'Lost': The man of science and the man of faith trade roles

Nestorcarbonell_cane_240 We're near the end of Season 5, "Lost" fans, but you wouldn't know it. Ever gone on a run, and the finish line seems to get further and further away as you approach it? You know you're moving forwards, but it feels as if the finish line is moving away at an even more rapid pace? That's how I feel about the distance left to be traveled next week: the show has a LONG way to go. Can it get there? Absolutely. But it's not a given that they can.

4) In Short

"The killer in me is the killer in you/Send this smile over to you."

8) 1977

Jack and Kate watch Faraday wave his gun hither and thither amidst the Others from higher ground. Kate thinks Daniel is crazy, but Jack's starting to consider that his plan is the reason they were brought back. After Daniel is shot, they try to escape, but Renaissance Faire Widmore swoops in on horseback, hits Jack with the butt of his gun, and then tells him to sign up for a free credit report. HUZZAH!

Evangelinelilly_lost_s5_240 Back in the camp, Eloise Hawking stares at her own handwriting in the front of Daniel's journal. As Widmore brings Jack and Kate into camp, she hides the journal from sight. Learning the two came with Daniel, she orders them put into her tent. Inside the tent, a bloody Jack and an incredulous Kate discuss the validity of Faraday's theory. Jack thinks doing so would spare all the misery they have been through. "It was NOT all misery," says Kate. "Enough of it was," he replies. Ah, Jack, good to see you haven't lost those bedside manners. Unreal.

Just then, Eloise enters, curious about why Beardy wanted the bomb. Jack refuses to answer, citing her impending disbelief. However, when she relates the story of her encounter with him twenty-three years ago at age seventeen, which means Eloise Hawking is one smoking hot 40-year old. But that's beside the point: she tells Jack she will have no problem believing what they have to say about the man she just shot.

When she asks why her handwriting is in the journal without her remembering it, Jack states simply that she hasn't written it yet. Moreover, he encourages her to believe that the mistake she just made could in fact be undone, using the knowledge in the journal to erase everything that just happened. Kate refuses to corroborate Jack's story, still mad about that whole "misery" comment, apparently. Eloise agrees to take them to the bomb, but there's one problem: it's kinda sorta totally under the Barracks. She thinks their status in the DI will provide easy access; Jack notes it won't be so easy.

In the Dharma Sheriff Station, Radzinsky beats a shackled Sawyer, trying to learn Kate's location. Horace tries to stop NotPaul Giammati, but he's too hippy dippy to stop the physicist/pugilist. Juliet begs him to stop, and Sawyer, sensing her about to break, tells her to be quiet. Even if she told the truth, he reasons, it would only get more people hurt. Phil thinks he has a way to make Sawyer talk. It involves hitting Juliet. Oh no you didn't, Phil. It's open season on your douche-y self. Phil then ups the hate ante by identifying Hurley as "the fat guy," when a fellow DI employee questions the recent sub manifest, solidifying my desire to hop on the next Ajira Airways flight to Guam so I can whup Phil's butt personally.

Hurley loads up some food from the kitchen and meets Jin and Miles in the jungle. However, Pierre Chang spies Hurley leaving and follows them out. Instead of being mad, Pierre's curious: was Faraday telling the truth about time travel? Hurley denies it, and then proves why you'd never want him on your Trivial Pursuit team by failing to correctly answer any trivia question posed to him by Pierre. This leads to what should be a great father-son moment between Pierre and Miles, but it oddly falls a little flat. Instead, it leads directly into a realization that if Faraday spoke of a massive accident, it must be true. Wasted moment there, really.

Widmore stands over Faraday's body, and my wife points out EXACTLY who he looks like: the lead singer of Men Without Hats. ("We can bloop when we want to/We can leave Jacob behind!") As if I already had a hard time taking him seriously in this garb. Yikes. Eloise emerges from her tent, and orders Richard 1) to untie Jack and Kate, and 2) come with the three of them. She then takes Widmore aside to explain her plan. The vibe here? Eloise wears the pants in the relationship, and by proxy, the Others, as Richard takes her orders without question.

