Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost - "What They Died For"

This is it.

Fight back the tears and keep yourself together – but this might be the very last Lost episode preview ever. I’m going to do my best to get a preview for the finale up, but it’s going to be a crazy week – I’m actually out of town Thursday through Sunday afternoon making the world a better place – stupid community service! - so it’s not guaranteed.

Also, part of me is thinking maybe it’s for the best. After all the angst and debate that followed last week’s episode, maybe it’s time for us to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing, sit back, relax, and just enjoy Lost for one last time. There’s going to be plenty of time to debate Lost once it’s over.

But enough about Sunday’s series finale. What about tomorrow night’s episode?

Episode Title: “What They Died For”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: This is actually a great question. After a one week hiatus that took us back thousands of years in the history of the Island (and alienated a good chunk of the Lost fanbase in the process), one assumes that the “they” in question are Sun, Jin, and Sayid – three major characters that died two episodes ago. What did they die for?

With Sayid, there’s an easy answer. He died to protect the rest of his friends. He sacrificed himself. He got a little bit of redemption after a season of being a soulless killer.

With Jin, there’s a questionable answer. He died to spend his final moments by the side of his true love, Sun. He died so that she wouldn’t have to spend those final moments alone. It’s noble. It’s sweet. But in all honesty, he abandoned his daughter… and didn’t really have to die.

With Sun, there’s no good answer. She died because of SmokeLocke, but she didn’t die for him. Unlike Sayid and Jin, her death wasn’t due to any decision that she made – it was an accident. To say what she died for is like trying to explain why bad things happen to good people. They just do.

Actually, this episode title got me thinking – could this title refer to something bigger than simply the three deaths last week? What about all the characters who have died over the past six seasons – what did they die for? Were they simply pawns in a game between two bickering brothers? Or was it for a greater cause?

It’s easy to see how some of the deaths brought us to where we are today. Without Charlie dying, the Survivors wouldn’t have been able to contact the Freighter, get off the Island, come back to the Island, complete the Loophole, etc. Without Michael sacrificing himself on the Freighter, more of our Survivors (including three of the Final Four Candidates) might have died there. I can see and understand what they died for – the greater good.

But what about some of the other characters? Like all the innocent people that died in Oceanic 815 to get a few select people on the Island? Or characters like Libby and Ana Lucia who died as a result of the Others stealing Walt (the Others, who in theory, were following Jacob)? They were simply fodder in the bigger picture – unfortunate pawns in a game that was more important than their lives. The Island used them and discarded them (Ilana). What did they die for?

Long ago, I said that the only possible justification for all the carnage we’ve seen over the years is if the end game of Lost involves saving the world – I guess either Reality #1 or Reality #2 at this point, or both. For a story as epic as Lost, it really seems like the only ending that is powerful enough to stand up to it and make it all worthwhile. Not proving man is fundamentally good, not showing that people can find redemption, not finding the key to eternal life – it has to be saving the world, or else I chalk it up to “not worth the cost” in my book.

Here’s my best guess at the meaning behind the episode title – at some point this episode, Jack or Desmond is going to figure out what they need to do to stop SmokeLocke and save the world. It might involve some sacrifice, death, or carrying out a crazy-sounding mission. But their justification for soldiering on is that if they don’t do it, all those people over the years died for nothing. But if they are able to accomplish their mission, they’ll save the world – and then all those deaths will not have been in vain.

Guest Stars: Michelle Rodriguez as Ana Lucia, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Mark Pellegrino as Jacob, Dylan Minnette as David, Sheila Kelley as Zoe, Kenton Duty as Teenage Boy, Wendy Pearson as Nurse Kondracki, Ashlee Kyker as Student, Ernesto Lopez as LAPD Cop.

