The Televangelist: 'Lost' episode 15 (1)

No time like the present

There's a theory regarding the pleasures of delayed gratification via online shopping. It starts with the small thrill of buying something over the internet. It's not yet tactile, but you know it's coming. Depending on your shipping methods, you're either waiting at the mailbox every day or have semi-forget about the package altogether. Either way, when that box comes, it's a little bit birthday and a little bit Christmas. Online videos have even been posted of people carefully and deliberately opening their packages, savoring each moment before their present to themselves is revealed.

Richard Alpert is this week's wrapping paper for Darlton's gift that's been carefully unveiled in small parts for several seasons now. Though "Follow the Leader" was initially rumored to be the Richard backstory episode Lostphiles have been waiting at the proverbial mailbox for, it wasn't quite so obvious. We did see Richard (looking like a true GQ gentlemen in all spaces and places) throughout time, but it was time we're already familiar with. The episode was Richard-centric insofar as his (never-aging) presence coherently linked our two Lostie camps.

I have to say, for being some kind of "adviser" who's had the job for "a very, very, very long time," Richard appears constantly perplexed. Does the island tell him anything? And who are all those Others anyway? Where did they come from? Next week's episode appears to promise answers to some of these questions — after all, Darlton said this was going to be the last season of sci-fi business. If so, there's a lot of island mythology that will need to be sewn up before we delve head first into the Quadrangle. (The Quadrangle is the current preferred term for the Jack-Kate-Sawyer-Juliet mess.) Though Faraday's death last week shocked and appalled, rumor has it that wasn't the "major" death this season. Will one of the Quad-dwellers die off?

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