Pierre Chang rushes into the Sheriff's Office, declaring the need to evacuate. Radzinsky's having none of that, and declares himself the new leader and pushes Horace aside. Horace, for his part, combs his ponytail and says jack squat. Sawyer finally speaks up, agreeing that if Radzinsky puts the women and children on the sub, along with himself and Juliet, he'll tell them everything they want to know. Before agreeing to this plan, Radzinsky asks Sawyer to draw a map to the Hostiles camp.

Eloise leads the small group to a pond, and says they have to swim under in order to access the tunnels. Kate's having none of Jack's plan, and tries to leave. One Other, who might as well be wearing a red shirt, raises his gun in order to stop Kate from leaving. Before Jack can calm everyone down, The Man Who Does Nothing But Kill, According to Benjamin Linus, shoots Red Shirt dead. Yup, Sayid's back, people!

In the aftermath, Richard starts to question Eloise's plan. Nearby, Jack catches up Sayid with Faraday's plan. Sayid notes that killing Ben Linus didn't change anything. Kate replies that she and Sawyer in fact saved Ben's life. Sayid looks at her as if she wouldn't Leggo his Eggo, but like, times 10,000. "I'm not wrong, Kate. This is why we're here. This is our destiny!" Whoa, and the man of science officially embraces faith. Kate's none too happy with the conversion, and vows to return to the DI and get people to stop him.

Kenleung_lost_s5_240 Back at the DI, Miles and Company watch the evacuation, and in the process Miles finally understands why his father abandoned him all those years ago. Hurley apologizes, and Jin prays to the gods that he gets more than one line in the season finale. The three watch Sawyer and Juliet head onto the pier, where Sawyer hilariously suggests they'll buy Microsoft stock and pull Biff Tannen's theory on sports betting to earn millions in the real world. He apologizes for not leaving three years earlier; she replies she's glad she talked him out of leaving. There's something about those two and that pier. First the scene in "LaFleur," and now this. Both gold. Sawyer takes one last look at the Island and says, "Good riddance," before heading under.

Inside the sub, Sawyer and Juliet muse about the "real world" they are heading to, and how wonderful it will be. The two exchange words of love, and who should come in shackled at that moment? Kate Austen: Moment Killer! Juliet looks at Kate like she just took a dump in her favorite pair of shoes. Kate, I know you're thing is coming with people wherever they go, but this is straight up ridonkulous. I know you didn't follow Jack, and that was a major breakthrough for you, but you shouldn't overcompensate like this! Didn't you come back for Claire? I totally defended you a few eps ago! Ugh. Moving on, with bad sub CGI sending us into the horizon.

Richard, Jack, Eloise, and Sayid all swim under the pond and end up in, you guessed it, subterranean tunnels filled with hieroglyphics. Is this the Temple? Unclear how big the Temple actually is, so let's go with "tunnels" for now. They soon come to an enormous room, in the center of which is Jughead itself. Not exactly buried according to Faraday's specs, but buried all the same. Guess we couldn't have a two-hour season finale of Sayid and Shepard jackhammering through 15' of concrete, eh?

15) Present Day

Richard tends to a boat inside a glass bottle that looks an awful lot like a certain slave ship a few miles inland. An exiting Other comes by and says, "He's here." When he leaves his tent, he sees John Locke carrying a dead boar over his shoulders. A disbelieving Richard greets him, noting the three years passage of time since last they spoke. Locke notes that they have an errand to run, and that unlike last time they were together, he now has a purpose.

