And So It Ends

25 05 2010

I don’t feel like trying to dissect “The End.” For a few reasons. For one, after all that LOST coverage, followed by staying up late and getting up early to finish a LOST-related article for Books & Culture (which I will link to here as soon as it posts), my brain is already worn out.

More importantly, dissecting the final episode feels like we’re sort of missing the point. The story’s over. There’s nothing left to see. There’s no next week or next season. So instead of trying to clamp this 2.5 hour beast down so we can inspect its innards, I’d rather just sit back and savor it (wow, that was a disgusting mixed metaphor, wasn’t it?).

In fact, for the first time this season, I didn’t even try to transcribe the entire episode. I didn’t rewind during any pivotal scenes to retrieve the snippets of dialogue that I missed (which I’ve been doing all season, annoying my wife in the process). Instead, at times I sat back and just let the unrecorded dialogue wash over me (much like Jack after he had re-corked the pool in the “heart of the island”). In a sense, I guess you could say I learned to “let go.” Yes, this was my redemptive moment.

But enough about me… Before I talk about the finale, I want to thank all of you. I’ve enjoyed writing these posts because they always helped me better understand what I had just watched. I enjoyed processing my thoughts in a public forum where you guys could comment and share your own insights. So thanks for making the show even more entertaining for me. Your involvement in this blog has made the journey through the final season even more rewarding.

You know, it sounds silly to refer to a TV show as “a journey.” I realize that. But I think it fits. What other hour-long TV show has ever consumed our thoughts for days? And not just one episode, but every episode every week. Even referring to LOST as a TV show feels short-sighted. LOST was an experience, an adventure, a challenge; it was something special—and for most fans, it was communal (did anyone watch LOST without visiting online sites or discussing the show with friends and family?).

So thanks for joining me in this little niche of a community.

I’m sure most of you agree that, exciting as the finale was, watching it end was…sad.

When the finale first started, I kept getting sudden urges to pause it. Not so I could catch up on my transcription efforts, but so I could push the conclusion a little farther away—so I could enjoy it all just a little longer.

To put it another way, I didn’t want to be done with the island yet. But as it turns out, the island was done—with all of us.

Sigh.

Let’s recap:

“The End” Begins
The LOST creative team did so many things well in this episode. I love how it began by showing us all the major characters in both worlds, mingled with footage of Christian Shephard’s coffin being transported from an airfield to the church where Desmond (“Are you a priest or something?”) signed for it.

And so we knew right from the start that we would be coming back here. That this coffin was going to be important.

And it was like the show was saying, “Hey, here are all the characters you love. This is where they are right now. Watch closely, and enjoy it, because after this, you’ll never see them again…” (Maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but leave me alone; I’m very attached to this show.)

And we got so many rich scenes, so many instances when the characters could be themselves—in both realities. And it was great.

In fact, near the beginning of the episode, there was like a two minute stretch in which Sawyer called Desmond a “magic leprechaun” and Hurley compared Jacob’s reticence to Yoda. Sawyer later called Hurley “Bigfoot,” and there was this perfect line from Sawyer, “Well, Doc, why don’t you come on down from the mountaintop and tell us what the burning bush had to say for itself.”

And these quotes weren’t forced. They fit neatly into the story, which was great.

I thought the way the writers showed all the characters “feeling it,” remembering the pivotal moments from their island lives, was a stroke of storytelling genius. Heading into a finale, fans are already sentimental. An episode that flashes back to all the most emotional moments from the past few years, however, would be uninspired, trite. But not when you’re showing the characters discovering those moments, in a sense, for the first time. This gimmick (and I don’t mean that as a negative) was the perfect vehicle to create powerful, moving scenes, and to allow the audience to relive and enjoy once again some of the moments that touched us most over the last six years.

Rose and Bernard
Part of me wants to point out that I predicted that Rose and Bernard would rescue Desmond from the well (and I did just point that out, didn’t I?), but when I’ve been making predictions every week all season long, I don’t think I can take too much credit for the few things I guess correctly considering the plenitude of plot developments I predicted incorrectly.

That being said, Rose and Bernard got their final 15 seconds of fame.

And then Locke Monster came and took Desmond away from them.

Locke Monster and Jack, Part 1
One of the finale’s biggest surprises (for me, at least) was how soon Jack and Locke Monster crossed paths. I expected there to be a final showdown, but it was almost like they met up right away. And then, in an odd twist, they agreed to both take Desmond to the “heart of the island” together (Did Desmond have any say in this?).

By the way, Desmond knew about that light source. (My guess was that he first saw it when the hatch blew up, and my wife thought he might have seen it when Widmore zapped him with electromagnetism. Either way, Desmond knew what was coming.) Desmond also believed that uncorking the pool of light would transport him off the island into the other reality. He was wrong.

Jack believed Desmond was a “weapon” that Jacob brought to the island. Jack expected Desmond’s uncorking to kill Locke. He was wrong.

Locke Monster, it seems, was right. Because shortly after Desmond uncorked the pool, the island started trembling and tremoring—and suddenly a cataclysmic explosion seemed imminent.

But Jack wasn’t completely wrong, because he ran out of the cave and tackled Locke Monster. And then in his best “Jacob the Island Protector” impersonation, he held his enemy down and punched him in the face. And surprise, surprise: it hurt Locke. The big, bad monster even bled!

But then Locke Monster knocked Jack out with a rock. But he walked off without killing him…(C’mon, Locke Monster, the guy told you he’s going to kill you earlier in this episode, so how are you going to leave him alive here?)

“Make Me a Bird so I Can Fly Far, Far Away”
Yes, I realize I just made an unrelated Forest Gump reference. What do you want from me? I told you my brain is exhausted. If you haven’t already, it’s time to lower your expectations for the remainder of this post. Whatever springs to my mind will be typed and not revised; I make no apologies for that.

So anyway, Miles finds Richard (who is still alive, by the way) in the jungle, and Richard convinces him that they still need to blow up the plane. They start rowing over to Hydra Island when they encounter the sub wreckage, including our resident Kenny Rogers look-a-like, Frank Lapidus (who is still alive, by the way).

