Is it just me or are these weeks flying by with reckless abandon.
Seriously, with the 3-hour series finale looming on May 23rd, we’re only 4 episodes away removed from ‘The End’. And it seems like it’s only just begun.
I think a lot of this may have to do with the scheduling. For the first few seasons, Lost ran on Wednesdays. It made for a nice Hump Day spell – you looked forward to it all week, and when the hour was up, the weekend didn’t look that far away. Then they moved the show to Thursdays and the wait between episodes seemed interminable.
Tuesday seems to be the best spot. We get an episode and then get busy with the rest of our week. The weekend of course flies in and out in a hurry and once we’ve turned the page on that Manic Monday, we’re reminded ‘Previously on Lost’ and then it’s straight down the rabbit hole again. That being said, this seems like the swiftest moving season thus far. It’s gonna’ be a shame when it’s all done but at the same time, Fringe seems to be picking up the baton nicely, so at least I’ll have that obsession to chew on next season.
All right – enough about that. Let’s get Lost.
1. One of the interesting aspects to this season has been the “mirror world” approach. While we’ve seen it in the alternative-sideways universe (of which I’ll spend a good chunk of parchment detailing below), this approach has also bled out to the episode titles as well. In particular, the writers have been paying homage to the first season and applying little wrinkles to familiar sights seen way back when this show was young. Hence, Season 1’s ‘What Kate Did’ became this season’s ‘What Kate Does’. The trend continues with the first season’s ‘Everybody Hates Hugo’ flipped on its head in favor of ‘Everybody Loves Hugo’.
2. And that’s where we find ourselves in the opening moments – as Miles’ museum curator Daddy, Dr. Pierre Chang, provides a glowing retrospective of the Man of the Year, Hugo Reyes – an award backed by a glowing recap of everything that has gone right in Hugo’s world and the good will this philanthropist has generated throughout the world. An extension of good tidings that flies completely contrary to the tide of bad luck that the original Hugo felt dogged his every step like that nagging Hurley Bird that called out his name in the first season finale.
3. And with alterna-Hurley’s positive spin on life, once again we find more conclusive proof that this alternative world may in fact be a “wish fulfillment’ extension of the true timeline that we followed from the beginning. More and more, these sideways jaunts appear to be the result of gifts granted to the castaways as part of a reboot. My personal belief is that this extension of the timeline came from the Man in Black making it off the island and recasting everyone in different variations of how their lives should have played out. They are none-the-wiser to his victory, or at least, they weren’t until Desmond woke up.
4. This is what I touched on last week in Desmond’s episode. Think of The Matrix. Like Neo, Desmond has now had his eyes opened to a cruel deception. He and the other castaways are all living seemingly decent lives – recast towards a better end – and oblivious to their stay on the island. But – in that episode – the island Desmond was once again sent spiraling through time and space – and booted into his alternative consciousness where he influenced the other Desmond and allowed him to peek into the life he formerly had. One where he found Penny, loved her, lost her, got stranded on an island, pushed a button for 3 years straight, was reunited, was shot, was returned to the island – only to be sent on that journey. Personally, I believe both timelines are variations of each other. Everything we’ve seen since the first season, with the plane crashing and all of the deaths, etc – really happened. As did this alternative timeline stuff. I feel that the alternative timeline is the result of MiB winning. And I believe that Desmond now believes he can somehow tie the two timelines together – to keep the positive ‘happy endings’ he spied in ‘Happily Ever After’ while also making sure that MiB’s reboot works yet making sure MiB is killed in the process. Essentially, a compromise of the two timelines. Hence, his mission to show the alternative timeline castaways their ‘former lives’. More to come on that below.
5. So, this alternative Hurley comes face-to-face with the newly enlightened Desmond who gives him the little push needed to see the light. A couple weeks back, I talked about how I thought Jack was being groomed as the new ‘Jacob’ and I still believe that. That being said, I was struck by how Desmond’s approach in this alternate timeline mimics Jacob’s MO. Think back to last season’s finale – as Jacob made the rounds at various points in each core castaways’ life and placed his touch on them – marking them for passage to the island. In a way, Desmond is on a similar journey. Instead of coming right out and telling them what he knows (which would sound nuts) – he’s pushing them towards this awakening. And his first mark is made with Hurley – whom he sends on a delayed date with Destiny.
6. That date is the one Michael so rudely interrupted when he capped Ana-Lucia and Libby in the Hatch to buy Ben’s freedom way back in Season 2. Libby had been on a run to find blankets for their picnic, when Michael blew it. But, as we’ve seen all season long, this alternative world has a way of making the impossible; real. And it’s here, that Libby is alive – albeit still enrolled in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Hospital – the same facility where she first locked eyes on Hurley, way back when. Also, the same hospital where a Connect-4 playing nut job first implanted those cursed numbers in Hurley’s consciousness.
