Last week’s LOST podcast with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse promised that this week wouldn’t focus specifically on one character as most episodes have, which led me to expect action, action, action. LOST has always frustrated with stretches that nothing in particular happens, so I’m happy to see a more action-centric episode, but I’m also a little disappointed in where characters we’ve known since Season 1 like Claire and Sayid are at now. This show is about character over mythology, and so far this season it’s been skewed towards the latter.
Most Season 6 episodes, I’ve been checking the clock disappointed by how little has happened. Last night, I couldn’t believe how much had happened with a ton of episode left to go. I about burned up my notepad taking notes, always worried that I’d miss something while I was jotting down what had just happened.
Last night’s episode had a lot going on, so let’s get to it.
In a thankful change from most of this season, this episode didn’t spend a lot of time in 2004, and what time it did spend was fairly significant. I won’t say that all the dangling plot threads were tied up, but they were certainly gathered together.
The only Ben action we got the whole evening was him riding in the ambulance with Locke. Locke made a point of mentioning that he was going to get married to Helen Norwood, which is either crazy-I’m-about-to-die talk, or he really lost the erstwhile Peggy Bundy once again. The final sequence of the flash-sideways finds him on the operating table with Jack about to go into action – moments before Faux-Locke saves regular timeline Jack from getting blown up. So, that’s exhausting to think about.
What else? Claire’s all set to give up her baby when Desmond sweeps in and brings her to Ilana, Attorney-at-law. I’d forgotten about the revelation that Christian Shephard had an illegitimate Australian daughter earlier in the season, but thematically it fit the notion of reunion that ran throughout the episode.
Sawyer found himself in the middle of a lot of business – talking to the recently arrested Kate and arresting the murderous Sayid. The explanation for why he didn’t arrest Kate in the season premiere – that he didn’t want people to know he’d been in Australia – works better on paper than it did in execution, but at least they’ve tied that up.
Jack continues to enjoy the healthier father and son relationship he established with his son David at the end of his flash-sideways episode. Life doesn’t seem to be that much better for anybody in the flash-sideways universe, but at least Jack has the kind of father-son relationship he always wanted with his own father.
Rounding out the flash-sideways wrap-up, Sun and child are a-okay, even if she did have a freak out recognizing Locke when they were being taken into the hospital. Unfortunately, the happily-ever-after seems premature for the Kwons (in both timelines) so I’m sure they’ll be jerked around a bit more before the show ends. Still, it’s nice to enjoy them in a happy and healthy moment.
I’ll try to get to it in the comments section, but I found the normal timeline section of last night’s episode to be incredibly rich in potentially iconic quotes. I was all set to start off this review with a quote (as I did at the beginning of the season) but was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of quotable material. This was a walking-around-the-island episode, but unlike a lot of episodes where nothing more than geographical maneuvering happens, the characters were put in damn interesting places for the lead up to the finale.
With the benefit of hindsight and critical interpretation, LOST is a show about destiny versus free will. For much of the show’s run, those two competing ideologies have been embodied by Locke and Jack. With the real Locke dead, and Jack embracing the concept of destiny, that overarching conflict is gone. But all it really takes is Terry O’Quinn and Matthew Fox in a torchlit jungle to bring it all rushing back. Again, this show is supposed to be more about character than mythology, so the dynamic between Jack and the man who wears Locke’s face is more interesting to me than corks, candidates, and constants.
Last night’s episode featured one of my favorite LOST tropes, which is Sawyer attempting to be heroic but failing because of circumstances beyond his control. I mean, there isn’t anything not to like about Sawyer manipulating circumstances to get himself, Kate, Jack, Frank, Sun, and Hurley to Hydra Island so they can get off The Island for good. He moves quickly, talking to people as necessary, and gets them to where they need to be until Jack throws the situation out of whack.