Lapidus convinces them that they don’t need to blow up the plane to keep Locke Monster from boarding it. Instead, he’ll just fly them out of there. (How did they not think of that?)

So for the rest of the episode, these three are determined to get the plane fixed up and as far away from the island as possible—as soon as possible. Which means they’re prepared to leave their friends behind if they don’t arrive in time for the boarding call. (We’ve never seen the laid-back Lapidus get so stressed, have we?)

Ben Gets Trapped Under A Tree
I was confused when this happened. I wondered what the writers were setting up with this.

And somehow, I missed the moment when Ben was freed (did they show it?).

Like I said, I’m not thinking super clearly, but I think the point was to have Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate stay behind and help Ben while this happened…

Locke and Jack Fight…Again
We’ve seen Jack fight Ethan. We’ve seen Jack fight Sawyer. We’ve seen Jack fight Ben. We’ve seen Jack fight Locke (remember when Jack pulled the trigger on the unloaded gun that, had it been loaded, would have ended Locke’s life? And although this isn’t the point right now, think how much different this finale could have been if that gun had been loaded…) We’ve seen Jack fight—well, to sum things up, I’m saying that we’ve seen Jack in a lot of fights.

But this fight was different.

When Jack launched into the flying Superman punch just prior to the commercial break, I cringed a little bit. I thought it seemed a little bit too much like a comic book scene. But by the time we returned from the commercial, I had already changed my mind. I quickly decided I loved the way Locke and Jack charged one another. It was very primal. Like two tigers battling over territory. Or two lions, which is fitting, because while I was watching it, I actually typed “this reminds me of the fight between Simba and Scar” (Yep, I warned you that I was going to type anything that came to mind. This is a LOST recap that James Joyce could have appreciated. Don’t get that reference? I don’t care…).

During the melee, Jack gets stabbed in the side (remember that curious appendix scar from the Sideways storyline?), and eventually Locke has the knife pressed to Jack’s throat:

Locke: I want you to know, Jack. You died for nothing.

But before he can finish his patented “Zoe Throat Slitting” maneuver, a shot rings out.

It’s Kate, who had grabbed a gun and fired crazily at Locke Monster earlier in the episode (to which he had replied, “Save your bullets.”), and after Locke fell over, Kate said, “I saved you a bullet.”

Jack stands up and Locke looks around before saying, “You’re too late.”

With that, Jack kicks Locke Monster off the side of the cliff, where his carcass will be picked dry by the pack of hyenas he disrespected all these years…wait a second, nope. Nevermind.

I thought this final fight between Jack and Locke was powerful. It was well-done. But I wish they would have changed one thing. When the characters looked down at Locke’s body at the base of the cliff, I wish they would have seen Jacob’s Brother there. In death, I thought he should have returned to his original form.

But one of the reasons they didn’t do that, I’m assuming (who knows if they considered it at all), is that they liked the juxtaposition of that scene (in which Jack kicks Locke’s body off the cliff) with the scene that followed (in which Jack completes an operation that will allow Locke to walk again).

Oh yeah, and of course Jack’s neck is bleeding again in the Sideways reality.

But sticking with the island storyline for now, we see Jack (who I assumed was mortally wounded) refusing to leave the island. And this, in retrospect, might be one of the best scenes in the history of the show. In its entirety (except for any of the tidbits I may have missed):

Ben (in the walkie): How’s everything going over there?
Frank (in the walkie): Don’t bother me.
Ben: Sounds like they’re making progress.
Sawyer: We got to go now.
Kate: I don’t understand. Locke’s dead. Why is all this still happening?
Jack: Because whatever Desmond turned off. I need to turn it on again. And you guys need to be on the plane.
Kate: You can go with us.
Jack: No, I can’t.
Kate: Let the island sink, Jack.
Jack: No, I can’t.
Jack: Good luck to you, James.
Sawyer: Thanks, Doc. For everything.

Ben throws Sawyer the walkie.

Ben: If the island goes down, I’m going with it.

Hurley: You think I’m going down that? No way, I’m going with you, dude.

Jack: Kate, you need to get Claire on that plane.
Kate: Tell me I’m going to see you again.

Jack doesn’t say anything.

They kiss…

Kate: I love you.
Jack: I love you.

Kate cries…

Jack, Hurley, and Ben walk away.


And then, we cut to the next scene where Miles professes his love for…duct tape.

But going back to those moving moments on the side of the cliff. The Jack/Kate goodbye kiss was fine. But I was moved more by Sawyer thanking Jack “for everything.” Nice touch.

And then Sawyer and Kate decided they didn’t have time for the ladder, so they dove into the water (landing precariously close to the rocks, don’t you think?)…

Hurley Plays Batman and Ben Becomes Robin (Nope, I’m not revising this heading either)
Many of us were right: Hurley became the island’s protector in the end. But I want to say something about Jorge Garcia right here. When it comes to acting, some of the cast have always shined brighter than others. (You know who you are, Emerson and O’Quinn…) Hurley is the most lovable character, by far, but I always thought Garcia was far from being the most talented actor.

But that moment when Hurley realized what Jack was saying (that Jack was going to die), it gave me chills:

Hurley: How are we getting down there?
Jack: We’re not. I’m going alone.
Hurley: Dude, you can’t go down there alone. Desmond didn’t make it. How the hell are you going to survive?

Hurley starts crying.

Hurley: No. No way, I’m not going to let you die.
Jack: Hurley, I’m already dead.
Hurley: You said you would protect the island.
Jack: I am.
Hurley: you’re not supposed to die. The island needs you.
Jack: It needs to be you, Hugo.
Hurley: Jack, I can’t. It’s supposed to be you.
Jack: It was only supposed to be me so I could do this. If someone is supposed to take care of the island, then it’s supposed to be you. Hurley, I believe in you.

So Jack gave Hurley a drink of water, and then he told him, “Now you’re like me.”

