You'd think I'd complain about the dangling preposition in this episode's title, but no--I'm entirely too focused on how freakin' great this episode was to care about one silly little preposition. (I know, some grammarphile I am, right?)
This episode really renewed my faith in Lost, making me believe that we're gonna get a damn good finale on Sunday night. It gave us a sense of direction and the beginning of a sense of closure. It gave us humor and suspense. It gave us things to think about in the days leading up to Sunday--but not so many things that we're like, "Oh no, not again with the questions!"
Some high points of this episode:
* Ben and Rousseau. Holy shit, Michael Emerson is just so good. So good. He truly steals the show, and tonight was no exception. While I thought he was strong in every scene he was in, the one with him and Rousseau in Rousseau's house rendered me speechless. The look on his face...just wow. Too often we've seen Ben "I always have a plan" Linus play it cool, but watching his face as he realized what he missed/needed/wanted in his life ("You're the closest thing to a father she's ever had")...that was priceless.
* Pure comedy gold. There were some brilliant one-liners in this episode. My personal favorite? "I lived in these houses 30 years ago--otherwise known as last week," Miles said to Ben. Love it! Also loved "We insist--even if we have to kidnap you," a smiling Rousseau said to Ben as she brought him to her and Alex's home for dinner (a meal that we were left feeling would be the first of many, many more).
* The Sawyer/Jack scene where Sawyer indicated he felt responsible for Sun's, Jin's, and Sayid's deaths--and Jack was the bigger man and didn't blame Sawyer but instead blamed FLocke. (Back in season 1, those two would have blamed each other for anything and everything. Not so anymore.)
* Any scene with Desmond in it. Not only do I find Sideways Desmond to be a seriously awesome character, I love how he's the one bringing everyone together. Remember that fusion concert mentioned in "Happily Ever After"? It's so obvious that there's going to be a massive gathering of Losties at that concert (due to Desmond bringing everyone together)...and I'm predicting a huuuuuuuuge "OMGWTF we all know one another" moment (or would that be a "you all everybody" moment...?). Like some gigantic memory-meld thing. Which will affect the Island World...somehow...right? I don't know how, but I'm betting that it will.
* Mirror images. Widmore invading Ben's house this time--a reversal of Ben sneaking into Widmore's bedroom at the end of season 4. Jack stitching up Kate's shoulder this time--instead of Kate stitching up Jack like in the very first episode. Sawyer and Kate talking through jail cell bars that reminded us of when Sawyer and Kate talked to one another through cages when they were captured by the Others. We're seeing a lot of the same patterns with slightly different twists. We're seeing a lot of cycles--not exact replicas of events or conversations that have happened before, but the nuances of such events/conversations are being evoked. While watching the show, it's almost like we, the viewers, are experiencing exactly what the Losties are feeling: we sense something familiar, an odd sensation of deja vu, but can't exactly place our fingers on it (although we might if, say, Desmond showed up and punched us in the head a few times, trying to make us "let go").
* On-Island Kate. Everyone hates Kate--well, everyone but me. And everyone usually hates her for seeming flaky and indecisive (I disagree with these assessments, but I realize that's what most people seem to view her as being). Tonight I didn't feel that was the case at all. She was appropriately broken up about the other Losties' deaths--particularly about Sun and Jin. For those who claim that Kate is selfish, I felt like she wasn't at all selfish tonight as she made it clear she wanted answers from Jacob as to why these people had to die. I also like that she was still considered a candidate, and that Jacob had only stopped considering her one because she had become a mother. Is this perhaps related to why babies can't be born on the Island? Because he doesn't want mothers to be candidates due to his own mother (and fake-mother) issues...?
* Jacob's campfire conversation. We finally got some answers! We learned that these particular people were brought to the Island because they were flawed--"I chose you because you were like me...all alone...looking for something you couldn't find out there." Love it. I was completely satisfied with this explanation. I also liked that Jacob presented these four--Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer--with a choice...something that Jacob himself never had. I liked that Jacob took responsibility for creating Smokey. I liked that we got a lot of direction here: Someone needs to protect the Island, and someone(s) need(s) to destroy Smokey. I'm sure this action will be a significant part of the finale.
