Mania Grade: A
Rate & Share:
- TV Series: Lost
- Episode: What They Died For
- Written By: Edward Kitsis , Adam Horowitz & Elizabeth Sarnoff
- Directed By: Jack Bender
- Network: ABC
- Series: Lost
Lost What They Died For Review
LOST: Just One More Left. It’s Been a Great Ride.
By Joe Oesterle
May 19, 2010
Non-Spoiler Spoiler Alert
I generally don’t like announcing spoilers here, but according to a recent interview with the two-headed genius known as Darlton, we shouldn’t expect the answer to every question we’ve ever had regarding LOST. This apparently includes showing who was shooting at Sawyer, Juliet et al, and was subsequently shot in the famous middle of the ocean outrigger gunfight.
We Are Family
The opening of “What They Died For” did tease us with a question that was posed in very beginning of this year’s season opener, and I’d be very surprised if we don’t get an answer to how Jack nicked his neck.
Staring at his bloody wound in the mirror, Jack is interrupted before he can get “lost” in his own reflection by the flipped likeness of his own flesh and blood, Safe Landing Universe (SLU) son, David. David is concerned Jack might flake out on his big concert later that evening, and is as happy to hear Jack assure him he’ll be there as he is concerned that Jack might make things uncomfortable when he discovers David’s mother (I’ve been guessing the identity of this mystery woman is Juliet since a day after the “Lighthouse” episode aired) will also make an appearance. Jack pledges there will be no weirdness, and they are joined for a heaping bowl of Super Bran by new sister/aunt Claire. Shortly after, Jack gets a call from Desmond impersonating an Oceanic employee, telling Jack his dad’s coffin is fine and found. I have to admit I hadn’t given that bit of information any thought whatsoever until just now, but that seems like one more mystery they have to pay off in Sunday’s 2 and a half hour finale. They certainly didn’t address it tonight. Why did Des make that call? His motives lately are usually to motivate people to be in a certain place at a certain time, but how does the false discovery of Christian’s coffin play into Jack’s eventual whereabouts as everyone else seems poised to meet at a concert? Unless Jack is going to once again disappoint his son and miss the big performance.
A Stitch in Time
Back in the original timeline Jack is sewing Kate up on the beach with a makeshift needle and thread much like she had to for him way back in Season One. Kate is obviously distressed by the loss of the Kwons and Sayid, and not so much about Lapidus. I don’t think Kate ever warmed to the half-buttoned shirt on the long-haired middle-aged dude. Kate informs Jack of a couple of things Jack obviously already knew. First, he absolutely knew that Sun had a baby daughter. Even though Sun didn’t want anything to do with Jack after they arrived back in the real world, the Oceanic Six were like the Beatles. Jack would have heard about Sun’s child on the car radio on the way to work. He also would have undoubtedly realized Jin never met the child considering Jin was believed to be dead, but in reality was just a Dharma-jumpsuited working stiff in the 1970’s.
Meanwhile Sawyer is doing a considerable bit of self-flagellation as he stared into the ocean as empty life-preservers reminder him of his failure as a leader, and his own misplaced anger at Jack.
Getting’ Wiggy With It
Back in the SLU, Desmond seemed to be wearing a hairpiece, but more importantly it seemed as if he were about to play Frogger again with John Locke. That’s when Ben bravely and selflessly intercedes on Locke’s behalf, and wig-wearing Des wigs out on Ben, who demands to know who Desmond is. Des is more than happy to oblige Ben by jogging the shit out of his memory with a barrage of lefts – and it seems Des actually was able to beat some sense into Ben before he drove off to the police station.
Back on the island however, Ben is in the driver’s eat as he navigates a shortcut through the jungle. Given our past with Ben, it was easy to wonder if this was indeed a quicker route to New Otherton, or if old Ben was up to his old ways and about to pull some old shenanigans. In the best line of the night, Miles suspiciously claimed he’d never taken this way to the barracks, and he lived there 30 years before Ben – otherwise known as last week.
The Three Caballeros
As Ben, Miles and Richard make their way to Ben’s pad to pick up some explosives, Miles encounters the spirit of Ben’s “adopted” daughter Alex. It seems Richard was kind enough to give Alex a decent burial, and the effort genuinely touched him.
The trio enter Ben’s secret room, but are quick to discover Charles Widmore and Liz Lemon in the kitchen. Ben obviously doesn’t watch 30 Rock, but he does recognize his arch nemesis, Widmore. Widmore does nothing to ensure himself an all-is-forgiven hug from Ben when he blurts out in condescending tones that he is once again 3 steps ahead of his younger adversary.
Charles also delights in informing Ben that he was visited by Jacob on the freighter, and the island honcho was able to show Charles the error of his ways. He convinces Ben to let Liz Lemon go grab their gear down by the docks, but before she can make the grab, she radios in to the big bald boss that the big bald bad guy is paddling up. Widmore orders her back and hatches a plan. Hide in the closet.
Miles thinks it’s half an idea, but prefers his odds in the jungle than in an oversized dressing room. Richard on the other hand is convinced that all Smlocke wants is a little face time with a friend from the past.