I like that some things like this were never explained. What does it mean to say, “Now you’re like me.” Could it be a reference to the Garden of Eden, when the serpent tells Eve that eating from the tree would make them like God? Similarly, does drinking the water make them like an island God? I don’t know…and I’m fine with that. What we do know is that this is what one protector says to their successor. But why? It doesn’t matter…so quit asking questions and just enjoy it.

So Jack goes down and finds Desmond, who thinks he needs to replace the “drain.”

Jack tells Desmond, “If you want to do something, go back and be with your wife and son.” And then, Jack says, “See you in another life, brother.” (If that was Jack’s best Desmond impersonation, he needs to spend more time working on that Scottish accent, but I suppose Jack is losing a lot of blood, so I guess I won’t be too hard on Jack here…)

Jack re-corks the “heart of the island,” and eventually, water starts to trickle down into the electromagnetic pool again…(which means that, with Locke dead and the island no longer about to sink, Lapidus and crew really didn’t need to hurry up and fly out of there; they could have stopped and talked things through with Hurley and Ben and decided what they all wanted to do now that a deadly Smoke Monster was no longer trying to kill all of them…but no, they didn’t do that)

Hurley thinks he’s hauling Jack out of the light tunnel, but when he and Ben hoist their cargo all the way up, they realize it’s Desmond.

Hurley yells Jack’s name, but Jack is still lying in the pool: his hand held under the water, an exhausted glimmer of a smile creeping onto his face.

Hurley and Ben carry Desmond out of the tunnel, and then there’s this:

Hurley: Jack’s gone. Isn’t he?

Ben nods…
Hurley cries.

Ben: He did his job, Hugo.
Hurley: It’s my job now. What the hell am I supposed to do?
Ben: I think you do what you do best. Take care of people. You could start by helping Desmond get home.
Hurley: But how? People can’t leave the island.
Ben: That’s how Jacob ran things. Maybe there’s another way. A better way.
Hurley: Are you going to help me?
Ben: I’m sorry.
Hurley: I could really use someone with experience. For a little while. Could you help me, Ben?
Ben: I’d be honored.
Hurley: Cool.

Where Are We?
This is the question Charlie Pace asked way back in “The Pilot.” This is the question we’ve been asking all season while we watched the Sideways storyline.

I’m going to talk about the way this portion of the story ended, but I admit I’m reluctant to do so. Not because I hated it, but because it was definitely the weakest part of the finale (in one sense), and because I’m certain it was the part of the finale that some people probably hated. But before I get to all that, I want to briefly hit the highlights of the final chapter of the Sideways story.

The Sawyer/Juliet reunion was well done. I liked how the writers had the two of them repeat so many of the lines they’d said to each other (in a different context) in their final moments together on the island.

I suppose it was fitting that Kate would help Claire deliver Aaron again. But it was Charlie’s inclusion in this scene that made it special this time around.

I absolutely loved when Hurley shot Charlie with the tranquilizer gun. Great stuff.

I thought the concert was a fun idea.

Locke walked again, which was nice.

My favorite Sideways scene, however, was the one when Sayid and Shannon reunited. Not because I cared about the two of them all that much, but just because I liked realizing that Boone and Hurley had conspired to make it happen. It was fun. (I like Sideways Hurley.)

As for the explanation for this Sideways story…sigh…I’d like to just gloss over this. But I have a feeling you wouldn’t let me get away with that. So here goes…

We’ve been wondering all year how the writers were going to connect the two worlds. When Sideways Kate started talking to Sideways Jack about “leaving,” I thought they were definitely going back to the island. In fact, I thought they were all together because they were going to restart the whole journey—and I fully expected the episode to end with Jack lying in the jungle, the final frame revealing his eye…opening. (And it’s amazing that I could be so close and so completely wrong at the same time.)

It turns out that our Sideways characters only needed to remember their lives in the original reality. But as for rejoining (or restarting) that island reality, no that wasn’t in the cards. After the characters all “felt it,” they gathered together at the church where…dun dun dun…we saw Christian Shephard’s coffin delivered in the beginning of the episode.

Jack is there because Kate brought him, but even though Locke and Kate have tried to get through to him, he still hasn’t remembered. While the rest of the Losties are gathered in the church sanctuary, Jack goes into the back and finds his father’s coffin. He touches it and WHAM! Jack remembers.

Then Jack opens the coffin and…did you really think the body would be in there? Of course not!

Up to this point, I was very pleased.

My wife and I both called it just before Christian spoke to Jack (as did many of you, I’m sure). And even to this point, I was completely on board with the whole thing.

But then Christian and Jack kept talking. Jack kept asking questions. Christian kept answering them. And I started getting this sinking feeling in my gut, and I thought, “They’re about to ruin the ending…”

Christian: Hey, kiddo.
Jack: Dad?
Christian: Hello, Jack.
Jack: I don’t understand. You died.
Christian: Yeah. Yes, I did. (The sinking feeling started here…)
Jack: Then how are you here right now?
Christian: How are you here?
Jack: I died, too… (tears) (UGH!)
Christian: It’s okay. It’s okay, son.

And then it got worse before it got better:

Jack: Are you real?
Christian: I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real. Everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re real, too.
Jack: They’re all dead.
Christian: Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some of them long after you.
Jack: Why are they all here now?
Christian: Well, there is no now here. (RIGHT HERE I’M WISHING CHRISTIAN WAS STILL MISSING.)
Jack: Where are we, Dad?
Christian: This is the place that you all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
Jack: for what?
Christian: To remember. And to let go.
Jack: Kate. She said that we were leaving.
Christian: Not leaving. No. Moving on.
Jack: Where are we going?
Christian: Let’s go find out. (I HAVE A BETTER IDEA. WHY DON’T WE REWIND FIVE MINUTES AND START THIS SCENE OVER…COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY)

I know some fans believe LOST left too many unanswered questions (that was inevitable), but I feel like this scene with Jack and Christian tried too hard to answer the questions about the Sideways world. And we didn’t need all this. We already had enough clues to make our own inferences. The biggest clue was Hurley telling Ben he was a good number 2, and Ben responding by saying that Hurley was a great number 1. That alone tells us that all of this is happening after everything that took place on the island (or if not necessarily after, then at least in a place where the characters can remember more of the story than just what we’ve seen.)

