Last week, we established that Lost is a lot like life – there are big questions, mysteries that will never be answered, and it’s all about doing your best to leave the world better than you found it. This week, Lost reminded us that an important part of life is death. Thankfully, the Lost writers have always done death very well (except for maybe Ilana). When people on Lost die, it’s for a purpose – either saving others, or to drive the storyline forward. This week was no exception.
Sun and Jin. It’s pretty clear that the writers have always wanted Jin to die in some sort of water accident – or are just really uncreative in figuring out ways to kill people. At the end of the first season, he was on the Raft that was blown up. At the end of the fourth season, he was on the Freighter that was blown up. This week, he was on the Submarine that was blown up. Unfortunately for Jin, after his miraculous survival the first two times, this week his luck was up.
Having said that, Jin probably didn’t have to die. In fact, most logical people out there have pointed out that he should have left Sun (sad as that may have been) in order to attempt to get back to Ji-Yeon to prevent her from being raised by the same crappy parents who raised Sun (as I’ve mentioned before, Sun really wasn’t that good of a person when you think about it. I blame bad parenting). To take it one step further, I think that Sun’s death scene would have actually been much more powerful if she did tell Jin “Leave me. Go raise Ji-Yeon”, followed by a shot of Jin absolutely losing it and then fighting to escape the submarine. Heck, even if Jin dies in the process, the scenes would have been ridiculously intense / sad.
But apparently Jin is a man of his word. When he says “I will never leave you again”, he means it – even if it means dying because of it. Good for him. I suppose it’s fairly Shakespearian that the two of them ended up dying together… after spending over three years apart. After keeping Sun and Jin apart for nearly two full seasons, the writers reunited them, then killed them one episode later (they were together for roughly one day in
The deaths of Sun and Jin were necessary to “raise the stakes”. Up until this point, none of the Survivors (with the exception of Team Alpert and maybe of Jack) has really cared about stopping SmokeLocke. He’s wasn’t really a bad guy to them. They were simply focused on getting off the
While the deaths of Sun and Jin are sad, they make sense. The driving force behind both the Sun and Jin storyline for the past two seasons have been the two of them reuniting. Once they reunited, what was left for them? Neither one of them had any interest in stopping SmokeLocke, finding Desmond, or trying to understand the mysteries of the
The part that bothers me (a little) is that it seems like the writers really wasted an opportunity with Sun - what purpose did she really serve post-Oceanic Six? There were hints of a really interesting storyline where Sun would join Team Widmore and be a “double agent” in returning to the
But that’s nothing compared to what the writers potentially did to Frank…
Frank. Remember at the end of last season, when Bram and Ilana dragged Frank from
But aside from rocking a sweet outfit and providing a little comedic relief, Frank has actually contributed zero to this season.
On a grander scale, remember the conversation between Frank and Ben earlier this season? Where Frank wondered how his life would have been different if he would have flown Oceanic 815, like he was originally supposed to?
FRANK: Can you believe it? Imagine how different my life would be had that alarm gone off.
BEN: How different would it have been? The island still got you in the end. Didn't it?
These little comments really made it seem like Frank had some greater purpose on the
This means one of two things:
- Frank is alive.
- The writers originally had different plans for Frank, but drastically changed them at some point this season.
After much soul searching and deliberation, I come down on the side of Option #1. I might be a trusting fool, but I trust that the writers are better than this. Frank still needs to do something “important” – save the Survivors or fly Ajira 316, I don’t care – but he needs to directly accomplish SOMETHING in the main storyline of the show, to justify his existence and inclusion in the past two seasons.
The only reason to kill Frank in this episode is if the writers are conceding that they actually have no idea what to do with him, changed their minds, and are tired of having him tag along in the background along with the more important characters to the storyline. If this is the case, then I’m really starting to worry about how they intend to wrap up the rest of the series. Basically, it comes down to this – if Frank is dead, it hints that the writers are making this up as they go. If Frank is alive, the writers really have known what they were doing all along.
No pressure, Lost writers. The fate of your show rests on Frank’s shoulders. Do the right thing.
