LOST Recap: Season 5, Episode 15: “Follow The Leader”

8 05 2009

Can you believe that we’re down to one more week of LOST this season?  It’s always such a bittersweet feeling…the best episodes seem to come (by design, actually) at the end of the season, so there’s always so much to look forward to.  But at the same time, we know we’re just 2 hours away from 8 full months of hiatus before the next season.  I know that I should just focus on the episodes at hand and enjoy them, but the cloud of 40+ weeks without the show always tempers my excitement.

In any event, there were some really interesting and cool moments in this season’s second-to-last episode, “Follow The Leader”, so let’s get to it!

“Follow The Leader”

Alright, is it me, or was this the first episode in a long time that wasn’t focused on a specific character?  In fact, I think the episode’s title told us who we’d be “following” through the course of the night’s show: all 3 LOST “leaders”, namely Jack, Sawyer, and Locke.  Of course, I didn’t mind it at all.  In fact, I’m glad that the writers don’t feel as though they need to pigeon-hole themselves into sticking with a specific character at this juncture of the story.  There are less than 20 hours remaining to wrap up this grand tale, and any route they need to take to get us there with the most answers is alright with me.

“Just who the bloody hell might you be?”

bloodyhell

Bloody is right!  Wow, was it me, or did we see a little bit more bloodflow than usual in this episode?  I’m not sure what the point was in showing Jack, Sawyer, and even Juliet get beaten and bloodied, but there it was for us to see.  Perhaps the writers were trying to hammer home the point as to why these 3 were so desperate to do the things they did, and turn their respective backs on their friends…which is exactly what all 3 of them ended up doing.

“I remember these people…I remember meeting them very clearly, because…I watched them all die.”

Richardwithglasses

Now far be it from me to call Richard a liar, especially since he seems to have done nothing but tell the truth all of the times we’ve seen him.  But at the same time, I’m not taking what he’s saying at face value for even a second.  I won’t go as far as to say that all of the LOSTies stuck in 1977 make it back to the present alive and intact, but I will suggest that perhaps Richard misinterpreted what his eyes showed to him.  No, I have no proof of this, only a hunch.  I guess we’ll get a much better idea in the finale…

“Still have that compass I gave you?”

OK, now here’s where things might get a little tricky, but let me try to explain what I think is the first real time paradox created by the show.  The first thing to do is to try to go back as far in the timeline as possible for when we know that compass existed.  If I remember correctly, it was given to Richard by Locke, back in 1954.  It appears as though Richard holds on to this compass for the next 53 years, using it at least once to show to Locke as a youngster as part of the Dalai Lama test to see if he was “ready”.  But, after 53 years of holding on to it, he gives it back to the Locke jumping through time in 2007.  Locke has that same compass just as he jumps back through time to 1954…where he gives it back to Richard again, so it can loop through time once more.  The reason why this is a paradox is because the compass seems to have found itself in a closed time loop…there is seemingly no beginning to it (or when it was created), nor any end to its existence…it always cycles through the same 53 years, ad infinitum.  It also makes it darn near impossible to tell just how old that compass is.  How many times has it gone through the loop when we see it in this iteration?  It’s actually quite fascinating to me, and I can’t apply any form of logic that allows me to understand how it originally got into the loop, and how it might ever get out.

lockewatcheslocke

Up to this point in the show, we’ve never had any closed loop scenarios like this.  In every specific instance of a person jumping through time, they’ve still had a linear experience.  For example, Jack’s experiences in 1977 are his “present”…he’s just now experiencing them, even though he’s 30 years in the past.  He’s never experienced these happenings before, and he never will again…there is no loop.  But for the compass, the story is different.  It *is* going through the same events over and over.  Its past is its future, and vice versa.

So why I am spending so much time trying to explain this to you?  Well, other than the “cool” factor, I think it’s important to expand this line of thought out to 2 other situations.  First, is it possible that Faraday’s notebook could be experiencing that same type of loop?  Could it be that Eloise gave Faraday a book that already contained everything he wrote in it?  Could this be how he knew so much about the island?  It certainly appears to be why Eloise had so much future knowledge.  And it would also explain why she now feels as though she’s in the dark (as she mentioned last episode).  The book only told her of events up to 2007, because that’s the furthest forward anyone was before they were zapped back in time to provide info for the book.  If Eloise had used that notebook as a guide to the future (as it appears she has), then the story suddenly stops in 2007, and she no longer can tell what’s happening next.