After Jack and his Daddy finally stopped talking, we saw all the characters gathered in the church sanctuary. For some reason, they all started sitting in the pews. There were a lot of smiles. Clearly, they hadn’t come for a funeral. And then Christian walked out and touched Jack’s shoulder…before he walked out the church door, into a dazzlingly bright light…

So what does all of that represent? What does it mean?

Is it possible to ignore those questions? Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen.

I will say, that even though I didn’t love these revelations, I did enjoy the scene. How is that possible, you ask? (Oh, you didn’t ask that? Too bad.) I enjoyed seeing all the reunions. I enjoyed that in at least one scenario, our characters experienced a happy ending. Here they were, not concerned with fate or destiny or faith or science or whether they should live on the beach or in the caves; they were just…happy. Happy to be together. And probably proud of what they were able to accomplish together. And if Christian is right (in other words, if Christian’s words encapsulate what the writers intended here) and if this is really the “place they made together so they could find one another” because the “most important part of their life was the time they spent together”…well, then I guess they should enjoy this moment.

And I could enjoy it only because I still felt like the real story was ending elsewhere (and I’m about to get back to that). Sure this church scene seemed very much like purgatory, or some kind of afterlife. And if some people think that cheapens what we’ve seen (I expect that some will have this opinion), I’m not going to try to talk them out of that opinion.

But my goal with the finale was to try to look at the big picture, to view LOST as a whole. And I think (though I’m not 100% convinced) that the show, as a whole, was richer and more complete because of the Sideways storyline. And so, in the end, I’m willing to accept all of this. And like I said, as I was watching it, in that moment (before I started scrutinizing it too much), it was enjoyable.

Given the chance, however, I would change the following thing…

The Empty Coffin
Jack opens the coffin…and it’s empty.

And Christian does not appear. Christian never talks to him. But Jack still feels it. He still remembers.

And then he goes out to join his friends.

Okay, so that’s not very good, either. Because then all the viewers would have been like, “What is this world? Why is the coffin empty? Where’s Christian? What’s going on? This finale was terrible! The writers had no idea what they were doing!”

And that little exercise just showed me that the LOST writers really did a great job with the finale. I was going to recommend one change, and it took 2 minutes for me to realize my alteration would have made it much worse.

So maybe every LOST fan who wants to criticize the finale should be forced to write their own alternate ending to see how horrible their version would have been.

But still, if there were just a little less dialogue from Christian, that might have been an improvement.

What About Ben?
In another great scene that could have only been possible in the Sideways World, Ben apologized to Locke for everything:

Locke: Is everyone already inside?
Ben: I believe most of them are, yes… I’m very sorry for what I did to you, John. I was selfish. Jealous. I wanted everything you had.
Locke: What did I have?
Ben: You were special, John. And I wasn’t.
Locke: Well, if it helps, Ben. I forgive you.
Ben: Thank you, John. That does help. It matters more than I can say.
Locke: What are you going to do now?
Ben: I have some things I still need to work out. I think I’ll stay here awhile.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this scene yet. I like the exchange between these two characters, but I’m trying to figure out why Ben still has things to work out. According to Hurley, he was a “good number 2.” So we have reason to believe he didn’t continue to be the self-serving manipulative jerk he’d been in the past.

And Locke forgave him.

What else was Ben mulling over? The way he murdered Widmore? Abaddon? All the people he asked Sayid to kill? All of the Dharma Initiative? His father?

Okay, on second thought…Ben probably did still have a number of things to work out. Once you start listing his indiscretions, wow…he makes Smokey seem sort of tame.

“The End”…Ends
Say what you will about the resolution of the Sideways story (seriously, go on and say it; what do I care?), but the on-island ending, in my opinion, was perfect.

When Jacob sent Brother into the light tunnel, Jacob found Brother’s corpse in the stream. So it makes sense that Jack, after the water started filling the pool again, would wind up in the same stream. And when we see him again, he looks very much like an exhausted and terribly wounded man.

But Jack picks himself up and he starts walking. Slowly. He’s bleeding a lot; he’s staggering. But he keeps walking. And it’s clear exactly where Jack is going.

And then he falls, on his back…in the bamboo.

And just when I started thinking that it was getting a little too predictable, Vincent came bounding out of the jungle. He licked Jack’s bloody face. And then he laid down beside him. And this, strange as it sounds, is beautiful. Vincent hasn’t been relevant for the last five years, so it’s not the dog’s presence that made this scene powerful.

But Vincent’s appearance did two things: it effectively mirrored “The Pilot” when Jack awakened to see Vincent running up to him, and it added a minor twist that prevented the final scene from feeling too predictable or too forced.

Actually, it did a third thing: it prevented Jack (Mr. “Live Together, Die Alone”) from, well, dying alone.

And I bet Vincent’s appearance made many of you cry, even if you can’t explain exactly why. (I know it made someone cry in my living room; and that someone wasn’t me.)

After we saw an aerial shot of Jack on his back with Vincent by his side, we saw a close-up of Jack’s face. And then we saw another camera shot—from Jack’s perspective this time—as Lapidus and his passengers flew off the island.

Jack had completed his task, and his friends were safely headed for home. And he knew it.

And then we saw the close-up shot as Jack’s eye closed.

Snippets

  • The Sideways World eventually introduced every character I ever cared about on the show…except Eko. Wouldn’t have minded seeing him in that church at the end.
  • Conversely, I was very glad Frogurt and Arzt were not in that church—or involved in the finale in any way whatsoever.
  • I just hope Cuse and Lindelof don’t pull a stunt like J.K. Rowling and make an unnecessary revision to the story, revealing that, I don’t know, Jacob (or The Smoke Monster) was a homosexual all along.
  • So Richard has his first gray hair, huh? Guess Jacob’s magic died with him…
  • What a great line:

    Jack: “You’re nothing like Locke. You disrespect his face just by wearing it. He was right about just about everything, and I wish he were alive so I could tell him that.”