Yunjinkim_lost_s5_240 Ben and Sun gaze at the two from a distance. Ben explains how John "stepped in" as leader after his frozen donkey wheel departure from the Island. He describes Richard as an "advisor," and has held that position for a very, very long time. In this economy? Impressive. Sun grabs the Dharma Class of '77 photo and approaches Richard, asking if she recognizes the people in it. He says he does. Why? Because he remembers watching them all die. Ruh row.

Locke comforts a despondent Sun, telling her he'll do everything in his power to save those in the past. He then asks Richard if he has the compass handed over in 1954, which he does. Locke then invites Ben along, an invitation Ben sarcastically accepts. The three men then go into the jungle to do...well, you knew what they were up to at this point, yes? They're going to see him from the first episode of the season! And after that, he wants to see Jacob. Well, such a proactive approach doesn't sit well with either Richard or Ben, who reiterate that one doesn't actively visit Jacob. Locke's insistent, however, and Richard eventually agrees to do so.

The three come upon the Beechcraft, where Locke gives Richard marching orders and supplies to execute the conversation seen in "Because You Left." In amazement they watch Locke come out of the jungle, having just been shot in the recent past by Ethan Rom. As the scene plays out again, Ben asks in amazement how Locke knew exactly when to arrive. Locke replies that the Island told him so. When Ben notes the Island didn't tell him how to find Jacob, Locke replies coldly, "You've never see him, have you?" Ben does not reply. A noise is heard, and Other Locke is gone, now in 1954. A shocked Richard comes back, and his shock only escalates when he learns that Locke in fact DID die after that flash.

Upon returning to camp, Locke's itching to head out again. He wants to see Jacob, and he wants to see him now. But that's not all: he wants EVERYONE to come with him. Why? Because he's not content to take orders from a man he's never met, and neither should they. When Sun asks if this Jacob could help find Jin and the others back, Locke says, "Absolutely." As his plan gets agreement from the group, Richard turns into Season 1 Jack and notes to Ben that John Locke might be a problem. Ben (the Kate in this scenario) replies, "Why do you think I tried to kill him?"

If it's the second-to-last episode of "Lost," it's time for a wide shot of a large group of people migrating to another part of the Island, accompanied by Michael Giacchino's "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" motif. Ben conveys Richard's distress to Locke, but Locke's beyond listening to Ben or anyone else at this point. Ben stresses he's hear to help Locke, so he's happy to help convince Jacob to reunite Jack and Co. with them. Locke states that he lied to Sun. Why is he really going to see Jacob? To kill him, naturally.

See you in the season finale!

16) The Moment

Have to go with Locke giving Richard's marching orders to extract the bullet and impart information. It was like looking at a magic trick unfold from the magician's perspective. Just brilliant.

23) The Mythology

Oddly? Not a whole lot this week. This week was about getting the pieces into place for the season finale. However, we still learned a few things this week.

Eloise, not Charles, was the leader of the Others in 1977! Forget any notion of co-rule; it's clear that in 1977, Eloise was Numero Uno. Charles was sorta like the First Gentleman, if you will, of The Others. I'm guessing whatever unfolds inside the tunnels will help transition power away from her and onto Charles so by 1988 he's busy having his face pulled taut while he orders Ben to kill crazy French women.

Eloise used Faraday's journal to learn about time travel! As I theorized this week, Eloise took Daniel's journal after his death as a sort of home-school kit to learn about space-time, the Dharma Initiative, Desmond Hume's important role in the events to come. Read my full take there, as it holds up well given tonight's events.

Eloise apparently sent more than one person to his/her death! If Richard's right, and the "whatever happened, happened" rule is in effect, then I'm extremely interested to see if the show's going to hold up the promise of Richard's line that all Oceanic 815ers that went to 1977 died there as well. I'm not even going to TRY and explain the permutations laden in such a loaded statement; I'm going to let the show come to me on this one before rendering judgement. And I'm going to wait and see if Des sticks his unique, rule-breaking nose into a place it doesn't belong.

