LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 14: “Across The Sea”

13 05 2010

Usually when I start off one of these posts, I like to come in with some kind of witty or attention-grabbing sentence or paragraph.  But for some reason, it seems strange to do that for this episode.  “Across The Sea” seemed to really polarize the LOST audience, and strangely, that reaction seemed to annoy the show’s writers.  With only 2 episodes and 3 1/2 hours of new material left to air, things seem to have shifted from last week’s giddy anticipation for the finale, to an atmosphere of guarded apprehension about what we may or may not get in the finale.  I’ll touch on that a bit more at the end of the post, and also clue all of you in on what’s in store for Finale Week on interLOST.  But first, let’s take a closer look at some of the on-screen happenings of the episode that is clearly first chronologically in the history of the show.

“Across The Sea”

Typically, the writers are extremely clever, and have double-meanings in their episode titles.  Obviously, “Across The Sea” refers to where Jacob and MIB’s mother comes from, but I failed to come up with a secondary explanation, even after giving it some thought.  With all of the subtle clues dropped in this episode, I was sure that there had to be something, but I just couldn’t find it.  If anyone else came up with something, please help me out by mentioning it in the comments!

“Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.”

Claudia, trying to determine who she's with

Right off the bat, the writers are letting us know that this episode was created just for the mythology folks.  It’s quite clear that crazy mom’s words to Claudia are not intended just for her, but more importantly, everyone one of us that are looking for LOST to explain itself and it’s mysteries.

Now, I hate to go into a deep dive on dialog when it’s one of the first lines in the episode, and I haven’t had a chance to build a rhythm yet, but this line is here, and you almost have to talk about it.  I imagine that the writers threw this line in as sort of an in-joke…something that they thought would give the audience something to chuckle about.  But I have to tell you, everyone that I’ve had a chance to talk to about it took more as an insult than an in-joke.  True, to some extent you can’t answer every question that has spawned from another question.  But this line seems to indicate that they won’t even give it the good-old college try.  The fact is, the writers know that they have an audience that painstakingly reviews each and every detail in each and every episode.  And we know that they know because they consistently drop in easter eggs, both visually, and with nuggets of dialog.  They’ve used this passion to create the “cool” factor of the show…to help geek it out for the absolute fanatics.  But now, using the same device that they once used to reel everyone in, they’re now using to tell everyone to back off.  The fact is, the writers created the mysteries that we all want answers to.  They made it important to us, the audience.  And since they had to know we’d clamor for answers, it seems to speak to a lack of planning to open all of these doors without having visualized a narrative focus that would take us through them all being closed.

I could write pages and pages on this topic, so maybe I’ll turn that into a discussion topic in the final few days we have before the finale.  And then again, maybe I won’t.  Either way, suffice it to say that I think that the writers went a little too far and actually belittled their audience with this one.

“I only picked one name.”

The newly born Jacob and his brother

The rest of the scene gives us a minor answer, and then denies us of another.  First off, Jacob and MIB are brothers…something that adds an interesting twist to their conflict.  At the same time, it appears as though the writers simply do not want to provide us with MIB’s actual name (wouldn’t crazy Mom have given him some type of nickname?), and so that’s that.  That’s also that for Claudia, who meets with her demise at the hands of the same woman who delivered her children.

“Jacob doesn’t know how to lie…he’s not like you.”

Right from the start, it’s clear to everyone involved that BIB (the boy in black) is crazy mom’s first choice to be her successor.  Crazy mom knows it, BIB knows it, and Jacob even realizes it.  I mention this because it’s critical to understanding the motivation of each of the characters as they progress through the episode, and perhaps into the final 3 1/2 hours reamining this season.

“Of course it did!  Where else would it come from?”

Jacob and his brother playing a game

One of the bigger revelations of the episode is the “protector’s” ability to harness the power of the island.  This idea is addressed more directly later in the episode, but it’s important to take notice of it here as well, since it’s not as straightforward.  BIB finds a game, and crazy Mom claims to have placed it there.  But how?  She wasn’t concealing the game just to take it out at just the right moment.  No, what I think we’re seeing is the manifestation of the “magic box” that Ben referred to back in Season 3’s “The Man From Tallahassee”.  While we were told that the box was just a metaphor for the island, I think that there have been numerous occasions in which the best explanation for some activity or event would be that enough people believed that it would happen.  I think the infamous Dharma food drop is a perfect example, and this season’s lighthouse is more recent potential proof.  While it’s a far-fecthed theory, don’t be too surprised if we come to learn that the ability to simply believe that something exists on the island is all that’s required to make it be the case.

“I’ve made it so you can never hurt each other.”

In and of itself, this piece of info is nothing dramatically new.  We already knew that Jacob and the Man in Black couldn’t kill each other.  But what this statement really implies is that the protector of the island has the ability to make the rules.  MIB even foresahdows this later in the episode, when discussing the rules of the game he and Jacob play.  But these rules haven’t been around forever…they seem to be modifiable, or at least appendable…if you have the job of taking care of the island.

“This is the reason we’re here.”

Jacob and his brother are shown the cave of light

Crazy Mom takes the boys to the cave of light and explains her reason for being: protecting the light that no one can steal, but that everyone will want.  It’s this light that apparently powers all of the mystical properties of the island.  But it’s not only that; tampering with the light on the island can have a ripple effect everywhere, and cause unspecified harm to humanity even off the island.  I think that the episode is very straightforward in this area, but I specifically call it out because while we’re currently worried about Smokey and what he did to Sayid, Frank, Sun and Jin…Widmore might be the one that is actually about to violate crazy Mom’s initial concerns.  Food for thought as we head into the finale.

“I’m going for a walk on the beach.  I’ll meet you later.”

Claudia's apparition appears to her unnamed son

One of the mysteries of the episode that I’m still trying to figure out is why Claudia (the boys’ mother) would appear to BIB, but not to Jacob.  BIB even asks this very same question, and is told it’s because Claudia is dead.  Unfortunately for the audience, that still doesn’t explain the situation.  Is it one of the rules that Jacob can’t see dead people?  Is it because Claudia doesn’t want to appear to him?  This may be one of those questions that never gets answered.  Regardless, Claudia shows BIB just enough to convince him that he doesn’t belong with crazy Mom, and instead, should go live with his people.

“Follow you where?”

An unhappy young Jacob

The writers have used this line just enough this season for me to think that it’s got to be some type of in-joke with the writing team.  Perhaps it’s part of a drinking game that they play.  In any event, Claudia’s revelation to BIB has caused him to want to leave crazy Mom’s camp, and to take Jacob with him.  While the resulting beatdown that BIB takes from Jacob is intriguing, what’s even more intriguing is the fact that crazy Mom seems completely powerless to stop him.  It appears as though free will, at least in some form, trumps the “rules” of the game.  It’ll be interesting to see if this is explored in further detail in the last 2 episodes.

What is certain to be explored in further detail is the warning crazy Mom gives to BIB: that he’ll never be able to leave the island.  He clearly believes otherwise, and I’m sure we’ll find out the ultimate truth before the last frame of the finale is shown.

“I’m leaving, Jacob.”

Thirty years pass, and BIB becomes the MIB that we’ve all come to know.  And now, even this far back in the storyline, MIB’s desire is the same as it is many, many years later: to get off the darn island.   But here’s the thing: at first it made sense for crazy Mom to try to stop MIB from leaving the island: she didn’t want him to be corrupted and/or killed.  But now, after he’s spent 30 years with a group of humans outside her sphere of influence, it doesn’t seem to make sense that she would still want to stop him.  It makes even less sense that Jacob would want to keep him on the island.  But that’s exactly what transpires.

