5-4-3-2-Lost: “The Candidate”

Posted by Jesse May 5th, 2010 at 04:27pm In Lost

I know this is just about the latest-starting weekly Lost recap/review series ever, but I found myself reading lots of Lost posts on Wednesday mornings, and I decided that it’s kind of weird not to have someone at Tifaux covering the only interesting one-hour show on network television (sorry, not feeling it, Glee, Chuck, or shows with cops, lawyers, or doctors). So glory to the low-tech debut of 5-4-3-2-Lost, covering the final five and a half hours of this crazy show.

The first third or so of “The Candidate” had me worried, rife as it was with island-hopping, which is far, far less enjoyable than time-hopping. At the end of the last episode, Jack ditched everyone else to stay behind and see what the island had in store for him. This episode promptly got the gang captured and caged, and sent Jack, NotLocke, and Sayid to save them. Entertaining enough, but as Sawyer noted out loud, it’s all a bit circular at this stage, don’t you think? I know some of this is necessary piece-moving, but I have to think there was a better way to get the good guys on the sub with NotLocke shut out and firefighting with Widmore’s people, and that Team Lost is maybe not thinking far enough ahead when they have so-and-so go to this island and such-and-such abscond for that island, and then one has to sneak onto the first island and retreat to the second island and blah blah blah.

But the episode more than made up for it in the second half, where we got character development, plot twists, emotion, and nerve-racking suspense strung together with merciless efficiency. The dilemma of the surprise bomb — Jack arguing that the candidates could not die by NotLocke’s hands, and so not tampering with the wiring would actually save them; Sawyer’s reasonable conclusion that he should tamper the hell out of that wiring — was fast and smart, and made the preceding half-hour or so make more sense, rather than less, without just raising six more questions.

Speaking of which: Now we’re really getting down to the wire, and I know some other fans/recappers/critics out there have gotten impatient for answers. What I think haters overlook, though, is how many answers we’ve already received — just often in a sidelong or subtle way. We’ve gradually learned pretty much the whole deal with Dharma, the Others, and a fair share about Jacob and the Man in Black. You know, big picture stuff. There are certainly early story threads that seem to have been dropped or at least consigned to the area of side freakiness for color rather than actual plotlines (Walt’s psychic powers; for that matter, Miles’s psychic powers; in Lost World, having any kind of psychic powers seems to be considered kind of a passing interest at best), but tying every throwaway character moment from the past six years into a nice bow wouldn’t be very satisfying, I don’t think.

Still, with just four and a half hours yet to air, there are some questions raised, especially by events of this season, that I will probably be irritated if/when they are left unanswered. To that end, I’ve compiled a list:

Who are the skeletons in the cave? Hurley just brought this up again this season, so they have to go back to it, right? This could go so many ways: freaky, heartbreaking, romantic, whatever. Do something.

You know when Sawyer and company were unstuck in time, and at one point they were getting shot at in a rainstorm? When was that? I know this is a minor point, but there better be some kind of awesome paradoxical-type answer to this!

What did Juliet mean when she told Miles “it worked” from beyond the grave? Also, what was going on when she was babbling about getting a cup of coffee when she lay dying in Sawyer’s arms? Both seem like she experienced some kind of Desmond-style consciousness traveling, so I guess I’m just looking for a little confirmation there.

Jacob isn’t just some benevolent zen-like figure who preaches just going with the flow, and Jack isn’t just going to take his place as Island Guardian, right? Because that would be fucking lame. Okay, I guess this is sort of a leading question. I’m fine with NotLocke being evil and Jacob, being in opposition to NotLocke, not being particular evil. But I hope the writers can find a more inventive, mind-bendy solution than a bunch of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo about good, evil, guardians, and fate.

There may be others, but I can’t think of them at the moment. I’d love to hear suggestions for the mysteries that must be at least addressed, if not completely solved, in the comments.

This has been kind of an up-and-downer of a season, with some flat-out great episodes mixed in with an inordinate amount of piece-moving and character-shuffling. But the circling and wiggling of those episodes will look a lot better in retrospect if the final hours really deliver. Of course, “retrospect” is a relative term for me: I’m not particularly planning on rewatching Lost ever. This diminishes my appreciation of certain aspects of the show because I have no practical interest in how certain episodes play better a second time, or watched in rapid succession on a DVD binge. But I think it also enhances my appreciation in that I have no problem enjoying Lost in the moment. I don’t cherish any of these characters as much as I adore, say, Mulder and Scully — but then, that could make a failure of masterplot more crushing, since there are plenty of stand-alone X-Files episodes based in character, even through the weaker seventh season (and the eighth and ninth seasons are easy to ignore). I’ve become invested in the Lost characters more as an inevitable offshoot of the cool weird sci-fi stuff. That said, the creators don’t need to throw a bunch more hardcore time-travel at me to win me over.

Next week, I’ll be back with another sorta-recap and a ridiculous wishlist of what I’d like to see from the show’s final hours.

2 Comments

  • 1. Dan  |  May 7th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    …and also Sun, Jin and Sayid died. I thought about this earlier in the season, but my theory for the remaining episodes is that everyone’s going to die except Jack and Not Locke, leading to some sort of showdown.

    Not to get all English major, but the one thing that really resounded with me with this episode (and has struck me previously throughout this season in particular) is the theme of leadership. More specifically, the fact that the leaders have no idea what they’re doing. The real Locke was essentially proven to be a fool. Jack may have some better ideas, but he was dead wrong on the sub about NotLocke not being able to kill them. It just makes you think of real life leaders and how they are people who may be making shitty decisions, they just have this larger-than-life confidence and people who are usually willing to trust them.

  • 2. jesse  |  May 7th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Yeah, I couldn’t figure out anything interesting to say about Sun and Jin except, like Charlie, I didn’t care much about them for much of the run, but the show sure made me sad that they died, so, good job, show. And Sayid went out like a badass so that was awesome.

    However: *was* Jack dead wrong on the sub? He was arguing that if they do nothing and don’t try to tamper with the bomb, it won’t go off, because the island (or whatever) won’t “let” NotLocke kill them; and that if they do tamper with the bomb, they can get killed because it would (technically speaking) happen by their own hands. I understand why Sawyer didn’t trust this logic, but I don’t know if Jack was actually incorrect. The fact that NotLocke didn’t slaughter them all himself when he had them within a twenty-foot radius suggests to me that Jack may have been right.


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