LOST EPISODE 6.16 – “WHAT THEY DIED FOR”

Jacob explains what they died for....

In what is dubbed the “penultimate episode” (next-to-last), Jacob passes his torch on to Jack after nearly 2,000 years of service to the island. I think we all knew it was going to be Jack, but I kept expecting them to throw us for a loop. But maybe they still will. Jack drinks from the blessed cup and his eyes nearly pop with revelation. I wonder just what island secrets were downloaded from leader-to-successor in that moment… Looked pretty intense!

Sideways Timeline (2004)

Jack wakes in his apartment, and has another mirror moment. This time the nick on his neck is much bigger than on the Oceanic flight, and it’s bleeding quite a bit. I think they are showing his “symptoms” are more pronounced… He’s getting ready to cross-over to his island self. Showing a mirror incident from the season 6 premiere is indicating we’re about to come full circle on the season.

Jack's mysterious neck wound is still there... And it's getting bigger. Thanks Sideways mirror!

David prepares breakfast (cereal), and while they eat, they discuss going to the concert later. Jack asks if David’s mom will be there, and as they’ve kept her identity a secret all along, I think this was thrown in to get us wondering who she will be… So it’s someone important. Rule out every Sideways woman we’ve seen so far, and I think we’re left with… Juliet. And I believe that’s where she and Sawyer will reconnect (Sawyer said he wasn’t going if Charlotte was, but I bet Miles talks him into it.)

Shephard family breakfast, a hearty bowl of Super-Bran.

Claire joins them for breakfast, and while a quick scene, I liked how awkward it seemed… That they are all just strangers that are thrown into a family situation and getting used to having each other around. Jack gets a call from “Oceanic Air” (aka Desmond) saying they found his father’s coffin. Why would Desmond wreak this havoc in Jack’s life just as he’s finally getting over the whole thing? Perhaps he saw Jack getting too comfortable with his life with his loving son and new sister, and was trying to irritate Jack’s natural angst and destabilize his grounding in Sideways to keep him open to dabbling in his island life.

Desmond, fresh from running down Locke, is back on the scene getting his Candidates together in Sideways. As he spots Locke and starts the car, Ben recognizes and catches him, and Desmond beats the crap out of him. Desmond appears to do this to spur Ben’s memory. The experience (though not a near-death one) flashes Ben momentarily to his post-island 2007 self, who was once in that very same situation, getting pummeled by Desmond on the dock after his attempt on Penny’s life, again referenced later this episode (“Dead is Dead”). Ben seems moved and perplexed by his vision for the rest of the episode. Calmly Desmond tells him that he is not there to hurt him but to help Locke “let go”.

"You want to know who I am?"

Ben is being treated by the school nurse (who previously played an ER nurse who treated Desmond for his gunshot wounds in 2007… Ironically, wounds Ben himself inflicted!)

ER doctor/school nurse

Ben is having his Sideways mirror moment, fresh off his island vision, when Locke comes in. He tells Locke that the man was trying to get Locke to “let go”, not to hurt him, and that for some reason Ben believed him.

Locke is sporting a Sideways head wound, like Keamy, Jin, Sun, and now Ben.

Miles and Sawyer are discussing the benefit concert that evening at his father’s museum, Miles asks Sawyer to go as his “date” (I thought Miles was seeing someone?), but Sawyer declines because Charlotte will be there. Desmond arrives and turns himself in for running down Locke and beating Ben. He smiles as he joins Kate and Sayid in the holding cells. All is going according to plan!

Alex runs up to Ben, now sporting a sling and beat up pretty bad. She compares Ben to Napoleon because he holds his arm near his stomach as a result of the sling he wears as Napoleon was reputed to do. Napoleon was referenced earlier this season in teacher Ben’s classroom in “Recon”. Shots of Ben in a sling also recall injured Ben during his Swan hunger strike.

Ben's sling. Now I know there are a TON of color references in this show, but I totally noticed at the school that everyone was wearing red, blue, and purple. Including Ben, Alex, and Rousseau.

