Lost 5.15 – Follow the Leader

Typically, the second-to-last episode of every season of “Lost” has never really been the calm before the storm, but rather the storm before the storm, which makes tonight’s episode difficult to write about. It’s not that it wasn’t good, but that when compared to past seasons, it just wasn’t quite as spectacular. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have always done a great job with getting all of their ducks in a row before the big two-hour finale, but while they’ve done that here again, it was unusually mediocre.

I mean, sure, we now know that Faraday is officially dead, but couldn’t they have at least pretended to try and revive him? I find it hard to believe that a little kid that was shot twice by a trained soldier can be miraculously resurrected hours later, and yet Faraday dies within seconds of being shot once in the back. Perhaps it’s just my disappointment over his death, but for a show that has done a relatively good job with logic, that has got to be one of the most illogical things that has ever happened. Obviously, it had to happen or Eloise would have never agreed to help Jack blow up the island’s electromagnetic power source, but it sucks nonetheless.

Thankfully, the episode had some really cool moments as well, the best of which included the return of Sayid when he popped out of the bushes to save Jack and Kate from a mob of angry Others with guns. Sayid’s been gone in the wild for so many weeks that I nearly forgot he was even absent in the first place, but it’s nice to have him back. And if anyone was going to help Jack detonate Jughead, you can bet your ass it was going to be Sayid. Aside from Jack during the early years, Sayid has been the number one supporter of all things anti-island, so it isn’t at all surprising that he’d jump at the chance for a clean slate. Of course, the chance that it’s actually going to work is pretty doubtful because, well, there’s a whole another season left to go. (Then again, wouldn’t it be brilliant on the part of Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof to end the show a year earlier than expected?)

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Lost 5.14 – The Variable

It’s not very often that we welcome back a character the same night we say farewell, but if the end of tonight’s episode is to be believed, Daniel Faraday is no more. To which I say, fuck you Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Killing Charlie was bad enough, but if this death sticks, I’m going to be pretty pissed. Okay, maybe not. It’s kind of hard to stay mad at you when you continue to deliver top-notch episodes like this, but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset. Nevertheless, just like Charlie’s last few episodes at the end of Season Three, Faraday’s last hurrah was one for the ages.

First, we find out that Eloise is Faraday’s mother, and then we find out that Widmore is his father, but honestly, anyone that didn’t see that one coming hasn’t been paying attention these last few years. Still, Faraday’s connection to the island certainly has to be the most interesting of all the characters, and the fact that Eloise willingly sent her son back knowing exactly what was going to happen takes serious guts. Of course, if the Others were able to save Ben Linus from a gunshot wound, what’s to say they won’t be able to do the same for Faraday? It seems plausible, and wouldn’t it explain Faraday’s memory loss in the future/present?

Speaking of which, Faraday’s flashbacks weren’t quite as revelatory as some might have hoped, but it was fun to revisit key moments (like his reaction to the Oceanic 815 recovery footage) knowing more about his journey after those events. The same goes for the opening scene from the season premiere, where we saw Faraday passing Marvin Candle/Dr. Chang in the Swan station, but nothing more. Now we know that Faraday not only spoke with Candle about evacuating the island, but also broke several of his own time travel rules by telling Candle that he’s from the future and that Miles is his son. Candle didn’t seem to buy into either claim, but how could he not? The only Chinese guy on the island with the name Miles? Yeah, it seems like a pretty airtight argument to me too.

Whatever Faraday was expecting Candle to do, he seemed to believe that he was going to do it after their little talk, and let’s hope that he does, because Faraday’s ultimate plan is explosive to say the least. Some of the commenters on this blog were insistent that ‘ol Jughead would rear its head again in the future and, well, they were right. Personally, I completely forgot about the hydrogen bomb between all the time jumping during the middle of the season, but once Faraday mentioned blowing up the Swan’s mysterious power source using the bomb, it suddenly made a lot of sense. Of course, Faraday’s plan doesn’t exactly work under his initial theory that “whatever happens, happens,” but since the Losties currently are experiencing their present, they still have the power to change their future. It’s a pretty cool theory for sure, and it’s really the only way the writers could have gotten out of the hole they conceivably dug themselves into.

Now that Faraday’s dead, though, who will carry out the plan? Jack and Kate are probably stuck in Others territory, Sawyer and Juliet have been outed by Radzinsky, and Hurley and Miles are stuck in the middle of it all. Plus, with three more hours left to go, there’s still more than enough time for a couple of wild cards to be thrown into the mix – namely Locke, Sun and Ben, who will no doubt play a role in all of this before the season is over. Oh yeah, and there’s no way the Losties erase the past by blowing up the Swan. At least, not with an entire season still to go. Can this show really get any better? God I hope so.

  

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Lost 5.13 – Some Like It Hoth

First thing’s first: tonight’s episode must had one of the coolest titles in the history of television. It’s exactly this kind of geek humor that makes the “Lost” writing team one of the best in the business. (Check out Will Harris’ interview with executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for further proof.) In fact, I liked it so much that it wouldn’t have even mattered if it didn’t make any sense in the end, but as it turned out, it did, and suffice it to say that it led to one of the biggest laughs of the night. I thought for sure Hurley was scribbling something in his journal a little more important than a script for “The Empire Strikes Back,” but then again, that’s Hurley for you. His scenes with Miles have helped fill the void ever since the big guy became friends with Sawyer, and though tonight’s episode was all about Miles, it was a great to have Hurley along for the ride.

