Tuesday, April 20

Lost: Season 6, Episode 13 Discussion


Everyone feel that engine kick?

Tonight's episode pushed things forward for the characters on a number of levels (off-Island folks converging! On-Island folks fleeing!), seemed to answer a few questions (the MiB was Christian! Maybe! Sayid was brought back by the MiB! Probably!), highlighted some other questions, and delivered a lot of flat-out exciting stuff (Zoe: "show them what we're capable of.").

There's a ton of fun things to talk other in this one. Did Sayid shoot Desmond (my money's on 'no')? Is Sayid capable of 'redemption'? How about Sun's trauma-induced recognition of Locke? Widmore's sudden change of heart w/r/t Sawyer and the others? Jack's decision ("This feels wrong.")? Desmond's off-Island Jacobosity? The Jack and Anti-Locke sit-down (with a surprising lack of Jackface)? Claire's comment that Anti-Locke had spoken to Jack, making Shepard 'his'?

I loved it. It was an episode fully driven by attention to it's characters and observing how they've changed, how they remain the same (how great was that Sawyer/Kate scene off-Island?). It pushed us closer to The End firmly but slowly, as if daring us to peek over the edge before shoving us over it.

What did you think? Was Anti-Locke telling the truth about being Christian? That's been my longstanding theory, but Terry O'Quinn pregnant pause gave me room enough to doubt. If he can't leave the Island, how did Christian appear off-Island? On the other hand, Claire asks Jack if he's been told that the MiB was Christian, and we saw her hanging out with her dead dad in "Jacob's" cabin back in Season 4.

The MiB seems to have brought Sayid back from the dead (and Sayid calls himself a zombie in this episode, mirroring his previous denial ("I am not a zombie.")). How'd he do it? Richard says that he's never seen the dead brought back to life on the Island. Does that mean this is the first time the MiB has done this? Just that Richard was never aware of this? And what does it "mean"?

Original Post:

"There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a'blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of hell a'glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!"

Those are the lyrics to "The Wondrous Boat Ride," the memorably insane and completely creepy song from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you've seen the Gene Wilder original, you know exactly what scene it is: the one with the Boat, obviously, and also the one in which someone chops the head off of a chicken on the wall of a darkened tunnel.

It's messed up. And I can't wait to scar my as-yet-nonexistent children with it.

That song provided the musical basis for last week's teaser, creating an aura of menace and madness (and more than a little of-a-certain-age nostalgia) that promises events both Great and Terrible. Will we get our answer to the question of "infection"? Will Sayid speak the words "I have no choice"? Will we come to understand the Man in Black's true name/identity? Will the meeting between Jack and Locke be as brain-meltingly awesome as I'd like it to be?

Only one thing is more-or-less for certain:

There Will Be Jackface.

Leave you comments, criticisms, hopes, fears, and whathaveyous here in the comments section. I'll be in after the episode airs in the US on the East Coast to give my Instareaction. Enjoy it while it lasts, people. This is truly The Beginning of the End.


  1. The teaser sent chills up my spine! The episode had better deliver the same insanity to keep us talking through the 1 week hiatus!! 3 more episodes after this until the finale! There can't be any new questions dammit!

  2. That's right - there's a pause in the schedule next week isn't there?

    Hoping you're right, D!

  3. That promo was fantastic, wasn't it? I didn't think the ABC promo people would ever try something that trippy, but good for them.

    I'm really, really excited that the writers have kept things this opaque and unsettled so close to the end. It would have been the easy route for them to just slowly answer things throughout the season and gradually illuminate more and more until the finale. Instead it's like they're making all the characters (and the audience) go down to the deepest point of disorientation before they can come back up again. That sense of just being totally adrift and in way, way over your head in terms of information has always been one of my favorite things about the tone of Lost, and I'm glad they've held on to that.