Jacob relays MIB’s plan to crazy Mom, who subsequently pays her first visit to MIB after 30 years of staying away.  And after failing to convince him to give up his plans to create the frozen donkey wheel, she physically stops him by surprising him and knocking him out.

“I don’t have a choice; it’s what he wants.”

Crazy Mom transfers the power of the island to Jacob

After stopping MIB’s plans, it’s clear that crazy Mom knows that she’s going to be hunted down and killed.  She quickly takes Jacob back to the cave of light, and runs through the ceremony of transferring her abilities to him.  The interesting thing to note is that the whole thing was a very clear set up from the beginning.  She made Jacob jealous of his brother right from the start, and manipulated him both into taking her place, and trapping MIB on the island.  Not only did she know that her death was coming, but she did it in such a way that she could set up MIB to fall out of favor with Jacob, and set up the dynamic that they’re still battling under in the current timeline.

“No it doesn’t; you wanted it to be him!”

One of the things I found interesting about this episode was the way the actors delivered their lines.  I’m not sure if it was intentional, but even as adults, Jacob and MIB used verbage and intonation that suggested the maturity of a little boy.  It’s fascinating to me, because here are two immensely powerful beings, but neither of them have any real-life experiences.  Perhaps MIB has more than Jacob because of his 30 years with the human inhabitants.  But for all intents and purposes, these two are kids in adults’ bodies, playing high-stakes games with people’s lives and not really understanding the consequences.

“What did you do?!”

Even as crazy Mom thanks MIB for ending her run as protector of the island, Jacob cannot see the manipulation that he’s been a part of.  He again provides a beatdown for MIB, and then attempts to give him the only punishment he can think of, considering that the rules state that he can’t kill him outright.

“You wanna leave this place brother?”

The Smoke Monster is born

As we all saw, Jacob chucked his brother into the cave of light, causing him to turn into the Smoke Monster.  2 things to note here.  First, it appears as though the light in the cave goes out as a result of MIB being tossed in.  I’m not sure if this is a temporary condition that happens as a result of someone going into the cave (and we don’t get to see it again after the transformation), but it certainly fades out.  Again, just something to keep in mind for the finale.  Additionally, although not explicitly stated, it certainly appears as though the crazy Mom speech regarding everyone having a little light inside of them is referring to individual’s souls.  It seems to me that the effect of being tossed into the cave is one that tears your soul from your physical body, and renders it as the black smoke that we’ve seen.  It also may give a level of explanation as to how MIB can use the bodies of the dead on the island.  Once the soul leaves the body, MIB can push his soul into the body, and take control of it.  There seems to be some strange measure of logic around it all if looked at in that fashion.

I should also note that it’s very clear that the writers are once again trying to blur the line between good and evil.  After the events of last episode’s “The Candidate”, you could easily argue that MIB is the main protagonist.  After all, he just helped to kill 3 main characters on the show.  But after this episode, you can’t help but to sympathize with his situation.  He’s been pulled from the life he meant to lead by no fault of his own.  And the only thing he’s wanted to do his whole life…leave the island…has been denied him at every turn.  Not only that, but his brother and adopted mother betray him; the former cruelly subjecting him to an horrible existence in a fit of childish rage.  It’s hard to feel fully sympathetic to Smokey based upon everything we’ve seen him do over the years, but it’s certainly not hard at all to at least rationalize his actions.

“Our very own Adam and Eve…”

A nice touch at the end of the episode, not only tying back this story to that of our LOSTies, but helping to clarify the “Adam & Eve” comment from Locke.  Clearly, these two are truly the start of the story of our gang of LOSTies.  And while the initial timeframe that Jack, Kate, and Locke thought they were from is way off, I’m still very satisfied with the answer given to us regarding who these two really are.

Post-episode questions:

1. What are the rules of the game?  Are all of the rules that crazy Mom put in place still in effect, and which new ones has Jacob introduced?

2. With the wine bottle smashed, what ritual does Jacob have to put his successor through in order for him/her to take over?

3. With Jacob being killed before his successor was named, how can he transfer his power to the new person?

4. Even if MIB kills all of the candidates, will he really be able to leave the island?

5. If that was all of the mythology you’re going to get surrounding the conflict between Jacob and MIB, would you be satisfied?

I ask the last question because of an interesting article I stumbled across today.  It’s an interview with the show’s writers, and how they defend some choices that they’ve made regarding the show.  It was the first time that I came across an interview in which they seemed both guarded and jaded, and I was actually surprised as I read through it.  Check it out here and see what you think: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/exclusive-interview-lost-producers-damon-lindelof-and-carlton-cuse-talk-across-the-sea

To me, there are some discouraging things mentioned in the article, most of which harken back to my thoughts around the “we can’t answer all of your questions” line by crazy Mom in this episode.  That being said, I’m still hopeful that the finale will be knock-your-socks-off good, and that we’ll have much to discuss after it airs.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I plan to be pretty active on the blog as we head into Finale Week next week!  I plan to post the challenge of the week on Monday, which will be highly open-ended.  I’m hoping to talk about whatever things you hope to get answers to in the final 2 episodes.  I’ll also post on interLOST itself: how it came to be, its progression over the past few years and what I had hoped for, as well as what will happen to it after LOST leaves the airwaves.  Obviously, I’ll recap Tuesday’s episode, “What They Died For”, but then I’ll also be back to share with you what was said in the Times Talks Live session.  And once the finale airs, I’ll have an open thread for comments and initial thoughts prior to my recaps the following week.  I’m looking forward to a fun week of LOST, and I hope to share it with all of you!  For those of you lurkers (and I know there are a bunch of you), now’s the time to come out of hiding!  Share a little tidbit in the comments!  This is your last chance before the show goes off the air!

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Let’s hope that next week is as special as we all hope it will be!


LOST Challenge of the Week: “Across The Sea”

10 05 2010

Happy LOST week everyone!  Can you believe that this is the penultimate week of LOST?  Two weeks from now, the show will be in the rear view mirror.  I have to admit, there have only been a couple of TV shows that have impacted me as much as this one has, and that have created this much anticipation going into the finale.  Because of that, I thought I’d toss a secondary challenge/question of the week out there: What other shows have generated this much anticipation for you as the show came to its end?  Did you look forward to them more or less than LOST?  And were they as publicly accepted as LOST is?  I’ll share a few of mine with you guys if any of you decide to leave some of yours in the comments.

As for the episode itself, I think there’s just a bit more direction on what’s going to take place in “Across The Sea”, so it makes it easier to come up with the challenge.  If you hadn’t already heard, the episode is going to deal with the backstory of Jacob & MIB, and will supposedly expose Smokey’s motivation once and for all.  So, your challenge for the week, if you choose to accept it, is: How did Smokey get into this situation, and what are his true motives?

I’m really looking forward to this one, as I expect that it’s going to be a huge mythology download.  I worry that I might be getting my hopes up too high, but I’m expecting quite a few answers.  Either way, I’ll be back in a couple of days to give you my analysis.  Enjoy the show everyone!

