Category Archives: lost
Earlier this week I finished reading Bill Carter’s 2006 book Desperate Networks, a look at the machinations of the the four major U.S. networks (NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox) at the dawn of the new millennium. The book was nearly as captivating as Carter’s recently released The War For Late Night. It also got me thinking about how, now matter how different one’s taste may be from someone else, I think we’d all agree that the best is tv is that which sticks in our minds long after an episode has ended. Keeping that in mind, here are my picks for the 5 most memorable moments in tv for 2010.
1) The End Of Lost:
Love it or hate it, the final episode of Lost got fans talking. It also tied most things up in a beautiful and thoughtful package. Sure, not every question was answered (for most of them, though, check out the Season 6 bonus DVD features), but not everything had to be. The final image, a close up of Matthew Fox’s face, recalls the show’s first moments and reminded me that, while Lost was certainly an ensemble show, at the end of it all, it really was about Jack’s journey.
2) The Final Episode of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien:
7 months of living his dream came to an end in January when Conan O’Brien walked away from the ratings challenged The Tonight Show rather than see it pushed back a half-hour to make room for a Jay Leno show, whose 5 nights a week experiment at 10pm failed miserably. Whether you were on Team Coco or not, it made for fascinating television. Conan’s final thoughts on his last Tonight Show gave all of us words to live by: “nobody in life get’s exactly what they thought they were going to, but if you work really hard and are kind, amazing thing will happen.”
3) Gene Simmons Visits Anne Frank’s Home:
As most of us know, reality shows don’t have much to do with reality, but even when Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels finds Gene, Shannon, Nick and Sophie in set-up situations, I tend to believe their reactions are honest. You’d be hard pressed to argue against that when you see Gene’s reaction during a visit to Anne Frank’s home while in Amsterdam on tour with Kiss. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Gene is genuinely devastated when he sees the face of a woman who could have been his mother and who went through so much horror. It’s a powerful and honest moment.
4) The Walking Dead Premiers on AMC:
If you were looking for proof that The Walking Dead wasn’t going to be a watered down version of the critically acclaimed comic book, the first 5 minutes gave it to you in gore and blood with a head-shot kill to an undead girl carrying a teddy bear. A show about zombies becomes the biggest cable hit of the year – who would have thought it?
5) Gloria’s Accent On Modern Family:
While Modern Family is full of brilliant comedy from all of it’s cast, I think I might choose Sophia Vergara’s Gloria as the funniest character on the show, thanks to her beutifully insane accent. Two words for you – Baby Cheeses!
If you’re anything like me (and if you’re reading this than I think it’s safe to assume we’ve got something in common, whether you’ll admit to it or not), you’ve got DVD’s sitting around your house that still have the plastic wrap on them. I know I do – same with cds as well. That’s what happens when you’re either a) a collector or b) work in the media industry and get handed a lot of free material. If you’re both? Well then, you’re hurting for space I’m guessing. We’ve done a huge cull over the last few months, and I’m happy to say there’s less unopened “things” around my house. In the meantime, I’ve definitely been cutting baclk
The problem with being a collector, that fatal disease that is only a few subway stops short of being a hoarder, is that amassing the collection is as much fun as actually watching or listening to what’s in it. I was reminded of this last week with our American friends Thanksgiving celebrations and the ensuing Black Friday sales that gets the Web into such a frenzy each and every year. I’m as guilty as anyone – not only did I partake in an Amazon.com lightning deal (Lost: The Complete Series is making its way here any day now, thanks to it’s ridiculous half the Canadian retail price offering – now I’ll finally find out what happened with Hurley and Ben!), but I caught myself checking back hourly to see what other goods might be on sale. Thankfully, there wasn’t anything that caught my fancy, but it’s still hard to say no to a lot of of those competitive prices. I considered one purchase a strong restraint.
While I thought my Black Friday was over and done with by 11pm the night of, leave it to one more great deal to suck me in. Earlier in the day I had received an email from Comixology, which is the groundbreaking company that has been managing the major comic book publisher’s iPad apps. Essentially, download the Marvel or DC app (or BOOM or Image ones, for that matter) and you can download optimized comics straight to your iPad or iPhone. The email was basically a blast letting me know that for one day Blackest Night, the massive DC Comics crossover event of the last year, would be on sale, all 79 issues (main series and various ancillary issues) for just 99 cents each. They were calling it Blackest Friday. Of course.
