Almost four years ago, in the early days of Lost yore, it would not have have been a stretch to imagine the show’s final episode containing a scene of our castaways finally touching down on the mainland, reunited with their families and loved ones and at last free of the harrowing trials and tribulations of an extended stay on a mysterious, deserted and deadly island. Although we’re only a third of the way through Lost’s fourth season finale, some imagination revision might be in order.
We got that scene tonight, but on a much more somber note than one would’ve thought. When we first see the surviving Six en route to Hawaii on the Coast Guard plane, their shell-shocked countenances indicated anything but eagerness to finally get back “home.” There’s the tension inherent in Jack insisting the Six stick to what turns out to be a clearly-contrived story about the crash of Flight 815 and their struggle to stay alive: “we all know the story,” he says. There’s the post-traumatic stress of their 3-month stay on the Island, and of whatever happened immediately preceding their rescue. For only six of the original 72 survivors to have made it back, it’s needless to say some bad sh*t went down in those three months on the Island, even moreso during the Six’s final day there.
In the interest of full disclosure, at this point I spent five minutes researching whether or not “moreso” was actually a word. My findings: maybe. Mission: aborted.
Whatever bad juju went down before the Six’s rescue, they’re still in shock, as Sun feels she needs to reiterate to a relatively calm and collected Jack (or maybe his attitude is just a product of being in denial). Anyway, the larger point here is that “getting off the island” is no longer the end point for a series that at first seemed to be about doing just that. As we saw with last year’s finale and this year’s premiere, the conventions have been thrown out the window. Anything and everything can happen in the relatively short time we have left with this show (two more seasons). I find that very exciting.
- The Oceanic Six press conference in Hawaii. I was furiously scribbling down notes during the press conference; all kinds of geographical and fake story details to digest. The basic gist the Six are giving the press is that the vast majority of Flight 815’s passengers died when the plane crashed into the ocean, with the number of survivors eventually dwindling down to eight after more than a day spent in the water before the ocean current took them close to an uncharted island called Membata (which is certainly not “the” Island).
If you’ll remember, I fashioned a map of the potential crash site of 815 back in the recap for the time-bending The Constant, and wouldn’t you know it–it’s nowhere near my estimate. However, we must account for whatever distance the freighter made before exploding (I’m assuming they won’t let that pile of C4 explosive go to waste next episode), and the time spent drifting on the Kahana’s Zodiac raft or whatever other debris they stayed afloat on.
Continuing the contrived story, on Day 103 after the crash, a wrecked Indonesian fishing boat washes onshore of Membata, containing “basic supplies and a survival raft,” which they used to travel to the nearby island of Sumba on Day 108. Once ashore, they met up with fishermen from the nearby village of Manukangga. Hallelujah, they’re rescued.
So, we know the story’s made up, but why lie? Is it guilt about having left people behind, or is it based out of a need to protect the Island? I’d say it’s probably affirmative on both counts. The guilt that clearly built up in Jack until he nearly commit suicide in season three’s finale, coupled with the logical impossibility of what happened to them on the Island, is enough to justify it thus far. The rest of the Six, Sun and Kate in particular, still didn’t seem very comfortable with it. And furthermore, if they’re making the story up, why make the # of survivors on Membata eight instead of just the Six? Did they have two bodies in tow when they were rescued?
One last note to make is that the fake Oceanic jet that Widmore allegedly buried at the bottom of the Pacific is still believed to be the actual Flight 815, based on the Six’s story and the press reaction.
- The press conference is emceed by a new addition to the cast (Michelle Forbes is presumably not a temporary guest star, based on her showbiz stature), a “Ms. Decker” who serves as the spokesperson for Oceanic as well as the airline’s liaison to the six survivors.
- I’m guessing a significant storyline in season five will be the struggle to keep the true story of 815 and the Island a secret. The reporters at the press conference are already asking probing questions about Sun’s husband and Kate’s new son.
- The rabbit’s foot the copilot was clutching seemed to be a bit luckier than the one Ben’s dad carried on his Dharma bus keychain, judging by the Coast Guard plane’s smooth touchdown in Hawaii.
- Anyone catch the Olive Garden commercial with the guy and his grandson eating at the high-class eatery? The older guy should be an entry for the “That Guy” Hall of Fame, joining such notable inductees as J.T. Walsh, David Morse, and that guy with the badass scars from Braveheart. Guys who you’ve seen in countless movies, TV shows and commercials in bit parts or as guest stars, but are memorable each time. Each time you see him in a new show, the reaction is, “hey, it’s that guy again!” I remember when this particular actor would’ve been the dad in these commercials. Now he’s a grandpa?! Man, I feel old. What’s that? You have no earthly idea what I’m blabbering about? Fine, move on then.
- Cheech showing his clear disgust for that horrendous hairpiece:
- As Sawyer chases after Jack to go save Hurley, he says, “ya don’t get to die alone,” a call-back to the “live together, die alone” speech Jack gave to the survivors in season one.
- The writers must love throwing stuff like this in. In successive sentences, Sawyer uses the terms “dÃ©jÃ Vu” and “broken record” in describing Jack’s stubborn refusal to leave anyone behind, conjuring thoughts of the popular time loop theory that’s been around for a year or two. I ascribe nothing to his word choice other than some playful wordplay on the part of the episode’s writers.