One other thing to think about that may be related to the time paradox is Jacob.  We all know that he said, “help me” to Locke back in Season 3.  But what for?  I had always thought that *perhaps* he was stuck in time.  Of course, that theory never made any kind of sense whatsoever.  But now, having seen evidence of a closed loop time paradox with the compass, perhaps it’s possible that Jacob also found himself stuck in something very similar.  I’ll leave the “how” of that type of scenario up to others to dream up, but I think it’s now at least reasonably feasible to think that the reason why Jacob asks for Locke’s help is so that he can get himself unstuck in a time loop.  At least, it seems as likely as any other idea, considering how very little we know about Jacob.

“If we can do what Faraday said, our plane never crashes.”

JackandEloise

Alright, so it’s real easy to trust Faraday right now.  He seems to have a good grasp of what’s happening on the island, right down to the second (see last week’s episode when he knew when Dr. Chang would pull up in the Dharma van).  But shouldn’t Jack be at least somewhat leery of trying to break the “Whatever Happened, Happened” axiom?  He’s seen first-hand how trying to prevent something (not operating on Ben so as to let him die) ended up causing exactly what he was trying to avoid?  I know they keep referring to the electromagnetic energy around the Swan station a “pocket”, but does not even occur to he or Kate that by detonating the h-bomb, they could be causing the very incident that requires the Swan station to be built?  And that forces Desmond to push the button every 108 minutes?  And that eventually causes Flight 815 to crash on the island?  How ironic would it be that Jack indirectly causes his own plane to crash?

“All the misery that we’ve been through…would just wipe it clean…never happened”

Well, now that we’ve talked time travel to death in just the first few segments, let me quickly expound on what Jack says here.  It actually speaks volumes about wher Jack is, and how very different Kate feels in comparison.  Amazingly, Jack does not feel that any of what the folks on the island have endured is worth it.  Jack wants to, and maybe always has wanted to, hit the reset button.  If only we could never have landed here, maybe Shannon, Boone, Eko, Ana Lucia, Charlie…they all would still be alive.  In a way, that’s not such a horrible thought.  And it fits in with the old Jack really, really well.  He has the chance now to pull off the ultimate “fix”…he can bring back all of the people that died, and undo all of the pain.

But Kate’s view seems to be a polar opposite.  Although there’s been pain and death, it’s almost always been surrounded by growth and improvement.  Do we really want Charlie to go back to being an addict?  Do we want Locke back in his wheelchair?  Do we want Kate on the run from the law again?  There is always pain to go through when things change.  But does that mean we’d rather not change at all?  Does it mean that we’d rather stay stagnant so as to avoid difficult situations or even death?  It’s an interesting dilemma, but Jack and Kate clearly have their minds made up as to which sides of the debate they’re on.

Radzinsky brings the beatdown

bloodysawyer

Not much insight to provide on this scene, except to state the obvious that Radzinsky is one major jerk of a guy.  It’s funny; not too long ago we were commenting on how Dr. Chang needed to take a chill pill.  But Radzinsky?  Somebody definitely needs to bring that guy down a peg or two…

“We gotta do something…I mean, Sawyer would never leave us behind.”

Wow, how much more wrong could Hurley be?  One thing that seemed to be pretty consistent in this episode is that we got to see everyone’s true colors.  Jack wants to push the reset button at any cost, Kate seems to be genuinely interested in her friends, Hurley wants to do the right thing, and Sawyer is once again willing to sell out in order to keep things together with Juliet.  Not unlike what happened with Sayid earlier this season, Sawyer is more than willing to put one or more of friends in peril in order to keep things together with Juliet.  And of course, the very friend he’s ready to throw under the bus is the same one that is doing everything to save him.  While Jack is in clear desperation mode, Sawyer’s activities could be seen as marginally worse…because his actions do not appear to have the greater good in mind (even if it appears misguided).  No, Sawyer is out to keep himself happy, even if it means turning his back on people he used to call his friends.

“This must be quite the out-of-body experience.”