Along with Faraday, Miles has been one of my favorite characters since his arrival in Season Four, so it was nice to finally get some backstory other than the brief bits we saw in the episode featuring his first appearance. I believe Cuse and Lindelof intended to address Miles’ past at some point last year, but had to cut the story when the season was shortened by the strike. Whatever the reason, it actually worked for the better now that the Losties have travelled back in time. We always knew that his sixth sense was the reason he was recruited by Widmore, and some of us have even had the hunch that Marvin Candle (or Pierre Chang) was his father when it was suggested that he had previously visited the island, but I don’t think anyone realized that Miles knew as well.

As it turns out, he’s known ever since his third day as a member of the Dharma Initiative when he spotted his mother in the lunch line at the cafeteria. (At least he didn’t hit on her à la “Back to the Future.”). Heck, he even saw himself as a baby later on, which begs to ask the question: is Miles’ special ability a product of his time on the island or is it just sheer coincidence? I don’t think we’re going to find out the answer to that just yet, but one thing we do know is that Miles is adamant about not wanting to meet his father. He’s more or less forced to, though, when Horace gives him a special assignment to deliver a package (read: dead body) to Candle at the Swan station.

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Lost 5.12 – Dead Is Dead

Ever since his introduction in Season Two, Ben Linus has fast become one of the most compelling characters on “Lost,” so it isn’t much of a surprise that tonight’s episode was one of the best of the year. While much of the allure of this season is due to the recent boost in science fiction-heavy fare like time travel, the last few weeks have really emphasized the strong relationships between the people on the island. And if we’ve learned anything, it’s that Ben has some of the most fascinating relationships of them all. Oh yeah, and Michael Emerson deserves an Emmy nomination.

Ben’s ongoing feud with Charles Widmore has made for some great moments in the past, but it was nice to finally see how that feud came to fruition. Both men have always been viewed as villains, but based on the flashbacks from tonight, it’s clear that Widmore is the worst of the two. He didn’t seem to have any logical reason for wanting Rousseau and her baby dead other than the fact that they were outsiders, but Ben’s decision to stand up to Widmore and protect baby Alex showed a side of him that we always knew was there but rarely saw. Of course, that was before Ben became the monster he is today, but it was apparently enough to prove to Richard that he was worthy of taking over leadership after Widmore was booted off the island for breaking the rules.

One of those rules was having a child with an outsider, and as we all know, that child grew up to be Penny. What we didn’t know, however, was what had come of Penny now that Ben had left the island. Many seemed to believe that his brutal beating was a result of killing Penny on her boat (after all, he made that call to Jack from a dock), but as it turns out, that wasn’t it at all. Well, not exactly, anyway. It turns out Ben did intend on killing Penny (he even shot Desmond in the shoulder for trying to interfere), but the minute he saw Penny’s son, he decided against it. Of course, that didn’t stop Desmond from beating him to a pulp, but like I said before, it just goes to show that Ben isn’t nearly as bad of a guy as people once believed him to be.

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Lost 5.11 – Whatever Happened, Happened

Ugh. Is it really time again for another Kate-centric story? Unfortunately, but while tonight’s episode wasn’t one of the year’s best, at least it wrapped up another plotline from earlier in the season. Though Aaron’s whereabouts probably weren’t at the top of most people’s lists, it did add some much needed closer to Kate’s past. Up until the final moments of the night, I was actually starting to think that she had either lost him to a stranger at the supermarket (though, admittedly, that would have been pretty lame), or given him to Cassidy to take care of. After all, she’s clearly proven to be a fit mother from raising Saywer’s daughter, Clementine, and as we learned throughout the course of the episode, she and Kate actually became pretty good friends.

Speaking of Clementine, it was also confirmed that the big secret Sawyer whispered into Kate’s ear before jumping off the helicopter was a simple request to take care of his daughter. Not exactly a surprise when you consider there wasn’t much else he could have asked, but it’s still nice to get that out of the way. In fact, while the reveal wasn’t much of a shock, Kate’s immediate honesty with Cassidy was. Didn’t she even think of the consequences that might have come with Cassidy blabbing her mouth about how the Oceanic Six’s story was all a lie? Apparently not, and it’s a good thing she didn’t, because if the two of them never became friends, Kate wouldn’t have made the unselfish decision to head back to the island and leave Aaron in the care of Claire’s mother.

It was a necessary story to tell, but it was pretty dull compared to the island portion of tonight’s episode. After Jin awakens to discover Young Ben has been shot by Sayid, he rushes him back to camp to get help. Horace thinks the Others are planning an attack, and while everyone begins preparing defenses, Juliet desperately tries to save Ben’s life. As expected, she goes to Jack for help, but he’s too busy acting like an asshole to care. Sure, the kid’s going to grow up to become a monster, but does that give him the right to decide whether or not he should die? If a criminal was brought into his ER, wouldn’t he be professionally (and morally) obligated to save his life?

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