The countdown to the Incident (and the Lost season finale) has begun, and it's not yet clear whether the Losties will prevent the Incident, cause it or merely suffer through it as victims. But which players are in a position to do what? And what's the deal with fancy newfangled Locke? We've got your look back at what happened in "Follow the Leader," along with a mess of all-new insight into the finale from the real Lost leader, Mr. Damon Lindelof himself...
WHAT WE LEARNED
Who's the Boss? What strange new Locke is this? Locke really has changed. Does he truly have a purpose (as he claims), or is he just a reanimated dead guy like Christian Shepherd, whose zombie ways are unknowable to us at this moment? Whatever the cause, the consequence is that Locke is no longer the waffling follower we once knew. This new Locke has clear-cut goals, acts with the utmost confidence and plays with Ben and Richard Alpert like they were Lego people. What is his goal? Per Locke himself, his mission is twofold: (1) "If there's a way to save our people, I'll find it," and (2) he's going to kill Jacob. Why? Among other motives, apparently this new Locke comes equipped with a surplus of reason. He's become a rational skeptic and he questions the unknowable god that is Jacob. Who would have imagined that flaky ol' Locke could change so much? For that matter, at some point in the last five seasons, Kate turned into a voice of reason: "Since when did shooting kids and blowing up hydrogen bombs become OK?" Jack, on the other hand, is a newborn devotee of destiny and predetermination. Quite the reversal!
Three's a Crowd: Kate, Sawyer and Juliet officially make up the most awkward threesome this show has ever created. Even when Kate's not even in the room, Juliet and Sawyer are both deeply uncomfortable with "Freckles." Radzinsky asking Sawyer about his "girlfriend" while pointing out Kate on the monitor in the security hatch was as distressing to Suliet as was Kate's actual presence on the submarine in that last scene. Sawyer and Juliet are nothing if not desperate to escape Kate, and yet fate seems unwilling to allow them a clean getaway. And so the love polygon rages on...
Sayid! Do not shoot at Sayid's friend Kate! Sayid's latest demonstration of deadly marksmanship is another highlight of the always compelling platonic friendship between Kate and Sayid. Yay Kayid.
Love Means Yelling? We should all mentally bookmark the look on Miles' face when he saw his father sending him and his mother away from the Island forever. According to Miles, he's realized that "[Yelling at her] is the only way he can get her to leave." That epiphany will come up again in the future, mark my words.
Retro: Loved the shout-outs to season one in this episode, include these highlights:
Locke hunted wild boar, just like old times!
Authority figures beat down Sawyer, just like old times!
Someone melancholy and lost sat on the beach, looking dejectedly out at the ocean, just like old times! (Ben took this one for the team.)
The Old One: We learned three key facts about Richard Alpert in this episode: He likes building model ships inside bottles; he's an "advisor," a job he's had for a very long time; and the idea of Locke being the boss worries him greatly.
WHAT'S TO COME
Lost boss Damon Lindelof attended the excellent Juan Manuel Rocha-hosted Comics on Comics event at Meltdown on Sunset tonight. He offered the assembled crowd several very interesting insights about the future of Lost.
Vote No on Midi-Chlorians: Damon gave us a sense of what kind of Lost questions will be answered, and which other mysteries won't explicitly be explained by the end of the series: "There are certain questions about the show that I'm very befuddled by like, 'What is the Island?' or 'What do the numbers mean?' We're going to be explaining a little more about the numbers, maybe significantly more about the numbers, but what do you mean by 'What do the numbers mean?' What is a potential answer to that question? I feel like you have to be very careful about entering into Midi-Chlorian territory. I grew up on Star Wars; I've seen the Star Wars movies hundreds of times; I can recite them chapter and verse, and never once did anyone ever say to me or did it occur to me to say, 'What is the Force, exactly? Can you explain that for me, better than Alec Guinness does?' I understand, 'When are we going to find out about Libby?' That's a very finite question. 'Who is Jacob?' OK, yes, we've been talking to this guy named Jacob, so those questions then should have answers, but 'What is the Island?' That starts to get into 'What is the Force?' It is a place. I can't explain to you why it moves through space-time—it just does. You have to accept the fact that it does." Can you live with that?
Survey Says, Zzzt! Wrong Answer: Regarding the approaching final season and the possible fan reaction to the accompanying reveals, Damon said, "There isn't a perfect way to end the show, but the end inevitably approaches, and so the show has to start answering more and more questions. To me, the greatest thing about Lost, just in terms of writing it, was that [over the years] the show could ask a question, and everyone [watching] could say 'Here's what I think the answer to that is.' And next year we're basically going to spend the entire season telling you you're wrong. 'Here's the actual answer to that question.' And you're going to say, 'S--t, my answer was actually much better!' " Have you been satisfied or displeased with the answers we've gotten so far?
How It Ends: Just as an insight into Damon's mind (and thus a pointer to possible plans for the Lost series ender), you might be interested to know that the M*A*S*H finale is Damon's all-time favorite series conclusion.
More Series Finale Clues: Damon said that when the show ends, "All of the character resolutions will be very defined. There is going to be no cut to black. The show for me and Carlton [Cuse] and J.J. [Abrams] and all the people writing it—it's not about the Island. The Island is where it takes place. It's about this group of people who crashed on the Island on Sept. 22, 2004 and how they influenced the history of the Island in some ways and had a very significant and pivotal role to play there. You're going to see that role play out, and their fates will all be resolved by the end of the series—that's the story that we're telling. In terms of every little bit of minutiae about the Island itself...There will be questions [left unanswered] after the show [ends]."
Libby Says Hi: Libby's story will not be wrapped up on the show. Said Damon, "I have learned that if you kill someone off the show, they are less likely to cooperate with you." Basically, Cynthia Watros is busy until further notice, and they can't explain Libby without her, at least not in any way that shows her story rather than annoyingly tells her story. What's the takeaway for us fans? Next time you've got Damon cornered, don't waste your breath asking about Libby. Instead, bust his chops about another very important blonde: Claire! Where is that little minx, anyway?
The Sum Is 108: This one goes out to all the Lostpedians out there. Damon said, "Here's the story with numbers. The Hanso Foundation that started the Dharma Initiative hired this guy Valenzetti to basically work on this equation to determine what was the probability of the world ending in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Valenzetti basically deduced that it was 100 percent within the next 27 years, so the Hanso Foundation started the Dharma Initiative in an effort to try to change the variables in the equation so that mankind wouldn't wipe it itself out." This information, in more convoluted form, was leaked out via the online games rather than explained on the show itself, said Damon, because, "That would be the worst thing ever. We have to make the show for the hard-core fans who care about the numbers, but we also have to make it for my mom, who just wants Sawyer to take his shirt off."
So There: While discussing Wolverine and the role of canon in comic adaptations, Damon said, "At the end of the day, you can do anything you want [as a storyteller] so long as it's cool." Certainly applies to Lost too, don't you think?
What did you think of "Follow the Leader"? What are your dreams for the season and series finale?