If this laptop was made of paper, it would be drenched with tears.
I have often stated that one of the strongest and most admirable qualities about Lost is the emotional resonance that it achieves, season after season, year after year. Never has that been more true than with The Candidate. In that respect, this episode is on par with Charlie's sacrifice in Through the Looking Glass and Juliet's death in The Incident.
It is very bold to kill off four characters, even just a few episodes out from a series finale and especially when two of them represent the only married couple on the show (aside from Rose and Bernard, who are side characters in my book). I am still absorbing their deaths and will elaborate at a later date when my heart stops racing and breaking.
On a personal note, before we delve into the analysis - this episode was also very sentimental and significant to me for several reasons. Due to our pending and conflicting travel schedules, this was the last ever new Lost episode that I was able to watch with my partner. She has put up with me pausing, taking notes, jumping off of the couch and yelling at the TV for six years. And tonight was only the second time that she's ever cried with me (the last being Charlie's death). So I consider myself extremely lucky to share my heart with such a patient soul and fellow fan.
In addition, Sayid has been my absolute favorite character from day one. Although I had a feeling that his death was inevitable this season, I was not prepared for the circumstances of his sacrifice. I am very happy that he died somewhat redeemed rather than in a zombie state.
To top it all off, this post is officially my 300th on this site. I have been writing about and analyzing Lost for over four years now, but did not dedicate an entire site to it until January of 2008. I am very proud of this milestone and blog, and none of it would have been worth it or a success without YOU. Namaste.
By the way, I was quite angry before this episode began because someone posted a spoiler on my Facebook wall. Although 99% of you have been so kindly spoiler-free and respected my policy here and via the social networks, I will now take unfortunate measures to prevent such a thing from happening for the final three episodes. Anyone who posts episode feedback on my wall before episodes air here on the West Coast will be immediately unfriended. I don't want to have to turn off my wall to comments altogether because I love the interaction. I purposely avoid Twitter on Lost days but monitor Facebook comments via email notifications. People who post spoilers don't just ruin it me; they ruin it for my readers and friends. NOT cool.
I continue to shield the names of guest stars at the beginning of each episode by simply holding my hand up over them and focusing on the action above, and if you want to remain as spoiler-free - I highly recommend it! I certainly do not want to know ahead of time when Elizabeth Mitchell will appear. :)
But let's get down to business. This post is sponsored by Kleenex....they just don't know about it.
In the interest of time and because I know you'd prefer more content, there will not be many photos accompanying this article.
THE ACTUAL CANDIDATE
Now that Kwon and Jarrah have been crossed off the cave wall and lighthouse wheel, that leaves 3 Candidates: Hurley, Jack and Sawyer. Given the island's propensity to kill off women (Alex, Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Ilana, Juliet, Libby, Rousseau, Shannon, Sun, etc.) and rob its female inhabitants of having children, I am not at all surprised that the Candidate will be male.
I loved that Jack told Locke in the flash sideways that "you're a candidate" because he actually was when he originally arrived on the island.
All signs point to Jack as the Candidate, but I am skeptical only because he reiterates his desire to stay on the island far too frequently now. notLocke called John Locke a sucker for his belief in the island, so when Jack said "I'm not meant to go" and "I'm with him," I became more concerned for his life and eligibility as well.
I know that Sayid told Jack that "it's going to be you," but how would he know? I seriously doubt that notLocke knows who the final candidate is, and probably wouldn't share that knowledge with Sayid anyway. The only person I can think of who perhaps informed Sayid would be Desmond...the rules don't apply to him and he seems to know far more than everyone else on the island at this point.
AUSTEN, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Widmore revealed to Kate and the group what we already know, that she is not on the list (and thus not a Candidate). That obviously makes her expendable to Widmore and notLocke, and yet...she has outlived almost everyone. The island, and Jacob, are clearly not done with her yet. I've said it before and will repeat this possibility - Kate will wind up being a variable that both parties underestimate. She may not be a Candidate, but she just may play an integral role on the final road he must travel to take over for Jacob.
