Dr. Nick's "Lost" Analysis: We Can't All Be the Candidate

By Nick Gorini
 
We can’t all be “Candidates”. We can’t all be heroes. Not all of us get to be special, or chosen. Many of us grow up and live entire lives believing, whether the evidence supports or not, that something big, something important, awaits.
 
Watching “Lost”, we want to be that strong-jawed, determined hero, like Jack. Or the too-cool-for-school loverboy hero, like Sawyer. Maybe we want to be the scary, not-to-be-messed-with baddass hero, like Sayid. Maybe we even want to be the universally loved and gentle hero, like Hurley.
 
As much as I wish I was like these guys, I’m not. If I was on “Lost”, I’d probably be unassuming Bernard, on a good day. On a bad day, I’d probably be more like the whiny, petty Frogurt. You remember – the guy that ended up with a fiery arrow in his mouth?
 
Unlike Jack, we can’t all have that smug satisfaction, being nominated to replace a nearly immortal, time traveling, all-knowing martyr.
 
And when we unchosen ones aspire to heroism, and try to do something big, or expect something important in our lives, it doesn’t always end up so well. Some of us who try get blowed up real good, or die for something a little smaller, like love.
 
The advice that I would’ve given to Sayid, Sun, Jin and even Lapidus: Save yourselves, and embrace your own mediocrity, like I do! Sure, you won’t be special, important, or even cool. But you may be able to sit on a tropical beach, feet in the warm water, nursing a delicious Dharma beer. Let the heroes figure it out, man.
 
Quick Sideways Recap:
 
So we begin with Jack telling Locke he’s a candidate for experimental back surgery. Locke steadfastly refuses, but at this stage, we don’t know why. We later find out, after Jack does some highly unethical, inappropriate detective work and Jack-style pushiness, that Locke was paralyzed trying to fly a small plane that crashed hard, making his dad, Anthony Cooper (Hey Coop! You must still be a bastard!)  a vegetable. The guilt and self-loathing that we’ve seen spilling out of both Smokey and sideways Locke is now clear.
 
This is what Terry O’Quinn has been showing us these past few episodes. His line readings as both characters have been tricky – this anger that Locke feels towards himself? It’s affecting Smokey, for sure.
 
Throughout the course of this, Jack meets Bernard, who shares the Oceanic flight experience, and steers Jack towards Cooper. Obviously, Bernard knows a LOT more than he’s letting on. I wonder: Bernard and Rose are married. Did they have their own Desmond moment together? Their love, and their serving as each other’s “Constants”, gave them full awareness of the island without any intervention on Desmond’s behalf?  What do you think about that?
 
On a side note, do you think Cooper is an actual vegetable? Could he be faking it? We know that Cooper, even in this sideways timeline, is still being hunted down by Sherriff Sawyer as a suspected con man. How will this storyline be resolved?
 
Later, we see that the timelines continue to converge, as Locke dreams about pushing buttons and other nonsense. Claire shows up, and after she and Jack share a reflection in a mirrored box willed to her by Christian Shepherd, she gets invited to crash at her bro’s pad. They also share their Oceanic flight moment. Oh, and most important, Jack doesn’t need Jacob’s help getting a candy bar out of the vending machine. Uh, that’s some real growth there, I guess. In this newer, better universe, even snack machines get a second chance to right their wrongs. Does this snack machine haunt the island like Michael, struggling to move on, consumed with the guilt of endless quarters taken with no candy given?
 
As we get to what is one of the best scenes of the evening, we see Jin behind Locke bringing flowers to Sun’s hospital room. See folks! They’re alright! Anyhow, I really liked the dialogue between Jack and Locke, and nearly all of those lines came from previous episodes, only now, they’re tinged with all this sad wisdom, and battered hope.

Your island recap, and way more, on the alt-entry after the jump. . .


Quick Island Recap:
 
You know, not that much happened. I mean Jack wakes up in a boat, talks to Sayid, gets threatened by Locke; Sawyer, Kate and gang go back to the polar bear cages, Widmore can’t get his generators working…. Let’s see, anything else?
 
Oh yeah, that kid from Kate and Allie got killed by Smokey. I knew that would be the big heart breaker. Oh yeah, Jin, Sun, Sayid and probably Lapidus got killed, too. But on a related sad note, Zoe didn’t get killed. Which brings me to this week’s STUPID AWARD: Smokey, you did a LOT of damage this week. Killed well-loved, and loving, people. But couldn’t you have just gotten rid of Zoe? Invited her to the sub? Something… Well, Smokey wins this week’s stupid award for not killing Zoe.
 
By the way, Zoe, Sally Jesse Raphael called – she wants her glasses back.
 
