Two weeks have passed since the last new moment of LOST has been shown. The extra week allowed the anticipation to build into almost a fury of excitement. The final four. So much to be revealed, yet so little time. I hope many of you used the week to move along in any party planning you may be doing for the final episode. I know i did. And now, with three Tuesdays of goodness left, we get find out where it all may lead.
The last episode ended in the sideways time line, where Jack was called into to operate on John Locke after he was run down by Desmond. Sun had been shot, and she and Jin were also at the hospital. As was Ben Linus who rode in the ambulance with Locke. It seemed as if the sideways flash was about to have a giant “big bang” like collision when the memories start flowing. So naturally, that is where “The Candidate” begins. Jack is standing over Locke as he comes to from his emergency surgery, and in the way that only LOST seems to be able to pull off, opens the episode by saying “Welcome Back.” Thanks, cause two weeks was a long time!
After immediately recognizing Jack, Locke says “I know you.” Even though the look from Locke makes us second guess where from, Jack proceeds to tell Locke they know each other from baggage claim after 815 landed. Jack tells Locke his dural sack ruptured, a recurring injury of revelance on the show (Jacks story to Kate, cutting open Ben’s, etc). He then mentions that he has looked at the previous injury and he believes that “Mr. Locke is a Candidate”. And already the shows producers are playing games with title, another device that is one of the great subtleties of this show. Locke may be a candidate in that world for experimental back surgery, but I think we all know he is not THE candidate, the one who may be revealed within the hours show. That would be the candidate to replace Jacob in our real time line, which is where the story heads.
Jacks awakes in one of the islands kayak like boats, which of recent is seeming to be a theme of its own, with the Elizabeth II making its return last week. Sayid greets him with “welcome to Hydra island, at least you didn’t have to paddle.” So already we know Smokey has taken the fight to Widmore after being bombed from a far when we last saw. And we are reminded of other recent events as the story quickly moves to one of Widmore’s people trying to force Sawyer and Kate back into the polar bear cage they spent season 3 in. This would be the first of many ironies in this weeks episode, something the show does very well. We are also reminded that Widmore’s people are not the mercenaries he once sent, but scientists, as Sawyer quickly turns the tables snatching the gun. Charles himself though, is both mercenary and omniscient, and quickly fires a shot, grabbing Kate and demanding Sawyer return the weapon.
It is here that we gain the first chunk of important knowledge which this episode would sprout from. Sawyer assuming Widmore wants them alive because he is caging them, calls bluff on the threat to Kate’s life. Widmore responds, saying “I have a list with four names on it, Ford you are one of them, as are Reyes and the Kwans. Kate Austin is not, so it doesn’t matter to me if she lives or dies.”
Widmore is both ruthless and knowledgable, which only furthers his role as one of the keys to the upcoming end of this story. One mystery we could propose comes out here is where did Widmore get the list? Somewhere along the way, he found out what this anchient battle between good and evil is all about, and that makes him the only person not inhabited by a Smokemonster that has the answers we as fans seek. How he came to be the power player in this fight that he his will hopefully be revealed. As we found out in Season 5, he was once forced off the island by Ben after accusing Widmore of “breaking the rules” for fathering a child with an outsider(“Dead is Dead”). We also met him as a young solider protesting to Richard about saving young Ben’s life(“Whatever Happened Happened). Somewhere in between he discovered what the show is all about, and when the origin of his knowledge is revealed it is likely to be a cornerstone to the meaning of entire series.
This leads to another point that is clearly being ignored by the creators, so that element of surprise exists. Lets not forget that both Ben and Richard Alpert, while not being shown since splitting off from the Losties at the beach back in the 12th episode “Everybody Loves Hugo”, will eventually show up, likely as the cavalry, and will have their own rivalries with Widmore to face and overcome. Who will Alpert and Linus be the cavalry for? Charles Widmore may be the most important character as we stand right now.
Back to the episode, and the sideways time line, Jack is seeking info on how Locke was paralyzed. This leads him to Bernard, who immediately notes they met on 815 just as Jack and Locke did. Saying “kinda creepy isn’t it.” This excellent use of foreshadowing is a sign of things to come in this time line for the rest of the show. At this point the character Anthony Cooper (the original Sawyer/Locke’s dad) is re-introduced, with Bernard leading Jack to him. We later find him to be in a vegetative state at some medical facility. His story would be told later.
