“The Candidate” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: I have no idea, because Christian Shephard didn’t say those magical words and fill me in. It’s okay, though, I’ve been paying attention. Mostly.
This week, on Lost: Everybody dies. Well, not everybody. I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Oh, and did I give something away? Well, if you haven’t seen the episode yet, why are you reading? You can’t blame me for that.
Anyway, before we can get on with the death and dismemberment, we have to start with an eye – Locke’s to be exact. AlternaLocke, to be even more exact. We’re in LA X, and AlternaJack is there, waking Locke up and making sure he’s okay. Jack tells Locke that he got mangled by a rented sedan and that his dural sac was all shot to shit, but Jack rooted around in there and now Locke is all better. Jack says that while he was taking a peek under the hood, he saw the damage that had been done to Locke before and wants to know how it all happened. Locke asks why, and Jack explains that Locke is a candidate – a candidate for a new experimental surgery that could restore feeling to Locke’s lower extremities. Hell, Locke might even be able to walk again, all without the aid of the Island.
Locke says thanks, but no thanks, and ends the subject as Helen comes in and gives Jack a kiss of thanks. Despite the kiss from Peg Bundy, when someone tells Jack no, he’s not liable to take that as an answer, and so he begins his episode-long descent into Mr. Fixit mode – all while Jack on Island Prime decides to take the alternate route and actually become patient, confident and likable. We’ll get to all that. First, let’s finish what we started talking about in LA X.
Meanwhile, in LA X … I’ll bet you didn’t see this shot in the episode. That’s because it’s from this week’s Modern Family, which even has a Lost reference. Not watching this show? Shame on you, because it is to comedy what Lost is to time-traveling, mythic melodrama.
AlternaJack is seeking answers and, like any classic detective, his first stop is … the dentist? Well, Jackie boy has found some medical records that state that Locke had some emergency dental work done after his crippling accident. So, he tracks down the dentist. Turns out, it’s Bernard. After some brief chit-chat, Jack finds out that Bernard was on Oceanic 815, and Jack was seated right next to him. Bernard even says that Jack was flirting with his wife, Rose. Jack is flabbergasted. Bernard, however, does not seem surprised at the connection.
This is Bernard not being surprised at the connection.
Jack presses Bernard for the 411 on Locke’s malady, but Bernard can only reveal so much. Dentist-client confidentiality, don’t you know. Bernard does tell Jack that another man was treated with Locke after the accident, and he gives Jack a name – Anthony Cooper. “You remember all that?” asks Jack. “Of course I do,” says Bernard, impishly.
Jack follows the name Anthony Cooper to a nursing home, where he’s stymied by an admitting orderly who asks if Jack is family. No, he’s not, but luckily Helen – who just happens to walk in with a lovely potted plant (anthuriums, maybe?) – is, by proxy. It doesn’t take long for sharp-witted Helen to realize what Jack is up to, and she is reticent to allow him to see Anthony Cooper. Helen tells Jack that he saved John’s life, and wonders why that can’t be enough. Our ever-stubborn Jack tells Helen that it simply isn’t enough. Save your breath, Helen, the guy is like a dog with a bone.
Helen reluctantly agrees to let Jack see Anthony, who is now wizened, gray-haired, catatonic and confined to a wheelchair. Helen wipes Anthony’s mouth and introduces Jack to him, explaining that old man Cooper is Locke’s daddy.
Turns out some old bastards get a fickle fate no matter what timeline they inhabit.
Back at the hospital, Jack is visiting Locke, still confined to bed. Jack asks if John is awake, but Locke simply mutters in his sleep, apparently dreaming. “Push the button. I wish you had believed me.” I believe we all know what he’s dreaming about. Jack gets a very puzzled look on his face, just as he notices Claire out in the hallway, looking for the good doctor. Claire has a box tucked under her arm and asks if they can talk.
Jack buys an Apollo bar from the vending machine – the same one from which Jack gets the Apollo bar when Jacob first enters his life over in the Island Prime timeline – and the two settle in to talk. Claire opens her special package and pulls out an ornate box, asking Jack if he knows why their father wanted her to have it. Jack is clueless, admitting that he didn’t even know about Claire.
You can get those at the mall. They’re from Italy. I wonder if Claire has looked on the bottom for an inscription.
Claire asks Jack to share how their father died, and Jack tells her that he drank himself to death and was found in a gutter outside a bar in Sydney. Jack brought Christian’s body back, but the airline lost it. Lo and behold, Claire had just flown in from Sydney recently, too. Oceanic 815? asks Jack. Claire affirms and they both have a little Matrix-y, deja vu moment.
Jack sidles in next to Claire and the two take a look at the box together, flipping open the lid and staring at each others’ reversed images, through the looking glass.