Although I have been notoriously hard on Kate over the years, I certainly do not want to see her die. So I was taken aback when she was shot, and actually relieved that it wasn't fatal.
Thank goodness very few people on (and off) the island have great aim. Kate is not the only one who has endured a non-fatal shoulder or arm injury:
- Elsa shot Sayid in the shoulder before he killed her (The Economist)
- Mikhail shot Sayid in the upper arm (Enter 77)
- Rousseau shot Ben in the shoulder with a crossbow (One of Them)
- An Other shot Sawyer in the shoulder on the raft (Exodus, Part 2)
Helen thanks Jack in the flash sideways "for saving him" (Locke). Sayid tells everyone on the island that "Locke saved you." How very cruel and ironic to highlight salvation in the very episode where four main characters are killed.
Helen later said to Jack "you saved his life - why can't that be enough?" When Jack responded with "because it's not," I had a sinking feeling that he would fail to save some of his friends on the island.
JUMPING JACK FLASH
There are only three episodes left to resolve the flash sideways, and Jack appears poised to crack and/or solve that puzzle. In this we're-not-supposed-to-call-alternate-reality, Jack has had strange deja vu or coincidental interactions with Bernard, Claire, Desmond, Dogen, Ilana, Kate and Locke after landing in LA on flight 815.
When Jack yelled out to Locke as he was wheeling out the hospital that "I can help you" and "I wish you believed me," Locke paused with a glint of recognition. Perhaps when Jack uses other island catchphrases to familiar faces in this world, it will lead to the collision or convergence with the island. Then again, time is not on his side. Or ours.
THE LIST OF FOUR
Back in S2 (Three Minutes), Ms. Klugh gave Michael a list of four names; four friends from flight 815 to bring to Ben in exchange for Walt. Those four names are the very same foursome that survived the sub explosion and are back on the beach: Shephard, Austen, Reyes, Ford. Coincidence? Oh hell no.
Why is this significant? Because in one of Damon and Carlton's official Lost podcasts that season, they said that Hurley was chosen because the Others thought he was the best person to deliver the message. To me, that is a very early indication of and possible clue to his Candidacy.
THE MAN IN BLACK BACKPACK
Aside from being useful for carrying newly discovered C4 and a map, we still have no idea why Smokey is lugging around that damn backpack. I know that there are far bigger mysteries to resolve in the final four hours, but I remain obsessed with the contents of Evil Incarnate's Carry-On Baggage.
For the second episode in a row, we witnessed a joint mirror moment. In The Last Recruit, it was between Jack and an unconscious Locke in the operating room, and in this episode it was between Jack and Claire in the music box mirror.
MISSING: An Advisor, A Ghost Whisperer and a Patsy
Seriously. Alpert, Miles and Ben were supposed to be headed for the Ajira plane when they parted ways with Ilana and the remaining candidates. Keeping in mind that they were going there to blow it up...it is possible that the C4 on the plane was indeed placed there by this trio rather than Widmore's crew.
MY HEART WILL GO ON
As cheesy as it might be, I could not help but think about Jack and Rose in the water after the Titanic sunk while watching Jin and Sun on the sub. Regardless of how you feel about that film, in their own way - both scenes were beautiful and heartbreaking. I'll never leave you, I'll never let go, yada yada yada. If you have a pulse, you were somewhat moved.
For what it's worth - regarding Jin and Sun's death in the sub, I have not cried as much or for that long since Juliet's horrific death scene. Let's hope that they don't revisit the Kwon demise as many times as they have hers. Or at all.
NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER
When Sun returned to the island via Ajira 316, she left daughter Ji Yeon with her mother and had to know that there was a chance she wouldn't return. While some may criticize their parenting choices and judge Jin for sacrificing his life along with his wife rather than attempt to escape and return to their daughter, I was not at all surprised by his decision. After all, "where Sun go, I go."