Smlocke doesn’t even give Richard the courtesy of a proper salutation and just smokes his ass over the top of a tall tree. Of course given the fact that actor Nestor Carbonell is only 7 and a half inches tall, that tree could have just been a twig sticking up in the ground. (Refer to Ab Aeterno for short joke reference.) I no longer hold out hope that Frank Lapidus survived the sub explosion, but I definitely don’t think Smokey killed Richard. He was given the gift of immortality, and that gift would be lamer than a 6 year-old kid’s Father’s Day present if it came with the stipulation that the most dangerous being on the island could still kill him.
Ben was cautiously intrigued by Smokey’s show of power, but quickly collected himself, and anxiously, staring straight ahead, took a seat on a deck chair for his inevitable appointment with Smlocke. Menacingly brandishing a huge hunting knife, Smlocke solicited Ben as to Widmore’s whereabouts. Before the words were out of his mouth however, Ben was already moving the bookcase. If Smlocke could toss Richard a few city blocks (and while Richard is no bigger than your average ping pong ball, I’d like to see you chuck a ping pong ball any further than 30 feet tops) Ben was morbidly curious to see how Smlocke prepares to handle the human-sized Widmore.
First off he slices Liz Lemon’s throat when it becomes apparent she won’t talk - thus dashing any chance for Lemon’s island escape or her ever walking down the aisle with imaginary boyfriend, astronaut Mike Dexter. Smlocke then sizes up Widmore, and immediately understands he’s not afraid of death, but is frightened of the prospect of Smokey harming his daughter. Smlocke even calls her by name to emphasize the point. Penny. Smlocke makes Widmore a deal; he won’t kill Penny, if Charles spills his guts. Ben then shocks us all and spills Widmore’s guts himself – with his pistol.
I’ll guess most of you were as shocked as Charles and I at first, but then assumed Ben’s slaughter was a noble act. One that assured Smlocke would never get the answers he desired. Soon though we find out that Smlocke had already extracted the pertinent information. Ben’s initial response – he doesn’t get to save his daughter - was chilling, but his next statement really won Smlocke over. “Didn’t you say there were some other people we needed to kill?”
Ben Is Good (I Was Right About Sayid Wasn’t I?)
Now I know there were many of you who have battled me over whether Ben is a good guy or a bad guy. I have maintained since he first uttered he actually was “one of the good guys” that he likely was. He’s an imperfected good guy to be sure, but hey, we all know that originally Han shot Greedo first.
Here’s my take on Ben, and why I believe he is now a full-fledged, turned the corner good guy. (Shooting Widmore in cold blood is forgiven because Widmore, in effect, killed Alex.)
With the information that Smlocke was on his way to the barracks, Miles ran, Widmore hid, and wee Richard thought he could schmooze Schmlocke. Ben was the only one who decided to stand brave and wait for the Monster to approach him. Expecting the worst, Ben was prepared to face his death, but realized when the Monster engaged him in conversation, he would be able to buy time for the side of good, by doing what he does best - bad things. Ben has proved himself a master manipulator. Just when you’re convinced he’s evil he does something kind and decent like sparing the life of Danielle Rousseau and her baby. Conversely, precisely when you’re convinced he’s working the right side of the street, he does something questionable – like strangling the life out of John Locke. He’s deceived, hoodwinked, cheated, duped and conned throughout his reign as island leader. At times because he felt it was in Jacob’s/the island’s best interest, at times because he felt it was in his own best interest. Duplicity has always been Ben’s greatest weapon, and I am making my bold, Joe Oesterle Double Your Money Back Guarantee* that Ben’s last act of betrayal will be against Smlocke, and for the benefit of our Losties.
Joe Oesterle’s Double Your Money Back Guarantee is not a legally binding contract, but if you wish to take action against Mr. Oesterle in the event this bold prediction does not come to fruition, he laughingly encourages you to get at the back of a long line of creditors, IRS agents, student loan officials, his landlord and some drunk guy who always tries to glom a free shot off of Joe at his favorite local dive, simply because Joe was nice enough to buy the poor rummy a round once a few years ago.
On SLU, Ben is once again the focal point. He’s getting bandaged up by the nurse who was playing doctor with Ben’s unprincipled principal. After she leaves, Ben studies himself in mirror. As John Locke wheels in, Ben wheels out some information that stopped Locke dead in his tires. “I saw the man who ran you down. He attacked me. While he was beating me, I think I saw something. He wasn’t trying to hurt you. He told me he was trying to get you to ‘let go.’ Does that mean something to you?” Locke was always a man of faith, and he has no problem realizing this, coupled with his own visions and the myriad of coincidences he’s experienced since landing at LAX, is worth examining. He now wants to be fixed.
Jacob, Everybody, Everybody, Jacob
As great as the Locke and Jack scenes always are, I always wish for more Sawyer and Jack scenes. No matter what their relationship is at the time, these two island heroes are a compelling testosterone-fueled duo to watch. This time Jack helps soothe Sawyer’s guilt-riddled conscious as he assures the former rogue that he had nothing to do with the recent death of their friends (and Lapidus.) Smlocke was the guilty party, and Smlocke will pay.