Alex is incredulous at the prospect of anyone wanting to hurt “the nicest guy ever” (cough cough). Alex insists that her mother give him a ride home, and as Danielle greets him they both insist he stay for dinner. Danielle words it, “even if we have to kidnap you.” (“One of Them” and “Dead Is Dead“). Nice to see Rousseau with heels, a dress, and combed hair! After dinner, Danielle says Alex’s father died when she was two, and Ben is the closest thing to a father she’s ever had. Ben’s eyes start to well up (was he connecting with his island self?) He passes it off as the onions, but Danielle says NEXT TIME she won’t use so many. And I love this storyline, because getting romantic with Danielle means he gets a second chance at both love and being the father he wanted to be to Alex.

Alex's fated-to-be father figure.

Locke stops by Jack’s office and explains that he doesn’t understand why, but it seems he’s meant to be fixed by Jack. He observes that his encounters with Jack have been serendipitous: he and Jack were on the same flight; when he was hit by a car, of “all the doctors in Los Angeles” he happened to be treated by Jack; the same man who ran him down beat up a teacher at his school and said that he wasn’t there to hurt him but to help him “let go” – and that these were the same words Jack had used when they were last together. Jack suggests that he is mistaking coincidence with fate (nod to the “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate” line spoken by Eko in “What Kate Did”). Locke says whatever it is called he is ready to get out of his wheelchair. We get the feeling his change of heart has to do less with walking than finding out the meaning behind all these darn Oceanic 815-related incidents.

Doc Jensen:
But more than anything, it was a choice. Like Island Jack, Sideways Locke seized the opportunity life had given him: the chance to decide who and what he wanted to be. […] In the Sideways world, Jack will fix Locke’s spine and facilitate Locke’s awakening. On The Island, Guardian Jack will defeat Fake Locke and protect the spiritual circuit between the ”real Lockes” of both worlds. It’s sweet happily ever after… but I worry about the implications of what we saw in the opening moments of the season some 15 weeks or so ago, an ominous image that has been left for the last episode of Lost to explain: The Island, dead and underwater.

At the police station, the 3 criminals are being transferred. Kate makes a last ditch effort to flirt her way to freedom with Sawyer. While he looks tempted, he ultimately tells her it ain’t gonna happen. In the back of a holding van, Desmond proposes an escape plan, but in exchange for their freedom, he says he will exact a promise of each of them. They both agree skeptically. Just then, the van pulls over and Ana Lucia (still a dirty cop in this timeline as well), lets them go.

Sweet freedom!

Hurley arrives (in his Sideways yellow Hummer) with her payoff and instantly recognizes her as Ana Lucia. He asks if she’s coming too, but Desmond says she’s not ready yet. ”It was nice not knowing you,” Ana Lucia said, speaking more truth than she realized.

"Not ready yet." Not now, or not ever?

Hurley’s Camaro (that he originally got from his father) is parked nearby. Desmond hands Kate a dress. Recall this is the second time someone is handing her a dress to wear for a specific purpose, a la breakfast with Ben on the island in Alex’s dress then being held in the cages in “A Tale of Two Cities”, which coincidentally introduced us to Juliet (ahem, David’s mother). Desmond tells them they’re going to a concert. Aha, the concert is where it all goes down in The End! Desmond’s scheming Island Enlightenment on a GRAND scale, with everyone, all together at once. Perhaps a rousing rendition of ”You All Everybody’‘ will do the trick?

Kate's new cocktail dress, inset with her new dress for breakfast with Ben.

Known concert attendees:

  • Jack
  • David
  • David’s mom (who may or may not be Juliet)
  • Claire (might possibly tag along with her brother and nephew)
  • Desmond
  • Kate
  • Sayid
  • Hurley
  • Miles
  • Charlotte
  • Pierre Chang
  • Eloise (planning it)
  • Widmore (financing it)
  • Daniel (playing in it)
  • Penny (on the guest list)
  • Charlie (supposed to play as the rock act)
  • Sawyer (who I think will change his mind, despite Charlotte, and go with Miles)

So who’s missing? Sun is still in the hospital and Jin is by her side, but if she is released, they could be there. Maybe Jack mentions something to Locke about it. And maybe, just maybe, this will be Ben and Danielle’s first date (wink wink!)