  • I really wanted Charlie to call Aaron “Turnip Head.” I always liked that nickname.
  • It’s interesting that it was Kate and Sawyer’s slave labor that helped build that runway on Hydra Island…and it eventually provided enough runway for Lapidus to take them home…
  • Those Target commercials during the finale were so perfect. Kudos to Target for getting in the spirit of things and actually trying to relate to the demographic instead of just ponying up a ton of cash to air the same commercials we see all the time. I hope it pays off for them.
  • I think I wrote “great” like 73 times in this recap. Wow, time to consult a thesaurus, Tyler. Great job…
  • Odd that we didn’t see Helen with Locke (if she made an appearance, I don’t remember it) in the Sideways world this week…
  • If you missed Jimmy Kimmel’s “Aloha to LOST,” here were some of my favorite moments:

    Jimmy Kimmel: “Two things we learned for sure: Don’t go chasing waterfalls. And apparently, all dogs don’t go to heaven.”

    Jimmy to Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson: “You should do the Amazing Race together. That would be great.

    Jimmy: Is it “good Terry” or “bad Terry” we have with us tonight?
    Terry: It’s “out of work Terry”

    Jimmy to Daniel Dae-Kim: Every boat you were on exploded…

    Charles Widmore’s character, Alan Dale (is that his name?) said he still isn’t sure if Widmore was a good guy or a bad guy…

    Harold Perrineau said Walt is “eight feet tall and dating…”

    Jimmy also thanked Harold for killing Ana Lucia

  • Questions
    I was trying to think of questions, but none came to mind right away…so I figured, they’re not necessary this week.

    But please feel free to share any and all comments below. This is the end, so let’s beat a dead horse and savor every last drop together…(I’m just trying to be like LOST and mirror things; I started this post with a disgusting mixed metaphor, and now I’m ending it with another. So there you go.)

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    LOST’s Adventure Doesn’t End with the Finale

    24 05 2010

    As I mentioned in the last post, I wrote a recap of the LOST finale for Books & Culture. But it’s not just a response to the finale; it’s also a summation of the entire show, and an evaluation of the legacy it left for us.

    Maybe it’s a little too early to talk about its “legacy” the day after the finale airs, but I don’t care.

    I’m sure you guys will notice that I omitted some pretty important details (the fact that Locke Monster became mortal again being one; Jack replacing the cork being another), and all I can say in my defense is: “Oops.”

    But as we all know by now, “whatever happened, happened,” so there’s no changing it now.

    If you still want to read the piece, here’s a link for you: “LOST‘s Adventure Doesn’t End with the Finale

    I’m still working on my usual episode recap, so if you want a more focused look at how it all ended, check back later today (or tomorrow).





    Quick Poll: Response to “The End”

    24 05 2010

    Last year, after the season five finale, I got to write an article about LOST for Books & Culture. Last year’s article was called, “Not Too Late to Find LOST.”

    I just finished writing an article about the finale for Books & Culture and I wanted to call it, “Dude, You Missed Out.” But I didn’t.

    Seriously though, after just finishing nearly 1700 words for Books and Culture (which has the most sophisticated audience of all the Christianity Today International publications, and thus, the most stress involved for me during the writing and revising process), I have to warn you that my recap is going to be a little delayed. I’m hoping to get it posted today, but I make no promises.

    In the meantime, here’s a poll. Share your thoughts, and feel free to get as long-winded as you want in the comments section. I’m excited to hear what you guys thought of “The End.”





    Jacob and “Brother” on “Totally LOST”

    22 05 2010

    For the last two years, I’ve often surfed over to Entertainment Weekly‘s website for Doc Jensen’s LOST recaps. The weekly episodes of “Totally Lost,” however, rarely interested me much.

    But a friend encouraged me to check out some of the most recent episodes, and she was absolutely right: they’re worth your time. These are the episodes following the airing of “Across the Sea,” which showed us a lot of Jacob and his brother. So it’s fitting that Jacob and his brother would make a few cameos in the “Totally Lost” videos.

    Check ’em out:





    LOST Devotees Need a Little Faith

    21 05 2010

    Sarah Pulliam Bailey, a former co-worker and friend of mine, published a LOST article in the Wall Street Journal today. (Pretty cool, huh?) She also interviewed Entertainment Weekly‘s LOST aficionado, Jeff “Doc” Jensen, for the piece. Which, for a LOST nerd like me, is really sweet.

    I had the privilege of looking over this piece earlier this week, while she was still working on it. And I gave her incredible feedback like, “I think LOST should be italicized…” to which she replied, “Actually, the WSJ’s style is to use quotes”…

    So, obviously, my input was invaluable. If you really think about it, it’s almost like I published an article in the Wall Street Journal

    No?

    Okay, maybe not. But it’s still cool for Sarah. So hop over there and check it out: “LOST Devotees Need a Little Faith” (On my blog, my style is still to italicize titles…the way it’s supposed to be done. So suck on that, Wall Street Journal!)





    10 Questions LOST Needs to Resolve

    20 05 2010

    In my recap yesterday, I asked you guys to identify the mysteries you want the writers to reveal to us on Sunday. Well, I got tired of waiting for your answers, and I went looking elsewhere:

    There’s a great post over on the Zap 2 It blog, Ten Questions that LOST Needs to Resolve.

    Not only does he point out 10 good questions, but it’s also well-written. I enjoyed it, so I figured I’d share it with the rest of you.





    The Best of Times

    19 05 2010

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

    The classic beginning of A Tale of Two Cities (written, of course, by Charles Dickens, Desmond Hume’s favorite author)…and yet I think these words apply to where we find ourselves right now. Not just in Sideways World and on the island, but also for us—the fans. For us, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. We have everything before us—and nothing before us.

    This is the last week of speculating, the last week of theorizing, the last week of agonizing. And we’re all going to miss it. We are. Even if we absolutely love how the show concludes (and let’s be honest, chances are, there will be many unsatisfied fans no matter which direction the writers choose to go), we’re still going to miss this tantalizing feeling of uncertainty.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have one episode remaining (it’s airing on Sunday, in case any of you missed all of ABC’s promos), so that means there’s still drama to dissect and theories to develop. So let’s get to it.

