Key Points from "What They Died For"
Season 6, Episode 16
Episode Air Date: 05/18/10
It's hard for me to understand that the next time I sit down to write a "Lost" review, that'll be the end of it. No more new episodes. No more revelations. No more typing deep into the night, weaving and wandering around the hundreds of questions blazing in my mind. I guess it's all hitting me now. This is it. Only one chapter remains.
But let's put that aside, shall we? You don't reminisce about the marathon when you've still got a mile to go!
And oh my, did we ever have ourselves a treat tonight ...
Let's start with the big development. Really, one of the single most important things we've ever seen. Jack -- Mr. Man of Science himself -- will take Jacob's place as Island Protector.
What's amazing is that Jack's 180-degree transformation actually makes sense. This is an unbelievable bit of storytelling -- taking a stubborn, flawed man who lives by empiricism and rage, and sending him on a journey that ends with that same man willingly accepting a job that is defined by fate. And yet, when Jack accepted Jacob's offer, did it feel out of place? Did it feel like the wrong character was taking charge?
I didn't think so. Not one bit. And for that, the writers and producers and everyone involved with this show deserves enormous kudos. They've pulled off something quite amazing here.
(And when we find out in the finale that the whole candidate thing was one big ruse, I'll retract that last statement and damn them all to hell ... just sayin'.)
Jack's elevation to Island Protector would of course be incomplete if it didn't bring a host of questions in its considerable wake. In no particular order, here's a handful of Jack-Jacob-candidate observations and queries (and no, I don't expect any firm answers to these ... but writing a "Lost" review without ample questions just doesn't feel right):
-- I hadn't considered this before, but when Jacob tells Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley that they're all like him -- "all alone, all looking for something you couldn't find out there" -- it struck me that loneliness has been a sneaky theme lurking about the entire series. Almost all of the major characters were dreadfully lonely in their pre-island lives, and they're brought to the island by a guy who's been alone for centuries. Loneliness is a side-effect to a life poorly lived. I get that. But as a viewer, I'm pleasantly surprised -- tickled, even -- to see a "new" defining characteristic revealed this late in the game that, when you track it, has been with us since the very beginning. How cool is that?
-- Another bit of coolness: Jack seemed to be closest to the island's heartlight, proximity-wise, when Oceanic 815 crashed. Remember that opening shot of Jack waking in the bamboo grove? The heartlight is right by there.
-- And speaking of that heartlight: It would appear that the true location is only known to the Island Protector. That person can bring others there -- Fake Mother brought the boys, and adult Jacob later dragged MIB to the light cave -- but only the Protector knows how to get back. That seem about right?
-- I hope Jacob spent eternity jotting down a few notes for his successor. It'll be a shame if, centuries from now, Jack's replacement can't take the gig because Jack can't remember the damn mumbo-jumbo he's supposed to whisper during the cup ceremony.
-- Any guesses as to why/how Jacob took on corporeal form? Was it the ashes? Or, did he have that ability all along but chose to remain ethereal? (That would certainly fit with his douchey sensibilities.) Also, I'm assuming that teen Jacob and adult Jacob are both the same guy.
-- Remember all those hours we spent early in the season wondering why Kate's name was either missing or crossed out? And yet, in this episode we see that all the name conjecture added up to zilch. Turns out, Jacob nixed Kate from the list because she became a mom. That's it. Nothing more. And if she wanted Jacob's job she could still take it!
-- I can't help wondering what the Shephard Administration will bring to the island (assuming there is an island after all is said and done ... that underwater shot from the alternate timeline hints at a soggy future). I'm guessing Jack will be more hands-on than Jacob, perhaps going so far as to lure the infirm to his paradise so he can satisfy his fixer urges. And let's hope he ditches Jacob's penchant for letting people learn their own lessons. What a waste of time. If Jack is smart, he'll reconnect Dharma's satellite feed and build a 100,000-square foot sports bar / singles resort on the beach. The candidates will roll on in after that.
Moving on the alternate universe ...
Alt Desmond stepped up his efforts this week. I have to give this guy credit. He may be a little wacky -- and his American accent needs work -- but the man gets things done.
Along those lines, here's where things stand on a character-by-character basis in this week's edition of "Touched by a Scot":
-- Ben: Most of the alternate universe characters become aware of the island timeline through near-death experiences and/or love. But it's fitting that the man who has absorbed more beatings than anyone else -- Mr./Dr. Benjamin Linus -- gains "island consciousness" only when Desmond beats the snot out of him.
But there's an upside to the beatdown. Ben's awakening seems to catalyze Locke as well (more on that in a moment). And then there's that budding romance with Alex's mother. Seriously. Danielle Rousseau and Ben Linus are into each other. I know that looks ridiculous when written out -- it sounds ridiculous, too -- but the scene between Rousseau and Ben was actually touching.
