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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 16 - The Incident (1)

28 March 2012

Present: In 2007 Locke leads the Others to his former camp on the beach. He tells Ben why he should kill Jacob and deflects Richard’s questions. Ilana and company show Frank what is in their box and then find Jacob’s Cabin. She says someone else has been living there so they burn it down.

In 1977 Juliet, Kate and Sawyer leave the sub and head back to the island. They meet Rose, Bernard and Vincent. Rose says they are retired and don’t want to be involved. In the tunnels Sayid follows Faraday’s instructions to extract plutonium from Jughead. Richard knocks Eloise out to protect her and sends Jack and Sayid into a Dharma house. They walk through the barracks and Roger shoots Sayid. Hurley, Miles and Jin drive up and rescue them. They drive to the Swann but are stopped by Sawyer, Kate and Juliet.

Flashback: Jacob and another man sit on the beach and look at what appears to be the Black Rock. The man says that Jacob brought them to the island to prove him wrong. The man says people always come, fight, destroy and die. The man says he wants to kill Jacob and one day will find a loop hole to do so.

Jacob visits young Kate as she gets caught shop lifting. He encourages her not to do it again. He visits young Sawyer and gives him a pen as he writes his letter to the real Sawyer. Jacob pulls Sayid aside as Nadia is killed by a speeding car. Jacob finds Ilana suffering from some kind of terrible injury and asks her to help him. Jacob tells Locke everything will be alright after he falls out of the window and breaks his back. Jacob tells Jin and Sun at their wedding to not take their love for granted.

The Good: Everyone has their own inner beliefs about where a show is going. Whether you consciously think about them or not, they are there. That is why you can be disappointed or pleasantly surprised by the direction of a story. As a TV Critic my inner beliefs are perhaps closer to the surface than most. For me the key to Lost being a good show is that it presented some kind of overall explanation for the island’s existence and its involvement in the lives of these characters. The myriad twists and turns of fate, the random meetings between the characters prior to the island and now the time travel. Were all these events just random? It would be pretty unsatisfying if they were, especially in a show which has bandied the words fate and destiny around so much.

The opening scene was a wonderful unexpected surprise to my inner beliefs. Perhaps many viewers shrugged and thought “oh so that’s Jacob.” But for me it had a profound effect on the way I looked at the rest of the episode. The two men have a conversation, essentially about bringing people to the island and interfering in their lives. This scene said to me – this show does have an overall explanation for all we have seen. Suddenly every scene felt more important and more consequential to me because the producers told me in the opening scene that they had a plan all along.

The scene showed two men, one dressed in white, one dressed in black. Immediately throwing you back to Locke’s explanation of Backgammon to Walt (102). Could these two men be representations of good and evil or some lesser version of those forces? It looks like Jacob has lured the Black Rock to the island. “You’re trying to prove me wrong” says the Dark man. He thinks that all humans do is destroy and corrupt. But Jacob sees progress in their behaviour. The dark man wants to kill Jacob but can’t because of some set of rules. He says he needs to find a loop hole but Jacob doesn’t seem worried as they sit beneath the statue. Again my mind jumped to the rules which kept Ben and Charles from killing one another (409). Their conversation hinted at the idea that competing forces had been whispering in the ears of our survivors for the last five seasons. Suddenly it felt like we had taken a giant step toward solving the mysteries of Lost. I was hooked completely. It takes tremendous skill and patience in storytelling to make the finale seem twice as gripping for me, just through one scene.

As the flashbacks unfolded and we saw Jacob visit our survivors, it became clearer why he was the force for good. What he seemed to offer each of the characters was a choice. Of course that picture becomes clearer once you have seen all the flashbacks. But here he helps Kate avoid an early run in with the law and suggests that she not steal again. He offers Sawyer a pen to help him write his letter. He asks Ilana if she will help him. He gives Jin and Sun advice which perhaps helped inform their choice not to leave one another. He seems to offer Sayid and Locke the chance to keep living (see The Unknown). Season five’s time travel stories have strongly revolved around the idea that whatever happened happened. We know Locke came to the realisation that he was chosen to be the Others leader, he didn’t chose it. And now we have Jack saying that he was destined to be here. The reassuring message counter to those themes is that everyone has a choice, that free will does exist. It’s not clear why Jacob chooses the moments he does to visit our survivors but his tone is increasingly one of offering them the chance to make some “progress.” This theme again added to my sense that what I was watching was important and fitted into the overall mythology.

