Lost: The Candidate

This week’s episode of Lost was a thrilling, draining emotional rollercoaster. Questions were answered, allegiances were confirmed and many tears were shed, with everything now almost in place for the two and a half hour finale in three weeks time. I think I need a lie down after watching that, but first here’s a look back at this amazing episode…

Well then. Before we get started on the epic island storyline, let’s have a look at the more serene flashsideways. In the hospital, John Locke wakes up after his surgery. Jack tells him that when he was operating, he got to have a look at the original injuries which prevent him from walking and believes that he could be a “candidate” for a pioneering new treatment. Locke very firmly declines the offer. No matter how much Jack wants to fix him, he doesn’t want to be fixed.

As we all know, Jack doesn’t give up too easily. Determined to find out what caused the accident that paralysed Locke, he goes to visit his dentist who is, of course, Bernard. Bernie recognises the doctor from Flight 815, jesting that he caught him flirting with his wife, Rose. He says that he cannot break patient confidentially by telling him what happened in the accident three years ago, but does tell him that the other person involved in the incident was named Anthony Cooper. And we all remember how he was involved with Locke’s injury in the original timeline. Jack goes to a nursing home to speak to Cooper, and bumps into Locke’s fiance Helen. She tells him that Locke really doesn’t want to have the operation and that Jack should be satisfied that he has saved his life, but it’s not enough and he goes to see Locke’s father. They go through to see Cooper who we see is in a vegetative state, staring vacantly into the distance while a nurse wipes some dribble from the corner of his mouth. This is not the Anthony Cooper we knew from the original timeline and not a man who is able to give Jack the answers he wants.

Back at the hospital Locke is talking in his sleep while having a vivid dream. He mumbles the words “push the button” and “I wish you had believed me,” the very words he wrote on his suicide note to Jack. Claire turns up to show Jack something Christian left to her in his will. It’s a music box which plays Catch a Falling Star when it opens, and Claire and Jack both look into the mirror on the inside of the lid, continuing the motif which has been running in the flashsideways all season. She asks if he knows the significance of the box but Jack does not. She mentions that she arrived on Flight 815, causing Jack to stop and think for a moment, after his connections with fellow passengers Locke and Bernard. She tells him that she’s staying in a motel and he offers to let her stay with him, as they are family.

Locke is now much better, and wheels himself along the hospital corridor, ready to be discharged. Jack says goodbye and tells him that he went to see his father to try to understand the cause of his injuries. Eventually, Locke opens up, explaining what happened and making clear the reason why he does not want the operation. As hinted at in previous episodes, Locke only had a good relationship with his father in this timeline, and Locke managed to persuade him to be his first passenger after he got his pilot’s licence, despite his father’s fear of flying. The plane had crashed straight after take off, paralysing Locke and causing his father to have such debilitating brain injuries. Locke blames himself and, without saying it, makes it clear that he doesn’t want Jack to treat him because he feels the loss of his legs is the least punishment he deserves.

Jack reminds him of their conversation at the lost luggage desk at the airport, where Locke helped him to understand that his father has gone. Jack tells Locke that his father has also “gone” now, even if he’s still alive and that he should stop punishing himself, saying that “what happened, happened.” Locke does not take his advice and says his goodbyes once again. As he leaves, Jack calls out, “I can help you, John. I wish you believed me.” Locke stops for a moment, as if he recognised those words, before going home.

I think this puts an end once and for all to any theories that the Locke in the flashsideways is the Man in Black. This is definitely John Locke, the man we knew before, but one who has lived a very different life, almost entirely because of the different relationship he had with his father which shaped so much of his personality. While it could be argued that very little happened in the flashsideways compared to previous weeks, there’s always something special about scenes involving Jack and Locke and it was poignant to learn more about a much-loved, deeply tragic character who seems to end up having to suffer terrible things whatever path his life takes.

But what this episode will be remembered for is what happened in the other timeline. It all begins with Jack waking up in an outrigger, perhaps put there to tease, once again, those of us who are still waiting to see the other side of that shoot-out from the start of season five. Sayid informs him that he’s on Hyrdra island, he was brought across while he was still unconscious from the mortar attack, while all the surviving Others (presumably including Cindy, Zach and Emma) scattered into the jungle. The Man in Black appears, in Locke’s form as usual, telling Jack that they’re going to rescue his friends but he needs to get them to trust him. Jack asks why he should trust him, and the Man in Black replies that he could easily kill him at any time but hasn’t, instead saving his life. On another part of the island, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Sun, Jin, Claire and Frank are marched at gunpoint. Saywer outsmarts one of Widmore’s men and grabs his gun, but Charles himself appears and holds a gun to Kate’s head. She begs Sawyer to call his bluff but Widmore says that her name isn’t on “the list” so it doesn’t matter if she lives or dies. Sawyer remembers the names he saw written on the cave walls and realises that Widmore is telling the truth. They are all thrown into the polar bear cages, an unwelcome sense of deja vu all over again for Kate and Sawyer, but Widmore says it’s for their own good. Sun gives Jin his wedding ring, which she’s kept since Ben gave it to her back in LA. Suddenly the power in cut off and the sounds of the smoke monster can be heard. The black smoke appears, killing Widmore’s men. Jack arrives and unlocks the cage, telling them that he’s with “him” now, nodding in the direction the smoke monster went.

