LOST: “The Candidate”

In case you haven’t heard, we’re near the end. Just a few more hours of Lost next. My observations from tonight’s episode, and some other things, after the jump.

Links and miscellanea

  • Pages from the series finale script have leaked on the internet. Google it if you’re interested because I’m not going to link it here. And please do not refer to any leaked information or spoilers beyond the most recent episode in the comments to this post.
  • Here’s a Lost/BSG parody, if you’re into that sort of thing:
  • The Hollywood Reporter has a video interview with Damon Lindelof about the Lost finale.
  • Here’s a link to Wired’s excellent feature on Lost, but be warned that the photo at the top of the story may contain potential spoilers.
  • ABC plans to re-air the pilot episode before the finale.
  • Lost Slapdown episode 13:
  • News reports say that Lost brought almost a quarter of a billion dollars to Hawaii during its run.
  • Here’s a feature article about Terry O’Quinn from Baltimore Magazine.

Observations and speculations

  • The episode opens with a convalescing Locke being attended to by Dr. Jack. Jack explains that Locke’s “dural sac” ruptured, but he got everything back where it belonged. This is a reference back to a speech that Jack gave to Kate in the very first episode:

    Well, fear’s sort of an odd thing. When I was in residency, my first solo procedure was a spinal surgery on a 16 year old kid, a girl. And at the end, after 13 hours, I was closing her up and I, I accidentally ripped her dural sac. Shredded the base of the spine where all the nerves come together, membrane as thin as tissue. And so it ripped open. And the nerves just spilled out of her like angel hair pasta, spinal fluid flowing out of her and I … And the terror was just so … crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it. So I started to count: One, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.

