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Lost – “The Candidate” – Recap

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After a one-week hiatus, Lost came back this week with a vengeance, and a thirst for blood. Last episode, we left off with Jack being rescued by Fake Locke (Flocke, or the Man In Black). Meanwhile, everyone else was taken hostage by Charles Widmore and his team of assorted scientists and generic gun-toting lackeys. But forget about all that for the moment, because this week we start off in the alternate timeline. Locke is laid up in the hospital after being run down by Desmond, and Jack is his attending doctor.

They have one of the most ambiguous conversations we’ve seen on Lost so far. Jack pretty much talks to John about what happened, and brings up the fact that he told him to come get a consultation after they met at LAX post-Flight Oceanic 815. He said that after examining his condition, he’s discovered that Locke is, indeed, a candidate for corrective surgery so he can walk again. There’s a whole lot of double talk going on here, as all of this “candidate” talk is reflective of what Jack is going through on the island. Here, Locke is absolutely resistant to the surgery for reasons we learn later. Jack, being a self-appointed Mr. Fix-It for anyone he comes in contact with, refuses to take no for an answer and takes it upon himself to research the accident that put Locke in this position.

Even after Helen’s request to let the matter alone, Jack pursues a lead and tracks down the man that did corrective dental work on Locke after the initial accident. Of course, this leads us to good old Bernard, who is acting fishy. I really got the feeling that he knew a whole lot more about things way more important than Locke’s accident, although that may just be me overanalyzing things. Something about the cryptic way he addressed Jack and his reminder to Jack that they were both on Oceanic 815, paired with the odd smirk he had on his face the whole conversation, just doesn’t sit right with me. I think we’ll be seeing more of Bernard in this timeline before the show’s done. I don’t quite understand how he would have any more knowledge than Rose appeared to have during her interactions with Hurley earlier in the season, but I guess only time will tell.

Anyway, Bernard is not very forthcoming with direct info, but he does point Jack in the direction of Anthony Cooper, Locke’s dad. Jack treks to the nursing home and discovers a VERY different version of the Anthony Cooper we all love to hate. In the ATL (Alternate Time Line), Cooper is a borderline vegetable and has a vastly more weathered and worn look. Now he actually looks like he could believably be Locke’s father, which is nice because I always hated how little of a difference in age there appeared to be between the two. I can’t help but feel bad for ol’ Coop, but considering that we know in this timeline that he’s still the guy who destroyed Sawyer’s family, I guess it doesn’t give him too many points that he hadn’t gotten around to destroying Locke’s before he got in this condition.

Before we find out the deal with Locke’s accident, Jack has a really nice scene with Claire where she brings a gift that Christian had bequeathed to her in hopes of some clarification on its purpose. She opens the box, and it’s a music box with a mirror inside. Is it just me, or is it verrry similar to the one Rousseau had on the island? Considering how Claire is pretty much the spitting image of Rousseau in the island timeline now, that can’t be a coincidence, right? Part of me wonders if Christian left it for her so that she’d have flashes of her island self… The probability of this depends on how aware Christian was of the island before his death and what exactly his role is in the grand scheme of things. Could this be the thing that brings Claire to her senses on the island and frees her from Flocke? Christian has been painted as a villain on the island in the past couple of seasons, so that wouldn’t really gel. The Smoke Monster took credit for all of the Christian appearances on the island, but what about when Christian appeared to Jack off the island? Is the real Christian caught in some kind of limbo, where his body is on the island and at the mercy of the Smoke Monster, but his spirit is free to roam in the real world? And does this relate at all to the still-missing body that was in the coffin on Flight 815? So many questions with him… I hope we get some clarification soon.

Finally, in the ATL, Jack has a heart-to-heart with Locke and questions him on his father and the accident, citing his inability to let go of things. Locke breaks down, and in an absolutely amazingly acted anecdote, describes to Jack how he got a pilot’s license and convinced his dad to be his first ride-along against Anthony Cooper’s better judgment. He lost control of the plane and crashed, and while he was only partially paralyzed, his father was left in the condition we saw him in. His guilt over the accident renders him unwilling to cease his suffering and have the surgery since his dad will never have a similar opportunity. Jack and John come to the conclusion that both are never able to let go.

The reveal that Locke has a pilot’s license has gotta be a big one. There’s no reason to write that in unless the writers are going to use it down the line. This could maybe lead to Locke awakening within himself on the island and flying everyone to safety, but I think more likely scenario is that ATL Locke will get the surgery, “remember” the island, and be the one to fly the Oceanic 815 passengers to the spot where the island should be. In the ATL, the island is sunken underwater, so it will be interesting to see where they go from there. Desmond should help clarify that soon, I suppose.

