Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Season 6, Episode 15: "What They Died For"

Alright then. After 6 seasons, 121 episodes, 94 hours (without commercials), and countless of mind numbing yet exhilarating minutes discussing the boundless possibilities of this epic journey, we have just one more cozy night of Lost goodness to go. (Did any one else just get misty eyed? No? Oh, cool, it must be this damn dust in my eye). And as we get close to the end, it's nearly impossible to keep expectations in check, but with that said I enjoyed this week's episode. I think we all knew deep down that all the pieces would be put nicely into place for Sunday's big finale, and that expectation certainly came to be true. As bossman Richard W. stated Wednesday morning, "What they Died For" was the "Ultimate set up episode," and indeed he was right. But of course, that doesn't mean we weren't left with plenty of questions to ponder, per usual.

Eyes, Mirrors, Cuts....and Bran Flakes.

So once again we get the iconic eye opening to start us off...but this time it doesn't open so quickly. Instead, it's more of an eye fluttering as Jack just wakes up from a night of dreamy Sideways sleep. Significant? Maybe, especially if you noticed that his eyes flickered very similarly after tipping back the baptized drink from Jacob, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Getting back to the point, the next scene in the bathroom brings us the requisite Mirror shot, and in the reflection looking back at him we see that the cut on Jack's neck - the same one that he spied in the plane bathroom in "LA X" - is growing larger.

Again, this picture of himself gives Jack pause, as the wounds are giving him a brief look into his physical state on the Island. Along the same lines, Ben's battered face in the both the Sideways (after he gets pummeled by Desmond in the school parking lot) and the Island are exactly the same this week. The two worlds are coming together at a rapid pace now, and many of our characters are beginning to realize that something significant is happening.

For example, after being told by Ben via Desmond to "let go," Locke's long standing self-imposed restriction to his wheelchair is being lifted. After adding up all the signs, he has decided to take a leap of faith and goes to see Jack about getting on his feet again. More and more, he's turning into the Locke that we knew and loved, a man of faith. Jack - while still holding steady against tales of "destiny" from Locke - received his own wake up call earlier when Desmond posed as the baggage claim office reporting Christian's coffin as found. But why would Desmond do this? How will this move Jack towards enlightenment? Well,he may have just wanted to remind Jack that all the pieces are coming together and falling into the place. If you recall, it was Locke that told Jack in the baggage office that even though his Father is lost that doesn't mean that he's truly "gone." By calling Jack with the news of his found Father just before Jack meets with the one person that told him to keep faith, Desmond is triggering a range of emotions in him that will continue to fire as the day continues. The fact that Locke has been brought to him once again, the thought of his Father in the coffin, the meeting of his long lost half-sister, and the eventual meeting of Kate, Hurley, Desmond, Sayid, Miles, Charlie, and Sayid at the concert will be too much for Jack to explain empirically to himself or anyone else. The flood of memories will come to him and he will no longer be able defy the power of fate. Oh, and it just so happens that around the same time he took on the ultimate leap of faith on the Island by agreeing to be its protector. Jack is about to have a revelation of epic proportions, and we will be there to see how it goes down in the concert hall.

Oh and speaking of memories, you all may have seen that Jack was eating a bowl of "Super Bran Flakes" for breakfast. Well, thanks to some info from fellow fan and co-worker Ed G., bran is supposedly able to sharpen one's memory if eaten regularly. Coincidence? (We all know what else it's supposed to help with as well, but I'm not sure if that symbolism works in this analysis ;)

"We're very close to the End, Hugo."

The campfire pow wow with our remaining candidates and an almost dead Jacob provided some answers for some mysteries that have taunted us this season and all series long. First and foremost, we learn that Kate was crossed off the candidate cave wall due to a shift in her responsibilities, namely her being a Mother. I thought Jacob's line of "it's just a line of chalk in a cave" was another nice tongue in cheek comment to us viewers that pour over every little detail and contradiction with maybe a bit too much fervor (guilty as charged). But while Jacob states that the job is still hers if she wants it (PLEASE GOD NO), we all knew that this was Jack's chance to fulfill his own destiny. We've certainly all expected this moment, but am I the only one that thought that it came a bit too soon? I have no evidence to back this up, but I get the sense that Hurley is truly the one that will be the last man standing. He's always been special, and I just get the sense that his abilities are more suited to guarding the Island that Jack's, but time will tell.

