Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost: "The Candidate"

Damn Lost, you cold blooded...

A reunion? Drowned.

A redemption? Exploded.

A Burt Reynolds look-a-like? Face full of steel door.

If we once thought that in some way all major important players would escape unscathed, that thought evaporated after this gut punch of an episode. What does it mean to be or have been a candidate? Once again, the MIB sees a way through that loophole, and engineers the deaths of 2 of the 5 "candidates."  We now know some of the spectral limitations placed on Smokey, but more importantly we now understand him to be the villain - hell bent on murdering Jacob's candidates in order to free himself from the confines of the island.

Misty eyed from watching the remaining candidates come to terms with the deaths of their now long-time friends, I thought to myself that their deaths still didn't have the emotional impact I was expecting; instead, I took some solace from this existence of the parallel world. At least in another life, things won't be so bad for Jin, Sun, and Sayid.Even though we still don't technically know what that reality is, the relatively benign drama (compared to the clusterfuck on the island) has served as an emotional counterweight in many ways.

The biggest tragedy, of course, is that Jin never got to be the father to his child after all he has gone through to survive. Like Charlie and Michael before them, the Kwon and Sayid deaths are strikingly in line in terms of how they died. The Kwon's were noble and ultimately good in their intentions and their fate is a tender drowning moment - like Charlie. Sayid was corrupted and a weapon for evil in his last days, and like Micheal the murderer, was rewarded with a violent explosive death. Perhaps this is all purely coincidental, but there seem to be two absolute truths on Lost:
  1. Stay away from underwater heroics.
  2. Stay away from anything that may or may not explode.
 The Candidate: Off Island
  • Alternate Jack seems to be mirroring the development of his on-island self, in that he seems more readily willing to accept on faith the fate-like reality  that almost everyone he meets was on his Oceanic 815 flight and connected. In his original form, Jack would probably chalk it up to coincidence, but in this reality, Jack travels down a rabbit hole in the search for the reason why Locke wouldn't want his spine fixed. Though it may seem like Jack has fallen into his relentless quest to fix, in truth what Jack seeks is to come to an understanding of Locke. In finding the truth of Locke's plane crash, Jack assumes a complete role reversal with Locke, in that he asks John to let go of the pain of losing his father, and have faith that his legs can be healed. 
  • Locke silently refuses Jack's offer that he is candidate, still intent on bearing his condition as punishment for an accident he still can't figure out. There is a number of ironies in Locke's alternate crash. In one world, John's father cripples him - in the other, it is John who cripples his father (and himself). In one world, a plane crash gives back Locke's ability to walk - in the other, it takes it away.
  • Jack seems to have landed on a heater in terms of building a family; he's got a great relationship with his son now, and he has invited his sister to come live with him and be apart of the family. 
The Candidate: On Island
  •  Smokey is one devious mo-faka. Finally revealing his true colors, the MIB orchestrates one hell of a con on the castaways, using his defusing of the rigged plane as a way to build trust so that he could hide the same C4 in Jack's pack to blow away all the castaways in the submarine. Also, can I just point out how awesome it is that the ageless entity trapped on an island can jerry-rig a C4 explosive?  Because of the rule constraining Smokey to not actively killing the castaways, he puts a watch on the bomb to force the castaways to make the choice to  (accidentally) detonate the bomb themselves. 
  • Smokey's plan had to include some way about getting a reluctant Jack (and pack) on the submarine, but coincidentally a sniper hits Kate and forces Jack into doc-mode on the Submarine. I say coincidentally, because the whole Widmore/Smokey feud is now looking increasingly suspect. Jack pointed it out: Widmore had to have known nothing was going to stop Smokey from getting to them (and then was conspicuously absent), and was willing to throw his crew to the proverbial wolf. The X-factor in Widmore's favor was bringing Desmond, but C4ing a plane wasn't going to kill the candidates (whether he knows that or not). 
  • Jack, assuming the role of the former John Locke, tries to implore Sawyer to have faith that the bomb will not kill them, and to trust him. Sawyer, probably still emotionally seething from the last time he trusted Jack and lost Juliette, pulls the plug on the bomb and dooms the Kwons, Sayid and potentially Lupidus.
  • Sayid refers to Jack as going to be "the one," before trotting off with the C4 down the back of the submarine and sacrificing himself so that the castaways can attempt to save themselves. Kind of a bummer about Sayid dying, as I was hoping to learn more about his "condition." I guess we still have Claire for that.
  • Kwon's scene was beautiful and probably the most tragic in all of Lost. Though they live on alternate-world, their is just a profound sense of loss having just been reunited only to have them die. Ji Yeon can now be placed on a list of orphans that can be growing in the near future: Walt is one, and Aaron and lil' Charlie are still at risk of losing their families. Could Lost be intentionally building toward a future reunion on the island of all these children?
  • Not sure if we are supposed to think Lupidus was drowned as well. He takes a steel door to the head and that's the last we see. We usually get obvious death scenes, so with the plane still in play, I would have to guess that he makes it out somehow.
  • Smokey looks on over the water before omniscience hits him that the Sub has sunk, but not every candidate is dead. He declares to Claire that he is going to finish what he has started, but with the rules at play, he's going to have to orchestrate something out the blue for the castaways to kill themselves. The only three living that still bear some protection are Jack, Hurley, and Sawyer - unless of course Kate's crossed out name was part of the con to try and use her life as collateral. If she is indeed not needed by the island, Smokey can still use her to trick Sawyer and Jack into killing each other (while Hurley eats in the corner).
Powerful stuff - don't forget to pour some out for our lost friends: Sayid and the Kwons. 

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