By Jeff Jensen May 19, 2010
On The Island, destiny-seeking Jack Shephard accepted Jacob's nomination as his replacement as Island protector. Nearly 2,500 years after reluctantly accepting responsibility of Island stewardship from his mad, manipulative Mother, Jacob blessed some river water and offered a cup to Jack — Holy Communion, Island style. The good doctor freely and willingly took and drank the mystic elixir, and his eyes popped from psychic revelation. In that moment, I imagined that Jack's brain was flooded with epiphanies. Now I know how to kill Fake Locke! Now I know where the Dharma palette drop came from! Now I know why I'm such a douche! If only we could inaugurate our presidents with this ritual, because clearly that Bible-swearing thing does no good.
In the Sideways world, we got another candidate ready to run — and I'm not talking Jack and his gut full of family-sized Super-Bran. No, I'm referring to John Locke, who had an epiphany by proxy. After learning that his colleague Dr. Linus has been beaten to a near pulp (and near Island Enlightenment) by the same suave Scottish bruthuh who ran him down, Locke decided that the pile-up of post-Oceanic 815 coincidences and synchronicities were too meaningful to ignore. Biting back on his own incredulity and skepticism, the born-again science teacher wheeled himself into Jack Shephard's office and announced he wanted the surgery that the good doctor offered him two episodes ago in ''The Candidate.'' ''I'm ready to get out of this wheelchair,'' he said. It was less about wanting to walk and more about wanting to meet the meaning behind this divine conspiracy. But more than anything, it was a choice. Like Island Jack, Sideways Locke seized the opportunity life had given him: the chance to decide who and what he wanted to be.
When I first saw this episode last week in the company of 2000 Lost fans at ''Lost Live'' in Los Angeles, a good portion of the crowd cheered at this moment. I don't know what that moment meant for them, but I know what it signified for me: The return of the original John Locke is nigh. I suppose we should sweat the prospect that Fake Locke's consciousness could come streaming into Sideways Locke's body should Jack's surgery trigger Island Enlightenment. But this is why this is a two-man — and two-Jack — operation. In the Sideways world, Jack will fix Locke's spine and facilitate Locke's awakening. On The Island, Guardian Jack will defeat Fake Locke and protect the spiritual circuit between the ''real Lockes'' of both worlds. It's sweet happily ever after... but I worry about the implications of what we saw in the opening moments of the season some 15 weeks or so ago, an ominous image that has been left for the last episode of Lost to explain: The Island, dead and underwater.
to up the ante on both the hype and the wink-wink, I would suggest spamming the culture with a marketing campaign built around the slogan ''Save The Cheerful Scotsman, Save The World!'' After all, both Smokey and the now-deceased Charles Widmore (slain by Island Ben, who has fallen off his white redemption horse... or has he?) seemed to suggest that super-buddha/super-magnet Desmond is the key to Island salvation — the messianic, love-driven, free radical Neo of The Matrix. The finale promises to be a corker — and I hope the Cork (metaphorically speaking) can survive it.
The Island World
The Island arc began with the remaining castaway heroes vowing to kill Fake Locke, a demonic man-thing that was once a Mother-scarred human. It ended with this humanity-stripped monster vowing to destroy The Island, the hiding place of The Source, the divine sweet spot of life, death and rebirth, whose radiance imbues all things with spiritual meaning. We opened on the beach with the castaway Final Four — Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley — the morning after the sub disaster. Kate's eyes were puffy from weeping for Jin, Sun and Sayid, but mostly for Jin and Sun — and Ji Yeon, the Kwon's now orphaned daughter. I'd like to think Kate was speaking for all those who were outraged by Jin's so-called ''selfishness'' by invoking her name and memory. She was also ramping up Jack for her big pitch. As he sewed up her gunshot wound with a black thread pulled from an old shirt, Kate's anguish and Fake Locke rage peaked: ''We have to kill him, Jack.'' But Jack needed no amping. ''I know,'' he said.
