Monday, April 26, 2010

Season 6; Episode 12: "The Last Recruit"

So I have to be honest, after the first viewing of this week's episode I was underwhelmed. It seemed as if it was 100% set up and had no real meat to it. However, a few things may have contributed to such an analysis: 1) I wasn't able to watch it live; 2) was extremely tired when I did actually watch it (about 11:20pm Tuesday night, because going to work on Wednesday NOT having watched Lost really isn't an option for me at this point); and 3) well, I kind of just powered through it so that I could go to bed. But being the loyal fan that I am, I gave it another viewing on the weekend and even though I still feel that it was a set up ep, I was able to pick up plenty of goodies to discuss. But enough about me, let's get to it.

Obviously the biggest focus of the "Last Recruit" was on the relationship between the recruit - Jack Shepard - and the man that so desperately needs him to succumb to his leadership - MIB/Flocke. As we've seen so many times with other characters this season, Flocke takes Jack out to the woods for another one of his "let's go have a talk so I can brainwash you" pow-wows. Flocke gets right to the point and makes Jack an offer that he figures he can't refuse: freedom from the Island. For as long as MIB has "known" Jack (which, as we learn for sure now, was since he appeared to him disguised as his Father after the initial plane crash back in 2004), he's understood that Jack's main objective while on the Island was to do everything in his power to get himself and everyone with him OFF it. We know, of course, that Jack's mindset has shifted drastically since MIB has seen him last. Once a Man of Science, Jack has flipped 180 degrees to Man of Faith - essentially carrying on the real John Locke's torch since returning to the Island. However, it's important to note that MIB has not had the same access to Jack as we have. It's been quite a while since MIB has interacted with be sure, they haven't "seen" each other since before Jack initially left the Island in the first place. Conversely, Flocke had close interactions to those that he baited correctly: Claire succumbed when he offered a reunion with Aaron, Sayid with the offer of Nadia, and so on and so forth. But with Jack, he misfired. He offered Jack the one thing that he actually doesn't want, and in that moment he lost the opportunity to truly corrupt him.

That being said, it doesn't mean that Flocke didn't have a back up plan. Let's remember what Flocke's overall objective is at the moment: to get all of the candidates together and leave the Island. As far as we know, this is the only way he can escape himself. And so far, the only thing that can get them off the Island is either the sub or plane, both of which are located on Hydra Island. So he set up the following scenario: ask Sawyer to grab the sailboat and come back to pick them up, knowing full well that Sawyer will defy him and devise an escape plan of his own. Flocke knows that Sawyer has already been to see Widmore, possibly cutting a deal in the process, so he doesn't trust him anyways. Furthermore, none of that really matters because the place where they are "escaping" to is exactly where Flocke wants them to go: Hydra Island. He also likely figures that they will take Jack and the others along, which again, is totally fine with him because having them all together on the other Island works towards the final objective. And maybe once he arrives (maybe after ditching all the extras with him on the Island) he will have another chance to convince Jack that leaving is the right thing to do. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. Everything seemed to be working perfectly until Jack had some time to look out at the damn ocean again. Sitting there at the bow of the boat, Jack makes a decision of his own. In his best Man of Faith rhetoric, he explains to Sawyer that the Island isn't finished with them yet, and that leaving is not the right thing to do. Sawyer, unconvinced, tells Jack that he'll have to take a leap of faith on his own. Then, after apologizing for Juliet's death, Jack does exactly that, taking a leap of faith off the boat, and swims back to the Island. The decision that Jack makes here - entirely on his own - gives him the edge on Flocke. Sure, the last "cliffhanger" line delivered by Flocke to Jack ("you're with me now") tries to leave us guessing, but I think we have to believe that Jack is still very much in control of his senses, and even his destiny. Flocke's line is simply another attempt to convince Jack that he needs his help, his protection. But Jack's not buying it for a second. At least, I hope he's not.