Richard might have a very good reason to keep Jacob a secret! Back in "Dead is Dead," we watch Richard Alpert lie about Jacob's role in saving Ben Linus' life to Charles Widmore. At the time, it seemed a bit suspicious, but now, it seems a whole lot more suspicious. For a few years now, I've looked at Richard as not being subservient to the Others' leader so much as the Island itself, but perhaps he serves no master but himself.

Locke wants to kill God! OK, not literally, but his final proclamation reeked of such a sentiment. The man who somehow conquered death now possesses the desire to free oneself from the shackles of an all-powerful, unseen entity in order to liberate the self and reinstitute free will and freedom of choice. All this is an episode where Jack Shephard speaks of destiny. The man of science and the man of faith have seemingly had their roles reversed, but it won't be until Season 6 that what the needed was not a reversal of ideals, but a fusion of the two. Only that fusion will work in harmony with the Island.

Locke is not Locke! We've gotten CLANG'ed enough by now with the whole "Locke came back wrong" motifs by now. It's essentially Locke, but with a few added ingredients. It's like the New Coke version of Locke, which means trouble. Maybe you buy this sudden reversal from true believer to Island atheist, but I sense some trouble a-brewin'. And it's the same sort of trouble I sense whenever I stare at Cabin Christian.

42) Random Thoughts

  1. By the time you read this recap, I'll have printed out a life-sized picture of Phil's head, attached it to my dart board, and sent approximately 108 darts through his smug face. He's on that rarified Arzt/Nikki/Paulo plateau of personal hate now.
  2. I cannot, cannot, cannot believe this show is still pushing the love triangle/quadrangle. I prayed that the return of Jack and Kate to 1977 would spawn a few, quiet, adult scenes in which the parties realized who was best for everyone and then get on getting on. Instead, we're about to get "Grey's Anatomy" on an Island. Faaaaantastic.
  3. I've long proclaimed my desire for a show featuring Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn after "Lost" ends. Honestly, I don't care what the premise of the show is; if they are paired up, I'll watch it. And after tonight, I'm welcoming Nestor Carbonell to the cast of that show. That's my kind of "Three's Company," people.

108) In Summary

I'm kind of glad there's going to be a cataclysmic event in the season finale. Why? Because while each individual story strand this week was strong, there just wasn't enough time to focus on each individual part on the whole. In fact, that's been the problem with Season 5 as a whole: you can tease out each character's arc and end up with a satisfying story, but the way that they've been delivered to the audience feels somewhat unfocused. And the show could use a little bang to shake things out and shake things off.

Part of the problem is an embarrassment of riches, to be sure. But the other part of the problem is that the narrative weight inherited by the end of Season 4 necessitated a ton of work gluing the whole piece back together this year. As such, the first third of the season was overweighted on island activity with the off-Island peeps getting the shaft. Overall, characters and storylines would disappear for weeks on end as the narrative focus constantly shifted over an ever-moving playing field. Ask yourself: do you honestly think you've seen enough of Sun and Jin? Des and Penny? Lapidus? Hell, Benjamin Freakin' Linus?

Don't get me wrong: it's good that the story, not individual characters, rules the writing roost. But at a time when the seasons have gotten shorter, the story somehow got impossibly bigger. Couple that with the unfortunate writers' strike in Season 4, and you get stories meant to be told in flashbacks condensed into monologues. You get large swatches of our favorite characters barely featured for achingly long stretches of time. And you get a group of largely unknown people obsessed with whatever the heck lies in the shadow of the statue.

But hopefully, the writers have one last, 2-hour long magic trick up their sleeves in which all these disparate threads somehow tied together and produce a leaner, meaner, more focused Season 6. Because of you look objectively at what's come so far, you can clearly see how much further they have to go by this time next week.

What did you make of this penultimate episode? Is Locke really Locke? Has Jack gone crazy or reached clarity? And how on earth with Sawyer, Kate, and Juliet get back on the Island? Leave your thoughts below!

Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude. He invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed.