Whether you got spoiled beforehand or were totally shocked by the ending, LOST's season 3 finale was utterly fantastic. And although it didn't leave us an agonizing 9-month cliffhanger, the show took steps in a fresh new direction - one that opens unlimited possibilities for the final few seasons. Here are the Things I Noticed, followed (probably tomorrow) by a quick overview of my whole theory on what I believe is going on with LOST:
Jack's been a freight train these past few weeks. Tossing all diplomacy aside has allowed Jack to suddenly kick unbelievable amounts of ass per episode. His new approach of doing everything the polar opposite of his usual plan has worked out in every possible way for the 815'ers... (or has it really?)
Jack puts all his cards on the table this week. He's got nothing to lose. "I love you". Why the hell not? He nods after saying it, as if finally admitting it to himself much less Kate. His face is almost relief. Kate's sorrowfully surprised. Whether or not she's made her decision, Jack's liberating himself of this inner struggle. Keeping things in has brought Jack nothing but pain, and he's done with it.
Screw diplomacy and to hell with falling for tricks. Doing everything he thinks he should do has traditionally landed Jack right into Ben's hands - only by doing the unexpected does he succeed in thwarting him. Instead of going back for his friends, Jack pushes on. Instead of submitting to blackmail (I still don't know why Jack gave Ben back his walkie...) he calls his bluff. And although Jack does believe he's sacrificing his three friends for the greater good of 40+ people, it ends up working out in his favor. The old Jack would've caved, giving Ben exactly what he wanted.
Bernard Sings Like a Canary
It takes literally 15 seconds for Bernard to give up the entire damned plan. The radio tower, Karl - the whole shabang... Bernard did everything but draw them a map. I was a bit disappointed that he couldn't spit in the face of his captors or take a rifle butt to the face like Sayid did. If you wanna hang back with the big boys and shoot at dynamite, you gotta be able to take the punishment.
Before the singing, Friendly calls Ben for advice - just as Greta and Bonnie do. Either Ben's people have orders to consult him on everything or they're not very resourceful. Probably a bit of both. "Who do you have?" Ben asks. After finding out he doesn't hesitate for a second: "Shoot Kwon". I found this interesting. Obviously he assessed (correctly) that Bernard would be the one to crack, why not shoot Sayid (the more dangerous of the two)? My gut reaction is that Ben knows who's "needed" in the grand scheme of things - and who's not.
More Daddy Issues
Ben's character has been awesome, with top-notch acting and astonishing levels of deception. For two seasons he's dominated the island with a near-impenetrable web of lies... but as things fall apart for him it seems they do so exponentially. As his armor falls away we see his Achilles heel, the true reason he's failed in his mission: Alex.
The photos of Alex in Ben's home were all well and good, but bringing one along during the Big Campout really shows us how important she is to him. While most dads brandish a stern look or maybe polish a shotgun when potential suitors come round, Ben's strapping them into chairs and tormenting them to the brink of insanity to avoid teenage pregnancy. Raising his daughter has caused Ben to make mistakes that have come back to haunt him - mistakes like Karl.
With Juliet's betrayal compounding that mistake (making him look like even more of a jackass in front of Richard and Mikhail), Ben finally understands that he needs to lose Alex. He even points out to Mikhail that he needs help with the "mess he's made". Alex is a liability he can't afford, which is why he brings her to join a new family. Looking back, I think Ben chose to raise Alex in an attempt to make amends for the piss-poor fathering he himself had to endure. It might be the one noble ship still sailing in his vast sea of lies.
Mikhail Is a Cat
He has six lives left. At this point I truly believe that Mikhail's unwavering faith in the island is what keeps him clinging to life, even beyond the point of death. "Lucky for me the fence wasn't set to full power" (or whatever he said). Ben seemed to smirk when Mikhail told him this a few episodes ago, but I shrugged it off. Not so sure I should've. Ben knows the deal too.
