Lost, Season 6, Episode 14: The Candidate

By May 5th, 2010 3 Comments

There was a bit there when the trajectory of the end of LOST was looking a lot like the trajectory of the end of Battlestar Galactica, a show that I thought had one of the worst finales of all time. A main character, thought dead, returned with special supernatural knowledge — except there was a dead body so the returned version was not really them. And the mystical/religious stuff, subtle before, hit full throttle suddenly and ruined the balance of the show.

But with the running time left on Lost (sans commercial breaks) somewhere around the running time of Inglourious Basterds Lost is still going strong. More action in this episode than in most of the previous SEASONS. Remember when getting to a location like the plane, or the sub, would take 4 episodes of hiking and diversions? They got to both in this one hour. I was absolutely shocked when Jack got Sawyer and Kate out of those cages so quickly. I thought the only reason they went in the cages was to give the episode a purpose — get them out by the end of the ep. They got out by the end of the commercial break.

So, plot. Jack and The Man in Black rescue the castaways captured by Widmore and head for the plane, which is booby trapped. Locke takes the bomb off the plane and they all head to the sub. At the sub the gang escapes without The Man in Black only to find he has put a ticking bomb on board with them. Disarming the bomb causes it to go into overdrive. Sayid gets it far away giving the others a chance, presumably dying in the process. Jin and Sun don’t make it. The Man in Black is gunning for the survivors.
In the Alt U Jack struggles to convince Locke he can fix his back, and uncovers the story behind the wheelchair — Locke was a pilot who crashed a small plane and sent his dad into a vegetable state. He considers his wheelchair punishment.

A first a lot of the action makes little sense — why are the castaways risking their hides, even as a cover, to help the Man in Black get to a sub when the Man in Black is obviously immortal? On the sub we get the interesting answer from Jack — the mysterious “rules” prevent The Man in Black killing candidates, as it prevented him from killing Jacob directly. (The same “rules” that prevented Michael from killing himself, and the same “rules” Linus discovered “broken” when Keamy killed Alex). He has to get them to kill each other. So he puts a bomb on the sub with them in it. Jack realizes if the clock runs out they wont die — the Man in Black CAN”T kill them — but if they attempt to disarm it it WILL go off, which means they basically killed themselves. Jacob’s death allowed the Man in Black to finally escape the island; the Candidate is a threat to him because with them alive someone can take Jacob’s job, which was to keep him from getting away. The moves in the episode make a lot more sense now — why he needs them, and why he acts as he does.

(I am not sure how to answer the internet complaint that Jacob is obviously very reckless bringing people to the island — people that can work for The Man in Black, kill Jacob, and provide the Man in Black with transportation off the island. Even if the chance is slim, it seems like The Man in Black getting away means universe-wide annihilation so why even risk it? I do hope this one gets answered.)

We also discover why the Jin-Sun reunion was so lame. Because you can’t have two episodes in a row with HUGE emotional beats for those two characters. And they got a huge one here as they go down with the sub. It was a really beautiful scene, in spite of the fact that it was a little silly that Sun got trapped like that (watching it with friends someone asked “what is she trapped by” and the answer was “a device … a plot device”). My first reaction was that there was something really off about watching two parents die together when one could have been saved — should’t there be some kind of “our child’s future is more important than your not leaving me”? But upon consideration I think it adds to the moment. It becomes really hard-core. He promised they would never be apart again. And so they won’t. I found that really powerful BECAUSE he knew what he was leaving behind. One of the most emotional scenes in Lost I feel like. Except for that plot device pinning Sun.

But it was always heading this direction. The folks who are no longer candidates are mostly dead — that seems like a big part of not being a candidate anymore, sort of how you get tested? So in searching for that Candidate people are going to have to get killed along to way to reveal him. That is how it has worked up to now. I look forward to the second to last episode titled “What They Died For.”

And that was not all for emotional beats. Alt U John Locke was amazing talking about how he felt responsible for his dad’s condition, and Hurley’s tears — was that the first time he cried? He and Jack did a good job showing “torn up.” Lost can be brilliant with the acting, but also sometimes not — it was nice to see everybody at full throttle. Cause that scene is not going to work without it. And it has been fun watching The Man in Black be so reasonable all the time (“I’d ask Widmore, but I don’t think he is going to give me a straight answer”; “I hope you change your mind Jack”), but it is also pretty fun to see the killer come out at our main guys.

Another acting touch that was perfect here was Jack’s reaction to Claire saying she was on Oceanic 815. He does a great job conveying the chaos in his head — the ambivalence of “it can’t mean anything, but it has to mean something that I am seeing so many people from that flight.” He has no idea what is going on but he can feel something coming together — it works because we know Lost is almost over, and feel it coming together too.

Sawyer, for the FOURTH time, is on his way off the island when he has to turn around and go back (the raft in season 1, the helicopter in season 4, the sub in season 5, and the sub again here). Don’t really know what to say about that.

Interesting that Alt U Locke was a pilot. Does that mean that the Man in Black can now fly a plane, if worlds collide? Also Sawyer has been hit on the head — joining Jack and Sun on this point. All you need is a good whack on the head for worlds to collide. Or to be in love.

A random theory about Richard: his episode bothered me because it did not really seem to have anything to do with anything, but one justification occurred to me. If the Man in Black turns out to be Satan, or Easu or Cain; or Jacob turns out to be the biblical Jacob (with his connections to Egypt explaining the Egyptian stuff we have seen on the island); then you are going to need SOME CHARACTER established as a bible reading Christian. Because SOMEONE is going to have to explain to the castaways, and by extension the audience, the significance of whatever gets revealed. You can’t have Hurley suddenly bust out with “oh, yeah, we learned about all this in Sunday school!” If Mr. Eko had not wanted to leave Hawaii, and thus not been killed off, I imagine this would have been his role.

I am so Goddamn Happy this show is still strong this close to the end. If the acting and the emotional beats stay this good I could maybe even be happy with some mythology not getting revealed (which is surely going to happen, because I really cannot imagine a satisfying explanation for how a donkey wheel got built into a wall on the other side of which is negatively charged matter or whatever, and the wheel does huge magic / sci-fi stuff when turned). Seriously. Right now they have me loving the story over the mythology, which was surely their point. (But I felt that way though a lot of Battlestar Galactica, and look how that turned out. But I remain forever hopeful).

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3 Comments On "Lost, Season 6, Episode 14: The Candidate"

  1. Rich Steeves

    Wow. I have to say I am 180 degrees opposite in regards to the BSG finale. I thought it was just about pitch-perfect…


  2. Stef

    Oh Rich, the end of BSG was awful. Just awful.

    I agree Geoff. Good to see this show powering along.


  3. Marcin

    I’ve given up on the idea that the two universes will end up fusing. Given the fact that the majority of the characters are still unaware of a parallel universe this late in the season, it seems unlikely the writers will have time to develop such a colossal event. If fusion was really this season’s goal, I feel it would’ve been in the main structure of season 6’s storyline (as ‘getting back to the island’ was for season 4). Other than Desmond, the survivors in Island U are as of yet completely in the dark regarding the existence of the Alt U, and there are very few indications that this might change. If the events unraveling in the Alt U do end up causing a fusion, the characters in Island U would be dumbfounded, as would we. We, as spectators, haven’t been properly conditioned for a fusion scenario, and neither have the characters.


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