    Savoring the Moments
    Before I get to all the drama, this episode contained a lot of nice scenes. Not epic scenes. Not earth-shattering scenes. Just a lot of instances of our characters being themselves, being together. In Sideways World, Jack, David, and Claire share cereal for breakfast. On the island, Jack sews up Kate’s wound (which hearkens back to “The Pilot”). Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate stand in silent mourning as they looked out over the wreckage from the sunken sub. Jack assures Sawyer that it’s Locke Monster, not Sawyer, who is responsible for the deaths of their friends.

    And we heard hilarious lines from Miles and Hurley.

    Miles: “What’s that? A secret-er door?”

    Hurley: “Did you see a kid run by here with your ashes?”

    And the writers managed to give us these meaningful (and amusing) nuggets while moving their pieces (our characters) into place for the finale. Over all, I think “What They Died For” was a successful lead-in to the finale.

    Synergy in Sideways World
    This week’s Sideways storyline was exceptional. This late in the series, I expected the island to attract my attention, and yet I was engrossed by the developments in Sideways World.

    Desmond is the puppet master. He calls Jack pretending to be Oceanic, he punches Ben (excuse me, I mean Dr. Linus) until he “feels it,” he turns himself in (to Sawyer), he gets locked up (next to Sayid and Kate), and then he orchestrates an escape (with the help of money-hungry cop, Ana Lucia…and his partner in crime, Hugo Reyes).

    While Desmond was working all this magic, we got hints about where all this is headed. The biggest hint came from Hurley:

    Hurley: You didn’t tell me Ana Lucia was going to be here.
    Ana Lucia: Do I know you, Tubby?
    Hurley: I’m sorry, we haven’t met.

    And then, after Ana Lucia takes Hurley’s money and says, “Nice not knowing you,” there’s this:

    Hurley: She’s not coming with us?
    Desmond: She’s not ready yet.

    This tells us that Hurley remembers people from the island. Hurley knows. Which confirms our suspicions that Desmond hasn’t just been working from the Flight 815 manifest; he remembers.

    I would suggest that they’re not just chasing glimpses of past memories; they’re tuned in to the other reality.

    Which means…the Sideways storyline is building toward something. If they can all get tuned in to those memories, aware of that reality—well, I don’t know what will happen then. But I have a feeling Desmond knows.

    Oh yeah, and I almost forgot: Locke (after talking to Dr. Linus) decided he wants Jack to fix him after all. (“I think I’m ready to get out of this chair.”) Doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of time left for this sub-plot, but we’ll see…

    In Case You Forgot: Ben Really Hates Widmore
    Remember earlier this season when we all celebrated the redemption of Benjamin Linus. Well, he might not be as redeemed as we thought he was…

    Yeah, we got our Ben/Widmore reunion. And there was nothing happy about it. Nothing happy at all.

    In the Sideways storyline, Dr. Linus joined his favorite student and her mother (Hello, Rousseau) for dinner. Rousseau was not only openly flirting with her houseguest, but she also shared that Ben was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father.

    At first I thought the writers included this to illustrate once again that the characters are different in Sideways World. But after further review, I think they were doing something else. I think they were setting up the scene inside Ben’s closet. I think this is also why Miles got a “wonky” vibe from Alex’s dead body, which we learned was buried by Richard.

    All of this was to remind us that Ben is still very angry about Alex’s death. And for that, he blames Widmore.

    And that’s why he led Locke Monster into his secret closet. Where Locke would slit Zoe’s throat and broker a deal with Widmore. The deal: tell me why you’re here and I won’t kill Penny when I leave this island.

    Charles agrees to tell Locke Monster about his plan, involving Desmond Hume and his unique resistance to electromagnetism. So when Charles refuses to say any more in front of Ben, Locke Monster asks him to whisper.

    And as he’s whispering, we hear a gunshot. Pan over to reveal Ben with a gun. Another shot. Another.

    And just like that, Widmore’s dead.

    Ben: He doesn’t get to save his daughter.
    Locke: Ben, you never cease to amaze me. Fortunately, he had already told me what I needed to know. So no harm done.
    Ben: Good. Didn’t you say there were some other people I needed to kill?

    If you’re like me, it was at this point (if not sooner) that you started wondering what’s going on with Benjamin Linus.

    I guess it’s fitting that, as this show draws closer to the end, Ben is still as unpredictable as ever. But I think many of us enjoyed his tale of redemption. And this isn’t how we expected it to go. (Am I right?)

    We Need to Find Desmond…Oh Wait, Is That a Campfire?
    The foursome of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley were hiking across the island, searching for Desmond’s well—just as we expected—when their journey was interrupted by…little boy Jacob. Boy Jacob came to steal the ashes of dead man Jacob, and when he did, Hurley gave chase.

    When Hurley caught up, Jacob looked like a man again. And his ashes are burning (who burns ashes?) in a fire (“…and when it burns out, you’ll never see me again.”)

    So our foursome totally abandons their Find Desmond plan (and never refer to it again). And I suppose I don’t blame them. After all, when the deposed island deity (who, as it turns out, was never a deity at all) finally agrees to provide some answers, who wouldn’t pop a squat at the campfire with him?

    We’ll come back to this campfire scene very soon…

    As for Desmond, at the end of the episode, Locke Monster and Ben arrived at the well to find that Desmond had escaped:

    Ben: You thirsty?
    Locke: This is the well I threw Desmond Hume into?
    Ben: What’s a matter?
    Locke: I sent Sayid to kill Desmond. Obviously, he didn’t.
    Ben: It looks like someone helped him out.
    Locke: No, Ben, someone helped me out…
    Ben: What did Widmore say to you?
    Locke: He said Desmond was a fail-safe. Jacob’s last resort in case God forbid I managed to kill his beloved candidates. One final way to make sure I never leave this place.
    Ben: Then why are you happy that he’s still alive?
    Locke: Because I’m going to find Desmond and when I do, he’s going to help me do the one thing I could never do myself. I’m going to destroy the island…

    And this is when the oh-so familiar white-lettered LOST popped onto our screen…

    Maybe you didn’t catch the mixed messages Locke Monster is sending, but I sure hope Ben did. At the very end of the episode, Locke Monster said he’s going to destroy the island. But earlier:

    Locke: I need you to kill some people for me, Ben.
    Ben: And why would I do that?
    Locke: Because once I leave this island, you can have it all to yourself.

