Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend Lost Live: The Final Celebration with 1,800 fellow fans, cast and crew. In addition to the beautiful live Michael Giacchino orchestra performance, we were treated to a screening of What They Died For. Here is my review of the evening, in case you missed it. Needless to say, I loved having a few extra days to let the episode marinate and having the luxury of time to write up this analysis.
I enjoyed What They Died For far more than Across the Sea, but I have to admit that I appreciate last week's episode now - in the context of what we witnessed tonight. And although this is clearly Terry O'Quinn's Emmy season, my vote would still go to Michael Emerson. The brilliant return of Evil Funny Ben in What They Died for, coupled with his touching performance in Dr. Linus, is nothing short of masterful in my opinion.
So without further ado, let's hunker down in our secret office closets and get started. Because as Jacob said to Hurley, "we're very close to the end."
Once again, no mention of Captain Frank J. Lapidus. I realize that he was not one of the original 815 survivors, but obviously they all think he died in the sub and make no mention of it. With only the finale remaining, I offer up a few possibly irrelevant endings for Chesty:
1. He survived the sub door to the head, swam up to the surface and washed ashore elsewhere. End of story.
2. As Ilana and Bram suggested, he is indeed a Candidate (although Lapidus is not on the cave wall or lighthouse wheel, as far as we've seen). He will rejoin the group in time to fight notLocke, and lose his life in the process.
3. He and Jack co-pilot the Ajira plane and rescue their friends after finally killing the Man in Black (in notLocke form). In the Pilot, Jack mentioned taking flying lessons.
4. He co-pilots the Ajira plane against his will with notLocke after everyone else on the island gets killed. In The Candidate, Locke revealed that he has his pilot's license.
THE CASE FOR SKATE
I am not a 'shipper per se, but I've always believed that Jack and Kate belong together. They provide a very important opening statement in this episode.
Kate: "Locke did this to them. We have to kill him."
Jack: "I know."
It will be interesting to see what Kate decides to do if she survives the pending battle; stay on the island with Jack, or leave it forever. Although frankly, I'd love for her to make a decision not based on a man, along the lines of her return for Claire the last time around.
A CERTAIN ROMANCE
I absolutely love the idea of a Danielle Rousseau and Benjamin Linus romance in the flash sideways. Given that he kidnapped her infant daughter at gunpoint on the island, this is the perfect antithetical relationship.
And the line about Ben going to their house for dinner - "we insist, even if we have to kidnap you" was absolutely classic and received the most laughter from the live audience last week.
Then again, there is a slight wrench in this scenario. If Rousseau starts to remember her time on the island, I don't think there will be any more nerd dates with Dr. Linus in their future.
CUTS LIKE A KNIFE
Zoe, you did not turn out to be a significant geophysicist. Bye bye, notLizLemon.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME
Once again, it takes a violent and/or highly emotional action to stir up memories of the island relationship. Desmond beats the crap out of Ben in the flash sideways, who remembers their last physical encounter - when Ben went to shoot Penny but shot Desmond instead, followed by an epic beating.
After rewatching the scene between Ben and Danielle in the flash sideways, when he starts to cry after she tells him how much he has meant to Alex, it is possible that he started to remember what happened to her on the island.
Like Desmond and Charlie, Hurley now remembers everything in the flash sideways from his time on the island. I have to wonder if he is able to do so because of his ability to see and speak with the deceased...
THE FINAL FOUR
As I first suggested a few weeks ago in my analysis of The Candidate, it is not mere coincidence that the Final Four Candidates are the same four who were kidnapped by the Others and brought to Ben at the end of S2: Shephard, Austen, Reyes and Ford.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Jacob told the Final Four that they have a choice to become the Candidate, something he was never given. Take a look back at some of the foreshadowing...
* S3 (The Cost of Living)
Ben, to Jack: "We'd lead you to believe that you were choosing to do whatever we asked you to do."
Juliet, to Jack: "You probably feel like you don't have a choice, but you do."
* S5 (The Incident)
Jacob, to Ben: "Whatever he's told you, I want you to understand one thing - you have a choice."
