LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 15: “What They Died For”

20 05 2010

Hey everyone, was that one of the best “setup” episodes ever or what?  You had to be thinking coming in that this was going to be one of those episodes where the pieces on the chess board were being moved around to their rightful starting places for the finale.  But wow, was it me, or was it so much more than that?  After the polarizing “Across The Sea”, I have to think that everyone is back on board and ready to ride the wave of fun into the finale.  Although my level of excitement is somewhat tempered by knowing that Sunday will bring the last LOST ever, I know that the writers have been leading up to this moment for quite some time now, and I know that they’re ready to deliver.  I simply can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

That being said, we’ve still got this episode to analyze.  Although we’re at the point now where there’s not much mystery being revealed, there was still a ton to discuss.

Jack’s got a real pain in the neck

Jack's got a bloody neck again, just like in the season premiere

We were shown this way back in the premiere, but the writers wanted to make sure you didn’t forget: Jack’s got a bit of a problem with a bloody neck.  I’m sure we’ll see how this ties in when the finale airs, but I can’t help but to think back to an old favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when I see this.  The episode was called “Frame of Mind”, and it had one of the main characters, Commander Riker, continually experiencing a cut on his right forehead.  Different things would trigger it, and sometimes nothing would.  Eventually, we came to learn that Riker was in fact being held in stasis in an alien mind experiment.  The spot on his forehead that continued to bleed in his dreams was where the aliens had hooked up some sort of monitoring system to him.  So what does all that mean?  Well, I think the first guess is that perhaps Jack experiences some sort of throat slash in the main timeline, perhaps similar to what happened to Zoe.  And perhaps he’s either carrying this memory with him, he’s stuck in some sort of stasis himself.  Perhaps the whole flash-sideways as an elaborate Matrix-type experience for everyone in it.  And perhaps, just perhaps, everyone in it has died in the main timeline.

It’s funny; the more I try to theorize about what’s going to happen in the finale, the more I realize how crazy I sound.  But really, the writers have given us so little to go on, that we’re reduced to this kind of wackiness if we want to make any guess at all.  Part of me just wants to sit back, stop theorizing, and let the finale come to me.  I’m sure that’ll happen on Sunday, but after years of theorizing on this blog, I can’t stop now, no matter how off-the-wall some of the logical conclusions might seem.  I hope you guys continue to bear with me.

“Is your mom coming too?”

So…any guesses as to who David’s mom is?  Even money in the office is that it’s Juliet, but who knows for certain.  At this point though, I think it would be more of a trick that it *is* Sarah, as opposed to it not being her.  Clearly, we’ll find out soon enough.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the sideways universe (with the Shephard family enjoying breakfast together) is almost a little too good to be true right now.  I’m nearly 100% convinced that the sideways is going to be the epilogue of the series, as some have surmised.  But if it’s that simple…if the events on the island lead to the sideways and there is no further conflict to resolve, I will be highly disappointed.  I almost feel as though this timeline is the result of some great compromise, and that the LOSTies have to “wake up” in order to deal with it.  If somehow the island thread ends with the LOSTies defeating Smokey and getting this timeline as a result, it would seem like a bit of a cop-out.  I hate to jump to conclusions (especially unfounded ones), but I wanted to be on record for that before the finale airs.

Desmond the mastermind

I’m not sure how Desmond knows as much as he does, or how he’s got all of the contacts he has (Widmore, perhaps?), but he’s got a grand plan that he’s desperate to enact.  Clearly, just “knowing” about the island timeline is not enough.  He’s trying to get the right people to remember, perhaps because there’s some final action that they have to take?  Or, because they have to “wake up” from the dream?  Not sure, but the Desmond thread in the sideways timeline makes for an intriguing diversion from the island thread.

“We have to kill him”

Jack and Kate agree that they must kill Locke

The mood on the beach is as somber as it gets, knowing that of all of the survivors of Flight 815, there’s only the 4 of them left.  But amidst all of the sorrow, there is resolve.  The resolve that they must some way, any way, kill the man masquerading as John Locke.  Don’t ask me how they’re going to do it, because honestly, I have no idea.  It’s interesting to think about, because we know so little about any limitations that the monster has.  In fact, we’re not even sure why he can’t break through the sonic fence or the circle of ash.  But we know that when he’s in physical form, he can be physically moved, as Jack demonstrated by pushing him in the water in “The Candidate”.  So perhaps Desmond can get close enough to carry him into one of the island’s electromagnetic anomolies?  Perhaps the original tunnel of light itself?  I’m just typing out loud here…if any of you have something more well thought-out, please share in the comments!