    So Locke Monster is promising to leave Ben all alone on the island he’s going to blow up. I don’t know what Ben’s going to do, but if I were him, I’d take my chances with just about any plan other than this one. I’m just saying…

    What Jacob Says (and What He Didn’t Say)
    Back at the campfire, Jacob is telling our foursome why he brought them to the island.

    Jacob says our Losties are on the island because he made a mistake. His mistake: accidentally creating Sir-Smokes-A-Lot.

    He admits that he knew Sir Smokiness would kill him eventually, and that’s why he needed candidates. That’s why he brought them to the island.

    Sawyer: Tell me something, Jacob. Why do I have to be punished for your mistake? I was doing just fine until you dragged my ass to this damned rock.
    Jacob: No you weren’t. None of you were. I didn’t pluck any of you out of a happy existence. You were all flawed. I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.
    Kate: Why did you cross my name off of your wall?
    Jacob: Because you became a mother. But it’s just a line of chalk in a cave. The job is yours if you want it, Kate.

    Jacob’s answer highlighted only their flaws—and the fact that they were alone and looking for something. But didn’t he also choose them because of their “goodness”? Because of their potential for good, at least? Of all the flawed people in the world, of all the people who are searching for something, I would have liked to think something set our characters apart. Something made them, dare I say, “special.” Or “worthy.”

    But Jacob didn’t say anything about their positive attributes. I don’t know why, but I thought that was odd. (I guess I’ll just write it off as a result of his upbringing. His mom praised Brother’s ability to deceive. So if he grew up in a, uh, cavehold(?) where negative characteristics were lauded, maybe Jacob thought he was being complimentary here…)

    At this moment, I wasn’t sure who was going to step up. Jack? Kate? Hurley? I didn’t know, but I was fairly certain it wouldn’t be sulky Sawyer.

    Jack: I’ll do it. This is why I’m here. This is what I’m supposed to do.
    Jacob: Is that a question, Jack?
    Jack: No.
    Jacob: Good. Then it’s time.

    Jack Drinks the Kool-Aid
    Well, it turns out the “Kool-Aid” can be just plain ol’ island water. The real magic, apparently, is in the incantation.

    Jack: How long am I going to have to do this job?
    Jacob: As long as you can.

    Jack nods and drinks…

    Jacob: Now you’re like me.

    The beauty of this scene, if you ask me, is the subtle way the writers handled it. Obviously it mirrors the transfer of power we saw in the previous episode (from Mother to Jacob), but the writers didn’t glamorize it too much. And rightfully so. Jack isn’t Aragorn assuming the throne of Gondor (if this Lord of the Rings reference is lost on you, then I have a suggestion for how you can fill the Tuesday evening void in the weeks to come…)

    It was beautifully downplayed. And if you ask me, these lines were crucial:

    Sawyer: I thought that guy had a God complex before.
    Kate: James…
    Sawyer: Yeah, I know.
    Hurley: I’m just glad it’s not me.

    It’s like the perfect recipe for a successful scene. One part consternation/sarcasm from Sawyer, a bit of levity from Kate, and a dash of humor from Hurley.

    It might seem insignificant, but these lines make Jack’s acceptance more understated. More believable (as if any of this is truly believable). And it also shows that his friends, each in his or her own way, are behind him.

    Jacob tells Jack about how to find the light past the bamboo (where Jack woke upon first arriving on the island). This, he tells him, is where Locke Monster is trying to go, too.

    Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept It, is to Kill The Thing that You May or May Not be Able to Kill
    I glossed over this before, but when Jacob was explaining the job of island protector, he said all this:

    Jacob: There’s a light at the center of the island. You have to make sure it never goes out. That’s how you protect it.
    Sawyer: Your monster friend said there’s nothing to protect it from.
    Jacob: You have to protect it from him. You must do what I couldn’t. What I wasn’t able to do.
    Jack: You want us to kill him…Is that even possible?
    Jacob: I hope so, because he is certainly going to try to kill you…

    It’s like those commercials that say “Sometimes ‘Probably’ Isn’t good enough.” I don’t know what those commercials advertise, but it’s kind of like that:

    Jack: Can he be killed?
    Jacob: Um, probably?

    Yeah, sign me up for that.

    Hopefully Jack will have a little more luck than our friends on the other side of the island were having…

    Richard Gets Smoked (a.k.a. The Worst Plan Ever)
    A sinister smoke monster is coming to kill you…quick, what do you do?

    A) Hide in a Closet
    B) Go Outside and Wait for Him
    C) Run, Run, Run! (Why aren’t you running yet?)

    If you chose A, you’re dead. If you chose B, oops, you’re a moron (and also dead). If you chose C, like our friend Miles Straume, then ding-ding-ding, you’re still alive. For now.

    To be fair, Plan A, though it’s not going to win you any style points, could have worked. Had it not been for Benjamin Linus leading the Smoke Monster to the hiding place (and had it not been for Benjamin Linus murdering the one hider who the Locke Monster might have spared…).

    Looks like he's flying (but alive?) here...

    But Richard’s plan…to stand outside and wait for him…well, that proved to be the most ill-advised. (And that’s putting it nicely.)

    But is Richard dead? At first I thought so, but now I’m not sure. I thought boy Jacob had appeared to Smoke Monster when he was alone with Richard because he was reminding him that he couldn’t kill him (I know he specifically said this to Locke Monster when he was with Sawyer). So either: 1) he was never prohibited or prevented from killing Richard…and now Richard’s dead, 2) He was prohibited from killing Richard…and so Richard still isn’t dead, 3) He was prohibited from killing Richard, but he can now…and he did, or 4) He was prohibited from killing Richard, but now he’s breaking “the rules.”

