May 19, 2010

What They Died For

Episodes before season finales typically don't disappoint. They are action packed and set everything up for the finale itself. From "Born to Run" in season 1 to "Follow the Leader" last year, these episodes prep the audience for what's to come. Perhaps the best episode before the finale was "Greatest Hits" in season 3, but "What They Died For" has certainly moved into contention.

After the subpar and perhaps poorly timed "Across the Sea," "What They Died For" returned us to the story that's important, and the one that will get resolved on Sunday (Yes, the series finale is Sunday night, not next Tuesday). Team Darlton have always said that this is a character show, even though it includes juicy mysteries, so look for the finale to provide resolution on our characters, not necessarily on the island's many remaining mysteries.

Flash Sideways Story
We still aren't clear on how the flash sideways time line will get resolved or how/if it will converge with the island story, but it certainly has gotten more interesting in recent weeks, all thanks to one Desmond Hume. Desmond somehow has knowledge of both time lines and is working his magic to have the Losties gain that knowledge as well.

After Jack wakes up and notices his neck is bleeding (just like it was on Flight 815), he receives a phone call from "Oceanic Airlines" while he's eating breakfast with his son and Claire (I'd almost forgot that Claire had come to stay with him. I was like, who else is there?). "Oceanic" tells Jack that they've located his father's coffin, but its really Desmond calling. How does Desmond even know that the coffin is missing? Is this some part of the knowledge he has about the island? Is he aware of future events in both time lines, and why even is he calling to tell this to Jack? Is this part of Jack becoming enlightened?

Jack is pleased to hear that they've located the coffin, and he finally sees closure coming with his father. Its clear that his relationship with David has grown over the past few days, and David reminds him of the concert tonight. David's mom (Juliette? Sarah, aka Claire Dunphey on Modern Family? Someone else?) will be there and he asks Jack not to act weird around her. Later, we learn that this concert may be more important.

Next, we see Locke back at school, but who's there to perhaps run him down again? The one and only Desmond Hume. Good thing Dr. Benjamin Linus spots Desmond and attempts to hilariously make a citizens' arrest. Desmond says he's not there to hurt Locke but to help him let go. Does he mean let go of the guilt over his father and let Jack do the surgery (probably the best guess, and likely what leads to Locke being enlightened) or maybe let go of this fake life and remember his island life (but he's dead in that story). Ben wants to know who Desmond is, so Desmond shows him by doing what most people do to Ben Linus, beating him to a pulp. During the beat down, Ben see flashes of Desmond punching him in the other time line.

Locke meets up with Ben in the nurses office, and Ben passes along what Desmond told him, which leads to Locke visiting Dr. Jack Sheppard's office. Locke thinks this is all happening for a reason (typical Locke speak there). He points out everything that happened recently, and Jack tells him not to mistake coincidence with fate, sounding very Eko like. Locke just wants to get out of that chair, so it looks like the surgery will happen soon. Man, Jack's going to be a busy man in the finale. He's got a concert to attend and now a long surgery with Mr. Locke.

In another part of the city, Desmond is working his magic with some more of the Losties, mainly Sayid and Kate. He turns himself in for his hit and run with Locke and gets thrown in the pen by Sawyer. He didn't really do much to jar Sawyer's memories, but he was acting so oddly with Kate and Sayid, they thought he was insane. Perhaps, Kate was the one who was jarring Sawyer's memory because he seemed to consider letting her go, but alas, he didn't and sent them all away to county.

But Desmond has a plan and after getting Kate and Sayid to promise they'll help him, the plan comes into action. The driver stops the paddy wagon, and it turns out to be Ana Lucia, who's getting paid off to let them go by Hurley. Hurley instantly recognizes her, but she doesn't know him. Desmond says that she isn't ready yet (just like Hawking, aka Mrs. Widmore, told Desmond in "Happily Ever After"). How does Desmond know who's ready and who's not and what does being ready actually even mean, especially with Ana Lucia being dead on the other side?

Sayid leaves with Hurley, and Desmond brings Kate with him. He has a little black dress for her, and they're going to a concert ... the same concert that Jack will be at that evening? Remember back in "LA_X" and "What Kate Does" when Kate and Jack shared knowing stares on the plane and outside the airport? Desmond must know that Kate is the key to getting Jack to remember the other side. So far, building a relationship with his son, meeting his sister Claire and the many encounters with John Locke haven't jarred loose the memory of the island, but perhaps another run in with Kate will do the trick.