Guest Star Breakdown: Up first, we have two characters making their “curtain call” as so many characters have done this season - Ana Lucia and CFL. It seems logical that they will appear in the Flash Sideways, as so many of the other dead characters have done this season. Although, let’s not forget that Ana Lucia also appeared as a ghost to Hurley at the start of Season Five – so there’s an outside chance she’ll play the role of “spiritual guide” to our Survivors through Hurley, much like Michael earlier this season. Since most of the family relationships in the Flash Sideways have been consistent with Reality #1 (Ben and his Father, Boone and Shannon, Locke and Helen), smart money is on CFL being Alex’s mother. The real question is – will she be crazy? Or will the moniker CFL no longer apply, forcing me to finally learn to spell “Rousseau”, something I have been putting off since the midway point of Season One on this Blog (December 1, 2004!

The other interesting thing is that this episode features both Jacob and Young Jacob (I guess this press release came out before last week’s episode, but I think it’s about time we start referring to Kenton Duty as “Young Jacob” instead of “Teenage Boy”, don’t you think?) Will we see him growing up in Ghost form? Will he appear as Young Jacob to some but adult Jacob to others to help keep his identity secret? Or will this episode feature both the need for Jacob to get into a really small place and purchase alcohol, requiring both identities to accomplish his goals?

Otherwise, the guest stars seem to be progressing the Flash Sideways storyline? David is back, once again teasing us that his mother will finally be revealed. Alex is back along with Nurse Kondracki (the woman who was having an affair with Principal Reynolds), so apparently we’ve got a little more Benjamin Linus story left – even though it seemed pretty well wrapped up the last time we saw him.

Finally, we’ve got Widmore and Zoe – who owe us an explanation of where they were during “The Candidate” while all their friends got slaughtered by SmokeLocke. Hiding like chickens? Or off furthering their goals, using the attack at Hydra Island as the perfect distraction to sneak back to the Main Island when SmokeLocke wasn’t looking?

Episode Description: While Locke devises a new strategy, Jack's group searches for Desmond.

Episode Breakdown: Hmmm – the first part of this description makes it sound like SmokeLocke is doing a little bit of improvising – that this wasn’t part of his “master plan” that he’s been working on all season (killing all the Candidates). If he’s devising a “new” strategy, it means that the old one doesn’t work (blowing them all up in the Submarine). It puts him in a tough spot – because now the remaining Candidates know he’s coming for them… and the only “weapon” he has left to indirectly kill them seems to be Claire – who might be able to take out Kate (for personal reasons), but not the rest of them. I’ve got no idea where SmokeLocke goes from here because there aren’t any other obvious solutions jumping out at me.

The second part of the description is what we’ve all been anticipating ever since Desmond returned – his reunion with Jack, where all sorts of enlightenment about the end game are revealed. Desmond finally explains what he knows and why he’s been so zen-like since Widmore’s electromagnetic test. At this point, everyone is assuming this end game involves Desmond entering the “heart” of the Island that was revealed last week and… doing something. Something that will probably involve Jack, might involve sinking the Island, but will definitely involve saving the world in some fashion.

…and with that, I think it wraps up the episode preview for this week. We’ve been through a lot together over the years – had our share of good times and bad, agreements and disagreements, terrible Blog posts and only semi-terrible ones - but the important thing is that the Blog has provided the entertainment needed to entertain bored people at work, keep lonely housewives with drinking problems sober for a few hours a week, and give overweight comic book reading nerds living in their parents’ basements the closest thing to real friends that they’ll ever have.

And in the end, aren't these things the most important things of all?

Until tomorrow night, and perhaps for the last time ever…

Happy Losting!


Ethan said...

Hey, long time reader here that will miss this blog (and the show) when it ends. I wanted to pass thing along re: last week's show in case you haven't seen it.

(Via Nedroid)

Jack Elder said...

I have to admit that after last weeks letdown I'm not optimistic of a mind blowing series ending. Ever since getting burned by how Quantum Leap ended, there haven't been many refreshing endings to shows that I'd get involved with. Brian, thanks for hosting this blog, it's been a fun filled 6 years. It certainly made the show more enjoyable by having your perspective before and after the show aired each week. It wouldn't have been the same without you and the blog.

jeff said...

