You said Jack. Heh-heh.
By NICK GORINI
Howdy, gang. For my readers out there (all four of you) who were wondering why I didn’t post any thoughts about last week’s polarizing Beavis and Butthead back-story, let me tell you something:
After reading about twenty articles, twice as many blogs, and endless other forms of barely digestible media, I sat down at my computer, started to type, and realized, I HAD NOTHING TO ADD TO THE DISCUSSION.
So many people had vociferous opinions, diatribes, and post-traumatic stress-posts…. Look, either you hated it, or you really hated it! HA HA ha…. I keed, I keed. Seriously, though, while the episode left me a little underwhelmed, I don’t think it deserved even half of the hate mail volleyed in its direction.
I understand some of the criticism: The writing was a little stale, the mythology seemed too little in comparison to the big picture, and Jacob and his bro seemed to be a little on the immature side. But, it had great acting, it deepened the moral dilemmas without offering cheap resolutions, and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun never danced out of the glowing golden cave.
And, after watching this week’s fireside chat with Jacob, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that many of you most vocal critics might have secretly (no one ever admits they’re wrong anymore – ever! Have you noticed?) felt a little sheepish.
Nevertheless, this week, it was good to be back on track with the crew in whom we have invested so much emotion. For what it’s worth, if I had been Carlton and Damon, I would’ve just aired the Jacob/Smokey episode much earlier in the season. It’s just a little too late for us to get invested in that stuff.
ONWARD AND UPWARD, OR OFFWARDS AND DOWNWARDS
Despite Jack’s mystery shaving wounds, things are going his way. His kid’s hanging out at home, his newly-discovered sister and impending messiah/nephew have moved in, hey! Oceanic found dad’s coffin! All part of a healthy breakfast.
Only, it’s that sunny trickster Desmond, up to his tricky-tricky-trickies. But when he’s not making prank calls, Desmond’s also busy beating up teachers in parking lots. He smacks Ben around, telling him he was trying to get Locke to “let go”, but we know Desmond is beating the almighty island timeline into Mr. Linus, who it turns out, likes this sorta thing. Thank you sir, may I have another!
Ben shares the good news (you know – guess what! That dude that rammed his car into you slapped me with the ugly stick! I like him! He seems like a nice fellow!).
I tell ya, people with English, Irish or Scottish accents get away with bloody murder here. As an American, I thought the reverse would be true, too. Come to find out, when Americans travel abroad, we’re told we “sound funny.”
Anyway, we quickly move to the jail, where Desmond surrenders to Miles and Sawyer, who I bet will have their own mid-season, sci-fi cop show premiering on ABC sometime in March.
Get some back-end points on the new Miles & Sawyer series, and follow the jump. . .
Desmond confesses (nice touch) and gets thrown in the flimsiest jail set this side Molokai. Of course, Kate and Sayid are there. After Kate tries to convince Sawyer of her innocence, which we all know is going to be true, Desmond later arranges a prison escape using Ana Lucia and Hurley (Nice scene with Hurley seeming to know everything about both worlds, and Ana Lucia not having a clue). Sayid and Hurley speed off (without spoiling who, I can tell you that are going to go pick up another character from the past) and Desmond takes Kate. Apparently, Desmond is intending for every person who every appeared on Lost or worked for the show to appear in a single scene. Wow, man. Michael will NEVER find Walt in that crowd.
Meanwhile, Locke comes back to Jack to initiate the surgery. A great scene, of course, with an interesting touch that in this sideways world, Locke is back to embracing faith, and Jack is still carrying his science with him (“Don’t mistake fate for coincidence”), while on the island, Jack seems to have fully embraced the unknown.
Oh, and Ben gets a girlfriend, and it’s Rousseau! Alex’s mom.
Now, on the island, which retains most of it’s dark tone (by contrast, the sideways timeline is turning decidedly sunny), we start with our puffy-eyed heroes getting stitched up and talking revenge. Ji-Yeon’s newly orphaned status is mentioned, and it becomes clear our four remaining friends are accepting that to kill Smokey likely means a suicide mission.