I know there was some other stuff going down on the Island, but let's move to some Sideways points of interest first. We start off following Desmond's newest Time Coach project: Claire. After some serious prodding, he gets there to see a lawyer about her upcoming adoption. While at first I figured his goal was to bring Jack and Claire together, I read some interesting theories that the real reason he brought her there was to set up a scenario where she does not give Aaron up at all. It makes sense...if Desmond is trying to make our characters' lives whole in the Sideways, then Claire needs to keep Aaron. He is the biggest thing she is missing on the Island, and if she were to give him up in the Sideways she'll regret it forever. So meeting Jack in Ilana's office, and more importantly, meeting his son might make her think twice about giving Aaron up. Score another one for Desmond...dude's on fire.

Next up we see an interesting interaction between Sun and Locke as they are rushed into the Hospital at the same time. Sun is straight up terrified at the site of Locke next to her...but why? They probably haven't met in the Sideways and even if they had, Locke is a pretty tame substitute teacher in a wheelchair, certainly not a threat to society. But as we've seen in the past, traumatic events seem to trigger memories from the other side. Sun is seeing Flocke from the Island, not John Locke the substitute school teacher in the Sideways. And conveniently we see that memories can go both ways...once Sun and Jin reunite on the Island she suddenly can speak English again. The line between both worlds is seriously starting to blur.

So if Sun was able to gain access to Island memories from her traumatic event, surely Locke will too, right? Getting run over by a car qualifies as a traumatic event in my book. I'm not sure if we got any clues from what he said this week ("call me John"..."where is Helen"), but I'm guessing that the writers will want to devote a good amount of time to such revelations. (And conveniently enough, I've heard that the next episode focuses on arguably the shows biggest stars; Locke and Jack. Be sure to strap in for that one.) But we did see predictions from last week ring true, Jack is called in to operate on Locke, and as we see him look at that old familiar face in the mirror he utters, "I think I know this guy." The question remains though, does he know him from the LAX baggage office, or the Island? Or both??

Tid Bits

If you get "Wired" be sure to check out the article they have on Lost in their MAY issue (Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerman on the cover). The article contains clues that supposedly give some insight as to how the series will end. The opening picture spread with writers Lindelhoff and Cuse shows some hidden gems in their writers room...and additionally there is a manifest of all the things found and gathered after the initial 815 crash. I'm told these two things hold the clues...but I'm too dense to decipher them. At the same time, I'm not big on spoilers, so maybe I just don't want to see them. Anyways, give it a look.

I know I didn't really touch on Desmond on the Island this week...but it does seem that he is acting very "Jacob-ish" in both worlds. There are theories out there that he may in fact be Jacob reincarnate, and some of his words and actions from this week fit that mold. In the Sideways, his actions are reminiscent of Jacob's "touching" campaign, leading candidates along the path that they need to follow in order to fulfill a pre-destined course of action. In addition, his conversation with Sayid at the well reminded me of Jacob's conversation with Richard in "Ab Aeterno." Lines like "what did he offer you" and his overall calm demeanor while at a bottom of a well with a gun pointed at him evokes memories of Jacob. He got right to the root of Sayid's motivation quickly (Nadia), and was able to use that to make the once zombie-like-possessed-killer think twice about killing again. Maybe Sayid isn't a goner after all?

Please tell me I wasn't the only one who thought it would have been amazing if Sun and Jin were blasted by the sonic fence just before reaching each others arms? I mean, I'm glad they found each other and all, but at the same time I think they missed an opportunity for tragic comedy right there.

It was interesting to note that when Sawyer interrogated / flirted with Kate in the station that he took a few big bites of that shiny red apple and Kate left hers be. Has Sawyer fully succumbed to the temptations of the dark side? Is Kate still then able to save herself from the same fate?

This isn't a big deal, but an episode or two ago, Sawyer came upon Flocke carving a wooden stick into a spear at the camp. After Sawyer asks what it's for, Flocke responds, "I don't know yet." This week, Flocke then uses said spear to crush Zoe's walkie-talkie after she demanded Desmond's return. Again, could be nothing, but also could be a sign that MIB/Flocke is toward the end of his designed plan, and from here on out, he's just as blind as to what will happen as the rest of us. He can prepare and manipulate all he wants, but at the end of the day the outcome relies solely on the decisions that our Losties make. Free will: it's a bitch, even for Smokey.

