Lost Round Table “The Candidate”

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Join bloggers Bridget McGovern, Rajan Khanna, and Theresa DeLucci for this week’s Lost Round Table. Spoilers ahead, seeing as the ensemble cast shrank by a whopping four people this week. (We think.)

Rajan: Wow. This is going to be a hard one to write about. But here goes:

Wow, Lost. I’m still really not sure what you’re going for here. Except maybe a significant death toll. But before I get to that, what I liked about this episode was again the Earth-2 storyline. Once again, this is a Jack I actually like, even if he is still driven to “fix” people. Even if he is poking his nose in where it doesn’t belong. But I forgive that because I like to think that he’s picking up on some of the significance of people and events. He certainly is picking up on the repetition of Oceanic 815.

I also like the echoing of many lines we’ve heard before when Jack was talking to Locke. All of that worked for me.

And regarding the deaths, I have been wanting more of them prior to now. I felt that with so much apparently at stake, and with so many characters, it was necessary. But this…I don’t know. It felt off to me. Part of that has to do with the fact that the characters seem at this point to be pieces being moved around on the board. Whether that’s by Widmore or Smocke or the writers, that seems to be the case. What was the point of them splitting off before into these little groups if they were only going to come together with so little fanfare? Or consequences to their actions? But suddenly, after a series of feints and people meeting up and running off and separate camps, everyone is together making a break to get off the island. With little protest to joining up with Smocke. Sawyer, I understand, was waiting for an opportunity. But Hurley’s protest came too late. It all seemed very rushed.

Then there are the actual deaths. I’m assuming Lapidus is dead. What was the point in bringing him this far only to kill him off for no apparent reason? Or was his submarine direction his shining moment? Or was he merely a red herring for the use of the plane? I suppose there’s a chance he might wash up on shore and he may still fly the plane away, but I’m doubtful.

Then there are the main character deaths. Sayid was in need of redemption. And this is the one that seemed to play out as expected. But I think Sayid’s journey was shortchanged at the end. I think we can see how meeting Desmond may have given him an inkling of a different path. And I can see how he might want to sacrifice himself to save the others. But I felt like there needed to be a moment or two more there.

Then Sun and Jin. Yes, they died together. And I liked that. I would have been more upset had Jin left. But it all seemed so very pointless and just a way to clear aside some characters.

And, I’ll just go ahead and say it, I’m annoyed that they killed off most of the minorities. I got people annoyed with me for saying so last time, but Lost has a bad habit of eliminating people of color. Eko and Michael, for example. The two black members of the main cast. I know we’re near the end, but it didn’t sit well with me that the brown man and the Asian couple were cleared away leaving all the white character and couples (and Jorge Garcia, to be fair) as the remaining heroes. Frankly, for me, it smacked of the dreaded movie curse. And really, they couldn’t have just killed Kate instead? She’s not even a candidate.

But that brings up some questions—why did the Island let the Kwons and Sayid die if they were candidates? Why let Kate live if she isn’t? Was it really because Sawyer pulled the wires? And if so, I blame Jack more for that because he wasn’t convincing enough. If I was Sawyer, I would have done the same thing.

I’m still in it until the end, and I have faith things can and will turn around. But I will say I’m disappointed by some of the decisions that they’ve made so far this season.

Theresa: First things first—Lapidus is still alive because we never saw a corpse and no one made reference to him being dead, right? Right? Frank is going to walk up on that beach any minute now… right?

And yes, I’ll say it, Kate still lives. If you really want to make me believe that this show is ending, have the guts to kill your favorite character, Lost creators. Killing Jin and Sun so soon after they reunited was just depressing as hell. I thought for sure Sun was going to tell Jin to leave and try to take care of their beautiful daughter. It would have made sense. It would’ve seemed a little less selfish. But I have to admire Jin’s ability to stick to his vow. The truly selfless act was Sayid’s. And we got no teary goodbye for the fallen soldier. How sad. I can’t believe he’s just gone. And Raj, I noticed it, too; Miles had better keep hiding in the jungle if he knows what’s good for him. At least everyone’s still alive in the sideways universe. Now I want that to be the real universe somehow.

So, yes, lots of slaughter this episode, especially at the end. And a lot of action on the Island before it. But what I really loved was Earth-2 Locke. And Jack. Just a really nice juxtaposition of Jack offering Locke help in Earth-2 the way the MIB offers Jack help. (Or does he?) Mostly I liked the mirror conversations where Jack said lines that were originally spoken by Locke, once upon a time. But now I wonder: did Locke get a glimpse of Earth-1 in his near death experience? It certainly seemed like it, last episode, but his refusal of Jack’s experimental surgery seemed more about the guilt he felt for causing the accident that injured himself and his father. Not about having a moment of clarity. In fact, I was wondering if the people on the Island in Earth-1 can see Earth-2 if they have near death experiences. I mean, Juliet proved that they can. But what about Sayid? I was kind of expecting a revelation for his apathy to be because he glimpsed Earth-2 in the Temple’s pool.