“Welcome back Mr. Locke, it’s good to see you!”

You want to know who I am?

OK, admit it, how many of you thought, “Not again!” when Desmond fired up the car as Locke crossed the street?  The writers definitely got me on that one.  But what might have been even more shocking was that sideways Ben managed to get his “vision” of island time via a complete beatdown at the hands of Desmond.  I definitely didn’t see that one coming.  And the best part was that it seemed as though Desmond knew that would be the result…

“What’s that?  A secreter room?”

It’s those types of lines that make me happy that the writers haven’t found a way to kill off Miles just yet.  I love his one-liners even more than Sawyer’s nicknames, and this one was perfect.  It was certainly a great way to break the tension before the action about to unfold.

Desmond turns himself in…to get Kate and Sayid out

As I said earlier, it’s hard to do much analysis on large parts of this episode: what you see is what you get.  But here’s just another example that it’s simply not enough for Desmond to get certain folks to remember.  He’s looking to accomplish something that requires all of our LOSTies, and he’s willing to go to great lengths to make it happen.

Little boy Jacob appears for the last time

Boy Jacob claims his ashes

Add another tick mark to the growing list of theories I’ve mentioned that have not come to fruition.  As we learned last episode, the little boy we’ve been seeing antagonizing Locke is none other than Jacob himself.  Some of you correctly guessed that, so kudos to you!  My thought that it was a reincarnated Locke clearly is not the case.  Swing and a miss on that one!  But it was good to see Jacob again, even if this is the last time.  He’s got some critical info to share with the LOSTies (and us), and it was nice to have that before the finale.

“These are both great plans, but I’m gonna go with surviving.”

One thing you may have missed in the chaos that ensued later in this scene, is that Miles ends up taking the backpack with the explosives.  And, in addition, he gets one of the walkie talkies from Ben.  Considering that Miles escapes the wrath of Smokey (at least for now), it’s important to note that the C-4 is still in play, and in Miles’ hands.

“I know this man, all he wants is for me to join him.”

Smokey takes Richard for a ride

Uh, not exactly.  Did any of you expect Richard to be taken out so quickly?  I don’t know if Jacob gave Richard eternal life or eternal youth when he recruited him to be his liaison, but I’d be seriously worried either way after an attack like that.  Of course, Ben’s reaction is classic…what else to do after the Smoke Monster violently assaults someone right next to you than to go sit on a deck chair?  Makes sense to me!

“We insist, even if we have to kidnap you.”

It was nice to see Danielle again, especially since I thought I had read that the actress didn’t have time to come back and be part of the show’s final season.  Of course, the line she says to Ben regarding him driving home with them was a great throwback to the his introduction back in Season 2, when Danielle caught him in a trap and turned him over to the LOSTies.

Ben and Danielle share a moment

By the way, I know I’ve said it before, but I’m consistently amazed by Michael Emerson’s subtle acting abilities.  He does a fantastic job here of showing us how his character doesn’t realize until a few moments later that Danielle said “next time” when referring to their dinner together.  It seems as though Ben will get a second chance with his “daughter” in the sideways universe…

“How nice to be able to talk without those fences between us.”

Zoe is murdered by the Smoke Monster

Too bad for Widmore and Zoe that talking is not what Locke actually had in mind.  Clearly, Smokey is through scheming and plotting, and is ready to use physical force directly and purposefully in order to get what he needs.  Zoe is murdered within seconds, and Ben takes out Widmore when he tries to make a play to save his daughter.  The deaths didn’t end with “The Candidate”, and somehow, I don’t see a fatality-free finale, either.

Ben takes out Widmore

What really makes this scene interesting, however, is the return of the old Ben.  Some of you had been lamenting about Ben and the role he had been relegated to in Season 6.  Clearly, as Smokey’s right-hand man, he can get back to his devious ways.  He may attempt to double-cross Smokey if the time and opportunity is right, but even so, he’s far from the man sitting in the background, waiting for the action to be brought to his doorstep.

“I think I’m ready to get out of this chair.”