The sequence was a subtle callback to Lost's pilot, which now seems so very long ago, doesn't it? Once again, our heroes found themselves a rag tag band of beached castaways. Once again, Jack stepped up to play leader and hero and tended to the wounded. Once again, we got a tender moment between Jack and Kate built around the closing of a wound. In the pilot it was Kate sewing up the gash on Jack's side. She gave him a choice of colors for his stitch. Jack asked for ''basic black.'' As she sealed up his owie, Jack told her the ''count to five'' story — how his father had taught him how to manage fear during crisis. Before season 6 began, I wrote an essay about how this scene stood as a metaphor for Lost's philosophy of redemption, how the labor of our emotional, intellectual and spiritual healing, growth, and refinement isn't a solo act but requires a community of fellow fallen souls also seeking transformation. Now, six years later, Lost has brought us full circle, but with a twist as dark as basic black. The organizing principle of the original castaway community was defensive. Now, it's offensive. There's a monster roaring in the jungle, calling out for their blood. But they're not hiding from him anymore. Now, they're taking the battle to him, just like Sawyer did in ''Outlaws,'' when that demon boar raided his tent. Go get 'em, superhero pig hunters! Smite that piece of smokey bacon! Butcher that odious little porky!
Monster? The answer promises to be one of the more pivotal and dramatic of the finale's revelations. And yet, I suspect the answer is... you can't. If Smokey is pure soul stuff, then how can the soul be destroyed?
Before they decamped from the beach and commenced Mission: Satan Assassination, Lost gave us a hero shot set to poignant Giacchino score of The Forlorn Four sadly looking to the skyline, as if saying one last goodbye to the friends they had lost to the ocean. Perhaps they were also silently bidding adieu to the dream of returning to the home sweet home that lies somewhere across the sea. I think when you decide to kill the devil, you have to make peace with the prospect of not coming back alive. This isn't a Fantastic Four story — this is a Suicide Squad mission. Did you see Kate slump against Sawyer? Was that Lost's way of telling us that Kate had ''made her choice''? A nation of Skaters would like to think so. But was Sawyer choosing her? A nation of Suliets would say, ''That matter was settled 30 years ago.'' (Go ahead, Skaters. Flame me with your hate. It tastes so delicious.)
The Candidates forged into the jungle. Destination: Desmond's well. If Fake Locke wanted Des dead, then Des must be important. En route, Sawyer nearly buckled from guilt and grief. ''I killed them, didn't I?'' Jack squared up on him and told him the truth. ''No. He killed them.'' In their few scenes together this season, Sawyer has done nothing but heap physical and emotional abuse upon Jack for his Juliet-destroying Jughead recklessness. Yet with the tables turned, Jack gave him grace as well as the gift of perspective. Hopefully Sawyer will use it to see a way out of his crippling despair and toward the heroism that will be needed of him in the final act. I've always hoped that the end of Lost would offer some understanding/reconciliation between Jack and Sawyer. My favorite moments with the pair have nothing to do with them fighting. (Of course, they're probably my fave moments because they're so different from their usual dynamic.) Sawyer telling Jack about meeting his father in season 1. Sawyer and Jack in The Hatch and talking about Ana Lucia at the end of season 2. Jack teaming with Sawyer to free Frank Lapidus at the end of season 4. Perhaps the finale will see them resign their animosity once and for all and bind them permanently as allies in survival and partners in redemption.
Jacob swiped and scrammed, and I had questions. Why did Ghost Jacob appear to Hurley in his 13-year-old kid form instead of his ageless 43-year-old adult form? (I don't know.) Do spectral entities on The Island have the ability to interact with the physical environment, or just their mortal remains? (I say: The latter.) Has Jacob always had the option to make himself visible to all the castaways, or did he require the ceremonial burning of his ashes to be so illuminated? Again, I say the latter. Hurley gathered Jack, Sawyer and Kate for a tense fireside chat with The Island's former guardian. What struck me the most about this conversation? Jacob = Jack. He's a fixer, haunted by past mistakes, and one mistake in particular: Turning his brother into a smoke monster. Jacob explained that he brought the castaways to The Island to remedy his error. Once Smokey figured out how to kill him, Jacob had to prepare for the possibility that his brother would succeed, and so he began scouting the globe for his replacement as Island guardian.
