Lost Round Table “What They Died For”

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The penultimate (I love that word) episode of Lost has come, which brings us to the penultimate Lost Round Table. Bloggers Theresa DeLucci, Bridget McGovern and Rajan Khanna offer their penultimate Lost thoughts and invite you to do the same (penultimately). This is your penultimate Lost Spoiler Warning.

Raj: Dear Lost, I know things have been awkward between us of late. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’ve been together for 6 years now and things aren’t the way that they used to be. I think maybe you’ve started taking me for granted. And I think that my expectations might be set too high. But after last night, I have new hope for the both of us. Last night I felt like some of the excitement of the early days was back. Some of the promises I thought would remain unfulfilled were addressed. And I can’t wait for our next date.

That Jack was the candidate was expected, but made sense. I was surprised, however, by how sympathetic Jacob was in this episode, especially after the previous episode. Though I guess we had murderous Smocke to play against him. Though Bridget will be happy to see Zoe taken care of. Widmore’s death was unexpected, too, though I still wonder at his true objective. Was he telling the truth when he said that Jacob came to him? Is he going to try to detonate an EMP to destroy Smocke?

I also liked seeing Desmond as the kind-of Jacob of Earth-2, maneuvering all the people there to where, I assume, they’ll be able to affect or interact with Earth-1. But the shape of that interaction is still hard to predict. Will Earth-2 ultimately collapse? I hope not. I like having a world where Sayid and Locke are still alive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I miss original John Locke. It’s nice to see him, and in a better place.

Which brings up an interesting point between the two Earths. Some have previously brought up the fact that Earth-2 might be the inferior world, but in this episode we hear Jacob say that the reason he reached out to the candidates on Earth-1 was that they were, essentially, lost. They were alone. They needed something to make things right. Earth-2, however, doesn’t seem to have the same problem. Jack has a family, is less angry, and seems to be able to heal in more than just the physical sense. Claire has found a family. Hurley is not cursed. Some of them are not in the best of circumstances—Kate, for example—but is she any worse off than on Earth-1? I wonder if this will come into play.

Finally, I was happy to see some of my old favorites back for this episode. Richard (who isn’t dead by any means), Ben, and Miles. I wish Miles had had more to do, but then I always do. Ben’s turn in this one was really interesting, especially compared to his Earth-2 counterpart, but in the end it’s all about Alex. Which makes his shooting of Widmore understandable. I wonder if he’s really lost himself, in the way that Sayid did, though, or if he’s just playing along like Sawyer did. I wouldn’t put the latter past one of the Island’s master manipulators. But then again, maybe he is lost as well, and maybe Jack will be the one to help turn him back in the end. A new Jacob. A Jacob who can fix people.

Oh, and I still maintain that Sawyer had no reason to trust Jack with the bomb. He was behind the failed Jughead scheme that ended up killing Juliet. But I think that in the end, Sawyer now is seeing things from the other side. Jin and Sun’s deaths (and Sayid’s) weren’t his fault strictly, but it’s possible things might have worked out another way.

So, Lost, I think we may still have a future together. But I will be paying a lot of attention to our next date…

Theresa: I liked this episode. It served its purpose, setting everything up for the big finale. When it ended, I was actually pretty sad. Only one new episode of Lost left. Ever. But those feelings will have to wait until Sunday night. For now, the pieces are moved to their final, finale position.

Oh, Ben. It feels like we haven’t seen him in a long time. When last we saw him, he was talked out of being the MIB’s lackey and seemed humble, repentant for his manipulations, and ready to destroy the MIB. But as soon as he was face-to-face with his true enemy, Charles, all that meekness flew out the window and he reverted back to his sneaky ways. I love Ben when he’s manipulative, sly and a bit impulsive. And you have to give him some credit for getting so close to his revenge—I was so afraid for Penny. Ben knows how to turn almost any situation to his benefit. But it also feels like a step backwards for where his character was. And yet… we never really know what Ben’s got planned. If Charles is three steps ahead of Ben (loved that!) then Ben is still about five steps ahead of anyone else on the Island. He didn’t give Miles that walkie-talkie for nothing.

(As an aside, I’m pretty sure I heard Bridget’s cheer from Brooklyn as soon as Zoe died.)

