Good stuff on Tuesday night, yes? While it didn’t provide a lot of new information, “What They Died For” did a nice job of setting things up for what should be the proverbial pulse-pounding climax of the series.
Ben’s comment about the Smoke Monster confirmed the earlier guess that it was the Man in Black who, posing as Jacob in the shack, has been steering Ben for what could have been a very long time. Point #1:That’s cool, and it certainly shines a different light on Ben’s longtime conflict with Charles Widmore. The only problem is that it raises the question: What was Richard doing in all the years that Ben was giving orders to himself and the Others? Did he just accept Ben’s word that he was talking to Jacob or did Richard – who has actually seen Jacob – ever consider getting verification from Jacob in person? Not a big point, and – as we’ve seen – Richard is kind of a wuss.
Point #2: It also leads me to think that Ben’s renewed alliance with NotLocke is a fake-out. Ben is the schemer, the plotter, the mastermind. He knows he was duped by NotLocke into killing Jacob, and NOW he realizes that his reason for killing Jacob – frustration over not getting Power, Answers, etc. – was a fiction created by NotLocke! It’s been the Man in Black who has been jerking Ben’s chain in the shack all this time. Ben doesn’t like that. He knew exactly what he was doing when he shot Widmore. He knew that Widmore would never tell him secrets, but Widmore would spill the beans to NotLocke if forced. So Ben gave him just enough time to whisper the information to NotLocke and then he shot him. He immediately wanted to know who else to kill – thus getting on NotLocke’s good side – and put himself in a better position to learn Widmore’s info from NotLocke himself.
Jack has accepted his role as Jacob’s successor, and yes, he chose it freely – something that had been denied to Jacob. In his fireside chat, Jacob confirmed (sort of) that he had simply given the Candidates a nudge – putting them on the path toward their shared destiny on the Island, yet he took no responsibility for the actions that shaped them and brought them to this point. He even slammed down Sawyer’s weak protest about how good their lives had been before Jacob started messing around. It’s worth considering that Jacob is doing some self-serving CYA maneuvers here. While he may be on the side of Light, he has manipulated and steered the lives of many people, without much regard for who got squashed along the way. Certainly, he’s not as innocent as he presented himself to Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley. I did like his simple explanation for why Kate’s name was crossed off – she became a mother – and his response, “It’s just a line across a name. The job’s yours if you want it.” (What about Sun, then? Well, I guess this answers which of the Kwans was still a Candidate: Jin. If it were Sun, “Kwan” would’ve been crossed off just like Kate’s.)
But Jack’s acceptance seemed almost anticlimactic. Well, of course, Jack would accept! Easy. Maybe too easy. Jack may not be the Island’s Guardian by the time Sunday night is over. I go back to Hurley’s line: “I just glad it’s not me.”
Great developments in the Sideways world on Tuesday. Once again, as in the season opener, Jack sees a cut on his neck in the mirror. What does this mean? How does it tie back to the Island reality? After seeing NotLocke slice the neck of Widmore’s assistant (good riddance!), I’m a little concerned about Jack’s future. And Sideways Desmond is awesome!The surreal conversation in the back of the police van between him, Sayid, and Kate made me chuckle, and it was impressive to see Lost use humor so well in a story that followed the deaths of three main characters. Fun to see Ana Lucia again, too! Desmond seems to be hoping to pull off a big “enlightenment” of the Sideways characters at a concert that night – presumably, the Driveshaft reunion. Considering that traumatic events have been triggering the recovered memories, it’s fairly safe to see that something BAD will occur during the concert.
What else will happen? What will Desmond – and Desmond – do? Which reality will “win out” at the end? Will we see the Island at the bottom of the ocean, as in the season opener? I’m hoping that we’ll all be surprised, to have that “Wow” moment that Lost has provided many times before:
One last thought: It’s really hard to do a satisfying final episode of a long-running series. Years of expectations have built up in viewers’ heads. And that’s true for even your basic episodic series, like Law & Order. When you get something as mythology-heavy as Lost, it’s supremely difficult, as fans of The X-Files and the great Battlestar Galacticaremake learned painfully in recent years. And certainly the Sopranos finale left many viewers scratching their heads or screaming at their TVs. The twin heads of Lost, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, have said that the final episode will indeed be a Lost episode. Translation: Expect a resolution, but don’t expect everything to be resolved. While Lost is coming to an end, the discussions about what it all means will continue for many years. Otherwise, where would the fun be?
A series retrospective starts at 7 p.m. Sunday. The finale, “The End,” starts at 9 and runs till 11:30.