The finale begins this week and there seems little point posting a ‘recap’ style summary of what occurred in it and how it links in with other episodes etc… instead I am going to do two separate posts – this one, a preview of the finale and then a post-finale musing on the ending, the series as a whole and what it meant to me. That will be a long one.
So in this post I want to think ahead to the ending… I still have no idea how the plot will conclude or how the Sideways world will fit in… and the ideas I have for that are very similar to what many other bloggers, recappers and theorists are positing. Instead I want to anticipate the endings and resolutions for the characters… specifically our four remaining Castaways: Jack, Kate, Hurley & Sawyer; and also the two other remaining central characters: Ben & Desmond. How will their stories resolve? Who will be a hero? What roles might they play in the final moves of the game?
I have a confession to make. I have always been a Jack-fan. And I know that isn’t always the most popular stance amongst hardcore LOST fans. Of course I have deep fondness for the deceased John Locke, and you can’t help but love Sawyer, but throughout the show I have been most interested in and most captivated by Jack’s story. Even in seasons 3 & 4 when his desire to leave the Island and his deteriorating leadership made it painful to watch. I was still rooting for him; still hoping he could let go; still hoping he would realise he was there for a reason. And now, that he knows that, it is a great payoff for all who kept believing in his redemption. Basically, I am a lot like Jacob.
Since the season 5 Jack-centric episode ‘316’, one particular theory of Jack’s role in the whole story has stayed with me:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The verse referenced by the title of the episode is not just the flight number of the Ajira plane and I have always considered it a clue to Jack’s role in the story: That he would be given by his father (a little thought about that in a moment) in order to save the world. However I would be surprised if this is referenced explicitly again – there are too many ‘Men of Science’ who love this show to accept a flagrant religious analogy to the show’s central character. But I believe Jack will die. And I believe he will die to save the world. I don’t think he will have the chance to be the next ‘Jacob’ as we are being led to believe he will – bringing people to the island to prove the Man in Black wrong. I think he will die killing or containing the Man in Black forever. Does that make the Sideways the eternal life from John 3:16…? Is ‘eternal life’ in the LOST universe not a paradise but an infinite time loop – a cosmological Mobius strip? I don’t think so but we will soon find out.
So am I implying that Christian Shepherd has been setting Jack up and directing him towards this goal his whole life? Possibly. It would make Christian’s assessment that Jack ‘doesn’t have what it takes’ to be more loaded than we ever imagined. I do think it is suspicious that we have not seen Christian Shepherd at all this season. He is the only ‘recurring’ character to have been absent from the final season and I have to think that is intentional. They made a point of his body being missing in ‘LA X’ and I’m sure the actor, John Terry, would be willing to return to complete the story. I am utterly convinced that his absence has been to save him for a big reveal… if not, that would suck. But my Jack ‘316’ theory still works without Christian involved as we could easily view Jacob as a kind of Father figure… certainly with God like powers… who has been leading Jack to his sacrificial destiny. Whatever happens, whether he lives or dies, Jack Shepherd’s final words and actions in this story will be some of the most significant, and perhaps his journey more that any other will be the defining story of the LOST epic.
Hugo ‘Hurley’ Reyes
Who is the Man in Black most afraid of? I think it is Hurley. He is the incorruptible heart of the show. More than anyone he has been caught up in this game through no fault or choice of his own. He was not a man who ran from his past or who repressed his weaknesses or who lived in denial. He felt guilt when the people died on the deck; claiming a responsibility that wasn’t his to claim. Where Kate ran and Sawyer hunted down his nemesis and Jack tried to fix everyone – Hurley got better. He let go of his past. He has never carried a gun on the island or fired a shot in anger. He has never left his friends behind. He has always thought about others. He saw through the drama of the freighter folk arriving and sought to grieve over Charlie, which was more than anyone else managed. He knows what is important in life; friends, loved ones & other people. And his convictions are not swayed by circumstance or by situation or by life threatening danger. Everyone else is working under the banner that it is ‘kill or be killed’, but not Hugo. He sees that to kill is to be corrupted. What price is it to gain the world yet forfeit your soul?
Coming into the finale I think he will stick to his convictions and not kill the MIB, even if he is evil incarnate. There is no ‘Greater Good’ justification for Hurley. There is only ‘Do No Harm’. This will lead to two possible outcomes. That Hurley will be killed, refusing to be corrupted, holding firm to his convictions and will become a legend in the story; staying true to what is right, even to death. It will be a martyr’s tale, a hero’s story.
The other possibility is that by refusing to be corrupted that will be the action that finally halts the Man in Black. Hurley is the epitome of the ‘progress’ Jacob has been working for. He does not fight. He does not destroy. He does not corrupt. Hurley will prove the Man in Black wrong. And in doing so will defeat him. When an unstoppable force like Smokey collides with an immovable object like Hurley…. Something’s gotta give.
James ‘Sawyer’ Ford
Jim LaFleur is dead. The Sawyer who holds to ‘Every man for himself’ is defeated – setting off the bomb that killed his friends. It is time for James Ford to let go of that letter. Time for James Ford to grow from being the boy hiding under the bed to the man who once jumped out of a helicopter. For almost the entire series Sawyer has been about one thing – surviving. There have been times when he has put others first – especially as he progressed and settled into love with Juliet, at home with Dharma. But Juliet is dead and all that was Jim LaFleur has vanished. This season Sawyer has been in survival mode once more. Witness how quick he has been to lose Claire and Sayid when they seemed too far gone to care about anymore.
