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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

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Episode 24 - Live Together, Die Alone (2)

17 May 2017

Present: The Others ambush Jack and company and shoot them with darts. Sayid finds their camp completely deserted and clearly fabricated. Henry appears and gives Michael the boat with Walt in it and tells him how to leave the island. The Others send Hurley back to the survivors to warn them and take Jack, Kate and Sawyer back to their “home.” Desmond reads the printout from the Pearl and realises that he crashed flight 815. Locke refuses to believe him and smashes the computer. Eko uses dynamite to try and blow up the blast doors but it fails. Once the timer runs down, the electromagnetic build-up sucks in everything metal in the hatch forcing Locke to confess to Eko that “I was wrong.” Desmond turns the fail safe key and the sky goes bright across the island. Charlie returns to camp deaf and disoriented to make up with Claire. Finally in a monitoring station, presumably at one of the Earth’s poles, a pair of Brazilians pick up the electromagnetic signal and call Penelope to tell her.

Flashback: Desmond helps Inman paint the blast door map by faking a lockdown. One day Desmond finds Inman drunk and he tells him about the “incident” and the fail safe key. On another day Inman heads out to explore the island and refuses to let Desmond go out. Desmond sees a rip in Inman’s suit and follows him. He follows Inman to his boat and angrily confronts him about the deception. His anger leads to Inman’s accidental death. When Desmond gets back to the hatch it is shaking and metal is flying. On the same day as Boone died (119), Desmond contemplates suicide. But he finds a note from Penny telling him she will wait for him always. In bitter frustration he cries and then hears Locke pounding on the hatch door above.

The Good: Desmond is a terrific find for Lost. Unlike Ana Lucia he grabs the audience’s sympathy with ease. Not just through his love story but by being the audience’s proxy in the hatch. We get to see Desmond arrive on the island as we viewers did; completely ignorant. He asks (at least some of) the questions which we want to know about and even answers some for us. But the thing he gives most to the show is a sense of hope. With Jack constantly angry and Locke completely losing his faith, Desmond’s genuine hope that he can get back to Penny somehow is a really pleasant surprise. Unlike Locke and Eko, Desmond isn’t looking for a spiritual reason to push the button, he examines the facts and realises that it must all be true.

The revelation that he crashed the survivors’ plane is a big one. It explains one of the big questions of Lost which many of us never asked, why did the plane crash on this island? The electromagnetism might also offer a somewhat decent explanation for why the survivors didn’t all die upon impact. Locke’s refusal to listen means we see the dramatic result of what happens when the button doesn’t get pushed. It would seem that being abused by Eko (to add to Jack, Charlie, Sawyer and Henry) is just too much for Locke. He had finally gained the respect of his peers on the island (something he couldn’t do when we first met him in 104) and losing that respect has made him angry. He is so bitterly convinced that the button is a hoax that he ignores evidence to the contrary. It seems he is too desperate not to be abused or deceived anymore. It’s actually been a bumpy and not altogether convincing ride for Locke’s character to get here. But essentially it is very interesting to see him, a season finale later having lost all the faith and enthusiasm which fuelled him to open the hatch (125).

The electromagnetic system failure is spectacular television and all credit to those responsible for the special effects. The big question which follows is what just happened and what are the consequences of the sky going white? The big twist at the end is that the major result has been to alert Penny to the possible location of the island. This is the first time we have seen the “real” world in “real time” and so is a big moment. It would seem to blow away a huge chunk of fan theories about what the island might be or indeed where or when it might be.

The Others remain a mystery, though we get full confirmation that their camp was a fraud. It would seem Henry is, to some extent, their leader which is an interesting twist. I suppose it would have done him no good to admit that at any stage of his captivity, so it isn’t inconsistent with what he claimed (that he was a nobody). Once more the Others morality is a fascinating subject. Michael brilliantly echoes the question he asked Tom (formerly Zeke) on the raft (125) when he says to Henry “Who are you people?” It’s such a clever echo because even though we know so much more than we did about the Others at the end of last season, the question remains as baffling as ever. Henry’s answer is beautifully ambiguous too, “We’re the good guys Michael.” And true to their word they let Michael and Walt go. So they honour their bargains for a start.

There is a lot of other good stuff here, but to be brief: We see Sayid praying for only the second time in the show (the first time was in 109). Eko throwing Charlie’s belt to the wall was a strong and effective action to swiftly shut Charlie up. Locke’s comments over his guilt about Boone are excellent. Boone’s death had a real impact and consequence for the show as we now know from Desmond’s flashback (see Best Moment). It’s good for the humanisation of Locke to see him feeling the guilt of what his faith cost him. It helps us understand his fanatical desire to prove the button is meaningless. In some way that will help him deal with the guilt of what he has done. He needs to know if Boone died for nothing or for something important. The capture of Jack, Kate and Sawyer using darts is very dramatic and well filmed. We get a big hint about why no one has come to rescue the survivors when Henry says Michael will never be able to get back to the island. He gives him specific coordinates to use to get off the island and it would seem the island can only be entered at a specific point.

This finale tells us many things about Lost. The hatch wasn’t really an important part of the overall arc story. It was a means to an end. It was the stage on which our characters would learn about the Dharma Initiative, the Others, the electromagnetic properties of the island and so on. The finale also tells us that Lost is going to feed us answers in its own sweet time. I have a huge amount of respect for this decision on many levels. If you read a book or watch a film the answers to questions are most often saved for the very end. So there is no reason why Lost should begin blurting out answers just because some fans are getting restless. My criticism of the show is when characters are put in a position where they ought to ask and answer questions and then don’t for no good reason. However I agree with the overall effect of this. This season finale ought to grip more viewers than it turns off. We now know even more about the Others, the hatch and the outside world and yet we have hundreds of new questions to ask (see The Unknown). As long as the producers think far ahead as they clearly did this season, then fans should not be disappointed once the answers come.

