Wednesday, May 19, 2010 815 (or fewer) words: "What They Died For"

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!).


MarieC said...

As ever, Nikki, a very good recap. I also wonder if we've seen the last of Guyliner. And, I thought that look of guilt on Sawyer's face when he and Jack were talking about the submarine explosion was heartbreaking--and so not Sawyer. I'm so used to his brooding and angry look. This is going to be one helluva finale. Even with all the answers we got last night, I still feel like there's a lot of 'splaining to do!

Sarah said...

I know you will understand when I say that my love of this episode is all but eclipsed by the sadness that we only have one more. I love that we got answers! I love the direction we are going! I LOVE the return of badass Ben! But I had to fight to love it. Does it make sense that after all ths time of NOT getting answers, I am almost crying over getting them?

But then again, I am that person who cried through the entire last Harry Potter book because of the finality of it.

I agree with your high points, especially about Ben. I know I have said it before, but just about everyone who has ever been awarded an emmy in his catagory before ought to turn theirs back in. Michael Emerson is equal parts diabolical genius, part off the book rogue, and part broken man in every situation last night. I was in awe.
I dont know where they are going with all of this, but I am so glad I am along for the ride.


@ Marie: Thank you! :) I've been doing more thinking about Richard. Here is what we know for certain (because we saw it happen):

* Smokey seemed to suck Alpert up
* Ben had a horrified look on his face when he saw what happened

We did NOT see any of the carnage we normally see after Smokey's killed someone (ie the body of 815's pilot, the arms of dead Frenchmen). We also saw Ben then follow Smokey and "help" him (I believe this was manipulative and that if it was "helping" at all, it's for Ben's own interests--which I think are seeking revenge on Smokey, who had deceived him for so long). We also did not see FLocke/Smokey say that he had hurt Richard.

So I'm calling it: Richard's not dead (maybe just, like, blown into a tree or something, and/or injured?). If he was dead, we'd have seen it. Plus, Jacob said Richard couldn't die--and doesn't Smokey have to follow Jacob's rules? And I would think that if Richard was REALLY dead, they wouldn't have just let him die without a few relevant final words--he's too important of a character to have such a seemingly meaningless death.

Yes, they still have lots of 'splaining to do--but after last night I feel like we're going to get some satisfying answers. :)


@ Sarah: I, too, am sad this show will be coming to an end. :( But I am kind of excited that from here on out, I'll get more than 3 hours of sleep on Tuesday nights (or, more accurately, Wednesday mornings). And I'm excited to soon be able to analyze the show in its entirety. I'm going to go back and watch this thing from start to finish...*several* times. :)

I love the return of badass Ben, too. Michael Emerson is so amazingly kickass. His scenes were absolutely stunning last night, and I can't wait to see how his story is wrapped up in the finale!

Rob said...

I am bracing myself for a serious let down Sunday. There simply is no way I can see this all wrapping up in one more episode and leaving me feeling entirely satisfied. We'll see...


I know they may not answer every one of our questions (and I think we each have, like, a million!)...but after seeing last night's episode, my faith has been restored and I feel like they're going to tie it all up in a satisfying way. Here's hoping my optimism and I are right. ;) And I hope you are not too disappointed by the finale!

April said...

I'm not used to being all the way down here on these posts. Crazy day - training a new person. No time for Lost related goofing off.

I just don't know where to begin. This episode was brilliant. BRILLIANT.

I don't hate Kate but there have been times that I wanted to punch her for being such an adolescent and I agree that she was fantastic last night. I really hope we have seen the last of that damn love triangle. I think her story could have been a lot of things if they didn't waste so much of it on Sawyer-no Jack-no Sawyer- wait, no, Jack - week in and out.

If I have any gripes at all about last night's episode it's that Jack stepped up a bit too quickly to volunteer for the job. I was half expecting some conversation about it but he just jumped in and took the job. Then again, that's pretty much in character. So my gripe isn't with the writing, it's that Jack is still the fixer-upper. Nothing has changed.

My new favorite Lost quote ever: "And I thought that guy had a God complex before".
Ha! Sawyer, I could kiss you and not just because you look great shirtless.

One final thought- OMG SUNDAY!

michael said...

Desmond has a special resistance to electromagnetism. The Light is electromagnetic energy, and possibly more. What happens if Desmond is thrown down the waterfall? I'm thinking very bad things.

I do think Widmore was there because of Jacob, because Jacob said someone was coming to the Island and it seemed to be a good thing. I wonder what Plan A was, though? I'd say whatever it was, it pretty much got blown to Hell and gone last night.

And I agree, Richard isn't dead yet. I thought Smokey just hit him like a hammer and sent him flying, but it was too fast for me.

I personally hope that a large portion of the Finale centers on Desmond, because during his crossover episode, he seemed to learn a lot more about what was really going on than any of us, and both Island and Sideways Desmond are in on it.

This is gonna be big.

Oh, and for the record, I still think that the final scene is going to be Jack and John playing backgammon on the beach.


@ April: Lost-related things are not "goofing off"--they are serious business! LOL.

I agree--absolutely brilliant!

My prediction? Jack's the candidate...for now. I don't think he's gonna stay the candidate, though. And my money's on Hurley for that job.

Re: Sawyer...I totally just boguht the latest issue of Men's Health--despite the fact that I am NOT a man--because Josh Holloway is on the cover. I'm giving the magazine to my dad...but swiping the cover before I give it to him. ;)


@ Michael: Yeah, I don't think it would be good if Desmond gets thrown down the waterfall. Not good at all. (Is it bad enough to, perhaps, sink an Island...?)

Ahhh...I'd always interpreted Jacob's "they're coming" as relating to Ilana & co. I can see how it would relate to Widmore, though...

I kind of WANT Richard to die--perhaps he can be with Isabella then since he has spent so long trying to redeem himself--but I don't want him to die like THAT.

I love this all-knowing Desmond! I, too, hope we see much more of him in the finale.

I like your theory, but I'm gonna revise it a bit. I think it's gonna be John playing backgammon on the beach...with Hurley.

michael said...

I thought Hurley for a while, but right after Jack and Jacob left the fire he said, "I'm just glad it isn't me." I don't think anyone can be the candidate who doesn't want to be the candidate. It will take something pretty big (no pun intended) to change his mind.


I just have a feeling something big WILL change Hurley's mind. Dude's been built up as a leader all season now, and I strongly feel like it's for a reason. :)