LOST Season Six: What They Died For

The episode begins in the Sideways world where Jack has another mirror moment. Once again, he finds a peculiar scratch on his neck. Over breakfast, his son, David, reminds him of the concert he’ll be playing that evening. Jack promises to be there and we learn that David’s mother will also be present. It seems pretty obvious at this point that Mom will turn out to be Juliet — at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Jack also gets a cryptic (pun intended) phone call re: his Dad’s coffin. The caller says that the coffin has been located and that it should arrive in Los Angeles by the end of the day. Turns out the caller is Desmond, but given the role he plays in the Sideways world, we should probably assume this information is true. I’m envisioning a post-concert visit to the airport for the good Dr. Shepherd; I imagine his fate (or at least his Sideways fate) will hinge on this visit.

The next scene on the beach shows Jack sewing up Kate, a reversal of the interaction of the scene in the pilot episode where Kate plays doctor to Jack while hearing the “count to five” story. Sawyer, meanwhile, is clearly blaming himself for the deaths of Sun, Jin, and Sayid. I worry that Sawyer’s story might end on a self-destructive note, since I doubt he’ll ever be able to forgive himself — much less live with himself — for the deaths of his friends. Remember, Sawyer is fairly new to this hero business. This is the first time he’s really borne the consequences of making snap decisions for an entire group. The show usually reserves such leadership-scourging for Jack. I love the way Jack tried to encourage Sawyer during this episode, but I think the die has already been cast for how Sawyer’s story will end. I hope I’m wrong, but I think he dies on the Island in some sort of sacrificial way — primarily because he doesn’t believe he deserves to live after what just happened to the sub.

It was nice to see Ben, Miles, and Richard again. (How long have they been trekking across the Island anyway?) Off Island, we witnessed Ben’s moment of “off-Island awareness” as he was being bludgeoned at the hands of Desmond. I’m hoping that this awareness leads to more activity from Ben in the Sideways world. It was nice that Ben hit it off with Rousseau (I really didn’t see that one coming; I didn’t think the actress was able to clear her schedule enough to shoot any scenes for LOST), but I was expecting more in the wake of his Island cognizance. Maybe we’ll see some more of it in the finale.

The scenes in New Otherton were some of the best in this episode. Ben’s expression when Widmore walked into the house was priceless. (Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy for this role. He just keeps getting better and better.) Widmore threatens Ben with this line: “If you shoot me, your last chance of survival is gone.” Turns out Widmore wasn’t counting on Ben’s last resort: siding with Smokey. After neutralizing the ageless Richard Alpert, Locke makes a pitch to Ben: If he helps him leave the Island, MIB will leave Ben in charge. Widmore revealed that he had already lined the plane with C4, so we can connect the dots with the C4 we were shown at the end of “The Candidate” (I had originally wondered if someone else had planted it there).

Then Locke shows up and all Hades breaks loose. I was honestly a little sad to see Richard die such a lame death. At least I think he died. I don’t think Smokey messes around when he tries to kill you. But after his demise, Locke materializes and speaks to Ben. Once more, Locke manipulates Ben to doing his dirty work for him, a task that Ben is all too-willing to sign up for. Of course, Ben is still fixated on one thing — avenging Alex’s death. Widmore spills the beans to Locke about Desmond — a “last resort” — and Ben promptly seizes the opportunity to murder his longtime rival. Emerson’s chilling line read (“He doesn’t get to save his daughter”) was a classic.

Back in the Sideways, Ben had another mirror moment. Following this, he informs Locke that Desmond commented about helping Locke “let go”. Locke understands this as a call to visit Jack and begin the process of surgery. Of course, Jack and Locke banter back and forth about destiny and free will, but the end result is the same: these two agree on what needs to happen next. This is the way it should’ve been on the Island all along. The Sideways world scenes concluded with Kate and Sawyer acting all flirtatious surrounded by cages (flashback, Season 3!), a corrupt L.A. cop named Ana Lucia (flashback, Season 2!), Sayid and Hurley on the run from the law (flashback, Season 5!) and Kate being handed a dress to change into after being handcuffed (flashback, Season 3!). The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Jack’s hero arc is coming to a point of rapid completion. It was no real surprise that he stepped up to answer Jacob’s call, but even though we could see the moment coming a mile away, it still was very fulfilling. Kate voices strong concern that Sun, Jin, & Sayid didn’t die for a lost cause.

Jacob confesses to making a “mistake” — Smokey. Lots of people have been pointing out that last week’s episode didn’t really do Jacob any favors; that the producers gave us a pretty sympathetic view of Smokey based on “Across the Sea” whereas Jacob didn’t get nearly as much play. In doing so, we understand one of the premises of the show: that life may be full of black and white choices, but there are plenty of shades of grey we’re forced to deal with, too. I’ll write more about this later in the week, but the redemption stories we’ve all experienced over the course of this show have demonstrated this clearly. Nobody is as good as they seem on LOST; and really, nobody is as bad as they seem, either.