Hurley meanwhile is pulling up the rear with a wounded Kate when he comes across Lil’ Jacob who demands his ashes back. Hurley is a bit flustered at the request, and becomes downright agitated when Lil’ Jacob grabs the small satchel of cinders and makes a hasty getaway. Now as much as I loved Mile’s “otherwise known as last week” crack, the thought of Hurley thinking he was going to outrun an athletic 13 year old mystical island native made me laugh out loud. Assuming the kid stopped sprinting all together after 50 feet, that’s still a good 20 feet further than Hurley can plod without stopping and wheezing for an Apollo bar break.
The ashes made Lil’ grow up fast, but his lifespan was now just a campfire long, and when Jack, Sawyer and Kate finally join the party, Hurley is surprised he’s no longer forced to feel like Jacob is Harvey the Invisible Rabbit. Kate wants answers, and Jacob offers them up. One big answer is we find out beyond a shadow of a doubt that the original Man in Black is indeed the modern day Smoke Monster. I know there were some of you who didn’t grasp that last week, but it’s now spelled out very clearly for us. Jacob takes full responsibility for this malevolent being misting around the island and causing havoc on a whim, and informs the quartet he can’t kill the Monster to protect the light, but one of them (hopefully) can.
The second answer we get is Kate is still very much a candidate, even though her name was crossed off the wall. Jacob wasn’t x-ing off names as they died necessarily. He was simply eliminating potential candidates as they became less desirable. Kate was now a mother; she beamed when Jacob recognized her in that role, but the job of island protector was still hers if she wanted it. Just at a 25% less pay rate than if any of the men decided to accept the job.
Jack, finally realizing what we all seemed to think was too obvious for too long, finally stepped up to claim the job as his own. Sawyer was too shaken, Hurley too scared, and Kate was too much Aaron’s mother to devote herself to another cause.
Jack = Jacob
Over the years, we all suspected at times that Jack would one day become the new Jacob, but sometimes it seemed too easy a choice to completely buy in to. These writers love throwing curves and off speed pitches at us, but like a veteran hurler, sometimes they’re just getting us off balance so they can whip that obvious 100 mile an hour heater right by us, as we stare in disbelief at the stationary catcher’s mitt at strike three.
Down the hatch, Jack drinks the communion water that may or may not have been transformed into wine, and like Jacob before him, Jack seems to receive clarity. Jack has graduated. He and Jacob are now the same.
Rousseau = Whack Job Chick
Speaking of graduation, ivy league bound Alex notices the banged up Dr. Linus, and after a sly Napoleonic reference, she and her mother convince Ben to let them drive him home. Out of the car and to my surprise (only because I heard that Mira Furlan refused to participate in the show any longer) pops Danielle Rousseau looking batshit crazy as ever.
She’s just a single mom suburban housewife and still Rousseau looks as nutty as ever. Of course many a single mom out in the audience would testify it’s easier to be hunted on a magical island for a couple decades than raise a teenage daughter on your own, but regardless, that broad reeks of looney.
Again, I’ll state I prefer my LOST fresh, which is why I stay away from spoilers, but I did read a while ago that Ben would end up romantically involved with someone and we’d all be surprised. So with Rousseau now spoken for, Ana Lucia looking quite butch and surly, this only gives more credence to another Joe Oesterle Double Your Money Back Guarantees. Juliet, as I have stated since last season when she blowed herself up real good, will run into and split a coffee tab with Detective James Ford before all is said and done. (She’ll probably need a cuppa java after watching her son perform his concert. A son she shares with a certain Dr. Fix-It. (Which of course is another in my series of bold win twice your currency prophecies.)
The Great Escape
Desmond, who was seen reading the Rushdie novel in the season premier about the stream of stories seems to have read to the end of this tale as well. Cool as a cucumber, Des springs Sayid and Kate from the paddy wagon with the help of Daddy Cluckbucks, Hugo Reyes. And once again someone is asking Kate to play dress up, but let’s be real.
Kate is hot all gussied up. This is going to be some concert. I’m expecting Faraday, Charlie and Drive Shaft and David Shephard to jam to some Beach Boys “Good Vibrations,” and defeat Smokey with the power of cool tunes. Hey Kiss defeated the Phantom of the Park that way.
…And In The End, The Love We Make….
At the well Smlocke realizes he’s been had, but doesn’t seem all that concerned about it. He plans to destroy the island anyway – which would seem a strange thing to say to your supposed right hand man Ben Linius, since you promised to sublet the place to him in your absence.
And finally, who the hell was that freaky old lady narrating this Sunday’s series finale?
Become a Fan of Mania on Facebook: HERE
Joe Oesterle hopes you're all reading his new humorous online advice.”Ask an Educated Fellow.” Real people, real questions. “The Educated Fellow” makes your personal mentor look like a fraudulent guru. Ignorance is No Longer Blissful. Click on the link below. Write in for advice. Scroll deep and enjoy.