Lost, "What They Died For": now you're like me

Quick Take: Lost, "What They Died For"
It's weird to suddenly start getting big answers, isn't it?

Review: Quick Take: Lost, "What They Died For"
(S0616) Just when it seemed like there would be plot holes miles wide until the end of time (or until the island moved, whichever came first), Lost has done a surprising and competent job of explaining a lot during the latter half of this final season.

As a card carrying member of the Lost Apologist League (you know, the LAL lads down the pub), I honestly didn't care all that much. Even on the not-that-great weeks (Jin and Sun, I'm clinking this pint for you, kids), Lost has always worked as pure bizarre-mystery adventure meets fascinating character study. And when it does actually manage to pull its unwieldy plot strands together, it operates on a level few shows have rarely attempted to shoot for, let alone achieve.

And now, as we hurtle toward the end, long time Losties are being rewarded for sticking around through six long seasons (can you remember a pre-Lost television universe?). When Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) sat most of the remaining survivors of Oceanic 815 down by a camp fire (with his ashes burning away), it was finally time to dispense with riddles and mystic allusions and cliffhangers off cliffs of logic. The backgrounder we got last week on "Across the Sea" gave us a brief history of Jacob's ascendency to protector of the island and the smoke monster's path to becoming, well, smokey. That was helpful cutting to the chase in Jacob's urgent need to have one of the gang take over that mantel before the fire ran out. The Candidate, it seemed, and the creepy cave wall full of names written in chalk (Jacob didn't like using a pad and pencil, I guess, let alone a net book), were simply a means for Jacob to try to choose his ideal successor.

More importantly, perhaps, was that we learned why everyone was brought to the island in the first place: they are people who didn't have a lot going on, didn't have a lot to live for, and therefore could afford to be brought to the island for an all expenses trip into madness, adventure, and getting clonked on the head a good little bit. There are oodles of remaining questions, of course, and probably some will never be answered (Hurley's lucky numbers, why The Others couldn't give birth and were obsessed with young Walt, and larger questions such as what the island really is, why Not Locke/Smokey can't leave, etc.!), but I'd gather we're going to get quite a treasure chest of action and story time both in the series finale.

There was a time when we were sort of being set up for a final confrontation between Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) and Charles Widmore (Alan Dale), but I like very much that things have come round to a strange and ironic confrontation between Jack (Matthew Fox), who now literally represents the island as its protector, and Not Locke/Smokey (Terry O'Quinn, pulling double duty). Linus v. Widmore was closed out very succinctly with Linus blowing Widmore away after whispering a few sweet not nothing secrets into Not Locke's ear. "He doesn't get to save his daughter," Ben says, and we're reminded that Widmore did indeed kill Ben's daughter and that, lest we forget, Ben is at core a guy you don't want to get on the wrong side of.

Interestingly, this was a week when things on the island and the main storyline started to make a lot more sense than what's going on the alternate reality storyline. I'd wager that we'll find out a lot more about Desmond's (Henry Ian Cusick) "special" role between the two roles and what he's arranging for the likes of Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), and company. An alt reality trip to the island, maybe?

I have only the vaguest idea of what will go down in the extended series finale. But I do know this: an exceptionally strong sixth season cements Lost as one of the best shows in the history of television.

More thoughts on "What They Died For":

  • "I'll tell you why I chose them, and why I chose you." – Jacob
  • "I think you're mistaking coincidence for fate." – Jack
  • "I brought all of you here because I made a mistake." – Jacob
  • "You were all flawed. I chose you because you were like me. I chose you because you needed this place more than it needed you." – Jacob
  • "It was just a line of chalk in a cave. The job is yours if you want it, Kate." – Jacob
  • "This is what I'm here to do." – Jack
  • "We are going to a concert." – Desmond to Kate
  • "I'm gonna destroy the island." – Not Locke/Smoke Monster… using an "alive" Desmond, Widmore's "fail safe"

  • Recap: Quick Take: Lost, "What They Died For"
    WHOOOSH to Jack's office at the hospital. Locke knocks and rolls in, asks if Jack has a minute. He lists how many times they've crossed paths -- from their first meeting at the airport to Jack performing his emergency surgery out of all the doctors in LA. Jack even wanted to fix him but Locke didn't want to be fixed. Then today the man who ran him down was at his school again... not to hurt him but to help him "let go." And that's exactly what Jack said to Locke. So maybe all of this was happening for a reason. More at ABC.Maybe

    Video: Quick Take: Lost, "What They Died For"
    Check out the penultimate chapter of the Lost epic in full from Hulu, while available:

    From Around the Web: Quick Take: Lost, "What They Died For"

  • Alan Sepinwall: And now we see that the writers have saved the explanation of the sideways universe for the finale. Even with all that extra time to play with, that seems like an awful lot to squeeze into the finale. But even though Darlton are apparently taunting me about closing the time-travel loop with the outrigger shoot-out, I still find myself oddly trusting that they know what they're doing with this finale. 
  • TV.com: I'm at peace with this. Jacob manipulated everyone to go back to the island, but it still made sense because these people weren't happy outside of the island anyway. How very interesting that Kate's name was crossed out because she "became a mother" and finally had some sort of purpose outside the island.
  • Celebritology: I think ultimately, eventually, though, this whole thing comes down to Jack and Locke. That conflict has always been the central one, and I can't imagine it won't be in the finale. x him. incidence for fate. Locke smiles and says he's ready to get out of the wheelchair.
  • By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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    5 Comments
    On: Friday, May 21, 2010
    JP said:

    I was expecting a little more drama and tension over who would take over Jacob's job. Jack was the obvious choice, but that was too easy.

    And I really hope some of those remaining questions you mentioned get answered before it's all said and done. I know it's probably asking a little too much at this point, but something just wouldn't sit right with me if they weren't explained.

    Here's a link to David Letterman's Top Ten list of spoilers for the finale. A character from the show makes a nice cameo.

    http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/video/?pid=TlJNZ_pHyV203E7orCS_qXtxhydxDEFm&vs=Default&play=true

    On: Friday, May 21, 2010
    JP said:

    P.S. Diggin' the site! Keep up the good work!

    On: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:
    Man, I'm still recovering from the finale, sorry about delay in responding to this ! Great point about Jack being the "easy" choice, which was actually half-jokingly brought up by Smokey in the finale. As for the remaining questions... well, I'll leave it up to you whether the questions you wanted answered were. And thanks!
    On: Tuesday, July 6, 2010
    Fd said:

    Jacob's quote is written wrong and should be this:  I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much AS IT NEEDED you.

    On: Thursday, July 8, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:
    Thanks for the correction Fd, good call !
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