Last night's Lost will go down as one of the most epic episodes in the history of the series. "The Candidate" was full of big moments: Deaths! Bad Guys! Smoke Attack! But it's most titanic (and Titanic-like) moments, the tragic loss of three (maybe four) major characters, felt a tad underserved, particularly for one character who can snap a dude's neck with his legs!
But before we get to that, let's talk about *gasp* the side-flash. Despite all that happened on the island, Deaths! Bad Guys! Smoke Attack!, the side-flash gives us the most to talk about. And it starts almost immediately, with Jack hovering over a recovering John Locke and Locke instantly recognizing Jack. We're led to believe it's from their meeting at the lost luggage depot at LAX (missing: Locke's knives and the body of Jack's dead dad), but there's clearly more to it than that as John's near-death experience allowed him to see the "other side" that we've been watching for five and a half seasons: the island and its events.
And for some reason I'm stuck on the scene where Jack goes to visit Bernard, DDS. Was I imagining a far-too sentient Bernard pushing Jack along a path? Though Bernard said it was weird that he and Jack both happened to be on Oceanic 815 (the one that didn't crash), he sure didn't act like it. I may be overanalyzing that scene a bit too much, but it gave me weird visions of Bernard being a much bigger player in this thing than we first expected. Pipe up in the comments below if you got a similar tingling.
Jack then tracks down Anthony Cooper and the truth about how John was hurt (plane crash, courtesy of John's new pilot license). It's should be interesting to note that John, at least in the alternate timeline, can fly a plane, according to whatever aviation committee gave him a license. That kind of talent could come in handy should real John be able to wrestle control from Smoke Monster Locke. Just sayin'.
I was also a big fan of Jack and John's final scene in the corridor. When was the last time we saw Terry O'Quinn and (more importantly) Matthew Fox just be able to relax and act? It may not have had the fireworks the rest of the episode had, but I couldn't take my eyes off these two thesps, the cornerstones of the series we've been entranced with for six years.
I think it's fair to say that these side-flashes, which several (including myself) dismissed as filler early on in the season, are now nearly as relevant as the events on the island. Phew. It took a while, but thankfully it's there.
I particularly enjoyed the action on the island in this episode because it was so straight-forward without any fooling around, and that's purely a benefit of last week's setup episode. There wasn't a whole lot to think about or many pull-the-rug-out tricks: it was just one man's plan to try and kill everyone as efficiently as possible. I can get behind that kind of go-getter attitude, so kudos to you Mr. Flocke Smocke Ness Monster dude, it was a wonderful plan that would have worked if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
And so we end up with Sawyer and Jack squaring off in a submarine that's ready to explode, with new-age Jack saying Locke's bomb won't blow up so there's no need to disarm it, and Sawyer understandably thinking Jack is nuts (I would have pulled the wires too, and I bet every one of you would have done the same). That of course leads to the hackneyed ticking time bomb movie trick where the timer actually speeds up. Until Popular Mechanics consults a bomb expert on that, I have to ask: Who the heck makes a bomb that does that!? (UPDATE: It is possible! Here's Popular Mechanics' take on the bomb.) What's the point of speeding up a countdown when you could just blow it up right then and there? The end result is the same, for chrissakes, just blow 'em up. (This isn't a rant against Lost, just the notion, whether true or not, that incorrectly defused bombs speed up their timers. Thanks for listening.)
Where was I? Oh yeah, bomb timer speeds up. So now Sayid is no longer a zombie (for whatever reason) and decides that he shall be the sacrificial lamb, grabs the bomb, and runs about 20 yards away with four bricks of about-to-explode C4, sorry for all the commas, turning him into about 2 million tiny Sayids. (More on this injustice later.) There is an obvious suicide bomber metaphor here, as Sayid is Muslim, but I'm hoping it was just coincidence and we can pretend it never happened.
I'm no naval expert, but a ticking time-bomb in a submarine probably isn't a good idea. First, the explosion would eat up a lot of the oxygen in there, second, someone could get hurt, and three, think of the mess! All that Sayid gunk to clean up? Gross.
Sun eventually gets pinned to something by something (could anyone really tell what was going on with her?), and Jin refuses to leave her side. The two share a touching moment while they inhale water, with a shot of their hands losing grip on each other and slowly drifting apart that both packed a wallop and was undeniably cheesy.
