None of us thought that all the characters would have happy endings. And we certainly didn’t think that they would all survive. But even with those expectations, watching it hurt nonetheless. Saying goodbye to Sayid, Jin & Sun and, in all probability Frank, was painful but essential. It was beautiful, moving and entirely appropriate to this story.
And now we know for sure: if Locke leaves the Island, God help us all.
“Feel like we’re running in circles?”
The Candidate took us to familiar places (Hydra Island and the cages), familiar scenes (the Losties gathered around a bomb) and oceans of familiar dialogue. The circles we’ve been seeing for 6 years are closing in. There is little left but the centre. The heart of the matter. The true conflict between good and evil – light and dark.
The episode began with a mirror: Locke wakes to find he has been saved by Jack; Jack wakes to find he has been saved by Locke. Neither are that happy about it and neither are keen on the other’s plan, inherently suspicious of the other’s reason – just as it has been since the day Boone died. On the Island Locke lays down his plan to rescue the Losties from Widmore and once again we hear Jack say something totally opposite to what we’re used to: “They are not my people. And I’m not leaving the Island” – yet still he is conscripted to Locke’s break out team. At this point the Losties are stuck between Locke and Widmore. Not a great situation to be in. I think Jack helps free them in order that they may decide for themselves their own fates.
Sayid kills the power. Jack grabs the keys. Locke transforms into a cloud of raging black smoke and wipes out half of Team Widmore. They make their way to the Ajira plane to escape and briefly, very briefly, the original team is back together. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Claire, Sayid, Hurley and Locke (of sorts). To my recollection this is the first time they have all been together since the first episode of season 4, ‘The Beginning of the End’ when they split into two camps. They parted as a group under the wreckage of Oceanic 815 and they reunited under the wings of Ajira 316. It was appropriate that we had everyone together for one final time before it wouldn’t be possible anymore.
When they reach the plane Locke has already snagged a watch and some C4; putting in place the final parts of his Long Con. Sawyer’s biggest mistake this season was to believe Locke when he said he was ‘the best liar’ he had ever seen. Sawyer tried time and again to con Locke but he saw straight through it. Sawyer’s plan of using Jack to dump Locke was Locke’s plan all along. And James’ stupidity, as we know, didn’t end there.
One moment brought me a smile of enormous satisfaction and a great inner cheer of ‘YESSSS!’.
“John Locke told me I needed to stay” – SPLASH!
Immensely enjoyable. But that feeling went as soon as it came as chaos then ensued. Kate gets hit by a bullet and forces Jack onto the sub (perhaps setting up my theory that at some point Jack will have to choose between saving Kate and doing what he is ‘supposed’ to do). Sayid helps Jack with Kate whilst Sawyer goes up to get Claire, yet showed little hesitation when he needed to leave her behind. ‘Live together, die alone’ was always Jack’s motto. Sawyer’s? ‘Every man for himself’. Jack begins to look through his backpack for a shirt to help Kate and as he finds the bomb the truth dawns on him. “We did exactly what he wanted”.
We are then treated to an incredible scene of storytelling. The bomb here is a reflection and on the other side of that mirror is Jughead. This time it is Sawyer who cannot sit by and let things play out. It is Sawyer who needs to try and save the day; to fix his mistake of, if not trusting Locke, then following him. Whereas Jack has been here before. He blew up a bomb already and Juliet died because of it. Now it is Sawyer’s turn to make that mistake. Jack evokes the words from his conflict with Locke over the button in the hatch – ‘Nothing is going to happen’. He tested this theory with Richard and a stick of dynamite. They have to kill each other. Fate won’t do it for them. But Sawyer doesn’t believe in fate or destiny and makes his own decision. The wrong the decision.
“There is no Sayid”
Dogen was wrong. It was not better for Sayid to be dead. He still had one last role to play. Many of us suspected his heart had been turned by Desmond’s words to him but this confirmed it. When beloved characters die we want it to mean something. Like Charlie and Juliet before him he finds himself in a position to save others at the cost of his own life and he makes that decision, for ‘The Greater Good’. This final change of heart was right for the character and the story. He gained some redemption in the end and I hope he is now with Nadia somewhere. See you in another life ‘brotha.