To give you some perspective, to buy the 8 issue Blackest Night deluxe hardcover released a few months ago would cost me in the neighborhood of $30. Now, while the collector in me would enjoy having the series (about various DC characters returning from the dead and doing battle with icons such as Green Lantern and The Flash) on the bookshelf, I have seriously been enjoying reading comics via the Marvel and DC apps. And with this Blackest Friday sale going on, I was going to wind up spending a little over $8 to read the core series. When it came down to it, the decision was pretty much a no brainer. So with a click of a few buttons, Blackest Night was downloading onto my iPad (along with the prologue found in an issue of Green Lantern that featured the origin of series big bad, The Black Hand, and one of the most intense death scenes I’d seen in mainstream comics in years).
I won’t give any sort of in-depth Blackest Night review here, since I’ve only read a few issues so far, though I will tell you that it’s immediately the best DC event comic I’ve read in the last few years, trumping the much ballyhooed and the much more confusing Final Crisis by a mile. What’s even more exciting for me was the brilliance of the sale itself. Obviously the date and name tie-in was brilliant marketing, as was having the entire series available for anyone that wanted to plunk down $79 for 79 issues. And believe me, I did consider it for a few moments and only stopped after some careful consideration and confirmation from Biff Bam Pop!’s JP that I could enjoy the 8 issue mini-series on its own. As someone who isn’t a huge DC fan by any stretch, I’ve definitely been waffling on putting out the money on the hardcover, but by making the splash they did with the Blackest Friday sale, the company managed to get my money and enable me to read the story by legal and official means on my new and preferred method of comic consumption.
Once I finished downloading the series, I checked out the Marvel app to see if they’d come up with any sort of initiative to combat their distinguished competitions brilliant play. Maybe the entire Siege storyline would be on sale? Sadly, it wasn’t to be, which meant that, for at least one dreaded evening, this Marvel zombie had to admit his favourite company had been soundly trumped by the competition.
We’ll see what they do next Black Friday. I’d better start saving.
This column brings us to the end of Ian Rogers’ Lost columns, which he began writing for Biff Bam Pop in the winter of 2009. Having Ian write for this site has been a huge pleasure. Not only were his columns excessively smart and insightful, but over the course of our working together he’s gone from stranger to valued friend. While Ian will continue contributing to Biff Bam Pop, I do want to formally thank him for the stellar work he’s done covering one of fandom’s favourite show. Many thanks, dude. And with that…a final trip to the island.
The season finale of every TV show is controversial, and the “Lost” finale, simply titled “The End,” was no different. Some people liked it, some people loathed it. Some people felt it was a fitting end to the series, others have said they had wasted six years of their lives. So what did I think?
I liked it. I liked it quite a bit. Were all my questions answered? No, but then I didn’t expect them to be. Were all the dangling plot threads resolved? No, but the major ones were, and most of the ones that weren’t didn’t need to be. Ultimately I found “The End” to be a very satisfying conclusion to the show’s six-year run.
Since the beginning, the popularity of “Lost” has been based on two things — the characters and the mysteries. The mysteries have had a tendency of overshadowing the characters — especially in later seasons — to the point where I think some fans would have been happy with a finale featuring nothing but a talking head spouting answers rather than an actual episode of the show. I know that some viewers wanted deeper explanations, but personally I’m glad the writers didn’t go into what they call “midi-chlorian” territory (a Star Wars-geeky way of saying “you explained too much!”).
Looking at Season 6 as a whole, I think there’s a reason why the writers spent the last few episodes answering all of the major questions — what is the island? what is the Smoke Monster? what are the Numbers? who are Adam and Eve? what are the whispers? They did it so that they could use the final episode to focus on the thing that truly matters: the people. The mysteries are great, don’t get me wrong. I love them, and I’ve spent plenty of hours discussing them with my wife and my friends, especially during the interminable period between seasons (thank god I won’t have to go through that again), but for me the show has always been about the characters.
