“Come and sit down and I’ll tell you what they died for.”
Or maybe it can wait til Sunday.
Artwork by Mike Mitchell
Tuesday's "What They Died For" was the penultimate Lost episode. This is the penultimate Lost Cause. You should go get your friends. We are very close to the end.
To recap: The series of ignominious deaths continues. Richard ends up in the treetops: I guess Smokey doesn’t need him anymore. Charles Widmore challenges Ben: “You shoot me and your last chance for survival will be gone.” So of course, Ben shoots him – a stark contrast to Sideways Ben who continues to be the nicest guy in the world. Or “like the nicest guy in the word." Was that Ben’s last chance for survival?
Locke is urged by Dr. Ben Linus, indirectly by Desmond and his car, to "let go," echoing Jack’s urging two weeks ago, to let go…. and to go first. More on this in a bit.
Kate, James, Jack, and Hurley meet up with Jacob by the fire. Jacob promises to tell them everything and then does not. In a twitter-theory (tweory?) yesterday, Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh describes this as “a ponzi scheme paying off investments of questions with new investments of questions. Collapse imminent.” If the truth didn’t hurt so much, I would laugh and laugh.
Jack volunteers to take Jacob’s place. Everyone else is relieved.
For further explanation on how Jack’s cup runneth over, let’s turn to Collective Soul, the band, not the island.
I suspect, but I could be wrong, that the entire six years of Lost may be based upon Ed Roland's "December" song. Here are some lyrics taken out of context:
Why drink the water from my hand?
Contagious as you think I am
Just tilt my sun toward your domain
Your cup runneth over again.
Why follow me to higher ground?
Lost as you swear I am.
Don't throw away your basic needs,
Ambiance and vanity.
Here's further proof:
Promises you gave unto me
Whispers of treachery
Clouds are now covering me
Songs no longer I sing.
This last refrain refers more to the Lost writers than it does to the show itself. Don't agree? Fine. Just turn your head now, baby, and spit me out.
Finally, Desmond arranges for Sideways Kate, Sayid, and Hurley to meet, releasing Kate and Sayid from prison (with a priceless cameo by Ana Lucia) upon a promise to do something for him in the near future. Perhaps to attend the concert? That's a weighty promise. Desmond struck a rather malevolent pose during "What They Died For." The whole scenario reminded of promises to the devil rather than to our beloved "brother."
All the talk about "letting go" in the Sideways World appears to be directed more at Locke as Smokey and his constant (word chosen carefully) crusade for vengeance: is that SchLocke in the Sideways World off the island?
I offer here one of my last Lost theories (tear in eye or is that the onions?). In a parallel to Jack fixing Locke in the Sideways world, Jack will also fix Smokey on the Island. By fix, I don't mean kill. Jack and Jacob were sufficiently evasive when directed to kill Smokey by Kate and company. I do believe that Jack will heal Smokey, fulfilling his doctor/savior inclinations of the past six years. The island is then destroyed in that it ends up under water but not destroyed as in its source of "life" dries up.
In the end, "The End" could be a whimper, not a bang. We may not see a big showdown complete with huge explosions (like a hydrogen bomb) but a lot of small instances of redemption and forgiveness – of letting go past transgressions. Ilana's forgiveness of Ben, one of the best scenes in the series, was a small foreshadowing. Sawyer forgives Jack. Jack forgives himself. Jacob and MiB forgive each other and their crazy foster mom. We all forgive Kate Austin. Group hug. Or everyone dies.
I have to run. It’s coq au vin night, but before I go, here are a few items up for discussion:
If you get a chance, re-watch the pilot episode and notice the backgammon game and John Locke’s overall demeanor. Relying on everything you know now, speculate on what Locke knows immediately upon post-crash. He certainly has an omniscient gaze. I’ve been playing with theories that he, John Locke, in the pilot, already was Smokey, or maybe, because Locke does come face to face with Smokey later, could he be Jacob? Remember Jacob's touch at Locke's apparent death after being thrown out the window. If that theory doesn't fit, could Locke be the island itself at that point? Thank you Caroline and Patrick for the initial idea, and check out this great pencil drawing and ponder.
Artwork by rickfortson
Do you believe Widmore when he said Jacob visited him and showed him the “errors of his ways?”
Was Jacob reading “Everything That Rises Must Converge” by Flannery O’Connor at the moment when Locke was pushed out that window by his father simply because of his mommy issues? This is a disappointment.
Do the candidates exercise free will when Jacob offers them the job? They have no idea what is truly asked of them. Nor do we. Without information, you cannot make a true decision.
There was a little tear in my eye during the Danielle/Ben dinner, and it was not the onions. It was more affecting than the Jin/Sun death scene. My favorite of the episode, maybe of the season.
Boy, Jacob was a nasty piece of work.
Finally, I have a little (not so little) grudge list that I will carry into the series finale. It consists of people rather cavalierly tossed aside by Lost in a most smokey way: Charlie, Daniel, Danielle, Alex, Ilana, Lapidus, Libby, Richard, Richard, Richard: characters that we believed had more significance than their demises indicate. Do you have a grudge list? Share.
See you at the concert.