Jacob’s answer to Hurley’s question, “Why did you bring us here?” was pretty interesting. “I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were looking for something you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.” I love this line because it acknowledges the distance these characters have traveled in these six years; it’s a nod to the level of investment we’ve made with these characters. And it gives me hope that by tipping their hat to us like this, the producers have a pretty sweet and satisfying conclusion to these stories to share with us.

Of course, the final scene shows us Smokey’s ultimate M.O. Not only is he trying to leave the Island, but he wants to destroy it completely. Not a total shock, given last week’s foreshadowing statement by Mother (“If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere.”), but it does indicate that his promise to Ben — that when he leaves the Island, he’ll let Ben be in control — is nothing but a lie. I’m hoping this will prompt Ben to reconsider his loyalty to Smokey.

Questions:
Where is Desmond? Could he be at The Source — the center of the Island where “the Light” can be found? Or might he be doing something else — like digging up the body of the real John Locke in anticipation of some sort of Island “rebirth”? What would happen if John Locke’s body were thrown in the same creek

And while we’re at it: Where is Claire? Remember she’s armed. And she now has good reason to want to kill Jack and his crew after they decided to leave her during the Great Sub Get-Away of two episodes ago. I expect her to turn up at the worst possible time.

With Miles running through the jungle, he has to stumble across a dead body that he can glean some info from. But who? Eko? Adam & Eve? Nikki & Paulo? Seriously, that’s the only thing Miles is useful for (other than a few funny quips), so maybe we’ll see something like this in the finale. And did I see it correctly? Did Miles take Richard’s pack with the C4 in it? When Richard was mauled by Smokey, he was NOT wearing his pack. So the C4 has to still be with someone. I think it’s Miles.

Do we believe Widmore when he says Jacob told him how to get back to the Island? I think he’s telling the truth. And I think he has been telling the truth with most everything he’s been saying.

Favorite lines:

Miles: What’s that? A secret-er room?

Ben: It’s where I was told I could summon the monster. That’s before I realized it was the one summoning me.

_______________

Locke: What if….(long pause)…maybe all of this is happening for a reason.

_______________

Hurley (upon watching Jack and Jacob walking off in the distance): I’m just glad it’s not me. (With the way the camera lingered on Hurley there, I wonder if this line is significant for the end game. Maybe Hurley has a major role that only he can fulfill.)

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13 Responses to LOST Season Six: What They Died For

  1. Jenny says:

    This episode was awesome! Loved it! I see Ben is back to his evil ways though…I really did think he had redeemed himself. But it seems that Ben is still only out for Ben. I was disappointed at the suddenness of Richards (apparent) demise…he had been such a part of the magic and mystery of the show and I am hard pressed to think of them offing him so easily and suddenly. Ok, about FLocke. What a conniving liar. First he tells Ben that Ben can have the island once he is able to leave. Then we find out the truth…he is planning on destroying the island! I wonder if this is the “underwater” island we see at the beginning of this season. I suppose it could be possible that FLocke is successful in his endeavor. Didn’t one of the interviews quote matthew fox as saying the end wouldn’t necessarily be happy? Does anyone else recall seeing that?

    • Jason says:

      I was disappointed with how Richard was just whisked off the screen, too. But that might be a good thing. Maybe Richard is (to borrow a phrase from another classic piece of celluloid) “not dead yet”. I wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow survived Smokey’s attack.

      Good Ben was nice while he lasted, but I think you’re spot on…kid has crossed over to the dark side once again. But I have to think that he’ll reconsider in light of Smokey’s revelation at the end of the episode. If Island lordship is taken out of the equation, what other incentive does Ben have for helping Smokey? I mean, other than fear that Locke will kill him? 🙂

      Matthew Fox was quoted as saying the ending was “extremely sad, extremely cathartic, very profound.” Something to that effect.

  2. Jason says:

    Doc Jensen’s article over at EW is great, by the way. His recap of this episode is one of the best pieces he’s written, in my opinion. He asks a great question toward the end of his column, one I completely overlooked in my recap: Who helped Desmond out of the well? Was it Sayid? Or someone else? And how is Desmond being set free “helping” Locke? I know Desmond is a “failsafe” (whatever that means specifically…obviously an allusion to the Season 2 finale when Des turns the failsafe key), but if his retrieval from the well helped Locke somehow, then we should assume that Claire is the one who set him free.

  3. Dylan says:

    I completely disagree about Ben. Do you really think he’d give up the redemption he found in “Dr. Linus” so easily. He’s definitely pulling a long con on Flocke. Once Ben realized that they couldn’t run from Flocke, he knew that conning Flocke into thinking he was on his side was his last option. Shooting Widmore was just a sacrifice (albeit an enjoyable sacrifice) Ben made so that Flocke would trust him. And I love it! After all that time Flocke spent conning Ben to kill Jacob, Ben has finally turned the tables on Flocke.

