Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Lost Reviews: Part 21 - Season 6, Episodes 9-16 (and Epilogue)

Welcome to the final (ish) installment of the Lost rewatch project. I have been rewatching all 121 episodes (and the epilogue) of the TV series which aired for six seasons from 2004 to 2010. This is very much a rewatch thread, with the show watched with knowledge of what is to come in later seasons. If you've never watched Lost before, you definitely do not want to read this final entry.

I am using the Lost plot summaries from Wikipedia, sometimes fleshed out. I'd previously written each one myself but to be honest the time it was taking to do this had become unsustainable. Wikipedia permits the re-use of such material if the original source is linked as follows: The Package, Happily Ever After, Everybody Loves Hugo, The Last Recruit, The Candidate, Across the Sea, What They Died For, The End, The New Man in Charge.

Without further ado, let us conclude after the jump.

The actors discussing the finale script.

609: The Package
Written by Paul Zbyszewski and Graham Roland, directed by Paul Edwards
Airdate: 30 March 2010
Survivor Count: 16
Flash-sideways Characters: Sun and Jin

Flash: At the airport, Jin is released by security after the incident about his undeclared $25,000 is resolved. His watch is returned, but the money is not, as Jin needs to fill out the paperwork declaring its purpose. Having missed his appointment at the restaurant, he checks into a hotel with Sun. Jin and Sun are not married but are having a secret romance without the knowledge of Sun's father.

The next day, Martin Keamy, his associate Omar and translator Mikhail Bakunin arrive at the hotel to collect the watch and the money. Since they lack the money, Sun offers to pay from a private account. Keamy sends her with Mikhail to get the money, but they learn that the account was closed by her father. Meanwhile, Jin is tied up in the storeroom at the restaurant. Keamy reveals that the $25,000 was his payment for killing Jin, as Sun's father found out about his relationship with Sun. After Sayid shoots Keamy and his men, he finds Jin. He hands Jin a box cutter to free himself and leaves. When Mikhail returns with Sun, Jin holds him at gunpoint. Mikhail fights back, and in the ensuing struggle, Jin shoots him fatally in the eye. Sun is also hit by stray fire. As Jin takes her to the hospital, she reveals that she is pregnant.

On the Island: On the beach, Ilana is waiting for Richard to return, confident that he will know what to do despite his claims otherwise. Meanwhile, Sun, upset by her inability to find Jin, storms off to her garden. There, she is greeted by the Man in Black, who offers to take her to Jin. Unwilling to trust him, she runs for the beach, knocking herself out against a tree branch on the way. Ben finds her alone, and the head injury has left her unable to speak English, though still able to understand it.
Richard returns with Hurley, having decided on a course of action. Knowing that the plane on the Hydra Island is the only means for the Man in Black to escape, he intends to destroy it. Sun is vehemently opposed to the idea, having come to the Island in order to retrieve Jin and take him home. Jack Shephard convinces her that they will find Jin and use the plane to get everyone home.

Meanwhile, the Man in Black reveals to Claire that he needs to gather all the remaining candidates, or else he will not be able to leave the Island. Before leaving to retrieve Sun, the Man in Black speaks with Sayid, who tells him that he is no longer able to experience any sort of emotion whatsoever. When the Man in Black leaves, the camp is attacked by the team hired by Charles Widmore. They tranquilise the entire group and take Jin to the Hydra Island. Jin awakens inside Room 23 and Zoe shows him a grid map which the DHARMA Initiative used to identify pockets of electromagnetism. Knowing that Jin was once a member of DHARMA, Zoe asks Jin for his help. However, Jin demands to see Widmore.

The Man in Black, accompanied by Sayid, takes a boat to the Hydra Island to confront Widmore. When Widmore denies having taken Jin, the Man in Black warns him that war has finally come to the Island and returns to his camp. Sayid is left behind to spy on them. Widmore is angry about the fact that Zoe has taken Jin ahead of schedule and orders her to bring the "package" from the submarine. Widmore gives Sun's digital camera from the Ajira plane to Jin, which has photos of his daughter. He explains that he has come to the Island to stop the Man in Black from escaping, claiming that everyone they know would "cease to exist" should that happen. Widmore then tells Jin that he needs to meet the "package", a person who they brought to the Island.

Sayid spies on Widmore's team from the water and witnesses a drugged Desmond being dragged out of the submarine.

After being moved in the Season 4 finale, the Island - or rather an access window to the Island - is located somewhere along this flight path.

Major WTFery: The timeline seems a little tight for Desmond and Widmore to have gotten to the Island so fast after the last time we saw them in Season 5. Presumably they didn't sail directly from Los Angeles in the submarine (which would have taken weeks), but Widmore instead flew them both to a rendezvous point nearby. The fact that we don't know where the Island is at the moment, save that it's still in the North Pacific on a flight line somewhere between LA and Guam, adds some helpful wriggle-room to this issue.

Hindsight: In one of Lost's nice uses of irony, Mikhail loses his eye (the same one he had already lost in the primary timeline) during the struggle with Jin.

In the alternate timeline Sun and Jin are not married and neither can speak English at all. Sun is pregnant, however, and is already aware of it.

According to Widmore, everyone would "cease to exist" should the Man in Black escape from the Island. This suggests that the Island itself may be the source of human life/sentience/spirituality for the entire world and the Island's destruction would result in the extinguishing of all life everywhere.

Review: The on-Island plot momentum stalls in this episode with Sun's temporary aphasia feeling rather random and forced and lots of sitting around and talking about the plot rather than getting on with business. However, Desmond's return to the main storyline is welcome. More successful is the flash-sideways story, as again Sun and Jin make for likeable protagonists and it's fun to see arch-villains Mikhail (from Season 3) and Keamy (from Season 4) joining forces. (***½)
The writers realise they haven't tortured Desmond and sent him on a weird reality-bending journey for a few episodes, so double down on it.

610: Happily Ever After
Written by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Jack Bender
Airdate: 6 April 2010
Survivor Count: 16
Flash-sideways Character: Desmond

On the Island: After being shot by Ben Linus, Desmond awakens a week or so later to discover that Charles Widmore has brought him back to the Island, to his horror. Desmond attacks Charles, who tells him the Island is not done with him, and that unless Desmond helps him, everyone he loves will be gone forever. He has his team prepare an electro-magnetic test, which kills a team member in the path of the toroids as they are set up. Desmond is bound to a chair and locked in with the toroids as the test is run. As the test continues, Desmond suddenly experiences events apparently from a different universe or timeline.

Flash: Desmond arrives in Los Angeles on Oceanic Flight 815 at the behest of his employer, Charles Widmore. After helping the heavily pregnant Claire to get her luggage, Desmond goes to Charles's office. Charles informs Desmond that his son Daniel, a classical musician, has invited the rock band Drive Shaft to perform alongside him that evening. The band's bass guitarist, Charlie, has been arrested for possessing drugs, and Charles requires Desmond to collect and deliver him to Daniel's event or risk the wrath of upsetting his wife.

Upon their meeting, Charlie tells Desmond that he recently almost died after swallowing a bag of heroin, and in his near-death state experienced an intense, blissful vision in which he was with a blonde woman. He causes Desmond to crash his car into a nearby marina, and while Desmond attempts to rescue Charlie from the water, he too experiences a vision, seeing Charlie drowning with the words "Not Penny's Boat" written on his palm. The two are taken to a hospital, where Desmond has a short series of visions of Penny, a stranger to him, during an MRI test.

