"I'll make you a deal, like any other candidate.
We'll pretend we're walking home, 'cause your future's at stake."
- Candidate, David Bowie
Due to jetlag, I had no intention of working on this post after The Substitute aired. However, I knew that there was no way I would be able to sleep after this phenomenal episode. In the interest of time, however, I will not be inserting many screen captures.
Only a few episodes into the final season, I have to say that I am equally satisfied and impressed with how they are presenting the characters in their "what if" scenarios off island. I love how they are interacting and meeting for the first time (again), and am eagerly anticipating a fantastic finish to the series.
But let's dig into tonight's episode, and scratch off some names together...
What's In a Name?
Initially, I called the new Flight 815 scenario an Alternate Reality, and then labeled it a Reset. After finally listening to Darlton's first podcast of S6, it is clear that they do not consider either of those to be viable options. So at least for now, I will refer to the parallel universe as Off Island.
Just as I suspected a few weeks ago, we get a glimpse of Benjamin Linus off island in a normal job. But because I'm unsure about what the alternate reality/parallel universe/reset really is, I wonder if it is possible that this photo of him at the copying machine that Miles brought to the island from S4 was taken during this indescribable time:
Has there been a better eulogy on Lost? I actually believed Ben's remorse about killing Locke when he said that "I'm very sorry I murdered him."
Black and White: Theme Alert!
Aside from the obvious and fantastic "inside joke" black and white stones on the scale of (in)justice in Jacob's cave, I noticed that Off Island Locke was wearing white socks. This is significant only because he was wearing black socks when he woke up on the beach after crashing on Flight 815 (remember - he wiggled his toes in disbelief).
Helen of Joy
It was great to see Katey Sagal again, although I admit that I was spoiled about Helen's eventual return a long time ago. Her husband Kurt Sutter, creator and executive producer of Sons of Anarchy, tweeted a while back about Katey being in Hawaii. Doh!
When Helen said "maybe it's destiny" to Off Island Locke, I immediately thought back to the S1 finale when Locke told Jack that "the island chose you - it's destiny."
Home is Where the Heart Is
Although I have no clue how notLocke and Sawyer will get 'home,' I can't wait to find out how that will affect the flash sideways of Sawyer and whether or not he will meet an alive Juliet when he returns. IF notLocke returns to his version of home, we have to assume that it will be as John Locke (because he is stuck in that body, after all).
I'm a big fan of Off Island Hurley so far. I have a feeling that he owns more than just the companies that employ Locke and Rose, and that we'll see more familiar faces in his world this season. I thought for sure that Locke would meet up with Michael if he had taken the construction job.
I'll Be Seeing You, Boy
We know that the young boy who startled notLocke on the island was not Widmore or Ben. For a brief moment, I considered Alpert but his hair would not have been that light. The obvious choice is Jacob, although I believe it was actually young John Locke. The boy had blood on his hands when notLocke first got a glimpse of him (which may be a nod to both just having killed Jacob and to the many times he hunted and killed animals on the island).
However...I am thrown by the fact that Sawyer was also able to see the young boy. We know that Sawyer is still alive, and that leads me to believe that the boy may be real and living on the island. Could he be a Temple Other Offspring, immune to notLocke's darkness and danger?
AND - I'm not sure how this could be, but perhaps the young boy is Aaron. In real time, he would not be that old. But I am thinking back to the time when the Man in Black as Christian Shephard (Aaron's grandfather) told Locke that Aaron was "where he needed to be" after Claire left him in the jungle and joined her dead dad.
If I had to guess, Ilana took a bag of Jacob's ash to bring to the Temple and put in the Spring. Perhaps that will make the water clear again. OR...she will use it as protection against notLocke during their journey to the Temple.
We were given our first indication that Ilana knows more than she had previously revealed, when she mentioned Jin to Sun. My first thought is that Jacob briefed her about the island's current inhabitants when he visited her in the hospital to ask that favor in S5.
I'm am not a very religious person, but I think I have a grasp on the possible significance of Jacob's ladder on the island. In the Hebrew Bible, it is my understanding that Jacob's ladder is a sort of bridge between Heaven and earth where souls ascend, descend and suffer. While obviously applicable to those recruited to the island, this is not my strong point and I welcome your interpretation as well.
Jaters and Skaters, fear not. Although it was rather alarming to learn that Kate's name was missing from Jacob's etched wall in the cave, I seriously doubt that the damsel is in any distress with regard to her future in the final season.
Locke (Off Island)
That Helen mentioned his father while discussing their wedding seems to indicate that he is involved in Locke's life and that he was not responsible for how Locke wound up in the wheelchair. If Anthony Cooper did not push his son out of an eight story window, I certainly hope we find out how Locke became paralyzed. I have to wonder whether Locke did donate a kidney to his father, only this time...Cooper didn't flee and it brought them closer together.
I don't know about you, but when Locke was wheeling down the hallway of the school and he stopped a young African American boy to ask a question, my heart stopped when I thought it might be Walt. Unfortunately, due to actual actor age logistics - that would have been impossible.
I'm sure that most of you noticed that Locke's alarm clock going off WAS the exact sound of the Swan hatch countdown clock warning. It reminded me of the Smokey print out sound that they played for Locke's office calculator in Walkabout (S1).
Although Helen ripped up Jack's card, I doubt that we've seen the last of this incarnation of Locke and Jack. I love the idea of Jack's science 'fixing' Locke's faith.