Speaking of remembering the island, there were two instances of John channeling his island life in this episode. Echoing lines from earlier seasons aside, he also was mumbling in his sleep in the hospital. I picked out, “Push the button,” and, “I wish you believed me.” “Push the button” is pretty self-explanatory, but the second one is the one that’s got me thinking. He never said it verbally, he only wrote it in his suicide note to Jack, which means he’s not only remembering things he said, but also remembering images. I think this is also the first instance of someone in the ATL remembering something that didn’t take place on the island, but in the real world. Remembering his death may be key to Locke fighting for himself against Flocke. He also briefly seems to recognize Sun in the hallway of the hospital, although he doesn’t say anything about it.

Phew. Back to the island. Kate, Hurley, Sun, Jin, and Frank are all held captive by Charles Widmore and company. They, for no apparent reason, throw the Losties into the polar bear cages. These cages are getting more screentime than some characters this season. After briefly attempting an escape, Sawyer is put in check by Widmore when he threatens to kill Kate. He says he has a list of the candidates and Kate’s not one of them, so he has no problem killing her. Kate seems to think she’s a candidate and tells Sawyer not to give up because she thinks Widmore’s bluffing, but Sawyer, having seen Kate’s name crossed off in the Man In Black’s cave, knows otherwise. Back to the cages they go.

I think this has a load of importance, and lends credence to a theory that I’ve supported myself: that Widmore and the Man In Black are really working together. Hear me out. Screencaps have shown that Kate’s name was, in fact, crossed out on the Man In Black’s cave. They’ve ALSO shown that her name is NOT crossed out on Jacob’s wheel-list of candidates. He *did* touch her in her past just like everyone else. Why her name is crossed off in the cave and not on the wheel is interesting, and another matter altogether. But for this argument, that means that the list Widmore has is Smokey’s list. Where did he get it from, if not from Smokey himself? There’s more evidence later on, but we’ll get to that. I think Kate’s name not being crossed off is going to have a lot of weight in the endgame. MIB thinks she’s not a candidate for some reason, but Jacob seemingly knows otherwise. He could be duping MIB into doing something foolish with regard to her. We shall see.

So Jack and Flocke decide to break them out of their confinement, and Widmore realizes that, whoopsy, the fences aren’t active so Smokey can get in. Convenient, right? He slips away, and the rest of his team is slaughtered. Jack gets to the cage and frees his friends, saying, “I’m with him.” I called that line out loud before he said it, but it was still really awesome to hear.

Flocke and company head off to the Ajira plane to complete their exit strategy. Jack tells Flocke that he’s not leaving with them and that he’s supposed to stay on the island, he’s just lending a helping hand to his friends. Flocke goes into the plane, and just happens to know where to look to find a block of C4 planted in the overhead compartment. He takes a watch off of a dead body for a then-undisclosed reason, and reports back to the Losties. He shows them the C4 and says that wow, Widmore must really want them all to die since he planted the explosives. I think there’s a better explanation, but I’ll get to that later. He tells them that taking the plane is too risky, so they’ll commandeer Widmore’s sub instead. As they’re walking, Sawyer confides in Jack that he doesn’t trust Flocke and he has a plan.

They get to the sub, and a firefight ensues between them and Widmore’s men. During the confusion, Flocke switches backpacks with Jack and they make a break for the sub. Everyone almost gets inside Jack tells Flocke he’s not going because John Locke told him he’s supposed to stay, then pushes Flocke into the water. Immediately afterwards, Kate is shot by one of the better-aiming gunmen. Jack is quick to help, and helps get her into the sub. Flocke climbs out of the water, and Sawyer takes that as a sign to expedite the process. Jack hops in, presumably to tend to Kate, and once again they strand Claire on the outside as she’s fighting for their survival. They strongarm a crew member into manning the controls, and off they go.

Jack starts to take care of Kate’s wound, and tells Hurley to grab his backpack because he thinks he has an extra shirt in there to dress the bullethole. Hell, Jack, if it’s that much of an emergency, take yours off and worry about warming yourself later! Of course, for the sake of the plot, Hurley had to get the backpack so Jack could find: A ticking time-bomb fashioned out of the C4 and the watch that Flocke recovered. Everybody switches gears to code red panic, and scrambles for a solution. Sawyer and Sayid want to disarm it, but Jack has other ideas. He takes a similar leap of faith to the one he took with Richard at the Black Rock a couple episodes back. Obviously, Flocke wants them all to die and manipulated them into this position. But if he wanted them to die so badly, why didn’t he kill them when he had the chance? Simple. Because he can’t. Jack posits that the “rules” must be that Flocke can’t kill the candidates and that they have to die at someone else hands. Since he placed the bomb in Jack’s backpack, even if it ticks to zero nothing will happen because it would technically be Flocke killing them. He wants them to attempt to disarm the bomb so that it’s inadvertently their own doing.