Lost Recap: Season 6, Episode 13: “The Candidate”

6 05 2010

Wow, was that a doozy of an episode or what?  Not a whole lot in the way of mythology (I have a feeling that will be made up for next week), but what it was lacking there, it made up for in action.  But before I get to the analysis, let me share with you the latest LOST news, just in case you didn’t read or hear about it elsewhere today.  The finale on May 23rd (that’s a Sunday folks), has been extended to 2 1/2 hours!  Apparently, Damon & Carlton had so much content they wanted to share, that they convinced the network to give them an extra 30 minutes.  You can read more about it here: http://www.tvguide.com/News/Lost-Series-Finale-1018123.aspx

For those of you keeping count, there’s now a full 5 1/2 hours of LOST airing on May 23rd: a 2-hour recap show starting at 7:00, the 2 1/2 hour finale at 9:00, and the one-hour Jimmy Kimmel LOST tribute show at midnight (following your 30-minute local newscast during which you can catch your breath).  How many of you plan on watching all of it?  My guess is that anyone who visits this blog will be sticking through all of it.

Alright, with that piece out of the way, let’s get into the episode at hand, shall we?

The Candidate

Of course, we got our requisite double-meaning for this episode, as Locke was the candidate for Jack’s surgical procedure, and Jack himself was identified as the candidate by Sayid.  Neither or those were huge surprises, and in fact, it seemed as though there wasn’t too much in the way of true revelations in this episode, at least for those that have been paying attention all along.  Regardless, let’s start at the top.

“Put the gun down or I’ll kill her!”

Widmore is prepared to kill Kate to meet his ends

OK, so I’m going to skip the first flash-sideways scene (I’ll spend some good time in the flash-sideways in this review, I promise!), because the initial scene at the cages is very interesting.  And I say so not for what specifically happens, but because I think it’s a foreshadowing of things to come.  I’ll get into the details later, but take note: Sawyer has the upper hand in the situation, but gives it up because Widmore holds Kate at gunpoint.  It costs Sawyer another stay in the cages, and shows where his feelings lie with Kate.  I’ll refer back to this towards the end of the post.

“That was three years ago; you just remember that?”

Bernard gives Jack some key info

For some reason, the conversation with Jack and Bernard in the flash-sideways is more compelling to me than usual.  In fact, the entire flash-sideways in this episode seemed more intriguing for some reason.  I guess it’s because it seems as though the characters seem to be at least aware of some greater mystery, and are unafraid to explore it.  Earlier flash-sideways seemed to be 100% expository, and not much in the way of mystery.  (Yes, I realize that changed with “Happily Ever After”, but I still didn’t completely care for that episode.)  Anyway, Bernard’s quote listed above strikes me as an odd thing to say.  I wonder if it’s in reference to something specific that happened on the show 3 years back, that will be (or has been) referenced this season.  Perhaps it’s something to keep in the back of your mind as we watch the final few episodes.

“…and we’re dead.”

Gotta love Hurley.  No matter what the situation, he’s always got a great humorous line to break the dramatic tension.  OK, maybe not every situation…as evidenced by the end of the episode…but it was nice to have some levity here before the carnage ensued.  In this scene, the writers also remind us one more time that Kate is not a candidate, and therefore expendable.  I have to believe that this is going to be extremely important, probably as early as the episode after next.  The thing that is gut-wrenching is the conversation between Jin and Sun.  Re-watching that after knowing their fate…you come to a very stark realization that their daughter is now an orphan.  I actually thought about that during the sub scene itself (which I’ll get into later), but it’s clear that the writers had them mention her here to wonder and worry about her.

Smokey busts everyone out of the cages

Two things struck me enough to write about in this scene.  First, are Widmore’s goons *ever* going to learn that gunfire does not slow Smokey down?  I don’t know if the writers are doing it for sheer comic relief at this point, but it’s certainly to the point where it’s obvious and ridiculous to the average LOST viewer.  Second, I’m not sure, but I thought I remembered that Kate and Sawyer both were able to escape their cages because the bars were placed too far apart.  Didn’t Kate climb completely through the cage she was in to get to Sawyer for their little rendezvous that Jack watched on the video monitor?  They don’t seem to have the same ability to escape here.  Perhaps I’m remembering incorrectly?

“You saved John’s life…why can’t that be enough?”

Anthony Cooper is "gone" in the flash-sideways

Interesting scene here with Anthony Cooper.  He turns out to be an invalid, and that twist took me completely by surprise.   But after the surprise wore off, I couldn’t help but think that he’s received his comeuppance for his deeds in the main timeline.  Did any of you think that way?  And then as a natural extension, I wondered…is everyone getting their just desserts in the flash-sideways?  Someone like Cooper, who was a terrible manipulator in the main timeline, is unable to even take care of himself in the flash-sideways.  Desmond, a man who unselfishly pushed a button every 108 minutes for years on end because he thought he was saving the world, get the admiration of Widmore, *and* gets to meet Penny.  Is it possible that the flash-sideways is some freakish heaven & hell combination?  Where the good people like Jack get the great father/son relationship he’s always wanted, whereas someone like Keamy who killed in cold blood gets mowed down by Sayid?  Some more food for thought for all of you, and I’ll give you even a bit more on that theory a little but further on.

“If we’re gonna leave the island, I think we have to take the submarine.”

Getting ready to board the Ajira plane

I love the way this scene starts, with FLocke taking down the poor “guards” defending the plane.  He’s just so methodical about it, especially considering that he’s not in smoke form.  Of course, they’re trying to take him out with gunfire, so they kinda deserve what they get.  What’s the most interesting about the dialog in this scene is Locke giving the LOSTies the exact plan that he has in store for them, but claims that it’s Widmore pulling the strings.  While some might surmise that Locke and Widmore are in cahoots in some way, I lean more towards the idea that Widmore is willing to do whatever he needs to blow up the plane and/or Smokey, even if it means that he takes a couple of the LOSTies out in the process.  It just so happens that Locke is a step ahead of him.  One last piece I want to touch on with this scene: Sawyer asks Jack to get Smokey into the water so as to keep him from getting on the sub.  I couldn’t help but to think that there was more to the request than just slowing him down…that perhaps water was a weakness of Smokey?  It didn’t seem to play out that way, but if we’re looking for weaknesses of Smokey (other than the pylons and the circle of ash), perhaps this is something to keep an eye on?

“…Push the button…I wish you had believed me…”

A couple of minor things to point out here.  First off, I can’t help but to feel as though the characters in the flash-sideways that are “connecting” with the main timeline are more *remembering* events as opposed to flashing across.  If you couple that with the idea that perhaps Desmond flashed through time in “Happily Ever After” instead of across dimensions, and I’m starting to subscribe to the “epilogue” theory regarding the flash-sideways.  Everything seems to be pointing to the idea that all of this activity happens after what’s happening now on-island.  Perhaps there’s some kind of deal struck with someone powerful enough to make the flash-sideways a reality?  If you allow yourself to believe that the flash-sideways is some sort of combined heaven & hell, then maybe this makes even more sense?  I’ve got one more thought on this that I’ll share in just a bit.

Claire and Jack see their reflection in the music box

Additionally, this scene seems to be trying to tell us something with the music box.  I certainly get that “feel” watching that scene, but I simply can’t place what it is they might be trying to tell us.  Finally, I’m starting to get a bit more suspicious of Christian’s body going missing.  If you consider that Christian was the first form that Smokey took when our LOSTies came to the island, I think that the significance can’t be overlooked.  Definitely keep that piece of info in your back pocket as we approach the finale.

