Well, at long last, things are finally coming together. LOST’s number of mysteries is winding down, and the number of answers are beefing up. The mysteries presented this episode are really not all that mysterious. Under scrutiny, this episode revealed a hell of a lot more that you might first realize. To see it, all you need to do is some creative deduction.
The story has always been circular, but never has it been more obvious until this episode when our four new friends arrive on the island. What greets these fresh-faced newbies that dropped from the sky? An island full of cheering survivors happy to be rescued? Yeah right. Maybe two or three seasons ago, but not now.
“Light em’ up!” - Miles standing in the jungle, Jack telling him he’s surrounded by guns. Seeing him smirk at Jack, non-believing until a bullet whizzes by, a mirror-image of Jack – a mirror image of the situation the 815’ers encountered allllll those episodes ago. It was funny to watch, but it was alarming too. Look how easy it was for our main characters to become the very thing we all hated so much – the simplest of questions unanswered, the disparaging looks, the sarcasm, the jadedness…
Now imagine that you’re Charlotte for a minute. You arrive smiling happily, awestruck at the beauty of the island. “Hey look! Flares! My friends are there!” Yeah that’s nice. You ask innocent questions. Someone starts to answer you, but someone else tells him to shut up. You’re disarmed. Then someone swipes your radio and straps it to a dog that runs off into the jungle. What the hell is going on? None of this makes any sense! Hehe, sure it does (to us at least). “What? Don’t you want to be found?” Nah, not really. C’mon Charlotte, get with it – before someone slugs two bullets into your chest. Oops, too late.
The 815 survivors have cool jungle moves. The 815 survivors have rifles and guns. The 815 survivors have a camp, a really weird agenda (some of them anyway), and about half of them have no desire to leave the island. Sound a little familiar? You bet. Our beloved 815’ers have come full circle. They’ve executed their own purge, but the Others aren’t truly gone: the 815’ers have become the Others – without even knowing how.
THAT’S HOW SLICK THE ISLAND IS.
He is Starting to Believe
This isn’t the first time Locke’s smiled into a rainstorm, nor is it the first time he predicted when it would begin or end. He learned to believe at first. He even lost faith at one point. But now, Locke has completely surrendered himself to revel in his connection with the raw power of the island. He’s the chosen one – he’s Neo from the Matrix, flexing his muscles and watching the fabric of the island’s reality ripple around him. With Ben gone Locke has evolved from player to master of the game, at least for now.
Locke is Jacob’s perfect, razor-sharp tool. He’s focused, determined, and Terminator-like in his objective. Locke is untainted by the pride or repeated failures of Ben – just watch his reaction to Hurley’s mention of the cabin. Instead of the jealously Ben felt when Jacob first spoke to Locke, Locke smiles admiringly at Hurley, almost proud of his vision. This makes Locke the better ally, the better right-hand man for Jacob. He will do whatever it takes to reach the end goal – without the complications or distractions of a daughter, a power struggle, or a fertility project.
By The Way… You Might Wanna Stay
Ben’s mind games with Sawyer weren’t purely recreational - as with anything Ben does, there’s always some kind of agenda. At this point, Ben’s resigned himself to the fact that at least some of the 815’ers are going to leave the island. Needling Sawyer about not really having anything to go home to, and riding him about Jack/Kate, Ben was planting seeds in an effort to make him stay.
For this reason, I don’t think Sawyer will be one of the Oceanic Six. Sawyer will stay, leaving Kate forlorn and depressed and bitchy in the flash forwards. But… that’s a good thing. Because I predict Sawyer will be the one reason Jack and Hurley will eventually convince Kate ‘to go back’. She loves him. It’s obvious at this point that ‘going back’ is inevitable, and most likely not possible unless ALL of the Oceanic Six (the living ones, anyway) use their golden tickets in the same plane. End of season finale? Possibly.
Romantic stuff aside, the important thing to note is that Ben’s still planning. He still believes the end game is within reach, but knows that he must have all the players present. ‘Everyone is here for a reason’. Jack & co. leaving at this point may be inevitable, but Ben’s 10 steps ahead and plotting on ways to get them back to the island.
Dead Naomi Creeped Me Out
How’d they make Naomi look so… dead!?!? Am I the only one? Her eyes (and face) had that glassy look people have when filmed with their eyes open underwater. Maybe they did something like that?
Who Are We to Argue With Taller Ghost Walt?
So far, Sawyer has the best line of the season. His Yoda reference was on the weak side, but this line more than made up for it.