  • When Jack tells Locke he thinks he’s “a candidate,” that was a nice touch.
  • Next we see Jack waking up on an outrigger on the beach on Hydra island. Thanks to DWTS, we didn’t get a “previously on Lost” intro this week, so it took me a while to remember where we left off with Jack. Luckily, Sayid’s exposition is there to save the day. Jack was knocked unconscious by Widmore’s mortar, and Sayid rowed the boat to Hydra with Jack on board.
  • Back at the actual Hydra station, Sawyer overpowers “Doughboy” (Seamus), the schlubbiest member of Team Widmore. Widmore has to point a Lugar at Kate to get Sawyer to comply and go back in the bear cage. Widmore claims he has a list, and Sawyer, Hurley and “the Kwons” are on it, but Kate is not. We can assume, then, that someone leaked the candidate list to him. We don’t know who exactly and Widmore’s allegiance–other than to himself–is indeterminate. He does seem to care about the candidates, though.
  • Back in LA-X, we get a nice scene with Jack and Bernard. (An aside: Is it just me, or is it pretty strange that all the passengers remember their flight number? I don’t think I have ever remembered a flight number from a plane I’ve flown in longer than it took to collect my baggage.) Bernard is more than just a dentist, he’s also an oral surgeon. He’s also pretty perceptive when it comes to strange confluences of coincidence.
  • Bernard tells Jack “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” This is yet another one of the oft-repeated phrases from Lost (although it doesn’t appear on Lostpedia’s list). Kate said it to Jack earlier this season on the island. Rose said it to John in LA-X when she was trying to set him up with employment.
  • Jack tells Not-Locke, “They’re not my people.” It’s a tough phrase to parse. I think he means that he belongs to the island, and they don’t.
  • Not-Locke tells Jack, “I could kill you, Jack. Right here, right now. And I could kill every single one of your friends.” He sells it, but we know he’s lying. Unfortunately, Jack does not.
  • I was very grateful that Kate and Sawyer made not mention of bear cage sex. Some things are better left unsaid.
  • Seamus appears to be taken out by Smokie, who slams him against the bear cage. After freeing his friends, Jack nods toward the Smoke Monster and says, “I’m with him.” Nice line.
  • In LA-X, Jack Shepard visits Sun Palms Nursing Home, where Anthony Cooper lives as a resident, unable to walk or talk. Even though Det. James Ford is still on a personal vendetta to find and kill Cooper, it looks like that quest is pretty pointless now.
  • Not-Locke makes quick work of a couple of Widmore’s men who are “making a show” of guarding the Ajira plane. Planning ahead, he takes the digital watch off of one of the men he killed. Not-Locke has MacGuyver-like skills with bomb-making.
  • Unconscious, Locke mumbles island-specific phrases like “push the button,” and “I wish you had believed me.” Then Claire shows up. It’s almost a class reunion at St. Sebastian’s at this point. Jack gets an Apollo bar out of the hospital vending machine before talking to Claire. You might recall that Jack did the same thing right before encountering Jacob.
  • Is it significant that in LA-X, Oceanic Airlines has still not turned up the body of Christian Shepard?
  • Claire has a music box that Christian wanted her to have. It plays “Catch a Falling Star,” which is pretty much Claire’s theme song, but she doesn’t seem to recognize it or realize the significance of it. (Christian sang this song to her when she was a baby.) Jack and Claire have a mirror-looking moment when they are looking into the music box.
  • Jack offers to let Claire stay with him. Which Jack thinks isn’t that creepy because they are family. Half brother and half sister. But then, so were Boone and Shannon. So, yeah.
  • As soon as Not-Locke handed Jack the backpack, I suspected that he switched them, and that Jack was carrying the C4.
  • Survivalist Claire is pretty good with a rifle.
  • Sawyer, the former conman, is never trustful, always looking for a new angle, yet he gets played by Not-Locke. And Not-Locke is truly the anti-Locke. Locke himself was always getting victimized by people who were able to trick him.
  • It’s interesting to not that both Not-Locke and Locke used C4 to blow up submarines. (Locke got his from the Flame Station.)
  • I’m not sure why pulling both red wires would cause the digital watch to suddenly count down more quickly, but it did make for a nice dramatic moment. I was kind of hoping they’d figure out a way to shoot the bomb out of the torpedo shaft.
  • Just before Sayid’s act of redeeming self-sacrifice, Sayid reveals that Desmond is not dead, but is still at the bottom of that well.
  • The Kwon’s death scene was well done. In a way, it was comforting and touching to see them go out together. It would have been sad to see one have to go on without the other. It’s a shame that Ji Yeon had to be orphaned like that, though.
  • This episode had a higher death count than any in recent memory.
  • Back at LA-X St. Sebastian, as Locke is leaving the hospital, Jin walks buy with a bunch of white roses for Sun. Dr. Jack stops him and they talk. We then learn that Locke was not paralyzed by being pushed out of a building by Anthony Cooper, but was in a small plane crash, where he was the pilot. He didn’t want the surgery because of the survivor’s guilt he has from turning his father into a vegetable. But Jack counters, “whatever happened, happened,” a phrase that has popped up in nearly every episode this season, in addition to being an episode title last season.
  • At the end of Jack’s conversation to Locke, he says, “I wishe you believed me” echoing the phrase that Locke muttered while unconscious. Locke seems to almost, but doesn’t quite, flash on his memory of the island.
  • Kate, Hurley and Jack (plus a barely alive Sawyer) wash up on the beach and mourn their fallen friends. Exactly which beach they are on is not clear. It’s night now. It seems like mid-afternoon when the sub left the dock. Time sure seems to pass quickly on the island at times.
  • Cut to the same night scene, with Claire and Not-Locke on the dock. Not-Locke’s Smokie sense is tingling. He knows somehow that the sub sunk and that not everyone died. Claire is actually kind of freaked out in a lucid way about this. The episode ends with Not-Locke going off “to finish what [he] started”–i.e., kill off the candidates for good.

This was a good episode. It moved quickly and the LA-X story line seems to be really coming together and about to pay off. We’ve got a more defined sense of what Smokie’s up to.

What did everyone think? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Did the deaths bother you? Anyone notice details I missed, or confirm any theories? Please post your thoughts in the comments below, but please avoid spoilers related to episodes that have not yet aired.


