Before we start, we just want to say that every week when we finish writing this post, the last thing we do before hitting "Publish" is type in the title and each time, we note with a pang the number after "E" ticking up, reminding us that we're that much closer to the end. We has a sad.
And with that, let's start off with some bitching!
We hate to say it, because we've been leading the cheers all season, but we've finally reached the point where we're getting a little frustrated with the writing this season. There were three incidents this episode that pushed us to this point: Ilana's death, Desmond's action in the other timeline, and Ghost Michael's explanation for the whispers. Let's break it down in reverse order.
According to Ghost Michael, the whispers are essentially...ghosts. Really, writers? This is what happens when you get explanations on years-old mysteries. Inevitably you're going to be disappointed. We actually liked the explanation for the numbers but we're having a hard time swallowing this one. Of course we're assuming that ghostly Michael was: a) really Michael, and B)telling the truth.
We said a couple weeks back that we were fairly sure the final answers weren't going to come down to "It was ALL magic!" but with this somewhat mundane (if you can call ghosts "mundane," which, on this show, you can) explanation we're getting a little worried. Additionally, we have to call foul on that. Sure, "island ghosts" was always one of the theories for the whispers, but it never seemed to be a leading theory because it was always implied that the whispers were tied to the Others. Incident after incident of whispers over the years occurred right before an Other appeared. In fact, when Ben stole baby Alex out of Rousseau's tent all those years ago, he explicitly warned her to not come looking for her and to run if she ever heard whispers in the jungle, which, more than any other instance, heavily implied that the whispers were the Others.
Alt-Desmond's actions this episode are a clear indication that his role in the other timeline is to get the band back together. The other timeline finally has some relevance and importance to the story and gee, it only took them 11 hours to get there. The early episodes this season are more and more seeming like a total waste of time. Remember the temple? Remember how we spent like 6 episodes there? What was THAT all about? Which leads us to our next point.
Yes, the Ilana-getting-Arzted scene was a true "Holy shit!" moment (even if we did kind of see it coming, what with her slinging that bag around like it had nothing more than sandwiches in it), but it left us with another dead character to throw on the pile of dead characters who barely seemed to have a purpose. Remember Dogen and his interpreter? Remember Cesar, the guy on the Ajira plane who acted so mysteriously last season? What's the point of cluttering up the final act of the story with all of these in-and-out characters? Sure, some of them had a purpose in moving the story along, but so much attention and time was paid to them. You would have thought they'd have bigger roles to play considering how they were built up. Sure, someone needed to explain the whole candidate thing to the candidates. Doesn't mean we had to see scenes over a dozen episodes explaining Ilana to us. Someone had to explain what was happening to Sayid, but all those Dogen/Temple episodes sure seem like a waste of time to us now.
Look, we haven't lost faith yet. We still think it's all going to come together in the end. We just think the writers did a little too much bait and switch to get there, and it's starting to feel like a substantial portion of the last 16 episodes or so were a waste of time.
Which isn't to say we didn't enjoy this episode or thought it was a waste of time. In fact, the story moved forward considerably this episode, which is what prompted our "What was all that other stuff FOR?" reaction in the first place. When Libby said to Hurley, "You don't remember me?" we got a little tingle. "Remember" implies what we've been saying for a while now: these aren't "alternate" versions of the characters we know in an "alternate" timeline. These are the exact same characters with the exact same histories, stuck in a timeline that's been altered. An "alternate" Hurley couldn't "remember" Libby because he never met her. The only way the rich, well-loved philanthropist Hurley now running around L.A can remember Libby is if all of the stuff on the island actually happened to him. He didn't see glimpses of another timeline when he kissed Libby; HE GOT HIS MEMORIES BACK. That is huge. That is now the point to the story going forward: Desmond has to get the old gang back together and to do that, he's got to jar their memories. What they have to do once they all get together (we're thinking at a certain L.A. hospital), remains to be seen but there was a clue (we think) in that final shocking scene.
Why would L.A. Desmond run down L.A. Locke in cold blood? Well, we proposed a theory once before and this action supports it: that's not Locke in the L.A. timeline. That's Smokey, post-island escape. The ultimate goal of the L.A. story is to get Smokey corked up back on the island or to destroy him. That's the only thing that makes sense to us.