Watching Locke’s followers this episode, I think some of them may be thinking twice. Hurley for one, and Sawyer certainly isn’t taking anyone at their word without serious questioning. Locke’s confidence is motivational, but his fanaticism is going to spook a lot of people out. I think he realizes this at times, which is why he stopped to show his gunshot wound and explain things a little bit… something Ben didn’t often do.
Abaddon & Company
Okay… so you’ve got a multi-million dollar organization with near limitless resources. You stage an entire plane crash under water – down to rotting bodies and everything – complete with people who ‘find’ it and film it – all to convince the general public that Oceanic Flight 815 really did crash into the ocean and more importantly, that no one survived.
Never mind the impossibility of a 747 staying wholly intact during a 5000 meter drop through ocean waters, or that such a depth would crush the thin aluminum hull of the airplane like a little kid balling up tin foil. For some reason, it’s important to show the public that everyone’s dead. Why? Hell if I know. Because if an airliner left Australia and never arrived in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t need a dive team to be convinced it’s probably resting on the ocean floor. Video footage is way overkill.
But okay, you spent the money. What’s done is done. And now that everyone’s convinced, and nobody is looking for the plane anymore, it’s time to send a crack crew of experts to the island in order to obtain your objective: retrieve Ben Linus. Navy Seals? SAS? Black Hawk helicopters? Nah. Let’s hire a drunken chopper pilot who called into the hotline, disbelieving the whole crash thing. And let’s get a ghosthunter, an anthropologist, and a scatterbrain physicist to go also. We’ll send a single female soldier to ensure their safety, in a four-seat chopper. Rock and roll.
Alright, enough sarcasm. My point here is that this is nothing but more Dharma bullshit. The five people who made it to the island are no more in the loop about what’s really going on than the fools who sat in the Pearl hatch launching marble notebooks mindlessly into the jungle. Miles, Dan, Charlotte, Frank – they might believe their objective to be Ben Linus, but in my opinion that’s just secondary. Don’t get me wrong, I DO think that Abaddon & Co’s goals certainly do include stopping whatever it is Ben is trying to accomplish. But I think the brains behind the operation know that such an accomplishment could be achieved even without Ben (i.e. Locke’s new job). Which is why, for the sake of stopping the end event from happening, they take the Oceanic Six off the island.
Now, I don’t think they could reach the island without the four people in that chopper. Abaddon knows this. Naomi’s out of the loop too, she thinks the team is absurd – but he doesn’t have to explain it to her. His ‘Get them in, get them out, make sure no one gets killed’ speech is all fluff – he could care less what happens to them so long as they bring back the O6. We already know the island can’t be found by normal means. It takes special people to get in... to be LET in. Frank the drunken pilot was already supposed to be on the island. Fate swapped places with his friend Seth, but his connection is most evident. Putting him in command of that chopper might well have been the only way for them to find the island (or metaphorically, to let the island find them). In short, Abaddon’s tricking his way in.
Dan’s got some type of connection too – he’s crying when he sees the crash footage and doesn’t have a clue why. He’s a terrible liar, and seems overwhelmed by the freighter people – innocent and honest. Miles has some sort of gift enabling him to speak to the dead – an invaluable asset on the island since the dead already seem to have a voice of their own. His dust-buster does nothing but cover his voice as he shakes dead souls down for money, which is probably how they convinced him to go. And Charlotte I’m not sure of, but Abaddon got her there easily enough by duping her with Dharma tricks. The polar bear in the desert wasn’t the first time she’d seen that logo, and she was chomping at the bit to go. Details are sketchy. One thing’s for sure – the whole team is in the dark. Their own superiors “can’t come to the phone right now”, and none of them look very confident. Another thing I’m pretty sure of is that Ben’s never been off island – photo or no photo. Unless you count him being off island the way Charlie was off island last episode, which makes just about anything possible.
The Parachute Man is Angry
Miles landing on a rock face, appearing to be dead, parachute flapping in the wind… another punch in the face reference to Lord of the Flies. Because of his gift, Miles is a little more in the know about what’s going on. His vehement anger toward Ben could stem from the knowledge he gleaned by kneeling over Naomi’s body, but more likely his contact with the spirit world has given him a greater insight as to the things Ben has done. Either that, or Ben really did something to piss him off we don’t know about just yet.
It’s the only thing I could think of. JJ Abrams had a fever, and the only prescription, was more cowbell. And I can’t really say that I blame him.
