Before you read this post, take a deep, deep breath, dive in and watch last night’s Lost.
“Follow the Leader” was an exciting, engaging episode of Lost—partly, I think, because it set a concrete direction for the end of the season—but because it jumped around so much in order to set things in place for the finale, I’m tempted not to even try to big-picture it in one essay, but rather deal with it in one big hail of bullets. That, and I’m going on about four hours of sleep right now. (Please forgive the typos that probably riddle this post. If I somehow manage not to cut-and-paste my grocery list into this post, I’ll consider that a success.) So, yes: the hail of bullets looks like a good idea.
Well, one big-picture thing. It always comes back to the Man of Science vs. the Man of Faith, doesn’t it? And in this case, Jack and Locke are each in command, with two different groups, in two different decades, with two different Big Ideas to set things right on the Island. Jack’s, of course, is science-based, and Locke’s, well, faith-based. Jack wants to set off a hydrogen bomb to change the course of history. Locke, in a way, has an even bigger target in mind: he intends to kill Jacob, which seems practically tantamount to killing God.
Can they both be right? Can either? If the title is “Follow the Leader”—which one of them is it? Tune in next week. Now here’s your big hail of bullets:
* While John Locke gets more and more confident—and ht damn, but I love confident Locke—Richard grows more and more puzzling. Before Ben even told us, we had gotten the sense that he had been around on the Island for a long time, in his role of “advisor.” Although he sometimes could seem sinister and ruthless, though, he has always appeared single-minded in his devotion to the Island’s interests—as he sees them—and to his people and their preservation. But that long meaningful look Locke shot him when he noted how curious it was that no one was allowed to talk to Jacob suggests that maybe he has been more of a manipulator even in regard to his own people.
* The Christ parallels with Locke have been plenty, but this seems like another: he is challenging the old order of a religion (here Richard, and perhaps also Jacob himself) which insists on serving as the interface between God and the people, and offering the people the promise of direct communication with the divine instead. We know what happened to Jesus—but Locke has already been resurrected. Hasn’t he?
* Speaking of which, Richard’s gobsmacked reaction to Locke’s saying that he died was very curious. Has anything ever freaked Richard out before?
* Yet again we saw a scene from earlier in the season replayed, as Locke told Richard how to save and instruct himself at the site of the crashed drug plane. But why, exactly, was it so important to Locke that he get Richard to do this? Is it simply that he’s not so much a believer in “What happened, happened”? Also, a picky cavil: the compass, unless my space-time logic is faulty, exists in a closed loop and was never created. (As someone here—sorry I can’t remember who—guessed in an earlier Lostwatch thread.) Not sure I like that.
* And speaking of Richard: “I watched them all die.” Well, we don’t know this to be the case. But whatever Richard has been in the past, he’s never really been a liar like Ben. (Has he? Please correct me if I’m forgetting.) If Ben had said this, I would have assumed it was a lie for some purpose. From Richard… well, I don’t know what to think, but I am starting to suspect that, however these stories play out, it will not be as simple as, “What happened, happened.”
* One last Richard observation: good thing Cane got cancelled, no?
* So: back to 1977, then. It made sense that someone, at some point, would spill the beans about the O6 members being from the future. But the exchange between Chang and Hurley—in which Marvin Chang used Hurley’s simple ignorance of history to trip him up—was just brilliant. “What year were you born?” “Uh, 19.. 31.” “You’re 46? You fought in the Korean war?” “There was no such thing.” “Who is the President of the United States?” “All right, dude, we’re from the future.”
* I’ve got to say, I’m disappointed that after showing himself a changed, in-control man after three years on the Island, Sawyer sold his mates out—well, if he didn’t sell them out, at least gave himself and Juliet an out without trying to save them. (Whereas earlier he was willing to give up the life he made to help Jack and Kate.) His giving Radzinsky the map to the Hostiles (presumably) makes me wonder: is it possible that he’s making possible a Dharma surprise attack on the Hostiles—perhaps foiling the H-bomb plot in the process and ensuring a retaliatory Purge down the road? Or is that too easy? Could it be that whatever Dharma has planned will end up changing history, but not in the way Jack is trying to?
* I always forget Sayid is out there until someone gets popped out of the blue. He is truly the Omar of Lost. (Speaking of characters floating around out there, I wonder whether and how Desmond is going to come back into play.)
* Marvin Pierre Chang’s involvement with his son and company is an interesting twist. Think of all the videos we’ve seen him in, for instance, from the standpoint of knowing that he knows someone tried to warn Dharma away from the Incident. Or does he know? Are those videos part of a future that he may end up helping to change, or prevent? (And if so, what becomes of the white bunny?)
* Apropos of nothing, seeing Ellie in the scene with he dead son and realizing that at the same time she is pregnant with him weirded me out something fierce.
* Even more apropos of nothing, the sub sinking into the water was one of the more blatantly CGI-looking FX I’ve seen on Lost in a long time.
* Not that I actually expect Sawyer and Juliet to make it off the Island and run off into the sunset, but it’s sad to know that he will know enough to buy Microsoft early, but will not know enough to know to pull his money out of stocks before the market peak of late 2007.
* One housekeeping thing: I try not to be a hall monitor about no-spoilers, but because there is info out there about who may appear in the finale—and the previews showed more than I would like in general—let’s stay away from the spoilage, please.
* Finally, a rare achievement for Kate. If we exclude Marvin Chang’s ownage of Hurley on American history, Ms. Austen, of all people, gets off the funniest line of the night: “Since when did shooting kids and blowing up hydrogen bombs become OK?” Indeed!