During the same time, on the island Locke explains to Jack that he has brought Sayid and Jack to Hydra island to rescue his friends so they can leave. Jack, wanting to help his friends, agrees but insists he is not leaving the island. Locke just asks that he reconsider after the rescue mission.
We are taken to Kate and Sawyer, back in their special cage (“I DO” season3-ep 6), where Sawyer reveals that Kate’s name was crossed off in the cave that Smokey Locke took him to. This is consistent with what Jack saw at the lighthouse as well. Kate is not the candidate, despite the original story calling for her to fill much of Jacks lead role She is still surviving though, and will be an intricate connection between Claire, Aaron, and the two worlds going forward.
The story telling doesn’t last long the power to the sonic fence suddenly fails, or disabled and the leaves of the jungle begin to tremble, meaning only one thing; here comes Smokey. Widmore’s men are easily handled by the power of the pillar of smoke, Locke’s true form. [writers note: just writing that sentence makes me understand why some people think we are crazy for loving this show]. As Kate reaches for the keys to escape sitting on a dead mans belt, the jungle goes silent. Instead of Locke appearing it is Jack, surprising the group he abandoned on the boat, and opening the cage to rescue our original Losties and Frank Lapidus, and lead them from Widmore’s camp.
Locke meanwhile has turned his attention to the plane. Killing Widmore’s crew with ease, one after one. In a strange moment he takes a watch off the arms of a man whose neck he broke. It was odd at the time, and it would answer itself in the end. My thought was he needed it as the time seems to shift when leaving the island. Guess I’m a sucker for the twists and turns. He finds the plane loaded with C4, rigged to detonate upon starting . He takes some of the C4 to use in support of his case against Widmore. Once again, confounding the difficult question of who is good and who is evil. This question would be settled for good shortly. Locke claims that Widmore wanted this, and those men were only show, meant to die. Claiming Widmore wants the whole group all together, confined so he can easily kill them. At this point he alters the plan to leave, now focusing on the submarine, another boat of importance popping up again recently. Sawyer is pumped as he been maneuvering for the sub plan all along.
In another brief moment which seemed strange at the time, Locke forgives Claire without second thought. This seems to go against how he has been representing himself this season. Claire betraying him and trying to escape means nothing to Locke though, because he doesn’t care what happens to Claire. She is just a tool of his.
Meanwhile, Sawyer, after thanking Lockemonster for saving “their asses” again is talking the game , but secretly asks Jack for one last favor. He wants Locke thrown in the water, not on the submarine. Jack, again willing to help, meanwhile continues to tell all who will listen that he is not leaving the island. Jack has become the old Locke, and this becomes even more clear as we go forward. This is the ultimate irony of the series so far.
The sideways time line finds Jack standing over a dreaming Locke, who is mumbling about “pushing the button.” The memories of the real timeline creep closer. Suddenly Claire shows up to talk with Jack about their father, who has left her a wooden music box. Jack, after getting an Apollo bar from the machine Jacob once retrieved a stuck Apollo bar from for Jack(season 5 finale), discovers that Claire was on 815 as well. Does the Jack in the time line not find it a little weird that he has met and spoken to about 5 people this day alone on that flight? Regardless,he is unable to discern the meaning of the box. It does however contain a mirror, which while we haven’t really discussed this yet here, has become a recurring theme of the sideways flash. Jack saw himself and Locke in a mirror in the last episode, and Desmond also saw his reflection several times in that time line. Also in this new reality created this season we have seen Ben, Locke, Sun, Sawyer, and Kate all in a scene where they pause to look at themselves in a mirror. My interpretation of this Season 6 phenomenon is that it is a visual representation of the greater theme of self reflection.
The creators, through this sideways flash, are asking the viewers, as well as the characters to take a look at themselves and truly discern which reality they prefer. Maybe it even goes deeper,to the question of what is important in life? We have noted the over-arching theme of soulmates that has become part of the story this season too. The soulmates were often brought together via the island and or Jacob. Some, Penny and Desmond or Jin and Sun, were united previously.
