Lately, I’ve noticed an uptick in the use of the word “penultimate.” Okay, maybe not in every social circle I frequent, just one: the Lost watching circle. As it happens, tonight is the “penultimate” episode of Lost’s fifth season. Yay!
I used to think that meant “really, really important,” but as it turns out that’s not correct. “Penultimate” actually means: next to the last. So that makes a lot more sense. Tonight is the next to last episode of the season, titled “Follow the Leader.” I have it on spoilery authority that this title aptly refers to the character whose flashback we’ll finally get a chance to see: Richard Alpert.
Oh. My. God.
Richard Alpert! Will we finally find out why he appears to be ageless? Why Ben said he no longer remembered birthdays? Why he always wear a nice pressed shirt and slacks from Banana Republic while the rest of his people run around in rags? Might we see the Black Rock? Magus Hanso? Or perhaps Richard’s been there longer, since the days of the Egyptians and the four-toed statue?
In many ways this episode should fit into my wrong-headed guess at the meaning of “penultimate.” It will indeed be a “really, really important” look into the Island’s past. I wish I didn’t know about the Alpert thing, but sometimes the Internet shows you things you do not want to see (no dirty jokes, please). And you just have to take a deep breath and move on.