It seems that we've come to that place again. The end of a season, when the show dispenses with the intrigue and mystery and starts barreling full tilt toward an action-packed conclusion. Which, let's face it, makes predictions and prognostications about as difficult as constructing a chronological timeline, what with all of its seemingly random movement and tangents and levels upon levels of possibility.
On to the episode. Gimme eat. Give EVERYBODY eat!
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Perhaps it would be wise to take it character-by-character. And by "wise", I mean "gimmicky." Here we go, in reverse order of how interesting I found these characters to be.
Jin. Great. They finally let the character speak English (which is actor Daniel Dae Kim's native language) and then they give him absolutely nothing at all to do. I think the corpse of Daniel Faraday had more screen time. And as many lines. And many, many more flies.
Sun. She wants to be reunited with Jin. Got it? We can repeat it a few times if you'd forgotten. I am interested in how this will happen. I'm also interested in how she'll feel when she finds out that doing so is not really one of Locke's top priorities.
Miles. Good thing Ken Leung is a LOST-standard splendid actor, because he made the most of all Miles had been given this episode -- which was a kind of obvious moment we'd already figured out. Pierre wasn't an uncaring father; he'd sent his family away to save them, and harshness was the most expedient way. But . . . wouldn't it be interesting if Miles got a chance to "talk" to Faraday's corpse? Hope this happens. Let's not waste opportunities with cool character traits, OK, show?
So that's three of the four prominent Asian characters given zilch to do this week. Obviously, this show hates Asians.
Hurley. The Q & A with Pierre was friggin' hilarious. That said, I fear that our good buddy Hurley is falling victim to Joey Tribbiani disease. This would be when a previously-loveable-while-average-intelligence character is turned into a total idiot for laffs. On the other hand, if those laffs include a stumbling claim that the Korean War never happened? Might be a worthwhile trade-off. Now, are we going to ever figure out how Hurley got out of lockup on double-homicide charges and was allowed to board a plane out of the country? I doubt that this will be how the show uses its finale. I really hope it isn't, anyway. Maybe in season six, otherwise it will just be another entry in the "Libby Gives Desmond a Boat" file.
Juliet. As my wife pointed out, she always seems to be calmly smirking, even when being tied up and threatened with torture. I wonder if we could push this to its limit. Falling to your death? Family murdered? Where does the smirk end? Anyway, she held up her part of the bargain in making us really feel the love between her and Sawyer, and really really hope nothing happens to either of them anytime soon (it will), like separation (yes) or death (do you even watch this show?).
Sawyer. I really thought he was going to see Juliet safe into the sub and then take another self-sacrificing dip into the water to go save his friends and his Freckles. However, I guess there'd be no point, as he'd be easily fished out of the drink, or just left in there to try to swim with his hands bound. And now we come to the part of the recap, mein Shprokets, when I point out what seems to be a story flaw. Exactly what information was he holding from Radzinsky? The location of the Others? It is established that Radzinsky is building the Swan in Hostile territory. I think he knows where they are. Besides, didn't Sawyer simply wander into the woods until they found him? What exactly is he protecting his friends from? He can't exactly VOUCH for them, not after D.I found his little Closet-Phil, and not after Jack and Kate blew up the motor pool and shot Radzinsky in the hand. He didn't really have any intelligence about what JackCo was up to, so he couldn't really betray them. So what was this? A reason to include a topical discussion about whether or not extreme circumstances warrant torture? (No, never, ever, never, if you try to argue in favor you'll simultaneous make me mad enough to go on a long screed, and be on the horribly wrong side of a shameful moment in our history, so just don't, phew, long and potentially boring screen averted.) And speaking of interrogation . . . THEY HAVE AN INTERROGATOR! We just saw them bring Sayid to him! What the what?
I think this scene happened because the writers realized Sawyer hadn't taken his annual savage beating yet. By the way, I still have Sawyer in my Major Character Death Pool.
"I want my lawyer." Sawyer is awesome.
Sayid. He's a bad-ass. That's about it for Sayid, except . . . notice that the most skeptical and level-headed Lostaway is down with Jack's insane plan. I would submit that the more you have a loved one or loved ones dead (Nadia / Shannon / Charlotte), the more likely you are to sign on for the Jack Daniel's plan of blowing up the island to prevent the future. I don't think Sayid is really all that convinced that he can change anything, but he's so soul-weary that he's willing to gamble. He's already shot a 12 year old kid. By the way, is there anybody in the know regarding what the actual effects of a 50s-era H-bomb detonating far underground would be? My assumption is that it would obliterate the whole island, but I'm not very knowledgeable about weapons of mass destruction, though that doesn't stop Dick Cheney from going through my trash.
I also loved how annoyed Sayid was that Kate had ruined his plan to kill Ben.
