As season 4 concludes tonight, Doc Jensen speculates on the fate of the Oceanic 6...and everybody left behind
By Jeff Jensen
Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks''
The last Doc Jensen of the year? No, that's next week, when we'll wrap up some unfinished business before hugging and waddling into our caves for hibernation. But tonight does mark the last Lost of 2008, which is pretty weird for me to fathom. My memory of recapping this season's premiere, ''The Beginning of the End'' — clacking away at my computer while watching some hired help install carpet in the family room; my wife screaming ''Noooooo!'' as that distracted-obsessive Lost look settled into her husband's eyes — was only minted yesterday, or so it seems. And now it's almost over. Here, with the final tease of the season, is executive producer Carlton Cuse, coauthor of tonight's two-hour extravaganza, ''No Place Like Home (Parts 2 and 3)'': ''Our characters' fates and our story for the season all comes down to this: Who's right about the island? Jack the empiricist or Locke the man of faith?''
Which reminds me of something I was thinking about the other day...
A BLEEDING-GUT OBSERVATION ABOUT LOST
Last season at this time, we got an epic story about how Jack's moment of triumph on the Island (beating Ben; staring down Locke; procuring rescue for his fellow castaways) was juxtaposed against a future-set story that saw Jack at his lowest moment, all boozy and delusional and suicidal. Meanwhile, Locke was a proverbial dead man walking. Beckoned from the Dharma mass grave by Ghost Walt and bleeding from the gut, Locke tired to prevent Jack from bringing doom upon the Island.
This season seems to be ending with a role reversal. Now we have Jack staggering through the jungle with a bleeding gut, thanks to a recently removed appendix. (One wonders in retrospect if that bit of business at the beginning of the season, in which Locke explained to Sawyer that his daddy-swiped kidney helped him cheat death, was intended to foreshadow the current extracted-organ drama of his Island mirror twin, and could this sentence be any longer or more artlessly mouthfully?) (Yes.) Meanwhile, Locke appears to be getting his big hero moment. He's going to descend into yet another Dharma portal of sci-fi hell and ''move'' his beloved Island. Whatever that means exactly, though it appears from Cuse's tease that a defining moment is upon us — and by ''us,'' I do mean the fans. For quite some time now, a debate has raged in Lost fandom about which kind of worldview should win out when it comes to resolving the show's many mysteries: Scientific or Sci-Fi? Naturalistic or Supernatural? Stephen Hawking or Stephen King?
I doubt tonight's episode will fully resolve the debate — but I wouldn't be too surprised if the episode causes the debate to boil over. All to say, the message boards should be quite frothy tomorrow.
I BOW AT THE FEET OF YOUR FANDOM!How Lost Fans Are Celebrating the Season Finale While at church last week, my wife and I passed a group of people talking excitedly. No, not about a particularly tasty Communion service — they were Lost fans plotting a viewing party. A costume party, at that. I know many of you are planning on doing the same. To add to your fun, I offer this party game, sent to me by Karen and Joe of Portsmouth, N.H. Karen wrote the following (deeply appreciated) e-mail:
''Hi Doc: We are so excited about the finale on Thursday that we decided to make an event out of it: costumes, food, decorations, and, of course, our own very special edition of Lost Bingo! We thought you might get a kick out of it and might even want to play along. The boxes are filled with some of our best guesses about what might happen, but you could always insert some ideas of your own. We know you've got a few. Namaste, Karen and Joe (and our dog Ben, who will be appropriately costumed as Vincent on Thursday!).''
So here's their Lost Bingo sheet (right). I recommend a can of Dharma peanut butter for the winner.