Sayid. Finally, there was the expected death of Sayid. As I mentioned in “Death Watch 2010”, death was the only way out for Sayid. Thankfully, he got to die in a heroic way – and much like Sun and Jin, his death is definitely going to drive the overall storyline forward in a big way, thanks to this little conversation with Jack, right before the explosion:
SAYID: Listen carefully. There’s a well on the main island, half mile south from the camp we just left. Desmond’s inside it. Locke wants him dead, which means you’re going to need him. Do you understand me?
So not only did Sayid attempt to diffuse the bomb, and eventually sacrifice himself by running away with it – but before he did, he made sure that he gave Jack the best information he had about how to defeat SmokeLocke – and that somehow involves Desmond. Now, the remaining Survivors want to defeat SmokeLocke – and they know that Desmond is on the
What caused the change in Sayid?
It seems as though his conversation with Desmond last week made him realize that even though SmokeLocke promised to bring Nadia back from the dead, if he had to do terrible things to meet his end of the bargain, she wouldn’t respect him for doing so. The interesting thing here is that it means that SmokeLocke doesn’t really have 100% control over the dead that he claims. They’re not mindless zombies, they are just zombies that are really susceptible to his manipulation. Sayid demonstrated that even though he no longer felt anything, and kinda knew that he was supposed to be dead – that didn’t mean that he couldn’t do the right thing in the end and help his friends.
It makes you wonder if the same is possible for Claire…
One more thing – Sayid’s final words:
JACK: Why are you telling me this?
SAYID: Because it’s going to be you, Jack.
What exactly does this mean? I interpret this to mean that Sayid (somehow) knows that it’s going to be Jack that needs to take on, and take down SmokeLocke – that Sayid knows that Jack is the one who needs the information about Desmond, because he’s going to be another piece of the puzzle in defeating SmokeLocke / saving the world. It’s going to involve Desmond surviving a catastrophic electromagnetic event, and Jack being there afterwards to do… something. Four episodes left in the series, and I still can’t come up with a better theory for the ending that Desmond and Jack teaming up to sink it to the bottom of the ocean – which is actually pretty exciting.
The Bomb. Aside from the fate of Frank, the big mystery of the week is where the C-4 that was planted inside Ajira 316 came from. Most people have narrowed it down to three candidates (pun):
- Team Alpert
It’s easy to rule out Team Alpert right away. If they somehow got their hands on some C-4, they would just use it to blow up the plane, preventing SmokeLocke from using it to leave the
As for SmokeLocke, it’s possible he went over to
This leaves only Widmore – which actually makes sense. He didn’t want to destroy the plane right away, in case he needed it later – but wanted to be sure that if someone other than his people tried to use it to escape (like SmokeLocke), it would blow up. It was a safety precaution – but one that fit right into SmokeLocke’s plan. SmokeLocke knew that Jack wouldn’t board Ajira 316, since he didn’t want to leave the
In a nutshell, it proves that even though Widmore knows a lot (like who the candidates are – how could he possibly know this unless Jacob told him?), and has a master plan, SmokeLocke is still one step ahead of him. Widmore’s only wild card remains Desmond – that seems to be the one piece of the puzzle that SmokeLocke hasn’t figured out, or doesn’t understand – which is why he’s going to be the key.
The Rules. The most debated topic of this week’s episode surrounds the “rules” on the
JACK: Locke said that he can’t leave the island without us. I think that he can’t leave the island unless we’re all dead. He told me that he could kill anyone of us whenever he wanted. So, what if he hasn’t because he’s…he’s not allowed to. What if he’s trying to get us to kill each other?
All along we’ve known that SmokeLocke can’t directly kill the candidates – heck, even Young Jacob (I assume) has mocked him about this, reminding him about the rule. It presented SmokeLocke with a very difficult task: how do you get the candidates to kill themselves, if you can’t do it directly?
The answer: you create a bomb and hope that they set it off on themselves.
I think Jack is 100% right. If they just sat there and watched the bomb countdown to 0:00, nothing would have happened. That would have been SmokeLocke directly killing the candidates, which is not allowed. The
Instead, Sawyer interfered with the bomb, pulling out the wires. In effect, he didn’t have the same “faith” in the
A lot of people are comparing the scene with Jack and Alpert from earlier this season with this one – since when Jack lit the dynamite, the fuse went out and no one was hurt. But in this case, when Sawyer manipulated the bomb, it still went off and people died. What’s the difference?
