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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lost 6x16: What They Died For

Lost's final penultimate episode, "What They Died For" made an effort towards replacing the vagueness and obfuscation of the previous episode with clarity and straightforwardness. Lost's pre-finale episodes have a history of, if not downloading significant mythological answers, at least making clear the final plot points of the season. While the answers here weren't multitudinous, they were, at least, comparatively straightforward, and there's a clear(er) sense of where all the characters are at and what they hope to accomplish heading into the finale.

Jack has officially been anointed Jacob's successor, and is set to lead the charge against killing FLocke and saving all existence. FLocke, meanwhile, with a potential wild card in the back-to-scheming Ben at his side, has said "screw it" to the whole "kill Jacob's potential successor plan" and has decided to use Desmond to help him destroy the island once and for all, perverting the fail safe it was revealed Jacob intended Desmond to be.  

The big remaining mystery, plot-wise, is the sideways universe. After seeing the momentum of its story stall a bit in "The Candidate", this episode has Desmond on the move once more, bringing together the disparate 815ers with a slick and conniving hand (and a little help from Hurley). Everything seems to be building to some kind of culmination at the museum's benefit concert. What that culmination is, remains shrouded in mystery. The island events, taken on their own, seem to be pointing to the "epilogue" theory of the sideways world, in which that universe is a result either of FLocke succeeding in destroying the island, or a result of a Desmond-initiated failsafe in which the characters are shunted away from FLocke. But Desmond taking an active role in the sideways world, working towards an unknown end, seems to suggest that plot will play a role more active than a mere epilogue in the show's final endgame.  

Stuff Worth Mentioning
The episode began as a character's eye opened for the first time in a long time.

Sideways Jack, Claire and David were eating Super Bran cereal for breakfast. And we've finally seen Jack unclench this season. I'm just sayin'...


The scene of Jack stitching up Kate was reminiscent of (and a reverse of) their scene together in the pilot.

I liked how quiet the discussion between Sawyer and Jack regarding Sawyer role in the sub's destruction was. It's like Sawyer is filled with so much guilt and grief he can't even get angry at himself about it.

Richard buried Alex. That was nice of him.

Ben got a Sideways mirror gaze moment. Also, I love that the event that triggered Sideways Ben's memories of the other universe was getting repeatedly punched in the face.

Anna Lucia and Rousseau make their Sideways debuts. Rousseau was a pleasant surprise; I'd heard the producers tried and failed to bring the actress back this season.


“He doesn’t get to save his daughter.” That...was pretty awesome. Still would have liked more from Widmore, and the whole Widmore/Ben conflict, though.


The line “don’t mistake coincidence for fate” was first said to Locke by Mr. Eko in season two's "What Kate Did", when he gave Locke the spliced out bit of orientation film.

I'm not sure what all the business about the ashes and Jacob being around until the fire went out was all about it. At this point, I'm just muttering a bit, then rolling with it.  

When Jacob asked everyone to sit around the fire while he explained why they died, and it cut to commercial, I had no doubt in my mind that when we came back from commercial, the conversation would be over and we'd never find out what was said. I was seriously ready to chuck my remote at the TV. I'm glad I was wrong.

I'm hoping that Daniel and Eloise will be at the museum concert. Mainly because I like Daniel, and I'd like to know how the hell Eloise seems to know everything.

Interesting that Desmond was Jacob's fail safe. It suggests that Jacob's rules don't apply to Desmond, not just the rules of space/time. And it was, in part, the turning of the fail safe key that made Desmond special. 

Questions Answered:
The Man in Black was transformed into Smokey; he did not release an entity which then took his form. 

Widmore was working for Jacob since returning to the island. He was visited by Jacob and made to see the error of his ways. He brought Desmond back to the island specifically because of his immunity to the effects of electromagnetism, and because Jacob intended Desmond to be his ace in the hole, his fail safe. 

Jacob's chose the candidates because: “You were all flawed. I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.”

Kate was crossed off the list when she became a mother (presumably, Claire got crossed off for the same reason). I also took that to mean candidates can get crossed off for a variety of reasons, there's no universal "deal breaker".

The names in the cave were Jacob's, not Smokey's, after all. 

Jack is the candidate who replaces Jacob.


Smokey doesn't smoke his way through the jungle because walking makes him feel human.

Questions Asked:
What's the deal with Jack's red neck gash? That's the second time it's been pointed out.


Why did Desmond want Jack to think his father's body has been found? Jack's already going to the museum concert; does Desmond not know that? I frankly figured the whole "Sideways Christian's body is missing" plot was done with, and was never meant to be anything more than an excuse to get Jack and Locke together in "LA X", but now it's been brought up again.

Why does it seem so much harder to get Sideways Locke to wake up and see the other universe?

So...was that the end of Richard?I really hope not, only because, instead of mourning him, we're wondering if he's dead or not (something "Heroes" did way too often, and Lost is already turning into "Heroes" far too much for my liking).


Why did Ben give Miles a radio?Is Miles just huffing it through the jungle right now?

Where's Claire at?