Okay, enough bitching and theorizing. Bullets:
*It's true. Everybody loves Hugo and this episode was a nice reminder of why we all do. First we had the scene of him replacing a flower on Libby's grave, which reminded us of what a sensitive character he is and also served to kind of ground him in the current status quo. What we mean by that is, when you have a sensitive character who's suffered loss and trauma and wound up in an institution over it and you place that character back in the setting that caused his breakdown, if you don't take the time to show at least a little of the emotional effect of that, you're not establishing a believable emotional reaction for him. This was nicely done. Of course Hurley would put a fresh flower on Libby's grave every day. Of course he would wonder why she's never come to visit him like so many other dead characters have. Come to think of it, now we're wondering the same thing.
* Everybody loves Hugo's mom too. That can't be just us, right?
* Everybody loves Hugo, but we sure as hell can't figure out what the hell he's up to on the island. First he agrees with Richard about blowing up the plane, then he blows up the Black Rock, then he lies about seeing Jacob and tells everyone they have to talk to Smokey. Hunh? People are always blowing up shit on this island just to get their way. Big bunch of babies. And what was in that little drawstring bag he found that seemed to have such an effect on him? We're completely stumped on that one. Still, it's nice to see him believably step into a leadership role. "People are listening to you now, Hurley." We liked his little showdown with Richard and we really liked his scenes with Jack this episode. We forgot how enjoyable a character Jack can be when he's not being a total douchebag. We don't believe for one damn second that his role is to just "let go" and take orders, though. After all, when the group arrived at Smokey's camp, what was the first thing Smokey said? "Hello, Jack." That had to have been a weird moment for Jack, considering the last time he laid eyes on Locke's face, he was putting a pair of his father's shoes on his corpse.
*Speaking of which, how heartbreaking was the look of disappointment on Sun's face after scanning the camp and realizing Jin wasn't there? We can't wait for Jack to get a moment to talk to Claire too. Has anyone informed Miss Crazywig that she has a brother?
* Love really does conquer all in the Lost-verse, apparently. Another Lostie remembers the plane crash through The Power of Love. It's a little cheesy. It works with characters like Penny and Desmond and even Charlie and Claire, because there was something of an epic and tragic tone to their stories. Hurley and Libby's brief relationship was poignant and ended sadly but we're having a hard time placing it alongside the other great love stories on the show. Still, they do make a cute couple (even if they did have to give Libby the stereotypical "mental institution hair")and we enjoy seeing them together. If this really is just an altered timeline, one that's "wrong" somehow and needs to be fixed, the recently resurrected characters might have to die all over again and that's going to be heart-wrenching.
*"What is the point in being afraid?" Well Desmond, it might help you see it coming before someone chucks you down a well. We love Desmond but he sure does allow other people to knock him around a lot. And he really doesn't know Smokey isn't Locke? He's been acting strangely after his latest dose of electromagnetism. Can't figure that one out. On the one hand, he's acting like he knows something; on the other hand, he didn't see that trip down the well coming. If L.A. Desmond does remember everything - and by the way, his lightning-quick answer of "Charlie," when L.A. Ben asked him the name of his son implies that he really does remember it all AND has a compelling reason to restore things to the way they were - and if L.A. Locke is really Smokey, then his little hit-and-run had a revenge factor to it. You throw me down a well, I run you over with my car. That's the moral code on Lost.
*The mysterious dirty boy in the jungle makes another appearance, taunting Smokey and, pointedly, being visible to Desmond. So far, everyone but Richard can see this boy, which to us implies he's a form of Jacob. The last time he appeared to Smokey it was to remind him that he couldn't kill Sawyer. Was he appearing now to tell him he couldn't kill Desmond either? People on this show have a tendency to survive falls down deep shafts, so we doubt he's in much hurt. Smokey couldn't kill him so he put him someplace out of Widmore's reach. He doesn't seem to realize that exposing Desmond to more electromagnetism (assuming that's the same well with the donkey wheel at the bottom of it) might not be such a good idea for him.
* Yet another split in a show with literally dozens of splits: Miles, Ben and Richard break off from the group to go...somewhere. Miles offered a good reason to go with Richard (he'd seen Smokey in action at the temple massacre and knew how dangerous he was) but Ben didn't say a word and it's always a mistake to not get Ben's reasons and motives out in the open right up front. We still hold out hope that Ben has one final shining Ben moment of pure devious genius. We miss brilliant son of a bitch Ben. We hate man-purse Ben.
[Photo Credit: abc.go.com/shows/lost]
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Labels: Lost, Lost Season 6