It’s a music box. The tune inside? “Catch a Falling Star,” of course. Definitely creepy cool.
Jack makes an offer for Claire to stay with him at his house. Claire declines, saying that they’re strangers. No, says Jack, they’re not strangers. They’re family. They have a little brother-sis moment. Awww.
Later, Locke is being released from the hospital. The orderly wheels him down the hall, past Jin, who has a hand full of yellow flowers, apparently on his way to see his beloved Sun, recuperating from her gunshot wound. Locke takes over the wheeling duties and runs into Jack on his way out. Jack wanted to say goodbye, and Locke thanks the doc for fixing him up. Jack quickly admits that he went to see Locke’s poppa, and Locke isn’t too pleased with that. Jack just wanted to understand … and Locke sets the record straight real quick.
You see, Locke was in a plane crash. Not a big ol’ jetliner, but a small plane, that John was piloting. He begged his dad to be his wingman for the day – that, despite his father’s fears, he could trust John – but the two barely got off the ground before ditching into the tarmac. John doesn’t remember what went wrong, and the consequences where his crushed spine and his father’s catatonic state. It was all Locke’s fault.
Jack recounts his moments at the airport baggage claim when he had lost his father, and John had told him that Jack’s father was gone. That hurt Jack, but he needed to hear it. “Your father’s gone, too, Mr. Locke,” says Jack. Locke refuses to admit the truth, but Jack explains that Anthony Cooper is gone and that Locke can continue to punish himself for as long as he wants, but it won’t bring his father back. “What happened, happened,” says Jack. “And you can let it go.”
Locke wants to know what makes Jack think that letting go is so easy. Jack responds that it’s not, and that he was hoping that maybe Locke could go first. The thought makes Locke laugh a bit, and then he bids Jack farewell, rolling himself down the hospital hallway.
As John wheels away, Jack calls out after him. “I can help you, John. I wish you believed me.” Locke pauses, a strange look crossing his face, as if he suddenly remembered this phrase from before. After a long moment of contemplation, Locke grabs the wheels of his chair once more and rolls off in silence.
Back on Island Prime, Jack wakes up in an outrigger. Sayid is there, and welcomes him to Hydra Island.
A little ways away, at the Hydra station, Sawyer, Hurley, Sun, Jin, Kate, Claire and Lapidus are led to the old polar bear cages by gun-wielding members of Widmore’s Geek Squad. The sonic fence pylons have been moved and are now scattered about the compound. Sawyer balks at the thought of spending another moment inside the bear cages and strips Seamus of his rifle, threatening the Geek he christens “doughboy.” A shot soon rings out, and Widmore is there, telling Sawyer to drop the gun. His leverage? You’ll never guess.
This would be hostage/kidnapping situation #28 for Freckles. Seriously, just rename her the freaking Human Shield.
Sawyer thinks that Chuck is bluffing, but Widmore tells James that he has a list of names, and Kate is not on that list, making her expendable. Sawyer can’t argue with that logic, and gives up his gun. The group is soon ushered into the bear cages. Chuck tells Sawyer that he may not believe it, but he’s doing this for their own good. Sawyer tells Chuck that he’s right – he doesn’t believe it.
Widmore asks if the fence is live, but he doesn’t get good news – it won’t be live for another hour. Chuck makes it clear that is unacceptable because “he’s coming.” This could get ugly.
Back on the beach, Jack is rubbing his aching head and Sayid informs him that Locke saved his ass. He also explains that everyone else following Locke has hightailed it into the Jungle of Mystery and it’s just them three. Jack is confused and wants to know why he was brought to Hydra Island, and, as if on cue, Locke/MIB comes out of the brush to inform Jack of his comrades’ recent capture. Ol’ Smokey is going to help Jack get them out. Jack says okie doke, but he wants to get one thing straight: those people are not his people, and he’s not leaving the Island. MIB is kinda hoping Jack might have a change of heart about that.
At the bear cages, Sawyer is pacing, commenting to Kate that it seems like they’re going in circles. Nice reference, grifter. Kate thinks that Widmore was bluffing about the whole killing thing, but Sawyer sets the record straight. He says that back at the cave that Ol’ Smokey took him to, there was a slew of names up on the walls. Her name was there, but it was scratched out, signifying that Freckles could be toast whenever it’s convenient and the Island won’t have her back. This also confirms two things: one, that Kate’s name really was on the cave wall even though we didn’t see it, and two, the producers probably got tired of everyone speculating why her name was only in the Lighthouse. The answer, of course, was bad editing. Mystery solved.
Over in a secluded corner of the caves, Sun and Jin are catching up on three years of being apart. Jin says he’s seen the pictures of their beautiful little girl, and Sun reveals that she still has Jin’s ring after all this time. She places it on his hand, and they smile, full of love.