Maybe the “rules” around Richard Alpert are quite different than the rules around the candidates. Maybe Alpert can’t be killed, regardless of if it’s by his own hand, or by the hand of someone else (which makes me re-think his place on my Death Watch). If I were on the
Or, maybe it all comes down to a matter of faith.
Jack had faith that nothing would happen when he lit the dynamite. He believed in the Island, and the
Either way, this point is clear – SmokeLocke can’t directly kill any of the remaining candidates, which suddenly makes his job a lot more difficult. Hurley, Jack, and Sawyer now all know that SmokeLocke is a bad guy intent on killing them… but that he can’t do it directly. This means that he will either need to put them in scenarios where they get killed, or trick someone else into killing them. I really can’t see Claire killing them all, regardless of how much manipulating SmokeLocke does, which means I have no idea how SmokeLocke intends to complete his mission.
Again, that’s a very exciting thing for me.
Flash Sideways. Finally this week, let’s touch on the Flash Sideways – which were pretty fantastic… but did they offer any new revelations to help us better understand their role in the big picture?
The writers teased that perhaps Bernard is living in the Flash Sidways post-epiphany, making somewhat cryptic and wise-sounding comments to Jack during his visit, and telling him “I hope you find what you’re looking for”. Does this mean that Bernard knows that Jack must come to his epiphany on his own, without someone flat out showing them (similar to what Desmond did with our Survivors – giving them a “push” to put them in the scenario to find out on their own), or is this just the writers toying with us, knowing that we would read deeper into the conversation that we were supposed to?
It would be a lot easier if we had seen what happens to a character after they have their epiphany in the Flash Sideways. But aside from Desmond, who is “special”, we don’t know. Is Hurley now enlightened, understanding the big picture and walking around making cryptic comments to people he meets? Or is he freaking out and back in the
It’s also interesting that Locke was speaking lines from Reality #1 while coming out of surgery in Reality #2. Does this mean the dreams of our Survivors offer a gateway between the two realities? In their subconscious dreaming state, do they have memories from both?
No idea there either.
In my Instant Reactions, I pondered whether the death of Sun and Jin in Reality #1 meant that those two must end up in Reality #2, or else it would be too depressing… but I want to take that back. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if Lost ends with Sun and Jin living happily ever after in Reality #2, it totally cheapens the emotional death scene we just experienced. Dead is dead. You don’t get to magically come back to life in an alternate reality just because you want to. I think this will just add to the emotional weight of the final decisions of the remaining candidates in the final episodes of Lost. They know that they are going to “wake up” the Survivors in Reality #2, yanking them back to Reality #1… even if that means they will be “killing them”.
This week, my friend Sully asked me the question of what would make me hate the ending of Lost, and feel like the past seven years of my life were a waste. I came up with two scenarios:
- If everyone gets to live happily ever after in Reality #2, wiping out the previous five seasons of the show and cheating us out of all the emotions that we had along the way.
- If the show ends with Jack opening his eyes in the Jungle, in the same scene as the episode pilot, meaning that it’s all been one big loop that will continue on forever.
Both are cheap. Both are lame. Both will force me to sit down and re-write the ending of Lost.
I think the last conversation between Jack and Locke in the Flash Sideways summed up a lot of these feelings:
JACK: You can punish yourself as much as you want and that’s never gonna bring him back…What happened, happened…and…you can let it go.
LOCKE: What makes you think letting go is so easy?
JACK: It’s not. In fact, I don’t really know how to do it myself. And, that’s why I was hoping that…maybe you could go first.
LOCKE: Goodbye, Dr. Shephard.
JACK: I can help you, John…I wished you believed me.
No matter how much we hope that our Survivors can carry out some heroic action in Reality #1 that will allow all their friends to survive and live on in Reality #2, it’s not going to happen. What happened, happened – but the hard part will be learning to let go. It’s not going to be easy. Things might have been different – had the Survivors believed in Locke initially, or Jack more recently. If only they had faith, things might have worked out better. But they didn’t… and now they have to deal with the consequences.
Okay – that’s all for this week.
Until Monday night!