However each of these relationships was flawed by similar circumstance, the woman involved’s father. Daddy issues aren’t new to the show either, as we have seen, this primary relationship has shaped almost every main character. Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Hurley, Claire, Ben, Daniel and even lesser characters such as Miles and Shannon (who is suppose to return for an episode this year). This theme was started back in Season 1, episode 1, when we discover that Michael and Walt have a strained and minimal relationship.
Meanwhile, we flip back to island standard time, where Lockemonster and crew are talking the sub with ease. It appears almost unguarded at first, as Sawyer and Frank climb right in. The others are waiting uncovered to climb aboard as well. As Jack and Lockemonster hang back, but begin to walk the dock together. Jack again proclaims he is not leaving the island. Locke proclaims that “whomever told you that you needed to stay had no idea what they were talking about.” This stops Jack, and thus Locke on the dock. What Locke the monster doesn’t know is that Jack wasn’t told, but through reflection and his experience at the Lighthouse he has figured out on his own the significance of the island, his role in being brought there, and transformed him from that man who was leading the charge to save everyone by sending them home, to a spiritual man who accepts that fate has a path he cannot overcome. His destiny is tied to the island and his faith in this is now unbreakable. This transformation first appeared in the epic dynamite scene of Ab Aeterno, and was furthered by his decision to depart from the first escape attempt by boat which Sawyer led in the last episode. Too bad Sawyer hasn’t found this same acceptance yet, as the final scenes of the episode approach.
Lockemonster, now face to face with Jack asks who told him he needed to stay. “John Locke told me I needed to stay!” And with that he uses the rifle to shove the new Locke into the water. In what will be discussed later, for some reason Locke’s exit from wood to water is what starts the shooting. Widmore’s men, in sniper positions around the dock start firing. Kate takes one in the shoulder. The group begins to retreat into the sub. And Jacks almost fatal flaw, his love for Kate, again wreaks havoc. Taking her into the sub to try and save her, Sawyer hears the shooting and pops out the top to see whats happening.
Locke is killing at will, with a pistol this time and not as the smoke monster, with Claire also showing off her training and picking off snipers. With the Lockemonster now heading for the sub, Sawyer seals the top and demands they dive immediately. Claire, and her abandonment issues cause her to cry out they are leaving us again. At this moment, we getd to the classic LOST mind**** dropped in our laps. Lockemoster grabs her and says “Its ok, you don’t want to be on that submarine.”
Again, this is out of character from how the inhabited Locke has represented himself as trying to escape the island with the Losties. As Jack, after protesting the sub leaving breifly, refocuses on Kate. He looks into his pack for supplies to help her, and instead discovers the C4 from the plane, set with a watch, one that Locke mysteriously took from a man he killed earlier, as a timer with 3:54 remaining till detonation. It is now clear. This manipulation was well planned and incredibly executed by what we know become forced understand as the true evil he has been described as by those in the know, like Richard and Widmore.
Lockemonster never needed the Losties to escape. He needed all the candidates dead to escape. And despite him earlier telling Jack that he could kill any and all of them in a second if he wanted, it was all part of the deception. Much as he used Ben to kill Jacob, finding the loophole, he cannot kill the candidates either. So instead he put them in a sub, underwater, with a ticking time bomb. They all now know that Locke has pulled on their strings like puppets in his plan, but only one understands why.
As our original Losties scramble, attempting to escape this ever nearing doom, Sayid is discussing how to disarm the bomb. Sawyer gets ready to pull the wires. And what has been foreshadowed for weeks becomes clear in an instant. Jack is the one, “The Candidate”. As if a voice from with in is speaking to him, the island if you want, he gets it. “Wait” he yells, pausing Sawyer. He has figured out Locke’s master plan. Locke can not kill them, or at least Sawyer, Hurley, Jack and the Kwons because they are candidates. But he has found a way that they will kill each other. “Nothing is going to happen.” Jack startles the group with this revelation. “Nothing is going to happen.” He reveals this understanding of the situation while the timer ticks towards 1 minute. He reasons with Sawyer who is about to pull the wires. Grabbing him by the chest, he comforts him saying “We will be Ok, You have to trust me on this.” Sawyer answers.