Speaking to Claire about Charlie, Hurley's last words before the fade-in totally foreshadow Mikhail rising again. "Don't worry, I'm sure he's fine" Hurley says, and then the camera zooms in on Mikhail's bleeding corpse. A spear through the heart should've ended Mikhail, but it didn't. As Ben said, he's a loyalist. Mikhail believes. Deceived by Ben and totally questioning his motives, he has only to be reassured that he's defending the island. This gives him the motivation to commit the double murder of his own people, in the interest of the cause. Ben knows how to reach Mikhail, to put him right back on track.
Still, just as Richard has been questioning Ben lately, Mikhail's wise enough to ask questions. "The island told you to jam your own people?" Ben answers with assertions that he's following Jacob's orders AND protecting the island from assault. This is kinda important. It pretty much links Jacob to the island itself, which is our first confirmation of this. We now know the island speaks to Ben, just as we already know Jacob does. Is Jacob the island itself? Very possibly.
Another thing I noticed was that Mikhail's eyelids are sewn together. This is inconsistent with popping a glass eye in and out of your head. Not sure why he removes his eyepatch to put on his diving mask, because it doesn't really look like it would get in the way. And the way they zoomed in on his eyepatch after his first 'death', it seemed his eye would be significant. Maybe while he's wearing the patch Mikhail is turning a blind eye to the crap Ben's pulling, but once removed he sees and questions it more in depth? Who knows? I'm betting he's not coming back from the grenade thing, however.
What's Up Stretch?
Walt shows up fresh from the NBA draft with a voice like Peter Brady. Unlike last time, he's completely dry. Of course Walt's not really here; this is the island, or Jacob, or whoever it is throwing on a Walt suit. "Get up John, you can walk". Come on Locke, you should know this drill by now. It's almost self-explanatory at this point.
Again, I don't think it's so much the natural 'healing' properties of the island as it is the faith and belief. Even Mr. Myagi's hands don't work this quickly. Kidney shot or no, the island needs Locke to do what Ben is failing to accomplish - stopping Naomi from using the radio phone. Jacob favors Locke now. Ben's no longer his go-to man, and he can't trust him to get the job done. Walt also appears amidst the whispers. This ties the whispers into the whole island/Jacob agenda thing, unless they're protesting against his appearance to Locke.
It was good to see Walt again, even post-pubescent Walt. LOST has an advantage over every other show in that it can bring back our past heroes and heroines (and eye-candy) for guest spots in flashbacks and smoke-monster morphing special appearances. Rock on.
Not The Threesome Charlie Had In Mind
Charlie absolutely rocked this episode. Watching him speak so matter-of-factly of the pre-determined future was hysterical, and I especially loved the reactions of the two girls beating him. The "Ben it's Charlie! Tell him I said hi!!!" part had me nearly crapping myself, it was really that good.
When the show first started, Charlie annoyed me a lot. The whole dark addict thing was kinda played out for me, and then he evolved into some sort of wussy Claire kissass. Not that his feelings weren't genuine, but it was painful to watch him stick around after she abandoned and mistreated him at times when he really could've used her support. His loyalty to her was uncharacteristic of someone who'd been treated the way he was.
This season, Charlie grew on me. Undaunted, self-sacrificing Charlie was a great character. I actually found myself hoping that he would somehow live. Asking Desmond if he'd had any more flashes, I originally thought Charlie was hoping for a vision in which he might be saved. Actually, the opposite was true. Charlie seemed happy to hear that Desmond's flashes had stopped, because it meant that the helicopter rescue would come to fruition. It meant that his upcoming sacrifice would create the END vision, which would mean he wouldn't die in vain. Charlie had already resolved himself to his fate.
This is why, when Mikhail pulls the pin on the grenade, Charlie doesn't just fly out the door of the communications room (which had me baffled for a moment). He certainly could've. That tiny room took a minute or two to fill with water, meaning it would've taken hours for the whole hatch to flood. Still, Charlie knows he must fulfill the prophecy. He slams the door both to keep Desmond out (after seeing Penny), and to keep himself in. Both are noble reasons. The last scene was touching. The writers/producers wrote it perfectly, and Dominick did a fantastic job with it. He went out like Eko did - a true champ.