43 thoughts on “LOST: “The Candidate”

  1. I loved it.

    So let me see if I understand the “loophole.” MIB has someone else kill Jacob, thus freeing the cover off the genie bottle, because he himself cannot kill Jacob. MIB has to then kill all the “candidates” who would replace Jacob in order for the genie bottle to essentially disappear, allowing MIB off the island and into the real world for good. Do I have that about right?

    And I loved Sayid’s moment.

  2. Not doing a great job of breaking stereotypes, having the Iraqi be the suicide bomber…

    I’m actually getting pretty fed up with the show. It’s just so ridiculous at this point, I can never remember why anyone was anywhere, every scene tries to have some sort of gravitas but none of them do anymore. Everything has moved so fast over this last season they’ve completely lost me on the characters. I should have cared that we lost the Kwons and Sayid, but I really didn’t. I’m frustrated, and I really do wish I cared more, but I really don’t. They’ve worn me out.

  3. I don’t get why Smokie doesn’t just kill Claire. She’s not a candidate right? And he’s a cold blooded murderer so it makes sense that he would just take her out now that the illusion of trying to help the candidates is gone.

    It’s funny because in the previews it talks about how the time for questions is over but there’s what, two episodes left, and I have more questions than ever about this current series of events and many past events that have occurred on the island. I can’t see there being any way for them to satisfactorily answer those questions with the time they’ve got, and if they don’t I’m going to feel a bit ripped off. Like a commenter before me said, things are moving too fast. I’m enjoying the episodes,they’re wonderfully intense but it’s just too rushed.

  4. re remembering flight numbers – and further, the same flight number would be used for this week’s, or even today’s flight in the same timeslot. Numbers do not apply to only one flight, but it’s how they list plane crashes too, so I guess we go with it. However, what *really* bugs me is that Hurley the multi-millionaire entrepreneur who could certainly use a wider seat was in coach, as was frequent flyer right hand man Desmond. Both would certainly be in business class, especially as it was not full.

    Small point, but Boone and Shannon were not blood relatives. Their respective parents married, making them full step-siblings.

    re Smokey not killing Claire – I think this might be evidence that Smokey isn’t all evil. He actually seems to have some genuine affection for Claire, and I imagine it’s been a lonely life all these centuries.

    re Smokey wanting to leave – does he? He’s been saying that, but maybe it’s been to persuade the humans he’s with them and get them to go along with his plans. I have to wonder if in reality, he just wants everyone to leave his island and let him be.

    Population check – now left on the island:
    * Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Kate on the beach
    * Desmond in the well
    * Richard, Ben and Miles heading to Dharmaville
    * Cindy, the kids and assorted Others in the jungle
    * Rose, Bernard and Vincent possibly having made the jump

    * Flocke and Claire on Hydra
    * Widmore and whatever’s left of his team

    Other potential players
    * Eloise Hawking
    * Penny
    * Sun’s father (I doubt it, but I’d like to see him again!)

  5. I’m actually getting pretty fed up with the show.

    Well, fortunately for you, Rusty, you’re going to be put out of your misery very soon.

  6. re Smokey wanting to leave – does he? He’s been saying that, but maybe it’s been to persuade the humans he’s with them and get them to go along with his plans. I have to wonder if in reality, he just wants everyone to leave his island and let him be.

    The Man in Black also told Jacob he just wants to leave, and Jacob clearly believes keeping Smokey on the island is very important.

  7. Over on Entertainment Weekly’s website in the Popwatch blog Doc Jensen has a really good interview with Cuse and Lindelof. It adds a lot of perspective to last night’s episode. I say Flocke didn’t kill Claire only because he plans on using her somehow. Why isn’t Kate a candidate anymore? Only those who have somehow been redeemed are still on the list? Because she took Aaron? Next week is all MIB and Jacob. Here’s hoping for answers galore.

  8. Population check – now left on the island:
    * Jack, Sawyer, Hurley and Kate on the beach
    * Desmond in the well
    * Richard, Ben and Miles heading to Dharmaville
    * Cindy, the kids and assorted Others in the jungle
    * Rose, Bernard and Vincent possibly having made the jump

    Did Frank make it out? I’m always wary of declaring that a character is dead unless we actually saw them die.

