Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost Season Five: Episodes 16 and 17

I've been sitting at my computer for the past hour, wondering how to start this recap. So much happened tonight, I don't know where to begin. Perhaps with Jacob, unseen for so many years, but now ubiquitous. How about the return of the megalomaniac fuck-up Jack Shepherd, whose serenity was never going to last? Or the artist formerly known as John Locke (I totally called it, Locke is dead.)? I guess I'll just take it in roughly chronological order, which means the order in which it aired; I don't have the brains to put all of tonight's craziness in a timeline.

- Lost fans have been debating the centrality of Ben Linus versus Charles Widmore for some time now. Are the Losties simply pawns in a larger fight they know nothing about. It never crossed my mind that Widmore and Ben were chess pieces in an even greater rivalry; the one between Jacob and the dude he was talking to. Since we are never given a name for him, I'm just going to call him Loopy, given that he's been searching for a loophole. That ship which Loopy accuses Jacob of brining to the Island: it has to be the Black Rock, right? And the argument they have is at the heart of the show. Loopy thinks that their lives are pre-destined and that fate will ensure the same things will repeating themselves, but Jacob says that the details change, which is where free will comes in.

- The next time we see Jacob he is rescuing little Kate from being turned in for shoplifting. I'm going to break the chronological order a little to talk about the ambiguity of all of Jacob's appearances. He's certainly trying to guide their destinies, but in what way? Is he trying to dissuade Kate from pursuing a life of crime or did he ensure that she thought she could get away with her lawlessness? Similarly, I am unsure if Jacob stopped Said so that Nadia would be killed or if he was trying to save Said from a similar fate. I'm also very curious to find out if Jacob's touch awoke an unconscious (maybe even dead) Locke or if he was just reassuring him.

- Although it makes sense in retrospect, 'Locke' tells Richard that they're going to have to deal with the Ajira people. That was very chilling and was the first time that the character (who is not who we think he is) was so wanton about his murderous instincts.

- I thought the weakest parts of the episode were Juliet's two reversals. First she changed her mind about leaving the Island. I kind of bought that because she's not the type to let Jack just set off an H-bomb. I wasn't convinced at all that she would allow the detonation to go ahead because Sawyer made googly eyes at Kate. That was completely out of character and the damn love quadrelateral led to another decison that seemed to be based solely on plot contrivement. I totally bought that Jack thinks setting off a nucelar device is an appropriate reaction to being dumped by Kate. He really is that type of guy.

- The conversation between Richard and Jack about Locke was brilliant and it left me convinced that Locke was never destined to be anything. The only reason he became the leader of the Others was because he told Richard he would be; it wasn't his destiny, it hapenned because he made it happen. And now we know how well that worked out for the pro-Jacob faction, which I'm assuming the Others are.

- Although not relevant to the master plot, the scene with Rose and Bernard was very touching.

- So, Jacob hasn't been living in the ash-encircled shack for some time, but someone else has. That someone would obviously be Christian Shepherd and Claire. Given what we now know, is it reasonable for me to assume that Chrsitian was lying when he told Locke that he was speaking on behalf of Jacob and that he needed to move the Island. Since Loopy has now manifested as Locke, could he be the one taking the guise of all these people and that he forced Locke to move the Island as part of his plan to exploit some loophole. And who controls the smoke monster: Jacob or Loopy?

- I loved all the callbacks to previous seasons. Sun finding Charlie's Drive Shaft ring, little Kate and her toy aeroplane and an explanation for why Dr Chang had a prostethic arm in the Dharma video we saw in season two.

- Line of the night goes to Locke when he sees the four-toed statue. "It's a very nice foot, Richard, but what does it have to do with Jacob?"

- There must be something important in the guitar case Jacob left for Hurley since he's still lugging it around. Any theories? And why was Jacob trying to bring back Hurley, and presumably the Others, back to the Island? Are they going to fight Loopy in season six?

- The big reveal that Locke is already dead didn't surprise me that much. Frank's reaction after being shown what was in the box made it pretty clear it was Locke. But the implications for this are enormous.

- Ben's little speech to Jacob about his relative insignificance may be the first time we have seen the true Ben, with all his insecurties laid bare. More brilliant acting from Michael Emerson.

- According to forum posters who speak Latin, Richard's answer to, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" was "All that is good." So Jacob is the good guy, at least for now. By the end of season six I sure that will be far murkier.

- And finally Juliet's death. I find more than a little implausible that she could survive the fall. Or that the nuke could safely land without detonating and yet can be set off by a dying woman throwing a rock at it. But still, where does this leave us for next season? I doubt that these guys are going to be ending up in LA. I'm sure Sawyer is going to blame Jack for Juliet's death, with some justification. Maybe he'll punch him out some more. But I have really no clue where any of the plots are going.

