Today's LOST Recap is written by Hammervision friend, fellow MCHammerCast-er, and uber-Lost guru, Matt Campobasso...
Let me first say that if you watch Lost and haven't seen this week's episode yet, stop reading now. I was tempted to title this post "Spoiler Alert" because so many things happened in tonight's episode that I don't even know where to begin. Not only did tonight's episode pack weeks worth of story into one episode, but it did it in a way that reminded my of exactly why I fell in love with this show in the first place. As a devout Lost follower, I read the blogs and reviews on a weekly (if not daily) basis, and I must say that while I have enjoyed this season, it hasn't been as consistently "wow" as past seasons. Not to say that this season hasn't had its gems ("Ab Aeterno" anyone?), but this episode was it for me. It bridged the often slow pace that this season has had thus far with what I can only imagine will be four the most satisfying hours of Lost that we have ever seen. Any belief that the writers/producers were phoning it in this season should be gone now, and we can cast aside our concern and uneasiness and buckle ourselves in for the rest of this amazing trip. With that off my chest, let's look at this week's explosive (pun fully intended).
The off island story was excellent...it was my favorite character, Jack, doing what he does best. He was searching for answers and trying to fix a situation, Locke's spine. He was trying to understand why someone who had the opportunity to change his life for the better wouldn't seize that opportunity. At first, I thought it was because of Helen. Because any risk that he might not make it through the surgery was too great, because with Helen at his side, he had everything that he needed. That explanation would have fit nicely with Lost's recent focus on love and that as the great bridge between the off and on island stories. That would have been too easy.
It wasn't love that stood in Locke's way, it was guilt. The guilt that he felt over putting his father in a catatonic state. It was ironic to see Locke carrying such a burden for essentially ruining his father's life. Juxtaposing that with how his father stole Locke's ability to walk by throwing him out of a window, truly showed that it's not always like father, like son. Locke was so weighed down with guilt, he couldn't bring himself to fully recover from an accident that he knew his father could never recover from. His father, on the other hand, never looked back after throwing Locke through that window and even tried to explain it away (like the true con man he was) when he and Locke came face to face on the island. I'm not sure what the writers were trying to do with the off island story, other than to show that Locke was making his connection with the island (while he was asleep he mentioned pushing the button) and that something larger than mere coincidence is afoot (Bernard, Claire, Jack, Locke....all on Oceanic 815).
It was good to see Jack back in his savior mode. While a great many Lost fans have taken every opportunity to deride Jack at every turn, I've always related to his desire to want to fix everything and to make things better for everyone. I'd grown tired of this season's more passive and accepting Jack, and it was nice to see him thrust into the position of having to take charge once aboard the sub. While I feel the writers have often shown that Jack tried to fix everyone because he had a desire to make things okay, I'm not sure I ever understood that Jack was so focused on others because it meant he didn't have to acknowledge that his own life needed fixing. When he told Locke that he realized that he needed Locke to "go first" in being fixed, it all made sense.
As to the on island story, it was easily one of the most satisfying episodes of the series. The story really started moving when Jack came to save the others from the cages, and informed them that he was "with him" (the smoke monster). Then the realization that the plane wouldn't work because Widmore had rigged it with C4 had me momentarily doubting what I considered to be one of my more air tight theories on the show. If you've read my last post on this site (from a few weeks ago) I put forth my theory that Locke wanted all of the remaining castaways (or at least the remaining candidates) to be on the plane so he could blow it up or cause it to crash indirectly. This would allow him to circumvent the rule that he couldn't kill the candidates and the last remaining candidates would be gone (as is Jacob) and then he would be free to embark on his campaign of terror, or whatever it is that smoke monsters do when they rejoin civilization. When Locke walked away and referenced the submarine, I immediately thought that I was wrong and swore to myself that I'd never formulate or share another Lost theory (I know only four hours left). Then Sawyer and the rest boarded the sub, and I watched as Locke handed Jack a very notable black backpack. Similar to the one we saw Locke pull the C4 out of only a few scenes earlier. My confidence in my theory formulating ability was instantly reborn.
