Lost – ‘Follow the Leader’ – 5.15

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After five seasons, I’ve cracked the formula to a Lost season-ender. We always get the finale in 3 acts. The penultimate episode always serves as Act 1 – using the hour to set the board and push all of the pieces in motion. Then, we get served a 2 hour opus that leaves us staggered by the end – sent off into the Summer wondering how five months could fly so swiftly and bemoaning the fact that the next eight would slow to a  nice, Southern drawl.

So, that second-to-last episode is always bittersweet. I’m one of those types who enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I love being left hanging, so I crave these eps where we’re left to wonder what it all means – knowing full well that while some elements put in place will be answered in 7 days – other pieces will meld into the overall mosaic and likely won’t be known completely until we’ve closed shut the last chapter in this thrilling tale. And even then, some will be lost in the ether – with we, the viewer, left to apply our own interpretations.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But enough about all that – Let’s get Lost.

1.   If there is one concept that underlines Lost – it’s Leadership. The crux of this drama is built upon that children’s game – ‘Follow the Leader’. And there is no shortage of parties vying to take control. As the aptly named title suggested, this episode was all about re-establishing the various factions and having us debate who among them is the true chosen one to lead these people. I figured the best way to tackle this post, is to just move on down the list of Leaders.

2.   Let’s start with Richard. For eternity, we’ve dubbed Richard, the Leader of his Band of Merry Men. If anything, he has seniority on his side. Eons on this orb aught to grant one some modicum of respect. But, that bug-eyed bastard Ben cast aspersions on General Guyliner by asserting that Richard is more of an Advisor – sort of the Karl Rove of Fantasy Island. But – advisor to who? At one point, it was likely to Charles Widemore and Eloise – hence his snub of the two when he snapped, “I don’t answer to them”. We know he’s been there a very long time so essentially he is the ambassador of the island, bridging the gap between the indigenous forces/entities on the island and Widemore’s rag-tag band of brothers. But, Ben calls him an advisor in the current climate. Given what we know about Jacob, I’m not 100% convinced he is the Leader (I’ll get to that in a moment). So, who is Richard an Advisor to? Anyone who picks up the mantle of the island! Or more specifically, that person the island chooses as its Leader – which I’ve mentioned before, is a clear correlation to the process in which the Dali Lama is chosen. More to come, I’m sure.

3.   Although it’s fun to drop the Guyliner jabs, producer Carleton Cuse put that all to rest at an appearance earlier this week. When asked why Richard’s gone all Goth, Cuse responded, “That’s not makeup. That’s just Nestor’s weird ass eyes.”

4.   Then there’s Elliemore (Widoise?), the island’s time tossed celeb couple who we’ve seen running the roost at various stops along the time line, except the present where they’re both clamoring to get back some of that TomKat magic and grab the spotlight once again. While the show has largely dispensed with the flashbacks, I am curious to see how Charles ended up leading the Hostiles. What brought him to the island? Is he a descendent from the Black Rock, who soaked up the rejuvenation mojo while living the high life on the island and since his exile has gone all Picard on us. Is that what the Hostiles/Others are? Ageless strangers who found themselves adrift and rescued by the island. The caveat to eternal youth – they can never leave. I’m going to go with that bold prediction, emboldened by the mass sums of cash Widemore plunked down in auction last year to score Black Rock’s manifest. Widemore came  aboard that vessel!

5. So, when we say that they are castaways, perhaps it is that literal an interpretation. The Others (at least some of them) are the curse of the Black Pearl – errrr Rock – forever tied to the one vessel that will keep them from slipping into the after life. And Charles Widemore is their Barbossa. Onthey they traded one Black Rock for a darker, stranger rock on this world – The Island.

6.   Next we have Jack who has grabbed the Crazy Train now that the Lords of Lunacy, Locke and Daniel, have passed their proverbial batons. Although, I don’t think either of them are crazy but there are those who do.

