A lot to cover today. Let’s get Lost.
You know you’re in for it when “Lost” opens without the trademark “Previously on ‘Lost’.” It’s as if the producers don’t want to waste any time, knowing they have a full docket before them and precious few moments to spill all the details. In other words, it’s time to get down to business.
So we pick back up with the alternate John Locke post-surgery, meeting with the intrepid Jack Shepherd, who has come to admire his handiwork while offering Locke a little twist. It seems the normally opposing forces of Jack and Locke share one thing in common: in two disparate timelines, each is being groomed for special candidacy. For Locke, it’s Jack who brings him to the fertile grounds of experimental surgery, citing a procedure that could potentially give him what his otherworld doppelganger always sought: the ability to walk. Jack offers to “fix” him and seems fairly certain that he can do so with minimal risk. But alas, the good doc finds the ability to fix everything frustratingly out of his grasp, as this Locke wants nothing to do with regaining his sea legs. And that sets Jack off on a mission to crack the core of what makes this man tick.
It’s this investigation which leads Jack along a trail of increasingly mounting coincidences. Looking to get some background on Locke’s prior injury in a bid to understand why he’d turn down a guy offering miracles, Jack runs across Bernard the Dentist, who gives him the name Anthony Cooper, but also tips Jack to a strange quirk of fate. Seems Bernie was on Oceanic Flight 815, alongside Jack and Locke. And Bernard makes it quite clear to Jack that that fact is a bit curious. It’s enough to lodge in Jack’s brain.
And when he comes across Claire, who’s carrying a special package passed on to her in his dad’s will, Jack adds another member to the growing cadre of Flight 815 passengers whose lives are steadily being drawn together. The music box doesn’t rate specific significance yet, although once again we’re treated to a mirror world motif, as both Jack and Claire catch themselves staring into their reflections. In this sideways world, that’s been a recurring trend, as if the characters are subconsciously drawn to the reflection and somehow have this nagging itch that that’s all they really are—a reflection of some far off reality. The music box also pumps out a familiar little ditty (“Catch a Falling Star”), which Claire was so fond of singing to baby Aaron.
It’s just prior to this sequence that we catch another wrinkle in time, as an unconscious alternate-Locke talks in his sleep, muttering his key catch phrases: “Don’t push the button” and “I wish you had believed me.” Echoes of another time picked up my souls that are just now awakening to their broadcast.
Jack finally tracks down Anthony Cooper, but before their little meet and greet, he encounters Locke’s beloved Helen, who warns him from prying into the drama that surrounds this tragic father and son. In a startling twist of fate, Anthony Cooper is practically catatonic, and as we would later learn, in this new reality, fate bitch-slapped the old bastard by letting him ride shotgun when Locke took the reins of a plane on his maiden flight. Once again, this poor man has suffered grave indignity, with the subsequent plane crash robbing both father and son of their ability to walk, while also leaving Anthony even worse for wear. And it’s this guilt that prevents Locke from fixing himself, for no matter how whole he can become, his dad will remain a hollow shell. And it’s here that Jack Shepherd gets to lay his healing hands upon Locke, aimed straight for his wounded psyche. While it might be instinct to hang on tight when trying to fix something, sometimes the real healing comes in letting go.
On the island, events rush forward with grave momentum. I’ll admit, I was a bit taken aback by how Sawyer and crew were captured. I usually have a photographic memory for this stuff, but it seems to me that the last time we saw them, they were sailing away on the ocean blue. Now they’re captive and being marched to those polar bear cages, with Sawyer secretly hoping someone swapped the fish biscuits with Teddy Grahams.
So, despite the fact that I felt a momentary bout of panic that last week was not a hiatus and I had somehow missed a show, I just rolled with it. They were caught, and that’s all we need to know. And in rapid fashion, MiB Locke, Sawyer and Jack kick-start the great escape leading to one of the series best lines, as Jack motions to the ominous black smoke and says matter-of-factly, “I’m with him.” Bottom line – I never get tired of the Black Smoke kicking ass.
With the gang all together for what seems like the first time since Season 4, they make their move on the plane. The pacing is so crisp in this episode. In seasons past, I could easily see the escape being an episode of its own, followed by the plane portion being another episode. But with no time to spare, MiB is on the march, and it really pumps the adrenaline. MiB saves the effects guys an extra day of work by just charging the plane as some Satanic Superman, letting his enemies’ bullets go to waste as he busts a cap and breaks a neck. And then he calls an audible, showing Jack and company the C4 he found rigged to the plane. And in a little master touch, he lays out his later plan in matter-of-fact detail while attributing it to Widmore. Simply put, Widmore had aimed to get them all in one place, where he could kill them. A plan that sounds suspiciously like what I theorized several weeks back when our brains were chomping on all this candidate conspiracy mumbo-jumbo. My feeling then was that MiB needed all of the candidates together so he could get them all killed in one fell swoop. With no candidate left to become the next Jacob, he would finally have his loophole and be free to infest the Earth.
MiB tells them this while leaving out the part in which he plans to do the exact same thing at the submarine. And that’s where Sawyer’s season-long con gets trumped by the greatest con man of all, as El Diablo gets the drop on Jack’s backpack, inserting a little C4 surprise. With 3:42 to go (and five minutes away from the surface), Jack and company realize that they have only two options. They can either go the scientific route and pull the two wires that should sever the explosive ties, or embrace the newly born man of fate, Jack, as he assures them that so long as none of them does anything to monkey with the explosives, they will be completely fine. Jack gets it right. Only Man can embrace his free will and kill himself. Of course, that blind faith proves a bitter pill to swallow for Sawyer, whose actions essentially doom the majority of them.
There Will Be Blood. I knew that with five episodes left, we were due to lose a castaway or two, but I never thought it would go down like this – and so quickly. In the span of 15 minutes, Kate is shot (and therefore not out of the woods), Sayid is lost but not before finding a tiny hint of redemption, the bewildered Frank checks out, and then we get the one-two gut-punch with both Jin and Sun going down with the sub. A moment weighted with heartbreaking impact, as we realize that these two are leaving a beautiful little girl all alone in this suddenly uncertain world. And those last moments, as Jin and Sun revert back to their native tongue to express their undying devotion before clasping hands and ultimately drifting apart, are pretty devastating.
There are still four more episodes left in which Lindelof and Cuse can cull the herd. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Reaper, and my money is on Kate succumbing to that injury and Sawyer pulling off some sacrificial heroics. Or, given Sawyer’s actions on the sub, perhaps this is setting up nicely for that final shot, in which Jack (the new Jacob) and Sawyer (the new MiB) meet on the shore for a little jaw session while the wheel of fortune spins its way around again.
See you next week for episode 6.15, “Across the Sea,” which reportedly tells the backstory of Jacob and the Man in Black. This one is billed as a huge info-dump on the true nature of the island. I cannot freakin’ wait.