Hooray! Lost was 100% Kate-free last night. In fact none of the Oceanic 6 made an appearance — but, oh, yeah, it somehow managed to be an interesting episode nonetheless. Oodles of spoilers follow.

All right, who names a rat after their mom—and what would their shrink have to say about it?

Leaving that burning question aside for a moment, you can’t say TPTB at Lost aren’t giving us answers this season, though of course, they’re usually cloaked in conundrums, mysteries, and confusion—sort of a two steps forward, one step back progression. Flaming arrows and mysterious army guys appear one week, and, bingo, we know who they are the next. At least we think we do, kind of. Because is anything or anyone really what they appear to be on this show, even when it’s clearly what the writers want us to think?

It’s Bombs Away on Lost!S

A case in point from last night is the appearance on the island, in 1954, of someone who may or may not be Daniel’s mother. I didn’t watch the rerun of “The Lie” before last night’s episode, so it took a message from my niece to alert me to the fact that one of the pop-ups during that broadcast revealed that Ms. Hawking’s name is “Eloise.” Yes, like Dan’s dear departed lab rat (who shares with Ms. H white hair and a propensity for time travel experimentation along with who knows what other characteristics), and perhaps like “Elly,” the young, blonde, rifle-toting Other who escorts Dan out to the h-bomb site. Her resemblance to an unnamed someone is strong enough for Dan to mention, before he thinks better of it and clams up. Does it all prove she’s Dan’s mother? Who, by the way, Widmore tells Desmond (Desmond, what are you thinking, visiting him??) is in L.A., as is Ms. Hawking. Would the writers really make it this easy for us?

Here’s another thought. Could catatonic Teresa Spencer be Dan’s mother? She’s in Oxford, where Dan said his mother was. Her sister, who answers the door, is ambiguously youthful yet gray-haired. Could Dan have been experimenting with time travel on his mother, and that’s why she looks so young? While it’s not impossible for Ms. Hawking to have given birth to Dan, she’d have had to have him rather late in life, unless he’s older than I assume he is. The relationship between Daniel and Teresa is never explained. On the other hand, I just looked at the episode again, and the workman at Oxford refers to “what he [Faraday] did to that girl,” which argues against my theory — though “that girl” is also ambiguous. What do you think? Ms. Hawking is Elly is Faraday’s mother? Or is that what they want us to think?

It’s Bombs Away on Lost!

A couple of minor complaints:

(1) On the island, it’s supposed to be 1954, but the only reason we know that is because Richard tells Locke it is. Otherwise, everybody looks like it’s 2009. Of course, they’re Others, and maybe they’ve always looked out of time, but really, would it have been that difficult to go for a little authenticity in dress or hairstyles? Apparently the rifle was a period piece, but the only reason a lot of us got that is, again, because Locke tells us it is. (This is a pet peeve of mine in general, so feel free to dismiss it as the ravings of a retro-crank.)

(2) Daniel, Miles, and Charlotte walk into Other camp. The Others think they’re part of the U.S. Army, who have been conducting atomic tests on the island. When Dan asks to fix the leaking h-bomb, Richard asks him to prove he’s not on a suicide mission. Dan says he's not, because I’m in love with the woman next to me and I would never do anything to hurt her, to which Richard replies, awwww, go play with the bomb, you crazy love-struck kid. Or words to that effect. Feh.

It’s Bombs Away on Lost!S

Some random thoughts:

It’s Bombs Away on Lost!S

Hah! Juliet says she learned Latin in Others 101. I also liked the way she said, “Old” when Locke asked how old Richard is. She is rapidly turning into a character I like a lot — I used to wince every time she appeared on the screen.

Widmore’s on the island in 1954! Was he born there? If so, no wonder Ben hates him.

Love that Locke keeps telling people he’s their leader—and they keep ignoring him. Also loved how he sets up Richard’s future visit to him. Now I have to go watch that episode again.

Desmond and Penny named their baby Charlie! And I hereby nominate Penny for best-dressed baby-birthing lady of the current TV season.