  4. I really, really, really hope that Damon and Carlton weren't lying in the podcast when they said that Desmond would have a "happy" ending. The promo was incredible, unsettling and creepy, but it has me a little worried about the safety of our favorite consciousness traveling Scotsman. But even beyond that, I wonder how many characters will die in the final hours of Lost and who they will be. I'm also curious if it'll be a harrowing or uplifting finale, because I can see both as a possibility at this stage.

  5. I'm thinking that it'll be both harrowing and uplifting, Hi Ho. Bittersweet is, I think, the right word for what I think/hope we're headed toward.

    As for potential casualties, I continue to suspect that Hurley's going to bite it, and bite it hard. Should it happen I'm going to go all weepy on you folks. No apologies.

    Sawyer also seems like a fine Candidate for some not-aliveness. He's the show's Han Solo, and we all know how Harrison Ford wanted that character to go out, right?

    What do you all think? Who's Most Likely To End Up Corpsified? No spoilers, please. Just educated guesses and explanations for same.

  6. Likeliest to die: I'd say Claire is probably tops, followed by Sayid, perhaps in a redemptive act of self-sacrifice (there's that word again).

    I don't think Hurley will get it, but, boy, that would certainly open the tear spigot, no? I can see Sawyer being a tragic hero, absolutely. I just don't think it's going to happen.

    Maybe they'll kill Kate, prompting Losties worldwide to proclaim all at once: "FINALLY!"

  7. I think everyone is gonna die except Jack, Richard, Desmond, and maybe Hurley. I posted something over on the "Everybody Loves Hugo" column here that was meant to be posted in this column about what I think about Jack being the new Jacob. The show started with him, and it will probably end with him.

  8. Darth, I like the symmetry of Jack being the start and end of the series. I'll be intrigued to see if that is how it turns out. A little less than a month and the cycle will be complete.

    Morse, I actually don't know how Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to go out, perhaps you could enlighten us?

  9. Harrison Ford did not want to come back and do Return of the Jedi. He thought it would be better that Han solo died at the end empire Strikes Back. My name is what it is for a reason. LOL

    Hi Ho - There is a lot about the number 23 that leads to Jack ...

  10. I'd actually heard it said that Ford wanted to fly the Falcon into the Death Star during the events of Return of the Jedi, on a suicide run. He wanted Han to give his life for the cause of the Rebellion, after starting out the films as a self-interested "scoundrel."

    Instead, Lucas elected to have Lando pilot the ship instead, and let our favorite Colt 45-shilling Bespin Overlord escape death.

  11. D,

    I answered your post over in the other column. I agree that Jack is meant to be Jacob's replacement. What I'm curious about: is he meant to take over for Jacob on the Island? Or is he meant to finish the work Jacob started, leaving the Island behind at the end?

  12. Morse -

    Actually we are both right. After Ford was persuaded into doing ROTJ, he wanted Solo to have a heroe's death. Either way, he wanted death to Solo.

    As far as Jack, that is a great question if he will stay behind or leave. I think personlly he will stay as his ultimate sacrifice, saving the son that he will not get a chance to meet in this timeline.

  13. I had this crazy, fearful thought the other day that the MIB/Locke does get off the island, that the Doomsayers on the show are proven right, and that the world is destroyed. Everyone dies.

    However, because of the Sideways crossover activity - which was started by the Jughead explosion and Juliet and then egged on by Desmond - there will be some sort of consciousness download and many of the characters in the sideways world will gain the lessons/insights etc of their island time.

    We get both convergence & a single timeline again. Only it's not the one that brought us to the dance.

    That is not my prediction, just conversational speculation and fear i have with no more detailed thought than what I just laid out above. Is anyone else afraid that part of the purpose of the Sideways world is to soften a really brutal blow?

    Aside from that and assuming that the island timeline isn't so apocalyptic, i'd guess the following so far:

    - Ben dies in a sacrifice. And it's done in a way that makes us really really sad for him. He's never a good guy, but he's complex and we're not supposed to be happy for his suffering. But he's going to do something that allows him to pass and not be stuck on the island like Michael. So it's got to be big.