“Something like that…”  Yeah, something like that indeed.  While it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on here with the 2007 John Locke, he’s clearly not the same person as the 2004 John Locke that jumped into this time period.  I’m convinced that the “out-of-body experience” going on has everything to do with Locke not being in control of his body in 2007, but rather that someone else is pulling the strings.  Everything about Locke’s conversation in this scene, from his revelation to Ben that the island talks to him, to his questioning of how Alpert’s conversation went, to his claim that he *did* have to die all point to him not being who he says he is.  It’s almost as if Locke’s body has returned, but his soul has ben replaced with someone else somehow…

Head fake!

sayidtotherescue

So…I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been anticipating a major death for awhile now, as rumors have been rampant that someone would be biting the bullet before the end of the season.  When Kate started to head back to Dharmaville, I said aloud, “they’re not going to kill Kate, are they?”  Of course, I had envisioned that it might be when she ran into an armed and crazy Radzinsky.  But instead, mere seconds after I mentioned it, gunshots were fired, and Kate looked down…to find that she was saved by Sayid.  Huge head fake, and I completely fell for it!  Excellent job on that one, and even better, I’m glad that we’ve got Sayid back for the finale.

“Tell me how we’re gonna get a bomb outta here?”

heresyourbomb

“The same way we brought it in.”  Of course, Richard doesn’t get to finish the answer, other than to explain that it’s not through the pool.  Does anyone think that perhaps “The Tunnels” are somehow attached to “The Temple”, and that they’re going to trudge the bomb through there?  Well, I can at least hope, can’t I?

“The real world…I don’t even know what that means anymore.”

onthesub

Of course, just when you think that Sawyer and Juliet might just take the sub, get off the island, and have their happily ever after, Kate manages to find her way on the sub.  The thing I find most interesting about it all though, is Juliet’s look at Sawyer after the initial “awkward” moment ends.  Is she really not trusting of Sawyer at this point?  He’s twice chosen her over his friends, and he’s done everything to prove that he wants nothing more than to be with her at any cost.  I find it odd that she seems to still be questioning whether or not he wants to be with her.  Unless, of course, she thinks that “fate” is playing a larger role in events than she’s like…

“So I can kill him.”

Whhaaaaaaaat?  Seriously, that’s what ran through my head when I heard that line.  Now, not only do I believe that the Locke we’re currently seeing is not the Locke that we’ve come to know, but in fact, something much larger than we’ve been led to believe is at work here.  Things are so very much not as they seem that I’m almost at a loss to even try to predict what the finale is going to be about.  Here’s one thing I’m starting to reconsider though.  I’ve never been a subscriber to the idea that the Smoke Monster was able to take human form.  Many have speculated that the smoke monster and the apparitions are one in the same, but I’ve never really believed it.  But I tell you what…with John’s recent activity coupled with his strange disappearances both Ben tried to summon the monster and when he finally encountered it…I would not at all be surprised if Locke morphed into the Smoke Monster in the finale.

Irrespective of that, you have to wonder, why would he want to kill Jacob?  That line really seems to make no sense at all, whether Locke is Locke, or if he’s an incarnation of the smoke monster or something else.  He’s in tune with the island, and Jacob is the supposed voice of the island, isn’t he?  I’m sure we’ve intentionally been left in the dark, without enough clues to answer this, but it would be nice to have at least a reasonable, feasible guess.  But I’m sorry to say, I simply don’t have one.  I’m pretty darned excited to see how it plays out though!

Post-episode questions:

  1. Is Jack really going to detonate the h-bomb?  If he does, will it have the intended effect, or will the island get blown to smithereens?
  2. Are we really going to get to see Jacob?  And if so, will Locke really try to kill him?
  3. Who the heck is this guy trying to pass himself off as Locke?  And what would be the point of trying to kill Jacob?
  4. Are Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate all really going to leave the island?  If not, what are they going to do, make the sub do a u-turn?
  5. How psyched are you for the finale?  Remember, this is going to be the last ever LOST cliffhanger, so I’m sure they’re going to pull out all of the stops…

That’s it for this week, thanks for checking in!

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6 responses

8 05 2009
Doug

GREAT breakdown of the episode- one which was pivotal in the greater story…

OK, here’s a weak theory- and probably WAY premature, but something to think about…

Jack = jacob

The fact that Christian Shepard and Claire have both been “recruited” by the island in sort of caretaker roles- one after death, one presumably before, lends credence to the idea that the “Shepard” family has a connection to the island in different more meaningful ways.