It’s a beautiful moment, really. Maybe too beautiful, since the Island has a cruel fate in store.
Speaking of cruel, all the power suddenly goes out. “Uh oh,” says Lapidus. And how, says I. The Geek Squad start freaking out, and the battle horn of Ol’ Smokey echoes through the jungle. “And, we’re dead,” mutters Hurley. Oh, it’s about to get interesting.
The crackling crickets of doom and that delightfully horrific rattling sound starts up, and soon Ol’ Smokey is headed out in full force. Seamus pops a few rounds into it, as if that’ll do any good, but he’s soon scooped up in a smokey tentacle and bashed against the side of the bear cages. Cerberus goes off to wreak havoc elsewhere in the compound, and Kate looks down to see Seamus’s keys. She reaches for them. Lapidus isn’t waiting around, and starts trying to kick the iron gate down. It won’t budge, but that’s okay because Jack is soon there, grabs the keys and sets them free. Kate wonders what he’s doing there, and Jack motions over into the chaotic bush, telling her that he’s with him. They get the heck out of Dodge.
Dawn has broken on the Island and the remaining survivors are marching their way toward the Ajira plane. Kate thinks that Jack has had a change of heart about coming with them, but he sets her straight, saying that he’s not meant to leave the Island. Someone rustles in the brush, and they all draw guns on Sayid. Jack tells them that it’s okay, the Iraqi is cool. They head out, once again.
Meanwhile, over at the Ajira plane, MIB has gotten a headstart on the group. There are a couple of men with rifles guarding the tiny landing strip, but MIB quickly dispatches both of them, snapping a neck and blowing the other away with a rifle. MIB pauses over one of the newly-dead bodies and spies a particularly fetching digital watch on a wrist. He likes what he sees, and pries it loose, then heads up the amazingly well-built bamboo boarding ramp and into the plane.
Does this strike anyone as being an overly-elaborate bamboo construct, or is it just me?
Once inside, MIB spies a particularly suspicious patch of cable coming out from one of the overhead compartments. He pops the top and pulls out something no doubt nefarious, wrapped in a black cloth.
Lapidus leads the gang out into the clearing where the Ajira plane rests, and heads toward it, wondering what it’ll take to get that baby to fly. Upon closer inspection, Sawyer spies an ex-Geek laying dead on the ground. He declares this an official “son of a bitch”-level situation. Sayid inspects another body, confirming that his neck’s been broken. MIB emerges from the fuselage and confirms that he was the neck-snapper, but if it makes everybody feel better, it was only a foregone conclusion that those dudes would die. MIB explains that Widmore only posted two guys by the plane for show, because he wanted them all to get on the plane, so they’d all be together so that Chuck could kill them.
“With what?” demands Sawyer. MIB takes off his pack and produces a big ol’ block of C4. He proceeds to explain how he found it, wired to the electrical system of the plane. Had they turned on the big bird, then, well, boom. The suckers, I mean survivors, just eat it up without a shred of evidence, which leaves me scratching my head.
Jin wants to know the new plan, and MIB says that they can’t be sure the plane’s not still loaded for bear. So … if they want to leave the Island, they’re gonna have to do it on the sub. Sawyer’s down with this plan, stating that’s been his main plan all along. Hurley objects, saying that MIB isn’t supposed to leave the Island because Richard said so. Sawyer says to forget Alpert, and tells MIB that he was wrong about the old smoke monster because he had saved their asses twice. Somewhere underneath that little fib lies a plan, methinks.
They saddle up and move out. Claire sheepishly trots up to MIB and says that she’s sorry. He smiles and pats her crazy, matted blonde head, telling her it’s okay, he understands.
“So you went a little crazy, so what? It happens to the best of us.”
Back at the end of the line, Sawyer once again calls on Jack to help him carry out a sneaky plan. When they get to the sub dock, he needs Jack to keep MIB from getting on the sub, and since Jack is staying behind, he might as well pitch in. Jack wants to know how in the hell he’s supposed to keep a murderous smoke monster at bay, and Sawyer tells him that he just needs to get it in the water, and that James will take care of the rest. Oh, cool, knock it in the water. Solid. Wait, what???
At the sub dock, the group crouch behind some low-lying shrubbery. Sawyer starts barking marching orders, like he’s ordering up a tactical strike in Halo. It’s kind of a new thing for James, and it seems as if he’s suddenly had some sort of combat or urban assault training; as if, somehow, he may have had police training. I mean, other than that three-year stint as LaFleur, guarding hippies. Anyway, he organizes his makeshift squad into teams, leaving Jack and MIB to take up the rear, and then heads out of the brush to storm the docks hard with the A-Team.
Do you see what I see? Yep, Jack’s got plumber butt.
