Island - Everybody
(Note – this is part 2 of the recap from “The Candidate.” If you did not yet read part 1, click on the title of this post, and you’ll be taken to my discussion of the sideways story. Then click on the title of that post to come back here).
Jack awakens, lying in an outrigger. Sayid wecomes him to Hydra island. “At least you didn’t have to paddle,” he observes, his trademark deadpan preserved.
Widmore’s people reposition the pylons, and march our heroes to the polar bear cages. Sawyer gets a gun from the doughy scientist guy, but Charles Widmore emerges, and holds Kate at gunpoint. Sawyer attempts to call his bluff, but Widmore explains that Kate is not on his list of names, so he doesn’t care what happens to her. He assures them he’s doing this for their own good, which, of course, Sawyer does not buy. Widmore urges his men to hurry – the hour their preparations will take is too long, because he’s coming.
Aside #1 – Sawyer knows Widmore is telling the truth, because he’s been to the cave, and has seen the name “Austen” crossed out. Like Flocke, Widmore clearly seems to need all the candidates, but he also doesn’t seem to need anyone else.
Jack asks what happened. Sayid tells him FLocke saved him from the mortar attack, and those who weren’t killed in the attack scattered into the jungle (did you find yourself worried for Cindy, Zack and Emma?) FLocke tells Jack, “your friends got themselves captured, and we have to rescue them.” Flocke says they need to move quickly to get them out and leave the island together. Jack corrects that they’re not his people, and he doesn’t want to leave. Jack asks Flocke why he should trust him. Flocke considers this, and responds that he can kill Jack, and all of them, but instead of doing that, he wants to save them. “So will you help me?”
Aside #2 – Personally, I never particularly bought the whole notion that there was any real ambiguity in terms of whether or not Flocke/ Smokey was a bad guy. That said, from Jack’s perspective, Flocke’s statement probably seems pretty reasonable. On the other hand, Jack has, like Locke before him, chosen to listen to “the island,” or, in his own case, to Jacob. So he ain’t buying.
Back in the bear cage, Sawyer asks Kate if it feels like they were running in circles. Sawyer tells her that her name was crossed out in the cave, to assure her Widmore doesn’t need her. Jin asks Sun about Ji-Yeon, and gushes over having seen her pictures. Sun gives him back his ring. For the time being, all is, at last, right for these two. The power goes down, and Frank in particular seems worried. The Smokey sounds go off. Hurley mutters, “and…we’re dead.” Smokey shows and surrounds the area, drawing the gunmen’s fire. He kills one of them against the cage (the doughy guy), leaving the key just out of Kate’s reach. Jack shows up and gets the key and gets them out. Kate asks what he’s doing there. “I’m with him,” he indicates towards the smoke.
The sprung prisoners make their way through the jungle, towards the Ajira plane. Jack tells Kate he’s not getting on the plane, because he’s not meant to go. Sawyer thanks Jack for coming back with them. Sayid emerges, and Jack says it’s ok, as Sayid was the one who turned off the generator.
Gunmen shoot at Flocke as he approaches the Ajira plane, but he snaps one’s neck and shoots the other. He rather deliberately takes the watch from the second corpse. Flocke boards, and finds an odd wire running along the bulkhead. He removes something it’s attached to. Frank and his crew emerge, and Frank says, “let’s see what it will take to get this baby to fly.” Sawyer sees the dead men, “Son of a bitch.” Flocke takes credit for the deaths. “ If it’s any consolation,” he offers to an incredulous Jack, “Charles wanted me to kill them.” He says it was Widmore’s plan to kill them all together on the plane with the C4 he found wired throughout the plane. Flocke says they can’t trust the plane, so they need to take the sub, instead. Sawyer plays along. Hurley tries to talk him out of it, because Alpert said, but Sawyer cuts him off: “screw Alpert.” Looking at Flocke, he acknowledges, “that’s twice you saved us.”
Aside #3 – if Sawyer has indeed taken up Jack’s formal mantle as the token empiricist, he should be sold by now on the notion that Flocke is really trying to help them even if Jack, in his Locke 2.0 mode, is not.
Jack says he’ll help, but he’s not coming with. Claire apologizes to Flocke, but he says he understands. Sawyer asks Jack for another favor – he wants him to make sure Flocke doesn’t get on the sub. “Just get him in the water,” Sawyer asks, “and I’ll take care of the rest.”
Aside #4 – what Sawyer does so much better than Jack did as either man of science or man of faith is realistically gauge a situation, and not just cling to one orthodoxy or another. As such, while singing Flocke’s praises, Sawyer instead is (trying to) work(ing) a long con. But recall back in Season 3, when Ben said, “the only way to get a con man’s respect is to con him. You’re good, Sawyer. We’re better.” And who is the best? Howsabout Flocke?