After discharging himself from the hospital, Desmond apologises to Charles' wife Eloise for being unable to ensure the attendance of Drive Shaft. Nearby employees are discussing the guest-list for Daniel's concert, and Desmond hears the name Penny mentioned. Eloise refuses to let him see the list, and warns him off of pursuing his enquiries.

As Desmond prepares to leave, he is stopped by Daniel, who tells him that he recently saw a red-haired woman in a local museum that he strongly felt he already knew and loved. Daniel states that after the encounter, he made a series of notes in his journal which a mathematician friend has identified as advanced quantum mechanics, a topic he knows nothing about. Daniel shows his notes which contain a graph with imaginary time on one axis, and hypotheses that the world as he and Desmond are experiencing is not their correct path, and something massive, like a nuclear explosion, has altered their realities. Desmond questions Daniel as to whether he intends to set off a nuclear bomb, to which Daniel replies he believes he already has.

Daniel tells Desmond that Penny is his half-sister, and tells him where he can find her. Desmond locates Penny running the steps of an athletics stadium, and introduces himself. After shaking Penny's hand, Desmond passes out. When he awakens, he asks Penny out for coffee, an invitation which she accepts. As his driver George Minkowski takes him to their meeting point, Desmond asks him to acquire the flight manifest for Oceanic 815, the flight which brought him to Los Angeles. When Minkowski asks why he needs it, Desmond responds, "I just need to show them something".

On the Island: After the electromagnetic test has finished, a suddenly cooperative Desmond agrees to help Widmore. As Widmore' team lead him away, they are ambushed by Sayid, who "rescues" Desmond for his own purposes. Desmond, smiling as if he is in on a joke the rest of the world is not aware of, agrees to help him.

Major WTFery: This episode proves that the alt-timeline is "real" in some sense and that the two streams are somehow coexisting. However, as later confirmed in The End, Desmond does not know that the other timeline is actually from a time after everyone has died. How exactly Desmond's consciousness is capable of deducing this is unclear, but probably linked to his exposure to the Swan Station and the Discharge.
Hindsight: This episode confirms that the people in the alternate timeline can access their memories and knowledge of the Island from the "real" timeline, they just need to be "woken up". Desmond is the first person related to the Island to "awaken". Eloise appears to have already "awoken" and is aware of what is going on, but has chosen not to tell anyone else (due to her love of Daniel and not wanting to lose him again).

Desmond's ability to cross timelines is hinted at being a result of his exposure to electromagnetism in previous seasons, and to his exposure to an MRI scanner in the alternate timeline.

Arguably, this episode is the final once-per-season "Desmond special" exploring his character and his unusual abilities. The previous ones were Live Together, Die Alone (Season 2), Flashes Before Your Eyes (Season 3), The Constant (Season 4) and Jughead (Season 5).

Review: A Desmond-heavy episode is always a good thing and this episode is a season highlight. This episode further explores the nature of the alternate timeline and also begins setting things up for the finale. (****½)

Do we really want to know what goes on at Mr. Cluck's Experimental Chicken Farm?

611: Everybody Loves Hugo
Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, directed by Daniel Attias
Airdate: 13 April 2010
Survivor Count: 16
Flash-sideways Character: Hurley

Flash: Hurley is a successful businessman and philanthropist, having made his fortune after investing in a chicken fast food chain and spreading its reach globally. However, his busy schedule and natural shyness makes it difficult for him to meet women. His mother sets him up on a blind date, but instead of his intended date, he meets Libby Smith, who tells him that they already know one another. Libby is led away by her doctor, who explains that she is a resident at a psychiatric institution and has wandered away from a group trip. Later, feeling sorry for himself and indulging in a chicken overdose, Hurley meets Desmond, who encourages him to believe Libby, and to find out why she thinks she knows him already. Hurley then visits the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, where Libby tells him that she remembers them meeting following a plane crash on an island. Hurley is unable to remember, but asks her on a date regardless. They share a picnic on the beach, and when Libby kisses him, Hurley begins to remember events on the Island as well. Desmond observes their date from a distance, before driving off and visiting the school at which Ben Linus and John Locke teach. Desmond sees Locke in his wheelchair, and after a short conversation with a suspicious Ben, he runs Locke over with his car and drives off.

On the Island: While visiting Libby's grave, Hurley is visited by Michael, who warns him that if the group follows through with their plan to blow up the plane on Hydra Island, many people will die and it will be Hurley's fault. Ilana collects four sticks of dynamite from the Black Rock. As Hurley voices his concern, Ilana foolishly drops her bag containing the unstable dynamite, causing it to explode, killing her. Richard leads the group to collect more dynamite. Hurley sneaks off ahead of them and blows up the Black Rock, destroying the dynamite supply for good. He claims that Jacob has appeared to him and told him to take the group to the Man in the Black to parley. Richard does not believe him and asks him what the Island is, claiming that Jacob once told him and this will prove if Hurley is telling the truth. Hurley admits he is lying. Richard remains intent on destroying the plane. He takes Ben and Miles with him to the Barracks to collect explosives, while Jack, Frank and Sun remain with Hurley. Hurley confesses to Jack that he did not really see Jacob, but Jack tells him he knows, and is willing to follow Hurley anyway. The group hears whispers from the jungle, and Michael appears again, explaining that the whispers are the voices of deceased Island inhabitants who are unable to move on. He apologises to Hurley for killing Libby.

Meanwhile, Sayid presents Desmond to the Man in Black, who takes him to an old well. The Man in Black explains to Desmond that people built wells looking for the source that made compass needles spin at points like this location. Desmond seems genuinely intrigued, unsettling the Man in Black who demands to know why Desmond isn't afraid. Desmond indicates that being afraid would be pointless. The Man in Black then throws Desmond down the well. Upon returning to his camp, Hurley's group arrives to talk to the Man in Black.

Major WTFery: Ilana's death feels abrupt and left-field, and is blatant enough that Ben even comments on it. However, it does reinforce the danger of the Black Rock's dynamite collection and the care that must be taken in transporting it, something heavily emphasised in Exodus and more or less ignored since then.

When Hurley mentions that he's been speaking to Michael, Miles reacts with confusion. This appears to be excellent attention being paid to continuity, as Miles only knew Michael on the Kahana as Kevin Johnson. However, Miles was in the room when Ben explained in detail that Michael was his spy on the boat. Given over three years have passed since then, Miles may have just forgotten.

In a rather cheesy moment, Hurley asks Michael if he knows where the Man in Black is hiding out. Michael points at a very obvious and blatantly visible campfire down a hillside which Hurley somehow failed to notice.

It is unclear where Team Ilana are getting their water from. When the survivors were living on the beach for most of Seasons 1-4, some of the background survivors ferried water from either the caves or the somewhat nearer Swan Station on a daily basis. With the background survivors massacred in Season 5, it's unknown what the group are doing. It might be that they made one or two off-screen trips to the caves to fill up.