- I suppose the truly final puzzle piece of the Sayid storyline (thus far) was actually seeing his reunion with Nadia, who was looking damn good, I must say.
- The cunning, manipulative side we’ve seen Sun exhibit a few times in past episodes (“The Glass Ballerina,” most notably) comes out full force when she confronts her shocked father with the news she’s bought a controlling interest in Paik Heavy Industry with her undoubtedly large settlement from Oceanic. Paik has been mentioned tangentially as a player in the same “conspiracy” Widmore Industries is engaging to discover and/or exploit the Island.
She doesn’t strike me as the type to worry about manufacturing heavy equipment, so let’s see if she uses the resources of her new company to target the conspirators and perhaps rediscover the Island.
- The nearly-forgotten Numbers make an appearance in the instrument panel of Hurley’s birthday gift car, prompting him to “sprint” away in terror.
A note for all you expecting big things from the Numbers in the future: showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have repeatedly alluded to the fact that much too much is being made of the Numbers and their significance, and that anyone expecting a huge, explosive explanation will be disappointed. I think we know everything we’re going to about 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. I’ll point you back to the Valenzetti Equation again.
I think it’s a bit obtuse on their part to proclaim we shouldn’t expect an in-depth explanation of them, what with all the time devoted to the Numbers in the first two seasons.
- The big development near episode’s end is Jack finding out Claire is (was?) his sister, as he discovers when her once-comatose (as a result of a car accident Claire caused) mother shows up at Christian Shepherd’s funeral in Los Angeles.
Along with the probing reporters I mentioned earlier, Grandma might figure importantly in next season’s storylines, especially if she finds out Aaron’s true bloodline.
- As much as I’ve found Jack to be boring this season, I really liked the way Matthew Fox played Jack’s reaction to the revelation. Good stuff.
- The ridiculously big pile of C4 in the freighter’s hold is undoubtedly tied to the heart monitor/radio transmitter that we saw Keamy get wired up to last week. Thus the RF interference that’s jamming the freighter’s sonar and preventing them from getting closer than 5 miles offshore of the Island. Once Keamy inevitably buys the farm in the finale, the Kahana and its’ passengers are in for some fireworks and twisted metal.
- Important as continuity is on this show, I was glad to see Eko’s church is still standing.
Will it yet serve a purpose?
- The Others have ventured out from the sanctuary of The Temple and rejoined the action, Richard Alpert leading the way–likely to The Orchid to assist Ben with his “mercenary problem.”
- Ben had a solid outing this week, with “ya know, those are fifteen years old,” referring to the crackers Hurley nabbed from the hidden Dharma tin; and with the great look he gives Keamy and the gun at the end.
And in case you still need the idea that Ben is always ten steps ahead drummed into your head yet again: “How many times do I have to tell you, John? I’ve always had a plan.” Indeed.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t give at least a passing mention of the The Orchid station, and its’ connotation as a “greenhouse,” according to Ben.
The glass used for a greenhouse works as a selective transmission medium for different spectral frequencies, and its effect is to trap energy within the greenhouse, which heats both the plants and the ground inside it. This warms the air near the ground, and this air is prevented from rising and flowing away. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature drops considerably. Greenhouses thus work by trapping electromagnetic radiation and preventing convection. [Wikipedia]
I’ll leave more discussion of the station to my recap of the finale, but the mention of electromagnetic radiation should be enough to whet your appetite for time travel and Faraday Cage discussion. I refer you, again, back to the recap for “The Constant.”
- Lastly, Michael. My one big (and not so new) prediction for the finale is this: Michael is the occupant of the coffin Jack broke down over in the season three finale. I envision Mike sacrificing himself to save everyone who makes it to the freighter from the C4 explosives, whether those he saves know it or not. I can think of no one else, save Ben, who’d have no one show up at their memorial service in the ghetto.
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- Leave it to Doc Jensen to expertly sum up everything I’d like to say about Ben and Widmore, while I only manage to skirt the edges of the elusive concept called “coherent thought.”
But in light of last week’s cryptic business in which Richard Alpert tried to awaken young John Locke to his true self, it makes more sense that John Locke is our resident Graham. What has emerged over the course of the past 13 episodes is the story of two rich and powerful candidates, Ben and Charles Widmore, battling for control over the Island, and perhaps the course of history itself. Their fates rest on the shoulders of a single super-delegate, John Locke. Judging from ”Cabin Fever,” they have clearly spent considerable resources over the span of his troubled life to influence the kind of man that will one day make the defining choice of their lives. And it appears that day has arrived. Step into the box and pull a lever; it’s time to move the Island. [EW]
- Some thoughts on the episode’s music:
I could write at least 10,000 words about how much I love the work of Michael Giacchino, but I don’t have time for that right now, so let me just say that his excellent score really enhanced this episode for me. It was impossible not to be moved during the scene where the Oceanic 6 were finally reunited with their families, and part of that was due to the wonderful music. The way the scene played out, with Giacchino’s score drowning out all other sounds, reminded me of the big reunion between the castaways in season 2. Excellent. [Tail Section]
I agree; tonight seemed to break out of the repetitive nature of most of this season’s episode scoring.
The boat that serves as the salvation for our castaways is rigged with C4. There’s a coffin ready for an unwilling occupant. The stage is set for the kitchen sink to hit the metaphorical fan of destiny. Secondary protocol: engage!
Yeah, I know that was lame. Be back here in two weeks for the final Lost recap of 2008!