“The End” picks up immediately where the last episode left off. After taking on the mantle of protector of the island, Jack tells Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley that they have to go to the heart of the island and protect it from the Smoke Monster. Smokey/Locke is on his way there, after discovering that someone has freed Desmond from the well. Dog prints on the ground leads him to Rose and Bernard (and Vincent!) who, it turns out, flashed back into the present along with everyone else when the Jughead bomb was detonated in “The Incident.” They broke their one rule — “We don’t get involved” — when they saved Desmond, and it almost ends up getting them killed. Desmond says he’ll go with Locke as long as he leaves Rose and Bernard alone. He agrees, and now everyone is off to the Source.
In the sideways world, Desmond picks up a familiar casket and delivers it to a familiar church. Kate demands to know why she’s here. “No one can tell you why you’re here,” Desmond tells her. Kate asks Desmond what he wants. Desmond says, “I want to leave.”
Back on the island, Richard Alpert is still alive — and aging. He and Miles travel to Hydra Island with the C4 so they can blow up the plane. On the way they find Lapidus, also not dead, who reminds them he’s a pilot and that they don’t need to blow up the plane if they take it before the Smoke Monster shows up. The clock is ticking.
Back in the sideways world, Sun and Jin are the next to get their memories back — courtesy of an ultrasound given by… wait for it… Juliet!
Jack performs surgery on Locke — with startlingly fast results. Locke has feeling in his legs, and manages to wiggle his toes, prompting him to remember the moment when he got his legs back on the island. The rest of his memories follow.
On the island, Jack and Co. face off against Locke. Kate opens fire on him, but it has no effect. “You might want to save your bullets,” Locke tells her. Jack says he can’t stop Locke from going to the heart of the island. In fact, he’s going with him. When they get there, Jack says he’s going to kill him. Locke asks how he’s going to do that. Jack says, “It’s a surprise.”
They travel to the cave seen in “Across the Sea.” Jack and Locke lower Desmond to the bottom. Locke remarks on the similarity between this and the time they opened the hatch. Jack gets off what may be the best comeback in the episode when he tells Smokey, “You’re not John Locke. You disrespect his memory by wearing his face, but you’re nothing like him.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it… Smokey.
As for Desmond, he’s been acting coolly confident ever since Widmore’s electromagnetic experiment on Hydra Island. It turns out he caught a glimpse of the sideways world and now believes that nothing in this world matters, that if he pulls the plug on the Source, he and the others will be taken to a better place. This turns out to be a mistake, but in typical “Lost” fashion, it’s a mistake that was meant to happen. Pulling the cork causes the island to sink, but it also makes the Smoke Monster mortal.
Jack follows Smokey to the cliffs where they face off for the final time. Jack is stabbed in the stomach and the neck (hence the wound in the sideways world) when Kate shows up. There’s no love lost (lost, get it? ha-ha) between me and Kate, but I have to admit she impressed me in the finale. Shooting Smokey, for one (“I saved you a bullet”), and the fact that her memories in the sideways world come back not as a result of her remembering Jack or Sawyer, but rather helping Claire give birth to Aaron.
At the concert, Daniel performs with Driveshaft, Claire sees Charlie, and this causes her to go into labour. It’s a trifecta of returned memories as Kate delivers Aaron, Claire holds Aaron, and Charlie gazes down upon them both. Eloise talks with Desmond about what he has been doing. She asks if he is going to take her son. “Not with me, no,” Desmond says.
On the island, Jack, Hurley, and Ben race to reactivate the Source before the island sinks, while Kate and Sawyer run to catch the plane. Jack realizes his destiny is to fix one more thing — namely, the island — and passes on the job of protector to Hurley. Hurley doesn’t want it, but agrees to hold the position until Jack comes back.
At the bottom of the cave, Jack replaces the plug, but he doesn’t have Desmond’s tolerance for electromagnetism. Hurley and Ben pull Desmond to safety, while Jack is spit out of the Source in much the same fashion as the Man in Black in “Across the Sea.” Except he isn’t turned into a pillar of black smoke and he isn’t dead. Not yet.