The implications of Jacob's download were provocative. No, the castaways didn't fall from the sky and land on The Island by accident like Jack once believed; they were brought here by a powerful force like metal filings to a magnet. But this ''powerful force'' wasn't fate or destiny (read: God/the divine) like Locke once believed. It isn't even a ''force.'' ''It'' is a ''he'' — a very human, flawed ''he,'' a frozen-in-time, super-powered, self-righteous, solipsistic, artsy-fartsy wino hippie man-child burdened with heavy mother issues, weighty responsibility and even more crushing guilt, who conspired to corral a bunch of people and subtly (and not so subtly) manipulate them into repairing his monster-making mistakes and clearing his conscience. There are other, more flattering interpretations, of course, and this one isn't necessarily the one I believe in. Yet I sympathized with Sawyer when he piped up and protested Jacob's presumptuous meddling in their lives: ''I was doing just fine until you dragged me to this damn rock!'' Actually, I think Sawyer could have been more forceful. Where do you get off playing God with our lives, you monkey-mouthed idiot savant!? If I wasn't so depressed, I'd get up off my log and kick you in your ghost nuts! You're a user! You're a schemer! You're a narcissistic fixer-cum-delusional hero-cum-con artist! You're... you're... the love child Jack, John and I never had!
Jacob responded to Sawyer's complaint by rising to his feet and calling bulls--t on him. On all of them. He hadn't plucked them from some ''happy existence.'' They were all miserable, spent, and wasted. He said they were all like him: ''flawed'' and ''alone.'' They all needed to be on The Island as much as Jacob did. Sawyer could have gotten up in Jacob's grill and challenged him further. Still, I got the point. From a timeless, spiritual perspective, the castaways are better off than they were before they crashed on The Island. Yes, they have suffered, yet their adventures together have brought them to a place where they find themselves more self-aware and liberated from ruts of self-destructive behavior. Jacob has also given them something which I'm not sure they yet fully recognize and appreciate, at least not in the Island world: a community of fellow souls deeply invested in each other's survival, growth, and flourishing.
the strings on castaway lives and subverted their free will. Jacob's defense — and Lost's defense — would seem to be that the castaways have always had total control over the things that matter most from an eternal perspective: their internal lives, their character, their soul. ''What They Died For'' gave us a scene in the Sideways narrative that could be seen as a metaphor for the Jacob/Lost stance on the relationship between free will and fate. Desmond, the Jacob analog, broke Kate and Sayid out of jail — but they had no idea they had been liberated until Desmond spelled it out in the van. And even then, they didn't really believe it. Kate and Sayid had been oblivious to Desmond's machinations, but they were also powerless to stop the prison wagon from reaching Desmond's destination for them. Still, during the trip, they retained total authority over their inner lives, and upon their arrival, they had the freedom to do as they wish. Their actions may have forced Desmond into a response, but at no point did anyone hold a gun to their heads. In fact, the only manipulation Desmond used was holding them to their word to do as they promised — to have integrity, to be people of their word. We can't control our circumstances, but we can control our response to our circumstances. It may sound a little trite, but it's also the defining theme of our catastrophe decade.