Elsewhere the thirty years apart stories build up to their big twists in part two. The Dharma power struggles are a little easier to take here because Radzinski is given a line to express his motivations. He has been working on the Swann station for six years and doesn’t want all that work to stop now. He says he came to the island to change the world and so we are in a much better position to believe he would continue his drilling despite the warnings.

Meanwhile all the pieces are in place for the big twist in part two that Locke isn’t really Locke. He convinces Ben to kill Jacob, playing on all that he has been through. We learn that Ben never saw Jacob and was faking it the whole time (320) which is a big reveal. Locke also wants to kill the Ajeera people. We later learn that they work for Jacob which again makes sense of “Locke’s” behaviour. Ilana claims that someone else has been living in Jacob’s Cabin, so they burn it down. Again looking back it was another big clue about who Christian Shepherd was and how the Dark man was able to manipulate events. Richard says he has never seen anyone brought back to life before, another clue. In 1977 Richard confesses to Jack that Locke never seemed that special to him, again the clues were all in place to make sense of the twist. Richard protecting Eloise because she was the leader was yet another hint of what was to come.

We learn that Jacob made Richard ageless, another big reveal. Sun finds Charlie’s ring in Aaron’s crib, a nice reminder of the past. Speaking of which we catch up with Vincent, Rose and Bernard. They avoided Jin’s search and are happily retired in a hut near the beach. Although it was a little on the nose they seem to express the message of contentment which sounds closest to what the characters are all searching for. They don’t care if they die in a nuclear blast; they are content being together and comfortably surviving. “We travelled back thirty years in time and you’re still trying to find ways to shoot each other?” Rose asks. They seem like the exception to the Dark man’s claim that all humans will destroy and corrupt.

Finally it seemed appropriate and plausible that Roger Lynas recognised and shot Sayid. Sayid seemed happy to die under these circumstances. After all he has suffered through and lost, he is ready to be put out of his misery. Miles was the only one seriously questioning the insanity of Jack’s plan but at least someone was.

The Bad: Even the most detailed instructions from Faraday can’t prevent the ease with which Sayid removes the plutonium from seeming contrived. Fortunately Sayid has been the tech guy plot device for a long time (102, 405) so I wasn’t too bothered. However Sayid claimed that Faraday was very specific about the timeline of when to explode the bomb. Which is true but how would Sayid know that? He wasn’t around. Yes he may have just read it in the journal but he said it in such a way that it did not sound like that.

Juliet’s decision to go back and save people seemed like quite a u-turn. After part two it looked like maybe she was just saying what she had to to get back to the island but it wasn’t clear. Her sudden change of heart in part two seemed odder because of her equally sudden shift here.

Jack was perhaps a little too trigger happy in the Dharma camp. Yes he is convinced that this is his destiny but we haven’t seen him gun people down before and he just seemed unusually confident about it.

The Unknown: What is Jacob weaving and why? What is Frank a candidate for? Ben is following Locke because the smoke monster told him to. Should we assume that Smokey is an agent of the Dark man? Could Vincent be Jacob’s agent? Once more he is on hand to play a key role in getting people where they need to go and apparently he has been living with the best people on the island. Did Jacob resurrect Locke when he hit the ground or was he just waking him up? Did he save Sayid from being killed along with Nadia?

Best Moment: That opening scene.

The Bottom Line: That opening scene really set me on edge, the rest of the episode, as good as it was, was made twice as good because of what it implied. The tension and the build-up here were excellent with Jacob’s flashback appearances tying it all together.

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