Getting Lost: The Candidate

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

So, it looks like Jack figured it out. Did he? Well, it depends what you mean by “it,” but it certainly felt like those lines Jack was spitting out as he desperately tried to talk Sawyer out of defusing the bomb were important. For one, he flatly declared, “Locke can’t kill us.” This, of course, echoes the boy’s claim from back in “The Substitute,” but this was the first time the prohibition has been extended to all the candidates. This might raise some issues, since the Smoke Monster has previously been a killing machine, taking down the pilot, Mr. Eko, Bram (Jacob’s bodyguard), and pretty much Widmore’s entire camp earlier in this very episode. The loophole to this, of course, is to assume that those victims had either never been candidates (like the pilot) or ceased to be candidates (like Eko).

If the Smoke Monster can’t kill the candidates, then what is he doing with them? According to Jack, his goal is to get them all to kill each other. As many have speculated, the Man in Black cannot leave the Island until all the candidates are dead, but he himself cannot kill them.* As a result, he has to wait for the candidates to slowly kill each other—something they have been pretty good at now for 100+ episodes.

*It may be more accurate to say that he is “not allowed” to kill them. Both he and Jack seemed to leave room for the possibility that he was capable of killing them; it may just be that if he kills them, then he hasn’t proven Jacob wrong and thus cannot leave the Island. The “rules” are still unclear on this matter.

This, of course, makes perfect sense given the relationship between Jacob and the Man in Black that we were introduced to back in “The Incident”: The Man in Black believes that people are bad—“they come, fight, destroy, corrupt.”—and Jacob is trying to prove him wrong. If the candidates all end up destroying themselves, then the Man in Black is vindicated and can, presumably, leave the Island.

So Locke 2.0 was trying to get them all on the submarine, where they would presumably kill each other? That seems to be Jack’s interpretation, yes. There is one problem, though.

Which is…. I like to call it the Backpack Problem. When Locke 2.0 and his gang arrived at the submarine, Jack and Locke 2.0 agreed to cover the rest of the group until they boarded the sub. Jack, of course, had insisted up until that point that he was not going. Then, as Jack and Locke 2.0 head towards the submarine, Locke 2.0 picks up two backpacks, gives one to Jack and keeps the other one.

Now, if Locke was trying to get the candidates on the sub with the bomb, then why would he give the backpack containing the explosive to Jack, who had insisted on not going? Of course, Jack did end up on the sub, but only because he had to carry a wounded Kate on board and Sawyer decided that they didn’t have time to let Jack off (or let Claire on, meaning they abandoned her again). Locke 2.0 had no way of knowing that would happen.

I suppose we could infer that Locke never planned to let Jack not board the sub, but he made no attempts to physically subdue Jack when he had the chance. Plus, even if he was planning on trying to force Jack aboard, why wouldn’t he give the bomb to someone he knew would be on board?

I’m not so sure that’s a huge problem. As Jack said, maybe Locke always knew that Sawyer didn’t trust him and would thus keep him from boarding the sub. And maybe he gave the bomb to Jack because he needed all the candidates together, meaning that the bomb plot would have been futile without Jack. The point is, you’re missing the larger problem. I am? Since when do you have an opinion?

Since now. The biggest problem isn’t the Backpack Problem, but why Sawyer’s attempt to defuse the bomb suddenly transferred agency from Locke 2.0 to Sawyer. Well, I see your point there. This would hardly be classified as an instance of Sawyer “killing” anyone on board: Locke 2.0 put the bomb on board, set the timer, planned the detonation, etc. But the key comes when Jack tells Sawyer that they will be fine if they just let the timer tick down (it’s understandable why Jack is so confident—he’s already had a similar showdown with Richard this season): “You have to trust me.” Sawyer’s reply—“Sorry Doc, I don’t”—indicates a lack of trust and, implicitly, a lack of faith.

That’s it? A lack of faith got three people killed? Four people, probably. You forgot about Lapidus.

And it’s pretty obvious at this point that a lack of faith and trust is the biggest crime you can commit on the Island.

Well, why were Jin and Sun and Sayid killed for Sawyer’s lack of faith? Well, they weren’t, really. As many have predicted, Sayid sacrificed himself by taking the bomb and running with it to another part of the sub.* It was only Jin and Sun’s refusal to be separated again that doomed them.

*Although, I’m going to have to call bullshit on this. I’m no demolition expert, but wouldn’t a pack of C4 cause a big enough explosion to kill them all? Is it too much to ask for Sayid to have at least shut one of the doors behind him, like Charlie, to limit the explosion’s impact? That would have been more believable.