For that matter, I’m really doubting that the confession last week that he was Christian was entirely true. First of all, we saw Christian in the cabin – when the ash still kept Smokey in – with another person, an angry presence that was decidedly not Jacob-like. Then there was Christian’s appearance to Jack in the hospital (albeit while Jack was addicted to pain pills). Also, Christian appeared to Michael on the freighter, at least 12 miles off the coast of the island, and we’ve been led to believe that Smokey can’t cross that length of water unaided. So it would seem that not all of the Christian manifestations could have been Smokey. Or could they?
The group crouches in view of the sub. “Just cause there ain’t any goons at the sub,” Saywer cautions, “don’t mean there aren’t any on the sub.” Sawyer asks Jack if he and Flocke can get their backs, and Jack knowingly says, “absolutely.” The first wave make for the sub. Sawyer opens the hatch and goes down, followed by Frank. They succeed in taking a watchman, and then the captain. Sawyer has Frank get ready to fire it up. Wave two gets up to go. Flocke hands Jack his pack. They bring up the rear. Flocke asks him to reconsider his decision to stay. “Whoever told you to stay had no idea what they were talking about.” Jack says, “John Locke told me to stay,” and pushes Flocke in the water. Kate gets shot in the shoulder. As the firefight continues, Claire takes out some men. Flocke emerges from the water, and pulls his gun out. He approaches Widmore’s men and starts shooting.
Aside #5 – and part of Flocke’s con of Sawyer was to create the mistaken impression that he is vulnerable to water. Having been pushed in, however, all he got was wet, and pissed.
Jack brings Kate in and demands a first aid kit from Hurley (who can’t find one) (mini-aside: there is one clearly visible on the bridge where Frank has taken the captain hostage). Sawyer goes for Claire. Flocke comes to join them, and Sawyer shuts Claire behind to lock Flocke out, too. Sawyer orders Frank to dive. Flocke stops Claire from running after them. Claire screams, “they’re leaving us,” and Flocke says, “no trust me, you don’t want to be on that sub.” Kate asks where Claire is. Jack assures her it will be ok. He goes through his pack to find something to use for pressure on Kate’s wound…and finds that Flocke left one of the C4 packs, wired to the watch he had taken from the corpse. “We did exactly what he wanted,” Jack laments. And just like that, all the candidates realize they have placed themselves in a death trap, under the water.
With 3:43 to go on the timer, Jack says they need to surface now. Jin calls to Frank to take them up. Jack assures them nothing is going to happen, because FLocke can’t kill them. He says FLocke wanted this – he can’t leave the island unless they all die. He wants them to kill each other. Jack tells James to trust him. In the wake of Jughead, bad move! Sawyer says, sorry Doc, I don’t, and pulls the wire. The timer goes rapidly. Sayid tells Jack about Desmond, sitting in the well, and that he’s going to need him (more on this in a moment). Sayid takes the bomb and runs aft, to get away from the rest of them, and blows up! A hatch door knocks out Frank. Sun is pinned under some equipment. Jack moves Kate, and gives her to Hurley, with an emergency tank. As the sub sinks, Hurley and Kate make their way out of the room. The others try to pull Sun free…only there is more debris than they thought. Sawyer gets knocked out by another beam. Jin tries to pry Sun free. She tells him to save himself. Jack swims with Sawyer. Jin says he can get her free, and insists Jack save Sawyer. Jack tries to give Jin the last breather, and says he can get out without it, but Jin says no, he can’t. Jack takes the tank, and Saywer, and leaves. Jack ducks with Sawyer, and pulls him out of the sub, to the surface. Jin still can’t get Sun free. She insist that he go. He says he won’t leave her, and tries to pry her free. She begs him to go. He says again, in Korean, “I won’t leave you. I won’t leave you ever again.” He tells her he loves her. They kiss as water fills the chamber, and the sub goes down. Eventually, their grip comes apart, and they are gone.
Aside #6 – I credit Jeremy Turk with this observation about Jack’s logic: “If Sayid didn't run away with the bomb, would it have exploded? When Jack and Richard were in the Black Rock, Richard had Jack light the fuse because Richard could not kill himself. Jack assumed the same logic applied to him and stayed put, and poof, the dynamite failed to explode. By the same logic, even though (or because) Sawyer pulled the wires on the FLocke bomb, if Sayid didn't run away with the bomb, there's almost no way (under island rules) the bomb should have exploded, because Sawyer would have caused his own death. I guess it's not a flaw, because in the end Sawyer ‘killed’ Sayid and the Kwons -- arguably Sayid did not kill himself, because Sawyer set the bomb off, and for the same reason, Jin didn't kill himself, even though he could have tried to escape without Sun -- but it is an interesting intellectual exercise in island logic.”