So all in all, a satisfying episode, even though it took me a couple viewings to appreciate. Note that next week is a repeat (I must say, I'm totally ok with this), and then after that get ready for some fireworks because I don't think there's any time left for filler at this point! Also, I'll have more details as it approaches, but the week leading up to the finale (Sunday 5/23) is going to chock-full of Lost content...8 hours so far and counting. The finale is 2 hours, but ABC is going all out by surrounding the event with specials, re-runs, and even a Jimmy Kimmel special immediately following "The End." Enjoy the week off, and I'll see you on the other side....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Season 6, Episode 11: "Everybody Loves Hugo"

The hits keep on coming in this raucous final season and "Everybody Loves Hugo" was no exception. We had a little bit of everything this week; dead cameos, boy ghosts, hit and runs, solved mysteries, odd couples, and of course, human explosions. There's certainly never a dull moment in the world of Lost these days. While exciting, "Everybody Loves Hugo" was a little bit more straightforward than last week's mind bender, but of course that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to discuss.

So even though this week technically focused on Hugo, the Desmond storyline carried a heavy load as well. Armed with a fresh passenger list from his trusty driver George, Desmond is setting out to show our Sideways Losties to the truth, much like how Charlie and Daniel helped open his eyes to the existence of another world, or more specifically, another life last week. His first target is Hugo himself, and in their meeting over a bucket of chicken, Desmond pushes Hugo to explore is his initial feelings for Libby. He knows that if he is united with his Island love, Hugo will suddenly become aware of a life that has been shielded from him thus far.

So far it seems that while familiar faces or traumatic events have helped trigger quick moments of clarity for our characters (Jack in the airplane bathroom after turbulence, Kate seeing Jack in a cab while running from the police, Sun looking into the mirror after Keamy knocks at the door, Claire yelling out Aaron's name after her false labor, etc), it's the encounter of true love that busts open the floodgate of memories from their other lives. While Hugo didn't encounter those thoughts at first, the kiss he shared with Libby granted him access to scenes of their courtship and happiness on the Island. Desmond had a similar experience after finally meeting Penny, and after becoming aware to the truth, he has assumed the role as newest Time Coach/Guidance Counselor in the Lost world. These characters are meeting their Constants, and with those meetings comes the connection that bridges both worlds. But what happens when love isn't the answer for all?

Locke is Desmond's next target, and as we've seen so far love is the one thing that is not missing in his Sideways world. He and Helen are as happy as ever, and even have plans to marry in the near future. Instead, the one thing missing for Locke is his ability to walk. So while at first I thought that Desmond ran over Locke in response to learning of his apparent evilness in the Island world (even though Flocke is obviously not Locke), co-worker and fellow Lost aficionado Andrew pointed out the obvious: Desmond ran over Locke so that he would be rushed to the hospital and be reunited with the ultimate Mr. Fix-It; Dr. Jack Shepard. Jack had already teased Locke with the possibility of walking again when they met in the baggage claim office in LAX, and now that possibility could become a reality. Furthermore, I'd be willing to bet that Jack and Locke are each others Constants. They've been linked as yin and yang for the whole series and the look they shared at the end of this episode was especially poignant. Many are talking about how the show will end with Jack being the new Jacob and Locke remaining as MIB, and if we assume that Jacob and MIB are each others Constants, why would Locke and Jack's relationship be any different? Regardless, if Locke is rushed to the hospital we should believe that he will be healed by Jack in the Sideways. Will this healing give Locke access to his memories on the Island? I think so. But more importantly, does he even want them? After all, in the Island world John lived a life of continuous disappointment, ending with his own murder. Are those memories that he really wants? Furthermore, what happens to Sideways characters that have already died on the Island? Are their fates sealed to an early death in this life as well? If course correction holds true, we'd have to say yes, right?

As you can see, I'm still struggling with what happens to our characters after they have these revelations. Will they simply use them to live a fuller, happier life in the Sideways? Meaning, if Hurley sees himself with Libby in another life, does that prove to him that he needs to be with her in the Sideways? Or are these two dimensions going to be physically connected in some way at the end? Your guess is as good as mine...but for now, I'm leaning with the former. I think that our characters will use this information to live the life that they were supposed to. And be as happy as they can while they have the chance. We'll see...