Jack’s role was undertstated this season but as the S5 finale nears, we see him start to pick up steam again- but also become more spiritual or more inclined to the “destiny” thing instead of the logical approach of his past.

Locke may not allow Jack to set off that bomb.

8 05 2009
hablodepablo

Great point about the Shephards and their potential role in the story. This story has to be as much about Jack as it is anyone else…it would just be too odd to see him drift into the background as everything comes to a conclusion.

The idea of Jack being Jacob was something I never gave a ton of thought to before, but having given it some more thought after your comment, there are 2 things that may support the theory.

First, when Jacob’s list was first discussed way back in season 3, Jack’s name was not on it. Perhaps the reason why was because he needed to allow himself to complete the tasks that would allow him to become Jacob. If he was on the list to be taken, he would not be able to do what he needed to do.

Second, and perhaps more far-fetched, is the idea that what jack needed (needs) to do to become Jacob, is to detonate the h-bomb. Admittedly, the chances of anything but a massively destructive explosion occuring when a h-bomb is detonated are very, very small. But what if Jack is the only one willing (read: crazy enough) to stay close enough to the bomb to detonate it over the anomaly. Is it even remotely possible that the bomb’s energy could somehow interact with the anomaly, save Jack’s life, turn him into this all-powerful Jacob, and get him stuck in time all in one fell swoop?

That would certainly be a strange twist, but certainly not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Thanks for commenting and providing that line of thought!

9 05 2009
Brad

Guys, you’re making the writers nervous, wishing they’d thought of those things first! 🙂
Either that, or wondering how you got your hands on the scripts, hehe!

OK I admit that the greatest cliffhanger of all time would be to see that H-bomb blow the island to bits, but, ok no buts, i can’t think of any buts.

Interesting ideas about Jack and Locke. I thought it fascinating how confident “Locke” is now (do we need to put him in quotes now that Pablo raises questions about his identity?) Notice when Sun asked him about finding Jin, he immediately replied with the affirmative without batting an eye, as if he has already finished reading the book? So a while back I mentioned smokey might morph into Richard, but I never thought about Locke…that makes more sense, but either way I think the finale is going to be a real humdinger!

And as far as Jack is concerned, I agree that he will be instrumental in the end game, but I think he will operate more as an agent of organization and leadership rather than that of mysticism.

And lastly, my grand prediction about Jacob: I think he’s a hallucination or false memory caused somehow by Richard. You see him being hesitant about Locke’s moves at every step because Locke is the first “leader” not chosen by Richard. Richard served as advisor for “a very long time” according to Ben, so being in a position to manipulate whomever is their leader. This is why Ben is stunned that Locke intends to kill Jacob — Ben was manipulated by Richard into believing Jacob’s existence, as was Widmore before that (and so on, back to the Black Rock shipwreck which i think Richard was either first mate or captain). So when Locke mentions he intends to kill Jacob, I think he knows Richard’s ruse and simply plans to dispel the myth in front of everyone. This might tie in neatly with your idea of Locke not being the actual Locke!

11 05 2009
Doug

The beautiful thing about “Lost” is that the story has endless options. Just when I think I have it figured out, they make a choice that takes it another direction. I’m not nearly as smart as those that blog here but kicking around an idea or two and getting your insight is very entertaining- and for that, I say “thanks”…

The other explanation for Jacob and for “Locke” killing him is that it’s a figurative statement- and he likes an audience to out liars and frauds. Remember though how that worked with the button? Locke was wrong. Remember “Dead is Dead” so his resurrection/reincarnation must have some meaning more than the same foibles and weaknesses of pre-hanging Locke- yet it was Linus who said that “Dead is dead. You can’t change that” and everything he says has to be considered false until proven true.

Richard Alpert’s backstory clearly holds a key. I love the shipwreck idea. Anyone else notice that he has begun to show signs of aging? In an earlier episode this season he mentioned that he couldn’t hear- he was hard of hearing- and in this episode- pictured here- he has begun to wear glasses. Not sure if this has any meaning whatsoever but it’s fun to contemplate.

12 05 2009
Brad

Good observation about Richard getting older, never noticed that. Do any of you remember which episode he mentioned he was hard of hearing?

12 05 2009
Brad

Good observation about Richard getting older, never noticed that. Do any of you remember which episode he mentioned he was hard of hearing?

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