If you haven't seen this week's episode of LOST yet...
BEWARE! HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
Don't say you weren't warned! Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk LOST!
This week's episode was titled "What They Died For" but it could have just as easily been titled "What They Watched For". Jacob said, "Sit down and I will tell you everything," and all of us Losties at home were screaming "We ARE sitting down! Tell us! Tell us!" And surprisingly, he did.
We found out Kate's name was crossed off the list because she had become a mother, and there was now purpose and healing in her broken life, so she was no longer a candidate. We also found out that Jacob chose the candidates, and brought them there, not to be cruel, but because they were alone, looking for something they couldn't find (Love, perhaps? Belonging? Family?). He gave them a chance to rise above their broken lives. Like Jack said to Kate (Season 1, Tabla Rasa) "It doesn't matter, Kate, who we were - what we did before this, before the crash. It doesn't really. Three days ago we all died. We should all be able to start over." I would like to think that the writers have done that, given a fresh start and a redemptive type story to almost all of the characters, even if their character arc ended in death. But before I get into some of the deeper thoughts I have about this episode, and the nice parallels and closure that was woven into the story, let's talk about my favorite moments from the evening.
I thought this was the most shocking moment of the night:
Ben: "He doesn't get to save his daughter."
I knew there would probably be a high body count towards the end of this show, but Ben shooting Widmore still surprised me. I thought Ben's motivation was believable, especially after just being near Alex's grave earlier, so her death was on his mind. I don't think Ben has gone back to being eeevil, I think he's conning Smokey, in one last great deception. (Oh, Henry Gale, how we've missed you and your evil conniving.) Only this time, I think, Ben will be conniving in the cause for "good". As much as one can talk about "good" and "bad" on this show. Ben has repeatedly said, "I always have a plan," and I think he has one here too.
One of the questions I've always had, is what has been Widmore's motivation throughout this whole story. Why was he trying to get back to the island? Did he want to rule it? Did he want to "rescue" the Others from Ben's evil rule? Did he want to harness the powers of the island? It was never quite clear, and we'll never know, because he's dead now. I know the writers don't have time to give everyone a proper death scene or final monologue, but I felt like Widmore's death was a little too abrupt for such a main, pivotal player in this drama. Speaking of abrupt, unsatisfying deaths...
I thought this was the most heartbreaking moment of the night:
Danielle Rousseau: "You are the closest thing to a father Alex has ever had."
Sawyer: "The bomb on the sub. . .you said he couldn’t kill us."
Jack: "I’ve been wrong before."
Sawyer: "I killed them, didn’t I?"
Jack: "No. He killed them."
Jack (to Jacob): "I’ll do it. . . This is why I’m here. This is . . . this is what I’m supposed to do."
Who am I kidding? If I would have allowed myself, I could have wept all the way through this episode. We are so close to the end... But these three moments stood out for me, and here's why.
I always enjoyed Rousseau's character. She was crazy, yet helpful. She was paranoid yet resourceful and talented. I loved it that she was finally reunited with Alex, but then I felt completely cheated that they killed her off unceremoniously without giving her one final "moment" or even letting her go down in a blaze of glory as she fought off a horde of Others, allowing Alex to safely make her escape. Nope. Shot in the back. (See my disappointment in Widmore's death above.) These are small disappointments, in an overall amazing story, but they still kind of stick in my craw. This particular one was rectified a little bit, by seeing a happy, normal Danielle last night with her daughter. It did give her storyline some kind of closure (although I suspect it is a fake closure, as I'm still not sure that the alternate time line will end up being "real"). I loved her scenes with Ben and Alex. I love it that in this reality, all of Ben's "good" qualities are at the forefront, instead of his manipulative evil ones. I have to admit, the whole thing made me a little misty-eyed.
My heart also broke for poor Sawyer, who is now carrying around the doubt/guilt that he was responsible for killing everyone on the submarine. That was some great acting by Josh Holloway. You could just see it in his eyes, the doubt and the pain that he might have been responsible. And how interesting that, a few years ago, the Jack we knew would have jumped at the opportunity to blame Sawyer and rub his nose in his mistake and "make him pay" for it. This Jack showed him grace, and assured him that it was Smokey's fault for putting them in that position to begin with. What an interesting change in dynamics between the two of them.
When Jack stepped forward to take on the responsibility of protecting the island, my heart caught in my throat. Whether you like Jack's character or not (which I've never been a big fan, but have liked him more than most of the bloggers online), there's something about watching a man step up and sacrifice his desires, and his life, to protect others and do the right thing. It reminded me of a soldier volunteering to go on a suicide mission during a war, knowing that it needs to be done, and knowing full well they won't be coming back alive. Jack is sacrificing his life, not in the sense of dying, but in the sense that he will never be able to leave, and is giving up a "normal" life in the "real" world. His quiet resolution to his decision, and his simple acceptance of the situation set before him, was touching to me in a way that I can't quite explain yet.
And finally, here is the funny moment of the night:
Miles: "Do you know where you're going?"
Ben: "I lived here for a long time, I think I know my way around."
Miles: "Well, I lived here 30 years ago, which was last week, and I still don't know where we are."
So, the body count continued to rise (so long Richard (sniff sniff), Zoe and Widmore) and we found out that we were right about Desmond being the Ace in the hole (no pun intended). We also discovered that the alternate reality Losties are going to all be converging at Miles's and Drive Shaft's concert, which has an odd sort of rightness about it, like we get to be a part of the cast's finale wrap party. I wonder what will happen there...
The show is whizzing by at a breakneck pace, and I feel like I'm missing a lot of the nuances that the writers have been working into the story, especially towards the end here. And I'm not just talking about the mirrors. Everything is becoming very circular and we're ending up right where we began. In the first episode, Kate stitched up Jack on the beach. In this episode, Jack was stitching up Kate's bullet wound on the beach. In season two, Jack and Locke constantly talked about fate vs. coincidence, faith vs. reason, and in this episode, in Jack's office, they had that same conversation again. When Ben and Locke were looking down the well for Desmond, the way they were positioned, the torches, the camera angle, it looked almost exactly like the image of Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch at the end of season one. I know I'm missing others. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know which ones you picked up on.
There is so much artistry to this show, not just from the writers, but from the directors, cinematographers, set designers, and of course actors. I suspect this show will be even richer upon a second viewing, as we will "know" the story, won't have to worry about getting answers, and will be able to sit back and enjoy all the finer nuances. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I've never ever experienced a television show quite like this one, and I don't think we will again any time soon. I'm happy I was able to come along for the ride, but I will be sad on Sunday when it is all over. We have a few precious days to discuss our very last weeknight show... so let's talk and theorize and get it all in before it's too late!