Sawyer, fresh off of trusting Jack and losing Juliet as a result, is not ready to make the same mistake again at the expense of their lives. He pulls a wire out to disarm it, and for a second it seems to work and the clock stops counting down. A few seconds later, it starts up again, this time at double the speed. They all immediately realize that Jack was right, and try to figure out what to do with the bomb. They’re too far underwater to come back up to the surface and dispose of it. Sayid, who is decidedly more Sayid and less evil Sayid since his run-in with Desmond a couple weeks back, decides to literally take the hit. He grabs the bomb, tells Jack that Desmond is still alive in the well, and ominously declares, “It’s you, Jack,” before running down the hall into another section of the sub right as the bomb blows him apart. This whole redemption of Sayid, while a fitting ending for the character, felt a little rushed to me. I think that they knew all season that he was going to meet his end in a similar way, but they wrote themselves into a corner and didn’t have enough time to develop his return from the darkside up until that moment. So, while a nice gesture, it didn’t have the impact it could have had. Also… Somehow I doubt that the C4 would have had that small of an impact. Sayid wasn’t THAT far away from everyone else when it blew, but they were left unscathed. You mean to tell me that Flocke’s big plan was that he was banking on the fact that everyone would be huddled in the same room when it went off, or had the inability to swim out of the sub?! Come ON.

Regardless, Sayid immediately saved the lives of everyone else, but the explosion ruptured the sub and caused it to malfunction and start letting in water at an alarming rate. Things starting giving in to the water pressure and popping off left and right. Sawyer is bopped on the head, and Hurley plays the hero and grabs Kate and swims on out with her. When did Hurley, at his size, gain the ability to swim like that? Ah well, it was a nice moment to shine for him. Frank isn’t so lucky, as he gets pelted with a door. Jack grabs the unconscious Sawyer and pulls him out with him, swimming up and out. Sun unfortunately gets pinned down by something (I couldn’t see just what) and Jin goes to work trying to get her out. There’s no chance though, the weight is too heavy and the water is all the way up to their shoulders. Sun screams for him to leave and save himself, but he’s too noble for that. He reclaims his vow to never leave her side again, and despite her protests, he accepts his fate of dying with her. He takes her hands, and in the saddest moment I can remember ever seeing on TV, they drown together. The image of their clasped hands drifting apart once they die will stay with me for a long time.

I have to admit, though… No mention of their daughter by Sun? I’d think she’d be a bit more of a concerned mother than that. It would take away from the romanticism of the moment, but instead it felt a little unrealistic and ignorant on the writers’ part.

Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley all wash up beachside and reality sets in. Hurley is the first to crack and break down in tears, and Kate soon follows suit. I hate to say it, because I really like Hurley, but his crying almost sounded like laughter and the lack of a facial expression as he buried his head didn’t help matters. Maybe he doesn’t have the acting chops of the others, but it was a bit awkward. Jack walks out to the ocean and breaks down crying as well. Strangely, it’s nighttime now… hmm… Anyway, it makes for a really resonant moment. I felt a ton of compassion for Jack, and I really wanna see him make MIB pay now. The image of all four of them on the beach under the night sky was absolutely awe-inspiring. It leaves me giddy for what kind of stuff we’re gonna see come finale-time. It can only get better.

Finally, Flocke and Claire look out over the water and have a chat. Flocke knows that not all of them died. How? I’d channel the bottle and cork metaphor here, and say that it’s similar to a genie. All he knows is that he’s not yet free, so he’s got more work to do. A couple thoughts here… If he can’t kill them, then how? Will he make Claire do it? She definitely has a reason to get vengeance now, since she’s been unintentionally abandoned by them several times. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I’m a sucker for a bad-ass girl with a chip on her shoulder. And if what I’m thinking is right, and Widmore and MIB are together, then why didn’t Widmore just rig the sub to begin with? I know that the plane was the original plan, and it probably backfired because of Jack’s unwillingness to go, but still… And why didn’t Widmore just kill them all when he had the time?

So… we lost three of the original Oceanic 815 passengers in one episode. The writers mean business now, and nobody’s safe. Except, I think, for Jack, since Sayid confirmed that he’s the one true candidate. What about Frank? We didn’t see him die, but I doubt they’d make him survive. He never really got to live out the full potential of the character and do anything really epic, but the biggest reason I think he’s gone for good? We learned about Locke being a pilot. Too convenient that we learn of another pilot in the same episode that we possibly lose one. Who’s next? I think we’re in for a major swerve with Kate, one way or another. But if I had to guess, I think they’re all gonna die before the end except for Jack, and Jack’s going to have to take his place as Jacob’s replacement so that the rest of the Losties can have either a total reset or the lives we see in the ATL. Hopefully next week we get to Ben, Richard, and Miles’s wacky shenanigans. Their plan was to blow up the plane so Flocke couldn’t leave, but they apparently didn’t get around to it. So what gives?

A MUCH better episode this week than the one before. And the finale just got extended to two and a half hours. Hard to believe there are just three episodes left. What did you guys think?

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  • This episode was pretty gnarly. Sayid went out like a champ and the Kwons..oh man the Kwons.

    Honestly at this point they could jump the shark and say it was all aliens and I would just go with it. I love this show and next weeks episode looks like its gonna be a Jacob/MIB show. I’m excited.