The Bad: Again it is the questions not asked. Desmond doesn’t ask what the blast map door is for or who started it or even why it is only visible under black light. He doesn’t ask Inman why they need to press the button, instead of the computer being automated.

Sayid runs into the Other’s camp. If they had been present wouldn’t they have killed him? It hardly seems the reconnaissance mission which he originally pitched to Jack. Then when Sayid’s signal appears miles away it isn’t clear what has happened. Jack attacks Michael as if he has deliberately led them to another location. But we saw Michael get told to bring them back to the Other’s camp (222). So it’s not clear whether Michael changed plans himself or was given a different location to bring them to. Either way it is a messy bit of writing.

The final scene with Charlie and Claire is completely bizarre and out of place. It’s as if a temporary madness overtook the producers. Charlie was still in the hatch when it…well we don’t even know what happened to it. The door which lay on top of it flew high into the sky and so presumably an explosion or implosion of some kind took place. And yet Charlie doesn’t seem to know what happened. Or care. He doesn’t seem to care where Locke and Eko are, nor does anyone else. Then when Claire questions him he clearly remembers the flying forks, making his apathy even more bizarre. Shouldn’t he be rushing back to see if his former friends are alive and ok? And, (sigh) once more, why on earth is he being so casual and disinterested at the amazing events which just took place. Again I ask you, if you were caught in a giant magnet and nearly killed by it, don’t you think you would mention it to your friends?! The entire scene defies belief. And why exactly Claire is all in love with Charlie again isn’t clear or convincing. Just inexplicably poor writing.

The Unknown: Why did Radzinski kill himself? Other than the obvious loneliness and pointlessness of his life. Did he start the blast door map? What was he trying to achieve with it? Why did he paint it so that it could only be seen under black light? Why didn’t Inman simulate that in order to paint it? If that was only possible when a food drop happened isn’t that a useless map? We learn that the “Incident” was a leak of some kind in the electromagnetism but what else happened? What are the injections for if Inman and Desmond could walk around the island with no ill effects? What happened when the sky went white? Has Penny really found the location of the island? Was the Pearl station a complete waste of time for its inhabitants? Did no one ever read their work or was there once something or someone where the tube is? Did Dharma build that dock? Is Henry the leader of the Others?

Best Moment: With Inman dead and no hope in sight, Desmond contemplates suicide. He opens Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. It’s the last book he ever intends to read. He hasn’t opened it since he went to prison and when he does a note falls out. It’s from Penny. It says she will wait for him always. It’s very moving to hear and see. It’s the perfect thing to make sure Desmond won’t give up and will keep pushing the button. He cries and in anger and frustration at his lot he slams books and records to the floor crying “It’s all gone!” And then he is given more reason to hope. He hears Locke similarly frustrated and banging on the hatch door. We now see what made the light come on for Locke in Deus Ex Machina. It’s a wonderful scene combining characterisation for Desmond with the arc plot of the show. And as Desmond says to Locke back in the present “You saved my life brother, so that I could save yours.” Great stuff.

The Bottom Line: Despite the completely bizarre Charlie scene, this is great television. It’s been difficult for Lost this season to continue the exceptional success of season one. But at least in this finale they demonstrate the shows amazing strengths. The forward planning which leads to so many questions answered satisfactorily, so many new questions to unravel and the wonderful ensemble cast who perform all this. The show has remained very successful at presenting character’s first flashbacks. Desmond’s is as good as any we’ve seen, effortlessly making him likeable and interesting while throwing a light on the hatch and its mysteries.

The episode is also well paced and exciting, dramatic and moving in places too. Next season is set up well with the fallout from the hatch and Jack, Kate and Sawyer heading over to hopefully help us learn more about the Others. Despite the disappointments this season; dull or pointless flashbacks, character’s behaving inconsistently, dramatic finishes to episodes which went nowhere (see 211, 213 and 214), characters inexplicably and irritatingly not sharing information and experiences with one another, there have been many shining moments. Eko and Desmond are fine new additions, Jack and Locke remain fascinating characters, Sayid was excellent and consistent throughout and Michael’s acting was very good under difficult circumstances. The show maintained a tight grip on its mysteries, allowing us to see the Others, the smoke monster and other Dharma hatches without giving too much away. And the producers showed good flexibility in allowing different characters to have flashbacks (like Rose and Bernard and Desmond) and in different styles (such as Claire’s in 215). This flexibility also produced what I consider the best Lost episode of them all, in The Other 48 Days (207). That episode was built by the five episodes preceding it into a masterpiece of bold and rule breaking television. Above all it stands out as the beacon proving Lost may not be quite as consistent as it was in season one but it is more than capable of reproducing that quality.

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  • I thought this episode was great especially on re-watch since a lot of the answers we received in this episode were satisfying and the questions raised set up he next few seasons perfectly.

    The only thing that I would say was bad was the Charlie/Claire scene, which was awful since it was essentially the end of Charlie's incredibly poor arc this season. It was horribly unsatisfying and unearned which was majorly disappointing.

    Unfortunately we don't get anything more about the blast door map. I'm just assuming Radzinski started it since he had nothing better to do with his life. At least it's a minor mystery.

    I don't have many re-watch thoughts for this. This was a great episode that holds up on multiple watches as well.

    Viewer score: 83 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 17/05/2017 2:41pm (2 months ago)

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