Sawyer leads the first charge to the sub, with Sun, Jin, Lapidus and Hurley. That’s one hell of an A-Team. They make it past the empty docks no problem, and pop the hatch, disappearing inside, one by one. Sawyer and Lapidus storm the bridge and make short work of the navigator and captain. Lapidus takes over guarding the captain, and Sawyer heads back to see how the B-Team are doing.
In the brush, Kate gives the others the signal to head toward the sub. Oh, lord, I would not want to be on that team, let me tell you. MIB grabs his and Jack’s pack, and hands it to the good doctor. Jack, watching Kate and the surroundings, slings his pack and then sets out, taking up the rear. Kate, Sayid and Claire have a clear line to the sub and take it, while Jack and MIB hang back and have a little talk as they stroll leisurely along the docks. MIB tells Jack that he really, really needs to reconsider going with them and that whomever told Jack that he needed to stay was sorely mistaken.
Jack pauses and tells MIB that John Locke told him he needed to stay. And then, he proceeds to enact Sawyer’s master plan and pushes MIB into the water. Claire is flabbergasted. So am I.
I half expected him to come up, screaming “I’m melting! I’m melting!”
So is Kate, who soon asks Jack what happened. She’s rudely interrupted by a pesky bullet to the chest. Down goes Freckles.
I hate it for you, darlin’, but if you find yourself at the business end of a gun 28 times, sooner or later your luck is going to run out.
This is about the time when all hell breaks loose. There are guys all over the treeline, and Jack, Sayid and Claire open fire. Jack empties a gun and a pistol, never once taking cover like he’s in some damn western – or as if he somehow knew he wouldn’t be shot – and then scoops up Kate, heading toward the sub. Sayid heads that way himself, urging Claire to follow suit. They lower Kate down the hatch.
Meanwhile, MIB has slowly extricated himself from the devilish water trap and is royally pissed. He takes out his pistol and marches up the dock, taking out Widmore’s men methodically, and with gusto. Down below, Jack carries Kate further into the sub and orders Hurley to find a first aid kit. Sayid tells Sawyer that Claire is still above, so he heads up and out the hatch to see what’s going on. Claire is busy returning fire, and Sawyer calls to her. MIB hears the commotion and turns around, shouting for James and turning around to run back down the dock for the sub. Sawyer takes advantage of the opportunity and slams the hatch shut, climbing down below and ordering Lapidus to get the captain to dive, dive dive!
Out on the dock, Claire sees the sub leaving and runs after it. MIB catches her and holds her back, comforting her. Claire is very, very upset that they’re leaving them behind, but MIB tells her to trust him – she does not want to be on that sub. And, with a very mischievous grin, we all get just a wee bit scared for our new submariners.
On the sub, Kate’s in bad shape, and Hurley can’t find a first aid kit. Kate yells for Claire, but sorry Freckles – Aaron’s momma has been left behind. Jack asks for his pack to get a shirt to apply pressure, and Jin hands it over. The doc reaches in and pulls out an ominous, beeping package. It’s not a first aid kit.
Can someone please explain to me how an ancient smoke monster suddenly knows how to wire up a block of C4 to a ten dollar Casio from Walgreen’s?
Jack suggests that they, you know, get to the surface real quick-like and Jin sends the order to the comm. Everybody is a bit confused as to how a bomb got on board – everyone except Jack, who informs them all that Locke had no intention of ever getting on board the sub and that he pretty much just wanted to get everyone into some sort of tin can so he could blow them all to smithereens. Jack wants to know if anyone can tell how that thing works. Three guesses who chimes in. If you said the Iraqi Professor, you win. Sayid deducts that there are two wires that, if pulled out simultaneously, would theoretically render the bomb inert. Sawyer tells him to step aside and gets ready to channel MacGruber.
Jack stops him, though, and tells them all that it’s going to be okay, that Locke can’t kill them. Hurley is understandably confused. Just hold on, big fella, maybe Jack is onto something. Jack speculates that this is what Locke has been trying to do all along – get them all together to die, because Locke can’t leave the Island unless they’re all dead. However, he told Jack that he could kill any of them whenever he wanted but – dig this – maybe he hasn’t because he isn’t allowed to. Whoa, Jack, slow down there. You might actually be thinking for a change. What if, Jack posits, Locke is trying to get them all to kill each other.
Sawyer’s not hearing any of this, and gets ready to pull the wires. He and Jack go back and forth, a near repeat of the classic battle of wills down in the Hatch when Locke wanted to push the button, but Jack thought it was a worthless endeavor. Jack grabs Sawyer’s collar and tells him that they are all going to be okay, but that he’s just going to have to trust Jack. Sawyer thinks for a split second, apologizes, and pulls the wires.
The clock stops. Everyone holds their breath. The sub creaks.
And then, the timer starts again – only this time, it’s very, very fast.