I watched as Jack threw Locke into the water (as Sawyer had requested) and Jack was then forced to board the submarine because Kate was shot. Locke obviously knew that Jack would end up on the sub, but how could he have known that? Did he assume that Widmore would not leave the submarine unguarded and that their gunfire would force Jack to board? That plus Locke walking away from the submarine to engage in gunplay with Widmore's men leads me to believe that Locke knew somehow that they'd all end up on the sub and that the C4 or some effect of the C4 would do away with the remaining candidates. Easily the best parts of the episode were Jack's conversations with Sawyer standing over the bomb. As Jack quickly put together the broad strokes of Locke's six season long power play, I couldn't help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the early episodes of the show knowing that no new mysteries or characters would be introduced, from here on out it is answers and loose ends being tied up.
We have watched (often not aware of what we were seeing) the Man in Black (and now Locke) slowly but surely getting his pieces in order, waiting for that one moment when the remaining candidates would die and he would be free. With Sawyer not giving Jack's hunch much weight, he pulled the wires from the bomb and the clock stopped (leaving me thinking that Jack's faith - hey, when did that happen - had failed him again) and then accelerated at a quickened pace. I can honestly say that I had no idea what was coming next, but when Sayid told Jack of Desmond's location, I immediately realized that Sayid would finally have his moment of redemption. With all of the dark moments in his life, we have always known that Sayid was a good man who had been put in situations in which there was no right choice. He often struggled with his internal dark versus light battle, and here in the ultimate test, the light won. I was sad to see him go, but glad he did so on his own terms.
Then we watched Lapidus flattened by a submarine door. I've always liked his character, but his comment "Look who got their voice back." while witnessing Jin and Sun's reunion on the beach has to go down as one of the corniest lines in the history of the show. That being said, I will miss him. Rest in peace, Cappy.
That brings us to Jin and Sun, who had a nice conversation while stuck in the cages about their daughter and Sun finally put Jin's wedding ring back on his hand. A nice moment, but clearly the writer's goodbye to our star crossed lovers. I must admit that I was surprised when Jin, Sawyer, and Jack pulled the heavy shelf away from Sun only to reveal that she was stuck in a handful of other ways. Then I realized that Sun was a goner, and that Jin would stay with her. Did anyone have any Titanic flashbacks? Where is Kate Winslet with an ax when you need her? Oh well. The unfolding of Jin's decision to stay with Sun was expected, but his line (in Korean, good call writers) that he would never be apart from her again (callback to a few episodes ago), hit the right emotional note for me, and I absolutely got choked up when we saw their two lifeless bodies floating apart as the submarine sank.
Meanwhile, we watched Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley land on the beach and realized that we are left with only these four and Claire (or some demon form of Claire) from the original Oceanic 815. By the way, where is Ben? Some of the best acting of the season took place right after Jack informed Kate and Hurley that Jin and Sun didn't make it. Hurley's cry was excellent, and Kate's not half bad. What got me was Jack walking to the edge of the beach and crying. It was as if he couldn't show this emotion to the rest because he knew that he was going to have to lead them. While we have seen Jack cry, it reminded me of the season finale of 24 where Jack Bauer locked himself in his car and had a good cry. It was almost as if the events of that day (or Jack's time on the island) had finally reached a tipping point and the tears could not be stopped. Another great moment for my favorite character.
All in all, it was an excellent episode. One I am sure to watch again over the next few days. Where we are going from here, I do not know, but I cannot wait for next week's episode which promises to be mythology heavy. It harkens back to Jacob and the Man In Black's history with one another and I'd imagine will shed some light on this long standing feud. From there we have three hours left (the following Tuesday, and the two hour series finale on May 23) and I'd imagine that we will be focused squarely on the island and the resolution of the Locke versus Jack (and the remainder of the Oceanic 815ers) storyline. Either way, if this episode is any indicator, we are in for a great resolution.
- Matt Campobasso