So, off they go to get Desmond, and Sawyer gets some great screen time with a genuinely wounded discussion of being responsible for killing friends on the sub. Only Jack, newly peaceful, reassures Sawyer that he wasn’t responsible (never mind the fact Sawyer’s been rubbing Juliet’s death in Jack’s face for about ten episodes). Meanwhile, Wee Willie Jacob snags his ashes from Hurley and uses them to start his final fire. Not sure why it had to be wittle Jacob showing up first, but what the hell.
Now, everyone can see Jacob, and he’s ready to give some answers – FINALLY!
What progresses at the final fireside chat are some wonderful moments where Jacob explains why these folks were picked, why he’s using them to right his own wrongs, and that while he brought all of them to the island, once there, they can do as they please. But, uh, could one of you please take my place as the eternal savior of the light on the island? I mean, I’m not MAKING anybody do it, BUT, you know, all of humanity hangs in the balance and stuff.. Oh, and Kate, you can do it, too… And when this fire goes out, I’m gone, brother.
Of course, Jack signs up and he gets the creek-side ritual and drinks the water straight from the river! Where’s a Brita filter when you need one? If you become immortal, can you still get intestinal parasites? Not sure, but there may have been some polar bear scat along the river bed…
Sawyer gets in a nice line (‘I thought that guy had a God complex before’), but the humor of the moment dies quickly. Jack’s ready to roll.
Now, the best of the three sub-plots this week was Ben and Smokey’s, by far. While all three were great (sideways world, Jack becoming Jacob), the scenes with Smokey and Ben were like our last classic Lost episode. Humor, action, horror, great dialogue, everything.
We finally catch up with Ben, Miles and Alpert as they get to Dharmaville to pack up some C4 in Ben’s place. Miles’ line about Ben’s secret close having a “Secreter” room is awesome.
We get to see Miles sense Alex’s presence, where Alpert buried her body. Underneath the swingset that Ben used to push Alex on. Ben swallows that pain down in that Ben way and pretty much confirms for us in his lines that it was Smokey in Jacob’s cabin all that time, manipulating him, manipulating the Dharma Initiative, and at times, manipulating some of The Others.
A too-calm Widmore and that soon-to-be-dead Zoe pop up and add some tension. Widmore tells Ben that Jacob visited him after the freighter explosion to help him see the error of his ways. Too bad Jacob didn’t tell Widmore to be a little less of an arrogant prick.
Moments before Smokey shows up, Miles takes off on his own, and Ben seems to be ready to die, to get ‘the whole thing over with’. Alpert opts to reason with Smokey, which results in Alpert being stomped and tossed like an empty beer can. Still think he’s alive, though. Miles will probably find him next week.
Ben sits down on his porch and waits for Smokey to
show. Of course, he offers him some lemonade, but rather than being met with murder, he gets his old island-ruling offer back on the table. He takes it (or does he?) and flips on Widmore and Zoe.
Smokey doesn’t waste any time and slits Zoe’’s throat (a LONG time coming for an annoying character), and threatens to kill Penny if Widmore doesn’t tell him why he’s back. Widmore, who really does seem to be asking for an anti-climactic death, offers to tell Smokey only if Ben can’t hear it firsthand. So, he whispers to Smokey about Desmond being Jacob’s failsafe, due to his invincibility to electro-magnetism.
Ben slaughters Widmore – he doesn’t get to save his daughter. Smokey tells Ben, “You never cease to amaze me.” It’s almost as if Smokey, who’s cynicism regarding mankind has hit its nadir, still finds new depths of depravity in Ben. Worth keeping him around, if you ask me.