Hindsight: This episode finally explains the nature of the whispers, which we have been hearing intermittently since the very start of the whole series. The whispers are the spirits or souls of those who have died on the Island and failed to move onwards. Michael's spirit is trapped on the Island due to his actions in murdering Libby and Ana Lucia and his death nearby on the freighter. Michael's predicament, surprisingly, forms a subplot in the series epilogue, The New Man in Charge.

Jack and the Man in Black's meeting is given extra prominence thanks to dramatic music and intense cuts between the actors. This is not just because Jack and the Man in Black end up being the show's opposing protagonist and antagonist, but also because Jack and Locke haven't had any face-to-face interactions since Season 5's 316.

This is the very last episode of Lost to be "centric" on a single character, in this case Hurley (although the closing moments of the episode feature a Desmond-centric moment as well).

Desmond unsettles and even scares the Man in Black with his blase attitude, which makes the Man in Black believe that Desmond knows something he doesn't.

According to Richard, he knows the true nature of the Island and uses this knowledge to expose that Hurley is lying. However, Richard doesn't reveal the nature of the Island himself. He may just be referring to the wine and cork metaphor from Ab Aeterno, or Jacob may have more explicitly told him what the Island actually is at some other point in time.

Review: Fans had felt undersold by the Hurley/Libby romance in Season 2 which was brutally shut down before it even got going. The writers here get to take another shot at it in the alternate timeline and do a reasonably good job of it. Jorge Garcia is one of the show's more underrated performers but his gradual transformation as Hurley moves from joker and coward to the (relatively) cooler-headed heart and soul of the Islanders has been one of the show's most nicely-defined (and subtly-handled) story arcs. We also get a nice explanation for the whispers, even if it is the one most fans had guessed pretty early on. (****½)

Jin and Sun are reunited for the first time in two seasons and 29 episodes.

612: The Last Recruit
Written by Paul Zbyszewski and Graham Roland, directed by Stephen Semel
Airdate: 20 April 2010
Survivor Count: 16
Flash-sideways Characters: Locke, Sun, Sawyer, Desmond, Claire, Jack, Sayid, Jin.

Flash: John Locke is rushed to the hospital after being run over by Desmond. Sun is taken to the same hospital and, upon seeing Locke, she seems to briefly remember him and becomes frightened. In the police station, Sawyer interrogates Kate. Kate realises that Sawyer didn't arrest her at LA X because he didn't want anyone to know he had been in Australia. Miles calls Sawyer over about the multiple homicide at a restaurant of Martin Keamy and three of his associates. Miles shows Sawyer a surveillance image, which shows Sayid leaving the scene.

Meanwhile, Desmond meets Claire while she is on her way to another adoption meeting. Remembering each other from the airport, he persuades her to meet his lawyer for the well being of her child, and he promises it will not cost her. Upon introducing herself to the lawyer, Ilana Verdansky, Claire is told that she has been looking for her. Jack also turns up at the office with his son, and learns that Claire is his half-sister and is also a beneficiary of their father's will. Jack then gets an urgent call from the hospital and has to reschedule. Sayid arrives at Nadia's house and attempts to leave, but is apprehended by Sawyer and Miles. Sun wakes up, and Jin informs her that the baby is okay. As Jack is preparing to operate on Locke, he recognises him from the airport.

On the Island: The Man in Black asks Jack to speak with him, admitting to impersonating Jack's father when Jack first arrived on the Island. Claire interrupts, and the Man in Black leaves the two to catch up. Zoe arrives and demands to have Desmond returned. If they refuse, she'll have the camp destroyed by mortars, which she demonstrates by having her camp fire a single round nearby. The Man in Black gives Sawyer a map to a boat - Desmond's boat, the Elizabeth - and asks to meet at a rendezvous point where he will be waiting with the rest of the camp. However, Sawyer is planning on betraying the Man in Black by fulfilling his deal with Charles Widmore, and he tells Jack to bring Hurley, Frank and Sun along to a different point as they are all leaving. Sawyer and Kate then take off and find the boat.

The Man in Black tells Sayid to kill Desmond if he still wants Nadia back. Sayid goes to the well, where he finds Desmond at the bottom. He tells Desmond that the Man in Black promised to bring the woman who died in his arms back to life, and believes him capable of this because Sayid himself was brought back. Desmond seems relatively philosophical on the prospect of his death.

As the Man in Black's group travels to the point where Sawyer is supposed to pick them up, he meets Sayid, who says that that he has killed Desmond. Jack sneaks away with Hurley, Sun and Lapidus, but Claire sees them and follows. Once they reach the boat, Claire holds them at gunpoint, but Kate convinces her to join them. Once on the boat, Jack tells Sawyer that leaving the Island is a mistake as they have not fulfilled the Island's purpose in bringing them back, and jumps in the sea. After swimming back ashore, he finds the Man in Black and the rest of the group waiting. On Hydra Island, Sun is tearfully reunited with Jin and she regains her ability to speak English. However, Widmore betrays Sawyer and has artillery shells fired in an effort to kill the Man in Black. Jack is injured by an explosion on the beach and the Man in Black carries him into the jungle. The Man in Black then tells Jack not to worry, as he is with him now.

Major WTFery: The alt-universe Ilana does not have the strong Russian accent of the character in the primary timeline. It is unclear why.

This episode confirms that Sayid is strongly motivated by Nadia, the tragic love of his life and his primary motivating factor in almost every decision he's made since the first episode of the show. It is therefore somewhat bizarre and random that he ends up with Shannon in the alternate universe (as seen in The End).

Hindsight: This episode confirms the very long-held fan theory that the Smoke Monster can only take the form of dead things: Locke, Christian Shepherd, Kate's horse etc.

The Man in Black confirms that he took Christian's form to lure Jack to the caves and water. However, he does not confirm if all of Christian's appearances since mid-Season 1 onwards are him as well.

Sawyer is unaware of who "Anakin" is, despite occasionally making Star Wars references throughout the series. This suggests that he is a casual fan of the original three movies, unlike the more hardcore Hurley, and may not have watched the prequels (and he would not have had the opportunity to watch Revenge of the Sith, released in 2005 whilst Sawyer was stuck in the past).

This is the first time we've seen the Elizabeth, the boat named after Libby, since Season 3's The Glass Ballerina. The boat was captured by the Others in that episode and has presumably been located near the Barracks ever since.

Review: Things start coming together nicely in both timelines. It's good to finally see Jin and Sun reunite after three years (and the better part of two seasons). There's some effective double dealing from Sawyer as well. However, it feels like the events of Season 6 could have taken place much more quickly and were dragged out over more episodes than necessary. (***½)

For once, Jack has the right idea. And for once no-one listens to him, resulting in disaster.