Don't "the rules" mean Ben can't kill Widmore? Or does Ben just not give a flying toss about the rules anymore (that's my take on it, I guess)?

Why did Jacob appear to Hurley first as lil' Jacob, snatch the ashes, then show up as -- aw, hell, like we're ever going to get an answer to something like that....

Is Ben truly allied with Smokey now, or he is just playing him?

How will all this "Desmond is the fail safe/I'm going to use him to destroy the island" business going to play out? Who helped Desmond out of the well?

Next Week (aka Sunday): The End
We come to the end of Lost with "The End".

If you've been living in a cave on Mars with your fingers in your ears, the two and a half hour final episode will air at eight central on Sunday, preceded by a two hour retrospective/recap starting at six, and followed by a special "Aloha Lost" Jimmy Kimmiel Live episode, in which tons of the cast will appear and Darlton, in a pre-filmed segment, will make an appearance.

12 comments:

  1. Great writeup, Teebore! I was kinda let-down by the sudden death of Charles too. But it was awesome when Ben said “He doesn’t get to save his daughter.” And Zoe - Ha! I was startled and then was like "That's our boy, Noname!"
    I hope Eloise doesn't get a quick end! I love her, the crazy broad.
    What is going on with Ben? I thought he was 'good' now - why'd he team up with MiB?

    Don't "the rules" mean Ben can't kill Widmore? Or does Ben just not give a flying toss about the rules anymore (that's my take on it, I guess)? I must have missed that...when did they say Ben can't kill Widmore?

    obfuscation and multitudinous - Look at the Big Brain on Brad* (Teebore)! Love. It.

    *Remember that scene?

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  2. But it was awesome when Ben said “He doesn’t get to save his daughter.”

    It's one of those scenes where, in context, I'm sputtering "wait, but, what about, I mean, didn't...?" and it just leaves me frustrated we didn't learn more.

    But out of context, it was awesome, just for the way Emerson played it.

    I hope Eloise doesn't get a quick end! I love her, the crazy broad.

    I'm desperately hoping for an Eloise appearance in the finale and some explanation as to how she knows so damn much. But I'm not holding my breath.

    What is going on with Ben? I thought he was 'good' now - why'd he team up with MiB?

    Personally, I think he's just playing along, realizing that he can't fight Smokey so he may as well join him for the sake of survival. I figure he's gotta be scheming something, it is Ben, after all, and he's good at glomming on to the clear powerhouse and waiting for his opening.

    Besides, I can't see Ben helping
    Smokey destroy the island when the island is what Smokey promised him he could have in the first place.

    I must have missed that...when did they say Ben can't kill Widmore?

    During Ben and Widmore's awesome bedside chat in "Shape of Things To Come", in which Ben yelled at Widmore for changing the rules and killing Alex, it was heavily insinuated that the two were governed by some kind of rules that prevented Ben from just popping Widmore right then and there. Hence, since Ben couldn't kill Widmore, Ben was going to go after Widmore's daughter to makeup for Alex's death.

    Look at the Big Brain on Brad* (Teebore)! Love. It.

    What's sad is that I really talk that way. Sometimes Mrs. Teebore looks at me and says "just talk like a normal person".

    *Remember that scene?

    I do indeed. I could also go for a tasty burger...

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  3. I've given up on asking questions. I'm just riding this last hill with my eyes closed and will be glad when it's over. Then I'm going to bitch and moan because I wsnt more.

    I've already told Sam to not even try and call me or come over on Sunday. I may also get a cake and some booze to drown my sorrows and celebrate the end.

    I cannot wait to see Daniel again. And I was thinking Miles got Desmond but then I realized that group didn't know where he was.

    I think Ben's faking it otherwise that was an awful big switch. I don't think he has a plan yet though and is just winging it and biding his time. And why would Smokey just all of a sudden trust him? Unless he knows Ben's faking and doesn't care?

    damnit! I didn't mean to speculate and here I am, ranting!

    Curse you Lost!!

    Again, awesome sauceage write up.

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  4. hannah - awesome sausage?

    i liked this episode, probably because i really disliked the last one. I wish the finale wasn't on so late, it's a work night for people and i like to be in bed at 9:30, not 11

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  5. Falen- It's my new phrase. You like?

    And jeez, old lady...take a nap the next day! :D

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  6. Ben BETTER be faking it and just going with things to survive. I will be ever so pissed if he's switched back to evil Ben after spending all that time trying to find redemption.
    I really like sideways Ben and Locke, and how they're friends. And when sideways Ben was told that he was like Alex's father and he cried

    Much better episode than last week.

    On another note, for some crazy reason our parents are convinced that Jack WON'T inherit the island. That he'll die and someone else will have to take his place. Which we pointed out couldn't possibly happen once Jacob's dead. Crazy parents- where do they get this stuff?

    Palindrome- are you sure you should be alone at a time like this? :-)

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  7. @ Falen- God i didn't even realize it goes so late!
    ugh- that's gonna be a craptastic way to start back to work after vacay. On my 10 hour day to boot.
    booourns!