And now, a lengthy excerpt from Doc Jensen, about this bloodiest, most tragic sequence in Lost to date, followed by my reactions: (BTW: What did you make of Sayid's final instructions to Jack? Sayid told him that Desmond was alive and well in the well. He told him that Fake Locke wanted him dead — which by Sayid's reasoning must mean that Desmond poses some kind of threat to him. Jack asked: ''Why are you telling me this?'' Sayid: ''Because it's going to be you, Jack.'' Most likely, this was Sayid's way of saying: ''You have to do the work of saving him, because I'm about to get blown up.'' But is it possible that Sayid was actually revealing to us something that he probably learned from Desmond — that Jack is 'The Candidate,' Jacob's final choice for Island protector?)
RIP Jin and Sun. I took a break after writing that last paragraph to wipe away some tears and read some other reviews of the episode. It seems everyone is agreed that the married entity that was Sun/Jin was a moving, compelling presence on the show. Their love for each other and commitment to each other was inspiring. Yet there are those who will also say that Lost didn't quite do justice to Jin and Sun as individual characters, especially over the past two seasons, when their storylines were all about their respective quests across space and time to be reunited. I do think Jin and Sun's individual redemption arcs were all but resolved in the season 4 episode ''Ji Yeon,'' and I do think Sun's telescoped and underdeveloped Lady Vengeance storyline in season 5 ranks as one of Lost's biggest blown opportunities.
But screw the haters! I think with time and perspective, the Jin/Sun storyline will grow in power and significance. Yes, their long separation felt like a story contrivance, and it probably was — but I think the more that we think through the Man In Black's master plan (and I suspect the majority of post-Lost theorizing will and should be devoted to puzzling out and re-reading the entire saga through the Monster's conspiracy), the more the Sun/Jin separation will make sense to us as a necessary part of his strategy. Oh, and by the way? What the hell is so wrong with only focusing on Jin and Sun as a marital unit? Let me tell you what's wrong with that: Nothing. I think it's awesome that Lost chose to tell us a story about two people who took their marriage seriously, who worked through their problems when their union was in crisis, who forgave each other for their sins and redeemed their transgressions by using them as opportunities to build a stronger relationship (Jin's admission in ''Ji Yeon'' that he was basically responsible for Sun's infidelity was a powerful expression of grace and reflection), who saw themselves as better and greater when they were together than apart. I am grateful that Lost told that story. Lost is better for telling that story than not telling any other Jin and Sun story. I am not saying it was perfect. I'm saying I appreciate it for what it was, not what it wasn't.
Finally, let's talk about the Ji Yeon thing, because apparently this is an issue. I'm seeing Tweets and reading comments that basically say that Jin was a selfish jerk for choosing to die with his wife than give his kid a father. That's horrible! You mean to tell me that you think Jin would be a better man if he lived the rest of his life wracked with guilt over letting his wife die alone? Let me rephrase: How do you think Ji Yeon will feel when she gets old enough to realize that her father chose her over her mother? I suppose she might say, ''Wow! Thanks, Daddy! I feel special! I feel loved!'' But if she was any kind of thoughtful, sensitive, normal person, I suspect she'd follow that up with: ''Wow. Now I kinda feel like crap. My dad chose me over his true love. He's never gotten over it. Does he secretly hate me? Does he blame me for his misery? Probably not, because my dad is kick-ass cool! He knows martial arts and catches fish! But has he never been able to love me fully because every time he looks at me he sees a choice he regrets? That's very possible, if not extremely likely. Now I have to live the rest of my life burdened with this guilt. Thanks, Dad. And thanks, Dead Mom. Thanks a lot!'' I could be wrong. But I also think my defense of Jin is just plausible as any criticism of Jin. I like to think that if Ji Yeon should ever learn about what happened to her mother and father, and if she were to ever learn of the choice her father made, she would be grateful, and more, she would be inspired. It's a wonderful story, a story that says something about the way life should be lived, a story she can pass on to her children, and they to their children, and so on. Jin didn't hurt his daughter with his choice — he gave her a gift. If you disagree with me, you're just wrong.
