What they Died For
Last episode was all mythology, this week it's back to the business of plot. If you've been living on an island somewhere, this is the penultimate episode of Lost.
We start with a curious event in 'alt-universe'. Jack wakes up in his apartment. There is a brief scene where Jack looks in the mirror and notices he has a cut on his neck. This isn't the first time he's had a random cut on his neck. In fact, the season's first visit to alt-universe had the exact same occurrence - only Jack was looking into the bathroom mirror on alt-flight 815. Repeating this cut on his neck, the writers are clearly pointing toward something that will happen to Jack... hmmmmm.
After some chatter around the breakfast table, Jack gets a call from Desmond who's pretending to be the airline, he tells him they've found his father's coffin and he is to come along to the airport to pick it up later that day. Desmond is clearly planning something here. After almost an entire season of the alt-universe, where almost nothing of worth has happened, it looks like that plot sideline is finally kicking into gear.
Back on the island, the last remaining 815ers, Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer are still on the beach recovering from the previous night's emotional events where they lost Jin, Sun, Lapidus and Sayid. Kate is weak from the gun shot wound in her shoulder. In a (switched) call back to the first season, Jack has to stitch up Kate and they both agree they have to kill notLocke for what he's done. After they've all stared out to sea for a bit, Jack tells them they need to move on and try and find out what well Desmond is down.
Now we finally catch up with the Ben/Miles/Richard group. The last time we saw them was in "Everybody Loves Hugo" (6.12), which was 4 episodes ago. After a brief cut to alt-universe (where Desmond beats up Dr Linus), we meet the dynamic trio as they are STILL on the way back to the barracks to get the explosives to blow up the plane. I can't even be bothered to work out how much actual time has passed in the four episodes that ran while these three were walking; but it certainly doesn't feel correct. Jack etc have travelled back and forth between the main island and the Hydra island about 4 times.. swimming it twice. Not to mention all the other places they've been. But whatever, it's 'Lost' right, time is relative or something sigh.
It's good to see the old barracks again. As they are making their way across the gardens, Miles gets to show off his dead talking skills and feels the presence of a dead body beneath their feet. It turns out Richard, who's standing next to Miles, buried Ben's daughter there. He just couldn't be bothered to tell Ben himself without the prompt from Miles. Miles almost had some thing to do this season, way to go buddy.
So Ben (sort of) pays his respects to the grave and thanks Richard. Then they continue on and make their way towards Ben's old house. He's got C4 hidden in his safe room behind the book case. Upon entering this room, Miles notices the carved stone door and asks Ben what it is. Ben says "it's where I used to summon the monster. Before I realised the monster was summoning me".
They are interrupted from the C4 retrieval by a noise outside, it's Zoe and Widmore. For some reason they've turned up at the barracks for.... well errr, they never say. Ben even asks what he's doing there and Widmore just dismisses his question and sends Zoe down to the docks to gather their "equipment" and sink the boat they used to get there. Clearly these two didn't intend to return to the Hydra island. He also states that he is there, sent by Jacob, for "this exact purpose". Which is most odd given what's about to happen. Zoe quickly comes back from the docks, alarmed because notLocke has just arrived. He's making his way toward them all.
We then cut back to the alt-universe. Ben and Mr Locke have a conversation about the beating Ben took from Desmond. They both seem to have a "feeling" about it and decide not to report it to the police. Then we join Desmond as he turns himself into Cop-Sawyer at the police station, admitting that he ran over Mr Locke, he's placed in a cell right between Sayid and Kate, just where he wants to be.
Back (again) to the island. Jack and Sawyer have a heart to heart about whether it was Sawyer's fault all their friends died. Jack states that it's not. Since the calamity on the sub, Sawyer is noticeably depressed; he had been angry all season because of Juliet's death. Now things have changed. Jack and Sawyer walk on. Hurley then notices a kid (young Jacob) in the jungle. He asks Hurley for Jacob's ashes. Hurley says no, so he snatches them and runs off. Chasing after him, Hurley is lead to a camp fire where none other than Jacob himself is sitting there waiting for him.
Back... to Widmore/Ben and things are getting tense. NotLocke is about to walk up the garden path so they all scramble. Miles (carrying the C4) doesn't hang around makes a bolt for it; Ben gives him a walkie talkie as he's leaving (seems important, thought I'd mention it) Widmore and Zoe just lock themselves in the safe room. Richard heads toward notLocke, he intends to reason with him. That plan doesn't turn out so well and he's flung out of the barracks by the smoke monster. (He can't die can he? Who knows!) So a scared looking Ben just sits down to await his fate.