Sayid breaks the silence, telling Jack to listen carefully, and explaining that Desmond is in a well back on the main Island and that MIB wants the Scot dead, which means that he must be extremely important. Jack wonders why Sayid is telling him all this. “Because it’s going to be you, Jack,” says Sayid hurriedly, as he grabs the bomb and runs to the front of the sub, diving through a bulkhead just before going kaboom.
The sub is rocked by the shockwave of the blast, and there’s stuff flying everywhere. Up on the bridge, Lapidus has been knocked to floor, and he slowly gets up, making his way down to the main decks. As he climbs off the ladder, he pauses at a sound to his right, just behind a partially opened hatch. “Oh, hell,” cracks Chesty, just before a pressure explosion sends a bulkhead door upside his head.
Sayonara, Frank. It was swell knowing you.
Back in the aft compartments, water is flooding in by the bucketfuls. Jack gets to his feet and finds Freckles floating face down. He pulls her into his arms and checks on the others. Hurley and Sawyer are okay, and Hurley asks about Sayid. He’s cut off by a scream from the corner. It’s Sun. She’s trapped behind what looks like a very heavy metal chest. Oh crap. I’ve seen enough underwater thrillers to know that this is not good.
This does not make me happy. This is almost as painful as watching Juliet wake up, bloodied, next to Jughead.
Jack puts Kate into Hurley’s arms, hands him an emergency oxygen tank, and tells him he has to get Kate out of there. Hurley says he has to go after Sayid. “There is no Sayid!” screams Jack, in what may be one of the best lines of the season. Jack tells Hurley that he can do this, and Hugo takes Kate and heads toward the blast hole.
Sawyer calls for Jack’s help and he, Jack and Jin manage to pry the heavy chest away from Sun. Oh, thank God. Short-lived elation, however, as we now see that Sun is pinned by even more metal debris. CRAP. A mini-pressure explosion rocks the sub, knocking an overhead fixture loose, which subsequently falls on Sawyer’s hard head. CRAP. Can it get worse?
The answer, of course, is yes. The sub is quickly filling with water, and Sawyer is unconscious. Jin can’t budge the metal pinning Sun, so she urges him to leave her behind and save himself. He refuses. Jack wants to help, but Jin says that he will stay behind to help Sun, and to save Sawyer. Jack reluctantly agrees, but heads over to a wall mount, grabbing the last emergency oxygen tank, offering it to Jin, telling him that he can rescue Sawyer without it. Jin knows that’s not true, and refuses the tank. Jack is torn, knowing that he is leaving them both to certain death if he leaves. Jin finally tells Jack to go, and the good doctor has no other choice. He turns and swims out, through the blast hole, leaving the lovers behind.
The water is up to Sun’s chin now, but still Jin is convinced he can save his wife. Sun begs Jin to save himself, but he refuses, telling her that he won’t leave her. He dives down again, desperately tugging at the metal beams trapping Sun. It’s no use. They won’t budge. Once again Sun begs him to leave, and he pauses, looking around, desperately. He speaks to her in Korean, telling her that he won’t leave … that he will never leave her again.
“I love you, Sun.”
“I love you,” answers Sun, crying and kissing her beloved husband over and over as the water quickly rises to overtake them both.
The sub slowly descends into the darkening depths, the last of the air bubbles trickling from its shattered hull. Inside, the heavy water has filled every recess, and all is still. In the aft compartment we see the two hands of the submerged lovers clasped tightly, holding onto forever as the end nears.
And then … release, hands drifting apart; the Kwons are gone, claimed by the inky blackness of the sea.
The beach. Jack climbs from the surf, carrying Sawyer’s limp body. He collapses to the sand, and Sawyer sputters and takes in labored breaths. Hurley trudges over, helping Kate; she keeps telling Jack that she couldn’t find him, and they embrace. Hugo asks about Sawyer and Jack says that he got hit in the head pretty hard, but at least he’s breathing.
“What about Jin and Sun?” asks a concerned Kate. Jack shakes his head. Kate breaks down. Hurley reels from shock, a tear streaming down his face. He’s soon overtaken with sobs.
Jack gets to his feet and walks into the surf, looking up, as if pleading with an unseen force. Soon, Jack lets go and anguish fills his features. He’s soon in tears, as well, and suddenly we’re hit full force with the sadness he must feel, watching all these people he’s known and cared about for so long – these people who have always been considered “his” people – die, one by one, following a path that they have never fully understood.
It’s right about now that I get the sense of something else beneath that surface of anguish – a quiet rage building in Jack. Not the petulant anger that we saw in the Hatch, or in the smashing of the Lighthouse mirrors, but a righteous smoldering, determined and building in intensity. It’s in this moment that I almost feel sorry for the Man in Black, because now that Jack has finally found his way – his destiny with this Island – there will be no more selfish fits where Jack Smash. No, it’s quite clear that right now, when it comes to Jack taking on Locke – it’s clobbering time.