Kate. Here's the flip side of Sayid. She didn't lose love because of the island, she found it. She's been a mother to Aaron. She's had a meaningful relationship with Jack and Sawyer, to say nothing of the whole thing where she got to not go to jail for the rest of her life. She has no desire to obliterate the past three-plus years of her life, and the fact that Jack is so eager too breaks her heart a bit. Also, she realizes that an H-bomb makes with the big boom.
You know what? I know what it takes to make Juliet stop smirking, and that would be Kate getting on a submarine that is a few minutes away from taking her and her obviously still hot-for-Katester man off the craphole island of friggin' mystery. My question is, WHY WAS SHE ALLOWED ON THE SUBMARINE? You shoot up the motor pool, you make two trips to the Hostiles, and you're first on the least crowded evacuation sub ever? There is a missing scene there, and if we don't get it at some point, then I call weak sauce. My best hope is that these three are about to get the double cross. It's hard to believe that Dharma would just let these people go, after what they have done, and considering how much they know.
Pierre. I like what they're doing with this guy. Since his first appearance in Dharma training videos, he's assumed a nefarious shadowy presence in the Lost mythology, and the fact that he's a salty cuss only added to his potential bad guy creds. But now it seems that he's a decent fellow after all, albiet one who doesn't suffer fools gladly.
But what is the evacuation timeline here? We have a couple hours. The sub just took off holding pretty much nobody as far as I could see. I assume the Looking Glass is not that far off, but still. Hustle, people.
Ben. It is testimony to how neutered he's been by a resurrected Locke and an extremely threatening warning from the island that the Grand Liemaster is in the five slot here. Emerson is still slaying it, though. Today, Ben is claiming that he killed Locke because he knew that the bald guy with a million billion knives would be trouble. Let's remember the first time Ben tried to kill Locke, shooting him in the kidney-gap and leaving him to die on the Dharma Deadpit. Do you remember why? "Because he talked to you," Ben said.
"He" being Jacob. I think that the moment Jacob spoke to Locke is the moment that Ben decided that Locke had to die. This week, Locke basically just called Ben out. As much as Ben seems to believe in him, as much as Ben may desire it, Ben has never heard Jacob's voice, nor has the island ever told him anything. What does that say about Ben's approval by this quasi-mystical entity known as "the island"? What does it say of the nature of Jacob as leader?
More on this in a second.
Eloise. First, some speculation. Eloise and Charles seem to be co-leaders during Dharma days, but Eloise seems to be putting off the dominant vibe. So perhaps Ellie is the leader until she leaves post-"incident" to raise Daniel, at which point Charles takes over. This is all based on the fact that Richard appears to defer to both Ellie and Charles as leader of the Others, but it's pure speculation on my part, and here's some more. In their unheard conversation together, didn't she seem to be paying a bit more attention to her belly than you'd think? I think she's got a little Faraday in the oven. (Someday you're going to have to explain to me a family in which a guy named Widmore and a lady named Hawking give birth to a kid with the last name of Faraday, by the way.) In any event, this mama has had some experience with a time-jumping Daniel already, she has Daniel's journal with her own handwriting in it, and the evidence piles up enough that she believes it: She just killed her (as yet unborn?) son.
Then Jack gives her the magic bullet: Daniel had a plan to prevent all this from happening. Ellie jumps at it -- again, notice that only those who have the greatest regrets are going along with this.
I do have my doubts that they can change anything, and I'll get to that soon. However, I suspect that Ellie needs Daniel to come to the island and get shot for another reason. His book. Full of notes about all of this, perhaps important time travel theory, perhaps about what is going to happen when. Last week, Ellie confessed to Penny that for the first time, she didn't know what was going to happen next. Might that be because she ran out of book?
Eloise becomes one of the great keys to this mystery, because she knows the whole story, partly because she lived through it, and (perhaps) partly because of her access to Daniel's book. So, she has all this information, but her motives are unknown, and possibly suspect, which makes her pronouncements difficult for us -- not as bad as with Ben, but still difficult. Did the older Eloise send the O6 back to fulfill destiny? To change everything? What does she know? What has she seen? We're about to find out.
Richard. Here's another one with motives that we have to question. With one line, "I'm beginning to think that John Locke may be trouble," Richard Alpert threw his allegiance to Locke into question. What do we know about this ageless wonder?
1) He seems to be the conduit to Jacob for the Others.
2) He guards that access strictly. Indeed, it would seem that even the leader of the Others doesn't have this access.
3) He seems to be obligated to follow a leader (episode title!), separate from himself. Though he does have some autonomy apart from this, it would appear that he needs to at least follow the letter of the law for whomever happens to be Chief Other at the time.
4) He clearly is willing to undermine whoever the Chief Other is in subtle ways. He acted on his own to cultivate a relationship with young Ben and bring him into their fold, and it is hinted that he was involved in Ben's ascendance over Charles. We've seen him intercede against Ben on behalf of Locke, handing over a file on Sawyer at a crucial time.