A quick note on the Desmond/Flocke conversation at the well: I think it had two meanings. First the obvious: Flocke learns that Des is not afraid of him, which concerns him greatly. Flocke's biggest weapon is his ability to prey on his followers' emotions, most notably fear. Claire fears that she'll never see Aaron again, Sayid fears he's lost Nadia forever, Sawyer fears that he'll never get off the Island, etc. When Desmond questions the "point of being afraid," Flocke knows that he can't manipulate him. Therefore, he needs him out of the picture for the time being. He knows he can't kill him (as proved by Boy Ghost Jacob's appearance...reminding Flocke of the "rules" just as he did when he was walking Sawyer out to the cave in the Substitute), so he does the next best thing; he throws him down a well. And Desmond, well Desmond's not afraid because he knows everything. He has access to knowledge that even Flocke doesn't have. And that, ironically, scares the shit out of Flocke.

The second meaning of the conversation might be a stretch, but it's worth exploring. I think Locke's little monologue about how the well was built long ago was really a note from the writers describing their approach to this whole series. A metaphor for sure, but read the below dialogue from the perspective of the writers and let me know if you agree.

LOCKE: We're here.

DESMOND: What is it?

LOCKE: It's a well.

[Desmond approaches the well and looks down.]

LOCKE: Let me guess. You're wondering how deep it is?

DESMOND: You read my mind.

[Locke drops a torch down the well, it falls some distance and lands with a splash.]

LOCKE: You have any idea how old this well is, Desmond?

DESMOND: Very old?

LOCKE: That's exactly right, very old. So old in fact, that the people who dug this well did it completely by hand. God knows how long it took 'em.

DESMOND: That seems like a lot of work just to get some water.

LOCKE: Oh, they weren't looking for water. They were looking for answers. A long time ago places like the one we're standing at right now made compass needles spin. And the people holding the compasses needed to know why, so they dug.

DESMOND: Did they find what they were looking for?

LOCKE: No, they didn't.

There are some questions that will never be answered. Or more specifically, there are some questions that will never have ONE answer. Lost's conclusion will not offer one answer that we all agree upon. We dig deep, we discuss, we analyze, but we tend to come to different solutions. The compass refuses any one specific direction. What is love...happiness...good...evil? These simple questions have spawned countless answers since as long as we can remember....and I think this answers offered by the shows writers will be no different. Or maybe I'm just digging too deep myself ;)

Alright, no tid bits this week as this is already late. Well, one quick one, I wasn't impressed by the retro-fitted "Whispers" solution. There are plenty of characters that have shown up after the Whispers that are clearly not dead and trapped on the Island, but I'll give them a pass.

It's been a long week, but looking forward to relaxing with a new episode tonight...enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Season 6, Episode 10: "Happily Ever After"

So who else was scooping up their brains after this one? Desmond-centric episodes have a way of blowing minds on a consistent basis, but they also tend to offer some of the most important pieces to the Lost puzzle. "Happily Ever After" was no different. If anything, it seemed that literally every single line of this one was loaded with clues directing us to where we are going in this final run to the end. But in trying to decipher all those clues, I found myself spiraling into a land of confusion. That said, I'll try and keep it simple below, but at this point I think you know that probably won't be the case.

Did anyone else notice that there was no "previously on Lost" breakdown this week? If there were to be one, I suspect that we would have been shown scenes from season three's "Flashes Before Your Eyes," which followed Desmond's initial adventure with being "unstuck in time" after turning the Failsafe key in the Hatch and surviving the catastrophic electromagnetic event. Maybe we would have seen how, in one of the flashes, Widmore denies his request to marry Penny, and then takes a swig of 60 year old MacCutcheon Scotch right in front of Desmond's face, claiming that it he'd never waste such an expensive luxury on a man that is never be worthy of his approval. Next we'd likely get a snippet of his first interaction with Lost "time coach" Eloise Hawking in the jewelry store while picking out a ring for Penny. Instead of encouraging him to buy the perfect ring, Eloise tells him pointedly that he will do no such thing, and that if he doesn't forget about her and go to the Island to push the button, that "every single one of us will die."