  9. Regarding Jin and Sun death — I kept thinking that the script was written by people who don’t have children.
    How does that whole scene go down w/out Sun at least telling Jin he has to live for their daughter’s sake? We’ve all of course wondered how we’d handle a situation where our wives were trapped in a flooding submarine, wouldn’t a major thing on a parent’s mind in that situation be that at least
    one has to make it out for the kid’s sake? But it never even came up. If the daughter wasn’t in the picture, then I thought it was a lovely scene.

  10. just read that the series finale is going to be 2.5 hours long, instead of the regular 2.

  11. I saw this elsewhere too, but I don’t get calling Sayid a suicide bomber. He sacrificed himself to save others, like jumping on a grenade. That’s quite different from the stereotype.

    Considering the way his character was going it was a noble way to go.

  12. I’m just here to complain that my DVR didn’t catch the last minute or so because, I assume, of that stupid DWTS. It just cut off with everyone crying on the beach. At least I was watching it late because I got to see the Phillies win in the 10th, so it wasn’t a total loss. I guess I’ll catch the end on line or on, um, On Demand.

    Well, not just to complain – it was nice to see Sayid become a good guy in the end. It’s interesting that he was brought back from the dead as a sort of MIB zombie-servant, but that it didn’t last and he regained his will and ability to care for others. I’m not sure what it means, but I have to assume MIB was responsible for Sayid’s resurrection, but that it ended up thwarting MIB’s efforts in the end. It seems MIB can only get things to go so far his way, but no further.

  13. On the Sayid arc… after last night, it makes me wonder what the whole fuss was about Sayid in the temple and determining his status. Seems that the writers spent a lot of time taking us down that particular rabbit hole, and the payoff was “meh.”

  14. Hayes, we thought that too. I found it hard to believe they’d die together when there is a kid out there.

  15. I have my doubts about Sun’s maternal instincts anyway. If she was really very concerned about Ji Yeon, she probably wouldn’t have left her to return to search for her husband–who may or may not be dead–on a mysterious island where her likelihood of ever returning/escaping from was not very great.

  16. I thought exactly the same thing about Sun and Jin…. I mean, wonderful redemption for them and all from a marriage that was cold, loveless, and dead…. but now their daughter is an orphan. Back in the real world. Waiting for her momma to come home. Unless they somehow tie this up in the finale, it’s such a bummer that it really detracted from the emotional scene.

    Also, I agree that the whole Sayid arc was beyond ridiculous. He’s bad! OMG, he doesn’t feel anything! He may have shot Desmond! But he didn’t! Now he’s blown to bits! What in the *world* was the point of that??

  17. Can I just gush about how cute Jack and Sawyer were as teens? Keamy not so much, sadly. Thanks for sharing the link FHL!

    re the testing at the temple – yes that is troubling, and I’d pretty much forgotten it as I was thinking that MIB doesn’t have any hold over anyone that they don’t choose to give him, same as Jacob. All about choice and all that.

    I’ve never had a problem with suspending disbelief on this show, and fully buy into the coincidences, psycho aspects, etc. It’s whenever they ventured into corny sci-fi that they lost me a little bit, including the temple testing.


  19. The problem with the Sayid arc was that he was fighting against being evil but they didn’t really have a Sayid-centric episode that made it clear. Hopefully next week will be a not-Locke/Desmond episode and we’ll get more on Sayid. The water is still pretty mysterious and we don’t really understand what happened to Sayid or Claire.

  20. Can I just gush about how cute Jack and Sawyer were as teens?

    As a heterosexual male, I can recognize that in a “It probably wouldn’t be so bad to look like that guy in high school” kind of way.

    Evangaline Lilly is dreamy, even in an apparent chat-line (not phone-sex!) ad.