You know what? He reminds me of Ben, only less weaselish. Has he been instructed to obedience much in the same way that Ben was recently? If so . . . is Ben now another Richard? The next Richard?
Whatever the case, Richard followed Eloise's orders and let Jack and Sayid into the bowels of the temple, where they've stored old Jughead. And this is . . . under the Dharma Initiative itself. This tells me two things. First, Dharma is there at the discretion (if not the pleasure) of the Others. The Others have a significant advantage. Second, it now makes sense that Ben would move the Others into Dharmaville after the purge, and it makes sense that Ben would have access to a Smokemonster-summoning septic tank drain in the heart of Dharmopolis.
Now they plan to move the bomb . . . to the Swan. Where they'll set it off to change the . . .future? Present? Everything since 2004. How's that?
Meanwhile, in the present day (whatever that means anymore), Richard is reluctantly leading the Leader Locke to meet Jacob . . . down the beach? Um . . . shack? In the jungle? What's this? Stay tuned. He also says that he saw all the 70s folk die. Well. Maybe. Remember everybody "saw" Jin die, too. So Richard may be lying, because his motives are shady. But there's another reason that these people who have lived the whole story chronologically (Ben, Ellie, Charles) can be unreliable witnesses. They may be mistaken. They think they know what happened in 1977. But what if they're wrong?
Locke. And what if Locke's wrong? Sure, he's come back from the dead. Sure, he now communes with the island closely enough to have the COOLEST FRIGGIN' SCENE EVER and send Richard to meet up with his past, leg-shot self, leading to an exchange which will break your head open and look inside. In 2007, Richard gives Locke the compass that Locke gave him way back in Fonzie times. Locke is going to take that compass and flash back to the aforementioned Fonzie times, at which point he is going to give it to Richard, who will hold onto it until 2007, when he gives it to Locke, who will flash back to the aforementioned Fonzie times and give it to Richard who will hold onto it . . . Phew. Barely stopped myself there.
Anyway, Locke's got mad island mojo with kung-fu grip, but he's . . . um . . . he's going to go kill Jacob. AND he told Ben as much. First, there's overconfidence and then there's foolhardiness. Ben's sworn to obedience now (does Locke know? I'm sure Ben didn't tell, but Locke might know anyway), but still he is the underminer general. I'd been assuming Jacob WAS the spirit of the island. And Locke would kill it? But Locke is following the island's directive, I presume. He certainly seems to know his mission. He's acting with a Jack-like certainty. Or a Locke-like certainty.
So, who is Jacob? And why is he being kept hidden? And why does Locke want to kill the entity who only spoke to him once, who said only "Help Me", who is invisible as a spirit, who seems to know all, who shares the name with the Biblical patriarch who's youngest son was Benjamin, whose intermediary is Jack Sheperd's dead father Christian, whose name is a derivative of . . .
Jack. Yep, somehow Captain Heropants has evolved into the most intriguing character on the show. How did that happen? Now, I'm not saying Jack IS Jacob. However, it is, for the first time, plausible to the story.
The thing I realize about Jack is that he was always a man of faith. It's just that the faith he had was in himself. Now, that's shattered. He's lost nearly everybody, and those he did "save" are miserable and returned to the island. Most are scattered or dead. He needs this, so badly. A chance to restore it all in one blow. Make it so it never happened. He's been passive most of this season, waiting for the island in a Lockian sort of "man of faith" trance. Now, he believes he's found it, and he's behaving just like Locke, ready to blow it all up, not to keep people ON the island, but to keep people from ever having stepped foot on it.
One thing, though: Locke? Was almost always wrong whenever he acted with the most certainty. I don't know if Locke 2.0 will be just as wrong, but Jack 2.0 almost certainly is. Once again, Jack is falling into his old pattern. HE will save them all. HE will be the hero. Jack had surrendered to the flow, and now he's fighting it again.
Remember Locke's final line of Season 2?
It was: "I was wrong."
I'm calling it right now. You'll hear that from Jack next week.
Setting off an H-bomb seems like an "incident" to me. I think it is far, far more likely that, like Sayid, Jack will cause that which he seeks to prevent. Will the H-bomb really go off? I don't think so, because I think there is an H bomb under the Swan when Desmond crawls under there to turn the key, but perhaps it detonates. Will the "incident", whatever it is, go off just as it always did? Yep. Will there be repercussions to Jack and Co. as a result? Oh yeah.
Will Jack make it so that nothing ever happened and Oceanic landed? I doubt it strongly.
Because, there is still a Season Six.
What if Jack is at the center of "the incident", though? A later Swan-related "incident" blew Desmond through time. Might it do the same to Jack? What if Jack became incorporeal, and tied to the island, so close that he knew the entire history, with no errors in perception? He'd be a very valuable resource to a Ben or a Richard, wouldn't he? A good one to keep secret, to be sure.
What if Locke is heading down that beach to do what Jacob asked?
"Help me," he said.
What if what Jacob wants is a mercy killing?
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