"Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the [backpack] in front of you." - Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Sort of.

 

This line in that great movie is spoken, oddly enough, to the Man in Black. Here, it applies to a machination by our own Man in Black. I totally noticed what he had done when he handed Jack his backpack before the attack on the sub, probably because - as you know if you've been following along - I've had this weird hang-up on why the Smoke Monster needed to carry a backpack at all. Well, now we know (who says they didn't answer any questions for us this week?). He also knew that Sawyer, a criminal (who had been to Australia, see) didn't trust him, despite James' words to the contrary. He was counting on it.

 

I can't blame Sawyer too much for what happened, even though he bears a lot of responsibility in what happened to Frank, Sayid, Sun, and Jin. After all, the last time Jack had a bomb and told Sawyer to trust him, James Ford had to hold his girlfriend in his arms while she died. And as we saw last episode when he kicked Jack off the Elizabeth, that's still pretty fresh in his mind.

 

Widmore: 'Da Bomb?

 

What I don't know is where the bomb came from, as in, who put it on the plane in the first place? Was it Widmore, or did Flocke merely go back there to retrieve his own handiwork? It could be that his original plan involved the plane, and wiring the C4 into the electrical system would have made it so that the candidates "killed themselves" by choosing to turn on the airplane. But perhaps knowing that James' desire was to take the sub anyway, and that Jack was being a pill about not wanting to leave the island, he improvised, went back for his bomb, and told the "Widmore wants you dead" story. I think I'm leaning towards this explanation rather than Widmore having rigged the plane to explode.

 

Speaking of Widmore, he clearly didn't execute our heroes on the beach. He did cage them within the sonic fencing, and told them it was for their own good. I think I believe him based on what eventually transpired, even though he's still acting like a jerk (just seems to be in his nature), and not explaining anything when he has every chance to do so. He did let slip, though, that he has a list. I missed this the first time, more distracted by his willingness to shoot Kate (whether he actually would is open for debate) than the reasons why. Where did he get his list? Jacob? I've continued to hold to the belief that Jacob knew he was coming, even possibly summoned him. So now I'm kinda back on the side of thinking that Charles is fighting on the right side for the right things. Maybe Jacob even visited Charles off-island once upon a time, offering him a chance for his own redemption. But who really knows?

 

Strong Emotions

 

It was widely rumored that there would be at least one major death this week, and that it would bring the tears. Some friends and I debated whether it would be the Kwons, as their story had come full-circle (see: Sun putting Jin's ring back on his finger, that nasty bit of foreshadowing as they ran to each other at the sonic fenceline last episode), but we wondered whether we had truly come to care enough about Sun and Jin that this could be the Kleenex-box rumored death. Well, that's another question answered for me - how deep had the Korean couple gotten into our hearts? More than I imagined, anyway. Now, that said, did I cry? As I answered one friend on Facebook: "Believe it or not, NO! There was no sobbing. Honestly, it was kinda beyond that. I more just sat there with my jaw open, chest hurting, and brain running through all the ramifications, just feeling beyond sad."

 

And that's how I still feel today. Our show is coming to an end, as are the journeys of the characters. But just as death is not the end for the true believer, I suspect the same is true for the heroes of LOST. They will live again, perhaps in the Sideways world, where we know that Jin and Sun are fine (Jin passes Locke in the hospital hallway bringing flowers to Sun - not just one, like he used to, but a whole bouquet), and Sayid is alive, too, even if he's in police custody and has again lost Nadia.

 

Amid all the sadness, what made my heart happy was the ultimate sacrifice of Sayid. Sickness shmickness. He spared Zoe, he let Desmond live, he fell on the grenade so that his friends could go on. Free will remains free will even for those who are claimed, damned, believe they are beyond hope. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. I was reminded of one of Sayid's lines in the Season Five finale, where he lay wounded and where Jack had another plan involving a bomb: "If this works, you might just save us all. And if it doesn't, at least you'll put us out of our misery." Yes, I think Sayid's redemption story wrapped up nicely. He was both saved and put out of his misery.