613: The Candidate
Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Jim Galasso, directed by Jack Bender
Airdate: 4 May 2010
Survivor Count: 16
Flash-sideways Character: Jack and Locke

Flash: After being successfully operated on by Jack, Locke awakens at the hospital. Jack tells Locke that he may be a candidate for a new surgical treatment to repair his pre-existing paralysis and asks Locke how he wound up in his paraplegic state. However, Locke declines the offer. In order to find out more about Locke's paralysis, Jack visits dentist Dr. Bernard Nadler and asks for the dental records from an emergency oral surgery performed on Locke about three years previously. Bernard refuses to breach confidentiality, but tells him that a man named Anthony Cooper was brought in along with Locke. Jack goes to a nursing home and visits Anthony Cooper, who is Locke's father. However, Anthony is in a vegetative state. Claire arrives at the hospital to see Jack. She shows Jack a music box that their father said he especially wanted her to have. Jack then invites Claire to come and stay at his house, stating to Claire that they are not strangers but family. As Locke is preparing to leave the hospital, Jack approaches him and tells him that he went to see Locke's father so that he could find out why he doesn't want the surgery. Locke reveals to Jack that the accident that made him paralysed was a plane crash; he had just qualified for his pilot's license and his father was his first passenger. Jack tells Locke his father is "gone" and that punishing himself won't bring him back. Locke still refuses Jack's offer and leaves.

On the Island: Jack awakens on Hydra Island following the mortar attack. Sayid is with him but the rest of the Others have scattered into the jungle. The Man in Black arrives and tells them that Sawyer, Claire, Kate, Frank, Hurley, Sun and Jin have been taken prisoner by Charles Widmore. The Man in Black plans to help them escape, run for the Ajira plane and leave the Island before Widmore knows what is happening. While Jack agrees to help, he insists that he himself will not leave the Island.

At the Hydra Station, Widmore has Sawyer's group thrown inside the animal cages. Sayid turns off the camp's generator, bringing down the sonar fences which had been keeping the Man in Black at bay. The Man in Black then attacks as the Smoke Monster, allowing Jack to free Sawyer's group. After reuniting with Sayid, they head into the jungle to find the Ajira plane. The Man in Black arrives at the plane site before the group, and inspects the interior of the plane after killing Widmore's guards. The Man in Black reveals to the group that Widmore has rigged the plane with C4. Unable to take the risk of using the plane, the Man in Black decides to escape using Widmore's submarine. As they head to the docks, Sawyer asks Jack to stop the Man in Black from getting on board the sub.

At the docks, the survivors manage to board the submarine while Widmore's men attack from the jungle. Kate is shot during the ensuing gun fight, but Jack manages to get her on board after pushing the Man in Black into the water. He gets back out of the water and begins to shoot the last of Widmore's men. In order to prevent the Man in Black from entering, Sawyer has the sub leave without Claire. Claire is distraught but the Man in Black seems pleased, telling Claire that she doesn't want to be on that submarine.

On the sub, Jack discovers the Man in Black has planted the C4 in his bag and has set a timer to detonate. Unable to reach the surface in time, Sawyer attempts to defuse the bomb. However, Jack tells Sawyer to let the timer reach zero, believing that nothing will happen to them because the Man in Black is unable to kill them himself. Jack theorises that the Man in Black united the candidates because he needed them all dead in order to leave the Island, and has come up with a plan that will trick them into killing one another by mistrusting each other. Sawyer is unconvinced and pulls the bomb's wires, causing the speed of the bomb's countdown to accelerate. Sayid tells Jack where to find Desmond and runs to the back of the sub with the bomb. The bomb detonates, killing Sayid and causing a massive explosion that proceeds to flood the sub. Frank is knocked out by a door as it gives way to the water. Sun is trapped by debris. Hurley exits the sub with a wounded Kate, while Jin, Sawyer, and Jack try to help Sun. After Sawyer is knocked unconscious, Jin convinces Jack to leave with Sawyer. Jin continues to try to free Sun despite her pleas for him to go, but to no avail. He tells Sun that he won't leave her. They then embrace as water floods the submarine.

Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley regroup at a nearby beach, and mourn those who have died. Meanwhile, at the docks, the Man in Black tells Claire that the sub has sunk and there are survivors. He then departs to "finish what he started."

Major WTFery: Arguably the "rule" about the Man in Black not being able to kill the candidates is inconsistent with what we saw in Dr. Linus. In that episode the Island itself seems to have stopped Jack being killed by explosives deliberately triggered by someone else (Richard). This suggests that the candidates simply cannot die whilst on the Island, no matter what happens. However, in this episodes this is refined to being that the Man in Black cannot kill them by direct action, but he can arrange things so they kill themselves by tampering with the bomb.

The Man in Black's plan seems to rely on the survivors discovering the bomb in the backpack before it counted down to zero (and presumably, due to the rules, failed to detonate). It was not a given that they would discover it in that four-minute timespan.

Hindsight: Jin's decision to stay behind and drown with Sun, depriving his daughter of her father was criticised by some fans. However, the producers argued that as Jin had never met Ji Yeon and not formed a bond with her, it was not an overriding factor in his decision. Having spent three years parted from Sun there was no way he was ever going to leave her again, even if it meant both their deaths. It is possible - maybe even likely - that if Jin had been trapped and Sun free, she may have left thanks to that bond with her daughter.

Ji Yeon growing up without ever knowing her parents explains why she is not with them in the church in the final moments of the show.

Arguably the other survivors decide not to trust Jack because how his decisions in the past have almost always been wrong: trying to leave the Island in Seasons 3 and 4 and his suggestion that nothing would happen if they didn't press the button in Season 2.

Several episodes this season suggest that Jack has now become a "man of faith" following his stint as a "man of science" in Seasons 1-4. However, Jack's confidence that the bomb will not detonate is down to having the rules of the Island explained to him (allowing him to make a hypothesis) and having seen Richard's dynamite fail to detonate (investigation and experimentation), following scientific principles.

The deaths of three major characters - Sayid, Sun and Jin - in one episode make this the bloodiest episode of Lost. More named characters have died at once before (such as the Season 3 finale where Charlie, Mikhail, Tom and Naomi all perished), but never so many prominent regular castmembers, and especially not long-standing castmembers since the very first episode of the series.

Sayid's return to the light side had been hinted at when he spared Desmond.His self-sacrifice may be what Hurley is referring to in The End when he says that Sayid is, at heart, "a good guy".

Review: The submarine explosion is Lost's Red Wedding, a shocking and jaw-dropping moment when the show casually blows away three characters who have been on the show since day one. It's arguably not that ballsy, as the show only has three episodes left anyway, but killing off the ultra-popular Jin and Sun is surprising and heart-breaking. Sayid was marked for death arguably the second we found out he'd tortured and executed even innocent people, but his quest for redemption meant that this was not always inevitable. It does confirm beyond any doubt that the Man in Black is evil and must be destroyed. (****½)

Well, that explains everything.

614: Across the Sea
Written by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Tucker Gates
Airdate: 11 May 2010
Survivor Count: 13 (Sayid, Sun and Jin were killed in the previous episode)
Days on Island:
Flashback Character: Jacob and the Man in Black

Two thousand years years ago: Washed ashore on the Island from a shipwreck, a pregnant woman named Claudia encounters a strange woman; both of them speak Latin. The woman helps Claudia give birth to her son, whom Claudia names Jacob. Then another boy is born. The woman then kills Claudia with a blow to the head before she can name the second child. The woman, who only calls herself "Mother", raises the twins as her own, and tries to keep them ignorant of the world beyond the Island. She also convinces them to be distrustful of humanity, which she says she regards as corrupt and dangerous.