Jacob, to Hurley: "All you have to do is get on that plane. It's your choice, Hugo. You don't have to do anything you don't want to."
Sawyer, to Kate: "I made a choice and I'm sticking to it. I decided to leave, and I'm leaving."
Jack, to Kate (about Claire): "You don't know what she would do, and whatever it is - it would be her choice."
* S6 (The Substitute)
notLocke, to Sawyer: "He came to you, he manipulated you, pulled your strings like you were a puppet. Choices you thought were made were never really choices at all."
notLocke, to Sawyer: "You have three choices. You can do nothing and see how this plays out, you can accept the job; become the new Jacob and protect the island. The third choice is that we just go; we just get the hell off this island."
* S6 (Lighthouse)
Dogen, to Jack: "Everything is a choice."
Earlier this season in Lighthouse and referring to that structure, Jack asked Hurley "how is it that we've never seen it before?" and Hurley told him that "we weren't looking for it." The same could be said for the other three Candidates who are finally able to see and communicate with Jacob. They are embracing their destinies slowly but surely, and after all that has happened to them, they were ready to listen to their options.
And, obviously, now that Jack is the official replacement, he will be able to see the heart of the island.
GOOD COP, BAD COP
In Recon, we learned that Sawyer is a detective rather than a criminal. In What They Died For, we learned that Ana Lucia is still a cop, but a corrupt one who takes financial bribes to aid escaped prisoners. Perhaps that is why, as Desmond pointed out, she is "not ready" to go with the group to the concert (see Make Your Own Kind of Music below).
THE GREAT BEYOND
Did Alex send Miles a message when he got 'wonky' over her burial site? Perhaps she instructed him where to go in order to escape Smokey.
HE DIDN'T START THE FIRE
It certainly seemed as if Jacob's ashes were going to play a major role in the final takedown of the Man in Black, taking into consideration that Ilana and her team used ashes to deter Smokey and that ashes surrounded Jacob's cabin. But after young Jacob took them from Hurley, older Jacob seemed to disregard them and told Hurley that "my ashes are right there in that fire. When it burns out, you'll never see me again." Is Jacob leaving the bag next to the not-so-eternal flame on purpose, so that Jack will find and use them?
I CAN SEE FOR MILES
Where has the ghost whisperer gone? Did he manage to escape Smokey? I don't understand why he wouldn't go visit the burial sites of important people, seeking key information to stay alive in the end.
I assume that Miles is still alive - why else take the time to have him take one walkie-talkie, leaving Ben with the other. Ben handed it over to Miles with "in case I need you," after all.
Although it did not look good for our favorite guyliner, who was grabbed by the angry hand of Smokey - is it even possible to kill Alpert?
Given Desmond's unique, miraculous nature and resistance to electromagnetism, I have a strong suspicion that notLocke's plan to destroy the island involves throwing Desmond down the magical watering hole to finally put out that light...and sink it.
However, Widmore said his mission requires a sacrifice from Desmond. Perhaps once he is down in the watering hole, he will be able to do something that renders notLocke unable to turn into Smokey. The question remains - will Desmond have to sacrifice his life to save his friends in the end, just like Charlie?
Sayid and Desmond had been in jail before, but Jacob made a valid point about the Final Four being flawed; they have all spent time behind bars as well.
- Hurley turned himself in for killing a man while escaping with Sayid even though he clearly did no such thing (The Lie)
- Jack attacked Christian at an AA meeting; his ex-wife Sarah bailed him out (A Tale of Two Cities)
- Kate was held without bail during her murder trial (Eggtown)
- Sawyer served time for his long con of Cassidy (Every Man for Himself)
MAKE YOUR OWN KIND OF MUSIC
Most of the key players in the flash sideways will finally be in one place at one time, during David Shephard's concert. I find that rather appropriate and touching, given how significant music was in Through the Looking Glass, to Charlie's sacrifice and to Daniel Faraday.
Here is how I believe the fates (versus coincidences) might line up at the concert:
1. David and Jack Shephard will be there, as well as Jack's ex-wife and Claire. In an ideal world, the paradox (Pair of Docs, in this case) will be that Jack and Juliet used to be married and are now amicable. Single fertility doctor Juliet meets Detective James Ford, who will be there with his partner Miles. The two hit it off and she suggests that they go for coffee, and go dutch.
