Ep. 16-17: The Incident

And that’s another wrap. The last season finale leading into another season – all that’s left now is the final season… and the series finale. And, in typical LOST fashion, this one did not disappoint. It left us with plot twists to ponder about for the next few months, and delivers the most enigmatic cliffhanger I’ve ever seen on this show. But more on that later, let’s stick with our structure and start with the beginnings:

The Episode….

Let’s start with our centric character: Jacob. He was undoubtedly at the centre of this episode, and gave us a serious nod towards the existence of destiny on this show. You can feel that Jacob and his nameless nemesis are at the core of the LOST mythology – their characters are probably symbolic, and if they are, I’m willing to bet one of them is destiny and one is free will. Or something. Maybe the true nature of the show won’t be so complicated in the end?

I had a lot of fun watching the finale. I do have to say that it doesn’t beat the one we got last season. I think that’s the writer in me talking: I loved the whole “the beginning is the end” set-up, where the story seemed to be doing a loop and caught up with itself. It was a bit of poetry. This finale was none of that – but then again, neither was the season. Season five was all about the science fiction – so the finale really does seal the deal.

A lot of people got annoyed over character motivation on this one. I personally loved the wobbly state of mind the characters seemed to be in: no one seemed to know what was going to happen anymore (just like the audience, by the way) so they just went along for the ride. With all due consequences (which might just be erased from existence after all – who will tell?).

My only gripe is that I’m not really sure whether I’m buying into this whole “Evil Locke” thing. Sure, it was quite a shocker, but on the other hand I (and a lot of fans with me) really liked Locke and didn’t really see this as a fitting end for the guy. Then again: I always figured he’d be evil in the end; O’Quinn has a knack for tackling evil roles. Guess I’ll have to sit this one out, see where it goes and then decide.

The Questions…

It’s funny to see how certain things get a new light shed on them after a while. The first question (How Locke ended up in the coffin) just got a new question handed to it: How did Jacob’s nemesis enter Locke’s body? And: is it really Locke’s body? There seem to be two of them on the island.

The same thing seems to happen with the third question: How do they all return? The question now becomes: where do they return to? Are they going back to LA X? Or back to island times anno 2007? There is no way of knowing what happened when Juliet detonated the bomb. Not even a small hint.

Did the Losties end up on the island by coincidence? Some flashbacks (notably Sawyer, Kate, Sun, Jin and maybe even Locke’s) seem to suggest there is some destiny involved. Sayid and Hurley had their defining “touched by Jacob” moments after they were rescued. Is there some sort of pattern going on there?

Were we given a remotely coherent answer to who Jacob is? I reckon this finale makes the whole matter even more complicated. But at least now we know he’s a real (as in: physical) being. Is he a God? We don’t know.

The Cliffhanger: what’s next?

What a very, very interesting cliffhanger. When I watched it for the first time, I was completely emotionally invested in it (mainly because I hadn’t been keeping track of time and thought it’d last a bit longer). I’ve always said Juliet is the perfect tragic character, and now she’s met her tragic end. Of course, whether she is truly dead is a question that remains unanswered.

In fact, the question whether anyone who’s died so far is dead, remains unanswered. If Juliet triggered the bomb, and if Daniel was right, history as we know it has been altered. It’s been altered in such a way that Flight 815 never crashes, which causes the last five seasons to not have happened at all.

I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. How can the final season part ways with the other ones and still bring the series to a coherent end? The writer in me says it’s not a good idea to feature such a game changer near the end of a series, as I’ve seen series get destroyed by them: the horcruxes and wand lore in the Harry Potter series, for example.  It has the risk of feeling a bit like a Deus ex Machina. Obviously, though, I don’t know what the writers are still planning on doing. I trust them enough to know they won’t spend the last season off island – they’ve proven their worth so far.

But then again, the pessimist in me is holding on to his heart, as certain things in the season finale were placed without context and hence felt wrong. The revelation as Locke being… well, “that other guy”, was presented in such a manner that I just have to believe that where they’re going with this is any good. If this is truly the end of John Locke, it’s a shame and an anticlimax too. Unless they’re taking this beyond the realm of awesome.

But did that all actually happen if Juliet successfully altered history? I hate this finale, there’s nothing definite I can write about. But that’s what I love about this show – there’s always a challenge.

In All…

A very nice, emotional episode. Had me hooked for the entire duration. The problem with it (the big Jughead audience middle finger in the end excluded) is that you have no way of telling what information was still relevant. Jacob has been killed, but history might have been altered. Will the universe course-correct? Where will our Losties end up? And when? And why?

Nothing really mattered in the end. I couldn’t help but feeling some of it might just be pointless later on. But hey, benefit of the doubt has got me five seasons in and I’m obviously still excited, so I’ll sit this one out until next January.

See you then!

Favourite Quote: Jacob: They’re coming.