Commandeering the sub

The team commandeers the submarine

Here’s one of those rare scenes that don’t really lend themselves to analysis.  The action on-screen was pretty exciting and chaotic, but also fairly straightforward.  One thing you might find moderately amusing is that the First Aid kit that Jack sent Hurley to look for is as plain as day available right over Lapidus’ right shoulder.  I guess it’s too bad that Hurley didn’t look there for it…

“We are going to be OK.”

You want us to do what?

It’s very rare on LOST for one of the main characters to let loose with several lines of dialogue that accurately describes exactly what someone else’s motivation is, and what is about to happen, in such a clear fashion as Jack does in this scene.  He knows exactly what Smokey is up to, he knows the consequences, and quite frankly, he knows the rules of the game here.  For perhaps the first time ever, Jack knows exactly what the audience knows, is not in the dark, and relays a course of action that we all know is correct.  Of course, Sawyer has lost all faith and trust in Jack due to Jughead, and isn’t about to leave things to chance like he did at the end of Season 5.  This time, he’s playing it his way.  Unfortunately, we all know the result.

Jin and Sun enter the afterlife together

Sayid: blown to bits.  Sun: pinned and drowned.  Jin: drowned along with Sun.  Lapidus: while we don’t see his demise on-screen, it’s highly likely that he’s gone as well.  In one major strategic move, Smokey has managed to kill off several of our beloved characters.  While the emotional impact of Jin and Sun’s deaths were the greatest (did any of you wonder why Sun didn’t appeal to Jin’s need to raise their child?), it’s also quite sad to see Sayid go, even though he supposedly already died, and went to the dark side.  In fact, with all of the action and subsequent deaths in the episode, it felt very much like a season finale episode.  It makes you wonder what might be in store for us for the end of the series, doesn’t it?

In any event, after processing the fact that 3 main characters and a prominent secondary character have died (maybe some of you are still processing?), it makes me wonder just how many of our LOSTies will actually make it to the very end.  And as I thought about that, as well as the idea that the flash-sideways comes across more and more like some combination of heaven and hell, it made me wonder…what if everyone in the flash-sideways is dead in the main timeline?  We saw Ilana in the flash-sideways almost immediately after her death on-island…we see Jin in this episode in the flash-sideways scene immediately after his death on-island.  I know that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Desmond, Miles, and Ben are all still alive in the main timeline, and the fates of Rose and Bernard are not known.   But maybe their time is coming?  Everyone else we’ve seen, including Boone earlier in the season, is dead in the main timeline, right?  I know that it’s a far-fetched theory, but anything seems possible this season.

“I can help you John…I wish you believed me.”

Jack's comments cause Locke to pause for just a moment

I loved the dialogue between Jack and Locke in the final flash-sideways scene, especially how Jack’s statement above was a reverse of Locke’s from the main timeline, and that it made Locke hesitate.  But what struck me most is that Locke got his pilot’s license in this timeline.  If you believe that Smokey is still going to try to get off the island using the plane (I’m not sure that I do), then perhaps he doesn’t need Lapidus.  Regardless, the two timelines seem to be more directly intertwined more and more with each episode, and I look forward to getting the explanation of how they tie together.

“To finish what I started.”

Locke's isn't done with them yet

Two very interesting things I took from the episode’s final scene.  First, Locke seems very aware of the sub sinking, as well as exactly who is dead and who is not.  You could chalk this up to him being “in tune” with the island, and what’s happening on it.  Or, if the heaven/hell theory about the flash-sideways is correct, then perhaps he’s the one in charge of it?  Perhaps he knows who’s dead because he’s aware of who’s “crossed over”?  I know that this is almost as fantastic a theory as Locke being reincarnated as the little boy (which I’m starting to doubt now), but if Jack gets stabbed or shot in the neck, and then dies, then you know that this is what they’re up to.

Second, and perhaps founded a bit more in the reality of the show that we’re familiar with, is the fact that of the 4 people that escaped the sub alive, only 3 of them are candidates.  I was wondering what FLocke might be doing heading towards our LOSTies with guns, but think of it like this: Kate is expendable.  Smokey can’t kill the other 3 directly, but he could quite possibly manipulate the situation by threatening to take out Kate.  What better way to bring the love triangle to a definitive end than by forcing Jack or Sawyer to bring bodily harm to one of the other candidates in order to avoid seeing Kate murdered by MIB?  After what we saw him pull off in this episode, I don’t think anything is beyond Smokey’s manipulative ways.

Post-episode questions:

1. Now that Smokey has played his hand, what is Jack and the other LOSTies’ countermove?  Do they have one?

2. What is Widmore’s plan?  Can he really stop Smokey?

3. With 4 significant deaths in an episode 3 weeks before the finale, should the question be “Who lives to the end?” instead of “Who dies before the end?”

4. How did Smokey know that the sub had sunk?  What are the extent of his abilitites?

5. Are you ready for this to wrap up?  There are only 3 episodes of LOST left!

That’s all I’ve got for this week.  I’m afraid of the mythological information dump we may receive next week…I may write a novel here!  But I’m looking forward to it all the same.  I hope all of you enjoyed this week’s show!

LOST Challenge of the Week: “The Candidate”

3 05 2010

Hey there everyone, sorry for disappearing for ther last week, but the hiatus came at a good time for me, and I decided to go ahead and use it!  My batteries are now completely recharged, and I’m eager for what’s in store as we charge through the final 4 episodes of the show.

Before I get into the challenge this week, let me first touch on a couple of things.  First of all, I just want to thank each of you who come to this blog on a regular basis.  I’m going to write up a post getting into more detail about how this thing all started, what I learned from it, and what’s next after the show ends.  But really, I can’t thank all of you enough for continuing to make writing these entries worthwhile.  I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of you that stop by.

Next up is a cool article about LOST and the writers that I found on Wired magazine’s site.  Be warned, there are some minor spoilers there, so if you don’t want to know *anything* about the last 4 episodes, don’t go there.  But IMHO, it’s more about whetting your appetite than anything else, so I thought I’d share.  You can check it out here: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_lost/all/1

By the way, if you’re looking to stay spoiler-free, be very, very careful on the web right now.  There are some huge spoilers floating around (which, mind you, may or may not actually be true) that could really wreck things for you if you’re not careful.  I got unintentionally spoiled for the Season 3 finale, and it was really frustrating.  Trust me folks, it’s not worth it.  You’ve waited 6 years for this finale, avoid the spoilers!

Finally, I wanted to share with you a silly little thing I spotted on ABC’s site last week.  It’s pretty funny, in a demented sort of way.  And it’s 100% spiler free.  You can check it out here: http://abc.go.com/watch/clip/lost/SH006723620000/165261/259429

Alright, on to the challenge for this week!  Again, these are getting tougher and tougher…to the point that I’m unsure if it even makes sense to continue to throw them out there.  But maybe this week will be more straightforward.  On the assumption that this week’s title refers to Jacob’s replacement, perhaps we’re going to find out that info this week.  After all, there are only 4 episodes left!  So here’s your challenge:

Who is the candidate?  And if it refers to Jacob’s replacement, what does the candidate need to do to become Jacob’s successor?

Good luck with that!  And more importantly, I hope you enjoy LOST’s return this week!  Can you believe that in 3 weeks it’ll all be over?  Enjoy it while you can!