    Killing Hurley would be the cruelest blow. I have a hard time believing they'd single out the soul of the show. That said, maybe he'll have a Baloo the Bear from Jungle Book moment and they'll let us think he died, but he walks in on his eulogy. That's right. I just named-checked Baloo.

    Richard dies, is "freed from his servitude" and is reunited with his wife.

    my wacky prediction. John Locke lives again though some weird cross over, or unanticipated turn of events. I say this because of the way Desmond told the MIB last week "you're John Locke." Felt like a big ole' clue and that Desmond knew something we didn't. Conveniently in Lost fashion, MIB and the audience took it as Des' error. But why would every other person who met the MIB know he wasn't John Locke with conviction after talking to him and Des - who seems to have some grand insight now - has not an inkling that Locke even behaves differently?

  14. I watched the sneak peaks on docartz, and holy shit. This episode is going to make my brain explode, or implode, I'm pretty sure. I'm so excited!

  15. Is it 9 pm? Slam's comment has done me no favors in the "trying to control my anticipation" department. Great thoughts. D, thanks for the info! Miles, I think you're right about Ben. Damn you, Slamboni (surely the only time in my life I'll have occasion to type that sentence)!

    ...so. 9 pm yet?

  16. I really thought Sun and Jin were going to be Mikhailed to death by rabid foaming! Looking forward to insta-reaction.

  17. Agreeing with Erik! All I could think was, "No! Don't go toward the sonic fence!!" But fortunately, it had been turned off. Whew!

    But yeah, this episode had my attention like very few of the 6th seasons episodes have had so far. It was gripping, the story moved forward a lot, and the character interactions were great. There were so many great moments in this episode, and lots of good Sawyer scenes. :)

    The only thing I thought was weird was that during Sun and Jin's reunion, they both were speaking English. I'm sure this was done to highlight the fact that Sun's aphasia is gone, but she doesn't know Jin speaks English now, and it just seems like both of them would default to their native language, as they have in the past.

    But anyway, I can't wait for the next episode! Unfortunately, we have that lovely 2 week wait...

  18. I'll have to watch it again to come up with any worth-while thoughts on the episode, but wasn't there a discussion last week about Desmond's well being very deep? The shot of Sayid looking down at him this week just made it seem like he was put in time out or something. They didn't even have to raise their voices.

  19. I was so happy to see Ilana, I had always thought that when she blew up on the island, she actually flashed back to the hospital where we originally see her with Jacob. Everyone in my family laughed at me for my inability to let go of one of my favorite characters.

    Yesterday I cheered when I saw her.


  20. I was bothered that no one asked Claire why the heck she left Aaron and wandered off, after she repeatedly kept blaming them for abandoning her. Hey lady you left us in the middle of the night and your kid in a tree, any accountability for that? I doubt we will get any further clarity to what happened to Claire at this stage, especially about the Other's determination that she was corrupted like Sayid. Although I feel Claire was one of the least interesting characters, her return arc has not been particularly well utilized as of yet.

  21. Morse, I was thinking about the Christian angle too. I think MIB was telling the truth, that he was Christian - to Jack, Claire and Locke anyway - but maybe the Christian that appeared to Michael and to Jack in 2007 was the actual ghost of Christian? It would make sense to some extent as the Island ghosts seem to be serving Jacob's interests rather than Smokey's, yes?

    I also got a real kick out of the off Island Kate and Sawyer interplay. It reminded me of why we liked these characters as a couple back in the first season. And, I thought Matt Fox did some nice work last night.

    Edward, I asked my wife the same thing during the show: how come no one just say to Claire, "Hey, crazy eyes, you brought this whole thing on yourself, remember?"

  22. edward is right- sawyer has been around her long enough- i expect, based on his concern, that he would have asked- hey lady why'd you leave your kid in the jungle?

  23. this show is a kick in the pants each week- my wife missed last night so i have the excuse to rewatch tonight.
    as much as this was filler to set the stage- some really great stuff and more answers...
    yes, i was christian...