Hurley realizes Jack isn’t coming back and feels the pressure of being the new protector of the island. He doesn’t know what to do. Ben tells him to do what he does best: take care of people. He says they can start with getting Desmond home. Hurley is still doubtful, considering that people can’t leave the island. “That’s how Jacob ran things,” Ben says. “Maybe there’s another way. A better way.” Hurley asks Ben to help him. Ben, surprised, says he would be honoured.
In the sideways world, Sawyer arrives at the hospital in time to see Sun and Jin leaving (“Hello, detective,” Jin says, amused). In search of food, he bumps into Juliet at a vending machine, and suddenly their conversation in “LA X — Part 1,” in the moments before Juliet’s death, makes sense. As their memories come flooding back, Juliet asks Sawyer for a kiss, and he obliges her in what is probably the best of the flash-sideways reunions.
Ben sits outside the church. He apologizes to Locke for killing him. “You were special, and I wasn’t.” Locke forgives him, but he’s still not ready to move on with the others. He has some stuff to work out, and he probably wants to spend a bit more time with Alex (in much the same way Eloise wants to spend time with Daniel). Hurley tells him he was a real good Number Two. Ben responds that Hurley was a great Number One. How long did they work together to protect the island? Hundreds of years? Thousands?
Jack arrives at the concert after everyone is gone. Everyone except for Kate. She tries to help Jack remember, but he continues to resist his memories. They drive to the church where Desmond had Christian Shephard’s body delivered. Kate tells Jack to go in around the back.
Jack enters a chapel and finds his father’s coffin. It’s empty… again. Christian is standing behind him. Jack asks him how he can be here, to which Christian responds, “How are you here?” It turns out the flash-sideways we’ve been seeing all season are glimpses into a world that the Losties made together. A spiritual way-station where the Losties exist in a kind of limbo state until Desmond, one part angel, one part spirit guide, starts waking them up and preparing them to move on. Jack realizes he is dead, and his father comforts him. “Everyone dies some time, kiddo. Some before you, some long after you.” When they died doesn’t matter because, as Christian says, “There is no now, here,” meaning that time is irrelevant in this place.
It seems some viewers are under the impression that when Christian told Jack that he died, he was saying that Jack died on the plane, Oceanic Flight 815, along with everyone else. That would have made for a crappy ending, indeed, but that’s not what happened. If you listen to Christian in the scene, he’s quite clear that the people on the plane, and the things that happened to them on the island, were real. The Losties weren’t ghosts or figments of Jack’s imagination, the island wasn’t hell or purgatory. They all died, yes, but some of them before Jack (Boone, Sayid), some of them long after (Hurley, Ben).
Even as far as deaths go, Jack’s wasn’t too bad. As he stumbles back to the same spot where he woke up in the opening scene of the pilot, he discovers that even though he has lived together, he doesn’t have to die alone. In the sideways world, he enters the nave of the church and reunites with his friends. Christian throws open the doors and the church is filled with a beautiful white light. In the real world, Vincent lies down next to Jack as the Ajira flight cruises by overhead. He smiles, at peace, and we get a close-up of his closing eye. The perfect coda to a truly moving and memorable finale.
I have one final theory to put forth. It has to do with the mechanics of the sideways world itself. Taking a cue from what Ben told Hurley, about using his powers to help people, I believe Hurley is the one who actually created the sideways world. Maybe with the help of Eloise Hawking, who seems to be the only other person in that world who is “aware” from the git-go. I think the Losties may have made the place together, as Christian Shephard said, but I think the force powering the place is Hugo “Hurley” Reyes.
So that’s it, folks. The show is over, the island has been saved, the Losties have moved on, and so must we. I will miss the suspense, the mystery, the literary references, Sawyer’s nicknames, the whole damn thing. It had to come to an end, and I feel this was a good one. It wasn’t going to please everyone, but then no ending could. Overall it was a very strong show, entertaining and thought-provoking. There have been some missteps along the way (*cough* *cough* Nikki and Paulo), but I don’t think any journey is made without a few stumbles. Regardless of whatever side you come down on in terms of the finale, I like to think that if the show kept you watching after six seasons, then it must have been something special. It was for me.