There's another dimension to this debate, too. With all due respect to the castaways' outrage over their subverted self-determination, and with all due respect to the fans out there who are deeply aggrieved on their behalf, I defer to the immortal words of Ben Linus aboard Ajira 316: ''Who cares?'' Or more elaborately: Who cares about what you want when the meaning of life, if not all of existence, hangs in the balance? Per the Lost cosmology and worldview, the castaways have a vested interest in safeguarding The Source by dint of simply being alive. We can work these ideas for deep metaphorical meaning, but in the fantasy world of Lost, where everyone and everything is interconnected via mystical/electromagnetic light under The Island, the fact of the matter is that if The Underlying Meaning Of Existence is extinguished, we're as good as dead. It doesn't matter if it's not your fault. It doesn't matter if it was someone else's mistake you're being forced to fix. You can't run away from this fight. You're not allowed. You don't get that choice. Nobody does. Similarly, you can't ever be disqualified from fighting that fight, either — which is why Jacob couldn't deny Kate the job of Island guardian even if he wanted to. So sorry, Sawyer and friends. Whether you like it or not, we need you on The Island, and we need you to be a hero. So suck it up, you wusses.
on The Island can and will be resolved by a paradigm shift in thinking about The Source. The Island needs The Source — but does The Source really need The Island? We've been told that a little bit of the light exists in everyone. Well, why not take a cue from Hurley's Parable of the Hatch Pantry and just divide the rest of The Source equally among all people? Why not make humanity itself the exclusive dwelling place of The Source? It's time to decentralize! It's time for Mystic Reformation! That's my theory of Desmond. I think super-Buddha is going to get dropped into the Holy Wormhole and will absorb all the energy into himself and then redistribute it throughout all of mankind. The Source needs a guardian. But what it needs even more is for all of us to guard it.)
(And as I finish the preceding parenthetical, another one hit me. What if once upon a time, The Source did reside within all of humanity? What if we stopped believing in The Source, or we convinced ourselves that The Source stopped believing in us, so much so that now The Source exists as an anomaly that's hidden away from us — as something lost that must be found. The Truth Is Out There — but once, The Truth Was In Here.)
Anyway, back to the story. Jacob needed a successor, and Jack volunteered for the job. At first, I wondered if Jack, the recovering hero junkie/fixer addict, should have resisted the opportunity to become The Sentinel of The Source. Then I realized Jack was right — this is his destiny. His journey has seen him mature into the kind of guardian the Island needs: humbled and humble; introspective yet wired for justice; a man of faith and a man of science. Jack is the right man for the times — the face of 21st century new religion. That said, I find myself mulling two thoughts.
1. I am not convinced that The Island needs a Superman. I know that Jacob warned the castaways that if no one took the position, ''this will all end very badly.'' But how would he know? Who came up with the whole ''guardian'' idea, anyway? Did The Island grow a mouth and suddenly sing, ''Somebody saaaaaaave me!'' Or did some caveman witch doctor wash ashore shortly after the Dawn of Man and appoint himself to the task, starting a tradition that is certainly valuable but not necessarily invaluable. Even if we cede Jacob the point that The Island needs protecting from Fake Locke, wouldn't The Island/Source be okay on its own once The Monster was defeated?
2. Regardless, I am not convinced Jack will still have this job by series' end. I'm wondering if Jack might come to some radically different conclusions about how The Island should be managed — perhaps the conclusion I came to in Point Number 1. Stepping off that obsession, I wonder if Super-Jack will need to sacrifice his life in order to stop Fake Locke from extinguishing The Source forever and turning reality into a burnt-out husk of meaninglessness. Maybe he should work up his own list of candidate replacements, just in case.
''Now we are the same.'' When you become Island guardian, do you gain psychic access to the collective intelligence of previous Island guardians? (Island Guardian = Star Child from 2001? Alan Moore's Swamp Thing? The Doctor from The Authority? Doctor Who?) From the dark of the forest, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley bore witness to the birth of the new Island savior like adoring magi. Okay, maybe not so much with the adoring: the perplexed castaways were more like The Three Wise-Asses from the East. ''And I thought he had a God complex before,'' Sawyer cracked. Kate nudged him and shushed him and Sawyer actually seemed to feel a teeny bit guilty. Then Hurley said, ''I'm just glad it's not me.'' Which seems to force a ''famous last words, pal'' from us in the peanut gallery. Why do I now find myself suspicious that Hurley might end up with the Island Guardian gig by the end?