Regardless of who does what, the campfire scene gave us a sense of finality in terms of Jacob's intentions. In the end, we learn that he is more human than we typically perceive, and feels a sense of responsibility for what has happened with Smokey and the Island. And while he notes that he's not perfect, he does point out that by bringing the candidates to the Island he has given them a chance to redeem and repair what was broken from their terribly flawed lives. More importantly, his confession of guilt sets an example that no one is perfect - not even the "god" of the Island - and that there is strength in embracing that notion while striving to move forward in the right direction. So really, he couldn't have picked a better candidate in Jack, as we've watched him come to this exact conclusion throughout the series. "You're like me now" rings true in a whole different light, as Jacob and Jack have more in common than we ever thought.

Jack: "But there's nothing beyond that bamboo."

Jacob: "Yes...there is, Jack. And now you'll be able to find it."

I touched upon this in last week's comments and I think it's worth noting quickly here in this week's recap based on this comment offered by Jacob. Subsequent to Jack's coronation, Jacob reveals the location of the Light, which he states is just beyond the bamboo field. Jack protests, saying that there is nothing beyond that point. It's a significant point because it's not the first time that an entity has suddenly become available once someone is "ready" or "believes" it to exist. As I stated in the comments, another Lost blogger (Vozzek of "Things I Noticed" fame), has touched on this topic in more detail, but the theory revolves around the fact that our characters' belief in something allows it to become available to them. Think about it, when Hurley brings Jack to the Lighthouse, he quips, "how did we never see this before?" Hurley responds, "I guess we weren't looking for it, dude." Similarly, when Ben brought Locke to the special "box" way back in Season 3 he asked him to think of who or what he wanted to find in that box and viola, Anthony Cooper was behind the door. In another example, Hurley is able to find the Cabin when no one else could, simply because he believed in its very existence. It could be argued that everything the Losties have encountered has been provided to them as their level of belief and interaction with the Island evolved.

It's a complex theory (and for more check out Vozzek's recaps at DarkUFO) but interesting. Regardless of the details, it could certainly explain why MIB was never able to find the Light after his lazy river ride into the cave in which it was held. Blinded by hate and vengeance, he no longer believed in the purpose of the Island, and therefore is not able to "see" its source. It could be for this reason that he needs Desmond. More than anyone, Desmond has a physical connection to the Light and certainly has a faith in the Island and its purpose, so who better to lead Flocke to the source that has evaded him for so long?

"Did you say there were some other people to kill?"

Oh Ben...just as I think you've crossed over from the Dark Side you go running back at break-neck speed. The grand manipulator was back to his old ways by teaming up with Flocke and bringing him directly to Zoe and Widmore. While I didn't mind seeing Zoe go (how awesome was that?), I would have like to have gotten more info out of Widmore before seeing him get pumped with a chest full of lead. I guess we'll have to assume that his sole purpose was to bring Desmond back to the Island, but still, there seemed to be more to his story. In getting back to Ben, I can see how he derived some satisfaction from killing his nemesis, but I'm hoping that's where his thirst for blood ends. I maintain that he-who-is-always-a-step-ahead, can be a step ahead of even the best of con-men in MIB. Flocke is pissed and desperate, and his anger is clouding his judgment. In trusting Ben, he's making a mistake and falling right into Ben's trap (I hope).

I think in the end it could be Ben that delivers the final blow to appropriate seeing that he's killed Jacob already. Hell, could Ben be the one that remains with the Island? After all this time - leading under false pretenses, having the Island and his people revolt against him, losing his daughter in such a brutal fashion - maybe a part of his journey was to experience such pain so that he could be prepared for an era of true leadership.

Or I'm totally wrong about this and Ben becomes the next Man in Black. Who the F knows. After all, he is a totally awesome bad guy. ("Is there any more milk?")