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7.   Anyway, we have Freckles rightly pointing out that the Man of Science is a reborn Man of Faith who is hell-bent on following a hunch to blow Jughead’s top. I’ll be honest. I have no idea how Jack/Daniel’s plan is expected to contain energy unless they plan on relocating the bomb closer to the pocket of electromagnetic energy. There was some discussion to that point, where Richard implied they did not bring the bomb to that location through the same tunnel they swam in through.

8.   So how did they get it down there? Smokey!!! That’s my guess. A sentient force strong enough to tear down trees and kill Mr. Ecko. That ought to be enough power to grab hold of a cherry bomb and sequester it below Othersville. And if that’s the case, then I think they’ll call upon Smokey to toss it back topside.

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9.   Before I get to the heavy hitters, I’ve got to take a moment and reflect upon those schoolyard bullies – Radzinsky and Phil. Both big men when confronted with a tethered LaFleur and his fair Juliet. I really hope Sawyer makes due on his threat to Phil. “I’m gonna’ kill you.” Since the ABC Marketing Department decided to reveal Sawyer’s sudden shore leave by showcasing him prominently in the episode ending teaser, we know he and Juliet bust the can and make their way back surfside. Meaning, our Gentleman Jim has got to be ready to make due on his promise. Can’t wait.

10.   As for Radzinsky, he’ll end up OK assuming Jack isn’t successful in rebooting the show. The reason being, Radzinsky will eventually become the first guy to grab button duty down in the hatch. In the 2nd season finale, where we received Desmond’s flashback – we were introduced to his first bunkmate Kelvin who directed Dezzie’s attention to a massive bloodstain on the ceiling. Said abstract art was revealed to be Radzinsky who had gone crazy after pushing the button for so long.

11.   Now we following on down the line to the next potential Leader, Jacob. And as mentioned above, we’re being primed to assume that Jacob isn’t the Leader we’ve all thought him to be. In fact, John seems to see his as a False God and Jacob/Ben as False Prophets and he intends to pull the drapes and show us the tiny man behind the curtain.

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12.   Locke is now driven by his newfound purpose. Remember, two seasons ago, Jacob revealed himself to Locke and said “Help Me”. I think Jacob is some sort of force, enslaved by Richard, and used to perpetuate this blind obedience in their followers. And despite the fact that Locke died, his memory hasn’t expired. He remembers quite vividly that something in that cabin needs his assistance. And if he can prove the fallacies of Richard and Ben – he can take them down, save the island, and reclaim his rightful place as true Leader of the island.

13.   Or Locke hasn’t learned a damned thing and he is about to be conned yet again, this time unleasing the unholy vengeance of Zombie Jacob. (Somewhere – some hungry screenwriter just started pecking away at The Mummy 4.)

14.   Now here’s something interesting and now it makes me think the hydrogen bomb is fated to go off, meaning Daniel is dead wrong. See, Daniel thinks he can change destiny by detonating the bomb and negating the energy. But, if you recall when we first met Desmond in the hatch, he always exited in a radiation suit. So, my theory is that Daniel’s idea is not a new one. That bomb was always destined to go off. So, why does the island not reflect the ravages of all that power? The unique healing properties of the island. While Kelvin and Radzinsky and Desmond all believed the outside air to be poison, the island worked overtime to restore its luster.

15.   And this ties in to Richard’s stance that he saw Jack, Hurley and Kate die in 1977.  What if it’s all cyclical (much like that record player we focused on in the season opener). All of these events transpire to bring those three to the island at that time so that they alone can detonate the bomb, thus setting in motion the events that happen later including the crash of Flight 815. What Happened, Happened.

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16.   I do my very best to avoid SPOILER sites at all costs so I’m throwing this out there out of pure speculation. I predict that next week’s episode ends with the bomb detonating and the island is destroyed. It then Fades to Black (or White). We then jump cut to extreme close-up on an eyeball. Jack Shepherd wakes up in the jungle. All is quiet. He staggers to his feet and heads off in pursuit of something – as ambient noise begins rushing back into the soundtrack. He crashes a clearing, onto a long stretch of white sands and plunges headfirst into Hell – with the chaotic hustle and bustle of a catastrophic plane crash blitzkrieging his senses. And cut. End Season.