I want to thank Andy Burns for inviting me to write about “Lost” on his excellent website, and I want to thank all of you for stopping by to read these articles. Thanks also to those of you who watched the finale with me during the live blogging. It was a great way to celebrate the end of a truly wonderful show.
While Ian Rogers, Biff Bam Pop’s resident Lost expert, will weigh in with his final thoughts on the Lost series finale following his live blog, I figured I’d throw in my two cents while it’s top of mind.
When it comes to the Lost finale, or any finale for that matter, it’s safe to say you were either going to love it or hate it. You can never please everybody. Surf around the net a bit and you’ll see that opinions are firmly in either camp. Those looking for clear and concise answers were disappointed and those who seem to hate the idea of faith and love playing a role in the series seem to have their own issues with the finale.
Me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The finale battle on the Island between good and bad never seemed in doubt, but it was how things would be resolved that was always going to be the question. Hurley stepping into the role of the Island’s protector always seemed to be a given, but his team-up with Ben as his Number 2 was an inspired touch, as was the dynamic duo’s first goal to get Desmond back to his family. The fact that the ageless Richard Alpert had his first grey hair was subtle and smart. And wasn’t it great to see Bernard, Rose, and Vincent one last time? With the impending destruction of the Island, I was worried that they would be lost forever. It’s nice to know they’re probably still there, living out their lives. Until it was time to die and meet up with the rest.
As for the explanation of the flash sideways world, the idea that they’re all dead never bothered or confused me a bit. The notion that all of them were joined together in purgatory before moving on was a theory that had been around for years, and I think it was a tip of the hat to the fans to have that as part of the show. There’s some confusion that the castaways all died on the island, but I think Christian Sheppard gave a pretty clear explanation that everyone gathered in the church had lived their lives through, including those that made it off the island (including Sawyer, Kate, Lapidus, etc). I find it a little hard to understand why some can’t accept this, with its focus on love and forgiveness and repentance, as a viable ending, since it was hopeful and inclusive, regardless of the religious connotations.
While Lost was clearly the story of many, the journey really belonged to Matthew Fox’s Jack, who at the end of the day was able to accomplish the goal he set out to do at the beginning of the series and bury his father. I thought it was a profoundly moving moment when it became clear that the love that finally enabled Jack to let go was that between father and son.
Maybe all the answers fans were looking for didn’t come. But as someone who learned long ago to accept that a series finale doesn’t always give you closure (I’m looking at you, Twin Peaks), I felt totally fulfilled with the ending of Lost. It all seemed to happen so quickly, though. Like in the blink of an eye.
We have almost reached the end of “Lost.” In the penultimate episode, “What They Died For,” we learned… well, what they died for. “They” being the Candidates formerly known as Sun, Jin, and Sayid. You might think the writers would take things easy on the remaining cast after thinning the herd, but nope, not with the finale only one episode away.
The deaths were still coming fast and furious in “What They Died For,” starting with Richard Alpert, who was dismissed almost immediately with a bitchslap from ol’ Smokey. It’s hard to believe they would dispatch Richard so quickly, and with so little fanfare. Like Lapidus, there was no establishing shot of a body, so I have to wonder if he’s still alive. If he is, then I’m sure he’ll live just long enough to give Jack and Co. some vital information.
Was there anyone out there who didn’t expect Ben to give up Widmore? Oh yes, you can hide in my secret room. No way out of there, by the way. Me? Oh, I’ll be right back, I just have to go outside, pick some mangos, so coconuts… oh yeah, and some Smoke Monster!
As for Zoe? Meh. See ya later, new girl. She was creepy, she had potential, but ultimately she was cannon fodder. A high-level lackey, but a lackey nonetheless.
