It’s my show now, people.
We received the following text from a friend after last night’s episode: “Still don’t care. This may be the last episode for me.”
We thought it was a solid episode. But we are hearing, from a still small but vocal minority, that they could take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to the final season of “Lost.” Why are they dissatisfied? Too many boxes still being opened. Too much deja vu. (Another group of mysterious, manipulative Others. Another pointless Kate episode. Another uncanny, too-cute convergence of characters in some alternate, parallel existence/timeline. Etc.) Too much of the same.
There is some merit to these complaints. There is also plenty of time for the show to self-correct, as it were. But we remain optimistic that the show is still on the right path. After a craptastic second episode, we’ve been pleased with the progression of the last two — and last night’s in particular. Here is our case:
Jack is a great character. We’ve always been partial to Jack, even though some dislike him the way we dislike Kate. The difference between those two (besides the fact Matthew Fox is a better actor than Evangeline Lilly) is that Jack’s character has evolved, while Kate has basically remained static. (Bonus points, though, for Kate deciding not to tag along with Jack and Hurley last night.) It has been painful to watch Jack unravel over the past few seasons, and this season began with him at arguably his lowest point — convinced that he orchestrated the most boneheaded plan of all time when he persuaded everyone to detonate a hydrogen bomb. (What was I thinking? he must have said to himself. Hey, guys, I’ve got it — let’s blow up a hydrogen bomb! No, really!) But now he’s a character touched by, of all things, grace: He’s been claimed by Jacob, who needed him to get spooked out by Jacob’s supernatural stalking ( “What does he want from me??” Jack shouted after he saw his house — did you catch the number, by the way? — in the lighthouse mirror), then do some cliffside soul-searching. In the alternate timeline, Jack also redeemed himself with his son, making it to his piano recital (where David was playing the same Chopin piece you may recall young Daniel Faraday playing last season) and repairing their relationship with a little father-son chat by the bike rack afterwards. Here is a Jack who has what it takes. All season long he’s been checking himself out in the mirror, but no image has been more enduring than the one of him looking Narcissus-like at his blurry reflection in the water last night. We predict that self-reflection will be crystal clear by season’s end … that Jack will literally get over himself (or de-narcissize). He’s bound for redemption, and that finally and decisively makes him a character worth rooting for, even if his all-star stubbornness rubbed you wrong many times along the way. That said,
Hurley is now in charge. If Jacob is the one spinning the master web of the Island’s (and the show’s) ultimate fate, no one is more attuned to Jacob than Hurley. And as such, Hurley was the instigator last night, leading Jack to the lighthouse, even though the episode was ultimately Jack’s. What we can expect from here on out: If Jacob wants something done, Hurley’s gonna be the one to do it. Or at least until Jack comes around and the other candidates pick sides. (Our hunch: crippled Jin chooses Jacob, while Sayid, Sawyer and Kate choose Nemesis. But — wait for it — Sawyer is actually running the long con on Nemesis and comes around at the end. More fearless predictions below!)
Hurley is also the only dependable laugh track left on the island (aside from Miles, whom we only see nowadays when he’s playing jungle tic tac toe with Hurley). He had some zingers last night, “I just lied to a samurai” and “Why don’t YOU go back to the courtyard” being our favorites.
Survivalist Claire is no Kathy Bates, but she’s waaaay better than old Claire. Claire has always been a one-note character, so we didn’t shed any tears when she disappeared a few seasons back. But Claire-as-Rousseau, who has no qualms about swinging an axe into a man’s chest or buddying up to Black Death Locke, has some winning qualities about her. I mean, what says “life of the party” more than “I keep a fake baby with a polar bear skull in my wilderness crib”? Good times! She’s also skilled at the creepy double entendres (when performing minor surgery on Jin: “One thing that’ll kill you around here is the infection”). And her freaky smile to end the episode struck us as just right. We’re guessing when all is said and done that Jack will have to kill her, but at least she’ll be vaguely intriguing until that happens. (Or, as Zap2It put it, “A woman not legally tall enough to ride roller coasters is now the biggest badass on the Island. Just trying to make this clear.”)
Questions (and answers). A section in which we pose the questions on everyone’s mind after last night’s episode and then boldly serve up answers, no matter how wrong they may eventually prove to be!
Who is coming to the island? Desmond. Likelihood we are correct: 95%.
Who is Jack’s mysterious ex-wife? Not Sarah. We’re guessing Kate. Likelihood: 50-50. No, correct that — 67%. We feel good about that guess, especially if Kate ultimately picks Nemesis. (Doc Jensen, meanwhile, predicts it will be Juliet, out having her cup of coffee with Sawyer. That’s a sexier prediction, so we’ll knock the likelihood back down to 50 — no, 40%.)
What would’ve happened had Hurley turned the lighthouse mirror to 108 degrees? Presumably this would’ve allowed Desmond (or whoever) to find the island, which Jack prevented when he told Hurley to move it back to 23 degrees, where SHEPHARD was written. But since that’s not a very exciting answer, we’ll say: a really bad Kiefer Sutherland movie would’ve popped out. So thank you, Jack, for sparing us.
Who are Adam and Eve? Hurley confirmed what we’ve all along suspected about the skeletons by the season one caves — we’ve already met these two people. Your guess is as good as ours, so we’ll say Sun and Jin and call it 50-50 odds. (It’d be amusing if they turned out to be Jack and Hurley, but the likelihood of that being the case is probably in the single digits.)
(The appearance of that coffin was the official cue to super-obsessive “Lost” fans that this episode was parallel to season one’s fifth-hour episode, “The White Rabbit,” when Jack went searching for his dead father and was told, via flashback, that he didn’t have what it takes. But perhaps the empty coffin this time around was not Christian Shephard’s, but Jack’s, showing that he had risen from it by breaking from the past?)
(Also, Doc Jensen still thinks the skeletons are Rose and Bernard, which may be true but which we still think is stupid. It’d be way funnier if they were Arzt and Frogurt.)
Are the Sideways scenes getting any clearer? We say yes, with 75% certainty. When Jack achieved reconciliation with his son, he broke a generational sin. David Shephard has the chance to not be his dad now that his dad has told him he has what it takes. (Give Sideways Dogen the assist here for telling Jack, “Your son has a gift.”) Because Jack accomplished redemption in Sideways world, we believe he can now accomplish that on the island. This is probably what’s at stake as he meditates on the cliff. Think about the progression last night as well: Jack finds his father’s smashed coffin near the caves, a reminder of where he was back in season one. But after the lighthouse (the moment when Jacob surely claimed him for good), Jack realizes that there was a reason why he returned to the island, despite what he told Hurley just before they arrived at the lighthouse. That’s yet to play out, but it’s clearer to us that what a character does in one timeline has direct bearing on what happens in another. Plus Jack discovered another new scar, surely tied to the appendectomy Juliet performed on him in “Something Nice Back Home” from season 4 … the same episode Jack was reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Aaron.
Given all the mirror imagery this year, will the final scene of “Lost” be all the castaways on the beach with arms linked singing along to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”? Absolutely. We’re 99.9% certain about this one. And when it does, don’t say we didn’t tell you so.