Well, we've already reached season finale levels of epic tension and occurrences, so I can barely fathom the level of intensity that awaits us in the actual season/series finale. I'll address this week's tragedies in the CharacterWatch segments below, but first let's tackle the usual batch of mysteries and see what's been cleared up this week...
The Altered Universe:
AU Locke's refusal to undergo Jack's surgery seemed curiously at odds with the trends of the Altered Universe in general. While many AU characters are actively seeking happier endings than their Original Timeline counterparts, Locke obstinately refuses to progress toward his, preferring to hold himself back from potentially walking again. Even as the AU characters' consciousnesses seem to bleed back and forth between universes, it's still hard to predict what the precise one-to-one correlation will be between he worlds -- but perhaps the MIB holding the OT Locke's likeness prisoner is somehow keeping AU Locke from releasing himself from his own sins. (Primarily being responsible for the permanent catatonic state of his father, who incidentally I still expect to be the same con-artist sleezebag as the OT Anthony Cooper but now rendered incapable of showing his true colors). Bernard seems to know more than he's letting on; Jack and Claire share a mirror moment; and Locke mumbles classic OT dialogue in his sleep. But ultimately the major step forward here was Jack finally putting together that not only is he finding odd connections between the people he's meeting, but that all these people have one major thing in common: their presence aboard Oceanic Flight 815. As AU Jack slowly figures all this out and AU Locke starts having his OT memories triggered, the Altered Universe remains the show's biggest wild card. Sure the on-Island happenings seem to be leading up to some kind of big showdown between Jack and the Man In Black, but fitting the AU into the puzzle can and will change the puzzle completely, whether it's a timeline that must be preserved so our characters can live happily ever after, or a future that must be sacrificed for the good of the Original Timeline and the "proper" course of things.
The Man In Black and His Agenda:
Well if one thing was made crystal clear this week, it was the Man in Black's objective. Sure we may not know the details of how he came to be nor the precise implications of what will happen if he's free, but we know how he needs to do it: he needs Jacob's Candidates dead, and he can't kill them himself. All season long, he's been working to create a circumstance wherein they'll all in-avoidably kill each other and it'll all happen at once. Tricking them into setting off a bomb on a submarine must have seemed like a good bet, but it's doubtful he predicted Jack's intuition in figuring out what was going on (The Candidate, indeed!). He also seemed to know instinctively that his plan failed, indicating that he would physically be able to tell if there were no longer anyone left alive that could keep him enslaved to the Island. His frustration at this failure was palpable, and I have a feeling he wouldn't be keeping Claire around any longer if he didn't think she might be useful in getting rid of whichever Candidates might still be alive...
Widmore's roll in all this subterfuge is a bit more unclear. His original mysterious intentions of seeking Island energy pocketts with Jin and Desmond might currently be scuttled, but did he really do as the MIB suggested and move the sonic fence pylons so that the MIB would attempt to escape with the Candidates on the Ajira plane? I kinda doubt it. Widmore clearly has a list of the remaining Candidates (information not even Richard was privy to), and if Widmore knew enough to name the Candidates, wouldn't he know that the MIB also wants them dead? If the MIB is truly his enemy (which their showdown on the beach in 6.12 [Everybody Loves Hugo] sure appeared to indicate), then Widmore's putting the Candidates in a cage behind the reset pylons would be a true attempt to protect them, just as he said. But then who exactly DID rig the Ajira plane with explosives?
Well we DO know that when last we saw Richard (6.12 [Everybody Loves Hugo), he was setting out with Ben and Miles to do precisely that: blow up the Ajira plane with explosives... so where the heck were they this week? Perhaps the trio started the job but then got interrupted and/or captured by Widmore's team before they could finish it. This doesn't explain why Widmore moved his pylons, but it at least might explain how the explosives got put into place -- and maybe even why ghost-Michael was so insistent that Hurley not allow dynamite to be brought to Hydra Island. Either the Ajira plane is important and needs to be intact to avoid further death, or else Michael somehow knew that an attempt to destroy the plane would result in death. Which -- if indeed Team Richard was responsible for planting the C-4 -- it now has. Either way, hopefully Richard, Miles, and Ben will turn up soon and clear some of this up.