Wasn’t that a little irresponsible of them? I mean, they do have a kid at home who is now orphaned. Yeah, come on. Think of poor Ji Yeon, who is living with Grandma Kwon and now has to grow up without parents because of Jin’s stupid “I’ll never leave you again pledge.”

It was, though, pretty tragic to see Jin and Sun killed in the first episode since their reunion. Their scene together earlier, in which they talk about their daughter and Sun gives Jin back his ring, was really well-done. It was an example of how Lost’s reliance on the “love conquers all” theme doesn’t always have to feel trite.

In some ways, it was kind of reminiscent of Ben’s claim after Ilana’s death: “It was like the Island was done with her.” Here, it felt as if the story were done with Jin and Sun. For two seasons now the show has been building towards their reunion. Once they finally reconnect, though, it is their refusal to part from each other again that leads to their demise.

It will be sad to see them go. Hopefully, they will be popping up again in the Sideways stories.

Speaking of those, we haven’t even touched on them yet. Last week I said that I would be very surprised if we didn’t get another Locke-centric episode by the end of the season, and while this episode was technically Jack-centric, it was really about Locke and Jack equally.

As we thought, Jack saved Locke’s life after Desmond’s hit-and-run, but Jack, of course, isn’t satisfied. He wants to try and reverse Locke’s paralysis. When Locke says no, Jack tries to figure out why, leading him to meet Locke’s now catatonic father.* It seems that in this reality, Locke’s injuries came from a plane crash that he caused while flying his father around. He views the paralysis as his punishment.

*When I first saw the new Anthony Cooper, my first thought was that Locke’s dad wasn’t any different in the alternate timeline than he was in the traditional one, but that instead he, too, had fallen out of the window with Locke. Instead of writing his dad off, though, Locke had taken the opportunity to take care of his now brain dead father, since he could no longer be disappointed by him. I’m really glad I was wrong, because this would have taken the whole “Locke is a weakling” thing too far.

In a great scene between Jack and Locke, Jack tells him that “what happened, happened,” but that he can’t go on blaming himself. He has to let go. At first Locke doesn’t seem receptive, but when Jack gives him the line that Locke himself has given Jack so many times before (including in his unconscious mumblings in this episode)—“I wish you believed me”—something seems to register with Locke. The Sidways stories in this episode didn’t feature any of Desmond’s pushing people to realize their destinies, but in some ways that was good. It allowed Jack and Locke to slowly come to terms with destiny themselves.

The Sideways story also worked because it finally served the character of John Locke. Even though Jack was the centerpiece of the episode on and off the Island, he uttered so many Lockeisms (“We have to have faith” “Trust me” “I’m not leaving the Island,” etc.) that we finally saw the full impact that Locke—the real Locke—had on Jack. Jack’s line to Locke in the final Sideways scene, “I’m hoping you’ll go first,” was particularly telling. Only after Locke can take the leap of faith can Jack follow suit. So Locke may be dead (though I still don’t think we’ve seen the last of him) but he lives on through Jack.

Any other thoughts? Oh so many. What happened to Widmore? Is he dead, or did the Smoke Monster only kill his camp? I would guess he’ll come back, since we didn’t actually see his death. Did he actually rig the plane with C4? If so, why? Does he want to kill the candidates? Is he in cahoots with Locke 2.0? They both have latest version of “the list,” and plenty of Widmore’s plans for defeating Locke 2.0 (like having an army of guns against a guy who is basically bullet-proof) seem like they may have just been for show.

Is Lapidus officially dead? Where are Ben, Richard, and Miles? Or, for that matter, Desmond?

Kate, meanwhile, seemed to heal pretty quickly from that bullet wound. Jack did say that “the bullet went through her,” but she seemed remarkably fit in that final scene. It would be pretty convenient if she healed herself, though, because Jack now has his work cut out for him, what with Sawyer still unconscious and Desmond still stuck in a well.

Predictions for next week? Well, we haven’t seen Ben, Miles, or Richard since “Everybody Loves Hugo,” so I expect at least an appearance by them by the end of next week. At this point, though, with only two episodes left before the finale, we can probably expect a couple mythology-heavy episodes. There are still a lot of “rules” that need sorting out, and eventually we are going to have to get a look at the Jacob/Man in Black backstory (and hopefully find out that guy’s real name). I’ll guess that Locke 2.0 being left with Claire will provide an excuse for the writers to explore their relationship and possibly look back into the Man in Black’s past.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] choked up seeing Jin and Sun in the early stages of their Island romance just a few weeks after the two of them met such a tragic demise? I’m not answering […]


  2. […] reanimate corpses on the Island before, like Sayid and Christian Shephard; in Sayid’s case, as we saw in “The Candidate,” he was ultimately able to combat the “darkness” that consumed him and perform one last act of […]


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