2. Due to their ties to the museum, Dr. Chang and Charlotte will be there, as well as Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore.
3. Hurley will bring Sayid and Desmond will bring Kate after helping them escape from jail. Libby will meet Hurley there, per his request. The same goes for Penny, as requested by Desmond.
4. Ben will bring Danielle there on a date, perhaps a double date with Locke and Helen. And of course they might bring Alex along as well.
5. Sun and Jin are the wildcards, as I am unable to envision a situation in which the recovering and pregnant Sun would want to attend a concert with her husband. I have to wonder whether or not their death on the island will affect the end game of their situation in the flash sideways.
The fact that Desmond called Jack to tell him that Oceanic Airlines finally found Christian Shephard's coffin leads me to believe that it is in Hurley's Hummer en route to the concert; thus, another key player will be in the vicinity for the big event. That Jack is the final Candidate on the island and three generations of Shephard men would be in the same location is beyond coincidence: Christian, Jack, David and Aaron.
My theory is that at the exact moment when either notLocke gets killed or he destroys the island, something snaps into the consciousness of those at the concert in the flash sideways. They all remember their island experiences and look around at one another in a new and confusing light, but never actually crashed there.
Another possibility is that Claire goes into labor at the concert. Aaron has always been important to the overall story, and his birth just might set off a critical series of events in the flash sideways. Juliet will take charge, but they will need to airlift her to a hospital. In flies a medical helicopter, piloted by Frank Lapidus. This completes the circle of Desmond's vision that led to Charlie's sacrifice.
Remember Locke's sweat-lodge induced vision in S3 (Further Instructions)? Take a look at the photo above from that dream and tell me that you don't think it's possible for that to become a reality...
MAN OF SCIENCE, MAN OF FAITH
I do love the parallel lives of Jack and Locke on the island and in the flash sideways. In one world, Jack is hoping to kill notLocke and in the other world - he is hoping to fix/save Locke.
Along similar lines, man of science Ben is protective of man of faith Locke in the flash sideways - is it safe to assume that Ben wants to kill notLocke on the island if he could?
THE MIKHAIL FACTOR
As we learn more about the genesis of Jacob and his brother, I am reminded that Mikhail was also seemingly immortal. Although we have not seen him since he flooded the Looking Glass station under water with a grenade, I would not be surprised to learn that he is still alive.
At first I wondered if he had been offered a cup of eternal wine from Jacob. But in S3 (Par Avion), Mikhail told Kate that she wasn't on 'the list' because she is "flawed." In this episode, Jacob revealed to the Final Four that he chose them because they're "all flawed" (keep in mind that Kate was a Candidate and her name was only recently crossed off after she took responsibility for Aaron). I believe that Mikhail was working with or for the Man in Black. Is it significant that Mikhail worked for Widmore in the flash sideways? With only the finale left, my guess would be no.
Jack experienced yet another mirror moment, and this one...mirrored his first in the flash sideways. In the very first scene, he noticed a bleeding nick on his neck - again. Just as he did in the 815 bathroom in LA X. That cut is certainly the shape of things to come; perhaps an injury he receives in the final battle against notLocke.
Ben also experienced a mirror moment after getting beat up by Desmond.
All along, I'd assumed that the final Candidate was simply Jacob's replacement to protect the island. This episode makes it clear that Jack has been tasked with finally killing the Man in Black; thus, it only ends once. No more progress.
MURDER BY NUMBERS
Kate Austen was number 51, but Jacob tells her that "the job is yours if you want it." So in the end, the numbers are indeed irrelevant. "It was just a line of chalk in the cave." Mystery solved.
NOT SO FORTUNATE SON
In Sundown, Dogen said the following to Sayid: "In the hospital, a man came to me; a man I had never met. He told me that he could save my son's life, but I would have to come here to this island - where I would have a new job. And I could never see my boy again."
If I had to guess, that is exactly what will happen to Jack. He just volunteered for Jacob's job on the island, which means that his flash sideways life and son will cease to exist. The difference is that Jack is unaware that he has a son in another life, and is making the ultimate sacrifice without full knowledge of what could have been.