Empowered and enlightened, Jack was told by Jacob he could now seek out The Source. Current location: Just beyond the bamboo fields where he landed when fell from the sky. Jack shook his head. He knew that part of The Island well. He had never seen The Source over there. ''Yes, it is,'' Jacob said. Shades of: The Lighthouse, another mythological Island landmark that escaped Jack's attention — that is, until he developed eyes to see it. (I am reminded of the C.S. Lewis novel The Pilgrim's Regress, about a spiritual seeker who has a dream as a child of an island offering the promise of great meaning to his life, but after years and years and years of searching, he discovers that the place he's looking for... is right back where he started. See, Jack? You had the magic inside you all along...)
Meanwhile, on the other side of The Island...
Ben, Richard, and Miles completed a two-day hike (by my estimation) to New Otherton. Immediately, we got quips and banter, and immediately I was reminded how much I love these characters and how much I've missed seeing them over the past few weeks. My favorite of these early lines? Miles, upon arriving on the outskirts of the place he knew better as Dharmaville: ''I lived in these houses 30 years ago — otherwise known as last week.''
Ben in particular was in rare form last night, and his scenes with Widmore and FLocke (and in the Sideways world, Desmond, Locke, and a cleaned-up, sanity-restored suburban Rousseau) produced much of what made the episode fun — a knowing, twisted, sometimes poignant sense of humor. Walking the grounds New Otherton, Miles started going ''wonky'' as he heard a dead girl calling to him from the ground. It was Alex. Alpert revealed that he had brought her back to the village and given her a proper burial. He chose a plot of land near the swingsets, and FLASHBACK SWOOSH TO... ''Dead Is Dead,'' with Ben pushing his young adopted/abducted daughter on the swing — the happiest we have ever seen him on the show. A cloud of regret and melancholy passed over Ben's face. He dryly thanked Richard for his kindness, then pivoted and trudged into his house. So sad and so funny at the same time.
us that Ben is an extraordinarily skilled actor (remember that), the would-be Ajira bombers entered Ben's secret room behind the bookcase to fetch the C4. Miles asked about the glyph wall. ''Is that the secreter room?'' Miles quipped. Ben explained that behind the wall there was a passageway that held the means to call Smokey. I think we got official confirmation from Ben that the entity in the old Goodspeed love shack which he took to be Jacob was actually the Man In Black. ''I was told I could summon the Monster. That was before I realized it summoned me.'' This is interesting to think about. If Ben has always been wrong about being Jacob's chosen one for a period of time, then that means his tenure as the leader of the Others was fraudulent and invalid — which means that Charles Widmore was probably quite sincere in his persecution of Ben. Megabucks Chuck never wanted to get back to The Island to exploit it. He wanted to get back to The Island to save it from Ben's corrupt administration. Still, I'd like to think that through it all, Jacob was always in control and will remain in control until his ashes evaporate in the campfire. I cling to my theory that Lost will end with Ben installed Island guardian, and that in fact, his Island story has been about preparing him for the job and to be worthy of the job.
Then Widmore arrived with Zoe in tow. The friction between Ben and Chuck — the man who essentially ordered the hit on Ben's daughter — was scrumptious. I loved the posturing between the two ex-Great Men Of The Others. Widmore helping himself to a glass of water in Ben's house. Widmore telling Zoe to ignore Ben's threats. Widmore saying, ''As usual Benjamin I'm three steps ahead of you!'' Widmore explained that Jacob had visited him shortly after the finale of season 4, when the freighter was destroyed. Jacob helped Widmore ''see the error of my ways,'' the ex-Other explained, and tasked him with executing the fallback plan in case the candidates didn't succeed in stopping Smokey. Then came the report from the docks: Fake Locke was coming. Ben and Alpert volunteered to deal with him. Ben suggested that Widmore, Zoe, and Miles hide in the backroom.
Richard sauntered onto the great lawn to meet with the Monster. Fake Locke greeted him by taking smoke form and batting him into the jungle. (I'm going to assume Richard will be found alive next week.) Stricken with fear, Ben took a seat on the porch and waited for the inevitable. Fake Locke strolled in. He took a seat next to Ben and unsheathed his knife and ''asked'' his Jacob-stabbing patsy to do some more murdering for him. Fake Locke offered him the reward that he offered him earlier in the season when he tried to entice Ben to join his camp: Management of The Island.
personal assassin — a reversal of what Ben did to Sayid during his Oceanic 6 days. Ben accepted, and we must ask why. We know that Ben is wired for survival. His typical M.O. is to glom onto a power player, then subvert and take control — very Sith-esque. With the death of his forgiving benfactor Ilana, Ben may have sensed that a shift in Island power had occurred and so he decided to shift allegiance accordingly. This would be a bummer. I had bought into Ben's redemption. I want him to stick with it. So here's another thought:
Ben is conning Fake Locke. Recall that Ben had broken ranks with the castaways over Hurley's plan to try and hug it out with Smokey. That didn't work so well — for either side. Ben, himself something of an evil mastermind, must have realized that; he must have realized that Smokey only needed him because something had gone wrong. Smokey was coming to him out of weakness, not strength. Smokey radiated intimidation — but I'm betting Ben saw through the tough-guy veneer. Smokey is vulnerable. And he's scared. And Ben knows it. His plan: Stick by his side, figure out what can kill this man-thing, take him down. Ben is on the side of the castaway angels. He must be! (Then again, if Island Ben does go totally dark, it does set up the dramatically delicious moment when his more morally principled Sideways doppelganger becomes fully ''Island Enlightened'' and remembers all his past life crimes. There goes that happily ever after with Rousseau and Alex.)
The scene that followed was pretty awesome — the three great villains of Lost together in one confined space, three heavyweight peacocks trying to out-preen each other for control. Fake Locke wanted Widmore. Ben directed him to the secret room. I wasn't expecting to see anyone in there; I thought Widmore and geo-stooge Zoe would have skipped out via the passageway behind the glyph door. Nope. They would have been better off following Miles into the jungle. When Zoe spoke out of turn, Fake Locke drew his knife and slashed her throat and put that busted character/subplot out of her misery. Fake Locke wanted Widmore to explain his presence on The Island and why he had brought Desmond with him. Big Bad Fake Baldie promised not to kill Big Bad British Baldie's daughter (Penelope to you) if he coughed up credible deets. Talk about an offer he couldn't refuse! Why not sweeten the deal with a bloody horse's head, too? (That wasn't funny, was it?) Widmore agreed to spill his secrets, but not within earshot of Ben. Widmore whispered his secret into his ear — and Ben popped a cap in the man who ordered Alex's assassination. ''He doesn't get to save his daughter,'' Ben quipped. Ice cold! But... NOOOOOO! I'm guessing the whisper made you want to yell at the television. How rude of Lost not let us eavesdrop on that secret!
enemy of DesPen love — a pharmaceutical magnate with a penchant for prog-rock-inspired construction projects — joins a long list of Lost characters who get offed from the show with pitiless dispatch and leave behind a mess of unresolved questions. This season alone: Dogen, Lennon, Ilana. Before them: Faraday, Charlotte, Patchy. This is too much of a trend to not wonder if there's a point being made here. Death comes suddenly. We all leave the world unresolved to various degrees. It's all deep and meaningful... and yet even I felt a touch unsatisfied. I wanted to know more of Widmore. Remember back in season 4, when he bitched to Ben about being plagued with ''nightmares'' — what was that about? Who was Penelope's mother? And did he dump Eloise Hawking before or after she turned into the hammy shock-haired horror from The Others? Regardless, I thought for certain we'd get a scene that offered a more substantial explanation for his return to The Island, one that gave Alan Dale the chance to chew some scenery with a meaty oration about Charles Widmore's CharlesWidmoreness. Nope. But we move on.
Fake Locke and Ben hiked out to the well to retrieve Desmond. Ben asked if he could ask a question. Fake Locke: ''Shoot.'' (Me: Laughing. Damn, I love these two together.) Ben asked why Smokey bothered walking when he could puff around The Island in a cloud. The Man In Black replied that he liked the feel of his feet on the ground. ''It reminds me that I was human,'' he said. Interesting: a question whose answer we might expect would be mechanical or mythological in nature is instead a subjective, i.e. arbitrary, character-driven answer. Just like everything Jacob. These solutions satisfy me; I do like thinking about Island mythology stuff as expressions of pathology and psychology. But you may not agree. I wonder, though, if this nostalgia for humanity, this belief that he is human, is the key to killing him. I wonder if the ultimate solution to the problem of The Monster... is to getting him to kill himself. Translation: Smokey = Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner. Kinda.
Smokey: ''I'm going to destroy The Island.'' How do you think he'll do that?
Desmond: He's a ''failsafe'' — a very season 2 term. Desmond turned the failsafe key. ''See you in another life, brother,'' he said. Then the sky turned purple. What might this mean for the endgame?
The rope down the well: Who do you think helped Desmond out of the well? Was it Sayid? Or was it someone else? Who? I would theorize... but I actually know this answer, spoiled from my recent reporting. So I recuse myself.
The Sideways World
Another Bloody Nick On Jack's Neck
A literal break in continuity; a sign of Jack's impending Enlightenment Apocalypse; a callback to the season premiere, indicating we're about to come full circle on the season.
Why Desmond Pranked Jack About His Father
Because Sideways Jack is becoming too content and too tethered to this world. See: his vibrant relationship with David, the reconciliation of his father issues; his new relationship with the soul sister he never knew he had, Claire. By jolting Jack with the reminder of his father's MIA corpse, Desmond was trying to irritate Jack's existential angst and destabilize his spiritual grounding to keep him vulnerable to SOIES. (Sudden Onset Island Enlightenment Syndrome.)
The Significance Of Super Bran
A metaphor for Island Enlightenment. A bowl of this stuff will really get things moving inside. Spiritually speaking.
Everyone Is Going To ''The Concert''
I suspect everyone will be there (including Jack's mysterious ex-wife — it has to be Juliet), I suspect Drive Shaft will perform, and I suspect Desmond will use these events to trigger Island Enlightenment. Will a rousing rendition of ''You All Everybody'' do the trick? Will a good thrashing in the mosh pit and a love-at-first-sight moment also be required? Call it a harmonic convergence. Call it: ''Remember that scene at the end of season 3, when Charlie cracked the 'Good Vibrations' musical code in the Looking Glass Station? Lost totally did that three years ago to foreshadow this Sideways world Driveshaft concert enlightenment-via-good vibrations series climax See? They really did have a master plan!''
Desmond's Ben Beat Down
When I watched the scene with the ''Lost Live'' crowd last week, everyone laughed. I do think it was intended to be funny. I loved the deliberate echo of Desmond's hit-and-run-over of Locke. As I watched Desmond watching Locke from behind the wheel of his car, I thought: ''He's going to try this again? Seriously?'' Then Ben pounced on the hood of the vehicle to play the hero, breaking the tension and evoking a laugh. Desmond got out and just pounded the snot out of Ben's face, and as he did, Dr. Linus found himself flashing on the memory of Desmond pounding the snot out of his face in the Island world during his failed attempt to kill Penny. Desmond's assault didn't trigger total Island Enlightenment in Ben, but it gave him a lot to think about, and the thoughts clearly left him troubled.
