I want to talk about Fringe.
Here’s a show I derided all season. Kept starting and restarting more times than the Lohan/Ronson debacle. Was on again/off again more times than Ross and Rachel. (Who? What?) And then I settled down and started watching it again a few weeks back – largely buoyed by the Leonard Nimoy casting and bullied by our own Carlos. (I kid! I kid!!!)
And it all paid off beautifully in an epic season finale that drew the blueprint for how to close out a season strong. ‘There is More Than One of Everything’ answered some major questions that simply opened the portal to an entire alternate universe of unending possibilities. And then J.J. Abrams and his crack team of writers/strategists shuttered the night with one final, haunting image that was completely jaw-dropping in all its photorealistic glory.
Hats off to Abrams. This guy is mad talented and we’re lucky to be exposed to his sickness.
Now, enough about all that “Screw Lost” malarkey. We’re here to recap Abrams’ other brainchild – although arguably, it’s his fellow wizards Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof who have nurtured this baby. And oh baby, did we get our own world blasted last night. Let’s get Lost.
1. Y’all owe me ¾ a PS3 so take up that collection. Last week I theorized that the bomb would go off, we would fade to black (and then I wrote – “or white”) and then we’d open with Jack’s eye flashing open. Well, I was mostly right. The bomb went off. We faded to white. And then – in a tease as frustrating as the Season 1 Finale that ended with the hatch opening and then… BAM… Credits – we didn’t get to see what happened right after that event. Although, in the tease for the Final Season, they closed on Jack’s eye opening. So, I don’t care if it’s just the housing or the internal components or you just send me the Blu-Ray drive stripped from the system, I’m expecting my ¾ PS3 by the end of the week.
2. I’m going to revisit those final moments towards the end but I had to lead with that. Also, this post is going to deviate from the norm as I’m not intending to hit on all plot points but rather the big picture elements that fell into place. I’m running this freestyle so I’ll probably pop all over the place. I apologize for the lack of cohesiveness but I’m hammering away at this while fighting off the last nagging strains of a killer head cold. I’ve got Slime Management problems.
3. I was right!!! A few weeks back, I theorized that John Locke was the physical manifestation of Smokey. Now, the jury is out on that slight detail, but we got conclusive evidence that John Locke was not raised from the dead. Instead, an entity had taken his form and duped everyone, including Richard, Ben and JACOB!!!, into marching directly to the lion’s den (or feet) and capping the island’s capo.
4. And who is that entity, but the mysterious black clad stranger – the Yin to Jacob’s Yang, who engaged in idle chatter during the episode’s prologue as they watched The Black Rock come sailing in. That sequence alone was pregnant with possibilities and I’ll parse through them in a second. But, it’s clear that the Man in Black was waltzing around a wolf in John Locke clothing and suddenly all those inferences to John Locke appearing different made complete, logical sense. He seemed different because he was different. Merely a mirage parading around the island for one specific purpose – to utilize a loophole whereby he could entice someone to do his bidding.
5. That opening scene made it clear that these two entities were locked in some cosmic game – and despite the fact that the Man in Black wanted to kill Jacob – some “rules” governing things prevented him from doing first blood. That opening sequence really set the stage for what this show has been all about. Here we go.
6. When I first started this Blog, sometime around Season 3, I theorized that the island was essentially the birthplace of “Good” and “Evil”. I based the theory on a number of factors – the various religious metaphors and symbolism that have cropped up, the judging nature of Smokey, the continuing juxtaposition of “Black” and “White”, and of course, those “cursed” numbers that seemingly emanate from the island and influence off-island events.
7. My theory was that the forces of good and evil in the world were kept constant through a set of checks and balances. The whole notion of a cosmic chess game. That this island was kept hidden for a very specific reason. It influenced “good” and “evil” in the world and as long as it did so by the “rules” and at arm’s length – then the world would keep on running. But, if the island was found and its truths exploited, then what we’d have is Eden becoming Pandora’s Box, with untold number of terrible things pouring out and destroying the Earth.
8. That was my theory and I’ve been sticking to it. And I think, last night proved that I am somewhat on course. It’s clear that Jacob and the Man in Black are the physical manifestations of some sort of higher powers. The age-old embodiment of good versus evil which as symbolized in black and white has been a recurring motif on this show going all the way back to Season 1 with the discovery of those black and white stones in the cave where they first found water – the discovery of the “Adam” and “Eve” skeletons.
9. Now, we learned that Jacob resides in the shadow of the statue – or, at the very least, in its kicks. So who’s been slumming in the teleporting Love Shack? Based on what we learned last night, I think we’ve all been duped. In fact, if you recall, Ben was the only person who led Locke to the shack – the supposed resting place for Jacob. The other times the shack made an appearance, it did so of its own accord. When Locke asked to be taken to Jacob, Richard brought him right to the foot. Meaning, he was telling the truth. That’s where you go to find Jacob.
10. And now it all makes sense. When Locke first confronted Jacob, he heard a ghost whisper, “Help me”. And he took that as his calling. That he would help the man in the chair. Locke – the perpetual con victim – may have suffered his greatest con in helping the Man in Black break from his shackles, and ultimately, over his dead body, aided MiB in coercing Ben to do his dark bidding.