Next, we would have been reminded of a few important scenes from Season four's "The Constant," where Desmond's conscience once again travels through time after leaving the Island off the wrong bearing. We'd see him meet the Freighter's communication officer, George Minkowski, who is suffering from the same fate as Desmond due to overexposure to electro-magnetic energy.

We'd learn that if Desmond didn't make a connection with his Constant, that he'd soon die, just as Minkowski does later in that episode. Then we'd see possibly the most heartwarming ending of any Lost episode; the scene where Desmond connects with Penny by phone from the Freighter on Christmas Eve, and is able to both establish his Constant and express his undying love for his true soul mate.

They didn't show us these reminders because by now we should know that Desmond is special and always has been. Somewhere in that brain of his, he has had the answers to the mysteries of this show and I think he finally realized what he needs to do next at the end of "Happily Ever After." But how did he get to that point? And what makes him so special in the first place?

Clearly, Desmond's ability to successfully bridge the gap between the Sideways and the Island world is going to be very important as we hit this final stretch of the series. While other characters have had only a "sense" of another life and moments of eery deva vu, Desmond straight up sees his other world. Moreover, as he flashes back and forth from the Sideways to the Island towards the end of the episode he seems to remember what he's experienced in each dimension. This is key, because moving forward he'll be able to pass on vital information to our characters between worlds. At the end of the episode, you'll remember that he passes out at the stadium after shaking Penny's hand. At that moment, we see him waking up in the Island with a sense of calm and a clear purpose. He's then taken by Sayid but knows that he will bring him to the others, which is likely exactly where he wants to go. Similarly, after waking up at the stadium he knows exactly what he needs to do next. He asks Minkowski for the flight manifest so that he can "show" the rest of our characters the truth. In both worlds, he wears a serene smile that is a mix of astonishment, excitement, and confidence. He has the answers that we all want.

But what answers will he provide to the Losties? What does he want to show them? Because going up to someone and saying, "hey, so get this: you exist in a parallel world where your plane never crashed. You're living a life that is kind of the same but a little different. Jack - you have a kid; Hurley you're super lucky; and Sayid - well, you're still kind of the same, sorry man." For the Island folks this bit of info may be more than a bit unbelievable, but I don't think the same would be true for the Sideways characters. We've gone over the moments of clarity that the Sideways characters experience...Jack in the airplane bathroom, Sun in the hallway mirror, Kate and Jack's longing stare at the airport, etc. These people have a feeling that something is up but they can't quite explain what it is they are feeling. Is something missing in their lives? Are they letting opportunity pass them by? Do they unconsciously yurn for something more, just like Desmond did before being enlightened by Charlie? In these cases, having an encounter with Junior Time Coach Desmond might help them put it all in perspective. But before Desmond can guide our Sideways characters down the right path, he needs to first know what it is they are looking for. Well, what better way to find that out than by heading straight to the source...our Losties on the Island. Armed with the desires of the Island characters, Des will be able to "show" the Sideways crew the truth.

"I've seen the truth"

Speaking of revealing truths, it's interesting that the characters that show Desmond the way in his Sideways are characters that no longer exist on the Island. Minkowski, Charlie, Faraday - they guide Desmond along the path to enlightenment. Their deaths on the Island somehow give them a stronger sense of realization that the Sideways is not their true world and that something more real is just beyond their grasp. But what's troubling for them is that their existence in the Island world is no longer attainable. Unlike Desmond - who is very much alive in both worlds - they cannot bridge the gap between the two due to their deaths on the Island. This again, is what makes Desmond special. He likely shares this ability to "see" the Island world with these characters because he should have died in the hatch implosion, but did not. (Add a hefty dose of Electro-Magnetic energy and you got yourself a dimension hopping hero). Instead, as Widmore says, he's the only person in the world to have survived such an event, and in return he's granted the ability to see and live in both dimensions.... and this ability is very troubling to a certain person who seems to have similar capabilities: Eloise Hawking.