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  8. Anne- As ugly as I cried when Sun and Jin died, yes. It's best if I'm alone to sob loudly and let Barry White blow out some tunes.

    Again, take naps, old ladies!

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  9. @Palindrome: Thanks! I like "awesome sausage".

    I cannot wait to see Daniel again. And I was thinking Miles got Desmond but then I realized that group didn't know where he was.

    That assumes we see Daniel again. I hope so, but you never know...

    I feel like Miles has gotta do SOMETHING yet, right? I mean, there's a reason they had Ben give him a walkie-talkie? Or am I just over thinking and we'll never see Miles again and we can just imagine whatever ending we want for him, because, apparently, that's the most awesome thing ever?

    (Sorry, I read snippets of Darlton's Live Lost Q&A from last night and it's made me extra snarky again).

    @Falen: i liked this episode, probably because i really disliked the last one.

    Yeah, I didn't HATE the last ep, but I definitely liked this one better. At least the stuff they gave us was clearer. I still have some issues with it, but they're more overall narrative issues this episode brought to the forefront (like ending the Ben/Widmore story without any further elaboration, or how, even though we now know Smokey wants to destroy the island, we still don't know why his leaving it would be so bad, and with his goal changed, we probably never will, etc.).

    I wish the finale wasn't on so late, it's a work night for people and i like to be in bed at 9:30, not 11

    You should have scheduled your vacation for NEXT week.

    Don't you work from home? Can't you just show up a little later? ;)

    Man, if I worked from home, I would nap the HELL out my lunch break every day...

    @Anne: I will be ever so pissed if he's switched back to evil Ben after spending all that time trying to find redemption.

    Yeah, I'm hoping he's just playing along too. If for no other reason that a sudden heel turn just seems random and plot-convenient this late in the game.

    On another note, for some crazy reason our parents are convinced that Jack WON'T inherit the island. That he'll die and someone else will have to take his place.

    I don't think it's that crazy a notion; I've seen it suggested elsewhere (there's been some discussion of whether Hurley's "glad it wasn't me" was meant to be humorous or foreshadowing).

    I mean, theoretically, Jack could turn around right now, mutter over some creek water and have Sawyer drink it, passing on stewardship of the island to him. And assuming he now knows how to hang out as a ghost after he dies, even if he died, he could come back and appoint someone just like Jacob did.

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  10. How can the the "sideways" (or alternate — my theory, as you know, is altered) universe be an epilogue if Island Desmond's consciousness connected with it in "Across the Sea"?

    Still would have liked more from Widmore, and the whole Widmore/Ben conflict, though.

    I'm all for a sudden, shocking turn of events... when appropriate. The death of Charles Widmore, if he did indeed die, may have been cathartic for Ben fans and Widmore haters, but I don't think it was narratively satisfying.

    I'm not sure what all the business about the ashes and Jacob being around until the fire went out was all about it.

    Yeah. "We can get more ashes from that foot thing you lived in if you need more time, dude."

    I had no doubt in my mind that when we came back from commercial, the conversation would be over and we'd never find out what was said. I was seriously ready to chuck my remote at the TV. I'm glad I was wrong.

    Same here!

    I'm hoping that Daniel and Eloise will be at the museum concert. Mainly because I like Daniel, and I'd like to know how the hell Eloise seems to know everything.

    Ditto!

    I frankly figured the whole "Sideways Christian's body is missing" plot was done with, and was never meant to be anything more than an excuse to get Jack and Locke together in "LA X", but now it's been brought up again.

    I'm with you on it not making sense for Desmond to fake the discovery of Christian's body, as I pointed out at Nikki's, but I've been figuring that the absence of the body in the AU would turn out to be key — all the more, the longer it's been missing. So I think reminding viewers of this plot point was intentional; it's just that the way it was brought up seems to ham-handed. I expect Christian(s) to play a major role in the finale, without having looked a call sheet or any such thing.

    Why did Ben give Miles a radio?

    I wondered if the radios were wired to give off small EM pulses that could stagger Smokey for a brief time. How Ben would know this, I have no idea, unless it's a tactic that dates back to his Others days with Widmore, but then you'd think that Smokey would know about it. Smokey did smash the one Zoe gave him at his camp pretty fast, but the reason he gave was, I think, a homing beacon, and again if he suspected that there was a threat to him attached to the walkies then he wouldn't let Ben have one even if he really did trust him.

    Don't "the rules" mean Ben can't kill Widmore? Or does Ben just not give a flying toss about the rules anymore (that's my take on it, I guess)?

    I kind-of like the theory that Ben can't kill Widmore, and Ben knows it, but Smokey doesn't, so shooting him was a tactic he employed gleefully to keep wounded but alive Widmore in the game (so to speak).

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  11. Man, if I worked from home, I would nap the HELL out my lunch break every day...

    So when would you eat lunch?

    VW: crogi — Prehistoric version of Queen Elizabeth's beloved dogs.

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  12. @Blam: Yeah. "We can get more ashes from that foot thing you lived in if you need more time, dude."

    Haha! I love it.

    So when would you eat lunch?

    At my desk, while working, the way I do it now. ;)

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