  24. It was pretty bad episode. Everyone seems to be highlighting how so many things were happening, yet neglect how they were at the the expense of good storytelling. I usually appreciate fast paced episodes, but with so much being thrown at us, every scene felt very abrupt, and the entire episode felt really unfocused. Compare this episode to any other from this season and it's poor writing, direction and editing really stand out.

  25. All in all a great episode. Couple issues I had was that the Sun/Jin reunion was cut kinda short with guns in the face. I also thought for an instant about the sonic fence, and how horrible it would have been if it wasn't turned off. I also am over Claire and how nobody asked her why she ditched her baby in the jungle. Anyone notice the time change from when Jack/MiB, and Claire were talking it was night time, but when they regrouped it was bright sunny daytime?

    Morse, it was Sawyer who called Sayid a "zombie". At least you got your reference!

    I believe that MiB was telling the truth that he was Christian. He probably was each time we saw him. Locke's pause when Jack asked him may have been because his jig was up and wasn't sure if he should tell Jack that quite yet.

    I had mentioned a few weeks ago about how MiB could have posed as Christian off-island. Although MiB has stated he cannot leave, because he is trapped in this prison, this may have been figurative rather than literal. He may be able to leave the island literally but his prison, his "leaving" is meant to mean that he will not be bound by the rules of the game. Just a thought to help answer that question.

  26. A couple of possibilities on the Christian question. It's possible that Smokey's inability to leave the island in any way is tied to his being "bound" to Locke's appearance now. I've long speculated that the reason he performed some sort of special rite to appear as Locke (instead of just appearing as any of the other dead people in his normal fashion) was that his ability to interact physically with the world around him is limited unless he goes "all-in" as he has with Locke. Perhaps before he went "all-in" he could project himself to different places like the freighter with Michael. That could be an in-show explanation.

    Another possibility is that there is the actual ghost of Christian who can appear (which would explain how Jack saw him in the hospital off-island in season 4).

    And though it pains me to admit it, perhaps the most likely explanation is that this is a bit of ret-conning that doesn't QUITE fit the facts as we know them. There are enough paranormal entities (Smokey, ghosts, etc) on the island that it gives the showrunners a little wiggle room when it comes to a big reveal that doesn't quite jive with every episode.

  27. After reading Greg's post, and remembering something from earlier in the season, I want to modify my previous post.

    I believe that Smokey's previous form was indeeed Christian everytime. He could not change from that form (when visiting Michael on the freighter, or Sun at New Otherton, etc) because he physically touched Aaron in the jungle, therefore was bound to that form? He now may not be able to change from Locke's form (as stated by Illana) because that is the form he used to kill Jacob? Now that Jacob is gone, MiB is trapped in Locke's form.

    All the other dead character's we see could be both ghosts caught in Underworld, Limbo, Purgatory, etc; or MiB posing as them, remember Yemi.

  28. Fascinating ideas and fun thoughts, everybody. Really looking forward to sitting down after work and responding to them.

  29. Bad? Nah- just truncacted- I'd bet money there are scenes filmed that are bumped- notice how each episode keeps running over?
    Yes it was fast, but honestly, so much else has ALWAYS been left out for the sake of the story... IE characters just ASKING eachother questions- why quibble now? Which is of course ironic, because i would definitely still want to know why Sawyer did not ask Claire about Aaron, but I will stop...

  30. No, it really was bad. Tell me why it was good? There were so many poorly handled moments, not a single one of them was a standout. The scenes were given no breathing room, everything felt abbreviated. With so many story arcs the episode was just a mess, with very poor pacing. It was like watching an episode of Heroes, with the writers trying to include everyone, focusing on no one in particular. Episodes like What Kate Does and Recon might not have as much going on in them, but they at least had stories to tell and they took they're time telling them.

    Morse, I'm interested in reading your thoughts on this episode as I can't understand how anyone could think this was a good episode, if only from a storytelling point of view.

