We’re spent. It may just be the shock of the final reveal (and the exploding and disappearing and everything else), but I’m putting this season’s finale as the best yet. Oh, there was a big giant Pandora’s box or two opened, and the requisite handful of new nagging questions, but in terms of delivering a dramatic punch, a full sprint of plot and action, and major pointers as to the mythological direction of “LOST,” we couldn’t have asked for more. Every strength of the show was serviced tonight, and the only downside to this high is the inevitable crash tomorrow. We’ll have to wait more than seven months to pick up where we left off.
And I do think we will move forward, now, from the near present. Perhaps even the true present. (No issues with Walt’s age, now.) Mr. Bentham’s ominous tale of how things went south on the island after the Oceanic Six escaped perfectly sets up the island as flashback territory… the clever inverse of the first three seasons. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ben turned the wheel and moved the island, a mind-boggling action that also comes with another rule: whoever invokes the measure of last resort “can’t” return. We also know from his arm injury that he goes straight from the deep Earth chamber to the desert of Tunisia. We see how the Oceanic Six come together and get off the island, and also the setup for their return. We see Sawyer sacrifice himself after a smooch that no doubt gave shippers a thrill, but we also see Desmond and Penny reunited the kiss of the whole show, bar none. And we finally learn who was in the coffin.
Jen is immensely relieved to learn who was in the coffin. She demanded to know, out loud, every ten minutes during the last hour of the finale. Considering that Season 1 left us looking down a mysterious hatch, even I was convinced until the very last moment that they just might go there… the just might leave us hanging. And we both wouldn’t have guessed who Mr. Bentham turned out to be.
Jen’s also convinced that Jin is dead. I have to admit, it looks pretty dire. He does have a couple of things going for him, though. One, Sun is convinced enough of his possible survival that she’s going to engage in some pretty big corporate shenanigans with Charles Widmore. Two, just like the three gunshots that were supposed to have robbed us of Jin, Sayid and Bernard on the beach, I don’t think any “off-screen deaths” have really stuck. Hell, on-screen deaths don’t stick. (At least Keamy’s sudden reappearance got a token explanation.) With Locke apparently going back as carry-on luggage, after all, his story is obviously not done. Look at what happened with the last person Jack transported in a coffin.
For all the big details, though, it’s the little things that made tonight’s episode so satisfying. The way the episode opened at the exact moment Season 3 ended (tires screeching with the quick fade to black). Hurley’s awkward greeting for Jack, and real gratitude to Sawyer for coming back for him. Locke’s confidence with Jack (“Just watch what I’m about to do”) but befuddlement with anthuriums. The way Michael released Jin to be a father, and the way the island finally released him. The way Ben… did everything, from referencing time-traveling bunnies to the utterly cold way he reacted to dooming the freighter. Miles’ scolding from Rose, and cryptic message for Charlotte, who almost instantly becomes the new character whose story we’re desperate to hear.
Too many great moments to mention. With our minds spinning, we’re simply reduced to bullet points.
Notes and Notions:
- The conversation between Jack and Locke goes to the very heart of the overall “LOST” story arc. If you haven’t recently revisited the conversation mentioned tonight, from the episode “White Rabbit,” you should read it again. And remember, that was Season 1, Episode 5.
- What is Sun up to? Helping Mr. Widmore, or duping him? The why, at least, seems pretty clear. But she’s right, the Oceanic Six weren’t the only ones that got off the island. And joining Ben in the bonus set are Frank and Desmond.
- Locke’s pseudonym off island was Jeremy Bentham. Philosopher, yes. Also a guy who willed his body to be put on display. It’s still in a glass case at University College London.
- Hurley’s mention of Mr. Eko was a nice touch, because I do sometimes get the sense that there are parts of the show’s past that they’d rather we just forget.
- The moment you heard Sayid’s voice at the car window, you knew that guy was toast. And of course his time of death was 8:15.
- More Sawyer nicknames, from “Sundance” for Jack to “Kenny Rogers” for Frank. And… shirtless on a beach with a pretty lady and a bottle of rum? It’s fanfic time.
- What happened to Daniel and his boatload of socks (or redshirts or background)? Are they stranded? Or, since “Alcatraz” apparently went with the main island, could they have gone along for the ride as well?
- Jack officially has a musical motif (along with Kate’s Patsy Cline). His last drive to the funeral parlor showed us his appreciation for “Nirvana.” Tonight, he rocked his way out to the big reveal with “The Pixies.”
- Yeah, so that was the “Frozen Donkey Wheel.” Ha ha. How literal and clever! Can we go back to metaphors for the next big twist?
A year ago, when we were similarly left stunned by the Season 3 finale, I wrote: “Suddenly I’m willing to entertain even the most ridiculous, crack-pot theories. Because I have no idea where ‘LOST’ will take us next.” I am still happily along for the ride.
And Jen wrote: “Season 3 of Lost, to me, is one of the best seasons of television ever.” And Season 4 tops that.