Thirteen years later: Jacob's brother (the future Man in Black) finds a Senet game, containing polished black and white pieces. Jacob asks about the box and his brother tells him it's a game for which he "just knows" the rules. He asks Jacob to keep the box a secret from Mother, but Jacob reveals it to her as she appears to know there is a secret. Mother confronts Jacob's brother and claims that she left the box for him, musing to him that "Jacob doesn't know how to lie...he's not like you." She tells the young Man in Black that he is "special." He suggests that the box came from somewhere else, across the sea. Mother responds, "There is nowhere else." When the young Man in Black persists in asking about his origins, Mother explains that she came from her own mother who is now dead. When he asks "What is dead?" the woman explains, "Something you'll never have to worry about."

After following a boar some distance from their camp, Jacob and his brother discover that other people are on the Island. Mother warns the brothers that the other people "are not like us. We are here for a reason." Then she worriedly expresses out loud that "it's not time yet" and reluctantly decides to show the brothers a mysterious, hidden tunnel filled with light and an underground stream. She tells them that one of them will eventually be its caretaker, and that she "made it so you can never hurt each other." Upon seeing the light-filled tunnel, Mother explains that the light is "the warmest, brightest light you've ever felt. And we must make sure no one ever finds it." She goes on to explain that, "A little bit of this very same light is inside of every man, and they always want more." And then she finally warns, "If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere."

Soon after, the brothers are playing the box game and Jacob is frustrated at his brother's selfish rules for the game. The young Man in Black explains, "One day you can make up your own game, and everyone else will have to follow your rules." Suddenly a vision of Claudia appears and asks the young Man in Black to follow her. Jacob can not see her, so his brother excuses himself and follows Claudia into the jungle. She reveals to the young Man in Black that she is his and Jacob's birth mother and that the other people came to the Island with her, 13 years earlier. After his discussion with Claudia, the young Man in Black confronts the woman about Claudia's claims, and attempts to convince Jacob to join the other people on the Island with him. However, Jacob refuses and stays with Mother.

Thirty years later: Jacob visits his brother at the camp he shares with the other people. The Man in Black, while he believes the people are corrupt, stays with them as a "means to an end," and when Jacob asks, "What end?", he replies "I'm leaving, Jacob." He reveals that together with other scientifically curious men, they have discovered a way to leave the Island by harnessing its strange properties. This was accomplished by digging wells in spots where "metal behaves strangely." The Man in Black invites Jacob to leave with him, but Jacob refuses to leave the Island or Mother.

When the woman hears of what the Man in Black is doing, she visits him and learns that he and the others have constructed a giant wheel down a well. He tells her that his people have dug into the light from other locations on the Island, and that they plan to create a system that will allow them to tap into its energy, and use it to leave the Island. Upon hearing this, she smashes the Man in Black's head, rendering him unconscious. Later, the Man in Black awakens outside the well site, and discovers that the people in the camp have been massacred; the well has been completely filled in with earth.

Mother shows Jacob the tunnel of light again, explaining that it leads to "Life, death, rebirth; the source, the heart of the Island," and that Jacob has "no choice" but to take care of it now. She also warns Jacob never to enter the tunnel, as doing so would cause a fate worse than death. Jacob reluctantly drinks a wine that the woman pours and then she proclaims, "Now you and I are the same." This apparently passes the guardianship of the Island to Jacob.

Enraged by her actions, the Man in Black stabs Mother through the back and asks why she wouldn't let him leave the Island. She replies, "Because I love you." Appearing relieved and calm with her fast approaching death, the woman says "Thank you" and dies. Jacob retaliates by beating his brother, and throwing him into the stream leading down the tunnel of light. The Man in Black is sucked into the tunnel and the Smoke Monster emerges in his place, disappearing into the treetops above. Jacob then finds the Man in Black's physical body and places it with the woman's in the cave where she had been living with Jacob, along with a pouch containing the black and white stones they used in the box game.

28 September 2004 (seven days after Oceanic 815's crash): The corpses and the stones are found in the caves by Jack and Kate and are dubbed "Adam and Eve" by John Locke.

Major WTFery: Pretty much the entire episode. This is hands-down the most polarising-ever episode of Lost and very little of it makes literal sense.

Hindsight: Okay, let's try to unpack this a little. First off, the episode spans a period of roughly 43 years, the whole thing take place about two thousand years ago (as expanded on by the producers; the episode itself has nothing to date it). Both Mother and Claudia speak Latin, suggesting that Claudia was on a Roman ship in the Mediterranean and a window to the Island was located there at that time. It is assumed that Jacob and MiB are also speaking Latin throughout, and this is how and why the Others later use Latin to communicate.

Mother indicates she was also born off the Island and arrived there a long time before Claudia. We know the Egyptians discovered the Island rather earlier and built the Statue of Tawaret (a recognised major Egyptian fertility deity from about 2000 BC to through the Roman conquest) and possibly the Temple (or at least the original parts of it), so it might be that Mother was originally of Egyptian origin and became the Protector of the Island at that stage. The End shows cuneiform script in the Heart of the Island, which could be up to around 3,000 years older, indicating she could be much older still, but the Egyptian theory is backed up by Mother's knowledge and enjoyment of Senet, an Egyptian game.

As the Protector of the Island Mother is immortal: like Jacob and Richard (whom Jacob shared his power with), she does not age a day over the course of the forty-three years.

It is highly likely that Mother also has the power to take the form of the Smoke Monster: she destroys an entire village with possibly dozens of people in it single-handed, which seems impossible for a single person. Mother being transformed into the Smoke Monster would also give her first-hand knowledge of the dangers of travelling into the Heart of the Island and extra urgency in making sure that Jacob never goes down into the cave. This is also the source of the "Jack is a Smoke Monster" theory, since Jack does the same thing in the series finale.

It is possible that Mother was also unkillable, like the Man in Black, before she voluntarily surrendered guardianship of the Island to Jacob, at which point she became vulnerable. Like the Man in Black in The End, she leaves behind a human body when she is killed.

It is confirmed that the Man in Black built the frozen donkey wheel, believing he could use the Heart of the Island to depart (presumably similar to how Ben left the Island in Season 4 and Locke in Season 5).

The Heart of the Island is the source of the Island's electromagnetic energy, which manifests in other locations (such as the Swan and Orchid) via channels leading way from the Heart. It is not possible for anyone to find the Heart apart from the Protector and those they take with them, but it is possible to tap into the energy from other locations.

The light - the energy from the centre of the Island - appears to be the source of spiritual or soul energy for humans, as a "little of the light" can be found in every person. Extinguishing the light would kill every single human being on Earth.

The idea that the Island is the source of all human life, not to mention the Cain-and-Abel-like adventures of the Man in Black and Jacob, may favour the theory that the Island is a piece of the original paradise (Eden in the Christian tradition) left behind. In that analogy, the Smoke Monster may be the serpent, trapped on the Island and taking the forms of people who have died (or, in the case of the Man in Black and possibly Mother, giving them its power) and trying to escape, at which point the world would end. Mother notes that becoming the Smoke Monster is "worse than death".