Because I’ve got a Man on Their Boat
Very cool ending. And possibly the only thing Ben could’ve said to save himself, yet again, from getting his brains blown out. With all the Walt references, and knowing in advance that he’s returning this season, I think the only logical person Ben’s referring to here would be Michael. Either that, or Mikhail’s stowed away with a pair of nunchucks about to kick unholy levels of ass.
And finally, out of the blue, out of all the torturous new mysteries Locke could’ve asked about at the exact moment he had the guy totally pinned down, salivating to answer anything he could just to stay alive… Locke asks Ben “what is the smoke monster?” I almost fell out of my chair. It was the absolute furthest thing I cared about, which was hilarious, because for such a long time that question mattered so much. It was almost as if the writers were tweaking my nuts and laughing.
And for a second, I almost thought we’d get an answer. But then of course we didn’t. But then a few more seconds passed, and I realized we DID get an answer… and the answer was important. The answer is that Ben really doesn’t know what the smoke monster is (think I was gonna take Juliet’s lying-ass word for it last season?), which means that Locke doesn’t know what it is, which (drumroll…) means that Jacob wantsto know what it is. And to me, that’s pretty damned important. Which brings me to end this week with a few paragraphs of rambling theory that people will invariably rip apart for having no factual basis for my conclusions:
Rambling Theory That People Will Invariably Rip Apart
Just as the 815 survivors are now split into two main camps, the entire LOST storyline has always been split down the middle. On one hand there have been champions of the island, and on the other there have been forces aligning against it. In my ‘theory of everything’ I stated my belief that LOST will culminate in some kind of end event, meaning that something is ‘supposed to happen’ (or not happen) and that the consciousness of the island has been manipulating people toward achieving that end goal. Not only do I still believe that, but I think the teams are becoming much clearer. Here’s a rough breakdown:
ISLAND CHAMPIONS – a.k.a. “We’re the good guys” starring:
Ben & crew
Locke & company
Ms. ‘every one of us will die’ Hawking
Taller Ghost Walt (acquired in 2007 draft)
THE BUTTON PUSHERS – a.k.a. “We’re here to rescue you” starring:
Abaddon & company (a.k.a. Dharma, Hanso, etc…)
The Freighter Crew
Desmond’s Miraculous Future Sight
Jack & company (unknowingly)
Desmond (traded to Islanders during season 2 finale)
That’s about the size of it. Roughly, I think the champions have been fighting to bring about the island’s end event, and the button pushers have been trying to prevent it. When I say ‘have been’ I mean that in a cyclical sense, since LOST is going to turn out to be one big loop that repeats itself from beginning to end.
The island brought flight 815 because it needed its passengers to accomplish the end goal. “Everyone is here for a reason”. With the island’s safeguards finally unlocked, the freighter crew is now trying to prevent that goal by ‘rescuing’ the island’s most needed players. The act of the Oceanic Six leaving the island will completely thwart the end game. In Jack’s flash-forward he told Kate he’s “sick of lying”, and after watching the bogus footage of the plane wreckage we now know what he meant. Ditto for his words to Hurley: “Are you going to tell?” Apparently, NOT accomplishing the end task has far more sinister implications, because whatever happens between now and then it seems that Jack and Hurley both regret it enough for Jack to want to go back and fix it.
Note that I didn’t put the smoke monster in there anywhere. I have no clue where it fits in. On one hand I want to say it’s doing the island’s bidding, but on the other hand there’s evidence it’s an unknown entity. It hasn’t exactly operated according to any specific plan. I’m open to suggestions.
Finally I’ll go out on a really thin limb. I’ll vaguely speculate my interpretation of the ending. I’ll say that the O6 defy the button pushers, come back to the island, and help what’s left of the champions achieve the end goal. They’ll do this thinking it’s the right thing to do – the way things ‘are supposed to happen’. But at the very, VERY last second, Locke (of all people) will somehow realize that it’s not. Somehow he’ll realize that Jacob/Ben’s agenda really IS the bad one (this is LOST, there has to be a twist on the twist). His whole life will flash before his eyes – a life filled with people manipulating him to get whatever they want – a life at the end of very long puppet strings. Rebelling against this, Locke will go postal and flub the whole plan at the last possible moment, much the same way he did with the Swan hatch. Whatever he does will ‘save every single one of us’ as per Ms. Hawking, but will doom our characters to repeat the whole circle from the plane crash on. I really think the show begins and ends on that damned plane.