READER MAIL: FINALE PREDICTIONS EDITION
Last week, I asked you for your guesses as to what tonight's episode might reveal about the fates of the non-Oceanic 6 castaways. This week, I revel in your geekery! ''Here is what I think the season finale will reveal about the 'On-Islanders.' When Ben moves the Island, it won't be to a different time, as you have speculated, but to a different place, one very far from the South Pacific: the arctic! I am thinking that the Orchid Station controls the location of the Island, that it has moved before, and that it has been in the arctic — hence the Polar Bears. Also, if the current Island moves to the arctic, it would explain why flash-forward Ben was wearing a Dharka, and may be why Penny's people were looking for Desmond in the arctic. Plus, what a season-ender it would be to have Ben push some buttons and suddenly the Island is covered in snow!'' — Rob Nuttall from Halifax, Nova Scotia
DOC JENSEN SAYS: All I can say is that if I have accomplished anything this season, it was introducing the word ''Dharka'' into your vocabulary. We're changing lives here, people! And we're global, too! Check this one out:
''Your column is a great must-read for me over here in Germany. Thanks for all your complicated thoughts! About the fate of the non-Oceanic 6 castaways, I'll stick to a thought I had the very first second this season started. Remember the pile of fruit Hurley drove through in the first shot of the car chase? To me, this pile of fruit looked like an exploding volcano! And why did they even tell us about the Island's volcano back in season 3, if the writers didn't intend to go somewhere with it? So, I might be completely off course, but my finale prediction: volcanic eruption (caused by Island moving and/or Keamy's explosives), which would of course lead to all kinds of running and screaming amongst the left-behind castaways. Can't wait to see, if I'm right!'' — Martin from Cologne, Germany
DOC JENSEN SAYS: Martin is my most favorite person on the planet right now. Meanwhile, reader ''Xicon'' has more theories than I do! One week, he sends me this:
''The Oceanic 6 leave the Island as Keamy and his mercenaries lay waste to the Temple, prompting the other Islanders to take refuge in the [Dharma] underground of the Island, via places marked on the blast door map as ''CVI, II, and III.'' The final moment of the season finale features Ben leaving the island by using the ''teleporter/time travel'' device, leaving Locke in charge of the remaining Others and Islanders.''
But then one week later, he sends me this:
''Locke enters the Orchid station and prepares to ''move the Island.'' The Oceanic 6 are rescued. Then, Locke ''moves the Island,'' but gets an unexpected result — the Island itself does not move. Rather, everyone on it gets teleported off to a random location and time.''
DOC JENSEN SAYS: It seems Xicon kinda got cold feet after his more radical prediction and dialed it back to a place where most of us reside: His latter prediction is a high-concept gloss on the prevailing conventional wisdom that once the O6 leave the Island, Locke will move it, and then...something happens. Here's the simplest, most creative articulation of this idea that I received, including a snippet of speculative dialogue:
''Simply, they become lost. We don't know what's happened to them because they're — gone. I suspect events will transpire that collect our O6 on the freighter zodiac and send Jin, Desmond, Michael, Lapidus, and Faraday to the Island in the helicopter. The freighter goes kablooey, and the O6 are left floating in the ocean. Sayid, knowing the way back, heads that way — only to find that the Island is gone. JACK: What's going on? SAYID: Our position is correct, except...no, Island! JACK: What do you mean? Where is it? SAYID: That's what I'm trying to tell you, Jack. It isn't there. It has...totally disappeared. JACK: What? How? HURLEY: Moved...by John Locke.'' — Tom Tennant from Cleveland, Ohio
DOC JENSEN SAYS: Very creative. But so very conservative! I prefer the time-travel zaniness of my friend Steve at MagicLamp.org, who writes:
''The Island will move in the present and past, causing 815 to crash into the ocean, since the magnetic pulse never happened. Those versions of the 815ers all die, leaving their counterparts alive on the Island. The Oceanic 6 are told their friends can't return or the paradox will endanger the world. Locke replaces Ben, who ends up in the coffin, and Aaron will be foretold to be Locke's replacement.''
I love the way you think, Steve, because (1) I've been predicting something close to this for most of the season; and (2) it makes no sense.
And with that, I'm going to cut the column short today so I can go take a nap and recharge my batteries before tonight's two-hour finale. If you're feeling short-changed, check out my picks for the 15 best moments of Lost season 4. (See? I'm not slacking!)
I'll be up until the wee hours, writing my recap for an early Friday post — so please, feel free to e-mail your thoughts/instant reactions to JeffJensenEW@aol.com.
And check in at EW.com next week, when I'll have some final thoughts on the season, plus bring you some recommended viewing from the producers of Lost for the long hiatus to come.