* The return of badass Ben. Ben seems to recognize that it was often the monster, not Jacob, whom he was dealing with ("[the closet] is where I was told I could summon the monster...before i realized it was the one summoning me"). And now Ben has once again helped out the monster--by bringing FLocke to Widmore, by killing Widmore ("He doesn't get to save his daughter")--although not before Widmore gave FLocke some important info, and by appearing as if he aligned himself with FLocke ("Did you say there were some other people to kill?"). I don't believe that Ben has truly sided with FLocke, though. I believe that Ben's pulling a long con of his own. I believe Ben's going to somehow end up sacrificing himself for the good of the Island--I've always felt that Ben was the Severus Snape of this bunch, and I'm still hanging on to that theory.
* As badass as FLocke was on the Island, in Sideways World we see Locke returning to his Man Of Faith attitude, explaining things to Jack, suggesting that all of this is happening for a reason. Jack, still the Man Of Science in Sidewaysland, doesn't believe him. I wonder if an upcoming concert will sway his opinion on that...
* The demise of Zoe. She was obnoxious. Good riddance. But the death of Widmore still leaves some questions unanswered, namely: Was he a good guy or a bad guy? Or both? Widmore claimed he was back on the Island at Jacob's request. Do you believe him? I'm not certain. remember, Lost is full of unreliable narrators, and I'm of the "Pictures or it didn't happen!!!" mentality on this show. I don't always believe what the characters say, although I do believe what we, the viewers, are shown. We didn't see this scene, so I'm not entirely willing to believe that it happened...
* Speaking of "Pictures or it didn't happen!!!": Richard Alpert. Ben looked like he saw something horrible when Smokey, you know, did his thing. But we don't know what that thing was, and 'm hesitant to believe that that's the way they'd end Richard. My prediction--he'll be back. I'm not certain he's dead...and if he is dead, I'm betting we see him in ghost form or hear him as a Whisper...and that he'll help our Losties try to defeat FLocke.
* We have known all along that Desmond is "special," but now we also know that he is a "failsafe." FLocke wants to exploit this--he wants Desmond to destroy the Island. (Hmmm, can Desmond do something to sink the Island like we saw in LAX?) But Desmond seems to have only good intentions from what I can tell. I love his enlightened/all-knowing attitude and his cute little smiles when he's doing something to help the Sideways Losties stay on the right path.
* The Ana Lucia cameo. Nice to see her back and involved in Desmond's grand plan.
Of course, we still have questions. Last we saw Claire on-Island, she was with FLocke. We didn't see her on-Island in this episode...where was she? Who else is thinking Lapidus is gonna pop out at some crucial moment? Guyliner: dead or not? Where did Miles scamper off to? How are the Losties going to destroy FLocke? Will we see characters like Rose/Bernard, Penny, Vincent, and Walt again? Will we find out the importance/significance of the children (Ji Yeon, Aaron, Charlie, Clementine, David)? Will Island World and Sidewaysville collide? Merge together? One will explode and one will keep movin' on? Can Jack protect the light at the heart of the Island? What the hell is Ben up to? What's the deal with all the Egyptian stuff? Are they gonna be using that Ajira plane again? Who lives, who dies--and in what worlds/timelines do they live/die? Is there going to be a happily ever after for anyone?
At least this time, we only have 4 more nights to wait until we have some answers.
What did you think of "What They Died For"? Did you find it satisfying? What questions do you still want to have answers before this crazy show is wrapped up for good? What do you ultimately think will happen to the Island and our castaways? Let's talk about all things Lost-related in the comments!
Also, a couple fun links for you to enjoy:
* This is the funniest Craigslist ad ever. Oh, Jacob, who knew you could use a computer...?
* I find this to be SO true for the most part (although personally I don't agree with #4 and you'll never catch me watching "The Bachelorette" a la point #1...True Blood FTW!).
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