The bomb goes off and the lethal force of the blast is taken by Sayid – surely his last words confirm that it is Jack who is the ‘Candidate’ – the new one who will be called “He will save us all” (but in Latin, of course). However the blast is still powerful enough to blow holes in the submarine and Frank gets wiped first. No room for part time characters now (wherever Miles is he best be trying to make himself essential to the story line). Sun is trapped. Hurley takes the wounded Kate whilst Jack and Sawyer stay to help Jin. Once the cabinet is moved we can see that she is pinned by the pipes. There’s an explosion and Sawyer is out cold. Jack can’t stay and he knows it. Jin knows it too. And by now we know what is going to happen.
At the time I thought Jin would leave, have to leave, Sun for Ji Yeon’s sake. And at first I couldn’t make sense of it – why leave her as an orphan? But as I’ve pondered it I now think it is the right decision. Consider Desmond’s words to Sayid….
DESMOND: So, what will you tell her?
SAYID: What do you mean?
DESMOND: This woman–when she asks you what you did to be with her again…what will you tell her?
What would Jin tell Ji Yeon? Could he ever tell her what he had to leave behind to be with her? And let’s remember Ji Yeon doesn’t know Jin and Jin doesn’t know Ji Yeon. It sucks to make her an orphan but it sucks to leave Sun to die alone. That is the point. Love is stronger than death. Death is not the worst thing for either them. Being apart is. And I like to imagine that Ji Yeon’s parentless childhood will prepare her for a Superman/Luke Skywalker/Harry Potter style heroic story that we will never see. Death is not the end but the beginning of another adventure, as Dumbledore would say.
Jin and Sun’s personal stories had taken a back seat since season 4. Their story was no longer of two individuals seeking redemption and reconciliation – that had been achieved. The story was of their marriage, their union, their devotion to each other. For them to die together after being apart for so long is a happy ending of sorts. They would have chosen to die in old age, surrounded by children and grandchildren but that was taken away from them. So they chose to die together. Die together or live alone….? The hardest choice to make.
It was all heartbreaking and emotional, and I was choked through the whole scene; from Sayid’s death all the way to the sub sinking and the hands parting. But it wasn’t until I saw Kate, Hurley and Jack crying that it really hit me hard. But that is the truth isn’t it? Death is always hardest on those left behind. Those who die move on or perish depending on your theology. It is those who are left behind that have to make sense of it all; that have to pull themselves through and move on. And move on they must – because the end is in sight.
One thing I’ve expected all along is that there will be deaths but there will be a happy resolution of some description – if not for the characters themselves then for the story as they ‘save the world’. After this episode I can no longer say that will happen. It could be more bitter than sweet. If Locke’s plans are thwarted will they be thwarted entirely? Now I’m not sure.
The antidote to the chaos of the Island story was the steady progression of the Sideways world. The coincidences surrounding Oceanic 815 are coming quicker and more frequently. Locke’s sub-conscious is channeling his Island self. Jack and Claire are bonding. But neither Jack or Locke have become fully aware, Desmond-aware, of the Island reality. It must surely come soon. Another thought crossed my mind: if this story is to have heroes, which timeline will they come from? Is it possible that the heroes of the story may end up being Sideways Jack and Sideways Locke. In getting over their issues and letting go will they some how save the Island world?
I see little point now in making grand theories for the next few episodes… we were presented no new mysteries in this episode. It seems that all the questions have been asked…. it is now a matter of which questions will be answered and which we will ponder long after the series has finished.
Death predictions… (man this feels hard now)
ZOE! ZOE! ZOE! – (The new Frogurt?)
Miles – (He has perhaps one more ‘I can speak to dead people’ moment left and then it is sionara!)
Widmore – (More a case of who will do it: Smokey or Ben?)
Please leave thoughts, comments and obituaries below.