“Oooooh. On the last day of Lost Again my true love gave to me…”
Sixteen guards impalin’
Fifteen pokers a scorchin’
Fourteen ladders a snappin’
Thirteen mirrors a smashin’
Twelve Others a crushin’
Eleven graves a diggin’
Ten Ajira Passengers a rottin’
Nine slaves a slashin’
Eight Losties a tazin’
Seven mothers a bludgeonin’
Six cars a crashin’
Fiiiiive hit and ruuuuuns!
Four Others blown up.
Three Candidates dead.
Two throats a slashed.
AND A FLOCKE WHO FELL INTO THE SEEEEEEA!
“Everybody dies, Kiddo.”
So I just realized that this finale is overall going to rank lower than the Nikki and Paulo episode. What? Oh, yeah, you can go. Ordinarily I can’t stand the “Bwah hah hah, your opinion is wrong!” type of poster, but I totally don’t blame you in this case. This is a tough one to get past. No hard feelings.
So now I’m pretty sure I’m writing in a vacuum, but on the off chance that you’re still reading, let’s do this thing!
Here we are at the very last episode! Wow, what a long string of Lost posts… not quite sure where Kasia is hiding herself these days, but I was never told to stop uploading these. So, before we begin, a very big thank you for reading!
I haven’t rewatched the second half of this finale as of now. So keep that in mind as I open this by saying… I’m more ambivalent about The End than I thought I’d be.
When all was said and done, the sentiment among a lot of us fans after was something like “Overall Season 6 didn’t set the finale up as well as it could of, but the last episode itself was amazing.” That was pretty much my feeling too, but actually watching Season 6 again, I can’t 100% get on board with that anymore. This whole business with the Man in Black, the Rules, the Light, the Cork, it all got quite convoluted, and this time, that directly impacted how good the finale was for me. I still don’t know exactly what the cave is for. I still don’t know what happens when Desmond pulls the cork out, why it seems to impact the Man in Black’s mortality, why he’s no longer bound by the “Rules” that stop him killing candidates and leaving the island. It’s made clear that Jack and the remaining Losties have little idea what’s going on either, they simply let things play out, and it’s only luck or fate that causes events to conspire in their favor.
Most important, I’m still not sure of what the stakes are. The cork being pulled sets in motion the erosion of the island, that’s all we can be sure about. We still don’t know what impact this will have on the world at large, or just why it will be so devastating if the Man in Black makes it off the island. It’s a little bit like the end game of Season 2 or Season 5, in which events are bigger than the characters and a little beyond their grasp. The difference in those cases, the focus was kept on the people involved and how they reacted and how they tried to figure out what was going on. That human element is nowhere near as strong in “The End,” we’ve basically got all these character playing out one final conflict against a backdrop that often distracts and confuses. There’s as much spectacle and entertainment as the previous three finales, but it’s less satisfying.
On the island, anyway. The AU stuff plays fine. But even so, the worst moment of The End is found in the first half, as Sayid reunites with Shannon. Here’s what I think happened. It was up in the air all season long as to whether or not they could get Maggie Grace back. So Sayid’s arc was kept a little bit ambiguous, they had to continue to subtly set up Nadia as someone Sayid could potentially end up with, just in case they had to drop her into the end. But then they closed the deal with Maggie, gave her priority in the finale as an original Season 1 character, and wound up discarding the Sayid/Nadia thing that had been built up over all this time. I’ve never talked to anyone who thought it was a good idea.
So all that’s out of the way. Keep in mind that I do quite like the finale, but I’m going to be harsh on it in places because it’s the last episode, and if I don’t wind up calling it one of the best episodes of the series, I feel I should at least be clear why. Now, the stuff I liked:
“…Two throats a slashed…”
There’s a simple but perfect moment in this episode… the opening scene in which debris from the sub washes up onto the shore. Sawyer contemplates it, then Kate joins him, followed by Hurley and Jack. Before Jack brings the story back on track, the four spend a few seconds staring into the ocean. A rendition of “Credit Where Credit is Due” underscores this, almost the same arrangement that we heard in the post crash scene in the very first episode. It brings us back to a time when the wreckage was massive chunks of airliners, and there were 12 times as many survivors. It really just struck me in this moment how many lives have been lost since the series began.