  31. Anonymous, I'm sorry, but I disagree. I didn't see last night as a single episode, but as the beginning of the climax in fact. If anything it's the commercial breaks that were annoying.

    The episode focused on practically all the characters instead of one because everything's coming together. I understand that each episode usually follows a specific arc/theme that's told through the prism of a specific character, but I think the show is beyond that point.

    As a standalone episode, in this respect, sure it wasn't the best. But as a part of a larger whole, especially considering what it's pointing toward, I found it to be an excellent chain of scenes.

  32. Also, regarding characters asking each other questions: sure, it's an easy, someone ham-handed way to move the story along, but let's face it, the characters certainly have as many questions as we do at this point, and the series of events is coming to a close for them as much as it is for us. Why wouldn't they ask questions?

  33. Another note:

    Did anyone notice that the preview for the upcoming episodes say the MIB's soul went mad? I believe Dennis Hopper's character says the same thing about Brando's Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now."

  34. Anonymous,

    I thought that this episode was very strong stuff. Comparing it to an episode of Heroes seems....unsound to me.

    Thematically and narratively, we've been building toward this moment all season. It's a reunion in both the literal sense and the figurative sense, but that reunion is, by the very nature of the kind of story being told, a fragmented and disjointed one. That isn't a way for me to excuse what you saw as sloppiness, just a means of illustrating that (in my opinion)the ways in which storylines bumped up against/overlapped/leaked into each other felt very, very intentional to me. Whether that works for you as a viewer is obviously a subjective thing.

    I hope you'll enjoy my thoughts on the episode as a whole or, at the least, I hope that those thoughts will allow you to consider a new (not necessarily better) way to view it, but I should warn you that, if you're the same Anonymous individual that expressed displeasure over the literary references in the columns, you are going to hate this week's ramblings.

  35. I'm a little curious if they're going to go any further into the "MiB as Christian" explanation. I can understand every single appearance of "Christian" (including the one with Locke at the donkey wheel) except for when he appeared to Michael on the freighter. MiB has told us this season that he couldn't travel across water, which seems to directly imply that it wasn't the MiB who appeared to Michael. I also don't remember any instance of MiB being able to "teleport" anywhere. He's usually shown traveling as the black smoke. (Although he did seem to appear in "Dr. Linus")

    And in response to Anonymous: I thought that this was an excellent hour of character driven television. It was both a payoff for characters and a set up for the end of the series. I especially loved Jack stepping up and being willing to fulfill his role and do what he feels is right, at whatever cost to himself. I also loved how the Alt-Universe characters are spiraling closer and closer together. The pace of the episode was very quick, but it always felt deliberate and necessary to show that events are largely moving beyond the characters control as we hurtle towards the end-game.

  36. Does this mean that the MIB doesn't plan to kill the candidates? If he was, saving Jack would certainly seem to be contrary to that goal. Unless he has to do it in some sort of ritualistic manner. Either way, I think he's going to be kicking himself over this next episode when Jack tells him he wants to replace Jacob.

  37. Both camps have said in the last few weeks that things are happening "faster then they expected" and then rushed to take hasty action (frying Desmond). My question: what are they referring to? The end of the series and number of loose narrative ends to tie up in that time?

    Also, when Flocke smashed that walkie-talkie, it was _weak_ evidence that it was also him in the cabin since we all know he hated technology then too.

  38. "I thought that this episode was very strong stuff. Comparing it to an episode of Heroes seems....unsound to me."

    I don't think it's unsound. Heroes is a show that focuses on a large group of characters in each episode. Besides the use of flashsideways, that was pretty much what this episode did. And like Heroes, the story was hurt by it's lack of focus.

    "if you're the same Anonymous individual that expressed displeasure over the literary references in the columns, you are going to hate this week's ramblings."

    HA HA...I am! But I was just busting your chops. I'll still read your recap this week! ; )

    LA X does essentially the same thing that this episode did, yet it was much more successful in my opinion. I think because there was more breathing room, and the pace didn't feel like "oh crap, look at the time, okay, now here's Sawyers arc". Jack shooting the breeze with his son after receiving what should have been devastating news. Sun and Jin's short shrift reunion. These scenes just left a sour taste in my mouth. And because every scene was so quick, the episode didn't really feel like it was building to anything.

