Jacob: “Drink this.”
Jack: “How long am I going to have to do this job?”
Jacob: “As long as you can.”

• This entire scene gave me chills. There’s a subtle sense of sacrifice to the scene. Jack’s willingness to step up and make that sacrifice moved me. Now the questions become: was that sacrifice worth making? Will Jack’s new status make him Target Number 1 for Anti-Locke and Caliba – err, Ben? Will Jack die before the end of this show, now that his ascendancy is complete? And will we see the world through Jack’s new eyes? Because I am DYING to get a little more about what, exactly, being “like Jacob” means. Based on this episode, as I’d said above, I’d guess that part of it involves Island Omniscience – which could be dramatized incredibly, or with incredibly cheesy CGI. I’m hoping, really hoping, for the former.

• They cut to Sawyer right after the ceremony. Why is that?

Maybe it’s because, as I (and many, many other people, I’m sure) suggested, Jack isn’t truly meant to protect the Light. Maybe it’s because he’s assumed this responsibility without yet understanding that the job isn’t necessary. I’m not saying that realization will happen, but it’s certainly a very real possibility, given how much time is left on the clock here and given the show’s obsession with freedom and choice. Having that realization would make a lot of sense from the show’s Existential-yet-spiritual point of view. To invoke O’Connor again:

“When there is a tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual and make it resident in a certain type of life only, the spiritual is apt gradually to be Lost.” – Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

By hiding the Light on the Island, making it a literal “resident” in a certain type of tropical life, discoverable and accessible to a few, it may be that the Island’s guardians are actually hurting mankind’s spiritual awareness/growth and development. What’s nice about the open-ended nature of this at this point is that I’d honestly be happy with either story choice. Both the decision to protect the Light and the decision to free it are defensible decisions, so long as they’re dramatized effectively. Speaking for myself, it’s my hope that if the Light is deemed worthy of eternal protection that the end of the show in some way involves/glances toward the idea of Jack “recruiting” all of his Castaway friends to form a community of (mostly) trusted guardians. It’d sum up so much about the show. A final shot showcasing all of the Island’s Castaways standing on the beach awaiting the arrival of some new group of people would be stirring and profound. We’ll see what happens!

• If I have an issue with this episode it’s that I can’t imagine Jack wouldn’t bring Desmond up to Jacob. Maybe that’s something they’re withholding until the finale, but given the seriousness of the situation you’d think that Jack would feel compelled to tell Jacob that Anti-Locke wants his Scottish buddy planted and pushing up daisies. I mean, if they want to stop him that is. I’m pretty good about suspension of disbelief but this was one of those moments where suspension was overcome by gravity.

For some people, something like this acts as a complete story-killer. It seems to actively, personally infuriate them. I do not understand this. I mean, sure, enough of them and suddenly you’re looking at a show that’s too full of holes to present a proper picture. But I’m one of those (maybe deluded, depending on what email I’ve received that day) people for whom this show has worked like gangbusters. If there are holes to be found (and there are, and we’ll be debating how well the writers filled those holes for a long time after Lost has exited the airwaves, taking its nefarious, opiate-esque hold over me with it) they aren’t holes that ruin the show for me.

Desmond: “I think it’s time to leave.”

I quite loved the scene between Desmond, Sayid and Kate in the van. Sayid is dryly funny and Desmond’s weirdo certainty is so, so fun to watch. When the van stops, and Ana Lucia pops up, along with Hurley (who’s apparently received something like a total-information-awareness download, since he now remembers Ana Lucia as well as Libby) I grinned like a cat with a canary. Do I wish that they’d thrown Desmond into the mix earlier in the season? Heck yes.

Hurley: “She’s not coming with us?”
Desmond: “Nah, she’s not ready yet.”

• Desmond’s comment reinforces the idea that the chosen Castaways are going to be making some kind of “Karmic” leap – in some way confronting and/or reconciling with their Other selves – and that some people aren’t ready to make that leap. It makes perfect sense that Ana Lucia (a totally underrated character on the show, as I discovered when I rewatched) wouldn’t be ready. She was far too tied in to her issues to “let go” while she was on the Island, and the off-Island version of her presumably “reflects” that fact.