Sawyer has to kill himself. Not literally, well maybe literally, but he needs to die to himself. His whole life has been about killing the ‘Sawyer’ who has ruined his life. He managed to kill Anthony Cooper but he has still not killed ‘Sawyer’. For the first time in his life he will have to fight ‘for’ something. Not just surviving, not just revenge, but actually fighting to do something good for doing good’s sake. Sawyer has always been the character with the clearest similarities to a key character from another saga; Han Solo. I think we are heading towards a moment in the finale where Sawyer will choose, perhaps for the first time in his life, to do good because good is the right thing to do. He will turn up at the last instance in the Millennium Falcon to help Luke to allow the Death Star to be destroyed. Or something similar at least.
My prediction for the finale is that Sawyer will die but James Ford will live. His character arc will be complete not by dying to save the world – that is more likely for Jack or Hurley – but it is to get a shot at the life that was denied to him twice; initially by Anthony Cooper and then by Jughead and the Island’s wishes. When the opportunity to do the right thing arises he will; his redemption complete and he will get a shot at a ‘Happily Ever After’ – either in the Sideways universe with Juliet or the original timeline with Kate.
I have another confession to make. I’ve always liked Kate as well. (Some of you are going to hate me). The love triangle was never really a huge part of the story in my opinion so her flip-flopping between Jack and Sawyer was not particularly frustrating for me and, as I think this season has proved, it is not centrally important to the story either. Kate could never choose and the finale will be no different – the Island will decide for her by claiming one of her former lovers, my guess is Jack, so she will be left with Sawyer.
What is now most interesting about Kate is her status as ‘touched by Jacob’ but not ‘a Candidate’. I think the Man in Black knows a lot about Jack and sees him as the greatest danger to his plans. He knows Hurley but cannot fathom him and so fears him. He sees right through Sawyer and isn’t the least bit intimidated by James Ford. But as his attentions are focussed on the three remaining Candidates he will not spot three other potential dangers: Kate, Ben and Desmond.
Kate is on the island for a reason. She is still alive for a reason. The Island is not done with her yet. Now the question begs will her role simply be a motivation for Jack or Sawyer or does she have another part to play – a more significant task? I think the Man in Black will directly try to kill Kate but won’t be able to. The touch from Jacob she received as a child will protect her from the Man in Black’s fatal intentions. This will surprise him, it will throw him and may even be the very thing that hinders the success of his malevolent plan.
The other thing to watch out for in the finale is how her relationship with Claire resolves (if they both survive). Who will go back and raise Aaron? It is hard to see anyone leaving the Island now, but perhaps Claire maybe the one that gets away – on the ‘Elizabeth’ with Des? Speaking of Des….
It is easy to predict some of Desmond’s role in the last 3 hours of the show. He will be needed to resist electromagnetism (possibly at the Waterfall of Light). He will be heavily involved in the connection of the two realities, however that happens though is anyone’s guess. He will get at least one more showdown with Widmore. The key question to his story is will there be a ‘Happily Ever After’ for him and Penny? Will he give up Penny and Charlie to save the world. I think he would, but I sincerely hope he doesn’t have to. The thought of a Des-less Penny and Charlie is very sad indeed. Could Penny have made her way back to the Island on her boat to try and find him once more?
It doesn’t feel like Desmond’s story needs ‘completing’. We have been told twice before that the Island is not done with him yet he could easily be done with Island. He doesn’t need redeeming or saving or transforming in the same way that most of the other characters do. His role in the story will centre around some of his ‘special’ abilities; his resistance to electromagnetism; the connection he has between the two timelines; his capacity for his conscious to leap through time. All of these things make him a wild card in every way.
The last season finished with the MIB manipulating Ben to be the weapon that would slay Jacob. After he was done using Ben for his murderous plan he left him, only returning to Ben when he was digging his own grave and only to use him once more in his plan to kill the Candidates. They do, however, have one thing in common; they both hate Widmore. I know how they feel. One of Ben’s decisions to come may involve swallowing his pride to side with Widmore in order to halt or kill the Man in Black. I am convinced Widmore’s motivations lie in power and greed – most likely now he has some knowledge of the waterfall of light and longs for it’s power to cheat death – what will happen to Charles Widmore if he gets what he wants?
At the end of ‘Dr. Linus’ it seemed that Ben had had a moment of redemption; finding forgiveness from Ilana and rejecting the MIB’s overtures. But what does he do now? (It is hard to tell as he has only had a couple of lines since that episode). I am sure he has no desire to leave the Island and I can’t see a martyrs story ahead for him. My choice of destiny for Benjamin Linus would be for him to become the next protector of the Island. Jack seems to be ‘The Candidate’ that is primed for that role but I think he will sacrifice himself and that will leave the Island needing a leader and a protector. A humbled, penitent Ben could well be that man. More than any other main character we’ve seen the struggles and pains of Ben’s upbringing. The patterns of lies and deceit that defined his adult life led him to his nadir when he killed Jacob. But those patterns could have been shattered by his repentance and he could now be a new man. The way Jacob related to Ben in the final scene of ‘The Incident’ has always stayed with me – he was not surprised to see him and he did not defend himself in the same way he did against Richard in ‘Ab Aeterno’. Could it be that Jacob had been pushing Ben towards that destination; his silence intended to lead Ben to that very moment? Did he let Ben kill him because that was the only way to bring Ben to a place where he could change?
We also need to remember that Ben has been saved by the Island once before; he was brought to the healing pool to recover from Sayid’s bullet. Will that significant in the final three hours? It is more likely after ‘Across the Sea’ – the mysterious properties of the Island’s water makes Ben’s childhood healing an interesting piece of LOST history.
There is one more character that could step in and change everything – John Locke. If the timelines converge will the wheelchair bound John Locke have the decisive role in the conclusion of the story? I hope so.
So the next time I write here, the story will be over. Enjoy the ride. See you in another life Bruthas.