Doc Jensen:
”What They Died For” gave us a scene in the Sideways narrative that could be seen as a metaphor for the Jacob/Loststance on the relationship between free will and fate. Desmond, the Jacob analog, broke Kate and Sayid out of jail — but they had no idea they had been liberated until Desmond spelled it out in the van. And even then, they didn’t really believe it. Kate and Sayid had been oblivious to Desmond’s machinations, but they were also powerless to stop the prison wagon from reaching Desmond’s destination for them. Still, during the trip, they retained total authority over their inner lives, and upon their arrival, they had the freedom to do as they wish. Their actions may have forced Desmond into a response, but at no point did anyone hold a gun to their heads. In fact, the only manipulation Desmond used was holding them to their word to do as they promised — to have integrity, to be people of their word. We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our response to our circumstances..

On the Island (2007)

BEACH AND JUNGLE:

On the beach, Jack prepares to stitch Kate up, which is definitely a nod back to the very first episode of season 1 when Kate needs to stitch up Jack. Kate had asked which color thread he preferred and he replied “basic black”, which is the same color he used on her last night.

Thread of choice? "Basic Black."

In the Pilot, Jack told her the story of counting to 5, which is how his father had taught him how to manage fear during crisis (“Pilot, Part 1“). Kate reflects on Ji Yeon, and remarks that Jin had never even met his own daughter. They both decide that “He” must be killed.

Jack stitches Kate.

Pieces of the destroyed sub and the red life vests wash up on shore, heartbreaking. Kate leans on Saywer’s shoulder and everyone pauses to mourn Sayid, Sun, Jin, Frank. Which was nice, because as last week was Jacob and the MIB’s story, they really didn’t give the castaways any time to deal with the loss of their friends.

Doc Jensen:
Perhaps they were also silently bidding adieu to the dream of returning to the home sweet home that lies somewhere across the sea. I think when you decide to kill the devil, you have to make peace with the prospect of not coming back alive. This isn’t a Fantastic Four story — this is a Suicide Squad mission. Did you see Kate slump against Sawyer? Was that Lost‘s way of telling us that Kate had ”made her choice”?

Reflecting on their loss.

At Jack’s urging, they set off in the jungle looking for Desmond. Because if the MIB wants him, they they’re going to need him. Sawyer, looking completely defeated, starts to take responsibility for the deaths on the sub by attempting to diffuse the bomb despite Jack’s advice. Where in the past, these two would normally settle their problems with their fists… It’s definitely different now. Jack interrupts Sawyer’s sad-sap admission, and says, hey, “I’ve made mistakes too.” They’ve come this far and finally made their peace with each other. Finally allies after all these years, just in time to team up for the final showdown.

Hurley sees a vision of boy-Jacob in the jungle, whom notably Kate cannot see. Yet. The boy demands the bag of ashes, then runs off. I think this is the first time they’ve shown a physical aspect to Hurley’s apparitions… He was able to grab an object from Hurley.

"They're mine." (PS - nice snaps on your vest, authentic Roman garbed boy Jacob!)

As Hurley chases him, he comes across adult Jacob seated at a fire. Jacob tells Hurley that the ashes are in the fire and that when the fire goes out, he will not be seen again. This is very reminiscent to the rules of The Source itself (if its light goes out, everyone will die). Good thing Ilana knew to save those ashes! And good thing Hurley found them. It was a convenient chain of events that led to a final scene with Jacob’s “essence” so he could pass the torch to his next Candidate. Jacob adds, for good measure, “We are very close to the End“.

Jacob proudly welcomes his remaining Candidates.

Hurley leads the others back to the fire, and Jacob greets each of them by first name. Hurley is surprised that they can all see him. In the Big Scene of the night, Jacob provides them (and us) with some definitive answers: He did indeed create the smoke monster, it has been trying to kill him ever since in retaliation, and since Smokey succeeded, one of them must replace him as the island’s protector. Jacob didn’t drag them all out of a happy existence — they were all flawed. He chose them because they were all like him – alone, all looking for something that they couldn’t find.

Doc Jensen:
From a timeless, spiritual perspective, the castaways are better off than they were before they crashed on the Island. Yes, they have suffered, yet their adventures together have brought them to a place where they find themselves more self-aware and liberated from ruts of self-destructive behavior. Jacob has also given them something which I’m not sure they yet fully recognize and appreciate, at least not in the Island world: a community of fellow souls deeply invested in each other’s survival, growth, and flourishing.