Desmond's interaction with Eloise in the Sideways was extremely interesting. If you watch closely, you can see that upon his initial introduction to her, Eloise is for an instant startled and unsettled. She quickly regains her composure and is able to shrug off the bad news that Driveshaft won't be appearing at her ball after all ("whatever happened, happened.") However, once Desmond inquires about Penny after hearing her name being called off the RSVP list, Eloise's tone and attitude change drastically. All of a sudden we hear her utter lines that seem to refer to something larger than the current situation: "I want you to stop. Someone has clearly affected the way you see things, and this is a serious problem. It is, in fact, a violation. Whatever it is you think you're looking for, you need to stop looking for it." Eloise is inferring that someone has broken the "rules" if you will, and that Desmond has been shown the truth. This is of course the case, seeing that Charlie opened Desmond's eyes to Penny's existence and another life during the car crash scene. She continues her tirade by reinforcing that Desmond has all the things he's ever wanted at the moment - the approval he receives from Widmore, the unattached lifestyle he currently enjoys, etc. These are things that were given to him to shield him from what he truly wanted but never even knew: Penny's love. Clearly, Eloise is aware that if the two ever meet an even bigger violation of the "rules" will take place. And case in point, the moment Desmond shakes Penny's hand later in the stadium he wakes up in the Island, knowing what he must do next. The connection is made, and it means trouble for Eloise, but why?

I think that Eloise in some way has the same capabilities as Desmond, meaning that she can bridge the gap between realities. However, unlike what Desmond is setting off to do - which is to essentially open the eyes of our characters to the truth and incite possible change - Eloise is of the opinion that change is bad. She follows the rules, and guides her pawns with rigid structure. A part of me even thinks that she may not be all that "good," and that she's working for the wrong side, either knowingly or not. Someone, or something, has created this Sideways reality with care, and has given our characters the reality that they think they want. She reinforces to Desmond that he has everything he always wanted, but we know that is not entirely true. As mentioned above something critical is missing for everyone, and keeping them in the dark to such knowledge is of critical importance to Eloise. Moreover, I tend to think that Widmore is actually helping Desmond come to his realization and could be himself violating Eloise's mission. Why else would he literally send Desmond to the ball if that was the only place that he'd be able to get a lead on Penny? Also, when looking back at past episodes, Widmore - while under the veil of "hating" him - has always helped Desmond along his path: he orchestrated the sailboat race that initially brought Des to the Island; he unbelievably gave Des Penny's phone number in the "Constant," which allowed him to finally get in touch with her from the Freighter and save his life; and this week he led him straight to Charlie and Faraday, both of which opened Desmond's eyes to the truth. If he were on Eloise's side, why would he defy her so blatantly?

It's almost Widmore's found his own special player in Desmond, and that now he and Eloise are battling on opposite sides of the Time Coach wars...Eloise wants the status quo, while Widmore/Desmond will fight to reveal the truth, and at least give our characters a shot to truly live "Happily Ever After."

To be honest, the more I think about this week's show the more I get confused. Clearly the lines between the worlds is blurring, and it will continue to do so as we move forward. But so many questions remain: how does all of this affect Flocke's mission? What is Widmore's true intent? Does he feel that being able to bridge "worlds" is key to winning the war? Which reality is the true world? Will our characters need to make a choice of one over the other in the end? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing's for sure, "Happily Ever After" will be an episode that will likely be even better to re-watch when this whole shindig is over...and I look forward to that.

Tid Bits

First off, I freaked myself out this week. Not sure if any of you guys noticed, but when searching for a Desmond picture for last week's recap, I settled on the pic below, which I simply thought was cool and certainly evoked memories of one of Desmond's big moments on the show. In no way did I know that almost the same image would be recreated this week in the chilling underwater car scene with Charlie and Desmond. But maybe my Sideways self knew something I didn't.....

A painting in Widmore's Sideways office was a not only a scale, but a scale with white backgammon chips on one side and black on the other. The writers really wanted to get that image across, huh?

The MRI scene was pretty interesting. Obviously the electro-magnetic energy in the machine acts as a catalyst and triggers more flashes for Desmond, but the most interesting line of the scene came from the technician himself when describing the panic button: "try not to push it, otherwise we'll have to start all over again." For years on the Island, Desmond did just that...pushed the button, reset the clock to 108, and essentially stayed stagnant in his incredibly structured life. But the first time he does not push the button, he survives the blast and everything changes. And instead of being essentially stuck in time, he instead is able to move through it. If everything was a loop before that moment, Desmond was the one that broke it wide open, and allowed for our story to truly begin.