Review: Across the Sea in theory should be the episode that blows Lost wide open and explains what is going on. Instead, it's just a bit weird. Yes, it's nice to get Jacob and the Man in Black's backstory and more information on things, but very little of it is necessary. In fact, it feels like the writers should have simply gone all-out and give answers for everything or simply given up, explained a few things through dialogue and given us an extra episode with everyone's favourite characters. There's also an unpleasant connotation about crazy mothers on the show that this episode furthers (previously through Danielle and Claire but now Mother) and the special effects for the cave and the Heart of the Island are flat-out terrible. Nice performances help keep things watchable but this is an episode that severely fails to satisfy. (***)

One last meeting with Ana Lucia.

615: What They Died For
Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and Elizabeth Sarnoff, directed by Paul Edwards
Airdate: 18 May 2010
Survivor Count: 13
Days on Island:
Flash-sideways Character: Jack, Desmond, Ben, Locke.

Flash: In the flash sideways timeline, Jack, Claire and David eat breakfast and discuss David's participation in a concert that night. Jack is notified that Oceanic Airlines have found Christian's coffin. Unbeknown to him, this is a ruse planned by Desmond.

Outside the school where he and John Locke work, Ben sees and confronts Desmond, who beats him while explaining that his intent was to make Locke "let go". Ben experiences flashes of Desmond beating him on the Island. Ben relates all this to Locke, who goes to see Jack at the hospital and decides to have the new procedure; he believes his experiences with Desmond and Jack have been fated.

Alex's mother, Danielle, offers the visibly injured Ben a ride home. She invites him to dinner, where she tells Ben that he has become like a father to Alex since her real father's death. Ben is deeply moved by this admission.

Desmond enters the police station, confesses to assaulting Locke and Ben. He is jailed alongside Kate and Sayid. The three prisoners are to be transported by van, but the driver, Ana Lucia Cortez, releases them and receives a payoff from Desmond and Hurley, who it is revealed now also has his full memories from the Island. Desmond hands Kate a dress and tells her they are going to a concert, to her confusion.

On the Island: Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer wash ashore on the Island, alive but distraught after the deaths of Sayid, Jin and Sun. Jack determines they must find Desmond, whose importance is revealed by the Man in Black's attempt to kill him. A younger Jacob confronts Hurley , demanding his body's ashes. Hurley gives them to him, and Jacob leaves without answering any of Hurley's questions. Hurley chases him to a campfire, where the adult Jacob instructs him to bring the others before the campfire burns out, which will end his ability to manifest after death. They arrive and are all able to see Jacob for the first time. He explains that they were chosen to come to the Island because each of them has an emptiness that can only be filled by the Island, and that one of them must choose to be the guardian who will protect the light, the "heart" of the Island, from the Man in Black. Jack volunteers; Jacob gives Jack a drink of water and declares that Jack is "now like" him.

Ben, Miles, and Richard reach the destroyed Barracks of the DHARMA Initiative. Ben enters the secret room where he was previously seen summoning the Smoke Monster (although now he thinks it was summoning him), where he keeps a stack of C4. They plan to use the explosives to use to destroy the Ajira airplane to prevent the Man in Black's escape. Charles Widmore and Zoe then arrive. Widmore says that after the freighter incident, Jacob visited him and convinced him of the error of his ways, giving him permission to return to the Island in return for helping to protect it. Widmore claims to be the group's only hope. Zoe and Widmore hide when the Man in Black arrives, while Miles flees into the jungle. As the Smoke Monster, the Man in Black attacks Richard. Then, as Locke, he demands Widmore's location from Ben, who reveals it. Locke's hatred of Widmore for Alex's death overrides his desire to see the Man in Black defeated. The Man in Black kills Zoe when it becomes clear she will not be of any use and then threatens Widmore with harm to Penny unless he reveals his purpose on the Island. Widmore says that Penny will die anyway when the Man in Black leaves the Island, which he denies. Desperate, Widmore whispers a response, but Ben shoots and kills him to deny him the opportunity to save his daughter. The Man in Black claims to have already gotten the information he wanted, and leaves with Ben. They find that Desmond has apparently escaped the well by climbing a rope, but the Man in Black says this will not prevent him from using what he learned from Widmore: he can use Desmond's resistance to electromagnetism to destroy the Island once and for all.

Major WTFery: Jack can't worked out where Desmond is despite Sayid directly telling him. In the end he sends Sawyer to find him instead. To be fair, Jack is having a rough few days.

Hindsight: This episode explains what had appeared to be a major plot hole in the series, namely how Widmore was able to return to the Island despite it being against "the rules". Widmore was visited by Jacob shortly after the destruction of the Kahana and was "shown the error of his ways" and recruited back to the side of the good guys. This may also explain how he was waiting for Locke to escape from the Island in Season 5 and was able to help him.

Interestingly, the final four candidates - Jack, Hurley, Sawyer and Kate - are the same as the ones on the list the Others gave to Michael at the end of Season 2.

Mira Furlan returns to the series as Danielle Rousseau for the first time since Season 4. Rumours had spread in the fandom that Furlan had requested to be killed off as she did not like living in Hawaii, but the actress late denied this and said the character's death had been the idea of the writers. Her return in this episode indicated there were no hard feelings at all.

Danielle and Alex are apparently not "awoken" in the finale, suggesting that Ben plans to stay and make a happy life with them before he moves on (presumably with them) at some future date.

Michael Emerson sports an identical black eye in both timelines throughout the episode. This is because Henry Ian Cusick accidentally really hit him in the face during the scene where Desmond hits Ben. As the scene was filmed early in the shooting schedule for the episode, Emerson carried the wound around until it healed.

Review: We're in the closing laps now and there's a feeling of checklists being counted off, with Widmore's death and Desmond rounding up the gang in the sideways world. Ben's apparent heel turn back to evil (again) is tiresome, but at least the motivation is understandable (getting revenge on the man he blames for Alex's death). The next episode confirms that Ben was merely using the Man in Black to get revenge on Widmore before switching back to the side of the good guys, which is a relief given his character arc recently. (****)

And the show ends right where it began, 121 episodes and six seasons earlier.

616: The End
Written by Damon Lindleof and Carlton Cuse, directed by Jack Bender
Airdate: 23 May 2010
Survivor Count: 13
Flash-sideways Character: Everyone

Flash: Desmond gathers many of the Islanders at the benefit concert of Daniel Widmore and Drive Shaft. One by one, each person begins to recognize one another based on close contact with a person or object that was important to them throughout their time on the Island, receiving flashes of memory. Eventually, most of them remember their past lives and are drawn to the church that was to be the site of Jack's father's funeral. John Locke regains the use of his legs after being successfully operated on by Jack. After remembering his time on the Island through the flashes of memory, Locke attempts to convince Jack of the truth, but Jack, although also experiencing flashes of memory, resists the revelation. Locke later meets Ben outside the church where Locke forgives him for murdering him. Ben then meets Hurley, who says everyone is inside, motioning him to join them, but Ben elects to stay outside. As Hurley heads back inside, he says to Ben that he was a "real good number two...", to which Ben replies back that Hurley was a "great number one". Kate later encounters Jack, and while her presence causes him to experience more flashes, he continues to resist. She takes him to the church and instructs him to enter though the back door, telling him the others will be waiting for him.