 

The Candidate

 

But what was that Sayid said to Jack just before running down the hallway with the bomb? "It's going to be you"? And you're going to need Desmond? What has Sayid figured out? I think he has gleaned through Jack's faith-based correct answer about the bomb, his desire not to leave the Island, and insight into the MiB's scheme that Jack has truly embraced and understood what's really going on here, and as such he is the one who is going to emerge as the one final candidate.

 

What's that going to look like? I don't know, and we're going to wait a couple weeks to find out, probably, as next week's episode "Across the Sea" is said to include no regular cast members, and which the previews indicate is most likely the complete backstory of Jacob and his Nemesis, who are shown playing a rather interesting-looking game…

 

I was reminded of the game theme when Jack asked Locke in the hospital whether he would "go first" in their taking of turns on letting things go. I thought this was one of the best-acted scenes ever in LOST. Both of these men have seen a lot of coincidence and parallels since their flight landed in Los Angeles. Jack is floored by them, and Locke is even saying things like "push the button" and "I wish you had believed me" in his sleep as he recovers from surgery. Jack even turns "I wish you believed me" back on Locke in the hallway before Locke wheels himself away. But neither of them has yet to have the full-on Charlie-type conversion. It looked to me like Locke, before he exits this scene, was possibly having his memory jarred, but if he was, he ignored it and left anyway.

 

The Pilot

 

Well, Seth Norris and Frank Lapidus aren't the only pilots we've seen on LOST, it turns out. John Locke had private pilot's license. And his first solo flight went terribly wrong. This is what put Locke in the wheelchair in the 815 timeline, and put his father into a vegetative state. I have what I think are some interesting thoughts about all that…

 

The scene in the nursing home with Helen, Jack, and Cooper gave me a real Twilight Zone feel, despite the touching music that was playing. That's because my brain was making this case: 

  1. Just as in our original timeline, John Locke doesn't share the same last name as Anthony Cooper, despite saying he loved that man and acknowledging him as his father. This leads me to assume their histories are the same as we already knew - Locke was born with his mom's last name, raised in foster homes, and at some date during adulthood was looked up by Cooper. 

  2. Cooper was still a con man, still the original Sawyer, the very one James Ford has been trying to track down (and not having any success. Perhaps Cooper's state explains why). I believe that Cooper, just as before, set up the get-to-know-my-son-for-a-kidney con game. 

  3. During their bonding time (integral to Cooper's con to gain Locke's trust and love), Locke asked Cooper to fly with him. Note that Locke says his dad protested, saying he was "afraid of flying." The Anthony Cooper we knew had no such fears, always jetting off to the next con. I think he was just really uninterested in going along for this activity with John. But as John insisted, Cooper felt it was in his best interest to go along and continue building that all-important trust. Only thing is, then the plane crashed, leaving Locke paralyzed, and Cooper a vegetable. 

  4. Therefore, John Locke never had to suffer learning his dad's true motives to use and abuse him, and so isn't completely broken in his soul. But fate still made sure he became paralyzed and that his dad was involved in that happening in some way.

Cool, right?

 

What I'm wondering now - with Lapidus probably dead (poor superfluous Frank) - is whether or not Locke's pilot training is going to come into play some more. The plane is the only vehicle left. There is nobody else left (to our knowledge) who knows how to fly one. Several people have been speculating for some time now that we might somehow see LA Locke transfer his consciousness over to his Island doppelganger, boot out the MiB-within, and save the day. If so, look for him to fly his old friends to safety.

 

More Mirrors

 

It's not just reflections themselves that are so curious on this show, it's how the dialogue and situations repeat and reflect from previous seasons, too. Sometimes they repeat so frequently it gets distracting, where you go, "I'm supposed to know that line from an earlier conversation, aren't I?" Sawyer and Kate being back in their old cage is another example. All of this has somehow happened before…

 

I loved the moment Jack and Claire shared in the hospital waiting room where Jack buys an Apollo bar from the vending machine (this time it falls just fine - no Jacob required to "give it a little push"). Claire has been given a music box by Christian. She doesn't know what it means. She and Jack - the Shephard kids - are reflected together in its mirror. It plays "Catch a Falling Star." That old chestnut again. This song keeps popping up in association with Claire and Aaron. Time was that Claire had memories of her father singing that song to her as a baby. But here, it doesn't seem to register as having any significance. It's a minor detail, similar to the one Jack shares about how he went down to Sydney to retrieve his dead father (originally, he went down there to find and bring back his living father).

