Lost, Season 6, Episode 16: What They Died For

By May 19th, 2010

One thing the second to last episode of a season of Lost does well is ANNOUNCE stuff. They say they are going to do stuff, and then they DO it in the last episode of the season. “We have to move the island.” “Let’s set off a nuke.” “I am going to kill Jacob” and now “I am going to destroy the island.” (I am probably forgetting similar pronouncements from the end of seasons 1, 2, and 3: “I am not going to push the button” maybe?). The moment was a little undercut tonight, the only flaw in tonight’s fantastic episode — as a friend pointed out, earlier in the episode The Man in Black told Ben he could have the island if Ben would help him, presumably help him kill Jack (and maybe the others if, now that Jack has become the new Jacob, they still even matter). He tells him in the end he is going to destroy it — so what exactly is Ben’s motivation again? I got a little lost there. Oh, and also — Let’s not forget Jack’s great pronouncement that he is going to kill the Man in Black.

The summary. On the way to get Desmond out of the well Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Kate bump into Jacob who explains he brought them all to the island because they were lonely lost people, good candidates for being the new Jacob. He brought people to the island because he knew the Man in Black would figure out how to kill him eventually. Jack gets to be the new Jacob. Ben Richard and Miles pick up explosives from Dharma village, but run into Widmore and Tina Fey. The Man in Black shows up, kills Richard, Kills Tina Fey and Widmore with help from Ben, turncoat again then goes to find Desmond — but the well is empty. Which is just what he wanted, because somehow Desmond can help him destroy the island. In the Alt U Jack, Claire and Jack’s kid eat breakfast and plan to attend a concert. Ben Linus meets Alex’s mother and has dinner — and realizes he is like a father to her. Desmond is back at the school where he assaults and “wakes up” Ben Linus, who delivers a message to Locke, who decides to get that surgery after all, because he feels fate tugging him. Desmond confesses to Sawyer for his crimes (Miles is getting ready to attend a concert at the museum) and gets put in jail — with Kate and Sayid. With the help of Hurley and Anna Lucia he breaks them out and they split up to go on separate missions — Desmond and Kate are going to a concert.

I am just going to go into random observation mode, ok?

Now obviously a lot of folks who look dead are not dead but I do adore the high body count, one of the best ways serial television has of making something feel like the end (cause normally you can’t do it because of contracts with the actors): last week we lost Sayid, Lapidus, Jin and Sun; this week Richard, Widmore and Tina Fey. The writers are obviously going to need a much smaller cast for the finale to work with, and I like the idea of focusing on who is left for the most part. If you were wondering how they were going to get it all done in 2 and a half hours it was going to be by eliminating stuff.

The echoes of time past has been one of the best part of season 6 (in addition to one universe echoing the other): obviously last week was ALL echoes. Here we get Hurley, Kate, Jack and Sawyer together on the beach — this was the group Linus kidnapped at the end of season 2. And when Desmond basically kidnaps Kate and then ironically offers her a dress when she might have thought something bad was going to happen, I was reminded of Ben giving her a dress back at the start of season 3 after he kidnapped her and she expected something bad.

Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson are just such fantastic actors. They are both at the top of their games: Emerson crying a bit at Alex’s house, and O’Quinn explaining to Jack that no, he does not think Jack sent Desmond to assault him, he thinks it is fate. It is wonderful how his face conveys that he never even considered that Jack sent Desmond to assault him, and the realization that if Jack thought that Jack is not a believer as he is — another echo.

Random Theory — Jacob crossed out Kate’s name because she became a mom. This could refer to Aaron of course, but I stand by the prediction I made last year early in season 5 when her and Jack had sex before they got on the Ajira flight — she is pregnant with his kid, maybe the kid he has in the alternate universe. She can stay on the island with him when it is all over and they can live there protecting the island and raising a happy family — the opposite of what happened to Jacob that caused all this mess in the first place. That was one thing about this episode that made it feel less like the second to last episode than the first part of a finale — they announced the mother of Jack’s kid would be at the concert, but we did not see her in this episode. (That made the episode a little random, and why my commentary is random). Could still be Kate. Two happy families in both universes. Or something. I don’t know.

The other thing that made it feel less like the second to last episode and more like the first part of the last episode was Jack’s eye opening at the start, a call back to the first image of the show.

Desmond is wearing black in this episode. Makes me think of The Man in Black. He is a little sinister, manipulating everyone and running over dudes in wheelchairs. Probably nothing, but Lost is all about wildcards. The breaking them out of the truck at the end and Hurley showing up and them going on some weird mission — that is exactly what I watch Lost for. Desmond is a smart guy — the first person you wake up should be the guy with the piles of cash.

Miles has always been a weird character. Because he seems very important with his ability to speak to the dead on an island where so many have died and still linger, and yet — his powers are kind of redundant of Hurley’s. They tried to explain the difference once, and they occasionally give him stuff to do (like have Juliet’s final words be AFTER she dies, or tell Ben what Jacob thought as he died). But it has never felt important enough to justify his presence, especially since making snarky comments, the other thing he does, is also kind of covered by both Hurley and Sawyer. Dude needs something unique to do, is all I am saying. I hope they give it to him. That will be a requirement of the finale.

Significant that Across the Sea says the light we knew as electromagnetic energy is magic. Some folks thought the science-magic thing was still open — that back then it would be seen as magic but we see it now as science. Two things argue against it — if a guy goes in the light and comes out evil black smoke, the moral dimension there is going to make it magic. And they killed off Tina Fey (or it looked like they did) — so science is unnecessary. I still don’t really know what I thought about last week’s episode — basically I landed on good not great — but we will see where it goes.

Ben continues to flip flop teams — I am reminded of someone on the AV Club quipping in season 7 of 24 about “Tony and the Amazing Technicolor Turncoat.” But it made sense here — this is the man that killed Ben’s daughter, as we were reminded just before they got to the cabin. Such a weird scene with Widmore and Tina Fey in the closet. One of the most powerful and important characters literally hid in a closet from a monster. And then died, along with his assistant, after this huge buildup. Lost is such a bizarre show. But I am totally on board for the finale in a way I never thought I could be after the kind of weak ending to season 5. And it is DAYS away. Whodathunk, with my first review of the opener of season 6 this year I would be this into Lost again?

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