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 12: “The Last Recruit”

22 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks for swinging by the blog today!  Alright, so here’s my theory on last night’s episode.  I believe that how much you liked it is inversely related to how bad you want immediate answers.  If you’re patient, and OK with the writers telling the story at their pace, then you probably enjoyed the show.  If you’re dying for answers, and wish that most of the mysteries were already solved, then you probably thought that this episode dragged.  Personally, I enjoyed the show.  I feel like I’d be beating a dead horse if I said the flash-sideways stuff is still not overly compelling (whoops, too late!), but I’m thoroughly enjoying everything happening on-island.  And let’s face it, even if this episode wasn’t your favorite, it’s still miles ahead of what awaits us in June.  (That’s no new LOST, ever.)  So let’s get right to the breakdown of the episode, shall we?

The Last Recruit

Interestingly, this was never really addressed in the episode.  Couple that with the fact that the episode appeared to be multi-centric, and it’s hard to understand what the title was really all about.  I’m thinking that it referred to Jack, in that he was the last candidate to be recruited by Smokey.  If any of you have anything different, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

“You were trapped on this island before you even got here.”

Smokey tells Jack that he took the form of Christian

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the entire episode happened in the first ten minutes, when Jack and Flocke share a little one-on-one time.  First of all, Smokey admits that he has been posing as Christian Shephard since the LOSTies’ third day on the island.  This opens a world of thoughts about things that have happened throughout the series.  I guess the first thought is, is MIB lying?  Based upon how he qualified his answer, specifically about leading Jack to water, leads me to believe that he is not.  So then the question becomes, is every instance of Christian Smokey?  In alot of cases, that makes perfect sense.  It would mean that the Christian that appeared to Claire and convinced her to abandon her baby was Smokey.  It would also mean that the Christian that appeared to Locke and encouraged him to move the island and turn the donkey wheel was indeed Smokey, trying to get him off the island so that he would get himself killed.  But then you have to ask, what about the Christian that appeared to Hurley?  Was that Smokey as well?  Can Hurley not tell the difference between an apparition and Smokey?  If not, is there any guarantee that the Michael he saw two episodes ago was indeed Michael?  Wouldn’t it be easy (and fit into Smokey’s plans) for Smokey to appear as Michael and tell him to destroy all of the dynamite?  And then to make a beeline for Smokey’s camp?  Aside from that, what about the Christian that appeared to Jack off-island?  That couldn’t be Smokey too, could it?  Isn’t Smokey trapped on-island?  While this paints a fuller picture, it’s still not the whole story.

As much as that portion of the conversation opens up multiple lines of thought, the fun doesn’t stop there. Next, Smokey gives us a line that might be a throw-away…or perhaps not.  The way I see it, Smokey’s very cognizant of the timeline of the island.  This is probably due to the fact that he’s been there so long.  But regardless of why, he clearly knows almost everything that’s happened on the island.  It was this knowledge that allowed him to foresee that Locke was eventually going to become the “leader” of the Others, and would allow Smokey to get access to Jacob’s abode once he took over Locke’s form.  In fact, if you consider that Christian appeared to Locke just as he fell down the well that housed the donkey wheel, then you might even go so far as to think that Smokey has some measure of ability to travel through time.  Regardless, he knows what’s going on.  Why did I go through all of the trouble to mention this?  Well, what if Smokey was not being figurative with his “trapped” comment?  What if Jack was literally trapped on the island, even before he got there?  Perhaps, just perhaps, this is our first clue that Jack himself is one of the “Adam & Eve” bodies in the caves.  Something to think about…

Finally, Smokey tells Jack that Locke was nothing more than a “sucker”.  Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but the whole thing is starting to smack of reverse psychology to me.  Seriously, are the writers going to have the legacy of John Locke be reduced to a man so lost that he failed to commit suicide, only to be murdered minutes later, and then be ridiculed for his faith?  I’m not buying it.  But I am afraid that they’ll try to give his character some resolution by granting him the ability to walk, and following through with his wedding to Helen, in the sideways timeline.  I can imagine that some LOST viewers out there are hoping for this.  That somehow, if everyone has a happy ending in the sideways timeline, then it makes up for the pain and suffering in the main timeline.  I can tell you that for me, this would come off as a supreme cop-out.  Anything that happens in the sideways timeline, no matter how well explained, cannot supercede the main timeline in my eyes.  I truly hope that the writers don’t use it as an “out”.  Regardless, I’d put money on Locke becoming more than what he is now, in either the sideways timeline, the main timeline, or both.

“It’s him!  It’s him!”

Sideways Locke tells Ben his first name

The interesting thing I’m taking from the initial sideways scene is that it’s clear that consciousness can move from the main timeline to the sideways timeline with some encouragement.  Desmond did it with help from a little EM pulse.  Sun did it with a bump on the head.  Perhaps others have done so as well.  My question is twofold: first, if consciousness can travel from the main timeline to the alternate timeline, is it far-fetched to think that the reverse is possible?  I believe that we haven’t seen it yet, but would it be any surprise if we did as early as next episode?  The other part of my question is this: could someone, say Locke, have already made the trip to the sideways universe?  Perhaps the Locke in the sideways timeline actually has the consciousness of the Locke in the main timeline?  Maybe he’s been keeping the secret all this time because he is enjoying his new and improved life?  I hope I’m not too far in left field with some of these thoughts, but I get the impression that there’s a major reveal of some sort on the horizon, and Locke’s story, at least in the flash-sideways, is clearly not complete.

“Sayid ain’t invited.  He’s gone over to the dark side.”

Finally, some action!  While alot of you out there might see this episode as moving the pieces in place for the grand shakedown at the end of the series (and I think there’s some truth to that), what’s seems more relevant is that the characters are moving, and putting plans in place.  The LOSTies are stealing, scheming, and taking chances.  And as a result, we’re sucked back in to rooting for them and judging their motivations.  I think that’s what made this episode feel more than just a “moving pieces” episode for me.

Desmond is off his sideways rocker

While I’m not inclined to over-analyze the sideways timeline (as usual), I will take the bait on a couple of things happening over there.  I’ll start by discussing Desmond’s behavior.  Was it me, or did he come off as just a bit creepy in this episode?  Tracking Claire down, following her through the building, and practically forcing her to visit his lawyer…it all seemed just a bit shady.  Of course, compared to running Locke down with his car, I guess it’s not that much of a stretch.  The question though, is why?  Last week’s actions made some sort of sense when set against the backdrop of what we know, but this week?  Desmond just comes off as plumb crazy.

One other quick thing I want to mention: Desmond warns Claire to not do anything that might make her situation “irreversible”.  A curious choice of words, as they harken back to Locke’s words to Jack in the season premiere.

Sayid and Desmond discuss the price of a life

Desmond chats with Sayid at gunpoint

There’s an interesting theory floating around the internet regarding Desmond being the actual replacement for Jacob.  I hadn’t really given it much thought until this episode.  However, after looking at what Desmond’s doing in the alternate timeline, as well as his conversational abilities with Sayid in the main timeline, I’m starting to consider it more as a possibility.  In the scene at the well, Desmond asks all of the right questions to have Sayid, despite the fact that he’s a zombie, reflect upon the reasons why he’s doing what he’s doing.  Despite what Sayid says to Smokey later in the episode, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than the idea that Sayid did not shoot and kill Desmond.

