Lost: The Last Recruit

Apologies for the lack of updates to the site for the last few days, everything will start appearing on here by the end of the week, starting with this, a look back at the latest episode of Lost from last Friday. It was another good one, and is followed by a two-week gap before the next episode due to the series also having a week off in the US.

This episode felt like the final pieces were being put in place before the final episodes, with everyone getting to where they needed to be, in both realities. It really felt like what in normal seasons would be the penultimate episode before the season finale. But this, of course, is the final season and we still have another five hours of the show to go. Quite where those final hours will take us, I have no idea. The two different stories, of the island and of the world where flight 815 never crashed, were both building towards something big but didn’t quite get there, leaving so much to anticipate in the next episode.

Let’s start with the flashsideways, where everyone’s stories were converging. John Locke, hit by Desmond’s car last week, is rushed to hospital at the same time as Sun. Sun takes one look at him and freaks out, remembering him somehow from the original timeline. Luckily, we discover that she and her baby are safe and well. In the police station, Saywer and Miles are questioning Kate. Already there’s a little electricity between James Ford and Freckles. He and Miles catch the case of the shootings of Keamy and his gang, and spot Sayid on CCTV. Sayid says goodbye to Nadia before attempting to go on the run, but LAPD’s finest catch him.

Desmond, continuing his Jacob-like mission of pushing people towards seeing their true life, finds Claire as she is on her way to an adoption agency. He recommends that she has a lawyer with her before she signs any papers, and offers use of his own, who is based in the same building. She accepts his offer and he introduces her to his attorney, Ilana Verdansky. Des obviously knew that he had to get her to the right place, as it turns out that they “coincidentally” had been trying to find her. The reason is made clear when Jack and his son David, now on much better terms with his dad, arrive for the reading of Christian Shephard’s will. When he arrives, he is introduced to the Claire Littleton whose name puzzled him when he first saw the will and discovers that she is his half-sister. He gets a call from the hospital, it’s an emergency and he has to rush back to perform a very complicated operation on a paraplegic man who was involved in a serious car accident. When he gets to the theatre, he realises that it’s the man he met at the airport, John Locke.

To the island, where things continue where we left them last week, with the remaining candidates arriving at the Man in Black’s camp, just as he needed. Jack sat down for a quick chat with the man who looks like John Locke, the confrontation which has run all the way through the series from the very start, but this time with roles reversed, Jack having faith in the island while the other man wants to leave. There are, for once, some straight answers to straight questions. Has the Man in Black, the smoke monster, ever appeared as other dead people? Yes. Was he the person Jack’s seen walking around the island looking like his father Christian? Yes, he was. He says that everything he has done has been to help them, and appearing as Christian in those first few days is what led Jack to find a source of water, saving the lives of the crash survivors.

Many of us expected this to be the case, but now we have it confirmed, let’s step back a little. It was Christian and therefore the Man in Black who told Locke to move the island, he was not acting on behalf of Jacob as he said at the time (as a side note, Claire’s usual demeanour in the cabin back then might have been a sign that she was already “infected”, as Dogen put it). It was Christian who appeared to Micheal in the freighter to say his work was done and he could die now. This poses two thoughts, firstly that the Man in Black was probably lying to Sawyer when he said he couldn’t just turn into smoke and get across the water, and secondly that he was the person keeping Micheal alive long enough to do his job of protecting the candidates from the bomb on the boat, which seems more like something Jacob would do. All pretty confusing. And then, of course, there was the time Jack saw his father sitting in the hospital. Since the Man in Black is so desperate to leave the island, we can only guess that this was a hallucination, or maybe even his father’s ghost. I suspect we have more to learn on this, whether it’s more information about his appearances as Christian, or understanding it better by learning more about the Man in Black. As for the other dead people he’s been, it’s pretty certain that he was Eko’s brother Yemi and Alex, but the others? Ben’s mother? Maybe even Kate’s horse and Hurley’s imaginary friend Dave? These are the sorts of questions I think Lost fans will be pondering for years to come.

As they return to the camp after their little chat in the jungle, Jack and the Man in Black find that they’ve been followed by Claire. This is the first time that they have been reunited since discovering that they are half-siblings. She tells Jack that she’s glad he’s coming with them, but he says that he hasn’t decided yet. No, she replies, you’re with him as soon as you let him speak to you.

Zoe then shows up, asking the Man in Black to return what he had taken – obviously meaning Desmond. He says that he has no idea of what she’s talking about, so she demonstrates Widmore’s capabilities by ordering an artillery strike near to the camp. Cool as you like, the man who looks like John Locke doesn’t even around to look at the explosion. She gives him until nightfall to do what she asked and gives him a radio to let them know when he’s ready. After she leaves, he smashes the radio with the wooden pole he’d been carving, saying “Here we go.”

