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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 17 - The Incident (2)

28 March 2012

Present: In 2007 The Others arrive at the foot of the statue where Jacob lives. Locke brings Ben with him but Richard says only the leader can see Jacob. Locke shouts him down and enters with Ben. Outside Ilana arrives and asks Richard the question which he answers. She shows him Locke’s corpse which she found on the plane. Inside Jacob tells Ben that he has a choice. Ben complains that Jacob never wanted to see him and stabs him. Jacob says “they’re coming” and “Locke” kicks him into the fire.

In 1977 Sawyer asks Jack what he screwed up so badly that he wants to start all over again. Jack says he lost Kate and now this his destiny. Sawyer disagrees and they fight. Juliet stops them and tells Sawyer that Jack is right. She knows Sawyer loves Kate and says if they never meet then she will never have to lose him. Jack asks Kate about Aaron and she says she came to find Claire. He convinces her to let him go ahead saying that Claire and Aaron will be together if he resets everything. Phil leads a team to the Swann to help protect it. So Kate, Juliet, Miles and Sawyer arrive to help Jack. They take control of the drill but Pierre Chang says something is pulling it down toward the pocket of energy. Jack drops the bomb down the hole but nothing happens. Metal objects start flying down the hole, killing Phil. A chain wraps itself around Juliet and she is dragged down. At the bottom she sees the bomb and smashes it with a rock.

Flashback: Christian teaches Jack the counting to five method which helps him repair the mistake he made in surgery. Afterwards Jack and Christian argue. Jacob then hands Jack the candy bar which hadn’t dropped from a vending machine. He says the machine just needed a little push. Juliet’s parents get divorced when she is young, much to her dismay. Hurley is released from jail and shares a cab ride with Jacob. Jacob suggests that Hurley isn’t cursed but blessed. He asks him to come back to the island and leaves him the guitar case.

The Good: This episode has one great twist, one tragic “death” and one final cliff hanger. All three were very strong.

Sawyer and Jack head out into the jungle to talk things out. It’s almost like they are having the same conversation as Jacob and the Dark man. Sawyer is in the corner of free will “a man does what he does because he wants something for himself.” Jack talks about losing Kate but instead of trying to win her back he simply says “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” They beat each other up as Sawyer’s anger over what he has lost boils over. Again the fight felt consequential, there was that edge to it that something important might be about to happen.

Juliet breaks things up and tells Sawyer that she has changed her mind, she now thinks Jack should reset things. She can tell from Sawyer’s behaviour around Kate that he will never truly be hers. She says that if they never meet she will be spared the pain of losing him. Just before this scene we learn that Juliet’s parents got divorced when she was young. It was a tiny glimpse into her psychology but it added that necessary plausibility to this moment. A part of her is scared of losing love and so she is almost making sure she loses it to avoid living in dread of the day it will happen. It actually fits with her behaviour on the island where we saw her doubt Jack’s feelings for her (410) and insist to Kate that he really loved her. Although her changes of mind gave off a slightly contrived air, I felt her behaviour was consistent enough that her subsequent “death” was all the more tragic.

In the meantime Jack convinced Kate that he was doing the right thing. Very fittingly the first thing Jack does is to drag another secret from her by asking why she wouldn’t tell him about Aaron. He makes the case that Claire will be back with Aaron if he resets time. Interestingly Jack’s flashback shows the day when Christian taught him the method for overcoming fear which would help him so much in the future. That scene reinforced that Christian was a good guy who did believe in Jack. It was Jack who doubted himself and Jacob implies that he needed a little push to become who he has. Now in the present Jack says he has never felt as sure of anything as he is of this.

Jack’s conviction is not the only reason I was able to buy into the swift conversion of Sawyer, Kate and Juliet. The submarine has gone, the Dharma Initiative is hunting them all down, it’s 1977 and they have little to stay for now. The incident is now only minutes away and amidst this chaos it was easy to see why Jack’s plan would suddenly seem like a preferable solution to standing around and waiting for the you know what to hit the fan. Miles once more played the voice of reason, pointing out that perhaps Jack was about to cause what he was trying to prevent which was an important point to make after all they have learnt.

A quick gun fight later and Jack was standing over the hole about to drop the bomb. The direction did a tremendous job of building up the tension of this moment. “See you in Los Angeles” Jack told Sawyer building the sense of what the characters were thinking. Their non-verbal goodbyes to one another built it further. Those smiles of fear and hope, the way they closed their eyes waiting for the explosion. It all built the tension to a great climax.

The bomb not going off was a nice twist and the familiar (224) electromagnetic pull began once more. We finally learnt how Pierre Chang’s arm was crushed, another mystery solved. Juliet’s “death” felt deeply sad and tragic. The acting was immense, particularly from Sawyer. His tears after she fell, sacrificing herself to save him, were moving. Her attack on the bomb of course left us with quite the cliff-hanger as the screen went white.