Penny Teaches 1st Grade
Globe, books, map, blazer... wtf?
Hurley is the Indestructible Epicenter of All Things Gone Right
Always has been. As I've said before, he can't never see fadage. Pryce could've had the Gatling gun from Predator and he wouldn't have hit him. I won't repeat old theories here, but Hurley's untouchable in all ways.
They Don't Leave Tracks
The Other's attack looked not-so-subtle this time, a far cry from the invisible jungle ninjas they used to be. Maybe all the weeks of seeing them as normal people has stripped away the mystique we used to feel. Gone is the awe and the wonder. The magic of the Others has been shattered - perhaps even Jacob has abandoned them - and I think this is the end for them, at least as an opposing force.
That's For Taking The Kid off The Boat
Awesome line. The next one was even better: "I didn't believe him".
Sawyer's in a dark place right now. He's gone from a sarcastic conman to being lovestruck and sensitive, all in this one season. After the killing of Cooper however, Sawyer's returned to a very spooky place. A place with no nicknames and no mercy. Shooting Tom in cold blood was very startling. It kinda weirded me out, because I like Sawyer a lot and wanted to feel like him killing Cooper was the final time he'd do stuff like that.
If it were any other Other (Pryce or that third guy for example), the murder would be easier for us to swallow. But after all this time, we have a so much more personal relationship with Mr. Friendly. We know Tom as the bumbling, girl-throwing fool that he really is... the guy who gave Kate salve for her wrists and tried to warn Jack of hidden cameras. An angel? Hell no. But shooting him in cold blood the way he did, Sawyer crossed back over the line - the same side of the line he was on when he shot the hot dog vendor.
"Let's hope you're not (pregnant)" seemed to throw Kate, too. Obviously Sawyer and Kate both know that pregnancy is almost a death sentence on the island, but Kate's reaction to him almost gives the line a double meaning. It didn't seem to be the thing she wanted to hear.
Alex, This is Your Crazy Jungle-Dwelling Mother
The Alex/Danielle reunion was pretty quick, capped off with the humor of them tying up Ben together. I have to say it shattered a slightly weird theory of mine, one that was so strange I was hesitant to mention it. Holding the hand of time-loop and alternate reality theories... for a little while anyway, I thought that Alex WAS Danielle (only younger). I believed this based upon the very strange look Danielle made upon first seeing Alex in the jungle a few episodes ago, almost as if she were spooked by her.
Guess I was wrong.
Lie Lie Lie Lie Lie Truth
In the end, Ben's long string of lies ends up coming back to bite him in the ass. When he sits down with Jack and explains the whole Naomi deal, it turns out for once that Ben's telling the complete truth. The irony of course, is that at this point Jack doesn't come even close to believing him.
Ben's body language at the "She's not who she says she is" line was pretty cool. It was as if he'd finally gotten to the penultimate point - the place where the lying was over and he could finally reveal the truth. The whole truth? No, there wasn't nearly enough time for that. But I believe that nothing Ben says here was false, save for the final deception he tries to pull over the walkie in a last-ditch effort to sway Jack.
When Locke kills Naomi, it proves Ben's actions to be consistent with the wishes of the island. "Do it John! Shoot him! Do what you need-", Ben is beyond desperate to follow Jacob's orders. Locke's angle however, is diplomacy. He can't shoot Jack, and this has nothing to do with Jack being a friend. It has to do with the island needing Jack for whatever ultimate goal it has planned for everyone who was brought to it... and Locke fully knows this. At this point, I think Locke is more in the know than even Ben is.
Unfortunately for Ben, Locke, Jacob, and the island, they picked the one day Jack's decided to take a crap on diplomacy. Despite Locke's warning that "This will be your last chance", Jack makes the call anyway. And as is so often the case, once again by doing something he believes to be right, Jack has made the biggest mistake of all - one that won't be fully realized until next season. Watch Locke's shoulders slump as the call goes through. Watch him turn away and walk off, monumentally disappointed, knowing that they failed... (again). The beginning of the end, as Ben puts it.