For the first five seasons, we were all on board with cowboys and daddy issues. Now it is apparent that the island is run by sensitive souls with mommy issues.
Jacob told Kate that she was no longer a Candidate because "you became a mother." So clearly the Kwon on the wall and lighthouse wheel represented Jin. Kate was merely an adoptive guardian, whereas both Sawyer and Jin are biological fathers...the island does not seem to care much about paternity.
If children are conceived and born there, they do not live. It seems to me that the infertility issue may have been somehow caused by the Man in Black, who has deep hatred for the actions of his notMom and may have been preventing births of future Candidates. Jacob protects mothers, and his brother prevents them from procreating.
* The bomb
S6: LA X
Sawyer blamed Jack for Jughead's detonation, as it killed Juliet: "You did this."
S6: What They Died For
Sawyer blames himself for the bomb detonation in the sub, as it killed at least Jin, Sun and Sayid: "I killed them, didn't I?"
* Coincidence and fate
S2: What Kate Did
Mr. Eko told Locke "Do not mistake coincidence for fate."
S3: The Cost of Living
Locke told Desmond "Do not mistake coincidence for fate."
S6: What They Died For
Jack told Locke "I think you're mistaking coincidence for fate."
*Happening for a reason
S1: Exodus, Part 2
Locke suggested to Jack that "we were brought here for a purpose, for a reason - all of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason."
S4: There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3
Locke reminded Jack that "you know that you're here for a reason - you know it."
S6: What They Died For
Locke suggested to Jack that "maybe all of this is happening for a reason."
* The cup of life
S6: Across the Sea
notMom makes Jacob drink the cup of magical wine, and then tells him that "now you and I are the same."
S6: What They Died For
Jacob makes Jack drink the cup of magical water, and then tells him that "now you're like me."
* In stiches
S1: Pilot, Part 1
Jack recruits Kate to stitch up a back injury he received from crashing on the island.
S6: What They Died For
Jack stitches up Kate's shoulder after she was shot and survived the sub explosion.
* "Letting go"
S1: Do No Harm
In a flashback, Christian Shephard told his son Jack that "you're just not good at letting go."
S6: LA X
In the flash sideways, Rose told Jack on Flight 815 that "you can let go now."
S6: Everybody Loves Hugo
On the island, Jack told Hurley that "maybe I'm supposed to let go."
S6: The Candidate
In the flash sideways, Jack told Locke that "whatever happened, happened. You can let it go."
S6: What They Died For
In the flash sideways, Desmond told Ben that "I'm not here to hurt him, I'm here to help him let go."
* Your daughter
S4: The Shape of Things to Come
Ben told Widmore that "I'm going to kill your daughter. Penelope, is it?"
S6: What They Died For
notLocke told Widmore that when he leaves the island, "the first thing I'm going to do is kill your daughter, Penny."
Where is Claire? The obvious answer is that someone threw a hairbrush down a well and she went after it. But she is not with notLocke and Ben, so I have to assume that she joined Jack and co. after they grabbed Desmond.
THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
In S4 (The Shape of Things to Come), Widmore asked Ben if he had come to London to kill him. Ben reminded him that "we both know I can't do that." In this episode, Ben did kill Widmore. Did the rules not apply between them while both were on the island, or did Ben merely break them? At this point, he is not worried about the consequences. His daughter died because Widmore "changed the rules," and Ben killed Widmore because "he doesn't get to save his daughter."
Best. Exchange. Ever.
Ben: "Give me the walkie-talkies."
Ben: "Because I asked."
SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE
Widmore said that after his freighter blew, Jacob visited him off island and asked him to return. In Lighthouse, Jacob did tell Hurley that "someone is coming to the island; I need you to help them find it."
I assume that Widmore met Jacob while he was stationed on the island, and yet the name Widmore is not on the cave wall or lighthouse wheel (that I've seen).
On a somewhat related and insignificant note, I have a feeling that Jacob visited Ilana in the Russian hospital during the same off island visit to Widmore.