“Sorry Doc, but I don’t!” Sawyer answers. And he pulls the wires. After a brief pause, the timer starts ticking faster.
We are now welcomed to the new world of LOST. I am going to finish the synopsis before talking about the themes represented by the ending because it is important In a heartbeats time, Sayid grabs the bomb. He tells Jack that Desmond is alive in the well and that Jack will need him. He says “you are the one Jack” and runs towards the end of the sub in an epic maneuver of self sacrifice. Sayid dies as the Sayid we have known and loved for years, tough as nails but soft and insecure. He is not the zombie, but the hero.
The water begins to flow in. Time is short. Jack tells Hurley to grab Kate and get her to shore. “What about Sayid?”…. “There is no Sayid!” Jack responds. Meanwhile Sun is trapped by a large metal object shaken from the explosion. Jin tries to help. Jack, carrying Sawyer, offers to help. Jin tells him to go. He offers Jin the oxygen tank, and Jin declines
saying they can’t escape without it. Quickly the fate of the Kwons becomes clear. Sun is going to drown, and Jin, holding up his promise, again refutes all of Sun’s desperate attempts for him to save himself, saying “I won’t leave you, I will never leave you again.” And in Titanic like fashion they drown together their grip on each other slowly separating as the two original characters, and two of the candidates tragically die because of Lockemonster, and the Losties failure to trust the right people. Once again it is clear. If he speaks to you, it is already too late. The Losties never trusted Locke in his new form, but the followed him because he had the answers, and no one else did. Until now. Rest in peace Jin and Sun, at least you went together. The island was done with you. Its been quite a ride, but in the end, Kwon, whichever one, was not the candidate.
We flash to the sideways time line for one final scene. Jack and Locke are speaking. In saying goodbye, Jack reveals he went to see Anthony Cooper, Locke’s father. Locke reveals how he lost the use of his legs in this reality. A plane crash.
One week after getting his private pilots license. He had begged his dad to be his first official passenger. He was scared of flying, but Locke looked him in right in his eyes and said “trust me.” This is obviously significant because of the
previous scene in which Jack asked Sawyer to trust him and Sawyer’s reluctance led to tragedy. In Locke’s story the trusting of him led to tragedy. This shows the contrast in Locke’s alternate time life that we haven’t seen. He was close to his father. He may even have both kidneys. And he hurt his father, not the other way around. And now the ultimate irony of a plane crash now both taking away his ability to walk, and also giving it back to him. Jack says “What happened happened”, both an episode title and a phrase spoken often by Eloise. Another subtlty that makes this show great. Locke chuckles, laughs, and rolls off as Jack shouts” I can help you John, i wish you would have believed me.” Locke stops for a moment but rolls away.
And as the final minutes slip away, Kate, Hurley, Jack and Sawyer all come a shore. Jack, asked about Jin and Sun only can shake his head. And they all start to cry, and to hurt, and we get to feel this with them for just a second before being taken to Lockemonster sitting with Claire. Listenting to the island perhaps he proclaims the sub sank. Claire responds” they’re all dead?” Storming off he says” not all of them.” As Claire rushes to keep up Lockemonster proclaims “I’m going to finish what I started.”
So the final few minutes were obviously immensely intense. Jin and Sun are gone. As is Sayid. Jack is clearly the one. The candidate. Hugo and Sawyer remain possibilities but seem no where near the level of spirituality and understanding that Jack has. It is reminiscent of Jacob. Not only this, but this battle is not over. Not by a long shot. Jack and Locke, in a confrontation and rivalry that has been the glue to the series is about to remanifest in one final face off.
What we did learn this week though is what the real rules are for our Smoke friend. He must find away to get someone to kill the candidates. He has options. Claire the most immediate and again under his spell. However, it is inevitable Kate will try to bring her back if that is at all possible now. The plane still exists. If the candidates seek help from our other cornerstone character Charles Widmore, then Ben and Richard’s perception of Widmore could make them tools for Locke. This is all theory. It is the direction we are seemingly headed.