    • Jason says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think there’s anything here to indicate that Ben is pulling a con here. Now, that may be true, but I think that’s conjecture at this point. In fact, you could argue that murdering Widmore is proof that Ben HAS crossed over again (although it also could’ve just been an act of revenge). Ben’s M.O. has always been survival. He’s never afraid to jump ship when the time was right. Opposing Locke would’ve meant siding with Widmore, which is something Ben would never do. Now that Widmore is dead — and more importantly, now that Locke has revealed that his ultimate intention is to destroy the Island — I have a feeling Ben will look for an opportunity to double cross Locke. But with Ilana — the conduit of grace in “Dr. Linus” — out of the picture, I could easily see how Ben could cross back over. Dude is wicked, man. Don’t forget that.

  4. Mark Rudolph says:

    Couple of things – I can’t believe Miles has made it this far. With all the other major characters that have been killed off, they must have something big in store for him. But why did they choose a character with such a weak storyline and not significant to the show? His story was interesting with regard to Dr. Chang (or Candle, or Halliwax, or Wickmund), but not much else.

    Also, the writers used so much screentime to make Ben seem like he had redeeming qualities and that he had changed. The whole scene with Ilana, and the “I’ll have you” line – what a waste that would be if Ben turns out to be back on the dark side. It could be that he simply wanted Widmore dead, and he used Flocke to do it, but has no intention of helping him. Just a thought.

    • Jason says:

      I certainly think it’s POSSIBLE that Ben is pulling a con on Locke, but I also look at the greater body of work here. Ben was “redeemed”, like, 15 minutes ago; he’s been a conniving little weasel for much longer. Remember earlier in the season; back in the statue following Jacob’s death, Ben was legitimately petrified when he realized Locke was the Smoke Monster. His fear of Smokey could be strong enough to keep him under Locke’s thumb. I’m okay if I’m wrong on this one, but I’m not wholly convinced that Ben’s “redemption” really took. Would a fully “redeemed” person have offed Widmore in cold blood?

      But this gets at one of the prominent themes that I think this show is putting before us: we all have these shades of light and dark at war within us constantly. No one is ever quite as good as they seem, or as evil as they seem. And while Ben’s redemptive qualities have come into view this season, he still has a substantial mountain of evidence that seems to suggest otherwise.

      But I hope you guys are right. Ben’s one of my favorite characters and I want to see him come around to the side of the Good Guys in the end game.

  5. Mark Rudolph says:

    Dylan – you beat me to it…

  6. Brandon says:

    I found it cool that Jacob can revert back to being a child to run errands. We also found out why the ashes were important. But I think/hope Richard still lives. I mean to spend nearly an entire episode on him during the final season then have him die without even a fight is weak. My hope is that Smokey knew Richard can not die and needed to move to Ben and Widmore first and knew Richard would just stall him. Maybe I’m wrong but I sure hope not. I agree that Ben is just conning FLocke. Funny if Ben and Alex’s Mom did marry then he would be her Dad technically just like he was technically on the island.

  7. Dylan says:

    By the way, this episode totally exceeded my expectations. I was expecting just an incomplete set-up episode for the finale that wouldn’t stand on its own much, along the lines of last year’s “Follow the Leader.” But this was dramatic, had it’s own big reveals (Jack chose to replace Jacob), and its own character. My friend Wes made a good observation that instead of “Follow the Leader,” it was more like season three’s “Greatest Hits,” which set up the finale, but was also a phenomenal episode on its own.

    • Jason says:

      I thought this episode was really strong. Good reveals, nice pacing, funny in places (thanks to Ben), mythologically rewarding…it was a winner in my book.

  8. Susan says:

    I think Ben reacted emotionally when he killed Widmore and he was on a ‘high’ when he said ‘you said there were more to kill’ or something to that effect. I think now he realizes he really won’t be receiving the island,,that Flock wants to blow it up, he will turn back to his ‘good doing’ ways and rejoin the other crew. He was high on his hate for Widmore that it clouded his judgment.

    I also don’t think Richard is dead. For him to be such a vital character throughout the entire show, to be thrown out of the screen shot? I really think creators know he deserves a more heroic death than that. Also, I thought he couldn’t be killed? If Flock did in fact kill him by throwing him, does that mean that no one BUT MIB could kill him? That would make sense since Jacob and MIB had similar traits. Perhaps MIB wanted to make a big scene with Richard because he knew Ben would be watching..maybe he just wanted to put a little fear in his bones?

    • Jason says:

      Yeah, we’ve seen Ben act in an emotional way before (stabbing Keamy following Alex’s death, being possessive of Juliet); Widmore’s murder is just one more brick in the wall. But now that Ben knows Locke’s intention, I wonder how he’ll play it.

      I’m a little hazy on the whole Richard-can’t-die thing. Seems like Jacob gave him the gift of agelessness, but not necessarily eternal life. (Doesn’t Jacob tell him that he can’t grant that request?) And it seems that Richard at least believes he can die…remember the scene from the Black Rock earlier in the season when he tried to blow himself up? So I guess it’s possible that Richard is dead, although I don’t think he is. But then again, Smokey doesn’t really play around with stuff like that, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s really dead.

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