Speaking of the Man in Black, he still stands at the edge of the sub dock, staring into the dark ocean. Claire is still there with him. It sunk, he remarks. Claire is upset; everyone was on that submarine. She wants to know if they’re all dead. Not all of them, says Locke, turning and grabbing his pack and gun. Claire turns to follow, wanting to know where he’s heading.
“To finish what I started,” says the Man in Black, trudging off determinedly into the night, with frustration and a bit of trepidation showing in his furrowed brow.
Bring it on, big man. Bring it on.
Cue the THONK!
For this week’s episode-inspired drink recipe, I’m cheating just a little bit. But it’s my dang column, and I’ll do what I want. After debating over a recipe to honor the loss of everyone’s favorite Asian couple, I just couldn’t settle on anything appropriate. So I dipped into the archive and came up with one from last season (from “Follow the Leader” to be exact) that’s just so good and so classic, that it needs to be repeated. Some call it the depth charge, I call it …
Just as there are thousands of sub designs that have been created over the years, there are also many ways to customize your traditional Submarine drink. Below is my favorite configuration, but feel free to substitute your favorite liquor and beer.
- Shot glass of Jagermeister
- Pint glass (1/2 to 3/4 full) Bitburger beer (If I want the opposite effect and something meatier, I’ll use Guinness or Boddingtons)
Grab the shot glass, position it over the top of the pint glass and, when ready, let go and watch it dive, dive dive! Immediately grab the drink and submerge it in your belly. Come back up for air and repeat until seasick.
Ugh, what a heart-wrenching episode. I knew that there was going to be a lot more death coming as the finale approached, but I didn’t expect it to hit me as hard as in this episode. We lose four this week, and none more heart-breaking than Sun and Jin. I think one of the toughest pills to swallow was the fact that Sun had fought so hard to get back to the Island, and had gone through so much crap once she got there just to get back to the man she loves – including losing her ability to speak properly – and then as soon as she’s reunited, they barely have time to hug and catch up before they end up drowning on a sinking submarine. And, as my girlfriend – who happens to be Asian – so hilariously put it: “Why they gotta be hating on the Asians?”
I really hate to make this comparison, but how many of you out there have seen Serenity? Anyone who knows me knows my utter disdain for what I consider one of the biggest disrespecting of fans that Joss Whedon has ever perpetrated. Of course, I mean when Wash dies. It’s quick, it’s senseless. It hurts. Granted, I did not think that the Kwon’s deaths were that unexpected or nearly that heart-numbingly visceral as Wash’s impaling and the treachery of the Whedon, but I was suddenly taken back and thought I’d mention the comparison.
I will also say this – I loathed watching Juliet die, but I knew it was coming for weeks. I just knew. And, thus, I had the chance to steel myself against the loss. As a fan, it hurt, but I had already resolved the loss. This week, however, even though I had a good idea that the Kwons – at least one of them – might die before the finale, I hadn’t made the same resolution against it as I had for Juliet, and so it struck home much stronger. The emotion of the episode truly affected me. Yes, I’m man enough to admit that I shed a tear – once when Sun and Jin finally let go in that watery tomb, and again when Jack lost it on the beach. It was a testament to the quality of the acting and production of the episode that, despite the sheer insanity and all the chaos going on, it took the time to give pause and provide poignancy and respect to the characters we lost along the crooked path.
Well, almost all the characters.
We also lost Frank Lapidus. Of course, you wouldn’t know that by the actions and reactions of the remaining four who washed up on shore. Not once did any of them think to ask where Lapidus was while they were counting heads on the sub, nor did they think to ask when they had washed up on shore. Hell, Hurley asked if Sayid was okay before he left the sub, and Sayid was in about a billion pieces. Granted, in defense of the production team, the structure of the episode didn’t warrant a whole lot of hand-wringing over Lapidus. We were all supposed to feel the sudden, abrupt loss of Sayid, and mourn the loss of the loving Kwons. Lapidus was, at best, a third-stringer. But the guy has been a fifth wheel for three seasons, now, and has saved the asses of more than a few of the castaways. You’d think they would care what happened to the guy.
Ah, Chesty. As my twitter pal @powlsy commented – it’s like he just wasn’t the same since he lost his beard and mustache from season 4. I agree – it’s almost as if that soup catcher were his source of power. Like Sampson.
But you know what? None of it really matters, in the end. They’re all still alive over in LA X. No matter what happens in the finale, they will all live on in some way or another. Whether the timelines merge and the memories and consciousness of the disparate lives come together, or whether the timeline of Island Prime ceases to exist all-together, the fact that their hearts and souls still exist out there means that all the loss, as painful as it has been, has not been in vain.