Overall, this season was a blast. Maybe not as thrilling as the end of season three and much of season four but consistent throughout. It's been great analysing these episodes every week and I look forward to doing it for the final season in about eight month's time. Eight friggin months. It's going to be torture.


JK said...

It definitely has to be the black rock! That's the first thing i thought too (along with thousands others i'm sure).

I don't think Christian and Claire were the ones living in the cabin. I think it was probably Loopy. Although, I have another theory about that which I'll come to next.

I think there could be two options:

Loopy = Christian


Loopy = Smoke monster (= Locke, Mr. Eko's brother = Alex etc etc)

I lean more towards the second theory. The part where Ben and Locke(fake Locke) go into the temple, the smoke monster only appears when Locke goes away to find something. It's not the strongest argument but then again we don't have very many of those in Lost.

Also, the Latin translation you quote isn't correct. The translation is "He who will save us" or "He who will serve us". Apparently the same word in Latin can mean both things so there is some confusion.

The thing that's been bothering me the most is that Richard said in a previous episode that he saw Jack, Hurley, Jin, Kate etc. die.
Clearly Richard wasn't around when the bomb went off. So I have a strong feeling that the bomb didn't actually go off and it was just a flash.

I can't believe we have to wait 9 months for more answers

JK said...

Or eight haha i dunno

bubs said...

Thanks for the correction on the quote. Maybe I should utilize the break to learn Latin, study particle physics and get a lesson in Egyptian hagiography. That way I won't have to rely on others to interpret this stuff.

I also agree that Loopy is more likely to be the smoke monster, which would explain why Smokey, in the guise of Alex, told Ben to blindly follow Locke.

I think the bomb did go off. And that is the incident which Dr Chang talks about in his orientation video. And while Richard may not have been around I'm sure he was keeping himself informed of what's going on. There's no way he's going to let someone bandy a nuke about on his Island without knowing what happens. We'll have to wait for next season to find out why he thought he were dead.

JK said...

bubs said...

Thanks for the correction on the quote. Maybe I should utilize the break to learn Latin, study particle physics and get a lesson in Egyptian hagiography. That way I won't have to rely on others to interpret this stuff.

>>When did watching TV become so hard?

Kalsoom said...

I literally yelled at my television when the episode finished. Why must we wait so long to find out!! Why!

Ok, so throughout the episode, I kept thinking of all the biblical references this series had. The relationship between Locke/Loopy and Ben appeared to me to a throwback to the story of Abraham, when God asked him to kill his son Isaac to demonstrate his faith in him. The parallel was interesting given the Loopy-Jacob dynamic we now know of, because it seems in the REAL war, Loopy was trying to get Ben to show his loyalty.

Also interesting: so remember when Locke/Loopy told Richard Alpert to go and tell real Locke that he has to leave the island and to come back he has to die? I really believe that Loopy takes on the body of people that come to the island dead. HOWEVER, since only the Leader can request an audience with the Others, it was necessary for Locke to come back dead because he was the Leader prior to his departure. Too far? Perhaps.

The issue of What Happened Happened also seems to be the running theme. The Losties seem to believe that they are changing history, when in reality perhaps their actions are merely mimicking those of the past - i.e., the explosion was actually caused by the hydrogen bomb NOT by the drilling, Dr. Chang's arm was always prosthetic and Miles saved him, he was always supposed to tell his wife to leave the island, etc. etc. I know I always go on this tangent, but I think it's very important to the question of destiny in this show.

I want to write more, but sadly have been called into a meeting. Wouldn't it be awesome to be a professional Lost analyst?

Nabil said...

Is Lapidus a candidate to the be the next Jacob?

Perhaps Jacob never met Ben face-to-face because Loopy could have manifested him? ( he did sort of a child didn't he?)

supe said...

oh my goodness what a finale!
omg! poor juliet!

so much happened over the course of episodes 16 and 17, yet the ending heart wrenching scene with sawyer and juliet is what left a lasting impression on me.

for a very long time i couldn't bring myself to like anything about juliet, if anything i was a little creeped out by her too-good-to-be-true character. yet, if this really is the end for her, i will miss her.
i was touched by sawyer's determination to save her. it's the first time this side of sawyer has been showcased in the entire series. pretty powerful acting by holloway there.

i would have been way, way happier had that happened to kate instead.

jack definitely deserved that punch up from sawyer, but then maybe not for this episode.
from the past couple of episodes i've begun rooting for jack, he certainly changed after locke's death and has been following his instincts more a la locke. which seems to beat trying to take the logical route, because frankly this is lost, logic, wha..?

oh and ''I totally bought that Jack thinks setting off a nucelar device is an appropriate reaction to being dumped by Kate. He really is that type of guy.''

hahaha! classic! yes, he truly is that kind of guy, but still, i don't think he;s as bad as he was previously.

