Let’s start where it ends: A bunch of people on a beach at night. They’re beaten, weary, bruised, battered, and broken down. They’re all exhausted, physically and emotionally, and one of them has a bullet in their shoulder. They’re the survivors and one by one they all surrender to an uncontrollable weeping…
Elsewhere, on a deck there stands a bald man and a hot, if rather filthy looking, confused young woman. They’re staring at the water intently, trying to decipher the drama that lays deep underneath the ripples of their own reflections. The man is grim, determined fury. It’s not over and he begins to depart. The woman, who’s been left behind again, the latest of many such times, asks him where he’s going. “To finish what I started,” he says and then he disappears past us into the dark.
And that’s where last night’s episode of Lost, entitled “The Candidate,” is taking us: Over the water and through the jungle trees. Into the dark. We’re going through a waterfall of tears into the past, the present, and possibly even the future. And sideways.
Earlier today I was talking to Benjie Light on the phone about last night’s episode, laughing and marveling over various aspects of the episode and speculating about what the future holds over the next three episodes (the finale, scheduled to air on May 25th, has just been upped to 2 1/2 hours in length). We cracked a few jokes and then hung up and went about our days, off to whatever our days held for us…
Back at my job, in the course of whatever it is I do that they actually pay me for, I ended up talking to a woman about last night’s episode. She was just emotionally crushed, she told me. Crushed like the depths of the water smashing that sub in on itself. “Oh,” I said, “you mean the big metal casket for Sayid, Sun, Jin, and Frank Lapidus?” She smiled cooly and said, “Yeah, that’s right.” Then she told me that it was such a shock to her system, last night’s episode, because the whole season has been moving so slowly thus far, in stops and stars, in fits, and then all of a sudden… death and destruction. I’ll never forget that she said, “I kept waiting for this season to deliver…”
And death there was. Death, be no proud. But be swift and motherfucking brutal. I can just imagine the statements in the writer’s room during the breaking down of this episode: “Okay, boys and girls, we’re clearing the books a little as we head to the end of the season, sooooooo… Howzabout we kill off a lot of the fan favorites in this one? What do you say? No, not Desmond, don’t worry!”
I guess Sayid’s death wasn’t so much of a shock, not really. I mean, once you come back to life as a potentially evil zombie incapable of feeling, well, shit’s going to happen. And you can only fall so hard before the only option left to you is redemption. What I feel was so great about Sayid’s death was how quick it was, the amazing velocity. He makes a lightning quick decision, gives Jack some last minute instructions – Desmond’s having himself a bit of a think in a well like a character in a Haruki Murakami novel! – and one last line uttered to fast that I had a hard time understanding it (the line itself is “It’s going to be you, Jack,” but I could’ve initially swore that he said, “It’s good to be you, Jack,” which is creepy), and then he was racing down a hallway, trying to spare his friends from a…
Then there’s Lapidus. Granted, maybe he survived the sharp impact of that bulkhead slamming into him so hard and abruptly, maybe, but most likely, sorry, he probably drowned in that sub as it sunk down to the depths of the water. And he will be missed. He should’ve been the Captain, but he’s really just been little more than a passenger along for the ride for the last season and a half, but he was a joy to see just standing there in the back of each scene with his fuzzy gray chest hair and rifle. I don’t recall his actual last line before the impact, but in my mind it was always affectionately be, “Awww shit.”
It must’ve gotten real cold in that sub, I’d think, as all the water came flooding in, rising up over them, and that was also the temperature I took away from that scene a little. These two characters who’ve been separated for so long are finally reunited, finally have their chance to catch up – and thankfully they do it in English for those of us who don’t speak Korean – and then their world comes crashing down around them. Jin decides to abandon Ji-Yeon, the daughter he’s never actually met, to orphanhood and spend his last moments with his wife. He promises he’ll never leave her again and they spend their last moments holding each other as the water rises up over their heads.
And we spend our last moments with them in this incarnation as their hands slowly drift apart in the water post mortem. Their symbol of unity is taken away from us and, to me, this was the most brutal aspect of this morbidly fun episode. That image was just… chilling.
But let’s start earlier… Back to the start, in fact. Jack wakes up on the beach of Hydra Island with Sayid watching over him. They’re about to go rescue Sawyer, Kate, etc. from Widmore’s people, who have them locked up in the polar bear cages from the start of season 3. “Feels like we’re running circles,” Sawyer says. Events are mirrored, different people are holding guns now, but the reflections are complete. This time Kate’s not important, at least not in the eyes of Widmore, who would’ve gladly put a bullet in her.