-- Locke: After Ben shares his post-assault epiphany, the "Man of Faith" juices get flowing in Locke. That old Obi-Locke glow appears, and Locke now believes that fate or destiny or something along those lines is pushing him toward the spinal surgery Jack so desperately wants to perform.
-- Jack: All in all, not a bad week for Alt Jack. Sure, he wakes to discover that pesky and mysterious neck wound is bleeding again, but that's a minor quibble compared to his ever-improving relationship with David and the quirky-but-sweet family dynamic he's forging with Claire. Toss in Locke's willingness to go through with the spinal surgery, and you can see why Alternate Jack Shephard is feelin' good.
-- Hurley: He's a full-fledged member of Team Desmond now. He also recognizes Ana-Lucia from the island, so it appears his memories of the island timeline have solidified beyond the brief flashes seen in "Everybody Loves Hugo."
-- Sayid and Kate: Whether they like it or not, they're now part of Desmond's master plan (which has yet to be revealed, but it seems to involve a concert). With the help of Hurley's millions and Ana-Lucia's greed, Desmond springs both from jail.
-- Ana-Lucia: She has a a blink-and-you'll-miss-her-sneer cameo. Interestingly, Desmond tells Hurley she won't be participating in their island reunion because "she's not ready yet." If the show wasn't ending next week, I'd find this off-hand comment very interesting. That said -- and I don't think this will happen, but I'm putting it out there nonetheless -- the comment does make me wonder if we're poised for an eternal return loop, whereby certain characters are repeating lifetimes/timelines in a quest to break their own cycles.
I'm glad things are going well for Alternate Ben, because the future looks quite dim for his island twin. Earlier in the season it seemed Ben had found his ethical footing. That teary speech to Ilana felt like a breakthrough. But in this episode, when Flocke plays to Ben's base instincts with a renewed offer of island control -- and Charles Widmore just happens to drop by -- Ben's homicidal fury reappears. Oh well. He tried.
Of course, Ben is in a much better position than the now-dead Charles Widmore. It's a shame, really. Widmore spent all those years trying to get back to the island. He even reveals that Jacob paid him a visit after the freighter mishap. And yet, days after his triumphant return, Widmore is gunned down in his adversary's secret spy closet. If that's not a bummer I don't know what is. (And RIP to Zoe, too -- but she kinda sucked so a parenthetical mention is all she warrants.)
A few other odds and ends from the Ben/Flocke storyline:
-- I find it interesting that the more we learn about Richard, the less impressive he becomes. He incorrectly assumes that Flocke is coming for him. This massive miscalculation is driven home when Smokey launches Richard deep into the jungle. That was an epic toss.
-- Widmore tells Flocke (allegedly) that Desmond is Jacob's failsafe (i.e. he activated the hatch failsafe so now he's become The Failsafe; sounds like a superhero origin story). Flocke interprets this to mean that Desmond can destroy the island, and that pleases Flocke greatly. How he reaches that conclusion is unknown.
-- Also unknown: Desmond's whereabouts. Late in the episode we see that someone tossed Desmond a rope and helped him escape from that well.
-- Miles, the smartest one in this little group, runs off before Flocke can chuck him in a tree. I hope that's not the last we see of him.
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "What's that? A secreter room?" -- Miles to Ben, after seeing that Ben's secret room has another doorway.
- Second Best Line: "We insist, even if we have to kidnap you." -- Alt Rousseau inviting Alt Ben to dinner.
- Third Best Line: "Can I get you a glass of lemonade?" -- Ben to Flocke.
- Fourth Best Line: "I thought that guy had a God complex before." -- Sawyer, after Jack volunteers to become the next Island Protector.
- Fifth Best Line: "Technically, opening a box of cereal is not making breakfast." -- Alt Jack to David.
- I found the Shephard Family Breakfast scene in the alternate timeline both touching and unintentionally hilarious. Nothing says "happy family" like a giant box of Super Bran.
- "Lost" has always played a little loose with the daytime/nighttime transitions, but the sixth season has taken that to a whole new level. Case in point: Hurley finds Jacob while the sun is up, but it's pitch black when the candidates convene around Jacob's fire. How long did it take for Hurley to get everyone together?
- When Alt Jack gently chides Alt Locke for connecting a few too many destiny dots, he says, " I think you're mistaking coincidence for fate." There's a reason that line sounds familiar: Eko used similar words with a much different meaning in the season two episode, "What Kate Did." Eko's version: "Don't mistake coincidence for fate."
That's all I've got!
"The End" -- The title says it all. Airs Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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