Strike one up for Mr. Giacchino

Most of the comments I make in this blog are with respect to the plot points and mysteries of the show.  On rare occasions, I’ll reference the level of acting and try to give credit to some of the more amazing performances.  One thing I don’t think I’ve ever done, is to comment on the score.  But I have to admit, especially in an episode like “The Last Recruit”, where showing characters moving from one location to the other is a large part of the on-screen action, the music really added to the overall enjoyment of the show.  It helped to create a measure of tension at the right moments, but also seemed to add weight to scenes that otherwise might seem somewhat rote in nature.  The score was particularly spot-on in this episode, so I thought I’d mention it specifically.

“You did this to me!”

I’m not sure just how much we’re supposed to read into Locke’s response to Sun’s written words above, but it struck me as interesting that he didn’t take any credit for Sun losing her voice, or more importantly, Sun’s consciousness migrating to the sideways timeline.  This would have been a perfect time to lead us in the direction that Smokey is responsible for the alternate timeline, and that what we’re seeing over there is a result of him granting everyone their wishes in return for helping him get off the island.  But no such luck.  Maybe the sideways timeline is something else entirely…

“I just shot an unarmed man…I needed a moment.”

Two big things caught my eye in the scene where Sayid claims to have done Smokey’s dirty work.  First, did you notice Sayid gazing up into the trees at the start of the scene?  It’s almost as if he was looking for a vine…perhaps one long enough to help Desmond out of the well?

The other thing that was fascinating was the disdain that Sayid seems to have for Smokey here.  He doesn’t outright confront him, but he clearly challenges him to check his work if he doesn’t think he completed it successfully.  It’ll be interesting to see if he takes that to the next level in subsequent episodes and perhaps challenges Smokey directly, especially if he didn’t kill Desmond, as most of us suspect.

“Get off my damn boat!”

Jack shares his faith, to Sawyer's displeasure

Not sure about the rest of you, but I really enjoyed the dialog here between Jack and Sawyer.  Both of these men have very strong convictions about where they’re headed, and they simply don’t mesh.  Sawyer is thoroughly finished with the island.  In fact, the only reason why he decided to go with Smokey in the first place was because he was promised a way off the rock.  Ever since he lost Juliet, he has no other objective except to find a way off.  So it’s not at all surprising that he wants nothing to do with Jack, and his talk that is infused with so much mysticism and blind faith.  After all, it was that same mentality that managed to convince everyone to attempt to detonate Jughead, and ultimately led to Juliet’s death.

Jack fully understands this, and even once again apologizes for his hand in Juliet’s death.  But he knows that no matter what he does to evade it or delay it, he’s got a task to perform.  And if trying to achieve that task puts a crimp in Smokey’s plans, well then, all the better.  Jack has come to grips with the idea that he’s got some sort of destiny to fulfill, and if it means jumping off the boat halfway to Hydra Island, so be it.  I just wonder whether or not he’s going to live through whatever the island has in store for him…

Sun and Jin get their reunion

Jin and Sun reunite

Although I hate to say it, it came off just a bit cheesy to me.  Especially so when Lapidus mentioned Sun getting her English back.  That was a “take you out of the moment” line for sure.  Of course, the reunion is short-lived, as Widmore backs out of his deal, and uses the opportunity to fire upon the Smoking Club on the other island.

Smokey gets Jack out of harm's way

But here’s the part I don’t understand.  I’ve been under the impression that Smokey can either get everyone together, get on a plane, and get off the island; OR, he can lead the candidiates to their death, even if he can’t carry out the task himself.  So why not leave Jack to be blown to bits by Widmore’s attack?  Why pull him out of the line of fire just to try to convince him to willingly follow him?  Perhaps I’m understanding the rules of the game incorrectly, but it definitely seemed odd that Smokey wouldn’t simply leave him to meet his fate on the shore.

Post-episode questions

1. Are the migrations of consciousness from the main timeline to the sideways timeline only a one-way street?  Is anyone going to go from the sideways timeline to the main timeline?

2. What is Desmond’s fate?  Did Sayid actually kill him?

3. Why did Widmore go back on his deal with Sawyer?  What’s his ultimate plan?

4. What does Smokey have in store for Jack?  Why did he save him instead of letting him die?

5. Can you believe that there’s no new LOST next week?  Can you wait 2 whole weeks for the next episode?

That’s all I have for this week, but I plan to have a few things to talk about next week, despite the fact that there’s no new episode.  I hope you come back by!

LOST Challenge of the Week: “The Last Recruit”

19 04 2010

Hey there everyone, thanks again for stopping by!  It’s hard for me to believe that there are only 5 episodes left before LOST is gone forever.  It seems as though there is still so much to answer, and so many things to learn.  But I do feel as though we’re in great hands with the writers, and that we’re going to see some amazing things before it’s all said and done.

Up next is the episode “The Last Recruit”.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who will be at the heart of this episode, or what it’s going to be about.  In reality, I don’t have a great challenge question this week.  So if any of you dare to comment on the episode before it airs, please feel free to touch on any topic that strikes your fancy.  But just so that I don’t break the streak, here’s my suggestion for a question that all of you can try to answer:

Who is ‘The Last Recruit’, and what is the significance of their decision?

By the way, a little tidbit of info for those of you that haven’t yet heard: LOST is taking a one-week hiatus after this week’s show.  On April 27th, ABC will air a re-run of “Ab Aeterno” as opposed to a new episode.  On May 4th, new episodes will return with the airing of “The Candidate”.  Two additional new episodes will air on May 11th and May 18th, and the 2-hour series finale will air 5 days later on Sunday, May 23rd.

Enjoy the episode everyone!

LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 11: “Everybody Loves Hugo”

15 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks again for stopping by!  For those of you that read my blog consistently, I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this past episode much more than the previous one.  It had everything a LOST fan could hope for: a scene that came completely out of left field, a major reveal of a mystery that had been in question since all the way back in Season 1, and little clues that point to a bigger mystery that likely involves LOST’s endgame.  (It almost has to, doesn’t it?  I mean, there are only 5 episodes left!  Anything that’s still a mystery has to be a part of the endgame by default, right?)

In any event, I quite enjoyed the show, even some of the flash-sideways bits.  In fact, I have a pretty big theory about the flash-sideways that I’ve hinted on a few times, but that I’ll now put out there in plain sight for all of the world to laugh at.  So let’s get to it, shall we?  There’s much to discuss!

“Everybody Loves Hugo!”

How many of you recognized Dr. Chang’s voice right off the bat when the opening montage of Hurley came on screen?  I picked it up pretty quick, and also made an association of his dialog with that of the award presentation scene for Tony Stark in “Iron Man”.  I didn’t take the time to go through and see if it matched up, but it certainly reminded me of that.  Regardless, a fun little scene with what happened to Hurley in the sideways timeline.

One of the interesting things to think about from this opening scene is the appearance of Dr. Chang, semingly with both arms intact (you can see him clapping in the background several times).  What makes this so interesting is that Chang was at the site of “The Incident” at the Swan Station, which most of us had been assuming was the fork in the timelines.  But the thought is that the bomb never went off in the main timeline (which is how he survived to make the Dharma videos), but that the bomb DID go off in the sideways timeline, which caused the island’s demise.  If Jughead did indeed detonate in the sideways timeline, Chang would have been obliterated.  It begs the question: what really did happen at the Swan station, both in the main and sideways timelines?  I’m not holding my breath that we’ll get the answer for either, but I certainly had hoped that it would be explained sometime this season.