We also found out that according to the powerful but petty power players like Widmore and Smokey, Kate is now superfluous. However, if she is expendable, WHY DID JACOB PAY HER A VISIT? She’s sneaking under the radar for an important reason.
 
So, Smokey and Jack bust our folks outta the cages, and we see Smokey kill some more folks and find explosives on the plane. He removes the explosives (not to save lives, but to use the C4 he knew would be there for more nefarious purposes), and steers our crew to the sub. The entire time, Jack is naively protesting leaving the island. And I think somewhere deep down, he knows Smokey doesn’t want Jack to stay.
 
Smokey also anticipates Sawyer’s con, and everything begins to fall into its proper place.
 
After some gun battle, and some moving of chess pieces (you knew Smokey was waiting to get shoved into the water by Jack), all of our folks make it into the sub, minus Claire (poor Krazy Klaire, never picked for any reindeer games).
 
Kate’s been shot, and as the submarine descends, Jack asks for some bandages from his backpack… Which was switcheroo’d by Smokey to have all the explosives and a timer.
 
Jack has the right idea! Don’t touch the bomb. It won’t go off, because Smokey can’t kill a candidate, right? But Sawyer, rightfully wary about the whole endeavor, wrongfully yanks the wires out, causing the timer to go into hyperdrive.
 
Sayid saves the day for nearly everyone by telling Jack he’s the candidate and that Desmond lives, takes the bomb and runs to the other end of the sub. Kaboom! Sayid goes out, Arzt-style! Confusion and flooding ensues. Lapidus gets one last Bruce Willis line before taking a header from an imploding steel door, Sawyer gets bonked in the head, and Sun is pinned against a wall. Crap!!
 
Jack is back in season one mode, saving Kate, Hurley and an unconscious Sawyer (boy, he’s going to HATE himself when he wakes up), but can’t save Sun (hopeless) or Jin (his choice).
 
Well, I choked up. That was a brutal way to go. But kind of beautiful, too. And similar to Charlie’s demise. Only, as much as that one hurt, this one hurt a lot more. I think we can safely say that Smokey is a 100%, genuine meany-weenie. He is not getting invited to next year’s luau..
 
Our remaining heroes make it shore, and they all break down. Thank you, writers, for not giving us a speech where one wouldn’t do it justice. Hurley and Jack channel what we’re feeling about the whole thing.
 
So, the question now becomes about how these four react. They can’t really kill Smokey, can they? And will their hearts be eaten al
ive with darkness? Will they warp into twisted killers like Krazy Klaire and Sayid? I bet Sawyer could easily head down this road now. We shall see…
 
Thoughts about the deaths of our beloved Sayid, Sun, Jin and (apparent though not confirmed death) Lapidus:
 
Show runners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have been taking some flack this week for killing most of the ethnically diverse characters in one swell foop (Sayid = Middle Eastern. Jin & Sun = Korean. Lapidus = Sasquatch).
 
I can understand the criticism, but I would counter with this: In our modern age, Cuse and Lindelof would’ve known that this could be a controversial choice, but the story dictated it. Three of these characters had simply, naturally, reached the end of their storylines (one could even argue that Sayid’s was over-extended). It was, in fact, a BRAVER choice to bring these storylines to a close and risk the wrath of the politically correct.
 
SAYID: Remember that Sayid originally was going to be a suicide bomber in Sydney, but backed out at the last minute? Well, I guess he got his wish, huh? Seriously, though, I am sad his ending was so abrupt and quickly overtaken with the heartbreaking deaths of Jin and Sun. But let’s face it; Sayid was nothing if not a man of action. For him to make a quick decision to sacrifice himself for his friends was an apt way to go. He’d already died, for crikey’s sake! That he died saving most of his friends’ lives, and gave Jack his confirmation that he indeed was the candidate?
 
“Because it’s you.” Concise. Clear. It was the right thing to say, and the right way to go. And I’m sure in two weeks, when we see our crew again, we’ll get some onscreen acknowledgement of the end of a beloved character.
 
Bon voyage, original flavor Sayid! Without a doubt, you were one of the coolest, most memorable television heroes ever. While you didn’t get quite as much nooky as Sawyer, you finished a strong second in that department. Far and away, you kicked more butt in hand-to-hand combat than anyone else on the show, and took your fair share of hits as well. You had a big heart, and a tortured soul. Your self-loathing was acute, but your capacity to love others and aspirations to live honorably surpassed most others. Still never bought an Iraqi Red Guard torturer falling in love with a spoiled rich brat from Los Angeles, but what the hell. Glad you might get a chance with Nadia in the sideways universe.
 