In the church, Jack enters a room where there are symbols of faith: not just of Christianity, but also Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and others. He then encounters his father's coffin. He opens the coffin lid and discovers it to be empty, but touching the coffin triggers his memories. His father, Christian Shephard, then appears behind him. Jack slowly comes to realize that he is dead as well. After an emotional embrace, Christian reassures him that the events leading up to now actually happened and the time he spent with the people on the Island was real and "the most important period" of his life. He explains to Jack that time has no meaning in this place and that they "made" the place to "find each other", independent of the time at which they died. Christian explains that place exists so the Oceanic 815 survivors could "let go" and "move on" together. Jack and Christian go out into the church to meet the others. Everyone is able to see, recognize, and remember everyone else and their lives together. After an emotional reunion, Christian opens the front doors, revealing another bright light that slowly envelops everyone inside the church.

To quote the Joker in Arkham City: "Well, here's the thing. Answers don't give you everlasting satisfcation. Sometimes you need to brace yourself for disappointment. Imagine your favorite TV show. You've been through it all. The ups, the downs, the crazy coincidences... and then BANG! They tell you what it's all about. Would you be happy? Does it make sense? How come it all ended in a church?"

On the Island: Jack, Kate and Hurley head to the Heart of the Island, whilst Sawyer goes after Desmond. Arriving there, Sawyer is confronted by Ben and the Man in Black, who reveals his plan to destroy the Island. Sawyer then steals Ben's rifle and flees. Ben asks the Man in Black why he didn't stop him but the Man in Black replies it was pointless, as he will die with the rest. Sawyer reunites with Jack's group. Jack then tells Sawyer that he plans to confront the Man in Black. At the same time, Desmond, having been rescued by Rose Henderson and Bernard Nadler, is confronted by the Man in Black. The Man in Black threatens to kill Rose and Bernard if Desmond does not come with him, and he complies, provided the Man in Black leaves the couple unharmed. The Man in Black agrees, aware that they will die when the Island is destroyed anyway.

Meanwhile, Miles finds a wounded Richard in the jungle, and they set out by boat to destroy the Ajira plane which would allow the Man in Black to escape. Richard finds a grey hair and realises that Jacob's death means he is no longer immortal. He suddenly says he wants to live, to Miles's relief. Along the way, they rescue Frank Lapidus, who had survived the destruction of the submarine. Frank suggests they use the plane to leave the Island rather than destroy it, as it will strand the Man in Black.

On the way to the Heart of the Island, Jack's group encounters the Man in Black's group. Jack tells the Man in Black that he is going to kill him whilst the Man in Black counters that he will destroy the Island. However, they both need Desmond and apparently need him to do the exact same thing. Calling a temporary truce, they travel to the heart of the Island. Jack believes that Desmond can kill the Man in Black because he thinks Jacob brought him back not as bait but as a weapon. Desmond tells Jack that destroying the Island and killing the Man in Black do not matter because he is going down to the Heart of the Island and this will take them to "another place". Desmond tells a bemused Jack about the world he saw through the flashes.

Jack and the Man in Black lower Desmond down to the Heart of the Island and he reaches a chamber, leading to a glowing pool with an elongated stone at its center. Immune to the pool's electromagnetic energy, Desmond manages to remove the giant stone stopper in the center of the pool. The light goes out and the pool dries up. Suddenly a series of massive earthquakes strike the Island and it begins to collapse and sink. However, an unforeseen side-effect of shutting off the light - the source of the Island's supernatural powers - is that the Man in Black is mortal again. During a prolonged fight, the Man in Black stabs Jack in the same spot where his appendix was taken out and almost kills him. Kate shoots the Man in Black in the back, allowing Jack to kick him off the cliff. The Man in Black falls down the cliff face and lands on a rocky ledge. The fall kills him.

The Island continues to crumble and Jack realizes that he has to restore the light of the Heart of the Island. He tells Kate to get Claire on the plane and leave the Island in case he fails. Jack and Kate profess their love for each other and Kate leaves with Sawyer while Hurley and Ben follow Jack back to the pool.

Kate and Sawyer travel to Hydra Island via Desmond's boat, the Elizabeth, to the site of the Ajira Airlines plane where Lapidus, Richard and Miles have been trying to make it air-worthy. Kate convinces Claire she can help her raise Aaron and they head for the plane. After Kate, Sawyer and Claire board the plane, Lapidus successfully gets it airborne.

Jack leads Hurley and Ben back to the Heart of the Island, where Jack convinces an emotional Hurley to take over as the protector of the Island, stating Hurley was always meant to be the one. Hurley and Ben lower Jack to the dry pool where he rescues a barely conscious Desmond. Jack manages to restore the light by replacing the stone plug, and is enveloped in the light that surrounds him. Hurley, in his role as the new protector of the Island, does not know what to do. Ben tells him he should help Desmond get home and suggests there may be a better way of protecting the Island than how Jacob did. Hurley asks him for help, and Ben is honoured to be his "number two".

Jack is washed the cave by a river and staggers into the bamboo forest. After Jack collapses to the ground on almost the same spot where he awoke after Oceanic 815's crash, Vincent approaches him, licks his face and lies next to him. Jack gazes happily at the sky while watching the Ajira plane fly overhead and escape from the Island.

Knowing his friends have escaped and the Island - and the world - are safe, Jack slowly closes his eyes and passes away.

Major WTFery: The premise of the alternate universe - that it is a holding dimension people go into after death before moving on - is itself a major mindscrew that many fans hated and loathed. However, even if you like it, there are some major logic issues with the premise.

Based on how characters hook up, it appears that they pair off with the "love of their lives". However, it is strongly arguable that Sayid should have therefore ended up with Nadia, the love of his life he spent a decade searching for and almost a year living with, rather than Shannon, whom he spent a couple of weeks with at best.

Similarly, this suggests that Kate, Sawyer and Claire, despite all being relatively young and presumably living for 50-60 years after their escape from the Island, never met anyone else and had long-term relationships which were longer-lasting and more fruitful than their relationships on the Island (with Jack, Juliet and Charlie, respectively).

The absence of Daniel and Charlotte, who spent only a few days or weeks hanging out with the Losties, is understandable. Miles's absence is less explicable, as he spent three years living with Sawyer, Juliet and Jin and may have stayed in touch with Sawyer, Kate and Claire after their escape from the Island, and feels like he should have earned a spot in the church.

The episode fails to address what would happen to Kate should she return to the United States, given that she was threatened with arrest should she leave California back in Season 4, and obviously has done so. Miles, Claire and Sawyer's return after being missing for three years would also attract notice.

The cave is located close to the bunyan grove where Jack dies. This area is extremely close to the original Oceanic 815 crash site (literally a few seconds' run away). The rocky area where the MiB is killed appears to be part of the same rocky bay area that is relatively close to the beach, but still a few miles away. It is not plausible that Jack and UnLocke could run over there within moments of leaving the cave, or Jack could make it back alone whilst bleeding out.

Hindsight: Boone's statement that getting Shannon back from Australia was almost impossible is a reference to actress Maggie Grace's extremely hectic schedule (which is why she didn't appear earlier in the season). Ian Somerhalder's own schedule was problematic, as he was filming the first season of The Vampire Diaries at this time. This is presumably why Boone's own "awakening" scene happened off-screen.

According to Michael Emerson, a scene was written where Ben would have been "awoken" by seeing pictures of Alex in a school yearbook. The scene was likely pulled for time. It's also unclear why Ben would have been awoken by a picture rather than his interactions with Alex and Rousseau in the flesh earlier on. The result of this is that, as with Boone, we get no awakening scene for Ben at all.