I suddenly felt a lot of affection for these four people. It’s a sad thing when a show practically decimates its cast, but you find yourself clinging to the few people who are still hanging in there. I think it’d be fair to say that from the beginning, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley have been the most heavily featured and most iconic Lost characters (as well as Locke, whose presence still hangs over everything), so it feels fitting that that it comes down to them for the ending.
“Seven mothers a bludgeonin’…”
All they had to do was make a better episode.
I see what they were shooting for. The Candidate was in many ways the climax of the first fourteen episodes. So the idea must of been to show us just how all of this began, before launching into the resolution of the series as a whole. It was a risky choice, so what Damon and Carlton really needed to do was deliver a jaw dropping and revelatory hour of television that vindicated their decision to hold off on Jacob and Man in Black’s backstory until this late in the game. And that’s not what we got. We got an episode that, first of all, was nearly impossible to judge as a standalone hour of television, because its placement in the season meant that a lot of us were resenting it for breaking up the momentum of the real storyline.
Even keeping that in mind, it’s still kind of boring. I actually like it far less than I did the first time around.
“…Three Candidates dead…”
In a move so unexpected it was almost expected, Darlton took some big climactic events, and threw them into the fourth to last episode. So the escape attempt from the island, the culmination of MiB’s evil machinations, the deaths of some major characters… they’re all here! The result is the most intense and relentless single hour episode of the show since Season 4′s “The Shape of Things to Come.”
One thing I love about The Candidate is how insane the pacing is. It looks like we’re going to spend a good chunk of the episode in the cages before we- SMOKEY ATTACK, everyone out! Now it’s time for an escape attempt on the plane DONE BY END OF ACT 2, moving right along. I remember watching this episode with my brother and joking about how the assault on Widmore’s sub would be over by the next commerci YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE IT, BOMB IN A SUB TIME!
If the season was spending the first fourteen episodes trying to trick us into thinking that Flocke may actually be a good guy, it was doing a terrible job. But there was still some suspense associated with the character, because we were wondering when he would finally spring his trap. His moment is here at last, and it’s effective beyond anything I was expecting. Not that Jack and Sawyer don’t see it coming. That keeps the tension level high early on, as the two try to outgambit Flocke. Unfortunately, Flocke not only anticipated this, but his master plan actually depended on Sawyer not trusting Jack as a result of his Jughead plan last season. You really have to hand it to him.
“…Four Others blown up…”
I’m only starting to realize that Lost and my rewatch series are just about over. I said back in May that the show wouldn’t be done for me until I watched the whole series a second time to see how it played, and that day is almost here. And I have no idea how I’m supposed to look like I’m pretending to work without these reviews. I can’t go back to Freecell. I can’t. But that seems like a post-Christmas kind of worry. What have we got today?
Ah, The Last Recruit. I don’t know if I should even try padding this review out, since it was one of THOSE episodes. One that was quite entertaining, moved all characters (both versions of the characters, at that) towards their ultimate destination, progressed in an exciting fashion, but had maddeningly few noteworthy events to talk about.
The endgame has started, as Widmore is now threatening to blow up Flocke’s camp in retaliation for Sayid’s theft of Desmond. Sawyer takes advantage of the confusion to make his escape to Hydra Island, taking with him Jack, Kate, Sun, and Hurley. And Frank, which is really nice of him, considering that they’ve only met a couple of times. Sucks for Miles, but maybe Sawyer just assumes he’s dead at this point, as most of us would. All of this leads to a great confrontation between Sawyer, who has been changed for the better by the island but is justifiably sick of how much misery it’s caused him, and Jack, who strongly believes that he still has something to do before he can leave. Sawyer knows Jack’s tendency to do his own thing against other’s wishes, and orders him off the boat. It nicely sets up their new skeptic/man of faith dynamic for the crucial scene in The Candidate.
“…Fiiiiive hit and ruuuuuns!”
As we get back to Team Jacob, Richard is still urging everyone to blow up the Ajira Plane. Ilana arrives with some dynamite, and finally prepares to assume a prominent leadership role in
Oh my God, that was hilarious!