 

I had some theories about "Catch a Falling Star" the last time we heard it, during "Sundown" when Claire was singing it down in the hole of her Temple holding cell. I won't go into them all here, but I will mention that the lyrics to that song are so simple they almost defy dissection. That doesn't mean they don't give me the creeps, though, the way this song has been used on the show, and that I suspect the way to view it might be as a reference to the Devil, a fallen angel or fallen star. Viewed that way, it continues to bother me having that song follow Aaron, the odd child of prophecy, around…

 

In addition to the mirrors and reflected dialogue, opening-eyes were prevalent, too. The first image of the show involved Locke's eyes opening in the daytime following surgery, and the first image of the first scene following commercial was Jack's eyes opening at night on Hyrda Island. Looking forward to finding out whether the levels-of-consciousness and opening-eyes have anything to do with the final answer to the story.

 

Dr. Nadler, I Presume?

 

Great to see Bernard the Dentist, who three years earlier did emergency oral surgery on one John Locke (following his crash, you see). The connections between these characters are endless. Bernard also recognizes Jack from their flight and… does he seem to  know something? His mannerisms are almost like he's trying to put Jack on the right track, tell him something without telling him straight out. "Weird, huh?... Hope you find what you're looking for…" I got the same vibe from Bernard during the conversation he had with Juliet, Sawyer and Kate at the end of last season. He asked Juliet if she was sure she wouldn't stay for tea. He seemed to know there wouldn't be a "next time." I don't know whether "love," the final answer to it all, has given Bernard more insight in a Charlie type of way, but I suspect that his devotion to Rose has something to do with his calm, his knowledge, his peace.

 

At the Dock

 

This wasn't the first time we'd seen John Locke put a bomb on a submarine. And just like that previous time, "Locke" is wet. This has been a crazy mystery for me since "The Man from Tallahassee." If you need your memory refreshed, in that episode, Locke took the C4 he'd found in the Flame station and snuck down to the sub Jack and Juliet were about to leave on, per their agreement with Ben. He went onto the sub dry. When he is seen again, confronted on the dock just before the sub explodes, as he apologizes to Jack, he is dripping wet. That always bothered me (and I'm not the only one). What need was there for him to be in the water at that time? Why go for an unnecessary swim? Could this long-standing question mark finally have an answer? Is Locke/Flocke somehow toggling between timelines? I certainly don't see how it's possible or even likely, but at long last there's at least a parallel, a mirror, a wet Locke at the docks blowing up a sub.

 

We of course gleaned something else from Flocke's little swim - it's not some aversion to water that keeps the MiB from being able to smoke up and cross the ocean. I had pretty much already gathered that, as he had been able to cross streams on the island, and was shown standing in the surf the day after the Ajira crash, but some folks' theories die hard. I think it's more a factor of some rule of the game that he can only go so far in smoke form. It already seemed like he can't go very high, as evidenced by the relatively low sonic perimeter (he can't just fly over it). Or perhaps his smoke form just doesn't materialize over water. Either way, we just know he can't use his smoke form to fly off the island (or even to the smaller island), but that getting wet (at least getting wet in human form) isn't the reason why. Now having ash dumped on him? That might be another story, as none of us have forgotten that Hurley's still carrying around that pouch of Jacob's ashes. Unless of course those are now turned to mud from Hurley's own swim out of the sub…

 

I'm confused about one little portion of the MiB's plot. I don't feel the need to rehash all of it because Jack did that for us, and he had it exactly right. He gained their trust, and got them to do exactly what he wanted them to do. They would have been truly fine letting the timer tick down. The timer, made from a dead guy's watch, was only for their freak-out benefit anyway, to get them to panic and act (which was good, because it played into the old joke of why bombs in movies and TV shows always conveniently show you how much time you have left - why do that?). Just like Michael couldn't put a gun to his head and die, and just like Richard couldn't blow up himself (or Jack or Hurley), nothing would have happened if this bomb had been left alone. So what is it that confused me? Well, how did the MiB know that Jack would need to look in his backpack within four minutes of boarding the sub? Jack only did this because Kate got shot and Hurley couldn't find the first-aid kit (duh, it was right there above the sub driver's head). Had they not had that medical emergency to tend to? No need to look in the backpack, meaning the bomb is not found, meaning the timer ticks down to zero, meaning it doesn't go off, meaning nothing happens. Oversight? Or did the MiB know something? Did he somehow arrange for Kate to need medical assistance? Or did he rig the timer to only start ticking down from 4 minutes once Jack opened the backpack?