We find out Kate was crossed out because when she left the island, she became a mother (while the rest of the Oceanic 6 remained flawed/incomplete). But she could still have the job if she wanted it. Jacob explains that they must do the one thing he couldn’t: kill the smoke monster. Jack wonders if this is even possible, and he says he hopes so. But how does one kill a cloud a smoke, a spectral being that’s made up of one angst-ridden soul? The answer will surely be one of the series’ biggest revelations.

In closing, Jacob says he is offering them a CHOICE about assuming this role, something he never had. Jack immediately steps up, knowing that this is what he’s on the island to do.

Jack eagerly takes the job on his own free will.

Jacob leads Jack to a stream in the distance, explaining that while Jack has never seen the light before, he will be able to find it now that he has been chosen to protect it. Jacob says it’s just beyond the bamboo field where Jack landed when he fell from the sky. Jack is disbelieving, but it appears he just didn’t have the eyes to be able to see it before, just like the Lighthouse he didn’t see until he was looking for it.

Doc Jensen:
I am reminded of the C.S. Lewis novel The Pilgrim’s Regress, about a spiritual seeker who has a dream as a child of an island offering the promise of great meaning to his life, but after years and years and years of searching, he discovers that the place he’s looking for… is right back where he started. See, Jack? You had the magic inside you all along…

The Pilgrim's Regress by C.S. Lewis

Which actually makes a lot of sense… The Source, for Jack, is in the location where he first arrived on the island; just as the Source for Jacob was at the stream where Claudia delivered he and his brother. The Source can change locations depending on where it all began for its designated guardian.

Jacob says an incantation and takes some water into Jack’s cup and offers it to him. Before he drinks, Jack asks about the duration of the job – “as long as you can.” Jack drinks, Jacob embraces him and says “Now you are like me.” Interesting that it doesn’t have to be wine, the same cup, or even in front of the light of the Source to make this protector-deeming ceremony official. The other 3 watch from fire, and Hurley says ”I’m just glad it’s not me.” Famous last words… I’m now highly suspicious that Hurley might end up with the guardian-gig by the end.

Doc Jensen:
The Island needs The Source — but does The Source really need The Island? We’ve been told that a little bit of the light exists in everyone. Well, why not take a cue from Hurley’s Parable of the Hatch Pantry and just divide the rest of The Source equally among all people? Why not make humanity itself the exclusive dwelling place of The Source? It’s time to decentralize! It’s time for Mystic Reformation! That’s my theory of Desmond. I think super-Buddha is going to get dropped into the Holy Wormhole and will absorb all the energy into himself and then redistribute it throughout all of mankind. The Source needs a guardian. But what it needs even more is for all of us to guard it. And as I finish the preceding parenthetical, another one hit me. What if once upon a time, The Source did reside within all of humanity? What if we stopped believing in The Source, or we convinced ourselves that The Source stopped believing in us, so much so that now The Source exists as an anomaly that’s hidden away from us — as something lost that must be found. The Truth Is Out There — but once, The Truth Was In Here.

AT THE BARRACKS:

We finally see Richard, Ben, and Miles’ group again after a 3-episode absence. They are taking Ben’s shortcut to the Barracks to pick up some C4 to blow up the plane. In a big nod to the Sideways story, Miles senses Alex’s resting place, and Richard admits to burying her. Ben looks stricken for just a moment, and after only saying a quick “thank you”, offhandedly continues on to his secret room. He opens the safe and takes all 6 bricks of C4 (to “blow the plane to hell”), and when Miles asks about this other, secreter room, he said he thought he could summon the monster from here, although he later realized that the monster was summoning him.

Doc Jensen:
This is interesting to think about. If Ben has always been wrong about being Jacob’s chosen one for a period of time, then that means his tenure as the leader of the Others was fraudulent and invalid — which means that Charles Widmore was probably quite sincere in his persecution of Ben. Megabucks Chuck never wanted to get back to The Island to exploit it. He wanted to get back to The Island to save it from Ben’s corrupt administration.

Collecting the C4. I'm guessing this will come in handy for the MIB (or Team Jack?) in their final mission.

