Ok, I don't know who can complain about this episode. It had everyone and everything.
Answers? Check! Character development? Check. Ben? Check. Ben lying and scheming? Check, check. Payback? Check cubed. Desmond being Desmond, indeed.
So much ground to cover, and, like Jacob, I don't know where to start.
So, we open with the iconic Lost image--an eye opening--and Jack's again, just like how it all started. And a mirror and a mysterious wound. But then we get a nice family breakfast, with father, son, and aunt all for a family breakfast of bran. Um, yum?
Ok, enough of that, let's focus on plots: Desmond's, Jacob's, Smokey's, and then Ben's. I think that makes sense as any to orient all of this:
- Desmond's plan, as daffy it appears to be, is very much like getting the gang back together in Ocean's 11 or any other team heist flick. He has a wonderful glee about him as he engages in his tasks. He seems to enjoy beating the tar of Ben, and who's to blame him, since Ben tried to kill Penny (as he seems to facilitate on the Island)?
- But that activates Ben, who then activates Locke. So that was step one. Step two was getting arrested so that he can be with the conveniently jailed Kate and Sayid. He does not mind that at all, and it is obvious why--he needs to spring them. Easily done.
- The only question I have really is now Sawyer is left behind (Miles is probably irrelevant to Desmond's plan since he was not on O-815).* Hurley helps buy off Ana Lucia who apparently is willing to risk her career for only $125k. Hmmm. And now Desmond is off to the concert where Jack will be (but will Locke?) My guess is that Hurley and Sayid must get Sawyer and/or Locke.
- Jacob's plan is to use Hurley to gather the candidates and then offer one of them a job. The whole sequence with the boy Jacob and then the adult Jacob with Hurley and then the others is great. And yes, we have answers. Why did Jacob need to be replaced? Because he knew that his brother would find a way to kill him. Why these candidates? Because they had flawed lives of lonely desperation (not quiet desperation as neither Hurley or Sawyer shut up much).
- I had wondered about this--that these folks were all not the nicest of people, but that actually qualified them rather than disqualified them. So, Jack steps up and is apparently the winning candidate.
- Jacob wanted to have more than one candidate so that one would choose to take the awesome responsibility. He didn't have a choice, but they did. And by choosing, Jack shows that free will, despite his assertion that he is the chosen one, wins the day over fate. For a character that was supposed to die during the first episode, Jack has a big role at the end. Hmmm.
- Sawyer could have stepped in saying that he was responsible for the deaths of the others, that he should atone for his murders before and on the island. But he chose not to. Hurley was relieved not to have the responsibility. Indeed, Hurley has had enough troubles and could use the break. Kate was discounted--why? Because she is a mother now. Still could choose, but she was no longer alone. Jack still is, as his son is an alternative reality. Which leads to the big question that the finale must and will answer--how the two worlds relate to each other?
- And Jacob is done when the fire burns out. With his ashes in it. So, I guess his ashes will not provide protection. Damn.
- Smokey's plans. Well, kill everyone. He cannot kill candidates so he needs Ben, and promises something that he then takes away--the Island. Either he does not believe that Ben cares about the Island or does not care. Smokey in human form is not the mind-reader that Smokey in smokey form is. So, Ben may very well be playing Smokey, and Smokey probably thinks he is, but hard to tell. Many games being played.
- Anyhow, Smokey kills Zoe and that was quite predictable. He promises Widmore that he would kill Penny if not told the role of Desmond, but, again, these promises are incredible--not to be believed. So, what did Widmore tell him? He must have lied somehow as there is no reason to tell Smokey the truth, no matter whether Widmore was being directed by Jacob as he claims or had other interests. As a dead man walking, Widmore had to lie to Smokey. Just like any good con artist, he begins with the truth. But, of course, they whisper before Ben rudely interrupts him by avenging Alex.
- Smokey then goes Desmond hunting, thinking that Desmond could be useful if alive. But is he? I think, to quote our favorite fishy Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!!" That is, Widmore and Ben have set a trap for Smokey, and by killing Widmore, Ben improves his bona fides.