On the flip side, after weeks of speculating about who would be the ultimate Candidate, it was a bit anticlimactic for Jack to step up and take Jacob’s place. No debate, no real questions. Was anyone really surprised? We expect nothing less from Jack. What did surprise me was Hurley saying he’s glad it wasn’t him. I’m glad, too! But it didn’t seem like a Hurley thing to say. That whole scene with Jacob and the Losties around the campfire was handled well. We got a great deal of exposition, but it all seemed pretty satisfying to me. I’d be okay with walking away from the finale feeling like this. Not wowed, not shocked, but satisfied. They were brought to the island because they were… lost. Did anyone think anything else of these characters and their dramatic, soap opera lives, way back in the first season?

But, what gives me hope that the finale can still wow me and maybe throw in a few gut-punches is the sideways universe. I loved all the stuff going on in there and the way I predict we’re moving towards some heart-wrenching, bittersweet musical montage with the whole ensemble at a concert. Raj, you make a great point about most of the characters being less lonely in Earth-2. Look at the chemistry between Rousseau and Ben, of all people. I never would have imagined that. But what did those two people always have in common on Earth-1? Their love for Alex. It makes so much sense. And it was just so sweet. I feel invested in these alternate characters and their fates just as much as the people on the island.

Bridget: I have to say that by the end of this episode, I felt far more secure about the writers’ ability to pull off a satisfying finale than I had when it started. A lot of things felt rushed, as if they are working off a checklist (“Mention Ji Yeon’s existence!—be sad!—check!”), but the steady pacing and a few deft touches here and there kept the show from feeling forced. Once again, the mirroring between the Island and Earth-2 worked well, and how great was it to have Ben and Miles back?!!!

Richard—well, I’m still processing that. I agree, Raj: he can’t be dead. Not only because he was supposed to be immortal (although the Rules are always debatable), but because it just wasn’t an acceptable death for a major character; they threw him away like a lame, unlikeable, third-string redshirt. Ahem. Speaking of Zoe, while it was semi-enjoyable to see her on the receiving end of what Jason Henninger memorably called “the slapdash Cuban necktie treatment,” her death just reinforced the character’s essential pointlessness: I still don’t know why she was there, taking up precious space and time, but now she’s not. Fine. Moving on: so glad Miles made it through the episode: he keeps things light, and he’s always good for snotty meta-commentary…what’s not to love?

And then there was Ben: stone-cold gangsta and slayer of Widmores in one reality, while in the other he’s having a heaping helping of the warm fuzzies for dinner with charming French MILF Danielle Rousseau. And he’s equally great in both roles—say what you want about this season, but anytime Michael Emerson is onscreen, Lost is nothing less than brilliant.

I also enjoyed watching Desmond’s gleeful machinations unfold on Earth-2. So, everybody and their mother (or at least David’s mother—who is Juliet, right? RIGHT?!) are going to end up at this concert. I’m assuming there will eventually be a choice to make, as there is on the Island. What the choice will be, and who will be making it remain to be seen—will it be one person, or a collective decision? One thing is certain: this is going to be one hell of a concert; it’s going to be like nerd Woodstock up in that thing.

Finally, like Theresa, I was a little underwhelmed by the candidates’ storyline; it did feel somewhat anticlimactic (and the scene around the campfire had a weird Survivor: Craphole Island vibe; I kept waiting for Jacob to whip out an immunity idol). Jack’s choice to be the Island’s guardian went way too smoothly, and I don’t trust it—either the Island has other plans, or the truly difficult, climactic decision has yet to be made. Personally, my hope for Sunday’s finale is that the show will leave us with an ending that is satisfying, but allows for a certain amount of ambiguity and interpretation; Lost‘s penchant for inspiring philosophical and ethical debate has always been one of its most appealing aspects. Now that we’re at the end, I’m okay with some unanswered questions, as long as whatever ultimate explanation they provide gives us plenty to think about and obsess over while we’re updating and retrofitting all our old theories. I can’t wait!

Please check out our list of Lost‘s Top 15 Moments, join us below in the comments, and enjoy our penultimate (!) round of Lost links:

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 The Way of the Wizard, Shimmer, GUD, and Steampunk Tales. He is also a member of NY-based writing group, Altered Fluid. He lives in Brooklyn.

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She would like to make a vacation home out of Ben Linus’ secreter room, where she would invite Rose and Bernard over for Mai Tais and gossip.


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