    Option 4 is too messy. Option 3 is messy, as well. So I’m opting for one of the first two. And I’m wondering if he just carried Richard out of the picture (threw him in another well, maybe?) so he could manipulate Ben.

    If Richard really is dead, then I’m disappointed. Not devastated, but disappointed. It was one thing to off Ilana suddenly like that, but I would have liked Richard’s demise to be a little less brusque.

    Widmore Revisited
    Charles, I apologize. I misjudged you. I was wrong about you all along. I know you’re not alive to hear this now, but I’m terribly sorry.

    Yep, it looks like Widmore was a good guy… Who knew? (Then again, maybe I’m being too flippant with the “good” adjective. I suppose I should say that he was a “Jacob” guy.)

    According to Widmore, Jacob appeared to him after the freighter blew up, and Jacob helped him see “the error of his ways.”

    Sure, he could have been lying. But of the two men, Ben and Widmore, Ben was clearly the more despicable of the two. Widmore, it seems, may have really been carrying out Jacob’s wishes.

    And Then There Were…9?
    At this point, I’m assuming Richard is dead. The deaths of Zoe and Widmore remove everyone of consequence from Widmore’s team. I suppose some survivors could still be chilling on Hydra Island, but we don’t care about them.

    So by my count, we’re down to 9 people:

    At the well:
    Locke Monster
    Ben

    With Jacob (until the ashes burn up completely):
    Jack
    Kate
    Sawyer
    Hurley

    Running around the island somewhere:
    Miles

    Potentially running around the island somewhere:
    Desmond

    Doing who knows what:
    Claire (You almost forgot about her, didn’t you?)

    Sideways World Builds to a Crescendo (and yes, that’s a pun)
    At the end of the episode, Desmond said he was taking Kate to a concert. Do we think this is the same concert where David will be playing? The same concert that will be attended by Jack, David’s mom (whoever she is), and probably Claire? The same concert that Miles is attending? And Charlotte? And Miles’ daddy, Pierre Chang? Well, it’s either that or U2…but my money is on the former.

    And who knows, maybe Sawyer will change his mind and agree to be Miles’ date after all…

    As for where Hurley is taking Sayid, I’m betting it’ll be the spot where Nadia died in the original timeline—the street corner where she was hit by a car. After Hurley helps Sayid feel it, then maybe they’ll bounce on over to the concert, too?

    What Happens Next?
    Heading into the conclusion, I feel like I should have a theory to put forth. Maybe not a great one, but something to offer…and I don’t. I don’t have any idea. I have a few expectations, but they don’t fit together in a coherent stream of events. Nor do I have an idea about how it will all tie together. But I feel obligated to write something here, so…here are my best guesses:

    On Sunday night, we’re going to see more death. I’m fairly certain of that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack inaugurates some of his friends as fellow protectors (“Live together, die alone.”). I’m not saying it will happen. Just saying I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if Jack died. And if he doesn’t inaugurate his friends, and just one protector needs to replace him, my money is still on Hurley.

    I think Desmond will go down the light tunnel. (What happens then? I have no idea.)

    Most likely characters to die: Ben, Miles, Jack, Sawyer (in that order, I think).

    The plane will be flown by someone. (Or blown up. Either way.)

    Jack will use the words, “It’s the only way.” or perhaps, “We don’t have a choice.”

    No matter what happens, Hurley lives. (No one wants to see a Hurley death scene. Ever.)

    Snippets:

  • Jack really needs to stop shaving in his sleep.
  • Looks like they’re not going to blow up that plane after all…
  • In response to Miles’ question about Ben’s “secret-er” room, Ben says, “That’s where I was told I could summon the monster. That’s before I realized it was summoning me.” Interesting…
  • A very un-Kate thing to say:

    Kate: Locke did this to them. We have to kill him, Jack.
    Jack: I know.

  • Shouldn’t Kate be wondering where Claire is? (That’s like all she’s done for the last year. So why didn’t she mention her at all here?)
  • If you fast-forwarded through the commercials, but you DVR-ed the episode, go to the 26 minute-mark to watch the KIA award-winning fan promo. It’s well done.
  • Questions:

    1) So now that Sun and Jin are dead on the island, did we just abandon them in Sideways World? (Sayid’s still in the picture over there…)

    2) On the island, Ben demanded the walkie-talkies from Zoe and Widmore. When Widmore asked why, Ben said, “Because I asked.” Then he gave one to Miles (and kept the other one) and said, “In case I need you.” What’s that all about? (This isn’t a question I expect an answer to as much as I wanted you to remember it heading into Sunday.)

    3) Remember that scene in Widmore’s bedroom when Charles asked Ben if he had come to kill him and Ben said, “We both know I can’t do that”…? What was stopping him then? And why didn’t it stop him now?

    4) Where is Claire?

    5) Where is Desmond? And who helped him out of the well? (if Sayid had done it, he wouldn’t have told Jack Desmond was still in the well, so my guess is…wait for it…Rose and Bernard. Don’t they make an appearance in every season finale?)

    6) Who is David’s mother? Sarah (Jack’s ex-wife in the original reality)? Juliet? Penny? (I think we’ll recognize her, whoever she is, since Jack was asking David if she’ll be at the concert.)

    7) What’s Miles going to do? And are the writers keeping him alive for a reason?

    8 ) I feel like this one is important: Why did Desmond call Jack pretending to be Oceanic Airlines? By the end of the episode, this hadn’t come into play at all. But Desmond clearly has a plan, so what’s his plan here? Why did he want Jack to believe the airline had found his father’s coffin?

    9) Does Ben still have that C4 in his bag? (Methinks he does. And no respectable TV series can end with an unused stash of explosives…) So what’s he going to do with it? Blow up the plane? Blow up the island?

    10) In the season premiere we saw that, in Sideways World, the island was under water. Is that going to come into play in the finale?

    11) Now that Jack drank the Kool-Aid, does that mean that the other candidates are no longer candidates? In other words, are they vulnerable to Locke Monster now?

    Bonus Question: Are there certain things that you absolutely want answered in the finale? What?