And Widmore? Well, I have to credit my wife on this theory, because it’s hers and it’s a goodie. She thinks that Widmore isn’t really dead, citing the episode in which Ben and Widmore first made mention of “the rules,” and the apparent fact that they can’t kill each other. My wife’s theory is as follows: Ben is still working against the Smoke Monster, but obviously doesn’t want Smokey to know that. Since he doesn’t want Smokey to find out what Widmore was going to use Desmond for, he shot Widmore, knowing that he can’t actually kill the man. This allows him to keep this potentially vital piece of info from Smokey, while still appearing loyal to him at the same time. This is actually quite sound since the idea that Ben is still gunning for Penny Widmore (“He doesn’t get to save his daughter”) doesn’t really wash since Ben already had his chance to kill her and couldn’t do it. It’s much more likely that Ben is pulling his trademark double-cross again, this time against the Smoke Monster.
Speaking of Desmond and his role in the finale, I find it interesting that Widmore said that Des was a failsafe, since that was the name of the mechanism he used to implode the Swan hatch, and made him the time-flashing, electromagnetic guy we all know and love. I wonder what would happen if Desmond entered The Source? Would his vulnerability to electromagnetism turn him into some different kind of entity — one capable of destroying the Smoke Monster?
Jacob makes what may be his last appearance on the show now that his ashes are gone. He tells the remaining Candidates the reason why he brought them to the island was because he made a mistake. That mistake is named Smoke Monster. Sawyer asks why they should be punished for his mistake. “I was doing just fine till you dragged my ass to this damn rock,” he says. Jacob says he didn’t pluck any of them from a happy existence. “You were all flawed,” he says. He chose them because they were like him: alone, and looking for something they couldn’t find. He needs them to protect the island, specifically The Source, from the Smoke Monster. Even more, they need to kill ol’ Smokey. “Is that even possible?” Jack asks. “I hope so,” Jacob says, “because he is certainly going to try to kill you.”
During the course of their conversation, Jacob reveals the reason why Kate’s name was crossed off the list of Candidates. She became a mother. The job’s still hers if she wants it, Jacob says. It was just chalk on a wall. I loved this part of the episode because I’ve been reading all these wild and wacky theories of why Kate’s name was crossed out and not a single one of them was even close. It was like the writers were taking a shot at the obsessed fans and their overly complicated theories.
Jack ends up becoming the new Jacob, but I can’t help but feel there’s more to this than meets the eye. Jack is such an obvious choice — too obvious, I feel. I’m just not buying it. Here’s one of my predictions for the finale: yeah, Jack becomes the new Jacob, but only for a few hours and then he’s killed by someone, Ben maybe, at the behest of the Smoke Monster, because he still needs a proxy to get rid of the new Jacob as he did the old one. Jack may be dead, but he’ll still be around in ghost form, and like Jacob before him, he has to choose a successor. My money is on Kate, if for no other reason than because she would be the most unexpected choice.
It was Locke’s final line of the episode about destroying the island that got me thinking about the purpose of the flash-sideways. His line eerily mirrors the one spoken by the real Locke near the end of the fourth season, when he said they had to move the island. These parallels and the ways in which the writers have played with our perception of time in past (pun intended) got me to thinking.
What if the flash-sideways world, which we’ve been seeing concurrently with the action in the “real” timeline, is actually taking place after the events in the series? What if the thing that Locke does to “destroy” the island results in it sinking? Maybe the Losties succeed in destroy the Smoke Monster, but at the same time The Source goes out. Maybe, like Locke, everyone is just supposed to let go.
In the sideways world, Desmond continues to manipulate the Losties toward some sort of mass awakening, and it looks like it will be taking place at a benefit concert where Jack’s son David will be performing. What will happen once they’re all together is anyone’s guess. Will something catastrophic occur once everyone remembers their lives in the other timeline? Will it cause the sideways world to collapse? Will the worlds merge? There are so many possibilities that I’m not even going to guess. Okay, I will, but you’ll have to tune in here on Sunday night when I’ll be blogging the finale. See you then!
With only a couple of episodes left before the series finale, the “Lost” writers decided to do something completely different with the latest episode, “Across the Sea.” They gave us a show featuring none of the principal cast and took us back in time about two thousand years.
The episode begins abruptly, no “Previously on ‘Lost’,” no close-up of an eye-ball, just a bunch of wreckage floating in the ocean, and then a woman — a very pregnant woman — washing up on shore of a certain island. She finds drinking water… and a woman (Allison Janney) who doesn’t look too happy to see her. The pregnant woman is named Claudia, and no sooner does she introduce herself than she goes into labour.