The Man in Black tells the rest of the camp that Widmore has forced them to go ahead with their plans earlier than expected. They are to go to Hydra island to get on the plane. He tells Sawyer to get a boat, giving him a map, telling him to meet them at a certain point. Sawer and Kate go off to get the boat after telling Jack about the plan to take Widmore’s sub. Instead of meeting the Man in Black, they will take the boat to a different spot, where Jack will bring Sun, Hurley and Frank (who Sawyer describes as “that guy who looks like he just walked off a Burt Reynolds movie”). Sawyer decides that Sayid can’t come, as he’s now that he’s “gone to the Dark Side”, despite Hurley’s protestations that people can always come back from the Dark Side, “like Anakin” and also says that Claire cannot come, having lost her ticket to the sub when she tried to kill Kate.

The Man In Black tells Sayid to go to the well and kill Desmond. He goes there and finds Des sitting at the bottom. When Sayid points his gun at him, Des asks what he was offered to do this. Sayid replies that he will get the woman he loved back from the dead and when Desmond questions whether “Locke” can really do that, Sayid tells him that he was dead and brought back to life. Desmond asks what Sayid will tell her when she asks what he did to be with her again. This appears to make Sayid stop and think for a moment. Is the zombie a little more human than we thought?

So it’s another pilgrimage across the island, as the Man in Black’s group makes its way towards the agreed meeting point. Jacks asks Claire why she trusts the man who looks like Locke and used to look like their father. She says it’s because he’s the only one who never abandoned her. The Man in Black himself looks around for Sayid, but can’t find him, so tells Cindy to keep walking while he goes to look for him. Jack takes this as his cue to get Hurley, Sun and Frank together to head for Sawyer’s secret meeting point, but Claire spots them, those strong feelings of abandonment returning.

The Man in Black finds Sayid in the jungle and asks why he took so long. Sayid replies that he just killed an unarmed man and that he needed a moment, and if he doesn’t believe him he can go and check for himself. The Man in Black hesitates before starting to head back towards his group, but it’s quite clear that Sayid was lying. They wouldn’t give a character like Des an off-screen death. Would they? What this means for Sayid is quite interesting, perhaps Hurley’s comparisons with Anakin Skywalker were right.

Jack, Sun, Hurley and Frank arrive at the dock where they find Kate and Saywer on board the Elizabeth, the boat Desmond was given by Libby six years earlier. Claire suddenly appears, pointing a gun at Kate who slowly and carefully talks her round, saying that the only reason she returned to the island was to bring her back so she can be with Aaron. Claire gets on board and they set off towards Hydra Island, when Sawyer tells them of his plan to cosy up to Widmore before stealing his submarine to escape the island at last. While everyone else dives into the galley to enjoy the canned food, Jack looks out to see, contemplatively. He tells Sawyer that something doesn’t feel right, that he doesn’t want to feel the way he did after he left the last time. Sawyer dismisses this at first, but Jack goes on, sounding more and more like the real John Locke, saying that they were brought to the Island for a reason and that the reason the Man in Black is so keen to help them leave could be that he’s afraid of what would happen if they stay. This angers Sawyer, who tells him to either keep the crazy talk to himself, or get off his boat. Jack says that leaving would be a mistake and that the island isn’t done with them yet. “I’m done with the island” replies Sawyer, telling him again to get off his boat. Jack apologises for getting Juliet killed, and jumps into the water, swimming back to the main island, where he is met by the Man in Black and the remaining Others.

The Elizabeth arrives at Hydra Island, and the group swims to the beach, where they are found by Zoe with some more of Widmore’s men, all of them armed. Jin arrives and spots Sun, they run to each other and embrace, reunited after three long years apart. It’s a lovely, understated moment, though I felt that the fact it made Sun suddenly able to speak English again (with Frank’s cheesy line about getting her voice back) was a little weak. Still, it’s great to see these two together again, but Jin’s line about them never being apart again seemed to be a distressing bit of foreshadowing. And things got even worse when Zoe receives a call on her radio from Widmore and then tells them all to put their hands up and kneel while her group aims their weapons at them. Saywer asks about the deal he had with Widmore but Zoe says the deal is off. This was a truly chilling moment, Lost has always been a show where no character is completely safe, but now we’re so close to the very end, all bets are off and anyone could take a bullet. It was genuinely worrying to see these characters that we’ve grown to love over the last six years in such peril.

On the beach, back on the main island, Jack is welcomed by the Man in Black, who has deduced that Sawyer has taken the boat for himself. Suddenly, one of Widmore’s artillery shells lands in the middle of the beach, throwing Jack and some Others into the air. Just like the scene with Kate in the first episode of the season, the sound is muffled as Jack starts to come to his senses. In what looks like a scene from Saving Private Ryan, the Man in Black carries Jack to safety while explosions go off all around. He puts him down by a tree and tells him that everything’s OK, because “you’re with me now.”

As I mentioned before, this episode was more about getting things ready for the final episodes, in both timelines, than being a good episode of itself. That said, there was plenty of good stuff in there, with the flashsideways scene in the operating theatre where Jack had his now customary look in the mirror, only to see John Locke, perhaps an allusion to the fact that on the island, Jack is now taking on John Locke’s role. Our characters haven’t seemed to be in this much danger since the days that Keamy was roaming the island and I really can’t guess what’ll happen next. So, while it didn’t quite reach the heights of the last few weeks, it was still a very good episode. Now for an unbearable wait for the next one.

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