I guess the reason why I’m not too hopeful is because I’m not sure how relevant it is to the overall story at this point.  It seems as though much of the end of LOST can be told without going back of some of the minutia too much.  I guess it’s up to the writers to determine what they think is big enough to answer, and what isn’t.  In fact, I guess they’ve already made that decision, since the finale is already written and in the process of being filmed.  That’s something else interesting to think about, isn’t it?

“I’m here to stop you from gettin’ everyone killed!”

Michael appears to Hurley

Not sure about the rest of you, but I was happy to see Michael back one last time.  I really never liked the way the writers basically turned him into an evil guy, and then cast the whole Michael/Walt storyline aside like yesterday’s news.  Even Michael’s return and subsequent “redemption” seemed hollow, especially since he was never reunited with Walt, and the poor kid thinks his Dad is still alive somewhere on the island.  So any chance for Michael to get even the slimmest pieces of addition redemption is OK in my book.  I’ll touch on that a bit more later when I discuss his second appearance in the episode.

It’s Libby!

Libby catches up with Hurley in the flash-sideways

Great to see Libby back as well, as her time was cut way too short in the show too.  While we all know what she’s referring to in her conversation with Hurley in the restaurant, it’s interesting how the writers try to tie back her brief scene in the mental hospital from Hurley’s flashback in Season 2 to the flash-sideways in Season 6.  I would imagine that there are some folks out there that are trying to make some type of an association between the original flashbacks and the new flashsideways, but I’m hesitant to do so.  As much as I’m on record for not really liking the flash-sideways in a general sense, I think they completely lose their validity if somehow they are already mixed with the main timeline and our LOSTies’ past.  While reviewing some scenes again in the light of some answers will be fun (more on that later), I don’t think deciphering between real and alternate in the original flashbacks would be one of them.  It’d be too much like revisionist history.  What do you all think?

BTW, since “Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute” was so prominently displayed on the side of the van Libby left in, I decided to do a little anagram search on it…just to be sure.  Nothing worth mentioning came up.

“You have to trust me.  I’ve been training my whole life for this.”

Ilana underestimates the instability of her dynamite

Wow.  Did any of you see that coming?  I mean, in retrospect, sure, Ilana could be considered “expendable” in relation to the story that’s left to be told.  But that was shocking to see on screen.  Of course, immediately after she blew herself to bits, I was already thinking exactly what Ben later vocalized.  She was hand-picked by Jacob.  He specifically asked her to come back to the island and help him.  But he seemed to offer zero protection for her when she needed it.  In fact, that seems to be very much Jacob’s M.O.: ask for help, get it, and then discard with prejudice.  Not only did he leave Ilana to her demise, but Dogen, Lennon, and Bram (Ilana’s counterpart that was killed by Smokey in the Season 6 opener) were all followers of Jacob that he seemed to have no concern for as they stared into the face of death.  While I’m not suggesting that Jacob is at all evil, I’m not sure that I’d be the first to join his squad.  He clearly has a non-interference policy (othet than bringing people to the island), and he’s sticking to it regardless of who lives or dies.  Bram once said that he’s playing for the team that was “gonna win”.  That may very well still turn out to be true…but he surely won’t be around to see if he was right.

One interesting corollary of this scene is the subsequent invasion of Ilana’s stash, including Hurley finding a small bag.  While at first I thought that this might be Jacob’s remains, you can hear a sort of clanking noise as he inspects the contents, giving us the impression that it contains rocks or stones.  Perhaps they’re the white and black stones that Adam and Eve from the caves have on them?  I doubt that we’ve seen the last of that bag, that’s for sure…

“It was nice bumping into you.”

Desmond convinces Hurley to give Libby another shot

Ah yes, Desmond continues his alternate reality farewell tour in the sideways universe.  I’m actually enjoying the way this is playing out, even if the trigger for getting there still seems highly unbelievable to me.  In any event, I wanted to point out that I believe that Desmond is not flashing between the worlds as he did in the previous episode.  I still hold to the idea that the lack of a whoosh sound between the flashes in the previous episode speaks to him consciously making the transition.  The fact that there are now whoosh sounds in this episode tells me that he’s not going along for the ride in a conscious sense.  The Desmond in the alternate timeline is acting completely on his own, based solely on what he experienced in the last episode.  I could certainly be wrong (is there anyone out there that analyzes this show that hasn’t been wrong?), but that’s what I’m taking out of it.

“I’m protecting us.”

What's left of the Black Rock

Now this one wasn’t too far out in left field for me.  Hurley’s clearly in a different mindset now, and is welcoming the leadership position.  And as such, he’s taking action to make sure his wishes are carried out, even if they’re not what the group believes, and he has to do it himself.  Blowing up the Black Rock was a ballsy move, but it really was the only way he could slow down Richard’s headstrong ways.  If he’s angling to take control of the group, it was the best move he could make.

“I said ignore him!”

The boy getting a chuckle from Smokey's frustration

Happy to see the little antagonizing boy in the jungle again, although he appears to have grown up a bit.  Some of you may be thinking that it’s a different boy, seeing as how he now has dark hair as opposed to blond, and is definitely older, but my money is on the idea that it’s the same kid.  And I’ve got a really strange, off-the-wall theory as to who it is.  Many of you have guessed a young Jacob, or even a young Sawyer (at least originally).  But my guess is not either of them.  I’ll share it with you at the end of this post.  For now, note that the boy seems quite pleased that the Locke Monster is frustrated by his appearance.  Oh, and by the way, I’m sure that his appearance as Smokey takes Desmond out into the jungle is for exactly the same reason he showed up last time: to remind Smokey of what he can’t do…namely, kill Desmond.  Only this time, he doesn’t even have to vocalize it.  Smokey knows that it’s against the rules.

For reference, the boy's first appearance

“You can either come with me, or you can keep trying to blow stuff up.  Your call dude.”

A couple of interesting things happen in this scene.  First, Hurley flat-out lies about his contact with Jacob.  I guess it’s not completely uncommon if you stop to think about it, but I was taken aback by it.  I didn’t expect him to take such tactics, especially as he’s trying to take a leadership position.

Richard, not buying what Hurley's selling

The other thing to notice is that he’s not forcing anyone to do anything.  For someone that’s Jacob’s potential replacement, he’s certainly on the right track there.  It’s certainly more than what Jack’s currently doing…

Team Ilana (minus Ilana) splits up

So yeah, what’s the new name for these teams anyway?  I guess I could call Hurley’s group either Team Jacob or Team Hurley (now that he’s assumed the leadership position), and the other group Team Richard.  I don’t know, I’m not too good at coming up with clever names for these people, like “The Smoking Club”.  In any event, the team breaks up, with Richard, Ben, and Miles going for explosives that they think they can find at the Barracks.  Meanwhile, Hurley, Jack, Sun, and Lapidus all head for Smokey’s camp.  Frankly, I’d be concerned about the safety of both groups.  But I’m definitely interested in how the story develops for the both of them…

“Yeah, we’re the ones who can’t move on.”