This one’s for you, Sayid (apologies to Neil Sedaka):
 
 JIN and SUN: After getting an unceremonious reunion last week, I’m so glad these two got the full weight of this week’s episode. Think about how much these two went through, just to die in each other’s arms.
 
Now, I’m sure a lot of folks might be a little peeved that Jin chose to stay, and not try and make it back to raise Ji Yeon on his own (which, by the way, would’ve been a great, bittersweet story arc), but c’mon, man. Give them a break. Ji Yeon’s got bazillionaire grandparents to take care of everything, right?
 
I will miss these characters terribly. For at least four seasons, their storyline had depth, pathos, and real growth. The journey Jin went on (from mistrusting bully to loyal romantic) happened at the right pace, with the right catalysts. And for a long time, Sun was the most complex female character, until Juliet came along.
 
I did feel that, in the midst of all the show mythology and the vast amount of story territory to cover, Jin and Sun got lost in the shuffle this past season, which was a real shame. The show had poised both of them to go to some interesting places (Jin on his solo journeying through time on the island, and Sun becoming a somewhat malevolent, vengeance-seeking off-island force striking deals with Widmore to kill Ben). But, this week, they got the closure they deserved. And if you’re a big Jin fan, keep an eye for him to be back on series television in the fall, when the remake of ‘Hawaii 5-0’ premieres.
 
Lapidus: Lastly, I’m sorry that Jeff Fahey didn’t get more to do with this role. Did you get the feeling that the producers got their hands on a decent character actor, created a compelling character, then just found no place to fit him in? He was like an NBA all-star riding the Celtics bench. Still talented, still capable of big minutes, but stuck on an overloaded team.
 
Perhaps, in the end, he was too similar to Sawyer: tough, gruff, sarcastic, acerbic, hairy, prone to unbuttoned dress shirts, but with decently capped teeth. All this time, we thought he was safe because he was a pilot. Whoops. However, if I were Locke, I would’ve kept you around. You can land helicopters, jets and planes in any adverse conditions, including time travel. Locke, apparently, is such a lousy pilot, you’d book a flight on the Hindenburg before hopping in his ride.
 
What we talk about when we talk about love, er, lost:
 
A few weeks back, I told you that (at least for me), Lost is about The Survival of Love. Not just love on it’s own terms, but love that is challenged, love that is wounded, compromised, hurt but ultimately rises above all crises and evolves to become the love that comes from the deepest place.
 
That resonated with me when Jin and Sun overcame every obstacle and beat The Man In Black. They died, but their love endures. Nothing took that away.
 
But at times, we all know that love requires great sacrifice. Sometimes, the price can be too dear. Which brings to me this:
 
I think as an audience, we know the unspoken notion that most of our remaining characters, the ones still alive in the original timeline, are going to have to die. Yes, yes, Sideways timeline folks have their own things going on, but our surviving heroes are going to be left with one choice: Stay on the island forever, or die. These deaths will complete the arc for that individual to move onto this ultimately better life we’re seeing. A couple people will live, to replace whoever needs replacing on the island, but that’s it.
 
Once these conflicted characters embrace that struggle, growth and love, the love survives, but they won’t. That is, except for the few replacement players (maybe Jack and ..?), for whom embracing that love means to live as an eternal martyr enabling all other love to survive.
 
Something will happen to that original timeline to close it off. Or, a more compelling question might be that when Jughead detonated (or may not have), did it obliterate the outside world in our original timeline? That the Ji Yeon and the Aaron we’ve seen, and know live back on the mainland, no longer exist? That, except for the folks that were on the island and those already on their way to island via Widmore’s sub, that timeline effectively ended?
 
Only three episodes left! But, over four-and-half hours of programming, and lots of ground to cover!
 
·         Ben, Miles and Alpert are probably back at Dharmaville rounding up all remaining weapons, grenades, etc. You won’t see them next week, but they’ll be back for the final two episodes.
 
·         But wait a minute: Remember last season when Sawyer, Juliet and others were paddling on a boat, went through a time flash, and suddenly found themselves being pursued by another boat with three characters whom ended up shooting at our heroes? And that Juliet returned fire, hitting one of those shady folks? And the, shortly thereafter, Sawyer, Juliet and crew time-flashed back to their original timeline? It remains an unsolved show mystery, so I ask you: Who do you think those three people were? Why do you think they would be shooting at heroes? To prevent them from ultimately detonating Jughead, or create some wrinkle in the timeline in a well-meaning attempt to th
wart Smokey, perhaps? And who do you think took a bullet?
 
·         I still want to know who/what was Christian’s ghost off-island, and I want to know when Smokey will figure out there’s an alternate universe. I want to know why Christian is still playing such a prominent role, and has yet to be shown. Now, on another side note, I finally think I know what all that ash is! In fact, I’m almost positive I know what the ash is. And I think next week, I will get my answer!
 