They hear a noise in the kitchen and discover the world’s most awful actress, Zoe. Charles immediately appears and holds them at gunpoint while Zoe goes to check on the outrigger. She sees the MIB approaching and runs back. Charles, upon learning of their plan to rig the plane with C4, tells Ben he’s “three steps ahead”, as usual. He reveals Jacob visited him shortly after Ben destroyed the freighter and told him all he needed to know “for this exact purpose.”

As the MIB approaches, they all scramble about what to do. Miles runs, Charles and Zoe hide, and Ben says he will do neither because it’s no use. Richard decides to try talking to Smokey, but he overestimates Smokey’s desire for Richard’s help anymore and is immediately pummeled by the creature.

Well, I guess he didn't need Richard anymore after all!

Ben turns, wide-eyed, and very deliberately sits on the porch. The MIB comes around the corner as Locke to speak with Ben, “just the man he was looking for.” And he cuts right to the chase: He needs Ben to kill some people, and in return, the whole island could be his. Ben agrees, and the first order of business was to give up Widmore’s hiding spot. When MIB suggests he wait outside, Ben says he wants to see this.

"You can have the whole island to yourself." I'm wondering if Ben is genuinely joining him...or if he realizes he's being played, and merely playing along with hopes of conning the MIB back in the near future. Ben saw that he was needed... MIB was coming to him out of weakness, not strength. I hope Ben is playing upon that. Because I'd like to think his Sideways arc as "the nicest guy ever" proves his apparent island redemption in recent weeks wasn't all for naught.

Ben sarcastically apologizes to Charles for giving him up. MIB asks who Zoe is, and before she says anything, Widmore tells her not to speak (rendering her pointless). MIB reacts by cutting her throat. Bad-ass, and thoroughly awesome (hated her!!)

She even looked terrible dying... Good riddance!

Threatening Penny’s life, MIB gets Charles to talk. He whispers just what he needed to know (about Desmond’s usefulness) before Ben fires multiple bullets at Widmore. His reasoning? Widmore doesn’t deserve the chance to protect his daughter. Payback’s a bitch! MIB says that Ben never ceases to amaze him but luckily Widmore had already told him what he needed to know. Ben then asks whether there are some “other people to kill” (awesome, classic Ben). Locke gives a gloating look.

Ben finally takes his revenge on Widmore.

AT THE WELL:

MIB takes Ben to the well where he threw Desmond. Ben wonders why MIB chooses to walk, when he could just fly as the smoke, but MIB likes to feel the ground under his feet… It makes him feel human again. One wonders if his desire to feel human, or reignite his feeling of humanity, will be his downfall (the key to killing him). They arrive and surmise Sayid helped Desmond escape instead of killing him. MIB reveals Widmore’s secret: Desmond was a fail safe. That if he killed the “beloved candidates” he was one final way for Jacob to be sure that he would never leave this place. In 2004, Desmond turned the failsafe key and destroyed the Swan hatch. In 2007, the MIB believes Desmond is the Island’s failsafe that can destroy the island.

Ben wonders why he is happy that Desmond is still free, and he replies when he finds Desmond he will get him to do the one thing he could never do himself: “Destroy the Island.” (dum, dum, dummmm…) So now we know he’s not only trying to leave it, but also destroy it. By the way, nice blow to Ben: The MIB offers Ben the job of leader of the island, yet not long after reveals that he intends to destroy the island instead. Nice con, MIB.

Desmond is one in-demand guy right now!

—-
Needless to say, I am beyond excited for the 2.5 hour finale, aptly titled “The End”, now just 4 days away. I’m also, like so many others, completely unprepared for the entire series to be over! It’s both rewarding, and bittersweet. I was thinking earlier back to the first time I saw “Pilot: Part 1” back in 2004… I was about 3 weeks late jumping on the LOST bandwagon, but quickly got into it and caught up, thanks to the insistence of my stepbrother John, who was telling us about the premiere weeks before it aired! It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago, this all began… And so much has happened in life since then: Three houses, a dog, and a husband later, I’m just as intrigued with the show as I was from Day One. And I think that’s really something special.

Now, off to decide which character I’m going to dress up as for the finale party! Suggestions?

Happy FINALE-watching… *sniffle*

Jen / desmondismyconstant

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LOST EPISODE 6.13 – “THE LAST RECRUIT”

Reunited. And split. And reunited some more!