Brian, I really hope you keep the blog going. I'd like to see you do a Twin Peaks blog, that would be boss!

Desiree said...

I second that. Well, not the Twin Peaks part but I do hope you keep writing.

timcourtois said...

Brian, I was thinking... I get the impression Damon Lindelof has been reading this blog. Earlier this season, after "What Kate Does", your one-word review was "filler". Shortly after, Damon tweeted a response to those who were "complaining of filler". And last week you mentioned midichlorians in your post, and lo and behold, Damon mentioned how "people" were talking about midichlorians after last week's episode.

I'm sure you're not the only one who thought of those things... but I think you've created a blog worthy of Damon's readership.

Think about it - LOST will go down as one of the biggest tv shows ever... and you were a significant part of that for so many people!

Total awesomeness.

Jabbadoo said...


Hobbes said...


I've totally enjoy your writing and repect the work you've put into creating and cultivating this community. Thank you. Sorry if I ever was too over the top in my opinions. Despite all my angst for the finale, Lost if anything I will say, did make me fall in love with it.

& Thank you everyone else. So much valuable input, greatly enjoyed my time here because of it.

Really Daryl said...

I second what others are saying here, your blog will be missed. It kept my faith going in the show when others were falling by the wayside.

Seriously hope you keep writing and delivering the insightful analysis in some for or another. I'm keen on the Twin Peaks suggestion having never gotten into the show. Ever thought of starting a cult TV club? Like a book club, but with less books and more TV?

I'd love to comment on your great prehash of "What They Died For" but having been one of the lucky few to see the episode at Thursday's Lost Live event I really shouldn't. Especially if Damon is really reading this blog, I wouldn't want him to send the smoke monster after me. Let's just say, I don't think anyone will be disappointed in the episode. ;-)

Be well and happy in all your pursuits, Brian!

J-Bos! said...

Brian, I absolutely think you are one of the blogs that D and C goes to for fan reaction and, without Ass kissing, I think your opinion and prediction has been among the most accurate and least pretentious of all those of who do this (regularly analyze Lost).

Anyway, like everyone else, I've loved the analysis and commitment to our obsession

Brendan said...

I have high hopes for this episode, more so after reading your post - it's finally hitting home that a week from now LOST will be over, done with, finished, kaput.

I'm just curious/excited to see what kind of conclusion they've dreamed up.

And remember - finales are almost always disappointing. Can anyone name 5 that topped expectations?

katepy said...

Brendan: Five finales that exceeded expectations...
1. Lost Season 1
2. Lost Season 2
3. Lost Season 3
4. Lost Season 4
5. Lost Season 5

These guys know how to write a finale! I have full confidence that Season 6 will be no different.

Sam said...

I am away on vacation after this week's episode (I hope our place in SC has a DVR), so I just want to thank you for the best Lost blog out there. The best style and sense of humor.

Good luck in your next venture - I'll be checking it out.

See you in another life, brotha!

ps - I think 'what they died for' is the revelation of the sideways!

tsolfan said...

I'll never forget how astonished I was when that light suddenly came on in the Hatch, way back when. Lost has raised our expectations of wonderful things over the years - whatever they come up with for this episode tonight and the finale, it's been a great ride. Yours has been the only source I've used to try to figure it out, Brian, so big thanks from me too!

Anonymous said...

Stop it! You're going to make me cry...and if I start crying, we're all going to start crying!

Viva la Blog!

Dave Harty said...

Brian - I'll add my thanks to all those above. It has been a blast, and I'm looking forward to the final recap!

The time you put into all of your posts is an exceptional effort! Thanks for keeping us all going for all these years.

Mrs Z said...

