Why? Why did Sun, Jin and Sayid have to die?
Simple. They gave their lives in service of the story. Because their deaths added to the drama. Because a higher power — the-powers-that-be behind LOST — realized that sometimes story threads need to be snipped rather than tied off. Because TPTB have set the endgame in motion, and after six seasons, this all has to mean something. Plus, the characters died heroic, self-sacrificing deaths — the best kind possible, I suppose.
Having said that, killing the Kwons does smack of contrivance. It’s a way to get the audience swept up in the story. All the regular viewers I know love Sun (Yunjin Kim) — a character who has always been noble and loving and compassionate…and whose never-ending quest to find her husband practically redefined loyalty. She was matched only by hubby Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), who stayed with her even though he easily could have escaped death himself. That’s love. And that’s storytelling: Get the audience invested in the nice couple, and then tear them away. It sends a message that things are dangerous. And, as long as they are not revived next week, it proves that the Man in Black is playing for keeps. (I won’t touch too much on the irony that MiB used a bomb intended to blow up a plane to sink a submarine.)
Sayid’s (Naveen Andrews) passing was a little different. He was shot in last season’s assault on the Swan in the finale, and actually died in this season’s premiere. But then he got better. If you consider shambling around like a zombie to be “better.” Sure, he looked like Sayid and acted like Sayid — but he wasn’t Sayid. He quieter. He was… tainted. He had that quality in common with Claire, so I do not expect her to last very much longer. (Hopefully Emilie de Ravin will be freed from wearing that squirrely wig sooner rather than later.) And with Sayid now conveniently dead, there’s little reason to devote time explaining exactly what the hell he was this season…
I was very affected by the ending on the beach, when Hugo, Kate and even Jack started crying over the deaths of the Kwons. (I assume that they will remember Frank later, and be appropriately sad — unless he suddenly bobs to the surface, somehow alive.) It was an appropriately human response, one that reflected what was happening in a lot of living rooms around the world. The final image of the Kwons floating in a void, locked in an embrace of love and death before drifting apart, was haunting.
Let’s be honest, all the rest of the events of the night are put in the shade by the deaths of these three major characters. The Sideways Universe stuff seemed even more like an afterthought than usual — the scenes of Jack trying to find out how Locke was crippled really did not seem to matter. In fact, the entire interlude seemed like one long set-up to the punchline that Locke was injured in a plane crash. (Rim shot!) Get it? Instead of being cured after a plane crash in our reality, that version of Locke was put in a wheelchair by one. The only really interesting bit came when Jack told Locke, “I think you’re a candidate.” (Rim shot!) Of course he meant, for experimental surgery…
As we face next week, it honestly feels like everyone is in play; like no one is safe — and not just because Kate is bleeding from a gunshot wound and Sawyer got brained by a steel rod. I a sense of surprise has been restored. And feeling “at sea” is usually a good thing with LOST.