Alright kids, let me know what you think. Pretty much any theory could be the right one at this point. Till next week......

Friday, April 02, 2010

Season 6, Episode 9: "The Package"

So after last week's epic Alpert adventure, I didn't have high hopes for what was to be a Kwon-focused episode this week, but like all that is Lost, my expectations were not only met but surpassed. We returned to the Sideways-shifting scenarios, and I think we were left with a ton of questions to ponder this week. So instead of getting all theoretical, I'm going to attack this episode in chunks, and let's see if we can figure some shit out.

"There are only three left"

So we didn't necessarily get an answer on which Kwon is the true candidate, but a few clues pointed to each being the possible chosen one. First, when Sun answers the door in the Hotel we see her stand and pause for an extra little second in front of the mirror, looking almost through it rather than at its reflection. We've seen the use of mirrors in the Sideways before and I wrote extensively about it in the recap for "The Lightouse." We get the feeling that Sun is experiencing one of those deja vu moments as she gazes through the looking glass, which could lead us to believe that she is special in some way, similar to how Jack seems to have a sense of another world in his Sideways scenes in the Lighthouse.

Then on the Island, Flocke specifically seeks out Sun in order to recruit her to his side, this time by dangling the hope of bringing her and Jin back together (which ironically is the only "true" promise he's given to a potential recruit). Flocke doesn't quite know if she's truly someone he needs, but he's not going to take any chances and figures, why not get both?

On the flip side, Jin is also highly sought after commodity in "The Package." In the Sideways he's hunted by Keamy, Mikhail, and Omer and is marked for death as punishment for messing around with the boss's daughter. Then on the Island, with a little help from a nasty bear trap wound, Flocke was able to keep him under his supervision until Widmore's clan (the new, new Others? Sheesh), ambushed Team Darkness and captured Jin for themselves. Widmore knows that Flocke needs all the candidates to succeed, so in taking Jin to break up is master plan, we have to consider that Jin could indeed the be the all important candidate after all. Sun 1, Jin 1. Deadlocked. Damn.

I still tend to think that Jin is still the candidate for a couple reasons. First off, we don't know what Flocke did to Sun after she ran head first into a tree (note: the tree won). While I'm not sure she could be "infected" since she (probably) didn't die, he still may have done something wacky to her in those moments of unconsciousness which may have tainted her status as possible candidate. Then, her inability to speak English upon waking up is definitely an ominous sign. It's almost as if a piece of her is gone, and that the rest will follow soon after. Additionally, let's not forget that her maiden name is not Kwon...a small note but a rather important one when you think about it. If she were the candidate, wouldn't the name on the wall be "Paik?" But then again, there is one other true "Kwon" out there that we should be aware of, Sun and Jin's daughter, Ji Yeon.

There is a possibility that Ji Yeon is in fact the true candidate. While I find it hard to believe that somehow a toddler is going to make it back to the Island and save the world, I suppose anything is possible on this show. But what could make sense is that she stays right where she is in Korea and does absolutely nothing, which would actually throw a huge wrench in Flocke's grand plan to escape the Island. Based on what we learned this week, Flocke seems to need all of the candidates in one place before he leaves. His line now is that he'll help them escape, but my take is that his true intention is to gather up all the candidates so that they can be eliminated, which would allow him to FINALLY leave the Island. Remember, in "Ab Aeterno" Jacob said that even if he were killed, someone would come and replace his position, and keep the never-ending game alive. Until all of those "replacements" are gone, we should believe that MIB can't go anywhere. So when Jacob touched both Sun and Jin at their wedding in "The Incident", could he have really been touching the child that their union would eventually create? After all, Ji Yeon was conceived on the Island, something that was never possible before then. Did Jacob's touch allow this to happen? If this theory holds true, and if Flocke is held at bay due to the fact that he doesn't have all the candidates accounted for, Jacob may have pulled off the best long con ever.