With Hurley immediately recognizing Ana Lucia, I wonder how much of their island memory is downloaded and how quickly? Did Hurley immediately get all his past memories when he and Libby kissed (if so, then he must realize that Libby died in the other time line) or does he only get select memories? This also becomes relevant with the turn that Dr. Linus' life took in this episode.

Alex invited him over for dinner, and it seems a love connection might be brewing with Ben and Alex's mom, still Danielle Rousseau. If Ben is gaining his island memories back, then he knows why he has such a strong connection to Alex, but he'll also know what he did to Rousseau by stealing baby Alex from her.

We Are Very Close to the End
After we pick up where "The Candidate" left off, the Losties that are left (Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley) make for the well where Desmond is being kept. On their way though, they are intercepted by Jacob. Actually, boy Jacob (the same mystery boy who's been tormenting Fake Locke) stops Hurley and wants the ashes Hurley took from Ilana's things. Hurley chases after the boy and finds Jacob sitting by a fire. Jacob says his ashes are in the fire and that when it burns out, Hurley won't be able to see him again. So is this how the dead are freed on the island, do their ashes need to burn out? Or is that just the case with Jacob? Jacob tells Hurley to get his friends because they're very close to the end. Yep, only 2 1/2 hours left. The candidate needs to be chosen soon. Speaking of...

The Lowdown on Being a Candidate
Once day turns into night (a common occurrence this season), Hurley returns to Jacob with Sawyer, Kate and Jack. We finally get a scene that fans have been waiting for. Our main Losties get to speak with Jacob, and it was awesome.

Hurley is surprised that they can all see Jacob. Kate immediately confronts him about the names on the wall, the names of his potential candidates. Seems like we get confirmation that Jacob wrote the names in the cave (some had speculated that the cave was Man in Black's, while the lighthouse was Jacob's). Kate wants to be sure that Sayid, Sun and Jin (so is it also confirmed that both Kwons were candidates?), didn't die for nothing. Jacob apologizes for their deaths and offers to explain everything -- what they died for, why he chose them all and everything they need to know about protecting the island. But he also lets them know that once the fire burns out, the job belongs to one of them.

Jacob tells them about his mistake, creating the smoke monster. He says that his mistake could result in them and everyone they care about dieing. He tells them about the monster figuring out a way to kill him and that when that happened he needed a replacement. Sawyer confronts him about why he has to be punished for his mistake. And Jacob nails them with the truth. He chose them because they were flawed (Didn't Mikhail tell them they weren't on Jacob's list because they were flawed? I guess The Others had is backwards). He tells them they needed the island as much as it needed them. And there you have it folks, that's how/why the candidates were chosen. They were all alone, looking for something they couldn't find in the real world, so Jacob chose them for a fresh start on the island.

Kate keeps the questions coming (finally the Losties have someone who can provide them answers, and they actually ask him questions). Kate asks him why her name was crossed off (no mention of the #51 though). Jacob says she's crossed off because she became a mother, but in a clear shout out to Lost fans who over analyze everything, Jacob tells her that it's just a line of chalk in a cave, and the job's hers if she wants it. Classic. Reminds me of when team Darlton had to come out and say that sometimes a bracelet is just a bracelet in regards to the fuss that fans made over Naomi's bracelet engraving (being a similar engraving to the one that Elsa had in "The Economist").

Jack Takes Jacob's Place
Jack continues the questioning and wants to know what the job is that Jacob is asking them to do. Jacob tells them all about the light at the center of the island and that they have to protect it from him, do what Jacob couldn't. Jack figures out right away that Jacob wants them to kill Smokey, but he isn't sure if its even possible.

Jacob gives them a choice on who should take his place. He's always been a man of free will, especially since he didn't have a choice. Jack steps up and accepts the position. He says its why he's there, it's what he's supposed to do. Ever since Jack went back on Flight 316, he's been trying to figure out his purpose. He thought it was detonating Jughead, but it's really this, it's really taking Jacob's place.

Jacob brings him for his "initiation." He tells him where the heart of the island is and says that's where Smokey is trying to go. Jack says there's nothing out there, and Jacob tells him now he'll be able to get there. Jacob chants over the water and takes Jack's cup. Once Jack drinks, they are the same, just like when Mother did the ritual with Jacob in "Across the Sea." Jack wants to know how long he'll have to do the job, and Jacob says as long as you can. You're loooking at 2,000 years Mr. Sheppard. You up for it?

Lots of stuff to take away from this scene. So Smokey has been saying he wants to go home and wants to get off the island, but does he really just want to go back to the source, back to the heart of the island? Only the candidates can see the source's location, so once all the candidates are dead, Smokey would be able to find its location. Also, I guess the wine wasn't the important part from Mother's ritual. It didn't matter what liquid they drank. Its the chant that seals the deal. Now I guess the only issue is, how do you kill a smoke monster?

