sayid, if anything, reacts even faster, and tells Jack and Ben that if he sees either of them again, it won't be pleasant for either of them. (He's not kidding.) And when Sun first appears to Ben, her gun is cocked and she has every intention on killing the man she thinks killed her husband. (I'm still not sure how she learned Ben was responsible for blowing up the freighter. It would be more logical to blame Widmore) But once again, with a gun in his face, Ben manages to turn the tables, and tell her that Jin is alive, and that he has proof. The proof is Jin's wedding ring. Ironically, the evidence that Jin wanted to make sure would keep Sun from ever come back is the very thing that brings her back into the fold. He also tells both of them that he's done everything to make sure that they stayed safe, which is interesting, considering that I'm pretty sure that Sayid was the one who did all of the heavy lifting.

    He leads them to a church where they encounter another familiar face--- Desmond. Though it's hard to say, it's pretty obvious Ben's surprised to see him, and he is definitely blindsided when Desmond tells him he's here to see Faraday's mother. Thing is, we have met her before, and so has Desmond--- she's Eloise Hawking. (Apparently, Daniel named his pet rat after her. If that doesn't warm the cockles of your heart..) What's more surprising is that even though she clearly told Ben that he has to bring all of them back, even though there are only two of them there, she just shrugs and says "Close enough. Why? We know she has knowledge of the past. Does she really think that even though she said all of them, Jack's the only one she needs. We'll get a clearer idea of some of what she knows over the rest of the season, but right now, it seems the writers never quite got a clear idea how to handle her.

    'This Place is Death' is a pretty accurate description of what the island is-- not only for Charlotte and the rest of Rousseau's team, but probably for everybody. It may not be purgatory, but for almost everyone else, it's a form of Hell. Even Locke who think it's salvation will eventually realize that for all it's healing powers, the island takes far more than it gives. We just don't know what we're going to see yet.
    My score: 8.8