Well this week we got a story that furthered along the Sideways arcs of ALL our castaways in one fell swoop. And I’m beginning to think it’s also impossible for them to die in Sideways, as it is on the island (fate/the island/Jacob/God/etc. isn’t done with them yet, which was reiterated by Jack to Sawyer in this episode)… See Sun and her baby surviving a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and Locke being saved by Jack the surgeon after surviving being hit by a speeding car.

The title “The Last Recruit”, I think referred to quite a few people. Desmond seems to be hopping all over Sideways gathering up as many Oceanic passengers as he can, at least the ones he recognizes from his Island timeline. In that way, I think he’s been recruiting the castaways to open their eyes to their other timeline. Also, Jack ended up staying behind with the MIB, he is likely the most important recruit, and the last to arrive in MIB’s camp. Jin was also the only one not in MIB’s group at the end of the last episode. And Claire was wanted by some but not by others on the sailboat… Kate said she wasn’t leaving without Claire, so she hopped aboard. And what about Desmond himself… He was busy in Sideways recruiting others, but on the island, Widmore sure did want to get him back!

Doc Jensen:
‘The Last Recruit” didn’t blow me away. Some of it really bugged me, actually, but it was a necessary staging episode for the final act of the season (and the series!), and I won’t judge it too harshly. But can I just say that the Lapidus quip ”Looks like someone got their voice back” was maybe the most cornball line ever uttered on Lost? (Like I said: not too harshly.) Still, there were plenty of meaty things in this busybusybusy outing to chew and savor. Jack’s torchlight chat with [MIB] was dense with significance. (Mystery Resolution Alert! Christian Shephard has always been a Smokey apparition! But did you believe M-T’s claim?) Sayid’s wellside conversation with Desmond also captured my imagination (do you think Mr. Designated Assassin executed his kill order?), as did Sideways Sun’s freak-out over seeing Sideways John Locke. And then there was the set-up for the next episode: Sideways Jack’s scramble to save Sideways John’s life. That passing reference to Locke’s obliterated neural sac was a nod to the classic moment in the pilot when Jack recounted his most harrowing moment as a young doctor. It led me to wonder if Lost is about to come full circle and give Jack an encounter with mind-clouding fear in both worlds. Count to five, folks: I think things are about to get scary.

Some quick thoughts from each story:

Sideways Locke, Jin and Sun:

Sun exclaims in Korean “It’s him! It’s him!” as they are wheeled next to each other at the hospital. Seeing as how they haven’t run into each other in Sideways at all, she was most likely crossing over into her island life through her traumatic brush with death.

"It's Him!"

And I think Locke was having a similar experience in his traumatic state. In the ambulance he said “My name is John!” (just as his mother insisted “His name is John!” the day he was born), but he also remembered that he was supposed to marry Helen Norwood. The pathetic past tense of that statement is all John Locke, but as soon as Sun recognized him he smiled: MIB.

Also in this scene, the paramedic suggests Locke’s wheelchair probably saved his life. Just as in the island timeline, his missing a kidney saved his life after being shot in that very spot.

Sideways Sawyer, Kate and Sayid:

At the police department, Sawyer waltzed to his desk biting into an apple… symbol of the Tree of Knowledge, of course. Sawyer and Kate flirt but don’t hit it off like their island counterparts.

Sayid is on the run after killing Keamy and his men and heads back to Nadia’s to pack. Sawyer and Miles see Sayid on video surveillance footage and states: “That’s our bad guy.” As he escapes out the back door, he’s tripped by Sawyer holding a taut garden hose. This is reminiscent of Rousseau’s trapping methods used to catch Sayid back in season 1.

Sideways Desmond, Claire and Jack:

Desmond catches up with Claire, his next target, and creepily pushes her into Ilana the lawyer’s office so she can bring Jack and Claire together at the reading of their father’s will. Jack is taken aback, but gets called in to work to perform a complicated surgery. In other words, he is forced to abandon Claire at the lawyer’s office just after reuniting with her, just as he abandons her in the jungle on the island. But… Duty calls! At the hospital, Jack sees Locke’s reflection in the mirror (Sideways mirrors), and recognizes him immediately.