I must admit to a certain cheekiness in the scene where the babies are delivered. “His name is Jacob,” Claudia says after the arrival of the first one. When the second one popped out, I piped up, “His name is Smoke Monster.” Okay, that part didn’t happen, but it might as well have since the kid didn’t get a name and he isn’t referred to by one for the rest of the episode. I’m guessing this will be one of those mysteries the writers never reveal, leaving us to wonder if the Man in Black is truly Esau, as many people believe.
After the babies are delivered, Allison Janney dispatches Claudia with a rock. Janney plays a character credited simply as “Mother,” although “Homicidal Island Woman Who Steals Babies and Kills Their Mothers” would have worked as well. She did a good job, I thought, although like much of this episode, opinions seem to vary. The word being thrown around a lot to describe “Across the Sea” is “polarizing.” Personally I thought the episode and Janney were great. My main exposure to Janney wasn’t from “The West Wing,” as it was for most people, but rather as Ellen Barkin’s trailer-trash neighbour in the beauty pageant mockumentary “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”
Jcob and the Man in Black grow up on the island knowing nothing about other people or what lies out there across the sea (pssst… that’s the title of the episode). They don’t even know what death is. “Something you will never have to worry about,” Mother tells the Boy in Black.
Jacob and his brother discover there are other people on the island. A whole village of people. Mother says they are bad — that all people are bad. Why? “They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt and it always ends the same.” Sound familiar? Those were the same words uttered by the Man in Black when we first met him in “The Incident.”
Mother says she has made it so Jacob and the Man in Black can’t hurt each other — a nod to the loophole the Man in Black is forced to find in order to dispatch Jacob. She says they can’t leave the island because they need to protect a glowing cave called The Source. A little bit of this light is inside every man, but they always want more. They will try to take it, and if they do, it could go out, and if it goes out at The Source, it goes out everywhere. Got that? Mother has been protecting it, but she can’t protect it forever. Eventually she’ll have to find a replacement. A Candidate, if you will.
As the kiddies ponder this responsibility over a game of Senet, the Boy in Black sees the ghost of Claudia. Jacob can’t see her, and this is probably significant since it’s mentioned several times in this episode that the Man in Black is special, and that Mother had him pegged for the job as protector of the island. I’m guessing The Source was introduced now because it’s going to play an integral part in the final episodes.
The Boy in Black leaves Jacob and Mother after finding out, from his dead real mother, that he’s been lied to. He spends the next thirty years living with the people, but not because he has any particular affection for them. “They’re greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish,” he says.
The Man in Black visits Mother and tells her he’s spent the last thirty years looking for The Source. He feels it’s his way off the island. He never found it, but he learned that there were other places on the island — electromagnetic pockets like the one seen in “The Incident” — where he could reach it. It turns out the Man in Black and his people are the ones who constructed the frozen donkey wheel that spits people out in the Tunisian desert.
One of my favourite scenes in “Across the Sea” was the one in which the Man in Black awakens from being knocked unconscious by Mother, only to discover that she has filled in the well and killed all of the people in the village. The Man in Black sobs, and for a moment you might think it’s for all of the dead people, but then you realize who this is and what he actually thought of them. “They’re a means to an end,” he told Jacob. The Man in Black isn’t sad that they’re gone. He’s sad that his way off the island is gone.
The Man in Black voices his displeasure at this turn of events by killing Mother (these would be the mother issues he told Kate about in “Recon”). He looks regretful afterwards, but it’s at that moment Jacob returns from gathering firewood, and it’s clear that “Whoops” or “I didn’t mean to” isn’t going to cut it. Jacob smacks the Man in Black around a bit, but as they both know, they can’t kill one another. So Jacob does the next best thing. He dumps him into The Source. The fate worse than death described by Mother seems to be a euphemism for “it will turn you into a ticking pillar of black smoke.” Jacob stares agog as the Smoke Monster flies off into the jungle, leaving behind the dead body of his brother, which he then deposits in the cave, with the body of Mother, for the Losties to find two thousand years later — as known as, the first season of the show.