Jack Grows a Sub Commander's Beard
You have to admit the flashforward trick was kinda brilliant, even if you didn't like it. Personally I loved it. Knowing that the producers had the overall storyline planned from the beginning, it was necessary at this point to bring us into the post-island future so we can fully appreciate what was 'supposed to happen' in the past.
The woman Jack saves from the car accident looks a lot like his wife did all bandaged up in the hospital. She's got the same injury, same surgery, and Jack wants (needs) to fix it. Everything in circles, always.
There should be little doubt at this point that Jack's wife is a raging bitch. She slaps him with 20 nosey questions and then snubs him for a simple ride home. Yeah, thanks for coming down.
On the way to the funeral, Jack's listening to Nirvana's Scentless Apprentice (awesome song). This goes along with the whole suicide thing - Kurt Cobain, Jack, and even the unknown dude in the casket. I know everyone's speculating on who he is, but judging from Kate's reaction I'd say it has to be Ben. Helen would probably come to Locke's shindig and Kate wouldn't despise Sawyer enough to curl her lip at his funeral (Jack would've also called Sawyer a friend, I think). Besides, it looks like Ben's diary could be next to the casket and Jack's gaze even seems to pause curiously on it before he walks off. One thing's for sure - it's definitely NOT Hurley.
Jack's drug addiction and downward spiral must run deeper than his ex-wife's pregnancy and his father's death. Something really bad must happen between them getting off the island and Jack popping fistfuls of pain pills. We won't know exactly what that is until later, so we can only speculate. We can only examine the brief conversation between him and Kate, who came straight to their rendezvous fresh from raiding the MAC counter at Macy's (she looked awesome by the way).
"I'm sick of lying. We made a mistake." Lying to whom is the biggest question. Whoever got them off the island maybe? Or perhaps Jack's referring to Oceanic airlines. The fact that he owns a golden ticket means they've accepted/acknowledged the crash. This means they didn't reassimilate into society in some sort of under-the-radar way... they came back as 815 survivors. Which means either they had international media coverage of an incredible global scale, or they're "lying" as per Oceanic's instructions. I'll bet it was the latter.
Kate's "I have to go, he's gonna be wondering where I am" line is meant to keep us wondering whether she hooked up with Sawyer or some other guy. I read someone theorize that maybe she's referring to her son, which is a cool idea too, although her son would be about a year old and the only thing he'd be wondering is why his ass is so damp.
"We were not supposed to leave". This line is extremely telling. Yes it explains why Jack's got an E6B flight calculator and is trying to figure out wind correction angles on sectional maps of the Pacific, but Jack's actually acknowledging Locke's own words: "You're not supposed to do this". HUGE for Jack. Did Jack slip from science to faith? Looks like he might've. Because although his life sucks now, we know it sucked on the island as well. Jack's not going back there for the mangos... the only way he's going back there is if he believes he can CHANGE something. "We have to go back".
Right Now Cosmic Forces Are Aligning Against You
Finally, I think the biggest thing to take away from the last part of season 3 is the fact that there are more sides than we first realized. The season started 815 vs. Others, but suddenly we have "the bad guys" coming in too. They've been searching for the island for a long time now, and since Jack's crew has now disabled the multitude of safeguards the island's had in place against being located (the button, the radio tower, the looking glass...) it seems they're finally coming.
Still, the one thing we haven't accounted for is Desmond's visions. I don't believe the island is responsible for them for one simple reason - they allowed Charlie to shut off the jamming signal. Charlie should've been hit by lightning or had an arrow through his throat and been dead a bunch of times, but instead the visions intervened. They allowed Desmond to save him. Someone or something was keeping Charlie alive long enough to accomplish his goal, and from what we saw in the finale this conflicts directly with the island's best interests.
I've got a lot more opinions on this, but I'll save them for my overall theory (which I'll post tomorrow). Right now, I'll say I really enjoyed writing this stuff every week and thanks to everyone who read and liked it. Hell, thanks even to those who didn't like it. Thanks most of all to DarkUFO for posting it up. Have a kickass summer. :)
Recap by Vozzek69