Usually, I have some cool little Lost-related thing to report on and that thing usually appeared online as I finished watching the latest episode. That’s not really the case tonight. There was a t-shirt for the show that you totally should have bought, but that opportunity has now expired. However, there is still time to purchase the latest piece of Lost-inspired artwork from the second round of Damon, Carlton, and a Polar Bear. I think it’s the best one so far and while this season has received mixed reactions, I believe this piece captures one of the most memorable moments in the series. There are only 500 and this went on sale this afternoon. If you like it, then snap one up before this opportunity expires as well.
And if you still care what I have to say about Lost (and Jacob bless you if you do), hit the jump for my thoughts on the penultimate episode, “What They Died For.”
When in doubt, play to your strengths. After keeping Ben, Richard, and Miles off screen for the last three episodes, the characters made their return. Well…it was really one return: Ben. Miles played the smart cynic and got himself out of harm’s way, Richard was dispatched in a surprisingly (and slightly amusing) nonchalant manner, and that left Mr. Linus. Michael Emerson showed once again he is one of the show’s greatest assets. In the alternate timeline, he’s a sweet, noble, shy person. In the original timeline, he’s continues to be completely fascinating. Over the last two seasons, he’s been stripped down to almost nothing and now, with a borderline-fatalistic attitude, he seemingly resumes his cold, calculating persona we all came to know and love. But—and perhaps this is just what I want for the character—I feel that Ben is calculating against Locke. Ben’s greatest skill is manipulation and the sad ironies of his story is that a) his manipulation failed at the most critical moment when he let Alex die and b) he was manipulated into killing Jacob by Locke. In may not come, but I want to see Ben stop the events he set into motion by murdering the real Locke and then Jacob.
Speaking of Jacob, what I liked most about this episode is that they made it clear that while Jacob may be serving a good cause, he is not a good guy. He’s actually a gigantic prick. It takes a lot of nerve to tell people that their lives were shit anyway and that they needed the island and that everyone who died was an unfortunate casualty in a game they didn’t even know they were playing. But what’s great about the episode, and in particular Mark Pellegrino’s performance, is that the question didn’t come down to whether or not we agree with Jacob’s methods, but whether or not we agree with the revelation of his endgame. Despite the inevitable lingering questions, I was pleased with the answers.
To the surprise of no one, Jack took the job as Jacob’s replacement. It almost felt like he was going to pipe up and take it before Jacob even explained what it was or why their friends died. Kate may have hushed Sawyer when he joked that Jack had his god-complex fulfilled, but Sawyer was absolutely right. And I love that because this is the kind of resolution I want to see: honest choices from these characters. It wasn’t just that Jack had clearly been set up as the replacement for half the season. It was the recognition that Jack constantly fought to have “what it takes” and needed to be the hero who could save everyone even if he didn’t have a plan or his plan outright sucked.
Unfortunately, the alternate timeline continues to be almost too much. The character moments–Ben, Rousseau, and Alex; Jack and Locke–are terrific. But it’s the Desmond stuff that just doesn’t click with me. He really does seem like an insane person and it’s so hard to root for him when the character has such an eerie calm. I think the idea was for calm acceptance mixed with complete confident, but to this point, Cusick hasn’t been selling it for me. What I like in the alternate timeline is seeing real Locke and a good-hearted Ben. But selling this season’s controversial narrative device is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the series finale.
But we’re now at the final episode and I’m still on board. I haven’t liked every episode and I think this season would currently rank as my least favorite, but nothing has turned me off. No DHARMA sharks have jumped. I’m ready for “The End” (which is the actual title of the series finale).