The Man in Black arrives at the Ajira plane, ignoring Widmore’s men who shoot at him without causing a scratch. He snaps one’s neck and shoots the other, before taking his watch. He climbs up a bamboo staircase into the plane and notices some wires connected to explosives hidden in one of the baggage racks. Everyone else arrives, and he shows them what he found on the plane, saying that Widmore wanted them all in a confined space together. Because he doesn’t know whether there are more bombs on the plane, he says they’ll have to go on the submarine instead. Saywer says that he’s been saying they should do that all along, telling the Man in Black that he trusts him now that he’s saved their lives again, but then confides to Jack that he doesn’t trust him at all, asking him to help make sure that he doesn’t get on the submarine.

They arrive at the dock and decide make their way to the sub in groups for safety. Sawyer, Sun, Frank, Jin and Hurley go first while the others watch their backs. Everything goes well, they climb into the submarine and easily get the crews’ cooperation by waving guns in their faces. Kate, Claire and Sayid are next to slowly and carefully make their way to the sub. The Man in Black gives Jack his backpack and asks him to come with them, saying he shouldn’t listen to whoever told him he should stay. Jack says that the man who told him was John Locke, and pushes him into the water. Kate turns around to look at what happened and is shot in the shoulder. Jack carries her down into the sub with Sayid while Claire keeps shooting at Widmore’s men, who have gathered on the shore. The Man in Black climbs out of the water and walks towards them, shooting them. Sawyer pokes his head out of the submarine hatch and shouts for Claire to come, but she needs to keep shooting. The Man in Black turns and walks towards the sub. Quickly, Sawyer closes the hatch and gives the instruction to Frank to dive. Claire looks on, horrified at being abandoned yet again, but The Man in Black tells her that she really doesn’t want to be on that sub.

Jack looks in his backpack for something to help treat Kate’s gunshot wound, but all his finds is a bomb made from the C4 explosives from the plane and the watch the Man in Black took. As the timer ticks down from 3:50, they shout at Frank to surface, but he says it’ll take five minutes. Sayid works out that to deactivate the bomb, they’d have to pull both wires out at simultaneously. Jack suddenly realises exactly what’s happening. He says that the Man in Black wanted exactly this to happen, he fully intended for them to get into the submarine and leave him behind, so that they could all be together in this confined space. He says that while the Man in Black has been saying that he can’t leave the Island without them, maybe he really means that he can’t leave without them all being dead. He works out that, since he’s not killed them himself despite, as he said himself earlier, the fact that he easily could, it must mean that he cannot kill them directly. Instead, he is trying to get them to kill each other. I think Jack’s right, it all ties in with everything we’ve seen about Jacob and the Man in Black so far, and the way that the Man in Black believes that the people brought to the island always end up killing each other. Jack pleads with everyone to trust him and not touch the bomb, saying that if they let the timer run to the end and nothing will happen.

Unfortunately Sawyer isn’t the man of faith that Jack has become, and pulls the wires. At first it looks like it’s worked and the timer stops. But then it starts counting down twice as fast. Sayid picks up the bomb and tells Jack about Desmond and where to find him. When Jack asks why he’s telling him this, he says “Because it’s going to be you, Jack.” He runs away down the corridor and the bomb explodes. He dies a hero.

Frank sees a nearby door has water gushing out of every side. “Oh, hell..” he says with resignation as the door bursts out and lands with him, the water gushing into the submarine. Jack picks up Kate and gives her to Hurley, giving him some emergency oxygen. Hurley asks about Sayid but Jack yells, “There is no Sayid.” Harsh, but true. But, oh no, Sun is trapped against the wall by some metal debris. Jin, Sawyer and Jack struggle to move things out of the way but she’s still trapped by a metal bar. Something falls down and hits Sawyer on the head, knocking him unconscious. Jack carries him but still wants to help Jin free Sun. Jin tells him to go, so that he can save Sawyer. Eventually, Jack agrees, and swims away.

Jin keeps trying to free Sun but the metal bar just won’t budge. She tells him to save himself but he tells her that he’ll never leave her. As they tell each other one last time that they love each other, the “Life and Death” music starts playing and millions of viewers are in tears. They embrace each other and kiss as the water reaches their necks. The sub slowly sinks deeper into the ocean. Under the water, their hands slowly drift apart. Heart-wrenching.

Jack gets back to the beach with Sawyer, who is still breathing. Hurley and Kate are there and ask about Jin and Sun. Jack shakes his head. Hurley and Kate break down in tears as Jack gets up and looks at the sea, also crying. This gets me going even more, I have to admit it. There have been so many emotional moments over the last six years of the show, but this seems to be the most tragic of the lot.

At the pier, the Man in Black tells Claire that the submarine has sunk but not all of them are dead. He starts to walk away and when she asks where he’s going, he replies, “To finish what I started.”

If we were being charmed by the Man in Black over the last few weeks, this episode has finally told us that he is truly evil and what Widmore and Ilana said about him was probably right. If we had any doubt about how close we are to the end of the show, this bitterly sad episode showed us. We’re now saying goodbye to these characters we’ve followed for the last few years, and there’s only four and a half hours to go. Next time, I’ll remember to keep the tissues nearby.

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