- Ben's schemes. Ok, before getting into him, I gotta say I loved the Ben/Danielle/Alex stuff. Nice romance there to juxtapose with everything else. Ben was so touched by Alex's feelings, and then by Rousseau's coming on to him. The guy has been super lonely, perfect to be a candidate but perhaps not, but now he has the begins of a proto-family. Happy ending in a world that may or may not exist for much longer. Hmmm.
- Anyhow, what is Ben up to? I think his redemption quest is not very interrupted. Widmore was going to die there and then by Locke's hands, so one could see Ben's actions as mercy killing. Again, it goes to establishing bona fides. I think Ben is setting Smokey up, as the only folks left to kill and who Smokey needs Ben to kill are the candidates. And Ben is not going to kill them all. He may end up killing one or two to again cement his credibility with Smokey, but he has nothing left to live for.
- The promise of an Island kingdom is meaningless without a people to rule, is even more so with Smokey's last words--that he will destroy the Island, and Ben realized this season that people are more important than the Island. That he sacrificed his daughter for naught. So, again, my bet is that Ben is playing Smokey. That would be the right way for the artful manipulator to go out--not by running through a sub with a bomb or catching a bullet destined for someone else, but by being the trickster one last time.
It was kind of surprising to have so much action in this episode and machinations and all our favorite four candidates did was chat and walk and sit and chat. Very passive for them but with heaps of stuff going on around them. Interesting juxtaposition number two.
Ok, now some remaining questions and then quotes of the night (the writing really rocked here):
- Where is Miles? He escaped as he did not hide in the closet. Oh, and never hide in a place with no exit. Durrrr. Anyhow, Miles still has a role to play apparently.
- Where is Frank? He may not be dead, as all the references to dead folk seem to omit our pilot. And now that everyone is dead but the four O-15, Ben, and Miles, we need a way to get off the island once they kill Smokey.
- Is Richard dead? Apparently, he is no longer useful to old Smokey. So, either he is hurt or dead. I don't think he is immortal anymore, but again, dead off screen does not count. Other folks have been knocked around a bit by old Smokey to tell the tale. Oh, who would that be? Ok, for the purposes of the game (next post), I am assuming that Richard is now with his long-dead wife.
- Where did Jack's new backpack come from? And didn't he learn that backpacks are dangerous?
- Why does Smokey care a gun? He can kill as Smokey and always does except when wet in the Sub-tastic episode.
- Where is Claire? Just remembered her as I was updating the game.
Quotes du jour:
- "Best I can do" Jack says. Hmmm.
- "Blow it to hell." Richard's plans for the plane. My guess is that his plans, like himself, are overcome by events.
- "May I come in?" The guy playing Widmore just delivers lines with aplumb.
- "If you don't want to die, we need to hide." Um, not so clever.
- "I have been wrong before" Jack tells Sawyer, trying to assuage some of Sawyer's guilt, which is absolutely crushing him.
- "Then I guess this is goodbye." Ben foreshadows.
- "I need you to kill some people for me." Okey dokey.
- "He's hiding in my closet." Oh, Ben, you play with us.
- "Even if we have to kidnap you" Danielle says to Ben, which is so amusing given her record of kidnapping. And his. Including of Alex. My, oh my.
- Ben on Smokey's bullet-resistance "I am guessing this is not a problem for you."
- When Smokey tells Ben to step aside as he should not see what he does to Widmore, Ben says "I want to see this."
- "Sorry Charles." Oh, I wanted him to say, Sorry, Charlie!
- Lots of folks saying things like "soon this will be all over." Ok, we know this is the penultimate episode. Stop reminding us!!!
- "He doesn't get to save his daughter."
- "What if all this is happening for a reason?" Ah, Locke, the real one. We missed you so.
- "I think I am reading to get out of this chair."
- "I thought he had a God complex before!"
- "Glad it is not me."
- "Now you are like me."
- "You don't seem like a cop to me."
- Re Ana Lucia: "She's not ready yet."
I will probably be spewing all week about this as I read other reactions. And let me know what you think.
* I have been meaning to mention that Oceanic was a fictitious airlines in Executive Decision, with Kurt Russell, Halle Berry, and Steven Seagal (and others).