LOST 6.16: What took you so long?

“We’re very close to the end, Hugo.”
–Jacob

As LOST winds down to its final precious hours, the bodies are piling up almost as fast as the reveals. The question is: Are the corpses and the answers worth it?

This week we saw Jack (Matthew Fox) step up and accept guardianship of the Island, prompting my new $64,000 Question: What took so damn long? I can understand if Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) wanted Jack to accept the job of his own free will, but…why did he wait so damn long to ask? Jack surely would have taken stewardship of the Island in exchange for letting everyone else get off. And the way Jacob casually dismissed Kate’s (Evangeline Lilly) question about why she had been crossed off the list – it was just a line of chalk on a wall and so the job is hers if she wants it – had me ready to scream. He was willing to give it to any of the candidates? Why let everyone go through so much pain and torture? Why all the mystical mumbo-jumbo? Why?
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Lost 6.15: The Golden Hour

So, now we know… lots of stuff. Whether anyone likes what we now know is an entirely separate matter, but this was an episode that gave fans what we have been clamoring for: tons of answers. Maybe not the answers many of us were hoping for, but answers, nonetheless.

In one sense, it’s hard to criticize the episode that finally revealed: the origin of Jacob; the origin of the Smoke Monster; why Jacob and the Man in Black hate each other; who set up the “rules” for their conflict; the origin/significance of the white and black stones; why MiB wants off the Island so bad; where the donkey wheel came from and what it’s for; what Jacob is guarding on the Island; what job the “candidates” are being culled for; the identities of “Adam and Eve”; and the source of the Island’s strange powers.

Turns out, it’s a kind of magic.
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LOST 6.10: Charles Widmore’s Big Package

Widmore has his eyes on the prize.

While this week’s LOST certainly held my interest, it was not one of this season’s stronger entries. The primary focus seemed to be on explaining the other side of Sayid’s L.A.-verse story – just how Jin came to be put on ice in the walk-in fridge at the restaurant (He was about to be iced!). But tucked into the framing story on the Island was the revelation that all the people whose names are not crossed off the list in Jacob’s cave must leave the Island together.

Well, give the-powers-that-be points for consistency, at least. Recall that all members of the Oceanic 6 had to return to the Island together. And course this admonition echoes the series-long theme of “live together, die alone.” Other threads picked up upon included Widmore’s and Ben’s warnings that “war” was coming to the Island; and destiny vs. free will, as when the Man in Black told Sun he wouldn’t ask her to do anything she didn’t want to. And was it just me, or did MiB hint to Claire that Kate’s name might have been one of those crossed off the cave wall. We did not see her listed back in episode “The Substitute.” And his casual mention after they are off the Island, “whatever happens, happens,” felt like tacit acknowledgment that Claire can cap Kate if she still wants to. Speaking of getting off the Island on that plane, Smokey cannot travel over water under his own power – apparently that’s why the Island is his prison?
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LOST 6.9: Poor Richard’s Almanac

Endless life's a beach for Richard

So how terrific was LOST this week? After all these years, we finally get the scoop on Richard — and it was worth the wait. We learned everything we needed: Who Richard is, whose death he has on his conscience, why he is on the Island, and what he is doing there.

It’s no surprise Richard insisted to Jack, Hugo and the others that they are all dead and the Island is hell — because from his perspective that’s all very true. What it boils down to is, Richard (Nestor Carbonell) is something of a modern Job: He’s a powerless pawn locked in the crossfire of a battle between higher powers he cannot begin to understand. Woes have been visited upon him for the amusement of others. Everyone who has wielded power over him has let him down or even outright betrayed him — from the doctor who scoffed at the idea of riding out in the rain to minister to Richard’s sick wife, to the corpulent priest who withheld God’s grace and condemned him to hell. There was Magnus Hanso, who instead of rescuing Richard from death by hanging ultimately condemned him by setting him on a course to a far worse living death. And then there are Jacob and the Man in Black, mysterious forces in human form who amuse themselves by using Richard. Only the poor guy isn’t a chess piece — he’s more like a ball they kick around.
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LOST 6.4: Your Number’s Up!

John Locke

You wanted answers to the big questions? How about “Where did the Numbers come from?” Now we know. They came from Jacob, who wrote the names of people aboard Oceanic Flight 815 on a cave wall. And the so-called magic Numbers correspond with the survivors – well, the survivors and John Locke, depending on how you classify him. Nonetheless, the explanation was suitably spooky; c’mon, names and numbers scratched into the stone of a nearly inaccessible hidden cave. That’s pretty cool. And hey, that scale was balancing one white rock and one black rock. The Man in Black pitched the white one into the sea. How many times have we seen black and white rocks – not to mention The Black Rock slave ship?

The numbers and the people associated with them are as follows: 4 – Locke. 8 – Reyes, 15 – Ford, 16 – Jarrah, 23 – Shephard, 42 – Kwon (but is that Jin or Sun?).

This leaves us with one gigantic question: What about Kate? What’s her number? Did Locke/Smokey simply not show her to Sawyer? Why didn’t Sawyer ask about Freckles? See below for my theory.
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LOST 6.1, 6.2: Kate’s in a Tree!

Juliet hangs in there…

So, after spending some eight months chewing over the Big Questions left by the LOST finale last May — Did Juliet really detonate the nuclear device? Will the white flash reset the clock? Will Oceanic Flight 815 avoid crashing on the island? Will our friends end up forgetting each other and never meeting? Will absolutely nothing happen? — it turns out the answer is, Z: All of the Above and More.

Jack and Faraday’s plan was to detonate the nuke within the confines of the electromagnetic pocket and “reset” the island’s timeline. And it worked. Only it didn’t.

Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) insisted she set off the bomb (and “It worked”), but the Swan site remained intact. At least, in one version of the story. It would appear that instead of resetting time, the blast splintered reality. I think the show began by showing us Jack (Matthew Fox) on the plane in another universe, one in which Flight 815 avoids the original White Event and lands safely in Los Angeles. Perhaps the close encounter with the island left Jack 2.0 with some kind of vague imprint that made him notice the people he otherwise would have been trapped alongside — Desmond, Rose, Bernard, Sayid, etc. It was great fun to once again see such dearly departed characters as Boone (Ian Somerhalder, now Damon on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan, now Simon on FLASHFORWARD). Mitchell will be seen again as Erica when V returns. Heck, even goofy science teacher Arzt was worth a laugh. Oh, and the island itself is now underwater.
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