PAGING DR. BURKE...or CARLSON...or SHEPHARD
Regardless of who she might be married to or divorced from in the flash sideways, time is running out for blondie to appear, make a date to go dutch over coffee with Sawyer and hopefully deliver Aaron. I'm sure I am not the only person who can't wait to see Juliet again.
In S1 (Do No Harm), Christian Shephard told his son that "you're just not good at letting go." In LA X, Rose told Jack on the plane in the flash sideways that "you can let go now." In Everybody Loves Hugo, Jack told Hurley on the island that "maybe I'm supposed to let go." In this episode, Jack tells Locke in the flash sideways that "I think I can fix you" and that "whatever happened, happened; you can let it go."
In S3, we were introduced to the infamous cages on Hydra Island where Ben had Sawyer and Kate held captive. In Every Man for Himself, Other thug Pickett threatened to kill Sawyer but Kate stops him by claiming to love Sawyer. In tonight's episode, Widmore threatened to kill Kate in the same location because "it doesn't matter whether she lives or dies." Sawyer doesn't save her but she is spared nonetheless.
In The Lighthouse, Kate told Jack that "I hope you find what you're looking for." In this episode, Bernard said the same thing to Jack in the flash sideways.
In S3 (The Man from Tallahassee), we learned that Locke was paralyzed after his father Anthony Cooper pushed him out of an eight story window. In this episode, Locke reveals that he was piloting a small plane that crashed - paralyzing him and putting his father into a comatose state.
In the S5 finale (The Incident), Jacob offers Jack the Apollo candy bar from the hospital vending machine that he'd tried to get out himself. In this episode, Jack offers Claire an Apollo bar from the same vending machine.
Christian Shephard's music box was a callback to Rousseau's in S1 (Solitary), and the tune it plays ("Catch a Falling Star") references Claire in four previous episodes:
- S1: Raised by Another - Claire asked the potential adoptive parents to sing it to Aaron, as her father did to her
- S2: Maternity Leave - That song played in the Other nursery in the Staff hatch, on an Oceanic mobile
- S5: Whatever Happened, Happened - Kate sang it to Aaron off island, post Oceanic Six
- S6: Sundown - Claire sings it while down in the hole in the Temple; her creepy rendition is also played after Smokey's murderous rampage
In S5 (316), Jack opened Locke's suicide note addressed to him; it read "I wish you had believed me." In this episode, Locke uttered that very phrase after Jack operated on him in the flash sideways. Jack also delivered a version of it to Locke later in the episode, "I wish you believed me."
In the S3 finale (Through the Looking Glass), there was a passing mention of a surgeon named Gary Nadler at Jack's hospital. Of course at this point, we'll never know if he was Bernard's brother or son, but I thought about that tonight when Jack went to see him.
By the way, how did Jack know that Bernard was Locke's oral surgeon - and why was he interested in that type of medical record?
Claire is not a Candidate, but she is stuck on the island with notLocke. If Jack is right, and notLocke can't leave the island unless they're all dead - does that apply to non-Candidates? For Aaron's sake, I hope that Claire isn't doomed to remain there. And it is nice to see a glimmer of old Claire again, concerned for and about her friends.
I don't know about you, but I am now convinced that Desmond ran Locke over in the flash sideways to force him to remember the island. I feel as though Desmond is the only one who can see/remember life in both locations (he is "miraculously and uniquely special" after all), and although it was quite violent - he knew he had to jolt Locke in such a way for it to be effective. In this episode, Locke woke up after surgery saying "push the button" and "I wish you had believed me," both of which are from his experience on the island.
It will be very interesting to see how Desmond fits in once Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer rescue him from the well.
I loved this character, especially after meeting Jeff Fahey in person a few months ago at the S6 premiere. While I am disappointed that he appears to have died on the sub, at least he did so in heroic fashion. Well...not getting hit by the force of a flooded metal door, but by helping commandeer the submarine.