So one woman is dead and the other one is rendered speechless. To avoid unfortunate implications, the Losties decide it’s time to go and visit Team MiB so they can pool the female characters together. But before that can happen, Hurley blows up the Black Rock, a harbinger of how the series is about to start burning bridges all over the place. Miles, Ben, and Richard opt to go off to destroy the Ajira Plane by themselves, an expendable grouping in a final season if ever I saw one.
“…Six cars a crashin’…”
As the episode opens, Desmond is back on the island, courtesy of Widmore. He is promptly thrown into a bizarre electromagnetic device. Ah, Desmond making crazy eyes and screaming angrily as he’s thrown into a situation he has no grasp of… this is how I remember him. It was hard to figure out what was happening on the first viewing, but now the situation seems simpler. They wished to test Desmond’s resistance against the electromagnetism. Widmore is thrown by Desmond’s sudden eagerness to help at the episode’s ending, which means there was an unintended consequence; the machine just about killed Desmond, and allowed him to catch a glimpse of his afterlife.
That afterlife dominates Happily Ever After, an episode that’s surprisingly sparse from a plot perspective. Basically, Desmond follows a long trail of familiar faces, eventually meeting the woman of his dreams. Along the way, he starts to realize that there’s something about his seemingly perfect life that isn’t quite right. The chief pleasure is seeing all of these guests stars. Widmore as a benevolent boss to Desmond is a lot of fun, and so is Daniel Faraday getting to live out his life as a musician. It’s even kind of fun to see Ms. Hawking again, back in her role as someone who stops Desmond seeing Penny in the name of some weird greater good. It’s a great, unexpected surprise to have Charlie around, in a substantial role no less. Hell, Desmond himself feels like he’s been gone from the show as long as Charlie, but here he has more screentime than certain series regulars have had all season.
“…Eight Losties a tazin’…”
First, the Sun thing is as stupid as all heck. She hits her head, and loses the ability to speak Korean. I’m sure it’s possible, but why is this happening 113 hours into a 121 hour series? Maybe they couldn’t resist the idea of inverting the situation she was stuck in back in Season 1, but if you have to have your characters on the show openly commenting on how silly it all is (Miles and Frank, naturally), it’s a bad sign. I was unwilling to criticize this the first time around, allowing that it may pay off in some great way. But it doesn’t. It allows Frank to make a wry comment in The Last Recruit. Seven episodes left in the show. Jesus.
Other than that, I really liked the episode.
The Sun/Jin joint centricity means that for once all characters get in some face time. And happily enough, everyone is gearing up for a big conflict in earnest. Richard has his new mission from Isabella, and declares that it’s up to Team Jacob to blow up the plane on Hydra Island. Frank for some reason says nothing about how he can fly it off the island, and won’t until the finale. Jack makes the promise to Sun that he will find a way to get her and Jin off the island, which means he’s in for some torment in about five days time.
Almost right away, you know this episode is going to be something special. With all deference to the show’s usual production values, which are quite high, it’s actually surreal seeing the familiar Lost credits rolling over Ab Aeterno.
I guess there’s something about doing a period piece episode really inspires an already talented cast and crew. Ab Aeterno is maybe the best looking and best directed episode that isn’t a two hour premiere or finale, and it even bests a couple of those. Nestor Carbonell, with great assistance from the beard, hair and clothing, does a fantastic job of disappearing into the role of this younger Richard Alpert. And Michael Giacchino kicks his score up a notch. I’ve always loved the theme that relates to the Man in Black’s real form, and the mysterious, slightly playful Jacob theme, both of which are woven throughout. Bettering even those is the new theme related to Richard, which is magnificent.
There are answers galore! Richard’s agelessness was already attributed to Jacob, and it was all but said that Richard was a slave on the Black Rock, but the story behind those turns out to be really interesting. The mystery of the statue’s destruction and the Black Rock’s appearance in the jungle is wrapped up in one swoop. We see the very beginnings of The Others, and in general terms, we even learn the purpose of the island. Some of this seemed a little, dare I say, mundane the first time around, but it’s so much easier to take these answers on their own merits on a second viewing.