11. All of these examples of trickery are emblematic of the seductive sway employed by Evil – the Big Bads of this World. We saw MiB’s grand scheme and how neatly all the pieces fell into place. He used Locke and Danielle to make truth out of a blinding white lie – somehow duping the World Heavyweight Champ of Liars, Ben. Somehow Satan got behind him, as it’s want to do, and preyed upon Ben’s Achilles Heel. We know that at some point, Ben was raised by Richard to be the Chosen One and yet Ben never once saw Jacob. And the place where Ben thought Jacob resided never once pulled the Haunted Mansion routine on him. For decades it let Ben stew in a lie. All those around him thought he was the Chosen One and he lived this masquerade, full of self-doubt that one day he would be revealed to be a False Prophet. And that final push came when John Locke arrived on the island and the real Jacob stood up and saw his Messenger – and the Man in Black kept on rocking while his cabin was a knocking, at ease that the final pieces of his end game were in play. Longing and jealousy was all that was needed to push Ben over the edge.
12. In a show brimming with con men, the ultimate trickster Ben fell victim to the longest con of them all – one that stretched decades. As Ben stewed and Richard continued to cultivate Locke’s date with destiny, with some help from an off-island Jacob, the Man in Black knew he had found his loophole. One day he would have someone so full of hatred of Jacob that he could get this mortal to strike down a deity and thus throw the natural order into chaos. And in those final moments last night, that is exactly what happened.
13. Making me wonder, how the hell are they gonna’ wrap this up in 16 episodes. That’s all we’ve got left.
14. One last thing before I hit some other points. I mentioned the first scene was absolutely laying it clear. None was more telling than the dialogue where Jacob and his buddy ruminated on the fate that would soon befall the Black Rock. The Man in Black correctly intimated that Jacob had coaxed that vessel to the island – my guess, for a similar purpose as MiB – only, his soldiers would not be coerced but would be given the touch and free will in order to choose their place along the path of destiny. But, MiB is a corrupter and he called it correctly. They’ll come. They’ll fight. They’ll die. And the record will keep on playing. The snake will continue noshing its tail.
15. But, Jacob made a telling remark. “There is only one ending. Everything else is progress.” In other words – the story may repeat but some small measure of advancement is gained each time it spins around. On board the Black Rock, I believe Richard Alpert sailed. (We know now that he’s no Pharaoh. He is that way because of Jacob). And Richard Alpert is the pawn that Jacob gained in that round. One small measure of progress.
16. Making you wonder if Flight 815 is the final piece of the puzzle. I really believe that next season will begin with them crashing on the island but things will play out in a much more abbreviated fashion. What if they crash on the island (all of them – meaning a return of the original cast) but they retain the knowledge of what has occurred. Meaning, now there is less squabbling, back-stabbing and fighting and instead, we have a unified group aimed at ending MiB’s deception. Jacob’s final words were “They’re coming.” My guess. Flight 815 has taxied for takeoff in Sydney and is on fast approach for Crash #2, with a rejuvenated cast ready to end this once and for all. If I’m right, y’all owe me the other ¼ of that PS3.
17. You could write a complete dissertation on last night’s episode (which I apparently already have) and most of that is based completely on the opening and closing segments. So, I’ll try to race through the rest of my thoughts in far quicker fashion and anything I’ve missed is the reason the Comments were invented.
18. I thought the device showing us Jacob appearing before each character in Flashback was masterful. There is definitely a higher power-esque vibe emanating from these encounters. I mean, each one of them were literally touched by Jacob. Kate got a tap on the nose and a friendly admonition that Thou Shalt Not Steal. Jack got the outstretched hand (with candy bar) and the words “I guess it just needed a little push”. And Locke was given a new lease on life as Jacob expressed his sorrow for how poorly his life had gone. And that’s the other thing. In a lot of these instances, Jacob expressed sorrow for the bad events that transpired (Sawyer’s parents) but seemed to underscore that these matters, no matter how tragic, were out of his hands which neatly underscored his opening debate with MiB concerning “free will”. Now, I’m no Bible Thumper by any measure but I do find allegory fascinating and I think Lost had done a masterful job of weaving all manner of scientific, supernatural and faith based thinking into one grand, simmering pot. It’s just a great, fascinating fiction to stew over.
19. How dare they kill the Yummy Mommy Juliet and leave me to loath Freckles for one more season? I know Elizabeth Mitchell is signed onto the V remake – making that appointment viewing in my book – but I would have given this episode 5 Mooninites and thrown in a couple Ebert’s for good measure if they had finally rid me of Freckles. I don’t see what Sawyer and Jack see in her.
20. That said, at least Juliet didn’t go out a punk. Like her namesake, she rose from apparent death in order to do the job proper, bashing that rock upside Jughead and rebooting the show.
21. Before I forget, once again, Ilyana’s people proclaimed that they are the Good Guys. That said, we did see Ilyana visited by Jacob while in seriously bad shape and asked to go on one more mission. And, here’s where I’ve cheated a bit. Once again, she offered the cryptic “What Lies in the Shadow of the Statue?” to which Richard answered in Latin. I’ve cheated on this and actually looked up his translation on a spoiler site. Richard answered: “He who shall save us all.” I think that phrase was given to Ilyana as a means of gaining entrance to Richard’s inner circle of trust. They are all disciples.
22. Also, I firmly believe that Smokey is MiB or at least controlled by him.
23. We also saw Dr. Chang suffer his hand injury. During the Orientation Film where he discussed ‘The Incident‘, he sported a prosthetic. Now we know why.
24. It was good to see Phil get it but I really wish Sawyer had made good on his promise.
25. And how ‘bout that battle royale between Sawyer and Doc? “Put the damn glasses on.”
That’s more than enough fodder for discussion. I’ll let you guys fill in the blanks. See you next week for Hannah Montana – ‘The Clueless Rubes Still Don’t Know’ – 7.13.