  21. Hey, a good Canadian girl’s gotta earn an honest living, no?

    As for Sayid, I think they likely think they told his story well in his sideways ep this season, and have been telling the story of his struggle between good and evil from the beginning. Given the minimal attention and thinness of Rousseau’s long awaited back story, I don’t think we will get much more on what happened to her, Sayid and Claire beyond what they’ve given us, as I get the impression they believe they’ve told those stories well enough.

    It’s all about Jack now kids!

  22. What they haven’t really shown though is what the water does. The personality changes have long been a significant point. Rousseau’s compatriots, potentially Ben, Claire, and Sayid. If Sayid was overcoming something beyond his basic inclinations they didn’t really show this. That’s bad writing.

    I have to admit this was one of the least satisfying episodes of the season for me. It wasn’t just Sayid or Jin leaving his unseen daughter to be an orphan. It was also Claire coincidentally being left behind and a lot else. It felt like it really should have been two episodes to do the plot points justice.

  23. They’re rushing it now, Clark. It’s one of the curses of a long series. You try and build up the tension and get caught up in the details.

  24. Yeah – I agree. I was kind of worried this would happen when a few episodes ago I couldn’t fathom how they could wrap it up. I bet it’ll end feeling like they should have had a few extra episodes.

  25. Elizabeth Mitchell has totally had a nose job. But yes, Matthew Fox and Sawyer were quite adorable in those shots.

  26. Just before Sayid’s act of redeeming self-sacrifice, Sayid reveals that Desmond is not dead, but is still at the bottom of that well.

    And what of Jack’s asking “Why are you telling me this?” and Sayid’s response of “Because it will be you” (or something to that effect)? It seems that Sayid knows that Jack is the new Jacob. I don’t know if I should take that as evidence that Jack will be or won’t be. Is it straightforward or purposely misleading on the part of the writers? And how does Sayid know (or think he knows) this? Does he have some special former-evil-zombie insight?

  27. I thought that watch on the C-4 was a ruse that wouldn’t actually work unless one of the humans took some action to try to detonate it. Sawyer did, and then it morphed into a real bomb, which is why the watch sped up at that point (to prevent a torpedo hatch jettisoning of it, which I too was hoping for).

    I too didn’t get why she didn’t use their daughter as an argument for him to save himself. But she did try to get him to leave at first, so maybe that was in the back of her mind. Being scared and about to die might have shortcircuited whatever maternal instinct she had.

    It’s true they’re rushing it, but I want resolution, so as long as they’re not willing to extend the series rush away I say.

  28. My husband and I were talking about Sun and Jin after the episode. I told him I would be so mad at him if stayed with me and left our children alone. He said he’d want to leave for the kids but the thought of leaving me alone to drown would be unthinkable. I’ll be upset if the last three episodes are “the Jack hours”. I need more Ben and Richard!

  29. Hubby and I also spent a bit too much time talking about “what would you do” scenarios, and had to replay a couple of times … I think the writers might have made a big miss in not having them consider their daughter as that’s all people seem to be talking about today.

    We also miss the old evil Ben, but I guess it’s understandable as he had a role to play in the story, but isn’t the actual story. Would have loved a lot more Miles too – that character was never fully developed.

    I think that writers’ strike had quite an effect, especially at the pivotal time when they introduced such potentially interesting new characters in Daniel, Charlotte, Miles and Frank. Then we got new ones this season in Ilana, Dogen and the guy that was also on the Ajira flight, but little time to do much with them. Secondary characters are useful, but when they are intriguing, I wished they’d been introduced a lot sooner.

    And I still don’t feel like we have a cohesive Widmore story – lots of pieces of the puzzle, but many missing too.

  30. I thought the daughter was an important subtext to the Jin and Sun submarine scene, even if it wasn’t spoken aloud by either of them. I believe that’s why the writers had an earlier scene during which they spoke about Ji Yeon at length. One of the major themes of the series is about making choices — I believe the dialog between Sun and Jin at the end was all about Jin chosing between the wife he worked so hard and long to see again, and the daughter he never met. In the end, Sun accepted Jin’s choice.