Addressing a discrepancy that many of us had wondered about, Ben revealed that he thought he was summoning Smokey by unplugging the drain inside of his secret closet behind the hieroglyph door - when in fact Smokey was summoning him.
In the flash sideways, the island is submerged - which seems to indicate that notLocke succeeds in destroying it. If both Desmond the Failsafe and Jack the Final Candidate fail in their dual mission to kill the Man in Black and protect the island, and both die in the process...does everyone else live out their flash sideways lives except for them?
By the way, I love that Desmond used and is the failsafe KEY to it all.
Is Benjamin Linus a variable in the end game? Ben has now killed Jacob and Widmore, both of whom were enemies of the Man in Black. If Jack manages to kill the Man in Black, will Ben volunteer to remain on the island in his place? He has always wanted the job, and according to notLocke, "once I leave this island, you can have it all to yourself."
I can't wait to see the look on Ben's face when he finds out that Jack is the new Jacob. And the part of me that loves Island Ben (ignoring his evil ways) hopes that he won't kill Jack for the job. Ben asked notLocke about "the other people to kill" but I just don't see him murdering Kate, Sawyer or Hurley either.
Ben Linus is still alive for a very specific reason, and I look forward to finding out exactly why during the final two and a half hours of the show.
FINAL CRAZY THEORY OF THE WEEK/SEASON/SERIES
When Jacob told Kate that she was no longer a Candidate because she had become a mother, it is because she is pregnant. The timelines are confusing, but I believe Jack is the father after their one-night reunion between the sheets of the eve of their return flight to the island via Ajira 316. Yes, they landed in a different era, but they were not there for long (as opposed to Juliet and Sawyer for three years) before detonating Jughead.
If this turns out to be the case, we will have met or known about 6 generations of Shephards: Grandpa Ray, Father Christian, Son Jack, Nephew Aaron, Flash Sideways Son David and Island Hero Baby. Generation Next.
While my heart and mind are vacationing on a tropical island of denial and delusion until Sunday night, I have to acknowledge that this is my last traditional Lost episode analysis post. I do not know when I will write up my thoughts about the series finale, but it will certainly not be the morning after. Given that the show will be over forever, there will be far more analysis than theorizing when I do emerge from the shadow of my tissue box.
If you haven't entered yet, don't forget that I am hosting a creative contest that ends Saturday, and the grand prize is an autographed set of Lost DVDs (all 5 seasons)!
As most of you know, I will be attending Jay and Jack's big finale party at the Orpheum in LA on Sunday. Stay tuned to their next podcast (late tonight/early Wednesday), as they should be announcing what I will be doing at the event...
Jay and Jack have announced a few of the guests who will be attending the party, including Emerson, Malcolm David Kelley (Walt), MC Gainey (Tom Friendly) and Sterling Beaumon (young Ben). I have also invited a few actors who will be joining the festivities, but will wait until they officially announce all before listing out the additional guests.
At the risk of oversaturation, here are a few links to Lost stories I've either written or been featured in this week.
My Popular Mechanics article with scientists selecting and analyzing their favorite episodes of Lost.
My TVsquad recap of the Lost Weekend fan party and charity auction, including interviews with Sam Anderson (Bernard), Sterling Beaumon (young Ben), Francois Chau (Dr. Chang), Andrea Gabriel (Nadia), Eric Lange (Radzinsky), Ade McCormack (Yemi) and Daniel Roebuck (Arzt).
A USA Today story called "Reflections on Lost from the stars, fans and bloggers" with a brief profile of and quotes from me.
This week I am giving away one piece of Lost memorabilia a day on either Facebook or Twitter, to commemorate the series finale. But the prize for a random comment on this post will be a very cool Ezra the Dharma Shark tee! As always, I appreciate comments but ask that you are considerate and constructive.
The winner of last week's giveaway ("I'd Hit That" Dharma computer tee) is Jason G! Please email me your shipping address.
I do not know when I will be posting here next, but if you'd like to follow along during the finale weekend and party - Twitter is your best bet. Like most of you, I am experiencing a wide range of emotions as we approach the end of the series. We are all in this together.
Good night, thank you for reading and enjoy the final ride.