 

At least we should no longer be in doubt about the MiB possibly being the good guy, or possibly not being evil. Or should we? Might we yet come to find out he's been a victim and a prisoner his whole life? Or could it still be both, as in some of the classic literature about Satan (i.e. Paradise Lost)? I thought of the old Fallen Star nemesis when Jack said, "He can't kill us. He can't leave unless we're dead. He's trying to get us to kill each other." In the Book of Job, Satan is not allowed by rule to cause harm. Not unless God permits. So it stands to reason that one argument LOST is making is that if this character can't destroy these annoying creatures himself, he'll get them to do it to each other. He'll fool them, gain their trust, con them, lie to them, make them promises based on the one thing they want the most, always impatient and longing to be done with it. Perhaps the metaphor extends to what humanity continues to do to each other today. Are we on the path of annihilating each other instead of uniting against the one who has spent centuries working the loopholes to bring us to this point?

 

In any case, Flocke does not have the best interests of humanity at heart. He does not love. He embodies chaos (except when executing one of his detailed schemes).And he knows the sub sunk. But he also knows not everyone died? How? Quite simply, he senses he can't leave the Island yet. If they were all dead, he'd be free. Some of them must have survived.

 

So Who's Left?

  • Kate. Widmore and Sawyer have both told her she's no candidate. We still don't know what happened to her candidacy, why her name was etched off. That said, the name "Austen" was marked out, but going back to our theme of weird cases of identity, was Kate really truly ever an Austen? No, not biologically, anyway. Austen was the last name of the man who raised her, but not of Wayne, her true dad. Does this mean anything? Doubtful, but I still wanted to bring it up, just like I think that Ji Yeon might have been the Kwon candidate all along (and she's still alive).

  • Claire. I also don't want to forget that Claire's still around, and technically, she's not a Littleton, but a Shephard by paternal blood. But she's surely not the Shephard candidate… is she?

  • Desmond. Whatever Sayid did or did not do to him, he's still in the well, and still alive.

  • Hurley.

  • Jack.

  • Sawyer. Gonna be interesting to see what he's thinking and feeling when he wakes up, or whether he had any déjà vu type experiences while knocked out. Also, bear in mind that he's not the only "Ford" in the world, either. There's also young Clementine…

  • Ben - Miles - Richard. Sure seems like they've taken their sweet time going to the barracks, collecting ammo, and getting their butts over to Hydra.

  • Widmore - Zoe. Looks like she won't get the chance to chat up Jin about those grid maps he made in the 70s. But I bet that doesn't stop this geophysicist from figuring something out about the pockets of electromagnetic material.

  • Flocke. Okay, technically he's not in Locke's body (that was buried in a grave on the beach), so it's not like LAX Locke can re-inhabit his old skin. How does he intend to "finish what he started" when our remaining few survivors are on to his game now?

  • Jacob?

Other Items of Note 

  • The best news of the week was that we gained an extra half hour of LOST. The finale of Sunday the 23rd was extended from two to 2 ½ hours in length.

  • I did think Jin was going to swim out on Sun, if only because I thought she was going to invoke the need for him to meet and care for their daughter. Speaking of which, Sun told Jin that Ji Yeon is "with her mom" rather than "with her folks." Nothing was said of creepy old Mr. Paik. Did they separate? Did he die? In the end, the Sun/Jin final sequence was just as it should have been. Even more moving than Titanic.

  • Is Lapidus really dead? No death scene, no body, and Kate & Hurley didn't even ask about him. Kinda cold. Unless he somehow made it? Right before the sub door blew in on him I did like how the alarm was identical to the Swan alarm.