Bad Bad Benry Brown
The other part of the island story finally picked up with Ben, Richard and Miles going back to DHARMAville. Man, it sure did take them a long time to get there. After they passed over Alex's grave (thanks to Miles freaking out about it, and Richard noting that he buried her after Ben left), they make it to Ben's house.

After getting the C-4, they catch Zoe in the house, then Widmore comes in. Finally, we get resolution to the Ben/Widmore conflict. First being reminded of Alex, then seeing Widmore sends Ben back to his old self. His redemption seems to be all for naught.

Once they learn that Locke is on his way, Zoe and Widmore hide in the closet, while Miles runs for it. Ben and Richard go outside to meet the monster. Richard gets impaled by Smokey (Is he dead? Surely the show could confirm if Smokey killed Richard), and Ben just sits patiently on the porch. Locke makes the same offer to Ben as before, that once he leaves, Ben can have the island to himself. Ben rats out where Widmore is hiding and looks to have rejoined the darkside.

Inside the closet, fans got a few things they've been wishing for. First, Locke kills the pointless Zoe and then we get Locke and Widmore's conversation, one free of pylon fences. Locke gets what he wants by telling Charles he'll kill his daughter. Just as Charles is telling Smokey everything, Ben shoots him and says he doesn't get to save his daughter. Ben then asks about the other people that need to be killed.

WOW! Old Ben is back and better than ever. I guess Charles Widmore brings out the worst in Ben. But could all that redemption stuff with him really have been for nothing, or is Ben playing Smokey? Will Ben help the monster to kill the remaining Candidates? What does that mean for Sawyer, Kate and Hurley, since Jack has now taken Jacob's place? Can Smokey kill them, or will Jack be able to make the rules now?

Empty Well
Locke and Ben find the well that Desmond was trapped in (looked deeper this week and was filled with water) but someone has let him out. There's a rope hanging over the side of the well where he climbed out. Who could have let him out? Sayid told Jack he left Desmond in there. Is there anyone else on the island who could have saved him? Cindy and the kids perhaps?

Locke then reveals what Widmore told him, what's Desmond's purpose for being back on the island. Turns out he was a fail safe, Jacob's last resort (parallels to the Swan Hatch fail safe key and donkey wheel. Desmond called the key a measure of last resort, and Ben said the same about turning the Frozen Donkey Wheel). Desmond was the last resort if all the candidates were killed. Since he can withstand electromagnetism, Desmond would be able to withstand going into the heart of the island, I guess. What he would there, I'm not sure, but Locke seems to think he can help him destroy the island.

This is a contradiction from what I mentioned before. My thinking was the Smokey wanted to go home, wanted to go back to the source. But now he wants to destroy the island. Hmm. What does this mean for his promise that Ben can rule the island once he leaves. Many people are speculating what's going to happen at the end of Lost. Since Jacob now has a replacement in Jack, is Man in Black planning his own replacement in the form of Ben? This leave numerous possibilities for the finale. Will the island be destroyed? Can Smokey be killed? Will Smokey get to leave? Will he finally find the source? What are Ben's true motivations now? How does all this tie together? Good thing we'll get a resolution in only a few short days!

Other Tidbits:
Besides Jack noticing in neck wound, Ben also got a mirror shot this week, when he looked at himself in the mirror in the nurses office.

In the sideways time line, when is Desmond going to have time to take Penny on their date or has that already happened?

Widmore admits that he wired the plane with explosives. How did Smokey know about the explosives though? He grabbed the watch before he boarded the plane and went right to the C-4. I guess he had visited it already.

Are we to believe Widmore? Did Jacob really come to see him?

Danielle tells Ben that he's coming over for dinner, even if they have to kidnap him. Interesting choice of words since Ben kidnapped baby Alex on the island.

When Jack drank the water, Jacob said now we are the same (same thing Mother told him in "Across the Sea"). I wonder if Jack had an immediate download of the island backstory and mysteries. Does he immediately become enlightened or will it take him 2,000 years to figure everything out?

Ben said realizes that he thought he was summoning the monster, but the monster was really summoning him. Well, why is Ben back on its side then?

Where's Miles going? Did he stumble upon Desmond and let him out?

Other Recaps and Analysis of "What they Died For:"
Next on Lost: "The End" (Don't forget it airs Sunday, not Tuesday!)

To get ready for the finale, watch the Lost cast say goodbye (don't tear up, its just a TV show):

*Photos from

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