OK, so I’m an admitted Locke fan, which makes this assessment biased.  But hearing those words from sideways Locke made me hope for the first time that the sideways timeline was the epilogue.  In the big picture, I’m still hesitant about how convenient it is for all of the characters to have these “fairy-tale” endings.  But I suppose that if it this is somehow shown to be the “real” Locke, and he finds his way out of the wheelchair and begins to take on the demeanor of the Locke we saw on the island, then I guess I’ll take the trade-off.  Still, I’m hoping that the writers have some special trick up their sleeves…

“I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.”

Jacob explains the candidates' purpose

The Jacob fireside chat was great in terms of putting all of the pieces together about the overarching reason why all of the LOSTies were on the island: Jacob knew he would eventually be killed by Smokey, and he needed a replacement lined up.  In fact, Jacob does such a good job of explaining the situation, that it’s hard to do any additional breakdown or analysis here.

One thing I feel compelled to point out is when Jacob says, “it’s just a line of chalk in a cave.”  Why would I want to mention that?  Well, if we know anything about LOST, it’s that things are never quite what they seem.  And honestly, it seems just too soon, too convenient, and too obvious that Jack would become the new protector of the island.  In fact, Jacob himself questions whether or not Jack’s response is a statement or a question.  Think about it this way: everything we’ve seen regarding protectors of the island leads us to believe that it’s a job that encompasses hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  And since Jack is told that he has to protect the island “for as long as he can”, you’d think that he’d have the job as long as crazy mother or Jacob had it.  But what if that’s just conditioning on our part?  What if Smokey manages to kill Jack a single day after he takes the job?  If he’s been playing this game for thousands of years, and Jack has been at it for hours, is there any reason to think that Jack can outwit him?  If Smokey plays him, and manages to off him by slicing his neck (or having someone else…like Ben…do so), then wouldn’t they need another replacement quickly?  I could certainly be way off base here, but I’m not convinced that Jack has this job for the long haul.

Desmond breaks the Oceanic jailbirds out

Desmond, Kate, and Sayid break out with the help of Ana Lucia

Awesome cameo by Ana Lucia here as the driver of the truck, and a great scene of the front end of a master plan yet to be executed in the finale.  It’s too bad that the writers couldn’t have made the flash-sideways this compelling from the start, as it may not have had such mixed responses if they had.  Regardless, it’s interesting to note that Hurley already has full understanding of the island timeline.  He recognizes Ana Lucia, even if she doesn’t “remember” him.  I’m actually excited for the answers to some flash-sideways questions: what Desmond is ultimately up to here, and of course,  more importantly, how the whole sideways timeline ties in to the main timeline.  Only a few days until we find out!

“I’m gonna destroy the island.”

A fantastic way to end the episode, with everyone having clear motivation and purpose for the finale.  It’s now just a matter of who will be able to execute their plans, and who will fail.  If we know LOST like we think we do, the outcome may not be abundantly clear, even after it’s all over.

Post-episode questions

1. How does Jack’s bloody neck relate to the connection between the two timelines?

2. Now that Jack is the protector of the island, what does he “know”, or what can he “see”?

3. What exactly is Desmond up to, both on-island and in the flash-sideways?

4. Is Ben really playing for Smokey, or is he just waiting for the right moment to stab him in the back?

5. Can you believe that we only have one episode left before the end of LOST?

I hope you found this episode as entertaining as I did…I think the writers gave us a setup episode that transcended their typical offerings of that nature, and really whet my appetite for the finale.  Just an FYI: I’ll be back here on Friday to give you any nuggets of info that I can glean from the Times Talks Live event on Thursday night.  I doubt we’ll get much with respect to the finale, but we’ll likely get some good insights on how Damon & Carlton constructed the show’s path, and the obstacles they ran into.  As we wrap up LOST forever, I think that’s as interesting a topic as any.

Thanks again for stopping by!

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2 responses

20 05 2010
Will

Nice breakdown of the episode Paul, I cant wait for the final hours!!

21 05 2010
DDay

I agree with you Pablo. Jack isn’t in the island protection business for the long haul. I thought the conversion scene was fairly obvious. No cave of light. No wine. Jacob- for some reason- is playing jack. I’ll be disappointed if Jack is killed because of this.

Hurley gets the job. If only because he said “I’m just glad it isn’t me”…

Can’t wait for Sunday…

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