• What’s going to happen now? Well, I think that Juliet and Sawyer will get their coffee date in the finale, meaning that, scientifically-speaking, the Jughead reset DID work, just like Juliet claimed. It’s my unsubstantiated theory that the Jughead event set off a chain reaction that allowed the Castaways on the Island to get to a point where they could “reset” their original reality and re-live their lives without Island interference – with a Tabula Rasa, to use the title of a past episode. Think of it like them traveling back to Dharma in the 70’s, except that instead of going back to an earlier point in their pre-established timeline, they create a new timeline where they are free of Island Determinism but still beholden to their own flaws. This is why, for instance, Nadia is alive in the Sideways universe, but still not with Sayid. Sayid’s choices kept them apart. See my Second Snake theory for more explication on this nonsense. If you want science-grounded reasoning for my whacko ideas check out the concept of Quantum Worlds. It’s complicated, but entirely ‘fact-based’ (as far as theoretical physics go at any rate), and provides a fascinating potential explanation for the Sideways world. It’ll also be interesting to you on a general intellectual level. One of the reasons that I so enjoy the show is that its set up to accommodate both a “spiritual” perspective and a “scientific” perspective, and through its characters illustrates how easily those lines can blur.

And I like what the existence of potential “Quantum Worlds” says about our fates, about mortality. If “Quantum Worlds” exist, then we’re in a sense “immortal,” because the past, present and future are co-existent, and because there are countless ‘possible (theoretical) worlds’ out there where we’ve made every conceivable decision we’re capable of making. I find it enormously comforting to imagine that at this moment my deceased loved ones are living out their lives in happiness in another version of our world. And that’s a perfect example of the overlap between science and faith – the wish for another place where we hope/know that our loved ones are safe and well.

• I love that Desmond gives Kate a nice dress to wear, coming off like Quantum James Bond.

• Apparently, saving Desmond from death has worked out in the MiB’s favor. And apparently, someone gave Desmond a hand out of there. Was it Sayid? Claire? Miles?

• Anti-Locke confirms that Desmond is Jacob’s failsafe, and that in turn sorta confirms my whacky theory from a while back about Desmond being a “Secret Candidate.” Only, it’s apparently not Candidacy he’s scheduled for. What is it that Desmond is going to help the Man in Black to do? What will the Island’s Smoke Monster promise/threaten him with?

Anti-Locke: “I’m going to destroy the Island.”

• As I see it, when Anti-Locke says that he wants to destroy “the Island,” what he REALLY means is that he wants to extinguish its “heart.” Given what we’ve learned that makes the most sense to me.

Thinking back to the beginning of the season it seems natural to worry that the off-Island universe is the result of Anti-Locke’s successful attempt at doing just that. After all, how else would you sink an entire “magical” Island? But at this point I still don’t love the idea that the off-Island universe is an aberration that must be destroyed (That may change if that’s the tact the show ends up taking, since more often than not I find myself warming to the stuff on this show that I think I’m going to dislike), so I’m going to suggest a possible alternative which in part revolves around the stuff I discussed just above, and which I’ve been circling in one way or another since the start of my Rewatch last year.

It may be that the sunken Island we’ve seen isn’t the result of the Island having been destroyed by the Man in Black – that it’s instead the result of the Castaways realizing that in order to protect the “Light” and achieve the progress that Jacob is hoping for they need to free it, allowing it to “let go” in the same way that they’ve been struggling to let go of their personal issues and problems since the show began. Doing this might result in the creation of a “Sideways world,” a kind of “Karmic” second-chance world where they are not controlled by Island deities, but are instead free to make all of their own decisions, for better and for worse. The Light will have left the Island, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Light is gone/extinguished.

If all of that is waaaay too metaphysical and wonky for you (and I wouldn’t blame you), look at it this way: When Locke and Jack met this season at baggage claim and talked about the airline losing Christian’s coffin, Locke told Jack that they hadn’t lost his father, they’d just lost his body. Maybe what we’ve seen at the beginning of the season is an image of the Island’s dead body. It’s “heart” has left, but that doesn’t mean that it’s been Lost.

• With The End approaching this seems as good a place as any to say thanks to everyone who’s dropped me a note/email/PM about these columns, and for your ridiculously kind words. Spending four to eight hours a week writing a column on a television show has somehow connected me to a terrifically-kind group of people. Lost’s audience is wonderfully diverse, in age and geography, in occupation and outlook and belief. You are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Hindu, Agnostic and Atheist. You are young (get off my lawn!) and old (get off my lawn!) and everything that life offers in between. You are filmmakers, writers, lawyers, librarians, students, teachers, accountants, engineers, mechanics and retail salespeople, and (knowing Chud’s readership) you probably have a few rogue geneticists and sentient cephalopods among you. It’s been a privilege hearing from all of you, and you’ve enriched my experience watching the show more than you’re probably aware. I started this on a lark and it’s become a blast, sometimes a surreal one. It’s my understanding that there is at least one actual class, with actual students, led by an actual teacher, who’ve referred to my ramblings in their discussions(!). This does not bode well for our educational system.

The column for The End will post next week, at the end of the week. Two and a half hours of television is a lot to write up, so it’ll come in installments. The first will publish Friday. The second will go up Monday. Like the last two Harry Potter adaptations, with less special effects/Alan Rickman, but far more verbosity/Rupert Grint.


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