So this week’s episode was pretty straightforward – the production team got to blow some crap up again (I swear they must have just had a ton of explosives sitting around and had to write it all into the remaining episodes), and there was lots of shootings and Kate hostage situations and Ol’ Smokey action. As a result, there’s not really a whole of analysis to throw at all of you. I’m no closer to resolving, in my mind, how the two realities will eventually collide or skew further off in the finale. Still, there are a few talking points to bring up. It wouldn’t be an episode of Lost if there wasn’t!
Has anybody noticed how our favorite characters over in LA X are seeming to slowly turn into their counterparts on Island Prime? Jack seems to be the prime example of this. For instance, AlternaJack, who used to be patient and humble, has now started taking on the stubborn Mr. Fixit attitude of Jack from Island Prime. He has become obsessed with helping to heal John Locke, both emotionally and physically. AlternaLocke has become the proxy in LA X for Jack’s wife Sarah back on Island Prime – a person that Jack cares about and is drawn to that he feels the compulsive need to tinker with. Sarah, by the way, was played by Julie Bowen, who is now the hilariously neurotic Claire Dunphy on Modern Family. Did I mention how great that show is?
Anyway, over on Island Prime, Jack has now taken his self-reflective time out and has come out the other side with patience and humility, and has started to see past his own rage and self-destructive tendencies. These are all traits which we saw, albeit in limited form, in AlternaJack when we were first introduced to him. Yes, he is estranged from his wife and child in the beginning, but he takes the time to turn things around with young David, and he’s even come to terms, somewhat, with his daddy issues. All of these traits have now been seemingly passed along to Jack on the Island.
Speaking of AlternaJack’s obsession with Locke – and jumping a little off-topic for a bit – it almost seems to me like Jack can sense that Locke is missing something. Yes, there is hurt there deep within for what he was done to his father in this timeline, but despite Locke’s other great fortunes here – his deep love from Helen and the chance to reconnect and actually have a father – there is, and always will be a part of Locke that just isn’t there. His destiny remains unfulfilled. This Locke still went to Australia for walkabout, still searching for that final piece of the puzzle. Jack can sense that, and wants to help. He thinks that healing John’s spine and returning feeling to his lower extremities will help. But it’s almost as if it will take more than that – much more. It’s almost as if the only thing that will truly heal Locke, both inside and out … is getting him back to the Island.
THE RANDOM BITS
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s early, but at least there’s a lot of them.
You may have noticed by my tone that I’m actually pulling for Jack. No, I’m not feverish. He has completely redeemed himself in my eyes in the past few episodes, which means that the Island has really taken hold of him and slapped him upside the head. I’m not going to delve into all the character development that has taken place over this season, but if you want to know pretty much how I feel, you can’t get much closer than Joel Murphy’s column from yesterday. And, yes, Kate still sucks rocks.
So … what’s with the music box? Do any of you believe we’ll actually find out? It’s such a small little detail to introduce at such a late date. Perhaps its significance is simply a reminder of the entanglement between the two timelines. The music box plays “Catch a Falling Star,” which is pretty much Claire’s theme song. Claire has taken over the Rousseau role on Island prime, and Rousseau’s broken music box was a pretty significant Island artifact back in the day. It could also be simply a MacGuffin for getting Jack and Claire together once more, to reconnect the survivors and family. Regardless, it’s likely just a literary device to tie some things together in a very subtle, but intimate way.
The philosophical question of the week: Would the C4 have exploded if they hadn’t pulled the wires? Possibly not, because, as Sayid said, Jack is the one, which means the Island isn’t done with him yet and thus, he can’t die. However, Sawyer and the Kwons were still possibilities for candidates, so the loophole may exist that if a candidate hasn’t been officially selected, then they all could die, and the process would have to begin anew – or it would end with the balance being shifted toward the side of evil. There is also the possibility that, even if Jack were the official candidate, that they were outside the radius of the Island and possibly outside its sphere of protection. The only evidence against that is Michael – he was off the Island and tried to kill himself several times, but it didn’t work. The Island wasn’t done with him yet. The Island probably wasn’t done with Jack and Co. yet, either, and thus the bomb would have failed. Just my opinion, though. Too bad they didn’t have Richard on board.
Speaking of Richard, where the hell is he? And Ben? And Miles? Weren’t they going to get explosives over at the Dharma barracks a few episodes back? How long does that take, really?
Hurley is so freaking priceless. He’s even awesome when he’s out of focus.