Here is what else we learned. Lockemonster, is definitely the bad guy. By simple logic, Widmore and his ruthless sacrifice of life to stop him shows he is both aware of the evil Locke represents but also his willingness to uphold the law of the island. To close the loophole if you will. While he is cruel and harsh, he is on the good team. Another example of the creators leading down a path one year, making us question it, question it again, and waiting until the final possible moment to open up the doors so we can see where Widmore really falls. I firmly believe Widmore is good, and believes that it is the most important thing he can do is fight Lockemonster, which leads him to be unemotional about human life. The one thing that I though was strange and am trying to solve, is why did Widmore’s people start shooting at candidates once Locke was clear of the picture, being tossed into the water. They didn’t run up, they were there, in sniper positions all along. Kate, who we know can die with out consequence is the one hit. And Sawyer and the Kwons are in the sub. This means they were shooting at Jack, Kate, and Claire. Is there an explanation for this? Another mystery that will be solved this month I hope.
Some of the main themes throughout the whole series were incredibly evident. First, that of redemption. Sayid, who had spent all his life questioning the type of man he was, in one second decided to blow himself up to save the candidates. This, along with leaving Desmond alive and revealing his location, show Sayid was not as zombie like as just a few weeks ago. We could mention the fact that the Iraqi guy essentially suicide bombed himself, but I would strongly argue that this is insignificant and immaterial. After all we have been through, cheap cliches about the state of the world is not what the creators do.
Also, we have now seen the majority of the changes in new time line. One of the big questions will be centered around whether they get to choose which one to live in. That is what I believe this season six theme of self-reflection is all about. Intertwined with this, the soulmates theme was only strengthened by Jin staying with Sun. Rather than even mentioning that they have a daughter, it seems as if they know in their final moments there is no getting off this island. Too much energy has been spent on that already. Instead, they make clear to each other that “what happened happened” and all that matters is they love each other again and are together.
Another series long theme that was ever so prevalent in this episode was irony. Not only the ones I mentioned, such as plane crash both taking away and giving Locke the use of his legs. Or Jack becoming Locke, as Locke has become pure evil. Also ones that showed up were that Locke, or whatever he is currently, has now destroyed both submarines. He blew up the sub when Jack and Kate were about to be allowed to leave back in “The Man from Tallahasse”. Also, Sun assuming Jin had died in a boat explosion for 3 years, only to be reunited with him now both die together in a boat explosion. It is everywhere in this episode and it is meaningful because it shows the depth and thought that is put into the smallest details of this show. Nothing goes overlooked, or hasn’t been done on purpose. I
have saved the best for last. I mentioned at the end that Jack yelled to Locke, “I wish you would believe me”. The irony here, is that Locke signed his suicide note, which ate Jack alive from the inside out, driving him back to the island with “I wish you had believed me”. So in a way, Locke’s death as the man of faith gave life to Jack the man of faith. Maybe even making Jack the one who is special to the island, something Locke embraced almost too much when the others worshiped him. Irony. This literary tool is used to the max in LOST, and it only enhances the mysteriousness of the whole thing. In a way, the ironies give life to the theme of choice vs free will. Does everything happen for a reason?
Next week looks like a commentary on good and evil. Black and white. Again themes that have been present since this show began. It is the meaning of these themes that will drive the actions of our characters. Along with those, redemption, and true love may be the next important, and are guaranteed to do the same. Will Kate be Jacks soul mate? or Sawyers? And when will we see Ben and Alpert again. Anthony Cooper hadn’t been seen in almost 4 seasons before his reappearence. There will be more moments like that as we wind down (or up) to the conclusion of an amazing tale of time, fate, destiny, faith, and redemption. My best guess is that in the end, all who are left wouldn’t want to change a thing if presented the chance. There are no regrets here. It has shaped them from the messes they were when they arrived into greater men and women. What happened, happened. That may be what this whole show is about. That has meaning no matter who or what the situation is. That is the metaphor of life. No matter what, we shouldn’t change the past, even if we could. The past is what made us who we are, and we need to be that person to fulfill whatever our destiny may be. Even if we make the choices that cause struggles in our lives, it is those struggles that shape who we become. If we choose too, we can say both destiny and free will exist, and we have no control of anything but the present moment.