Island (2007):

Jack and MIB talk civilly apart from the group. We find out for sure that the MIB can only impersonate those who are dead, and whose bodies are on the island. He said he took the role of Christian simply to show Jack where to find water. Not sure we can believe this completely, but sounds plausible…

Doc Jensen:
”Because you needed to find water,” he said. There was an implied ”Duh!” in there, as well as some implied irony. Back in season 1, Ghost Christian was a storytelling device that revealed Jack’s character and solved a castaway survival issue (finding water) — but did it mean anything more than that? Did the writers really know that Ghost Christian was a manifestation of The Monster, or was that something they decided after the fact? I know many of you are debating the question today, and my answer is that I don’t really care because either way, I am satisfied with resolution of the Ghost Christian mystery.

Claire was following them, and when she gets time alone with her big brother, says cryptically that because Jack let the MIB talk to him, whether he likes it or not, he is now WITH HIM. So then all the rest of the castaways are with him too… right?

Doc Jensen:
To be honest, I think the Jack-Claire twist hasn’t panned out to be as cool as it first seemed to be. Making them related by blood nourished the important thematic idea of interconnection between characters that existed prior their Island meeting. It also ratcheted up Jack’s angst over abandoning the castaways and during his Oceanic days. Perhaps there’s time to squeeze more out of it.

Zoe comes into the MIB’s camp threatening to get Desmond back by nightfall (though she doesn’t refer to him by name. Widmore’s team refers to him as the “package”, MIB keeps him hidden from the rest of the Candidates, everyone’s trying to keep his presence on the island hush-hush).  Zoe has a warning shot fired using her radio. She leaves the device with the MIB, who promptly smashes it. Just as Locke smashed Naomi’s radio from the freighter. He says “here we go” and lays out an elaborate plan for the group to split up, get the sailboat, and meet at Hydra. Sawyer has plans of his own, based on his deal with Widmore (why on earth did he still think that was valid??), and recruits Jack, Kate, and the rest of the castaways to steal the sailboat, rendezvous with Widmore, and take the sub off the island. Good point about the plane plan not working… Everyone comes and goes via sub!

Sayid goes to kill Desmond, but Desmond (presumably) talks him out of it. Sayid lies to the MIB later and says the job is done, hoping he’ll trust that it is.

"What will you tell her?" Desmond's question breathed life back to zombie-Sayid. Doc Jensen: Nadia's reaction (''Did you hurt someone?'' And then, chilling: ''What did you do, Sayid?'') only confirmed what Island Desmond had said to Island Sayid about the cost of reunion.

Jack decides that this “doesn’t feel right”, and after talking to Sawyer, jumps off the sailboat and heads back to the island. This is reminiscent of their last escape attempt via helicopter… Frank urged them to drop all the weight they could, when Sawyer decided one less passenger would help them make it out alive.

Doc Jensen: "We were brought here because we were supposed to do something, James. And if Locke — if that 'thing' — wants us to leave, then maybe it's afraid of what happens if we stay?'' In that line, it seemed to me that Jack was applying several lessons of his Island experience, including all the hard lessons Ben had taught him over the years about Island bad guys. Island bad guys figure out what you want most in life, then exploit it. They motivate you with fear and urgency, and make it sound like you share common interests, but in most cases, whatever it is they want you to do is actually the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

The sailboat arrives, and Sun and Jin are finally reunited after 29 episodes apart… yay! And with her constant back, she’s able to speak English again. The celebration is short-lived when Zoe gets word that Widmore’s deal is off and holds them all kneeling at gunpoint.

Jack makes it back to the beach and is met by Locke and his group, who guesses that Sawyer took his (well, Desmond’s) boat. After saving Jack from the explosions, he reassures him: “You’re with me now.” Eek! Also: Jack is saving Locke’s life in the flash-sideways timeline, while in the original timeline, the fake Locke is saving Jack’s life.

Sidenote: We didn’t see Richard, Miles, and Ben at all this episode. Methinks their quest to destroy Ajira over on Hydra will be key to the endgame!

Miscellaneous:

• Trailers for this episode featured the Pendulum song “Through The Loop“. The song features samples of The Rowing Song, as spoken by Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which was again adapted from “The Rowers”, a 1959 poem by Roald Dahl. In the movie it is part of the selection process of choosing a Candidate to succeed Willy Wonka.

• Ilana’s office where Desmond, Claire, and Jack go is on the 15th floor.