·         You won’t see Desmond next week, but he will be in the final two episodes as well.
 
·         As a matter of fact, island Bernard and Rose might go all Lassie on a certain someone stuck in a well. On that note, after watching the scene between dentist Bernard and doctor Jack, don’t you get the feeling that Bernard and Rose know something that the rest of us don’t?
 
·         So, from the original/prominent cast members, who’s left that we haven’t seen in the sideways timeline? Shannon, Abbadon, Eko, Mr. Friendly, Ana Lucia, Juliet, Rousseau, Christian, Walt, and Michael (I know – we saw Michael’s ghost, but I don’t think that quite counts). There are others, but that covers the main folks. How many of those do you think we’ll see again by show’s end?
 
·         ABC released a couple of promos for next week’s episode. In one promo, we see two women – one is pregnant, presumably with someone or something important. The other woman is Alison Janney (West Wing). My theory is that either she fulfilled the original Jacob role, or the original Smokey role. We just don’t know yet.
 
·         On an even more interesting note: I’m not sure this show is quite done with time travel. I can’t say for sure whether the time flashes may still occur, but there may be some residual effects from past time flashes we saw in other episodes. Just something to keep in mind…
 
·         NOTE: THIS IS A REPEAT BULLET FROM THE LAST POST, BUT I’M ADDING TO IT, FOR GOOD REASON. This might have been a “Blooper”, but I think it was intentional: Jack and Locke’s fireside conversation was at night. But when they walked back, it was in daylight. Long conversation, or clunky symbolism? Guess what, people – That was not blooper, and that was no clunky symbolism. Time is speeding up on the island. I repeat, TIME IS SPEEDING UP ON THE ISLAND! Remember Faraday’s experiment with the small rocket launched from the ship? Back then, the time difference between the island and off-island was 3 minutes. Well, if Faraday were still alive and conducting the same experiment, what do you think would be different? And why? I think I know why. I think the cork is out of the bottle. I think time on the island is rapidly going down the drain. Like a blackhole, sucking up all energy, time, space, love and hope. The anti-matter isn’t coming out; it’s sucking everything in.
 
·         Want to hear something else kinda crazy? Remember two seasons ago when the storyline hinted strongly at reincarnation? Well, that theory quieted down somewhat, as people thought the reincarnation was of the more symbolic variety – Locke wasn’t really reborn, but reanimated by someone/something else. BUT, there have been a few hints of reincarnation popping up again this year. The biggest one that came to my attention is that Ilana originally refers Richard Alpert as “Ricardus” – NOT Richard, and not Ricardo. Ricardus is the original Latin version of the name. Alpert corrected her and said he was indeed Richard. Could Richard have been Ricardus in another life, serving the same purpose on the island?
 
Want to get even crazier?
 
This week’s crazy (but not too crazy) theory:
 
Last night, as I’m gathering intel to write my post, I was visiting various online Lost forums, trawling for good theories or some decent info. There’s this guy who’s gaining momentum and support on a theory he developed at the end of season 5 that Aaron is the key to everything. All of this stuff is a time-loop to help give birth to Aaron, who is the ultimate antidote to Smokey. Aaron is the actual timeline deviation that Jacob or someone else created to prevent Smokey from destroying mankind. And Smokey has spent all this time trying to prevent Aaron from being born, even going so far as to weave an alternate timeline to help make that occur. This guy also thinks that ‘The Others’ are all people who were raised on the island, or brought the island and trained to do whatever it takes to ensure that Aaron is born.
 
I could go on for pages, but suffice to say, this guy’s theory is compelling because he goes through each season with supporting evidence. I did say a few posts back that Aaron is such an important biblical name – “Exalted” and “Enlightened” are the Hebrew translations. Aaron is Moses’ older brother, high priest of the Israelites, etc.
 
Oh, and the candidates? They never were candidates to replace Jacob (that was speculation on Smokey’s part). They were candidates to help (Jack/Christian) “Shepherd” the birth/resurrection of Aaron.
 
To quote Keanu: Whoa.
 
My co-worker started watching ‘Lost’ for the first time, and just gave his opinion of the first episode. Its fascinating watching someone begin ‘the journey’. I’m temped to encourage to him to watch the finale in a few weeks, then go back and pick up wherever he left off. I mean, wouldn’t it be interesting to talk to someone who discovered these episodes out of order?
 
Is ‘Lost’ like a figure eight, storytelling in an infinite form? Not quite a Keanu-worthy, thought, but compelling nonetheless.
 
Folks, there’s so much more to cover and so little time left. But isn’t it a lot of fun?
 
Thanks for reading and for watching