With Ben as his new candidate assassin at his side, the two make way to what turns out to be an empty well, with a rope. Smokey tells Ben that he likes walking on two feet because it reminds of being human. Ahh, weakness!! Anyhow, Smokey reveals his plan to use Desmond to destroy the island. BOOO HOOO HOOO HA HA HA HA!!!! ß twirls moustache…
ORTS OF GOODNESS AND THINGS WORTH NOTING
· Jack’s neck wound, which we saw when awoke in the season premiere. Originally, Jack got the neck wound during the Jughead (explosion, or not?) shootout in ’77. Are we getting ready to blow something up?
· Sayid told Jack he left him in the well. So who helped him out? If you don’t already have a good idea, I encourage to just sit, and think about it for about five minutes. You’ll come up with the answer, I’m sure.
· Just where does Miles think he’s going, anyway?
· Alpert isn’t dead. Not because this show won’t kill him, but because he deserves a better send-off than being punted like a beach volleyball.
· I am very, very glad that it looks like in both storylines, Ben’s got some juicy stuff to work through. What happens when his two worlds merge? Will he remember losing Alex? Will he remember kidnapping her from his new girlfriend? Oh crap! Will Rousseau remember? If Ben’s not careful he might step in a bear trap when he gets out of bed to take a leak. On the side note, is Ben back to being bad, playing a con on Smokey, or is he just back in his old pragmatic survival mode?
· NOTE: Time for the Stupid Award. What was stupid this week? Not much, really, but was more than a little bummed that Charles Widmore, a great character played by a great actor, got such an unceremonious send-off. Yes, it was good that Ben did the killing, but no actorly soliloquies or parting shots from this master thespian? We know you guys ran out of time for a lot of your story, but the iconic Widmore deserved a little more. Kinda too blatantly tying loose ends, and kinda stupid.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO BE ASKING OR THINKING ABOUT BEFORE SUNDAY
· Smokey wants to destroy the island, and our remaining heroes need to stop him. Don’t forget that we saw the island underwater during the season premiere. Could it be that Smokey ends up succeeding? Could it be that destroying the island is a good thing? Could it be that the “light” that used to exist in every man (so sayeth Jacob’s nutty mom) was somehow imprisoned on the island, and that the best thing that could happen would be to free the light, bring it back to every man?
· How long do you think Jack will keep his new job? Given the fact that we see free will being a very important aspect of island life that Jacob wants to impart, are we really so sure that Jack is where it’s at? We still have more than two hours for any of these other viable candidates to jump in. And that includes Ben, Alpert, heck, even Miles.
· Desmond was brought to the island for more than a few reasons, obviously. And was he Jacob’s failsafe, or part of some even bigger plan spawned by powers beyond this chessboard?
· Based on what you’ve seen this year, do you really think Smokey can be killed? And if he can, what do you suspect would be the weapon (my guess? Love. That is, if he can even be killed. I’m not sure he can).
· My cohort Peter suspects that Ben is the new Man In Black. But I would say the odds are better that he’s the next Jacob, if we’re playing that game. But I’m thinking along these lines: Jacob once said, “It only ends once. Everything else is progress.” I don’t think the master plan is to keep a new Smokey and Jacob locked in for 2000-year max deal with no-trade clauses. First, it puts them WAAAYYY over the salary-cap. Second, I think bigger powers are ready for this thing to be done, finito, kaput.
· So, redemption is key, but in a recent interview, Carlton and Damon reiterated that true redemption comes from within and comes on behalf of a community. The old “Live together or die alone” line is of utmost importance. Keep this line in mind with all of Desmond’s doings.
· We also know that Jacob and Smokey are not all-knowing. They DON’T know all the secrets of the island, and they too are lost souls looking for hope and redemption. Maybe that’s what ticked some people off last week – I don’t know. But I liked that. It also tells me that if you’re looking for the wizard behind the curtain on this show, you will be disappointed. Just as it is in life – we can speculate, pray, ignore, deny, embrace, fear or love what is beyond here. But, we can’t know until we know.
So enjoy the ride while you can! Thanks for reading and for watching!