17.   But maybe there are slight differences. And we the viewer see that although the wheel of fate has spun back around again, there are slight clues letting us know that this time might be different. And Season 6 plays out as a variation on Season 1. We’ll see next week and if I’m right, y’all owe me a PS3.

See you next week for Episode 5.16 – ‘The Incident’.

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Comments now closed (3)

  • On #7, I have no idea either on how Jack/Daniel’s plan was to work although excellent thought on it always being destined to go off- nice remembering Desmond in the radiation suit.
    On #9, amen to that, I hope Sawyer makes due on that threat too!!!!

    #12 and 13, loved that, where Locke can reclaim his place and then bam, or Locke hasn’t learned a damned thing!

    Some thoughts with Richard, I agree with what you’ve said and also, Richard hasn’t been much of a leader or consultant has he? Also, in the last few episodes, he sure doesn’t have much of a reaction when someone gets shot dead does he? His strongest emotion has been when stating “I don’t answer to them!”, let alone two people getting shot right in front of him. Also, don’t you think Eloise and Richard agreed to follow the bomb idea way too quickly and easily??

    How about Sayid?! That shot was great, more heroism in that one scene than this whole past season of “Heroes”.

    OK, my biggest revelation that throws more wrenches in the time travel and doesn’t make it as simple as it used to be- Locke basically told himself he had to die to return to the island. That scene, when first played out was fantastic because Richard came out of nowhere and told him what to do in 3 minutes or less. Now we see it was Locke. Well…that doesn’t do so well with the What happened, happened stuff. I mean, that’s a little circle of occurrences there- one can’t’ happen without the other, basically more circular than linear….So what if he didn’t make it there in time to make Richard gop there and help him/Locke? Would he have disappeared? Just like that? Or maybe faded away a la Back to the Future? At least they answered how he did now when precisely to get there…the island told him…cause we surely didn’t know. This all does fit nicely to your cyclical theory though…. more to chomp on I guess.
    Good stuff for sure!

  • I think I am actually done trying to figure out the time travel stuff now. That happened when Locke brought Ben and Richard to see himself limp out of the jungle. It started so simple and has now become complex… which, I guess is what you’d expect as that’s what always happens with time travel in other shows/flicks.

    That said, what I do believe is that the island is controlling all of this. All along we figured there was a reason for all of these events happening with these specific people and I don’t think that has changed at all. However, I am no longer sure how Jacob fits that. I used to think Jacob was part of the island’s will, and still do given Christian popping up to guide Locke, but now that you, and Locke, are casting doubt, I am no longer sure about him.

    As far as The Others/Hostiles go, they can’t be ageless (other than Richard). We’ve already seen Charles and Ellie age as they should between the 50’s and 70’s. Also, with respect to Richard, I don’t think he cares about anyone’s life besides the chosen leader, but his comments about Locke even cast doubt on that. I think Ben terms him an adviser because he doesn’t involve himself directly in events, or at least he doesn’t set them in motion. (He is obviously assisting Jack and Ellie.) He’s been there so long, it isn’t surprising he is detached from those around him. He’s likely seen generations born and die.

    Lastly, I think Ellie buys in because of what Daniel said, her handwriting in his journal and having taken him to the bomb 20+ years prior. Richard is less convinced because he experienced pretty much none of those things except kinda, sorta recognizing a dead Daniel. I’m assuming we’ll eventually find out why he is allowing Ellie leeway.

    Oh yeah, I agree that it was pretty stupid of ABC to reveal that LaFleur, Juliet and Kate all end up off the sub and back on-island for the next episodes.

    Okay, and really lastly, I can’t wait to see Phil die. There’s a reason he physically looks like a weasel/rat, but I really, really, really wish we had the satisfaction of having someone like Jack or LaFleur kill Radzinsky. Heck, it would be super cool if Horace suddenly manned-up and did it himself to regain control. Alas, there is some satisfaction he’ll eventually terminate himself knowing that he caused so much to go wrong despite being forewarned, but I’d like to see that too.