  • Kate loves Jack, I think. She sure seemed upset that she couldn't find him on the beach. She's concerned for Sawyer, but her true feelings are for the doctor. That said, I don't necessarily think any of the rest of the show is going to involve them getting together.

  • My boss Steve McGarvey is really put out by the Great Submarine Escape. The physics of swimming out of a blast hole in the side of a sub against onrushing water while carrying another human and extremely deep underwater is next to impossible, he says. Okay. And I know there are those of you who are this kind of TV/movie watcher. Me? I'm choosing to explain this as, "Super Duper Can't-Be-Killed Candidate Powers" allowed them to do it and survive. How's that?

  • Several people thought they were onto something in the previous episode when Locke, in the ambulance, said, "I was gonna marry her" while referring to Helen. Apparently they took that line as Locke's mind having flashed to Island-time where Helen was dead. I never even considered that, and I don't consider it much now, either. I think the simplest explanation suffices here - Locke was just talking as a guy who wasn't sure if he was going to make it thinking his wedding plans were completely indefinite at that moment.

  • Similar thing with how many of you I came across who were so bugged by the idea of Jack "being with" Flocke. But there was never anything to worry about, friends. Jack even said the same thing this week during the breakout scene. It's all just a literary device. Our hero never trusted or belonged to the dark side.

  • Trust was huge in this episode. And Jack-Flocke invoked a major all-time theme of trust and power in their on-the-beach why-should-I-trust-you discussion. An increasingly-impatient Flocke told him, "Because I could kill you." And with that, Flocke basically invoked the idea of Might Makes Right. Which of course isn't really "Trust" at all, but it's uncouth cousin Fear. And if this episode, as discussed earlier, was indeed at all metaphorical for humanity's inevitable destruction of itself by itself (something which jives with the extra-canonical "Valenzetti Equation" (a.k.a. ‘The Numbers'), by the way), then this is just extra fodder for those who would go down that rabbit hole.

Checking in on Q & A

From now to the end of the series in this space, we'll be taking notes on how the show is doing in answering the questions we posed at the midpoint of Season Six in this blog, as well as those posed or expanded upon since then

 

Answered

 

Why does Flocke carry around a backpack?

To pull the switcheroo on Jack. He truly thought of everything.

 

How did Bizarro Universe Locke end up in a wheelchair?

He crashed his first solo flight.

 

Does the MiB really want to leave? Is he going to be able to do this with the Candidates, or because all the candidates have died either by their own hand or Widmore's?

He can probably just leave of his own volition and abilities once Jacob as well as every candidate to replace Jacob are dead.

 

Did Sayid kill Desmond?

Nope.

 

Does the MiB have an aversion to water?

Nope. At least not when he's in human form.

 

Expanded Upon

 

What is the Sideverse?

It feels more and more like this is the place our characters are going to end up - the place where they live instead of die, trust instead of fear, love instead of despair, believe instead of deny.

 

Who dies?

At least Jin, Sun, Sayid, and probably Frank. And maybe even more to come.

 

Is the show all a game?

I mentioned this in last week's write-up as one possible ending. Next week's preview gives the idea some credence.

 

Will there be a New Jacob?

From what Sayid says, it sure seems like yes, and that it'll be Jack.

 

Possibly New Insights / Theories

 

I mentioned it in my write-up last week as a big question I have - will the kids we've met be big parts of the story?

I am getting a huge sense that yes, they will be, mostly because I just can't accept that the story has closed on the Kwon candidacy. And if Ji Yeon is a part of things to come, so are Aaron and possibly others (David, Charlie, Clementine).

 

I read an interesting theory last week that suggested the scene where Sawyer ate an apple in front of Kate at the police station was a metaphorical clue that they end up being Adam & Eve.

I liked that thinking. I don't think that myself (especially now that I think Kate loves Jack), but it was a good theory.

 

Posed

 

Will Locke's training as a pilot play into the end game or an escape from the island at all?

I'm kinda hoping so.

 

Is Lapidus really dead?

I'm kinda hoping not. He deserved a better way to go out than Burt Reynolds jokes, a hackneyed line, almost but not quite ever being the hero (see Jack arriving with the keys just before Frank kicks out the door), and not getting a real death scene.