locke: definitely dead, it seemed pretty obvious that big casket the ajira gang were carrying around contained locke's corpse.
so, is locke a life-death hoverer like what alex and christian shepherd are?

lost seems to have formed a pattern. when we initially come across some of these characters (i.e. those like ben, eloise hawking, richard alpert, widmore, mr ecko and so on) they're like these invincible otherworldly beings, yet scratch underneath the surface and they're nothing but vulnerable little pawns, caught up in the same game as the losties themselves.
similar to the way jacob was so easily knifed down by frail little ben, without a fight was disappointing but at the same time intriguing.
it's kind of close to one of those theories on life i made up and keep close to my heart and that is:
'why is it that the enemy seems invincible, yet your loved ones are vulnerable?'

okay, i'm not saying i suddenly love ben and that's why he's all vulnerable on us, but i can think the underlying message lost is trying to relay is possibly a religious one and that is that human beings are never truly in control, we can only be so powerful.
all those biblical references are starting to tie in well.

i originally thought jacob was some kind of poltergeist, but he's quite obviously human. another clue is when he ensures hurley in the taxi, that he's 'not a dead person'.
so that begs the question; who exactly is jacob?
and who is this loophole guy?

and what is locke's significance?

and didn't locke communicate with jacob when he heard the faint 'heeelp' some seasons ago? there was definitely some substantial exchange there, i feel.

oh! and when juliet triggers the bomb, there is a white flash of light rather than an explosion. maybe that was just dramatics for tv purposes, or, maybe that means we'll have a repeat of white flashes of light, hence time travel?

ahan, eight friggin' months till we find out, indeedio.

supe said...

whoa! that's a very long comment!

bubs said...

JK: Watching tv became so hard when Lost started fucking with your minds every week.

Kalsoom: I agree with Loopy needing to take the body of a leader.
Speaking of professional Lost analysts, Doc Jensen in Entertainment Weekly suggested that maybe the nuclear explosion will cause history to be changed but that all the 815 guys will retain their memories of what happened in their other reality. His evidence is that Jacob physically touched them in his encounters with them and so he left some part of him in them. Personally, I think when Jacob told Loopy "They're coming" he meant the Losties who will fight Loopy on behalf of Jacob.

Nabil: I'm also really curious to find out what the Ajira guys meant when they asked if Lapidus could be a candidate.

Supe: The Jack smackdown was so cathartic. He's been asking for it for five seasons. I disagree about Jack being logical. Once he gets an idea in his head, he stops thinking rationally. He wanted to set off a nuke because he can't get Kate. That's figgin insane.

As for the Jacob-Hurley meeting, I would love to know what's in the guitar case. Knowing Lost, it may turn out to be very important.

If we make the admittedly shaky assumption that Ben was telling "Locke" the truth that he thought the shack was empty, and he was surprised when things starting flying around, then there is a good chance that the old man who said help me was actually Loopy. And as it turns out Locke did help him by dying.

I think the most obvious explanation for the flash of light at the end is that it took the Losties into the present day and that is what Jacob was referring to when he told Loopy "They're coming." And Loopy didn't seem all that happy when Jacob said that so this might be the big conflict for season six.

Q said...

Man I should have come here earlier to avoid all those mind boggling nights in bed with thoughts of what the hell happened right there!??

Season 5 has surely been a blast and I have no idea how I will survive till Jan to get all these answers!

I believe season 6 will be the last season. I hear the show has not been signed for after season 6.

As for Juliet, she is definitely dead - she's not returning in season 6 according to a mag.

The bomb definitely went off and Richard obviously knows that (maybe he saw it), hence his statement about seeing them all die.

Now here's the thing, if Juliet is dead, how r they going to xplain Jack, Sawyer, Kate, etc alive in LA? Or will that even happen?

Faraday died in the 70s but his mother was pregnant, and she will give birth on the Island so Faraday will be born, which means Faraday will be alive 30 years later? i.e. next season?

Jacob.. I don't think he can be dead. Locke, the alive one, is Jacob I think. I could be way off but it was Jacob who convinced Hurley to get on Ajira, hence at the time of the flight Jacob was in the city and not on the Island.. So if the Ajira people landed in the island - some 30 years ago and some in the present, how did Jacob get there?

Maybe Jacob knew that someone was pretending to be him on the island and he had to send these guys back?

Doesnt make sense.

Nothing makes sense.. and someone is right, I havent watch a more difficult show.

naqiya said...

@ everyone:

so i don't watch lost, nor do i read these lost posts (sorry bubs, no offence) but i immediately thought of you guys when i read about this ny band last week. enjoy!

they had a concert after the last expisode of the season aired apparently...

bubs said...

Thanks for the link Naqiya. And I'm sure at least 99% of five rupees' readers skip the Lost posts. I'm just grateful Ahsan is a benevolent despot and allows me my indulgences.