I also want to thank you for this great blog, Brian. I've looked forward to it every week for years now (even though I rarely comment) and it's been a huge highlight of my LOST experience.

I have complete faith that I will love tonight's episode and the finale. How can I not?

Daniel said...

How DID Quantum Leap end ?

DubZ said...

here's a crazy thought, what if like you said, desmond enters the "heart" of the island and becomes the new anti-jacob, while jack becomes jacob?

Anonymous said...

Ah come on people. The Lost story's not over yet. The writers have reached the ninth inning of a baseball game or the last mile of an Olympic marathon. It's what's we've all been waiting for. No need to get all misty eyed and sentimental.

(But just in case the Lost writers strike out with bases loaded, or pull a collective muscle before crossing the finish line -- hey Brian, thanks for the Blog.)

Anonymous said...

I suspect the writers are going to do something clever with Young Ghost Jacob. They've gone out of their way to point out Desmond and Sawyer can see him, so if he's a ghost, he's different than the others. We know that he bothers MIB, so this wasn't in MIB's plans.

Brian thomas said...

Brian, well it's been most mind bending all these posts and years. I have personally been up, been down, gotten engaged and thought of a better meaning that just Lost Gone forever. I am taking my first overseas vacation to Malaga Spain on 6-30 and cant hope but wonder what other countries think of this Lost craze we have in US. Anyway hope everyone enjoys the last 2 shows and cant wait for the possible movie. PS I still think Ben has a big part in the ending.
Brian Thomas

James said...

Brian and group,

The finale is going to leave some room for interpretation I would think. How long after the finale do you plan to keep this specific blog up? Are you going to try and make some different subject blogs for all to analyze and throw theories on? I'm thinking there will much to talk about for some time.

fantastic blog, and great theories all around. This has allowed myself and my co-workers at work to speculate, dream and argue for years. Damn fine job Brian!

Pam said...

Thanks for the added entertainment over the years - I have enjoyed this blog as much as the show itself.

Here's hoping for another show as good as this one that you can write about in the future!!

Vidya said...

Brian - Your blog will be missed. Reading your blog has really made the LOST experience more enjoyable. Before I last question.
if the others were followers of Jacob (like we all believe), why did Smokey not kill them in a sweep? Unless they were all "candidates".

LOSTinOK said...

I've been a long time reader and will miss this blog almost as much as the show. When I was 'lost' (pun intended) I knew I could come here and try to make some sense out of any particular episode.

Great job!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader, but in my short time, I have really enjoyed your blog and thank you for such great analysis and commentary! I hope you will continue your blog as well. I agree with James – hopefully there will be much to talk about after the finale. Maybe you could go back to some of the key episodes and write about different mysteries that are now resolved, or highlight clues to the overall conclusion, or how different themes can now be tied together. That might be very interesting.

I am really hoping that tonight's episode will deliver. No matter what, I love LOST and even a mediocre finale will not spoil the whole experience for me. It has been such an amazing show.

Sheebs said...


I have to put my 2 cents in too. I have never been a follower of a blog before this; I do not even have a family blog out there but I am so grateful someone mentioning your blog and directing others to it on the ABC posts the first season. I have been an avid, faithful follower and fan… and occasional commenter since its inception [and do read almost all the comments] back when there 1000 hits to now over 1.2 million---Fantastic You have been spot on and are an articulate writer. (Maybe that is an avenue to explore for you to write for a show like our friend did with several primetime shows when we lived in LA a few years ago. Think about it. I could hook you up.)

I have recommended LOST and this blog to dozens of my patients at my chiropractic office in MI, my church friends, my family and numerous others who will listen to me about how great LOST is. Like may others, I so look forward to you analysis and instant reactions, that have made my LOST experience so rewarding ---far surpassing any other blog I have found. (Also a big thanks to your wife for allowing us to steal away a chunk of your time from her to maintain this blog. You got a good one there!)


p.s. I think it would be cool to see how far reaching your blog is, when others leave post these last 2 shows, list the city or country you are from!