I’ve always liked Widmore, I have to say. The guy is just all brass assholeness. Villainous, not exactly, but he always was perfectly cast as the rival to somebody or something, and evil in that regard. Perhaps his intentions really are good, but if so, he suffers from what too many situations and people on this Island have been inflicted with: that nagging feeling that things might’ve gone easier, better, smoother, perhaps, if someone had just taken five minutes to sit down and explain what was going on.
But eventually the Smoke Monster/Man In Black/Locke-ness Monster shows up and kills a truckload of Widmore’s people and rescues Sawyer and the gang. They meet up at the Ajiria plane, only to discover via the Locke-ness Monster that they can’t actually fly away on it because it’s been wired with C4. Remember, this isn’t the real Locke, the one who had a history of keeping explosives in his bag (and who once blew up a submarine). But if their exodus doesn’t lay amongst the clouds, then it surely means diving into the seas a la Widmore’s sub, right?
From there, we were treated to a breathtaking action sequence as our heroes attempted to get on that sub and out of there and not include the Locke-ness Monster. It was exhilarating mixture of violence, desperation, and manipulation. This whole season we’ve known of one rule: The Man In Black can’t kill the candidates. And, in return, the Man In Black has shared with us another: They all have to be together, that’s the only way the Island will let him leave. What he’s neglected to mention was that he needed them all dead together, preferably at the bottom of the ocean bed, and only then could he fulfill his dream of escape. It’s up to you to decide how much of this scheming on his part was master plan and how much was flying by the seat of his pants…
And, please, excuse this terrible metaphor, but minus the DHARMA Initiative, the Others, the Whispers, the Smoke Monster, the Polar Bears, the Black Rock, the Sickness, the Numbers, or any of that stuff, Lost has always been a show about a group of people who crash on a “desert Island” and bring with them all their baggage. And some of them leave the Island bringing their baggage with them, only there’s some serious explosives in there.
My hope: Sawyer continues to survive for the next few episodes, only he has severe brain damage and can’t speak (except to possibly say, “Son of a bitch!” a few more times) and can only listen from now. Especially listening to Jack, I hope, who’s now having a Hero’s Understanding written into his endgame.
Though I do want to point out that Jack’s pleas for his friends to trust him and not try to diffuse the bomb still counts, in my book, as another attempt at trying to kill himself. Jack’s going to be an interesting super hero someday, the kind who just attempts suicide to save the day.
Also, Benjie Light and I both noticed this, but Kate really seemed to be excited to see Jack climbing out of the water at the end of the episode, and maybe not that excited to see the unconscious Sawyer that Jack was carrying with him. On one hand, yes, they’re going to have to start writing the romance back into Jack and Kate’s storylines, but on the other hand, despite all the shit I’ve talked about Kate in the past, I like her style: That chick only wants to fuck (with) winners, not losers.
And, speaking of Sun and Jin… I feel like Ji-Yeon is going to be important in some way still. My pet theory that I’ve held onto for three years now is that she and Aaron are the Adam and Eve skeletons in that cave.
Also, where the fuck are Richard Alpert, Ben Linus, and Miles in all of this. It feels like they left months ago to go handle this Ajira plane issue, and it seems like Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Flocke/Man In Black all accidentally ended up there faster.
And as Commander Light pointed out, Man In Black/Locke-ness Monster is very protective of Claire. Something to do with all those years of pretending to be her dad? Or is it another side effect of all the little bit of Locke’s persona that he’s absorbed?
To me, they add an interesting touch to the ongoing Jack/Locke dynamic. These two men are just bound to each other, aren’t they? And the Sideways version of how Locke was crippled, this time a plane crash, was devastating, to me. Just like Locke is always going to be chained to Jack, the man who needs to fix things, throughout the multiverse, so is he going to be stuck with his slimy father when it comes to that pivotal moment in his life (or lives). And it was nice to see Bernard again (I loved the look on Jack’s face as Bernard says he remembers Jack hitting on his wife on Oceanic 815), but that last scene in the hallway of the hospital, as Jack and Locke leave each other was amazing. The breakdown of Locke and the vulnerability that Terry O’Quinn shows there could be felt radiating out of my TV. And I loved the reversal there: “I wish you would believed me.” Their dynamic completely mirrored.
But now we get to the end, which is where we started… at the end. Not to Claire and the man with the borrowed face, but to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley all on the beach at night, and Jack wades into the surf, unable to stop crying. His head bobs up and down. The sadness flows off of him and the tears stream down his cheek, then fall, just like…
It’s all part of something larger and it finally feels like the circle is starting to come to a close. And next week we’re apparently going across the sea and back in time to find out how this all started, how bromance turned into rivalry, and how that that will effect our heroes in the present day, and what they died for.