Michael gives up the ghost on the secret of the whispers

So…after 5 years of the whispers, we’re given the answer as to what they are.  Although the mthod in which the answer was given was somewhat anti-climactic, it was still an awesome moment of revelation.  I’d venture to guess that the answer wasn’t overly surprising to any of you (maybe you wished that you had thought of that yourself…or maybe you did!), but to me, the answer was still highly satisfying.  And if nothing else, it gives us at least one reason to go back and re-watch all of those old episodes.  My first inclination is that we saw Walt in Season 2 right after the whispers, and he wasn’t dead, so I’m curious to go back and see how well everything fits together.  But the bottom line for me is that I’m thrilled that they answered this one.

One last thing to comment on with this scene: I’m also very happy with Michael’s last appearance.  In his final request, he wasn’t just asking for forgiveness from Libby, he was asking it of Hurley as well.  Hurley’s response leads me to believe that he has indeed forgiven Michael for what he did…giving that story at least some measure of closure.

“You like me because you’re delusional.”

Libby helps Hurley remember

Yeah, that’s a great way to get someone to like you Hurley…you should use that one again!  Libby kisses Hurley anyway, and he experiences the same flashes that Charlie, Desmond, and Libby had previously.  Not surprisingly, Desmond is looking on, but seems content enough with the outcome to drive off to his next destination after seeing their interaction.  The question I have after that is, why doesn’t Desmond recruit them for his cause?  Isn’t there some larger plan in play than just simply trying to get everyone from Flight 815 to experience the flash?  Of course, I’m still hung up on how good ol’ Des figured out that the flight was the commonality, but I won’t head down that path again.  I suppose it’s enough to know that he simply wants to trigger the effect.  That in itself seems to make for a successful interaction.

Smokey shows Desmond the well

Smokey and Desmond approach the well

A bunch of things to discuss here.  First, I think that Smokey is dead-on when he mentions that Widmore is in it for himself.  I know that in the past, I’ve pretty much dismissed anything that Smokey’s said out-of-hand.  I regret doing so, because I now believe that he’s at least got a nugget of truth in what he says.  He’s an accomplished liar, but unlike Ben, he seems to use it only when he has something he’s trying to achieve.  In this particular case with Desmond, he needs nothing from him, and has no fear of losing the upper hand, so he’s fully comfortable sharing information without a filter.

The other thing to discuss is the location itself.  Note that they’re nowhere near anything that looks like the Orchid station, or any remnant thereof.  Couple that with Smokey’s statement that this is not the only well, and you can conclude that this is not the well that leads to the frozen donkey wheel.  That was my first thought, but I’m convinced otherwise after some re-watches.  Smokey’s not trying to get him down to the donkey wheel, he’s just trying to remove him from the equation.

Of course, that leads to the third thing to notice, and that is that he didn’t kill Desmond straight up.  You might be asking why that is.  Of course, I gave you my answer earlier: the young boy made an appearance just to remind Smokey that he can’t kill Desmond, at least not directly.  I guess he figures that the next best thing is to chuck him into a well that he can’t get out of.  That would at least stop Widmore from using him the way he wants to.

Look what just showed up on your doorstep!

You have to admit, if you’re Smokey, and the series of events that come to pass at the end of the episode happens to you, you’ve got to feel like it’s your lucky day.  Not only is Widmore’s secret weapon dispatched with, but the three people you needed to get off the island…Jack, Hurley, and Sun…all come walking right up to your camp.  And if that’s not enough, the guy who flew the plane shows up along with them!  After years and years and years of waiting, absolutely everything is coming together in a way that even Smokey couldn’t have anticipated.  He’s got to feel as though his trip off the island is imminent.

Alternate Desmond runs down Locke

Locke in bad shape after Desmond's handiwork

I think the immediate association most people would have with this scene is that somehow alternate Desmond is aware of what’s happening back on the island, and that he’s looking for some type of revenge.  However, as I stated earlier, I don’t think that Desmond’s consciousness is making the trip anymore.  Instead, I think that alternate Desmond had a very specific task in mind: get Locke to have a near-death experience, so that he will see the flash, just like Charlie did when he alomst choked to death on Oceanic 815.

And really, there’s no better segue to my off-the-wall theory than the way the episode ends.  I’m sharing this with you even though it feels only slightly above fan fiction, for two reasons.  First, there are only 5 episodes left.  At some point I’m going to have to go out on a limb about who I think Jacob’s replacement is, despite not seeing any overt clues that point to anyone in particular.  Second, after some of the things we’ve seen this season, it’s hard to classify anything as too off-the-wall for what could happen to end the show.

So here it is: I think that alternate Locke is going to somehow transfer his consciousness from the alternate timeline to the main timeline, be reincarnated as the young boy that is tormenting Smokey, and eventually become Jacob’s replacement.  I know, I know, totally off the wall.  But here’s some backup evidence, for what it’s worth:

1. Locke’s coversation with Jack in the alternate timeline in the first episode of the season: Locke – “My condition is irreversible.”  Jack – “Nothing is irreversible.”

2. “Canton-Rainier” (which is an anagram of reincarnation) on the side of the van that Locke’s body was transported in last season.  You could argue that Locke was already “reincarnated” as Smokey, but that’s not exactly how I interpret reincarnation.  Reincarnation is typically thought of as the consciousness of an individual that dies coming back in another’s body or form.  Coming back as the young boy would qualify.

3. Walt’s dream of Locke on the island in his suit with everyone trying to kill him.  So far, no one’s tried to kill Locke’s form except Sayid, and Smokey posing as Locke is not wearing a suit.  This dream of Walt’s is yet to come.

4. The young boy is clearly pleased with Smokey’s misfortune.  Who would be more pleased with Smokey’s pain than the guy whose body he stole?

5. Locke’s story in the alternate timeline is still to be told.  We’ve clearly been left with a cliffhanger that entails Locke’s fate, and should get more information on it in next week’s episode, or in the episodes to come.  We’re not yet done with Locke.

6. No one is a better candidate to replace Jacob than Locke.  Despite what Hurley and Jack are trying to accomplish, they do not fit as Jacob’s successor.  Hurley certainly seems to be making that transition somewhat, but he still doesn’t seem to be ready.  If Locke came back as the Locke we knew, I don’t think that there would be any doubt that he could be the one.  In fact, the idea of Locke’s death may be the writers’ way of throwing us off the scent.  If Locke was alive, wouldn’t you think he would be the overwhelming choice to replace Jacob?  The only way to quell that is to kill him, and have Smokey scratch him off the list.

Anyway, that’s my wacky theory.  I’d love for all of you to pick it apart for me.  Oh, and for those of you that can actually see this happening, think about this: what if Ben was Locke’s new Richard?  How fun of a concept would that be?  Alright, enough of my crazy ranting, let’s wrap this up…

Post-episode questions

1. How the heck is Desmond going to be able to do what Widmore wants now that he’s in the well?

2. Who is Jacob’s replacement?  Does Hurley fit the bill?   With only 5 episodes left, it’s time to start putting together a theory…

3. What really happened at the Swan station during the Incident?  Will we ever find out?

4. Does the question of why or how the sideways timeline exists even matter anymore?  Is it all now about how it converges with the main timeline?

5. If the alternate timeline “won out” (was the timeline that remained and the main timeline got wiped out), would you feel at all cheated?  Would you like that better because it seems as though the characters are mostly getting what they want over there?

That’s all I’ve got for this week!  I really want to encourage all of you long-time readers that may be lurkers to come out of the shadows and post!  We only have 5 episodes left to chat about the show and then it’s gone forever.  I’d love nothing more than getting some serious theorizing going on in the comments as everything comes to a head and gets wrapped up.  I’d love to know what all of you think!