  39. I felt like this episode was built up TO by the previous ones. It's "the beginning of the end," so to speak. We've seen a snippet of each character's sideways life already in their centric episodes, and now all of their lives are colliding. There were scenes that continued the story from most of the centric episodes. (The only one I can think of that didn't was Hurley's.)

    And it's about time the respective camps on the island started interacting more fully. I loved it all, and am really excited to see where it goes next. :)

  40. Nitpick: The Sideways storyline of this episode picks up right after the last episode, one week after Oceanic 815 landed, but the events in Keamy's restaurant (He dieed, didn't he? He survived in "The Package", but he wasn't mentioned as alive when Miles went over the details with Sawyer.) happened the day after the flight landed. Yet Sun arrives at Jack's hospital at the same time as Locke, among other inconsistencies.

  41. Where/in what episode did anyone specify that it had been a week since the plane landed? I keep working it out to be 3 days from the plane landing as of "The Last Recruit."

    If Sun and Jin are delayed by at least a day at customs, then the timeline matches up fairly well. (Day 1 they're in customs, Day 2 they go to the hotel, Day 3 the incident in the restaurant.)

    The only thing that doesn't make a lot of sense is that Jack is seen at the hospital on Days 1 and 2 (by Desmond and Sayid respectively), when we know that he spent most of Day 1 (or at least the evening) with his mom, and then his son.

  42. Jin and Sun weren't in customs for an entire day. Did you think they slept at the airport? They were there for maybe an hour at the most. They headed directly to their hotel and spent the night there. The next day the incident at the restaurant happened. So only two days passed.

  43. I said "if." ;) Otherwise, yes, they're a day behind.

  44. When Sideways Desmond meets Hurley in "Everybody Loves Hugo", he says "Were you on Oceanic flight 815? About a week ago... from Sydney." Since he says "about", I'll allow that only five or six days have passed. Still, it doesn't line up. (I don't believe anyone would call 2 or 3 days "about a week.") And this episode mentions it's been a week a couple of times. I just think they should have checked their own continuity, you know?

  45. it's probably been said before.. but MiB and Jacob seem to be equal in every aspect with the exception that one is dark and one is light.. good/evil.. who's to say that Jacob didn't have the same powers to take the form of dead people and also be a smoke monster? not only that but which one is good and which one is evil? nothing is as it seems and I'm not trusting my gut a bit..

  46. I totally agree with you that the continuity is off. I was just trying to give the benefit of a doubt since that seems like a rather major goof. :(

  47. I agree about the rift of time not lining up in the sideways universe. I also agree that some of the stories seem a bit rushed. That being said, it can fit with character arcs also demanding answers now as we reach the end.

    As far as Sun/Jin's story off-island, the days do not match and I cannot think of a way to sync it up either. I hope it is not a continuity error like the universes bleeding over 3 years apart. I find it hard to believe the writers would drop the ball at the end where they kept it together for the rest of the series.

  48. I fear for Lapidus in the next few episodes. It seems that the only reason he is around is as a reminder that someone is capable of flying a plane. If anything happens to that Ajira jet, you can time Lapidus' continued presence on the show on an egg timer.

  49. I rather like the Anakin-Sayid analogy. A exceptionally good soldier tempted to turn to the dark side because of love? Check. Becoming the right hand man for a force of evil? Check. Being saved from the dark side by remembering what he has LOST? Check. You know what that means, right? Sayid is Desmond's father! (You heard it here first.) ;)

  50. So did Sideways-Locke get fired, go see Rose, get a job as a substitute teacher and get hit by a car in the (let's say) three to seven days since LAX landed? Rose recruitment agency works QUICK. Or am I misremembering the order of things? Please correct me if so.

    Continuity quibbles aside, I thought this was a great episode.