Okay, here's my take on the three deaths. That's a lot to handle in about five minutes, but I fully support it. Everyone knows this is the last season, so why not kill people off? My problem is the way their deaths were presented to us, especially Sayid's. Now I don't wear an "I Heart Sayid" shirt or anything, but that guy was pretty cool. And to send him off like that? Like THAT!? Sure he gets a hero's death, but the drama that led up to it was virtually nonexistent. Remember how Charlie Pace went? That was one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching scenes I've ever seen. His death was in the works for episodes, and the payoff was so worth it. Even Boone's death in the first season was rough. But Sayid only gets a hot-potato exit-stage-left death? That's a crime. At least give him a slo-mo jog where we see the determination on his face and we realize this may be the last we see of him.
Instead, Jin and Sun get the drawn-out scene, one that writers could have given a few minutes of to Sayid. And really, half of it was the others trying to lift things off of Sun. The result was still sad, but had things been more evenly handed out, the emotional weight of the deaths would have been magnified. Why was the decision made to give it all to Sun and Jin?
But even worse than that? ZERO LOVE FOR LAPIDUS!? He's most likely dead and it was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment.
(One more note: I've always been a big fan of the cast diversity of Lost, but in one sub explosion, the cast went from all the colors of the rainbow to pretty darned white!)
The deaths will be the main talking point of last night's Lost, but the things I will take away from this episode are twofold: 1) We definitely know without a doubt that Smocke Ness Monster is bad evil bad. And even though we were all 99% sure he was evil incarnate, there was still a sliver of concern that maybe he isn't the bad guy, and that we could have been rooting for the wrong horse. Good storytelling needs a villain, and now we definitively have one. 2) Jack is back! This episode belonged to Jack, and this slow transformation of his is paying off in buckets. He's geared up to be the new Jacob ("It's going to be you," says Sayid) and he's once again a hero worth following. I've always liked hero Jack, and it's good to see him back.
All in all, a really, really good and (mostly) satisfying episode.
I could sit here and write these stories and say "This episode was much better than Real Housewives of Orange County!" and a bunch of you would say YEAH! but where would the point be in that? When I rate the episodes of Lost, I'm rating them against other episodes of Lost. So yes, some episode has to be number eight on my list... OF LOST EPISODES THIS SEASON. They can't all be number one. That being said, the number eight episode of Lost is a heck of a lot better than most of everything else on television. Capiche? Sheesh, sometimes I feel like I'm teaching second grade here.
KingofPirates (who usually just says "meh" on our articles) said, "While this episode was good, what this season has been missing is truly Great episodes." I'd agree. Lost is unlike anything I've ever seen on TV, and I'm psyched to be a part of it. But as it achieved greatness so early, it's only reasonable to compare it to its earlier work. Do I think Season Six has been its best season? No. But do I think it sucks? Certainly not. If I were running for office, each review/recap (whatever these things are) would say "This episode was amazing!" and we'd all be friends laughing into the sunset.
Calling something "great" or "amazing" should be reserved for things that are truly great and amazing. I'm not going to throw those words around willy-nilly. Season One's "Walkabout" was amazing. Season Three's "Through the Looking Glass" was amazing. There are several other episodes that I would also qualify as amazing. But I'm going to call it how I see it, and just because an episode of Lost is part of the Lost series (which is fantastic as a whole), it does not automatically qualify it to be amazing.
To those of you agreeing with me and defending me in the battleground we call the comments section, thank you. You don't have to do it, but thank you. And a lot of you explain my point even better than I could. Likewise, to those who don't agree with me, feel free to speak up and let your point known in a civilized manner. I'll be listening.
Okay, I promise that's the last I will say on that subject. Let's move forward next week and discuss the show we love.
"The Candidate": Before you jump down my throat and say "ZOMG DA CANDIDATE WAS BEST EVR U SHOOD B FIRED" just know I'm putting this in third place because Sayid got totally screwed. That ain't cool, man. It cracked the top three episodes on my list (which now becomes a top four that could be interchangeable), which places it way ahead of the others. I just feel that the episode could have been done better--particularly the way it handled the deaths. I have a feeling next week's episode could be the best of the season. Hold on tight.
1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "Ab Aeterno" Ep. 9
3. "The Candidate" Ep. 14
4. "Happily Ever After" Ep. 11
5. "Everybody Loves Hugo" Ep. 12
6. "Recon" Ep. 8
7. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
8. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
9. "The Last Recruit" Ep. 13
10. "Sundown" Ep. 6
11. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
12. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
13. "The Package" Ep. 10
14. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3
Side note: I'll be doing something similar to these Lost articles for AMC's Breaking Bad on Mondays and CW's Supernatural on Fridays (the day after both shows air), so if you like those shows, I'd love it if you joined the conversation in those articles.