I think it is rather brilliant that in the flash sideways, Locke became paralyzed because of and after a plane crash.
Although notLocke put the C4 in Jack's backpack, it seems he wasn't allowed to actually kill the remaining Candidates himself. Another loophole, or one of the "rules?"
John Locke, in all forms, is an island terrorist of sorts. The man knows his way around C4 and dynamite, from The Swan hatch to the Flame station to the original Sub and now this Sub. When all is said and done, everything goes up in...smoke.
How did notLocke know that not everyone perished on the sub? Is precognition part of the Bald Box Man package deal? How very Walt of him.
File under: doh! Sawyer was the one who told Jack to push notLocke in the water and to "make sure that It doesn't get on the sub." He was also the one who decided to pull the leads out of the C4 bomb. So technically, Sayid, Jin, Sun and Frank died because of his actions. Although...it is up for debate whether or not the bomb would have gone off if Sawyer had not pulled out those wires.
CRAZY THEORIES OF THE WEEK
At this point in time, with three episodes left, almost every theory posited is either crazy or irrelevant. So here are a few mine...
1. The reason that Alpert, Ben and Miles were not on Hydra Island at the Ajira plane is that one or more of them got shot on the outrigger ride over by Juliet & company when they time shifted there back in S5 (The Little Prince).
2. Although Jin and Sun Kwon are no longer Candidates, there is a slim possibility that the Kwon on the cave wall and lighthouse wheel may represent Ji-Yeon. The same holds true for /applies to Jack (David Shephard) and Sawyer (Clementine Ford). Frequent readers of this site are more than familiar with my Generation Next theory about the offspring of our favorite characters winding up on the island in the finale...
3. notLocke's plan all along was to move the remaining Candidates and their friends far from the Ajira plane, because he himself is going to fly it off of the island. When he took over Locke's body, he also took over his memories and skills...including his pilot training.
4. In direct conflict with the above theory, Jack will be the one to pilot the plane and bring his friends to final rescue. In the Pilot, Jack said that he "took a couple of flying lessons; it wasn't for me."
The reality of the end is hitting hard and where it hurts. I so appreciate your support and that you take the time to read through these long posts every week. I will be following the same format and schedule for the final two regular episodes, posting initial thoughts and theories in the very early hours following each. However, because I will be in LA at Jay and Jack's finale party, and because there is no rush to theorize about questions that will remain unanswered forever...I will not be posting my finale analysis for a few days after it airs. I would like to recover and then provide the most in-depth summary of the episode, season and series that I possibly can. You certainly deserve that.
By the way, I am writing an article for Popular Mechanics about Lost and am looking to connect with a variety of scientists for the piece (which will be published right before the finale). If any of you know scientists in the following fields who happen to also be fans of the show, please let me know this week if possible: archaeology, astrophysics, geology, meteorology, oceanography, parapsychology, physics, psychology, volcanology and zoology. Thank you in advance!
As usual, I am giving away some Lost memorabilia this week. The winner from my last post is Ben S! Ben has won a set of Season 2 premium trading cards, so I hope he reads this and emails me his shipping address. Up for grabs this week is a lovely 6x9 photo of Josh Holloway; simply leave a comment with your thoughts about this episode or something I've addressed above, and your name will go in the hat to win it!
I look forward to reading your theories, thoughts and constructive feedback after this extremely emotional episode.
Stay tuned for my Popular Mechanics article, as well as several Lost-related posts on AOL TV. I will also be reporting about the Lost Live event in LA next week, and then from the Lost Weekend fan party! My new motto remains: I shall sleep in June.
FYI: It was just announced that the series finale on Sunday, May 23 has been extended to an unprecedented 2.5 hours (9pm-11:30pm). Wow.
Have a great week, and stock up on those tissues for bumpy road toward May 24.