Tuesday, May 4, 2010
LOST Review: The Candidate
SHOCK N AWE
What just happened?!?!? I likened The Last Recruit to the first part of a season finale, and I still believe it. Building off of that, The Candidate is the very dark Act 2 of a finale, almost like the Empire Strikes Back. Very few shows in all of television can get its audience to hit a range of emotions throughout the course of a 42 minute episode, and the Candidate (a fantastic episode) is among them. Happiness, Sadness, Confusion, Anger, Elation, Fright and probably a lot more that could be described with fancy words that I don't know. Because my mind is blown more than usual tonight, there's no point in covering this in a traditional, linear format. Instead, let's just cover each of these crazy emotions.
Awww.... Jin and Sun are together again. It's still unnerving when they easily speak English to each other, but it was great hearing them discuss their little girl. I'll admit that I got a little worked up, but so what?!? You're a mindless zombie robot if your heart wasn't warmed by their fleeting moment.
Where can I begin.... HOW CAN YOU KILL OFF JIN AND SUN LIKE THAT!?!?! Okay, I'm venturing into frustration territory, but I don't mean to. In fact, I joke nearly every week that Sun is a useless character that should die a horrible death. Now I'm eating those words. The explosion threw debris across the room and wrenched Sun against the wall. It didn't matter how hard he tried, because Jin couldn't get her out. Every time something was removed, another thing remained. They shared a tearful goodbye, a final embrace, and drowned while our old friend, the Life and Death theme, played in the background. Their deaths churned up thoughts of Charlie's sad goodbye in Season 3 (another character I wished dead but was sad when it happened). If all of this wasn't sad enough, hearing Hurley, Kate, and Jack sob like children on the beach because of this only made it tougher.
Oh, and Sayid also met his demise tonight, cutting the potential Candidate pool in half. There wasn't as much emotional punch to his death because he's been such a tool this season, but I am glad that he technically redeemed himself with his sacrifice. I'm betting he goes on to join the whisperers of the Island. Just like Michael sacrificed himself to save the castaways on the freighter, Sayid ran the C4 (mostly) out of harm's way. And since Michael was ultimately punished for the double homicide of Ana Lucia and Libby, I'm thinking Sayid will also suffer for the double homicide of Dogen and Lennon. And hey, what about Lapidus???
Yep, that was just one of the many moments of confusion sprinkled throughout the episode. Lapidus was donked on the head by the hatch door, but we never saw he die... we also never saw him surface. So what happened to him? Also, how stupid does Claire have to be to not notice a sub launching 5 feet behind her? Sayid yelled for her. Sawyer yelled for her. Locke ran down the dock towards the damn thing and she still paid it no mind. And then all of sudden, "Hey! They left me?!?!?" You suck, Claire.
One final thought about the deaths of Jin, Sun, and Sayid. Let's not forget that the sideways world still has a part to play in all this. That's why I am further confused because Jin and Sun could conceivably live out a happy life in sidewaysland where they are alive, well, and pregnant. Too bad the same cannot be said for Sayid, who was arrested for murder.
Were you also among those fooled by Smokey? I wanted to believe that there was something good about him. I never thought him to be the good guy and Jacob the bad guy, but I did believe that he was a man who believed in free will and other noble virtues. It turns out that I was a sucker. Smokey never gave a shit about the candidates' well being. As Dogen wisely said, he is "evil incarnate." All along he worked to gain all of their trust (and ours as well), only to perfectly execute a plan that nearly killed them all. And really, it should've killed them all. How often do 400 pound guys (that are carrying 120 of dead weight) swim up from sinking wreckage? What were the odds that Jack could carry Sawyer out of there after the sub had been sinking for a good 5 minutes? That must've been 1000 feet under water!!! Anyway, well done you sonuvabitch Smoke Monster.
Another thing that angered me (and this time not in a good way) is the cages. It's like the old saying: "Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. What did you accomplish?" I felt that way the first 10 minutes into the episode. Out of the cages. Get in the cages. Back out of the cages. What was the point? Yes, Widmore was trying to protect the candidates from Smokey, but the cages just conjure up old painful memories of a show treading water. To a larger extent, why have Sawyer's group captured at the end of the Last Recruit only to be rescued at the beginning of the Candidate. It just seems like manufactured drama to me.
This episode had its downer moments and its weepy moments and its frustrating moments, but it also had the funniest 5 seconds in perhaps the show's history. Locke bitch-slapping a hysterical Claire had me keeled over in Laughter, but this had me jumping for joy like when Ana Lucia was shot. Yes, I'm talking about Kate getting shot. The scene went something like this:
Jack: "John Locke told me to stay"
*Jack pushes Smokey in the water because it seems logical*
*Kate stupidly looks over and says...*
Kate: What happened!?!?!?
*Kate gets shot*
It's so silly and absurd that a scene would go down like that, but yet it did and I loved it. I honestly replayed it about 5 times to soak up all the excitement.
Okay, I'm now officially scared of Locke. I've seen him pissed before, but now that his sinister end-game is revealed, it just gives me chills. LOST really delivered a solid grand bad guy to clash with, and I can't wait to see how it ends. To kind of pat myself on the back, here's my "God of War 3" theory that I sent out to my family last week:
"You know, in Greek Mythology (according to God of War 3), damned souls could travel out of the Underworld through a hyperion gate if they had the soul of a god with them. Damned souls = castaways. Underworld = Island. Hyperion Gate = Flashes or pockets of energy like the Orchid. God = Jacob. So what’s the end game then? Simple… Smokey is going to orchestrate the deaths of the remaining candidates. He won’t kill them himself cause that’s cheating… so he’s leading them to Widmore so they’ll die there. Once everyone is gone, he’ll claim Jacob’s soul and be able to escape through some gate that is yet to be revealed.
Just like Hades was tricked into running the Underworld and is now "trapped," Smokey too was trapped on the Island by Jacob, and now he's looking for a way out."
Right now, I am feeling happy about the episode because it kicked ass. Big time character deaths are always a welcome addition because it raises the stakes and makes us that much more invested in the show. Also, Jack was right and Sawyer was wrong, and I love seeing that. The Doc made perfect sense about them falling into Smokey's trap, but Sawyer's stubbornness caused them to blow up and it caused the deaths of their friends. Remember when Sawyer held Jack responsible for killing Juliet because he spearheaded Operation Jughead? This is the exact damn thing, and I hope Sawyer is eaten away by the guilt of making a stupid stupid decision. So much for him being the world's best con man. He totally thought he was playing Locke, but he didn't expect the old man to pulling a long con of his own. Brilliant.
P.S. - The weekly "Why would he do that?" award goes to Jin, who uttered the often-used phrase on the sub after they discovered Locke's bomb. I was afraid this award would be passed up by the weekly "I was on Oceanic 815, too" award
P.S.S. - The alarm on the sub was the same alarm from the Hatch
P.S.S.S. - Flashsideways cameos usually seemed forced because they force a character into a situation with a new job and a new life (Minkowski a limo driver? Ilana the lawyer?). Bernard's cameo was awesome because it wasn't forced. He's still a funny old man dentist married to Rose. It's good that some things don't change.
UPDATED SEASON 6 RANKINGS
1. Ab Aeterno
2. the Candidate
3. the Substitute
5. Everybody Loves Hugo
6. Happily Ever After
7. The Last Recruit
9. Dr. Linus
11. the Package
13. What Kate Does