    Jenny, I agree with you about Widmore. His motives are really cloudy. By the end of the episode, I was seriously beginning to believe that he’s actually in cahoots with Smokey. He’s shown no interest in finding Desmond. He disappears completely during last night’s attack. And I found it suspicious that no one was guarding the submarine, and no one showed up to fire on the Losties until AFTER they were nearly inside the sub — as if they were actually forcing them into it. FLocke seemed to anticipate this as well, by hanging back and being “unable” to board the sub. Obviously that last part was planned in advance, but the timing of the assault by Widmore’s team also seemed planned to produce the same result.

    Add to that the fact that Kate was the only one who was shot in the gunfire exchange — the one, according to Widmore, who was expendable. In fact, if Kate hadn’t been shot, Jack wouldn’t have looked into the backpack and discovered the bomb, which would have counted down to zero without exploding (according to Jack) unless they tried to defuse it.

    It really got me thinking about what Widmore’s plans really are, and what he might have to gain by the candidates being killed. It also made me wonder if there was another reason Widmore was banned from the Island beyond what was stated at the time (having a child off-Island).

  31. Good point about Widmore, Mudhead. I, too, like everyone, kept waiting for Sun to say “go for Ji Yeon!” and she never said it, which I found unthinkable. But, the dramatic ending when their hands slipped apart pretty much had me in tears, like the season 3 finale. Something about the poetic way they film underwater drownings, I guess!

    I believe next week will be an episode with MIB and Jacob. I’m hoping for a big revelation that will pretty much give us all 20/20 hindsight on everything that has been happening and why.

  32. There was an interview on the EW Watch with Kristin blog where Daniel Dae Kim talks about Ji Yeon and says there was a moment where his character started toward the door and at that moment he was thinking of Ji Yeon. Also the earlier scene where they discussed her was supposed to show they were thinking of her.

  33. Unfortunately what counts is how the director directed it and edited it. If the audience can’t tell what Jin is thinking then that’s a failure of the director (or writer).

  34. Amy (#28), based on the moving Gia, I’d say a nose job is not the only time Elizabeth Mitchell has gone under the knife.

    I’m surprised at how many people are fed up with the show. To think that it is being criticized for being ridiculous … hello, did you see the previous five seasons?

    However, it’s hard to imagine a scenario at this point where we leave feeling like we got the answers we wanted from previous seasons. Even when they had the characters travel back in time and actually join Dharma we didn’t get a lot of our Dharma questions answered, which is pretty inexcusable.

  35. Oh, I’m still loving this season. I just think it was my least favorite episode last night. I know everything won’t be answered. (Spinoff or movie anyone?) I think most of the important Dharma questions were answered, btw. Either in the show itself or in the various YouTube videos ABC put up. It’s just that for whatever reason the writers decided not to make Dharma the focus.

    BTW – did anyone read that story about Locke? It had this little gem:

    There’s already buzz about another TV show, perhaps pairing O’Quinn with Michael Emerson, who plays the nefarious, bug-eyed Ben on Lost. The new series, in one possible scenario, would feature O’Quinn and Emerson as suburban hit men juggling family issues, according to the TV Guide Magazine website.

    That sounds…odd.

  36. Odd but totally awesome. I just want to keep Michael Emerson on TV frankly. Things are moving quickly now but I don’t think we should start complaining about unanswered questions just yet. Next week alone could wrap up a lot of things.

  37. Along with the tv show “Hit ’em?” starring O’Quinn and Emerson as suburban hit men juggling family issues we can have “Miles & Ford: Detectives” and then we can have them guest star in the others’ shows 🙂

  38. Yes! and yes! I would watch both of those shows.

    The episode wasn’t my favorite, but I loved that Smokie finally put his cards on the table, and his long con was awesome. Also, I think they’re trying to show us that Claire could still go either way.

  39. Boone and Shannon WERE NOT related by blood. They were “step” brother and sister, not “half” brother and sister.

    Jin would have never made it to the surface. Not by a long shot. He lacked an air tank. And he was not knocked unconscious like Frank. Jin would have drowned like a rat in his attempt to reach the surface. And both he and Sun would have died alone.

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