Perhaps someone more astute in diving knowledge can fill me in on something that’s bothering me. The sub was deep enough that it would take five minutes to reach the surface at the time they discovered the bomb, and three minutes counted down on the timer until the hull was breached by the explosion. Now, let’s say the time between that of the explosion and the time that Jack and Sawyer finally escaped out of the hull was about a minute and a half, two minutes, tops. That would put the sub back down almost to where it was when they were diving before. You all with me so far? So, my question is thus: If Jack carried an unconscious Sawyer out of the sub and swam up to the surface using an emergency air tank, why don’t they have the bends? I’m just curious. And, yes, for all you crazy Island nuts out there, it could be the healing properties of the Island.
Just a random thought about MIB/Locke that may have occurred to others: It struck me odd how MIB always seems to want Claire around and is so forgiving of her, but then I got to thinking about his behavior. It seems as though he begins to take on some of the personality traits of the people whose bodies he inhabits for a long period of time. The more he’s been in Locke’s body, the more he becomes like Locke. He seems to have all of Locke’s memories, and I believe that affects his personality and, possibly, his motives and thinking. To this end, I believe that he continues to have such an affinity for Claire – and, by turn, both a paternal and conflicted relationship with Jack – because MIB still exhibits traits from his time spent as Christian Shephard. Now, as Locke, he is possibly even more conflicted about his relationship with Jack. This could also have something to do with why Jack is ultimately the candidate – he is the perfect foil for MIB, especially now that he has taken on Locke’s persona.
Variations of the phrase “I wish you had believed me” in this episode was in reference to the suicide note left by Locke, as Jeremy Bentham. The full extent of the note was revealed in “316.” It’s in relation to Locke’s urgings that they all remain on the Island – an idea that Jack, of course, opposed. Until now, that is.
The fact that Kate is still standing astounds me. I wish I had that many lives. Do you think the writers have a sort of in-joke about her kidnappings/hostage situations? Seriously, Widmore just walked up and immediately pointed a gun at her. They even wrote her expendability into the mythos of the Island. I also loved how she was in such bad shape on the sub, but after a jaunty swim in the ocean, she was feeling much better. Yeah, yeah, healing powers of the Island, whatever. At any rate, will Kate be one of the last one’s standing? Perhaps she and Jack will be the last ones. They ultimately end up together on the Island – Maybe they’re Adam and Eve, as some have speculated for so long? Maybe the remaining four will all return to the cave and see that one of the skeletons has a mark on their collarbone – from a gunshot! And then they all ride out to the beach and find the remains of the Statue of Liberty, buried in the sand. SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!! Ahem. Sorry.
Another question: Why, if the sonic fences were down, did Ol’ Smokey just show up and take out some of the Geek Squad? Why not take the opportunity to do away with Widmore and just tear the holy hell out of the Hydra station while he’s unimpeded? Is he not allowed to kill Widmore, either? It seems to me like Smokey has a time or energy limit. Otherwise, he could just fly through the Island and kill whomever the hell he wants, whenever he wants. Of course, that doesn’t make for a very good story. This is the writer’s dilemma – what do you do with the downtime between visits of a very powerful, ancient creature? Ultimately, it’s the Superman problem. I have nightmares sometimes thinking about how I would go about writing a run on a Superman comic. The guy is all-powerful. Okay, so he’s not as powerful as he used to be, but he’s still moving mountains and beating freight trains. Other than some krypto-freak, or Lex Luthor or Batman coming around with a scrap of meteorite every other issue, how do you make somebody with powers like that interesting? Where’s the conflict? Whoo, look at me – nerd ramble.
Speaking of something nerdy, the lastest episode of Doctor Who had an excellent and intriguing storyline about the mutability of time, and a quote at the end of the show reminded me of something that seems to be happening in our two alternate timelines on Lost:
The Doctor: I kept saying, the angels all fell into the time field – the angel in your memory, never existed. It can’t harm you now.
Amy (his current companion): Then why do I remember at all? Those guys on the ship didn’t remember each other.
The Doctor: You’re a time traveler now, Amy. It changes the way you see the Universe … forever. Good, isn’t it?
Oh, and if you’re not currently watching Doctor Who, you’ll probably want to check it out. It’s only the best television show out there right now. I’m serious. I wouldn’t joke about such things. Oh, and check out Modern Family while you’re at it. It’s the second best television show out there right now.
That’s Amy. That’s the Doctor’s new companion. Ah, you wanna watch the show now, don’t you? I thought so.
Okay, that’s it for this week. We’re in the home stretch – there are only three more episodes left until it’s all over. My heart just sank when I wrote that. These characters and this show have been such a huge part of our lives for so long, it’s hard to imagine what life will be like after it’s all over. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m going to DisneyWorld. All of you keep thinking those good thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good. Until next time, I remain faithful that the finale will kick ass. And that Jack will wake up in the middle of the jungle, in silence, until that ugly flashback crashy sounds starts up and he wanders onto the beach and the plane is there, all mangled and people are running back and forth …
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at email@example.com.