Over to the other story and more flashbacks reinforced Jacob’s benevolent seeming approach as he offered Hurley a clear choice. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to” he says and argues that talking to dead people is a blessing, not a curse. In the final showdown with Ben, once more Jacob points out that he has a choice. If Ben chooses to kill him, it is on him.

Outside Ilana finally gets the answer she was looking for. What lies in the shadow of the statue? “He who will save us all” says Richard. So she shows him Locke’s corpse and the biggest twist in the show’s history falls smack bang into place.

“You found your loophole” Jacob says. So “Locke” is actually the Dark man. He became Locke when his corpse arrived back on the island. Only the leader of the Others could request a meeting with Jacob and there can only be one leader on the island at a time according to Richard. By assuming Locke’s form, Richard willingly took the Dark man to where Jacob lived. But in order to get in, “Locke” took Ben with him because Ben is still the leader of the Others now that Locke is dead. Now the Dark man has a man who can not only gain access to see Jacob but is willing to kill him.

Suddenly the story of Lost once more changes and morphs before our eyes. In episode five of season one we discovered that Christian’s body was missing from his coffin. Now we know why Christian appeared in Jacob’s cabin (411). We know why he told Locke that he would have to die (505, 515). The horror of the implications begin to ripple further back. How much of Locke and Ben’s lives were manipulated to create the loophole? Suddenly you realise that Locke died a miserable failure all to serve the cause of darkness. An unexpected and tragic revelation.

But don’t ignore choice and of course there is a delicious irony in the master manipulator Ben being on the end of the longest con of all. But it is Ben’s bad choices which have led him here. His seething resentment over his miserable childhood are all too evident as he whines at Jacob. Seeking his approval as if he is the father figure that he spent years trying to please. “What was wrong with me?” Ben asks, exposing his deepest insecurities. “What about you?” Jacob asks coldly. Reading between the lines it seems clear what is going on. For all his loyal service in protecting the island Ben is a liar and a murderer. Being the leader was more important to him than being good. The choices he made are the reason Jacob isn’t proud of him. Where as for the Dark man, Ben is his best argument against Jacob. Here is the ultimate in flawed, destructive, corrupt humans. “They’re coming” Jacob warns, another thing to build tension for the final season.

Another aspect of Ilana’s group working for Jacob is that they refer to themselves as the good guys. It’s a term which the Others have been using for a long time. Now we begin to understand why. They all serve Jacob, the force of good apparently. So no matter what methods they have to use, they can be content in knowing they are doing good. This is an important step toward establishing that elusive moral code which guides the Others to believing kidnapping and terrorising can be justified.

The Bad: The lack of discussion about Jack’s plan was typical. They knew there were a bunch of people at the Swan, so how exactly was Jack supposed to get the bomb in there on his own?

The general implication that being with the person you love should be the prime motivator of your actions is a little heavy handed. As that seems to be the moral of every romantic comedy Hollywood churns out it is easy to roll your eyes at it. When Jack and Juliet seem to be choosing nuclear war over dealing with their emotions I can easily see why some viewers will be turned off. But I made the case in “The Good” why that didn’t bother me too much. There have been plenty of aspects to these characters lives that have brought them to this place, even if love is their primary motive.

The Unknown: Was the fail safe which Desmond turned (224) a nuclear bomb?

There’s not enough space here to discuss the implications of the Dark man’s plan. But...was Locke hand picked to fulfil this destiny all along? Ditto Ben? Ben came to the attention of the Others because he spoke to his dead mother (320). Was that a lie to fool Richard into making Ben the leader? Is the Dark man the smoke monster or intimately connected to it? If he was Christian, was he also Yemi (221)?

Why did Jacob visit the survivors during various times in their lives? Did he let Ben kill him? Or is one of the rules that he would offer no resistance to the leader? Does Jacob have a plan to overcome this? While the Dark man schemed with Ben and Locke was Jacob putting people in place to get around his own death?

Who is coming? What happened when the screen went white?

Best Moment: Sawyer crying over Juliet or Locke’s body falling out of the box. Take your pick.

The Bottom Line: I guess I should have learnt by now not to doubt Lost. Like no other show the patience in the storytelling is phenomenal. The skill with which the big twist was put into place was very impressive. Once more this twist redefines how we see the entire narrative of the show. Surely no other show has reinvented the perception of its story the way Lost has done time and again?

I am now blissfully unaware of what is about to happen in season six. But I have faith that the show is going somewhere which has been thought through and connects to the events we have patiently sat through for five seasons. The producers answer so many questions here; they tie together so many strands in a convincing fashion. They made me care about our survivors and even sympathise with a mass murderer. Above it all was the message of hope, that choices do matter. That all the television we have sat through has been a journey and not a predestined plan. I couldn’t have asked for more.

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