• Drinking the Kool-Aid: Sawyer tells Kate that Claire can’t come with them because she “drank Locke’s Kool-Aid.” This may be a reference to the Jonestown cult mass suicide of 1978, when over 900 followers of Jim Jones committed suicide at their Guyana camp. Jones had cups of Flavor Aid or Kool-Aid dosed with cyanide.

Jonestown Massacre

• Regarding MIB’s role:

Doc Jensen:
My recap hinges on a reading of Lost that I’ve had since ”Ab Aeterno.” In the climactic scene of the episode, the Man In Black vowed to kill Jacob and any of his replacements. It’s been my stated theory since then that MIB has been lying to the castaway candidates about getting them off The Island alive. Instead, what he’s been conspiring to do is get them killed by either trying to escape — or by trying to stop him from escaping. MIB can’t kill the candidates himself, per the implied rules expressed by the Ghost Boy that’s been haunting him, so he needs to manipulate Widmore into slaying the castaways, or trick the castaways into killing each other. All this said, MIB’s homicidal ambitions may not be ”evil.” I have previously speculated that the castaways have lived long past their natural expiration date and need to pass into the afterlife, which may or may not be represented by the Sideways world. Thus, killing the castaways isn’t wrong, but rather the means to end their unnatural state of being. Among the flaws in my line of thinking: it does seem to be increasingly likely that the Sideways world is some manufactured reality that represents the pay-out of MIB’s happily-ever-after promises to the castaways. The following recap leans more on the latter perspective, though it doesn’t quite square with my characterization of MIB as a tough love angel/afterlife traffic cop. Indeed, with each passing week, it does truly seem that MIB is as Satanic as we fear him to be.

• Regarding Hurley’s role:

Doc Jensen:
Should we be skeptical about the legitimacy of Hurley’s ability to see and converse with the dead? Ghosts have visited Hurley since ”The Beginning of The End,” the season 4 premiere, when Charlie’s specter visited him at the mental hospital in the flash-forward time frame and began wooing him to go back to The Island. That was also the episode where Hurley got lost in the jungle and stumbled upon Jacob’s haunted shack and peeked in the window and saw Ghost Christian in a rocking chair. Then an eyeball popped into the frame and glared right back at him and scared the hell out of Hurley. Or maybe it scared the hell into Hurley. Assuming that Jacob’s haunted shack didn’t belong to Jacob at all, but was instead a prison for The Man In Black, I wonder if the dark man literally got into Hurley’s head in that eyeball moment and has been messing with him ever since. Consider Ghost Jacob. In the season premiere, he instructed Hurley to take Sayid to The Temple for healing. How did that turn out? Sayid came back to life and helped MIB lay waste to The Island’s spiritual epicenter. In ”Lighthouse,” Ghost Jacob instructed Hurley to take Jack to the lighthouse by evoking his father’s memory. (”You have what it takes.”) How did that turn out? The experience left Jack convinced that Jacob was a perverted voyeur who had been spying on him since childhood and further convinced him that The Island was not a place where he’d find healing for his brokenness. Putting Jack in such a place helps MIB’s cause because it sets Jack up for one of his Faustian bargains. What do you want most in the world, Jack? Reconciliation with someone you love? Your father, perhaps? Because I can do that.

~ I wonder though if this can be true because (A) Hurley saw ghosts off-island in the original timeline before he came back to the island, and (B) Ilana mentioned quite a few episodes ago that the MIB is now stuck in John Locke’s body. We’ve since seen him turn into the smoke monster, but he hasn’t inhabited anyone else but Locke since then…

• Sawyer refers to Lapidus as a guy from a Burt Reynolds movie… People are saying this points specifically to the Burt Reynolds movie, Deliverance. I’ll be exploring this option eventually (as I’ve never seen the movie), but in the meantime I’m pointing you in the right direction. Take note!

Deliverance could hold some Lost clues.

Next week: “The Candidate” …But which one? I’m guessing another Jack episode, but we’ll see!

Sorry so short this week, I may add in if free time allows! Lost is taking a week off next week, and I wish they left us with a bigger cliffhanger to explore for 2 weeks, but maybe things will reveal themselves the longer I mull them over! Thanks for reading, as always. Comment and share!

Jen / desmondismyconstant

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