All in all, “Across the Sea” was a good episode. My main complaint is the same one I had about the Richard Alpert episode, “Ab Aeterno.” Namely that the show ended just as it was starting to get interesting. I wanted to see more about Jacob and the Man in Black on the island. I wanted to see Jacob encounter the Smoke Monster in his brother’s form for the first time. I want to see Jacob making his “game” and setting out his rules (and an explanation of why the Smoke Monster is forced to follow them). I just wanted more.
Now that we have the backstory on Jacob and the Man in Black, and the explanation of The Source, my feeling is that the Losties will be headed there to put an end to the Smoke Monster for good. If that’s where Smokey was born, I’m guessing that’s where he can be killed. And maybe one of the Losties will find a bottle of wine and toast his demise, at the same time taking on the job as the new Jacob. Cheers!
This Sunday night at Biff Bam Pop beginning at 9pm Ian Rogers live blogs the Series Finale of Lost. Don’t miss it!
It took only a matter of minutes to kill off three main characters in “The Candidate.” That’s how quickly things happen on “LOST.” You survive a plane crash, periodic attacks from polar bears, a mercenary strike team, and a pillar of black smoke that may be Evil itself, only to die aboard a submarine on your way home.
The title refers to sideways Locke being a candidate for an experimental surgery that could allow him to walk again — a surgery he absolutely does not want — as well as Jack being tapped as the one to take Jacob’s place. “It’s going to be you,” Sayid says before he pulls an Ilana and goes ka-boom.
On the island, Widmore throws the Losties in the polar bear cages last seen in Season 3. Sawyer and Kate have been here before — “Feel like we’re running in circles,” Sawyer says — but it isn’t long before they’re bailed out… by the Smoke Monster. Jack is there, too. “I’m with him,” he says, nodding at the Smoke Monster as it tears through Widmore’s henchmen.
There’s now been official mention of something that was only glimpsed in an earlier episode: Kate was indeed a Candidate, but her name had been crossed off the wall in Jacob’s cave. What does that mean? Don’t know. Originally It seemed that Candidates had their names crossed out because they died or were killed, but that’s clearly not the case. So why didn’t Kate make the cut?
Things continued to move at a brisk pace. After escaping the cages, the Losties almost boarded an explosives-packed plane, opted instead to steal Widmore’s sub, which then sank, taking three major characters along with it. Jack’s rule of survival on the island — live together, die alone — wasn’t enough to save them, and the number of Candidates is down to three.
As bad as I felt about the deaths of Sun and Jin, from a storytelling point of view their time was pretty much up. It’s almost as if the writers were simply waiting for the two characters to be reunited, then… bye-bye. Same goes for Darth Sayid. After he was “claimed” by the Man in Black, it seemed only a matter of time before someone killed him, or Sayid killed himself. He ended up doing the latter, but not before redeeming himself and proving that he does indeed have a soul.
The big question of the episode seems to be, would the bomb have gone off if Sawyer hadn’t pulled the wires? I’m guessing it wouldn’t have, but we’re entering a grey area here in terms of the Candidates and what constitutes suicide. The Candidates can’t kill themselves, but does that count if Jack took the explosives from Locke, even if he didn’t know they were in the backpack? I’m thinking this will be one of the questions that won’t be answered on the show, and I’m fine with it. It’s the sort of mystery that is best left unexplained. If the characters will never know, neither should we.
For me, the most powerful scene was right after the sub sinks and Jack, Kate, Hurley, and an unconscious Sawyer are on the beach. When Hurley started sobbing… well, it almost got me going. You could really feel the loss and despair they must have been experiencing at that moment. Not only are they still stuck on the island, but three of their friends have died as well.
The fate of Lapidus is not quite as clear. His was the only body we didn’t see in the sub. Yeah, he got hit with that big metal door, but I don’t think he’s dead. It’s like Chekhov’s gun, the one that, if you introduce it in the first act, must go off in the last. Same goes here. If you’ve got a plane that hasn’t blown up yet, and a pilot who’s death was ambiguous at best… well, that plane is going to be flying before the end of the show.