During the scene where Jack is stabbed, a real knife was accidentally used instead of one of the rubber prop ones. Fortunately, Matthew Fox had put on a stab vest for the scene and was not harmed.

This episode lists 28 regular castmembers, the most of any episode and incorporating almost the entire cast of Lost across all six seasons (Mr. Eko, Nikki and Paulo being the major absences).

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was asked to return as Mr. Eko, but declined after not being able to agree a salary.

The MiB stabs Jack in his appendix, which would have killed him more quickly had Jack not already had it removed in Season 4's Something Nice Back Home (which retrospectively justifies how much time they spent on it).

15 of the 16 major characters who appeared in the pilot episode appear in this one, the sole exception being Michael. Given Harold Perrineau's willingness to return for earlier episodes, it may be that he was unavailable or the producers wished to suggest that Michael's spirit was stuck on the Island forever. However, this negates the premise of the epilogue episode (see below) which suggests that Ben and Hurley want Walt to help them free Michael's spirit from the Island (possibly along with all the other whispers).

Review: Well, that's certainly an ending. Lost's finale will go down as one of the most divisive, ever. Coming so soon after Battlestar Galactica's likewise rage-inducing finale (just a year earlier), Lost's ending sparked criticism from some viewers who vowed never to watch another show until it was over and had reviewed well.

The finale is very much a story of two halves. On a logical, mechanical and plot-related level, it eliminates the Man in Black/Smoke Monster, saves the Island and puts Hurley in charge of it whilst allowing a few characters to finally escape and get back to their lives. Relatively little about the Island and its nature is explained. The magic water, immortality and other elements feel a little hokey (if nowhere near as hokey as in Beyond the Sea) but the loophole that allows them to kill Fake Locke is actually quite reasonable. The on-Island stuff is, I have to save, eventually an okay ending to the series. It could have been better, but Jack's death, the logical and well-foreshadowed use of Desmond and his superpowers and Hurley winding up as the chosen one are actually all elements that work pretty well.

The afterlife stuff is not only corny as hell and self-indulgent, but also stuffed full of illogical elements and things that don't make sense. Emotionally, yeah, it's fun to see Libby, Boone and Shannon back and see them getting a send-off from everyone else, but on a storytelling level the device just doesn't work. And it's annoying because it makes the entire flash-sideways story (some of which had been very well-handled) kind of moot.

Overall, The End wraps up the story far more successfully, logically and less punch-the-TV-enragingly than Battlestar Galactica's near-contemporary ending, but it's not a strong a finish as some subsequent shows (like Fringe) or the also-near-contemporary Ashes to Ashes (which also handled the spiritual angle much better). The important thing is that it doesn't make the entire 121-hour journey feel like a waste of time. (***½)

Of course, it's not quite the end.

"I tried, but backgammon was just a bit too hard, so I switched to another game that works just as well as as a metaphor for the greater metafictional struggle between good and evil."

Epilogue: The New Man in Charge
Written by Melinda Hsu Taylor, Graham Roland and Jim Galasso, directed by Paul Edwards
Airdate: 24 August 2010
Survivor Count: 12 (after Jack's death in the series finale)

Final Survivor Count: Kate, Sawyer, Aaron and Claire are the only survivors of Oceanic 815 to escape the Island and apparently live (relatively) normal lives in the outside world. Hurley, Rose, Bernard, Cindy, Zach, Emma and Vincent also survive but remain on the Island for the rest of their lives. Walt spends over five years (after his departure at the end of Season 2) living in the outside world but then returns with Hurley and Ben.

2010: Ben visits two DHARMA Initiative workers, Hector and Glenn, in a warehouse on the Orote Peninsula in Guam. Ben dismisses the two workers from their job of loading a food pallet as he is "tying up loose ends," and after paying them a generous severance, reveals that the DHARMA Initiative has not existed for over twenty years. Before Ben can leave, the workers request some answers and he complies by showing them the orientation film from the DHARMA Initiative's Hydra Station. The video reveals that Dr. Pierre Chang was not using an alias at the time, as his name had not been "leaked to a third party." The video explores the nature of the Hydra Station's experiments on hybrid birds and time travel experiments on polar bears, as well as the purpose of Room 23, which was created to interrogate "The Hostiles" regarding Jacob, whom DHARMA believed was a primitive superstition.

Ben travels to the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute and visits Walt. Ben approaches and reminds Walt that he is special, and that back on the Island, he will be able to help Michael, even though he is dead. Together, they leave Santa Rosa. When Ben and Walt reach a DHARMA van, they find Hurley waiting for them. Walt confesses to Hurley that he had long waited for the survivors to come back for him, and that he had been labelled insane because no one believed his story. Hurley reassures him that he's not insane at all, and attributes Walt's existential duress to his separation from the Island. He tells Walt that the Island is his home, and that he intends to talk to Walt about a job. Hurley then suggests they all go home, and the van drives away into the night.
Hindsight: The New Man in Charge is the official epilogue to Lost, appearing on the Season 6 and later Complete Collection DVD and Blu-Ray box sets.

Some fans have taken Walt's recruitment to mean that Hurley was going to train him as his own replacement, thus allowing Hurley to eventually "move on" as in The End (and also potentially explaining Walt's absence in the church itself) and rejoin his friends.

This episode was created after Lindelof and Cuse had promised to answer where the supply drops and the "Hurley bird" came from and to show Walt again, but realised they couldn't address these elements organically in the finale.

Hurley's presence off the Island appears to confirm that it was Jacob in the flesh visiting the candidates as children, and that the protector of the Island can actually come and go as he wants.

It's not entirely clear why Walt would be in an LA mental hospital when he'd previously been living in New York City, or why Hurley and Ben would be driving around in a DHARMA van in modern LA. It's possible that they deliberately got the vehicle out of sentiment and Walt had gone to LA looking for other 815 survivors (in which case it appears he never found Kate, Claire or Sawyer). More pragmatically, this minisode had a very limited budget and they had to work with what assets and locations they had available.

Some fans felt this minisode was setting up a potential spin-off or sequel series revolving around Hurley, Ben and Walt as the guardians of the Island, but the producers claimed this was not the case.

Review: A funny little epilogue which doesn't leave as much of a mixed taste as the actual finale. The minisode is clearly taking the mickey out of the fans who wanted the finale to be nothing more than a checklist of mysteries and answers, but it's also quite funny (explaining where the polar bears came from for the two hundredth time since some people somehow still didn't get it) and Walt's absence in the finale had been a fairly notable omission that it's good to get some closure on. I must also admit that, while the thematic resonance of closing on Jack's eyes exactly how the show opened is a good one, the show ending with Hurley, Walt and Ben heading off into the night in a DHARMA van on a road trip is simply a lot more fun. Goodbye Lost, it's been a whacky ride. (****)


dan said...

I’ve enjoyed this series of posts. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just seeing that picture of Jack and Vincent made me tear up.

Zaister said...

Thank you for these posts from me ,too, they made me rewatch the whole series over the last four months, and I am quit pleased that it held up nicely, all in all. I think the show benefits from being watched over a compressed time period.