This is the last episode of the middle third of Season 6 of Lost — the last act of the last act starts next week, and it looks crazy exciting.
In this episode Team Jacob decides to blow up the plane with dynamite from the Black Rock, but Illana blows herself up because it is unstable. When they go to get more Hurley blows up the Black Rock, because the ghost of Michael told him it will get people killed. The group then splits over who to follow — Richard, who wants to get explosives from Dharma, or Hurley, who claims to hear Jacob telling them to go talk to The Man in Black. Ben goes with Richard and everyone else goes with Hurley. The Man in Black throws Desmond down a well, and then meets Hurley’s group — and Jack confronts “Locke” for the first time in a long time. In the Alt U, Hurley is rich and powerful but afraid to talk to girls. He bumps into Libby who is on a retreat from a mental institution and claims they know each other. With a little push from Desmond he goes to meet her and take her out and with a kiss he remembers everything. In an epilogue Desmond, who saw them kiss, drives off — and over substitute teacher John Locke, on purpose.
On one level this is Lost at its most classical — dramatic without making a lot of sense, but you forgive it because it is all fun. If you have to carry unstable dynamite, why jump around so much, and also why not give it to the immortal guy to carry — they guy who in an earlier episode proved he could not be blown up by dynamite? And how, you know, on Earth, could Hurley have gotten so far ahead of the group — enough to get into the Black Rock, and set a fuse, then get far enough away to not die and also before anyone else was close enough not to die — without anyone noticing? Don’t chuck your enemy’s wildcard down a well: I know it looks like you are getting rid of him, and I also enjoy the irony of Desmond once again being alone down in an underground place on the island accessible by a deep shaft, but surely you have just chucked him down to somewhere interesting where he is going to bite you in the ass — especially if this is anything like the other well. By the way: The well, we are told, is so old it was built by people who had no tools — because they wanted to know why their compasses were going crazy. They had compasses but not shovels?
Less fun is that Lost Season 6 has gone beyond not giving women anything to do: now it is aggressively silencing them — Sun can’t talk, Kate just smiles in this episode without (I think) saying a word, and I don’t even know what to say about the latest one — the only strong female, the only tough chick without a man to worry about was unceremoniously blown up. On its own — funny. I was just thinking it was silly that she does not blow up as Artz did in season one and then BAM she did. In the context of the other female characters, less so. Libby is a woman, but like the other women in Season 6 she exists just to move a man along in his story. Maybe the finale will be a bunch of dudes just glowering at each other for two hours, Eliot Stabler style.
And once again, everyone is off to the hospital because that is how just about every Alt U story must end. Fine. Even Libby kind of has a hospital connection.
And Sayid is supposed to be emptied out in a creepy way, but it reads a lot of the time like the actor is bored out of his skull.
But I did like this one, in spite of all that. I liked that Hurley had such a simple story — asking a girl out. That is the kind of thing that Lost does really well, anchoring the insanity in simple things. He closes his character arc in the Alt U as one arc of his also closes from the main U — he finally gets that picnic with Libby. I liked that Desmond was this kind of rockin looking Guardian Angel — who also runs people over with his car. It was pretty obvious he was going down that well (especially as Locke dropped the torch down the hole, just as he (or was it Jack) did when they got the hatch open) — but the running over Locke thing was the kind of crazy turn Lost does really well. I enjoyed Jack’s learning to put away the leader role and just follow someone else — it is nice to see him changed by his experiences, rather than just being more and more JACK as things get bad. Jack Bauer, for example, just gets more and more JACK BAUER.
Then there was bit where the show sort of lightening fast dealt with a major mystery, two actually — the whispers are the dead trapped on the island because of something they did. This also, of course, explains the dead figures we have seen on the island — because surely the show was not going to make much sense if ALL the dead people were the smoke monster. Richard’s flashback was like an episode length version of this scene and I have to say I prefer it truncated like this.
And we got to see a kid with dark hair — Desmond saw him with the Man in Black just as Sawyer saw a blond kid when he was with The Man in Black. This is surely Jacob and the Man in Black as children (Jacob and Esau? Able and Cain? Whoever, it has got my attention. I look forward to a flashback with those kids).
But the thing I liked the best was the end. Lost often cliffhangs with some moment of promised violence like a gun being drawn or someone being shot. This was wonderful because it was so understated, so reasonable and so tense at the same time. Hurley brings the Candidates to Locke, and would just like to talk to him without any violence. That is kind of wonderful. Finally people are going to talk (maybe)! I just love the simplicity of “Let’s just go talk to him.” It was really invigorating.
And Jack and Locke — the conflict this show has been about since Season 1 — finally meet as their new selves: Jack in submission to Jacob’s leadership, Locke now The Man in Black. This is the original conflict with the stakes raised tremendously, and it is awesome — and just to make the whole thing more exciting, it coincides with Alt U Desmond running over Locke. Does Alt U Locke now know about the Island U? Alt U Charlie similarly used a car crash to “wake up” Desmond. Does The Man in Black know about the Alt U? Does Jack? Something important happened but it is totally ambiguous — and it is the kind of AWESOME ambiguity we can all spend the next week thinking about. And isn’t THAT really the central thing in the success of LOST?
5 broadcasts left — 4 more before the big ending.