"She's not a Candidate...anymore"

The debate surrounding Kate's candidacy continues. First, her name is not shown on the cave wall, but it is shown on the Lighthouse wheel. Then Flocke declares this week that she's not a candidate anymore, insinuating that she once did hold the title. So what gives here? Honestly, I don't know what could have knocked Kate off the ticket for Island President, so I'd love to hear your guys' thoughts. One possibility could be that in taking Aaron for herself, Kate broke some cardinal rule and lost her candidate status. Caring for him seemed to be the right thing to do at the time, but let's not forget that she easily could have returned Aaron to Claire's next of kin after arriving back to the US from the Island. But instead she lived on with a pretty huge lie, but so did the rest of the O6 and none of them seemed to have lost their slots as chosen ones. Another possibility is that Flocke is simply lying to Claire when he says that Kate is no longer a candidate. Claire wants to take out her revenge on Kate for taking Aaron, but if Kate's a candidate Flocke would need to take her with him...alive. Therefore, by telling Claire that Kate isn't a candidate, Flocke keeps Claire wrapped around his finger, promising her need for revenge as a way of keeping her obedient to his rule. When Flocke utters "whatever happens, happens" to Claire, he may be referring to Claire's eventual doom versus that of Kate's. Once Flocke loses his need for Claire, I'm sure he won't mind throwing her by the wayside.

"It's not a what, it's a who."

Finally, he's back. Desmond, the man to which "the rules" do not apply has returned to the Island, whether he likes it or not. And according to Widmore, he may have the ability to change everything. "Everything" in this case must point to the ultimate defeat of the Man In Black. What else can it mean, really? In a statement made prior to the Package's purpose, Widmore claims that if MIB wins, everyone in the world would simply "cease to be." Whoa, those are pretty heavy words. So if the Package changes everything, and if Desmond is that Package, then he must have the ability to stop and/or kill MIB. But how? I have no idea. But keep a few things in mind; something happened to Desmond when he turned that Failsafe key back in Season 2. All of a sudden he was flashing through time/consciousness (Sideways Worlds, anyone?), predicting the future, and bumping into Time Traveling scientists telling him to find crazy old ladies across the globe years into the future. In a word, he is special. I assume the biggest challenge at this point will be to get Desmond to believe that the Island is not finished with him yet and to believe that he alone has the power to change everything. If we've learned nothing on this show, we know that there is a huge difference between choice and force. And if Des can choose to save the world, he just may be able to do so.

Tid Bits

I'm probably a bit late to this one, but when Flocke said to Widmore "a wise man once said that war was coming to this Island" I was instantly drawn back to that conversation between Locke and Widmore in Tunisia. Locke had just left the Island (via the donkey wheel), and was about to head out to recruit the O6 to return to the Island. While it's true that Widmore was in fact the "wise man" that told Locke that a war was coming to the Island, what struck me were the parallels between Locke's mission back then and Flocke's current mission now in the Island. Both are recruiting (the O6 and the Candidates), and both have specific goals in mind (save the world / destroy the world). In Locke's case, the story ended with his death....will the same be true for Flocke?

I think most people got this, but enough at the office did not, so it is worth pointing out that Mikhail in the Sideways was our old friend Mikhail (aka "Patchy") the communications officer Other that killed Charlie at the Looking Glass station. It was great to see him again, and even better, it was pretty awesome to see that he got shot right through that eye in the Sideways, rendering him back to Patchy status once again. Some things never change.

A quick interesting note that a couple folks brought up to me: we learned that MIB is unable to travel/fly over water, which adds to the "Island is his prison" idea. To take it a step further, submerging the Island under water would then be the ultimate prison, right?

When Jack attempts to calm Sun down after her Korean laced tirade on the beach, he promises that he will get Sun and Jin off the Island. However I found his wording of the promise particularly interesting: "I promise that I will get you two off this Island." In seasons past, Jack has always included himself in these declarations...usually it's "WE need to stick together," or "WE will get off this Island." Now for the first time, he removes himself from the equation. Am I looking into this way too much, or is this a hint that Jack has no intention of ever leaving the Island ever again?

That's it for this week. I don't even know what Tuesday's ep is called, but here's to hoping that it's focused on Desmond!