I’ve always been touched by the moment late in Season 2 where Sawyer tells Jack that he’s the closest thing he has to a friend on The Island – despite their myriad conflicts, there’s a great bond there, so it was nice to see that dynamic in play again. When Sawyer told Jack to get off his boat (and I totally kept thinking of Harrison Ford in Airforce One – GET OFF MY PLANE!), I couldn’t be angry at either character. Both of them were doing what they thought was right. Jack is still embracing Locke’s old concept of destiny, even though Faux-Locke told him it was a sham. They’re both on redemption quests, it’s just that their paths run at cross-purposes right now.
The appearance of Tina Fey’s homely stand-in (Zoe) gets a lot of the action going. Charles Witmore wants Desmond back, and is willing to blow up Faux-Locke and all his followers to get what he wants. I know there’s a running theory that Witmore just wants control of The Island so he can make money off of it, but how lame is that? Either way, he’s pretty intent on taking it.
Faux-Locke’s reaction to Witmore’s threat is to have Sayid kill Desmond. We see Sayid go to the well where Faux-Locke left him last episode with a gun. The two talk and Sayid comes back all, “Yeah, I totes killed Des,” which I don’t know why Faux-Locke’d believe that because I sure as hell didn’t.
The episode ended all Lou Ferrigno. We finally got the Jin-Sun reunion, and after Zoe told Sawyer and company that “the deal is off”, she orders an artillery barrage on The Island. The various red shirts in Faux-Locke’s retinue get blown up real bad, but Faux-Locke saves Jack. The episode managed to combine the emotional wallop of the Kwons with a big action set piece, which is pretty hard to pull off, but they did it. At the end, Faux-Locke tells Jack, “You’re with me now.”
So Jack appears to be the titular “last recruit”, but we don’t know what anything means at this point. I think Season 6 spent a little too much time spinning its wheels Season 3-style, but as I’ve said before, we’re just barreling forward to the conclusion now. Strap in, bitches.
- So my big theory is that Locke will be the one who takes over for Jacob. Yes, regular timeline Locke is dead, but there’s always alternate reality Locke and also, THIS IS A SHOW ABOUT A MAGICAL TIME TRAVEL ISLAND.
- Does anybody remember the Hurley Bird? You know, the primeval looking thing that showed up a couple of times a few seasons back, buzzed our heroes and apparently screeched the name “Hurley”. Seemed like last week was the episode where they’d explain that, isn’t it? Also, are we ever going to find out how Hugo Reyes came to be nicknamed Hurley? Back in Season 1 he said it’s something that he didn’t want to get into, but for goodness sake, we’ve had a whole episode about Jack’s tattoos in that time.
- “I think we have some catching up to do.”
- So…Faux-Locke was the specter of Jack’s dad during the earlier seasons. I’m a little disappointed – it seemed to me like the show could do more interesting things with the idea of Christian’s smarmy ghost than him just being another form for Smokey to take.
- “It’s so nice to have everyone back together again.”
- I’ll admit I blinked when gun-toting Claire approached the boat. As much as I dislike Kate, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the scene if it ended with Claire killing Kate when she was trying to be all nice and stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Kate still sucks.
- A disadvantage of watching the show as it unfolds on television as opposed to consuming it all at once on DVD is that Jack’s apology to Sawyer for Juliet’s death didn’t really resonate. I mean, Sawyer seems to be drinking the Kate Kool-Aid again, so a lot of that emotional resonance has evaporated.
- When Jin and Sun had their reunion embrace, one of the big sonic pylons was conspicuously between them and the camera. I was worried one of them was going to get zapped. I’m not even kidding, I might’ve bailed on the rest of LOST if that’d happened.
- Sayid talks to Desmond about losing the woman he loves and then we get a Nadia scene. I like it, but I know Shannon is supposed to come back at some point this season, and Sayid’s love of Shannon has always seemed out of character to me. My guess is that ghost Shannon will show up on the Island to knock Zombie Sayid back to Heroic (Yet Tortured) Sayid before it’s all over.
- The next big reveal I’m waiting for is the return of Juliet. I mean, V has been pretty terrible, so let’s give Elizabeth Mitchell something worth doing.
- So that was totally the voice of Don Draper in the Mercedes commercial, right?