7. And while this happy-go-lucky Hurley has never been in this hospital (to the best of his knowledge), Libby is already vexed by visions of the other side, seeing through this time to a previous time, where Hurley was a resident there. And as we learned last week, the key to breaking these bonds is “true love”. Charlie talked about seeing his beloved in the last moments of his life on Oceanic Flight 815 – a death that was then delayed by the crusading Dr. Shepherd. Desmond, of course, was touched by Penny and immediately “got it”. And as Hurley shared a long-awaited kiss, he suddenly saw it all. A love cruelly ripped from him and a life he had indeed lived before he, and the others, had the curtain pulled over their eyes.
8. Which is why I believe MiB is behind all of this. It’s simplistic to say but it makes sense. If he is pure evil incarnate then it makes symbolic sense that true love would reveal the chink in the armor – the great weakness. And in the last two weeks, expressions of true love have rendered the walls between alternate timelines thin and transparent. And malleable? Love will conquer all.
9. Back to the island, there were some major revelations and questions answered. For starters – the whispers. Way back, when the series first began, all sorts of crazy theories popped up about the true nature of the island. Many people thought the survivors were all dead and this was purgatory – an idea that the writers tipped their cap to a few weeks back in the Richard Alpert episode. Well, they are not all dead but the dead do walk the place, and in a way, some of these souls are kept from leaving the island – held captive by the ever-escalating war between Jacob and MiB. And with the reappearance of Michael, who joins a long, sad litany of people who have died in service of the island’s whims – we learn the whispers are the restless rustling of those souls who can’t seem to break on through to the other side.
10. Michael appears to be paying penance for his past misdeeds. As we saw when he returned a couple seasons back. the island isn’t done with him yet. It wouldn’t let him kill himself off island – as there was still work to be done – only to have him blown sky high aboard the freighter as a sacrifice to save his fellow survivors. And even in death, he is not free – being sent on another errand to warn Hurley off of the doomsday plot to blow up the plane. Now, it remains to be seen if Hurley is being manipulated by MiB, who we know just loves walking around as the living dead.
11. Despite Hurley’s warning, Iliana goes the way of Dr. Arzt and blows herself to smithereens. (I’ve always wanted to write that). Ben, of course, intuits it perfectly – she had completed her mission, meaning the island was done with her – thus removing her form the tale. And again, it casts the true nature of the island – and Jacob – in a darkened light. Here was a woman who we have seen had a pretty torturous life. She was brought back to life by Jacob to serve him. And for her devotion and servitude, she gets blown sky high. Makes you wonder.
12. This leads Hurley on another desperate search-and-destroy mission. In Season 1, he wanted nothing to do with the Hatch – am edifice that he felt was responsible for all the bad things in his life. His curse. And now, with Michael’s marching orders, he aims to dash the Black Rock (and its never-ending supply of dynamite) in order to prevent a catastrophic attack on the Ajira Airlines plane parked on Hydra Island. At the very least, we’re assured nobody else will accidentally blow themselves up over the remaining few episodes. OSHA would have a field day on this island.
13. In an episode brimming with mirror image variants on prior themes and scenes, we come to yet another – with Locke brought to meet “The Package” – Desmond. Locke is intrigued by Desmond’s appearance and even more so by his complete willingness to spill every detail that Charles Widemore provided him. Of course, like Sayid, Desmond says he doesn’t have fear – although he is not the mindless zombie that Sayid has become. This Desmond now feels he has a purpose and has embraced his destiny – knowing full well how special he truly is. Which calls to mind John Locke’s complete willingness to buy into his belief that the island, and Jacob, had chosen him.
14. It’s that belief that prompted a jealous Ben to show Locke a pit full of bodies (the remnants of the DHARMA Initiative) before leveling John with a gutt-shot and tossing him in the pit. And in this episode, the wonder ball goes round and round, with John Locke (aka MiB) showing Desmond yet another island secret, before tossing him in a “pit” – or down a well.
15. A well that once upon a time vexed many an islander with its tendency to play havoc with instrumentation – signs of a massive electromagnetic pocket. Now, knowing what MiB Locke now knows, did he toss Desmond into that well to kill him or because he feels it will have a beneficial effect on his plans?
16. The jury is out on that but the act may have colored the final scene – where we now find Desmond parked outside Locke’s school. After fending off Ben’s inquisition, Desmond takes aim at Locke and runs the helpless man down in the street. While Locke has a long, sad life brimming with these cruel twists of fate, this has all the earmarks of a targeted assassination. Desmond may be aiming to show his fellow survivors the other side, but I’m not sure that was his intent here. It’s not like we saw him presiding over the marriage of John and Helen and ushering in another example of true love. Instead, this makes me think that Desmond has returned to this body with some new memories – memories of an evil Locke tossing him down a well – and now has a new wrinkle on time. Not only must he show the survivors the light, he also needs to eradicate the darkness in order to set things right. And I believe, that he believes, MiB does indeed succeed and continues to reside in the off-island frail body of John Locke. The ultimate Twilight Zone ending. MiB makes it off of his island prison – creates this alternate timeline – yet he himself remains imprisoned in John Locke’s frail body. But not for long. Not if Desmond has anything to say about it.
That’s all for this week. See you next week for Episode 6.13, ‘The Last Recruit’.