The Man in Black can't kill Candidates. A Candidate can't kill him/herself. But Candidates CAN kill other Candidates. And now Sawyer (unwittingly) has potentially killed two of them: Jarrah and a Kwon. Unless, of course, Sayid had already lost Candidate status upon dying in 6.02 (LA X, Part II) and Ji Yeon is the actual Kwon Candidate. In which case, the Man In Back is REALLY screwed. But, taking things at Agatha Christie style face value: "and then there were three..."
CharacterWatch - Sayid:
So while there still may be a gazillion questions surrounding The Sickness (Where does it come from? Can it really bring people back to life? What are the actual symptoms?) we now have rather definitive proof that it can indeed be at least temporarily overcome. The capable, heroic Sayid we all know and love made one final appearance just before dying (again): he explained how to (in theory) disarm the bomb, explained where to find Desmond, told Jack "It's going to be you," and sacrificed himself to buy his fellow survivors a chance to live. He may have been a person all too ready and all too capable of committing heinous acts of violence, but Sayid was also always a person who looked out for those important to him: the ultimate protector. In his final moments, he was finally able to protect not by harming others, but by harming himself -- perhaps this was the only way to break the cycle of violence he was inexhaustibly caught up in. As for The Sickness, we'll have to hope that the rest of Claire's story can provide us answers to that...
CharacterWatch - Sun and Jin:
And because killing one major character isn't shocking enough, Sun and Jin's Original Timeline story also ended in this episode. On-Island, before the Oceanic 6 escaped, Sun and Jin constantly struggled to forgive each other's past sins and overcome their differences. They rarely let themselves get entangled in the more supernatural goings on of the Island and fought primarily for nothing more than the right to be together. Just when they began to finally obtain solace in their expecting of Ji Yeon and potential rescue from the Island, they were torn apart for years. Their struggle to once again be together was drawn out perhaps too long and thus lost a fair bit of its dramatic impact along the way, but now that we know that they were fighting for nothing more than the right to die together... their struggles over the past two seasons get put in an entirely different light. Some might argue that their demise cheapens and/or nullifies their efforts (including Sun's entire return to the Island), but to my way of thinking, watching Jin commit to and honor the value of their mutual struggle -- even upon knowing that the result would be nothing more than death together -- added a level of profundity to their story which had been lacking for quite some time. And Ji Yeon? I do wish they'd brought her up in their final moments together rather than just in the cage earlier in the episode... but at least she's got very wealthy grandparents.
Jacob and His Agenda:
Jack. Sawyer. Hurley. Even though the Man In Black was finally proven to be the jackass we all knew he was this week, I doubt Jacob's intentions towards his remaining Candidates is much more noble. He clearly doesn't care about their happiness. He clearly has no intention of offering them help beyond a teensy shove here and there. If THIS is the process Jacob has chosen to select a successor, a part of me would definitely love to see him find none. Last week Jack was "The Last Recruit" without really adhering to the Man In Black's Agenda, this week I kinda hope he's "The Candidate" without any intention of really adhering to Jacob's Agenda. But then, as I've said before, perhaps that's exactly what Jacob needs, even though it might hurt him to get Jack there. For now, we've just got three really guilty men and one injured woman. Jack spear-headed the Jughead mission that killed Juliet. Sawyer triggered the C-4 bomb that killed Sayid, Sun, and Jin. And Hurley led his friends right into the hands of the Man In Black (on a seemingly a self-concocted whim) to make this possible. These guys are hurting for a variety of reason. And Kate's also hurting because she got shot. Sucks to be them.
He's currently battling Ilana for the lamest main character death on the show. Let's hope he somehow floats out that open hatch and washes up on shore to save the day with a carefully placed one-liner.
And that's where we are!
X-aminations in May 2017
1 day ago