Brian's One Word Review: Filler.
I don't mean to be cynical. I love Lost more than almost anything else in the world. But in its last season, with a mere 15 hours of original Lost left, that felt like a total waste of our time. Want proof? There's actually very little to touch upon from the episode!
The Sickness. This is the one "big reveal" of the episode - and in fact, it wasn't so much a reveal as a reminder about something that we've heard very little about since Season One. If you remember, the hard facts about the Sickness are pretty slim - and slightly contradictory.
In Season One, CFL's ramblings made it sound like something her crew contracted, forcing her to kill them lest they leave the Island and spread it to the rest of the world... but then last season, we saw CFL kill her crew out of self defense, after being "possessed" by Smokey at the Temple Wall. Also, CFL is crazy, so we had to take everything she said with a grain of salt.
Then there were hints that Dharma believed in it. They gave shots to new recruits on the Island... but then we never saw any additional vaccine administered, or our Time Traveling Survivors (like Sawyer and Miles) never mentioned it either. However, they did emphasize the importance of taking the vaccine and avoiding the Sickness to those working the Swan Hatch... except for once they stopped believing it and really felt no negative side effects.
We also saw Ethan administered a "vaccine" to Claire in Season One, which Juliet later claimed was a pregnancy serum, only to later find out it was an "implant" designed to make Claire sick at a predetermined time... or something like that. A lot of these details are fuzzy enough to me that I'm sure it was never made quite clear.
See what I mean?
Now, it seems like "The Sickness" is closest to what we saw CFL's crew experience - once you are dead, Smokey takes over your spirit and turns you into one of his Island-protecting warriors. I wonder if this is the fundamental difference between Jacob and Anti-Jacob. Jacob is all about bringing people to the Island and having them choose to protect the Island, whereas Anti-Jacob takes over their bodies and forces them to become his army of Island protectors. Free will vs. slavery, but with the same end result in mind? It's something interesting to chew on for this week's analysis, and may give us more evidence that Jacob and Anti-Jacob aren't so different after all. The end result in the same, it's just the method of arriving there that separates them. Jacob has faith in people to do the right thing. Anti-Jacob takes the choice away.
The good news is, there will be plenty of time to think about that over the next few days, because it's slim pickings for the rest of the episode.
Claire. After a full season away, Claire makes her triumphant return On-Island... and apparently she's the new CFL on the Island, setting traps for the Others and brandishing a rifle? Dogen told Jack that "The Sickness" took over her heart, basically turning her to "the Dark Side", but I always got the impression that CFL was just crazy from being alone on the Island for so long, not from coming down with The Sickness. Although I guess the net result was the same - she killed two Others, just like CFL's crew tried to kill her in order to "protect the Island". It'll be pretty curious to see where the Claire storyline goes from here. She had the chance to kill Jin and didn't, which makes me think she's not simply a cold-blooded killer towards everyone on the Island.
Sayid. Also according to Dogen, Sayid isn't inhabited by Jacob, but by the same Sickness - and even though Jacob's note said that if Sayid died, it would be bad news for everyone on the Island - as soon as they got a "hunch" that he might have the Sickness, they were willing to poison him. What? Dogen is crazy, although at least he spoke English for most of the episode. It makes you wonder what this means for the future of Sayid? Is he "on the clock" now before he goes crazy or starts taking out our Survivors? Or is Dogen wrong?
Aldo. It's a little silly for the writers to bring back Aldo (and reference his original two minute scene on Lost three seasons ago) since the only reason anyone recognizes him is that he's Mac from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Sure, it's fun to see a familiar old face, and more firmly ties the Others at the Temple to the Others from prior seasons, but I bet his little conversation with Kate left more than a few viewers wondering "what is he talking about?", frantically wondering if it held some great importance... only to have him die by the end of the episode.
Ethan Goodspeed. Which brings us to the Off-Island action. Again, I'm really struggling to care about these storylines. What really happened this week? Kate escaped the police in a marked cab - then felt guilty about leaving Claire, and went back to get her... in that same cab, then went to the hospital where Claire almost had her baby, but didn't. Net result? The same thing that would have happened if Kate would have just driven away at the beginning of the episode, although now we see how terrible of a criminal Kate is - also, we got a heavy dose of irony by having Ethan talk about injecting Claire with needles and talking about what a handful Aaron would become. It's a cute little wink to fans, and maybe once we understand the Off-Island action more, we'll appreciate it more... but for now, these scenes just felt like they were stealing / killing time from the far more interesting On-Island storylines, including the SmokeLocke one that was noticeably absent this week.
Man, I sound really bitter, don't I? Maybe I'm holding Lost to too high of a standard, or maybe I'm too dumb to understand what's going on in this last season - but for now, this felt like one of those painful "Jack's Tattoo" era episodes where it felt like the writers were just filling the hour, rather than advancing the overall storylines.
Someone convince me otherwise!