The Significance Of Sideways Rousseau
Alex, moved by the misfortune that had befallen her mentor, invited Dr. Linus over for dinner. Her mother seconded the motion. Her mother: Danielle Rousseau, restored to mental health, a radiant and sweet exotic suburban mom. ''We'd insist, even if we have to kidnap you,'' Danielle said. Where was Alex's father? ''He died when Alex was still young,'' Danielle replied. ''It's probably why she's grown so attached to you. You're the closest thing to a father she's ever had.'' The whole Sideways Rousseau/Alex played that way, winking ironically at every aspect of the Island Rousseau story. Ben enjoyed himself, which troubled him even more. The story also tried to suggest the possibility of a love connection between Dr. Linus and Alex's mother, and all of this, I think, was in service to this idea: Perhaps not everyone in the Sideways world would be better off with Island Enlightenment. Let's say this really is Reincarnation Land. Don't these souls deserve to live out the new existence they've been given by the cosmic Wheel of Life? Should Sideways Ben be robbed of happiness in this life by being saddled with the memories and consciousness of his damaged and damned Island-word self? Should Rousseau and Alex be victimized anew by being made to meld with the fate-screwed people they once were? Can they decline getting hit with the Enlightenment whammy stick? Do the Sideways world peeps have any control over the process that Desmond seems determined to unleash?
left Ben with a message to deliver to Locke. ''Let go.'' Ben complied, and Locke was appropriately impacted. Locke then wheeled his way to Jack and asked for the surgery. It'll be interesting to see on Sunday if we actually get to see the procedure or if ''The End'' will pull a page out of ''The Candidate'' book and skip straight to the recovery stage.
After brutalizing Ben with harsh, violent grace, Desmond went to the police station and turned himself in to Detective James Ford, whose bright Sideways persona stood in stark contrast to his quiet, recovering Island alter ego. Sawyer threw Desmond into the stir. His cellmate: Sayid. In the next cage over: Kate. Desmond smirked. The twinkle in his eyes resembled the twiddling of an evil mastermind's fingers. Excellent! Everything is going exactly to plan. The incarcerated trio were put into a van and transferred to county. Inside, Desmond offered Sayid and Kate a deal. He'd bust them loose in exchange for a promise to do a favor for him. Kate and Sayid laughed. They didn't believe the crazy guy, so they said, ''Sure.'' There was a naturalism and lightness to this scene that I really enjoyed, and it permeated the entire Sideways storyline. It was as if Lost decided: You know, we're not really sure if this crazy idea is working or not, but it's really kinda too late to worry about it now so we might as well cut loose and have fun with it.
And with that, enter patrol woman Ana Lucia. This was a delightful surprise. Yes, I said delightful. The jail-bound van came to a stop. The back door opened. And there she was, the Island world Dirty Harriet cop and Tailie badass, telling the trio they were free to go. They found themselves on a pier, not county. Sayid and Kate: WTH?! Then Hurley showed up in his canary colored Hummer. He saw Ana Lucia and assumed she was Island enlightened. Nope. Hurley gave her an envelope — a payoff — and the crooked copper drove away. ''It was nice not knowing you,'' Ana Lucia said, speaking more truth than she realized.
Hurley had asked Desmond if Ana Lucia was part of his Island Enlightenment project. ''No, she's not ready yet,'' Desmond replied. Translation: Not everyone will be making the leap to Island hyper-consciousness. Not with this crew of people. And maybe not ever.
And with that, kids, my carriage just turned into a pumpkin. Time to stop, polish, post, and then sleep for a couple days to prep both intellectually and emotionally for ''The End.'' I began that last sentence thinking I'd find a touch of sadness by the end. Instead, I'm genuinely excited. I'm ready. I'm ready for the final chapter, ready to see how it sums up the season and brings the series to a close. I'm ready to watch meaning (which, to be clear, is different than answers) flood into the Lost saga like a surge of Island Enlightenment. But will the meaning leave us in despair, or take us into happily ever after? We shall find out on Pentecost Sunday. Hopefully, by the time it's over, we will be aflame with epiphany and wow.
Back on Friday with a Doc Jensen column, plus more info on we'll be covering the finale this weekend. In the meantime, please check out our new episode of "Totally Lost" with special guest stats Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver. What if Jacob and the Man In Black were forced into a room and had to hug out their issues? Well imagine no more! We bring you that scenario and more, including their insights into what happened last week in ''Across The Sea.''