Ann Arbor MI

Sheebs said...


Most of the time the others were protected by their "alarm system" and when they weren't like when Ben was captured by CFL or when the other went to ambush the beach camp, I think Smokey knew he would have to use Ben someday and his people to get to the place he is right now. That is probably why he did not kill them off in one clean sweep, I believe.

sissel said...


just wanted to tell your that your blog is really awesome and I will surely miss it. Enjoyed it very much over the past three years even though I sometimes had to wait a long long time to read it to avoid spoilers as I'm from Germany and we were way behind in the show. But even then your blog made the show all the more intriguing!
Hope you keep on writing!

Desiree said...

Also, Brian, I think you are on to something with the whole saving the world thing.

A rather disgruntled commenter on your last post brought up the issue of the numbers being seemingly unresolved. Another commenter replied by reminding said commenter that the numbers corresponded to the six candidates (and therefore was not an unresolved storyline).

If we go back to season 2 and the hatch, we remember that our survivors were punching this same sequence of numbers into a computer in order to "save the world" (or at least to stop something really, really bad from happening).

And since we do find proof later that the numbers correspond to actual people, then it only makes sense that these people, by extension, are the ones that will save the world (well, whomever is left of them).

It's a neat little metaphor when you look at it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been turning to this blog regularly since around the middle of Season 2, I just want to say thank you. The blog has been a key element of my LOST-viewing experience, and has consistently been been thought-provoking and entertaining, providing much fodder for discussion among my real life LOST viewer friends. I'm sad to see the show come to an end, but wow, what a ride it has been! Thanks for creating such a great forum for fans to share it.

Let us know what your next blogging project will be!

falcon said...

Brian, thank you for your work on the blog - reading it has been a great pleasure.

While I've always been fascinating by the myth and mysteries of Lost, at the end of the day, I remind myself that it's just a TV show - one of my ATF no doubt, but still just a TV show. I fully expect to enjoy the last few hours of airtime, no matter how few or how many mysteries and plot points are explained.

Dan and Laura said...

I have been a loyal reader since season 3 and have greatly enjoyed your commentary. Thanks for the research and the insights over the past few years!

Anonymous said...

this episode ROCKS

Laura said...

Thanks a million for all the hard work and dedication to this magnificent blog. I have enjoyed your blog since- yes, Brian, it's TRUE- since Michael Emerson, aka Henry Gale, aka Dr.Linus, aka Benjamin, recommended this blog to me when I met him in a store in St. Augustine, Florida, a few days before the season two finale. He was a fan, and I assume he is still a fan, so it is possible that the bigwigs over at LOST have been reading this whole time, too. Anyway, it's been an amazingly fun ride, both watching the show and reading your analysis and guesses. I don't know if a show like this will ever come on the air again, but if one does, I hope you will be there to guide us through it.

Eric said...

I, for one, will be happy that not all questions are answered. When the questions were coming rapid fire I was in heaven. Since answers have been coming this season I've been largely disappointed. Not disappointed but not as enthusiastic as I was before.

For the writers the options are that they try to answer everything, try to wrap it all up with a pretty bow on it, or they leave a lot of things unadjusted. If they answer everything a lot of people are going to not like the answers, and even more people are going to be disappointed by them. By not answering the questions, sure some people, maybe even most people, are going to be angry, but they make a show that will stand the test of time and keep people talking and thinking for a long time.

BSG tried to wrap everything up and tie it all together and it was not only disappointing it pretty much ruined the whole show for me, most of which was fantastic. I'd rather spend the rest of my life trying to figure out what it all meant than get some ridiculous answers provided for no reason other than to answer questions.

If it's important to the story it'll be answered. If not just more for us to wonder about.

That's just me. But I'm the kind of person who finds it trite and unrealistic when stories end by tying everything up. I'll take an unsolved mystery over a packaged ending any day.