So if Locke didn't go to the conference or on the Walkabout, what did he do in Sydney for a week? I am also curious to find out if Matthew Abaddon was the one who put the Walkabout idea in his head this time around...
It seems the Loophole that the Man in Black was finally able to secure came with some baggage. Not only is he now stuck in Locke's body, there are rules that prevent him from killing certain people.
Let's review the infamous Rules that we know about thus far:
- Ben and Widmore are not allowed to kill one another
- Jacob and the Man in Black are not allowed to (directly) kill one another
I assume that the young boy was referring to Sawyer when he told notLocke that "you know the rules; you can't kill him." Therefore, I believe that notLocke is not allowed to kill any remaining Candidates from Jacob's (etched in stone) list.
The Man in Black is stuck with Locke's shell even though it seems he previously manifested himself as Christian Shephard, among others. It must be that he is now stuck because of the loophole, and for killing Jacob.
LOST Book Club
When Sawyer brought up Of Mice and Men to notLocke, I remembered that Ben quoted an important passage from that book to Sawyer in S3...and take a look at just how relevant it is now:
"A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. It don't make no difference who the guy is, long as he's with you. I tell you, a guy gets too lonely and he gets sick."Man Cave Candidates
It was a pretty big surprise to see that Kate's last name was not mentioned by notLocke and Sawyer did not ask about her (also, I did not see Austen etched into the rock). Given the apparent absence of Kate, I am now assuming that the Kwon etched on there refers to Jin rather than Sun, because the rest of the Candidates are all men. [sidenote: yes, I realize that other female names are up there but they are all crossed out; my question is about women as Candidates for island leadership.]
That Ilana referred to Frank Lapidus as a Candidate is rather fascinating now, given that he was not on Flight 815...but was supposed to be (their pilot). I have a suspicion that Smokey killed pilot Seth Norris upon arrival because he thought it was going to be Frank Lapidus. If Alpert is right, and notLocke "wants everyone dead" - then he probably intends to somehow kill all of the Candidates before they have the opportunity to take over leadership of the island.
This is just an observation, but it strikes me as odd that the island's most prominent feature and icon is/was a statue of the goddess of birth and rebirth, and yet the island maintains an archaic, sexist system of leadership and aversely affects women who procreate there.
One of the best lines from tonight's stellar episode was delivered by notLocke: "people seldom get a second chance." And yet, we are seeing Locke getting two separate chances; one off island with the love of his life, and one as an entirely new man, mind and soul.
Random question - what the heck is so important to a shape shifting smoke monster soul that requires him to carry it in a backpack with him in all forms?
After chasing the young boy, notLocke briefly appears to transform back into old Locke when he exasperatingly repeats "don't tell me what I can't do." Whoever that young boy is or represents, he has the unique ability to make notLocke seem vulnerable.
When notLocke told Sawyer that he is "trapped" I thought about the island, Ben's metaphor and a few lines from the lyrics to the No Doubt song Trapped in a Box: "trapped in a box of tremendous size, it distorts my vision, it closes my eyes...sucks up our lives and proliferates lies. watch the world as it flocks to life's paradox."
I am hoping that they show us what the Man in Black was like as a regular Joe off island at some point during this final season. The question is - will we see him in an ancient century or in modern day, visiting specific people like Jacob did.
Previous Season Parallels
Off Island Locke talking to Helen about the odds of meeting a spinal surgeon reminded me of Ben's response in S3 to Jack crashing on the island right after he was diagnosed with a spinal tumor.
Sawyer's talk about Of Mice and Men recalled Ben and Sawyer's chat about it in S3 (Every Man for Himself).
And Off Island Locke's statement about miracles that "there's no such thing" brought me back to the S4 finale when Jack stated that "there's no such thing as miracles." In addition, at Locke's birth in S4 (Cabin Fever), a nurse referred to him as "a miracle baby."
In the S5 finale, Jacob says that "it only ends once; anything that happens before that is just progress." Taking notLocke's three Candidate options into consideration (do nothing and see how it plays out, accept the job to protect the island as the new Jacob or get off the island together), I am wondering if "it" ends if and when notLocke actually gets off of the island.
Rose & Bernard
Several people jumped all over me when I predicted in my first S6 post that Rose still has cancer in this version of Flight 815. Given that we saw Locke in a wheelchair, I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised to discover that in this life - no one is/has healed. What I want to know is if Bernard took her to Australia to see Isaac the healer, and what that conversation was about (compared to the original).
By the way, in the S3 finale there was mention of a Gary Nadler working at the same hospital as Jack and Christian Shephard. It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that it was Bernard's son or brother.
I am not at all convinced that Sawyer will simply follow notLocke from here on out, and give in to the dark side. Something tells me that regardless of his immense grief and disregard for the well being of his friends, he will wind up saving the day (along with Jack) in the end. We had four seasons of surly, selfish Sawyer and one season of Sheriff Sawyer...which leaves us with savior Sawyer in S6.
When Smokey Sings
I just loved the visual perspective they gave us as notLocke traveled around the island as Smokey. However, I had to wonder why he did not transform into Smokey while chasing the young boy.
I have so much more to speculate about, but am operating on fumes due to my rather insane travel schedule. Feel free to leave feedback and comments, but please be constructive if you disagree with anything that either I or your fellow readers say.
Thank you for reading this week's initial installment of analysis - stay tuned for further thoughts and theories in a few days!