Brian's Two Word Review: Finally, but...
A lot finally happened in this episode that we've been anxiously awaiting for most of the season (if not longer)... but the payoff didn't exactly live up to the hype in a lot of cases. Still, it's pretty clear that we are moving full steam ahead, and I'm pretty pumped for the Lost-a-palooza on Sunday night. I know a lot of people were complaining about the show for the past week, but I think it's shaping up to be a pretty fantastic finale - if nothing else, this episode gave us a hint of how the final episode is going to feel. Epic. Powerful. Final.
So what happened?
Across the Sea. We finally understand why the writers chose to show "Across the Sea" so late in the game - there was a lot in this episode that directly referenced that episode... although give the Lost fans a little credit - we probably would have remembered it even if it happened two months ago, after all, most of us still remember minute details of things that happened five years ago on the show. Still, it makes that episode a little more meaningful in the grand scheme of things, which should appease some of the people so unhappy with it.
Jacob. I also finally understand why they writers had to wait so long for Jacob to finally explain his plan to the Candidates in person - but it's been pretty obvious for the entire season that Jack was the only real Candidate, wasn't it? He was the one who was suddenly talking about "destiny" and "letting go" and "believing in the Island". That's what you call nailing the job interview right there. But having said that, couldn't Jacob have given this speech earlier in the season, and then have a few episodes of the Candidates reacting to this monumental decision in trying to figure out if they can trust him, if any of them want to do it, and what it would mean? Even if Jack would eventually make the right decision, wouldn't it have been nice to see him think about the consequences of his decisions (more than the two seconds between him asking "how long do I have to do this job?" and drinking the water)? Since so much of the season has seemed to be lacking an overall focus, it seems like this storyline could have been a good way to gain some traction.
Speaking of Jacob - was this the last we'll ever see of him? Apparently the only reason that we were seeing images of him on the Island was because Ilana gathered his ashes from the fire, keeping him from fully burning away... although when Ilana gathered those ashes, the fire was already out - so it's not like they were going to burn away anyways. It seems as though his brief two minute speech were the only instructions he was going to give Jack and Co - now it's on them to figure out what to do with them. But you can't blame him, at least he gave more instructions to them than he received from The Woman when she made him the new Protector of the Island.
Candidates. In regards to the Candidates themselves, we finally got an explanation for WHY Jacob brought all these people to the Island in the first place, and it's something we've noted for quite some time - the lives of all of these people were crappy before the Island. They needed the Island as much as it needed them... but this is pretty crappy for all the happy, good people on Oceanic 815 who died unnecessarily in the process, isn't it?
We also confirmed the reason that Kate was no longer a Candidate - once she "became a mother", she found her purpose, she had someone to care for, someone who needed her as much as she needed them. She no longer needed the Island. This also seems to establish that Jin was the Kwon Candidate, not Sun - since she also had a child. However, Sun and Jin are another great example of Jacob's flawed logic. Since they fell in love and had each other after arriving on the Island, shouldn't this have eliminated both from being Candidates long ago?
It's also pretty funny that as much as we fans of Lost have eliminated Kate from the running of being the new Protector of the Island, Jacob laughs at us and says "it's just a line of chalk on the wall - if you still want the job, it's yours!" Maybe we shouldn't have been obsessing over all the names this season. I think anyone left on the Island is now a possible Candidate... although those numbers are getting pretty thin.
Death. After two years, countless theories, and a ton of buildup, we FINALLY got the confrontation between Widmore and Benjamin Linus that we've all been waiting for... and it ended without any explanation of their history or "the rules" between the two of them. I have to admit, it was pretty sweet that Ben FINALLY got his revenge on Widmore for killing Alex - but the slaughter of both Zoe and Widmore just seemed like the writers didn't have any other use for them - and their purpose was pretty much just to bring Desmond to the Island.
Note: Widmore also claims that Jacob is the one who visited him and told him what to do. One, that would have been a pretty awesome scene to show earlier this season, rather than just hearing about it after the fact. Two, this adds some more blood on Jacob's hands - since he basically led Widmore to the slaughter of SmokeLocke.
In other shocking news - was that the quick and dirty death of Richard Alpert, the guy who couldn't kill himself if he tried earlier this season is suddenly swept away by Smokey and dies off camera? Logic would tell you that this is crazy talk, and he'll most certainly show up again - perhaps with Frank (come on Frank, I was hoping you were going to wash up on shore in the beginning of the episode!), and Miles (who conveniently ran off, setting the stage for him to play some huge role in the finale) - but if not, that was a super crappy way for him to go.
As for Zoe, it's interesting that SmokeLocke said "if she's not going to talk to me, she's useless" - maybe we're supposed to take the instructions of Dogen literally. If you let SmokeLocke talk to you, he has some power of manipulation over you, and you can't kill him. If you don't let him talk to you, you have the power over him to kill him. But if this is the case, what character is left that hasn't talked to him, who can kill him in the end? Or is it just a case of Zoe being a worthless character whose time was up (my vote)?
Benjamin Linus. So... did Ben just do a professional-wrestling-style bad guy turn, or is he manipulating SmokeLocke to eventually save the day? I'm really hoping for the later, since the past few seasons have really shown Ben growing into a sympathetic character on the show. I can forgive his murder of Charles Widmore (they had a pretty long-standing grudge, and payback's a bitch), but if Ben suddenly becomes SmokeLocke's right-hand man who tries to murder the Candidates, it would be pretty illogical... and where is Claire in all this? Left on Hydra Island, all alone, again? Man, no wonder she has abandonment issues.
The Island. As many predicted, Desmond is the "wild card", invincible to the electromagnetic properties on the Island, capable of pulling another "fail safe" maneuver to prevent SmokeLocke from leaving... but apparently SmokeLocke can also use this to destroy the Island? I'm not sure of the logic here, but it seems like he now has to kill the remaining Candidates AND stop Desmond before he can leave. I can't help but think that "destroying the Island" = "sinking the Island", which is exactly what we saw in the Flash Sideways. Does that mean that the Flash Sideways actually represent what happens if SmokeLocke wins, and the series could potentially end with a "choose your own adventure" ending where Reality #1 = our Survivors defeating SmokeLocke and Reality #2 = SmokeLocke winning? Then it's up to the viewer to determine which is really the "happy ending"? Seems kinda lame, but that's the direction I'm heading in right now.
Like I said in the beginning, things are finally moving - but I can't help but wonder how much more enjoyable this season might have been if some of these things had happened earlier to give the audience (and characters) a little more time to think about them, digest them, and theorize about them. As it is, we've got four days before the finale and we're just now getting an idea of where the action is heading. It would have been nice to have this momentum slowly building all season instead of going 0 to 60 in the last moments.
But I digress. This was a great episode of Lost, and there's plenty to discuss. I'm going to try and do a brief analysis (if possible) and a quick episode preview for "The End" (maybe) - but like I said, that's a lot to do in the next four days while I'm out of town.
I will say this - thank you very much for all the nice comments in the past few Blog posts. It's nice to know that people do appreciate the time and effort I put into the Blog, and I'm glad that I've been able to enhance your Lost experience over the years. Someone also suggested now is a good time to do a final "Lost... and Gone Forever Census" - which we've done a few times in the past with always shocking results. So if you want to take part, just post the city / state / country that you're reading from in the Comments Section. I'll tally up the votes after the finale.
For now, discuss!