But then he exploded. These things happen on Lost.

I disagree, Raj. I don’t think Jack could have been more convincing with letting the bomb run out. I blame Sawyer’s impulsiveness for making the bomb go faster. Do you think the bomb wouldn’t have exploded if everyone let the timer run out on its own? In fact, after the last scene with the MIB, I’m not as sure as I was when Jack was trying to make a case for it earlier! But why, oh, why couldn’t Sayid throw the bomb into that room instead of blowing up with it?

As far as the MIB goes, he can’t kill the Candidates himself because it’s against the rules? And he can’t leave the Island until they’re all dead? It just seemed like he had much better opportunity to kill everyone many episodes ago. I bet Ben would’ve helmed a second Purge. I really, really need to know what Widmore really wants. I need to anchor my loyalty to a cause to get more invested in the Island action. Right now, I just want characters I like to survive. But I think there should be more meaning behind their ultimate fates.

Bridget: I have to admit, I was riveted throughout this episode—maybe it felt rushed, and maybe there are some weird holes in the action (and if Ben, Miles, and Richard don’t show up soon, I may develop the shakes), but suddenly we’re zooming on down the Highway to the Danger Zone, all hell is breaking loose, bodies are piling up, and I’m all for it. Watching “The Last Recruit” two weeks ago was like witnessing the painstaking construction of a complex Rube Goldberg machine; in “The Candidate,” the plot suddenly lurched forward, picked up speed, and now it feels like we’re hurtling toward closure at long last (although there are plenty of loose ends to be tied up…or not).

I agree with both of you that the sideways plot was particularly strong this week, with its mirroring and refraction of Jack and Locke, but I was also intrigued by similar parallels at play on the Island between Jack and Sawyer—the scene with the bomb on the submarine was arguably a reversal of last season’s finale, with Jack and Sawyer switching active and passive roles. It felt like “Jughead” in reverse in a lot of ways, although I get the impression that those parallels are less important than the funky cosmic tango Jack and Locke are currently engaged in…

As for the deaths (or at least the major deaths—I can’t say I’m sorry to see Widmore’s flunkies getting sent straight to flaming redshirt hell): first, I refuse to accept a dead Lapidus. Sure, he’s been wasted all season, but if the writers really couldn’t come up with anything better than “hit with a door, presumed dead,” then I choose to ignore them completely from now on. Plus, he’s scrappy—I’m not counting him out. Jin and Sun are basically martyrs to the show’s need to viciously kick its viewers in the heart every once in awhile; their shared function all season was to be separated; as soon as they got back together, their narrative was essentially over. It was sad, but it also felt preordained.

Sayid’s death was more interesting to me, if only because it was so sudden, and such a significant reversal, in a way—so much of his character development has involved other people’s control over him, for better or worse, and his choices were almost always influenced by external forces. He served his function and conformed in one way or another to others’ expectations or desires, a theme that culminated in the fact that he’s spent most of this season seemingly possessed. For once, instead of the tortured rationalizing and manipulation that normally attends Sayid’s decision-making, the bomb forced him to a moment of truth: he made a split-second decision, and died on his own terms, as a hero.

A few quick questions: Did everyone else feel like Bernard is hip to whatever wacky hoodoo is afoot in the sideways reality? My gut reaction to his scene with Jack is that he knows that the fact that they were all on Flight 815 is no coincidence. I’m still wondering if all the slippage in Jack’s Earth-2 experiences is leading up to some kind of major epiphany—perhaps he needs to reach some kind of enlightenment in that reality before he can fulfill his role on the Island? And finally, any thoughts on Claire’s music box? I know the significance of “Catch a Falling Star” and that Danielle Rousseau also had a music box (though not the same one, obviously)—maybe this just ironically underscores her isolation and role as resident Brooding Crazy Lady on the Island? Any other theories? In any case, I’m extremely excited for “Jacob versus MiB: The True Hollywood Story” next week (and for Island Desmond to get the Baby Jessica treatment as soon as possible)…

In the meantime, here are a few Lost-related links you might enjoy:

• The Lost finale, which just completed post-production, has been extended by an extra thirty minutes

• Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof discuss “The Candidate” with EW’s Doc Jensen

• Wired has it all: in-depth interviews, clues, fan art, the origins of Geronimo Jackson—a veritable smorgasbord of information (Warning: the whiteboard featured in the top photo apparently contains spoilers, so you may want to avert thine eyes).

• And lastly, in case you missed it, our very own Jason Henninger has concocted a brilliant, Edward Gorey-style tribute to some of our favorite (and least favorite) dearly departed characters: “The Gashlycrumb Losties

Theresa DeLucci is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Chizine

Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Shimmer, GUD, and Steampunk Tales. He lives in Brooklyn with his two cats, Chloe and Muppet.

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She enjoys David Bowie, roller coasters, and Frank Lapidus’s impressive (if totally unnecessary) cage-kicking skills more than anyone probably should.


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