Calmly walking around the corner, notLocke tells Ben that if he kills some people and helps him off the island, Ben can have it all for himself. Ben immediately says okay and tells notLocke where Widmore is hiding. Ben's going back to his evil ways (!).... probably. Then we cut to alt-universe again. Here a beaten up Ben (his natural state) is given a lift home from school by Alex and her mother. Yes, it's an oddly chirpy, but welcome, Rousseau; who we've not seen for at least two seasons. Not counting young Rousseau of course. Ben goes on to have a nice dinner with the Rousseau's and it turns out Danielle isn't shy (she is French) about wanting a piece of this meeker version of Ben. Let's hope Desmond doesn't come along and punch her in the face, that might cause some relationship problems going forward.
Now it's time for notLocke to finally catch up with Widmore, and he's cornered. Ben says that he wants to watch what notLocke does to him, so they both go in the safe room. NotLocke wastes no time in ending Zoe. Then after a brief conversation, and a threat to kill Penny, Widmore “whispers” his plans into notLocke's ear. Just then Ben shoots Widmore. They are truly dropping like flies.. or are they? Is he really dead? Is Ben doing bluffing. Who the heck knows at this point. Widmore had already told NotLocke what he needed to know, so no harm done.
Then we return to Jacob's camp fire. Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer gather around for some stories. Jacob's ash in the fire has given Jacob the power to be seen by all of them for the short time it burns. Kate immediately demands to be told what their friends died for. Jacob says he'll tell them what they died for, why he choose them all and what they need to know about protecting this island. Because.. one of them would have to start doing it.
He goes on to explain to them that he created the “monster” and that mistake was why they were all there. To stop everyone (on Earth?) dying. They, in particular, were chosen because they were all flawed and, like him, had no ties to the rest of the world. He then says there's a light at the heart of the island and they need to decided whom amongst them will stay and make sure it never goes out. That requires them to kill MIB before he kills them. Then it is time to decide and, as it had to be, it's Jack who takes on the burden. Jacob reveals a room full of cups, Jack has to chose which one to drink from, but he must chose wisely.
Then it's back to the alt-universe for the final time, this week. Desmond, Kate and Sayid are getting transported to the state prison. Desmond gets them to agree to following him if he breaks them out. It turns out that Ana Lucia is driving the transport van and is more than happy to take an envelope of cash from Hurley (who is working with Desmond). Des takes Kate off to somewhere requiring evening wear (Dan's concert?) and Hurley takes Sayid off somewhere else. Sounds like things are about to go down eh? That just leaves notLocke to set-up “the end”. He reveals to Ben that he intends to destroy the island and that Desmond is the fail-safe key that can do it. He had promised Ben that he could have the island after MIB has left, but maybe he didn't know that he had to destroy it all till he spoke to Widmore.... probably.
There are some problems with this episode, like Widmore and Zoe's death. Zoe dying here seemed like a waste, her character was built up to be fairly important, but aside from setting up machinery on hyrda island (which we don't see) it doesn't feel like she was utilised and had that much of a point. Widmore could have barked orders at anyone and his part would have been better without a sidekick doing most of work. Maybe Alan Dale couldn't be around for long enough to do everything they needed.. who knows!
Widmore was a huge villain (or was he? sigh) throughout the show. His death landed like a soggy digestive. But he could be redeemed in the last episode by his “equipment” being useful for something. If it turns out there is no explanation for him and Zoe turning up in those barracks, I think the ending will be very disappointing. His whole character and most of Jacob's plan for several seasons will have amounted to absolutely nothing because they depended on that final encounter with MIB in that safe room. Then there is Richard's death (if he's dead sigh>) he too was a big par of the show's mythology. I can't see a reason why he would be killed off now. It would feel better if he kept on living forever, being Jack's advisor this time. Maybe he will... who the heck knows.
Problems aside I liked this episode. The alt-universe finally felt like it was going somewhere and wasn't boring to watch. It also felt like the show was back to doing what it does best. The dialogue and the pace was spot on. Things were helped immensely by the acting of Mark Pellegrino (Jacob) and Michael Emmerson (Ben). The scene where Jacob explains what he had done and tells the gang that the island is theirs to look after, was very well done. That might even be his last scene (but who knows...) in the show, if so, it was a good way to draw that character to a close.
Then there's Ben, the episode had him flip back and forth from a meek and caring teacher, who came across as very trustworthy, to a man completely on the edge of sanity. Taken at face value, proper Ben has been from redeemed (and working towards doing the right thing) to completely flipping out and working for his survival on the train to hells-ville. Despite what you may think in regards to how his character should be progressing at this point, Emmerson has played his part to perfection. He is one of the greatest TV villains of all time and I hope to heck he gets a better send off than Widmore.... if indeed Widmore is dead grrrr
Generally, I'm continuing to hold happy thoughts for the finale. This episode was good enough to make that a bit easier. How Jack and his new Jacob powers, and Desmond and his “island destroying” powers, will come to head is anyone's guess. But I'll be waking up early Monday morning to find out.