Desmond is the Key

Appropriately, it looks like it's all coming down to Desmond, as it should really. I mean, out of all of our characters, Desmond's relationship with the Island, while maybe not the longest, could be most significant. The original button pusher, he influenced how the Losties first interacted with the Island after finding him in the Hatch. Then after turning the Fail Safe key - showing us his ability to withstand a heavy dose of Light (or electromagnetic energy if you prefer) - he truly became special as his consciousness started traveling through time. Then this season we witnessed his ability to seamlessly pass through both worlds, guiding our characters along the path towards redemption.

The big question moving into the finale is why both good and evil see him as the key to their success. As we learn from Widmore, Desmond was brought to the Island as a final option, a fail safe. But at the same time, Flocke states that Desmond's ability will help him destroy the Island. So what's going on here?

Well, as I mentioned above, Flocke may need Desmond so that he can be guided to the Light. And seeing that he's now been told of Desmond's abilities, he may think that he has the capability to both extinguish the Light and destroy the Island all in one. But Jacob has a hand in this pot as well. Why would he want Desmond to come back to the Island if he could be the cause of its destruction? Instead, maybe Desmond as an ability to absorb the Light, and carry it beyond the borders of the Island itself.

I keep going back to the first scene of Season 6, where we're shown a shot of the Island, dormant at the bottom of the Ocean.

Assuming that this is an image we get an answer to (and I certainly expect one), there has to be a cause to this effect. So knowing that Desmond can withstand exposure to the Island's source, who's to say that the Island itself is the only vessel capable to care for its contents? Instead, could Desmond be that vessel? Or, more specifically, could he come to be its protector, messenger, and provider all in one? If so, the Island is no longer necessary to house the Light. Furthermore, why should only a select few candidates get to be given the chance to be enlightened? Who's to say that Sideways Desmond will stop giving guidance after this chapter is complete? By carrying the Light with him and in him (oh boy that got a little Jesus-y), Desmond can continue to open the eyes of people everywhere, helping them find their way in a world of Lost souls. After all, a modern day Jacob doesn't spend his time spinning looms in the foot of an ancient statue, he drives a sports car and drinks some of the finest scotch around. It's a new world people, evolution is inevitable.

(And for those keeping track at home, that's three characters I've now predicted to take over Jacob's role. Oh wait, four if you count Ben. Four it is.)

Alright, what started out as a post that wasn't supposed to include predictions ended with far too many, so I think it's time to just wrap it up and see what hits us on Sunday. So enjoy everyone. Grab a couple bottles of wine, turn those baby monitors off, and settle in for what will simply be known as "The End." Enjoy.


Blogger The Lifeguard said...

I was thinking the same thing about Des maybe taking the light over to the sideways world with him and perhaps distributing it among the castaways (perhaps whenever they become "enlightened" it's actual quite literal, and they get a little bit of that light in them?).

However, another thought occurred to me, what if MIB uses Desmond to destroy the island, and also leave the island, so that sideways Desmond is actually MIB, and he's gathering them all for a sinister purpose? I certainly hope that's not the case, and evidence would point to that not being the case, but that would be pretty wild.

Anyway, I do think Ben is conning MIB, especially since his only motivation was to take over the island, and MIB now says he wants to destroy it, so not sure why Ben would continue helping him, other than for survival.

I guess we'll find out Sunday.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Vin, that evil Desmond option would certainly close the door on a happy ending!

On another note, a buddy reminded me that I left out Richard's rather unceremonious death in the recap. What was up with that? Very Ilana-ish for we think that's the end of him for good?

2:29 PM  
Blogger The Lifeguard said...

I would doubt he's dead, I would think Smokey would've killed him long ago if he could have, but maybe jacob now being dead changes that. I'm also still holding out hope that Frank's alive.

regarding the possibility of Hurley ending up as the new island protector, in the final poster they unveiled on that damon and carlton and polar bear website just before the premiere, it shows Hurley holding a flaming torch with an ankh in it. so it could be him after all. and hey, at least he won't be lonely doing the job since he can talk to all his dead friends.

2:44 PM  

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