Well, Doc, in this case, I do disagree. I know you’re a parent, as am I. And while an ex post rationalization may be able to lessen the sting of young Ji Yeon’s being orphaned (and left to be raised by that rat Mr. Paik!), I cannot forgive Sun for her failure to plead to her husband to leave, not for his own sake, but for their daughter’s. And I can barely forgive Jin for not doing so on his own, even though he had never met his daughter. He had just seen her picture for the first time, and just bonded with Sun about what she was like. Sun’s death was a foregone conclusion, as tragic as that was. To consign his daughter to live on parentless just for one final romantic gesture was horrifically selfish. After all, this girl was named with the name he had chosen. She was his legacy. And chances are, she would never know of his parent’s sacrifice if neither of them made it back to her. Finally, there was no time, in the heat of the moment, to make the rational decision Jensen seems to think justified the call. As such, I feel the whole Jin/Sun plotline was partially despoiled by this glaring omission. That said, what Jensen said about their story arcs, and the beauty of their love for each other, was spot on, and while it’s odd the say the show will miss them when there’s only 3 episodes left (one of which won’t have any of the main cast), I had hoped they would have their happily ever after…
…which is where that last sideways scene kicks in. Recall from the first half of my recap that, in the very next scene after Jin and Sun died on the island, we saw Jin2 en route to bring Sun2 flowers at the hospital, a reminder that, (to borrow from another powerful famous tragic drowning), their hearts will go on…unless you believe too strongly in course correction, and remember that sideways world is more than 3 years before island world in linear time.
And then there’s Sayid, who had his Anakin moment, as Jensen notes, and, much like the once and former Darth Vader, reclaimed his soul in self-sacrifice. I find the whole thing odd, i.e. why did Flocke resurrect him just to kill him again? The reason to try to kill all the candidates together was so that none of them would survive to know their enemy. But Sayid was basically dead before hand, when the Roger Linus-inflicted bullet wound took him out at the temple. I don’t see what Flocke gained by keeping him around…unless he truly did believe Desmond was dead, and that the rules no more allowed him to kill Desmond than it did, for example, Jack.
As for what Sayid said to Jack, I didn’t even think there was any ambiguity. I think Sayid just told Jack that he was the candidate, when all is said and done. Will Jack actually listen? Who can say? But between his trusted lieutenant status with Flocke, the mystical way he was brought back to life, and the off-camera interaction he may have had with an increasingly omniscient Desmond, I’m pretty sure Sayid did know that Jack was our guy. And, come on, hasn’t he always been the hero of the show, even when his heroism came up short? That’s right. As I said in the intro to the first part of this recap, the title “The Candidate,” was a double foiler, designed to make us think it tricked us with the whole Locke2 being a candidate for surgery, when in fact it revealed the answer in overt dialog that happened so quickly, and just before three incredibly jolting deaths of beloved characters, that it was sure to be missed.
Now…what about Frank Lapidus? I see no reason to raise Frank to the status of a series regular, only to have his death merely implied. I’m betting Frank will show up again, and I don’t just mean in sideways world.
Finally, going way back to Jeremy Turk’s logic. I think, in the end, the island may only prevent suicide, and not actions that could result in a person’s death. Also, there’s the whole notion that, once the island is done with you, you’re fair game. Perhaps the island was done with Sayid, once he completed his redemptive journey, and done with Jin and Sun. The sure sign that it isn’t done with Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer is that they survived yet another impossible ordeal.
Jack pulls Sawyer out of the water. Sawyer coughs, and Hurley leads Kate over to them. She cries – twice – that she couldn’t find Jack (the first real sign that the “final answer” to that question is…Jaters win). Kate asks about Jin and Sun, but Jack shakes his head. Hurley cries, hard. Jack walks to the water, and looks out, then up. He cries and shakes his head.
Aside #7 – if you didn’t get at least a bit choked up when Hurley cried…well, then perhaps you have been “claimed” by “the sickness,” and you would be better off dead. Just sayin’.
On the dock, Flocke says, “it sunk.” Claire asks, “what the sub? They were all on it.” (And it was a bit refreshing to see her genuinely concerned) “What, they’re all dead,” she pleads. And Flocke says, “not all of them,” as he sheaths his knife and starts to leave She asks where he’s going, and he responds, “to finish what I started” and storms off.
Aside #8 – And so ends the island world story of at least three beloved characters, and possibly Frank. Next week, according to Michael Emerson, we’ll see an episode the likes of which has never been done on TV. Here, with only three episodes to go, we will get an installment that virtually entirely ignores the main cast of the series, focusing, it would seem, on the backstory behind Jacob and Smokey. Keep an eye out for Allison Janney, formerly of the West Wing, who is rumored to be playing the mother of at least one, if not more, major Lost figures. I, for one, am incredibly excited for “Beyond the Sea,” even if makes me think of the end credits of Finding Nemo. So, until then, Namaste!