‘Lost’ in Thought: The Candidate

Time is getting short on ‘Lost’. We’re in the home stretch now. After this week, there are only two more regular episodes and the two-part finale left. This seems like it should be time for the producers to start cranking out the Big Answers, preferably at a speedy clip. This show has a lot of loose ends and unresolved issues. Don’t get me wrong, this week’s episode (‘The Candidate’) is very good, even excellent at times. It has some really powerful moments. At the same time, it’s another episode that advances the mechanics of the plot forward without revealing much about the underlying mystery or mythology. I’m sure that’s being done deliberately to hold the best stuff back for later. Nonetheless, it can’t help but feel a little frustrating at this point. (Spoilers after the break.)

Jin, Sun, and Sayid are all dead! (Hey, I warned you about spoilers.) Oh. My. God. After regaining some of his humanity, Sayid sacrificed himself to save the other Losties from Fake Locke’s bomb. Then, in a very ‘Titanic’ moment, Jin and Sun went down with the sinking submarine. This is a traumatic turn of events for our beloved characters. Still, the shock of these deaths is tempered a bit by the knowledge that these characters (or versions of them) still live on in the flash-sideways timeline, and we will likely see them again. (A point is even made of showing Sideways Jin walking through the hospital in L.A. after Island Jin dies.) Also, Jin already had a momentous death scene at the end of Season 4, which is still fresh enough in memory to undercut some of the power of this one. It sure was nice to see him stay behind to die with Sun, though. These two have certainly come a long way since the squabbling couple in the ‘Pilot’ episode.

Although it wasn’t heralded quite as strongly, Lapidus also appears to have died in the sub. He was a fun character. I’ll miss the guy.

What we learned: By planting the bomb in Jack’s backpack, Fake Locke/Man in Black has (seemingly) flushed away any ambiguity about his intentions. He wanted the Losties dead, which would appear to support Jacob’s claim that he’s “evil incarnate.” I still don’t know that I’m entirely convinced by everything Jacob says, though. I’ve never really bought into the whole Good/Evil dynamic. Jacob has done plenty of questionable things, and MiB has done things that don’t seem to be purely evil. Further, Jacob and Man in Black have both been telling the Losties the same stories about each other. Jacob says that MiB is pure evil. MiB says that Jacob is the devil. Jacob says that MiB will kill everyone on the island. MiB says that Jacob will kill everyone on the island. I have to take anything that either one of them says with a grain of salt.

It’s been my theory for several episodes now that Man in Black’s real name is Jacob… that he and Jacob are manifestations of different aspects of the same person. This seemed very clear to me in episode ‘Sundown’. So much so that I was surprised the writers didn’t reveal it outright. Later events clouded that theory with more ambiguity, but nothing that’s occurred has contradicted it outright. I think we’ll find out more about this next week.

We also learned that MiB cannot directly kill a “Candidate.” He can kill regular folks left and right, but has to manipulate events to trick Candidates into killing each other. This is sort of the inverse of Jacob’s “gift” that prevents people from killing themselves. This brings to mind what the strange kid in the jungle said to Fake Locke about there being rules he had to abide. Whatever is happening on the island is a big game between Jacob and Man in Black. The rest of the characters are just pawns to be played.

This being the case, I suppose it means that Mr. Eko wasn’t a Candidate. I would have assumed that he was.

Fun stuff: Sawyer and Kate get locked in the polar bear cages again – What goes around comes around. And did everyone catch the Apollo candy bar in the vending machine? Nicely done.

The preview for next week shows absolutely no new footage. It’s nothing but clips from earlier episodes, going all the way back to the ‘Pilot’. From what I gather, the next ep is going to be the story of Jacob and Man in Black, and (according to rumors) may not feature any of the other regular cast. I’m expecting that we’ll see some of those Big Answers from this one. Hopefully, really Big Answers.


  1. besch64

    An unfathomably good episode of television.

    1) Esau/Locke/Smocke/Smokey/MIB does not want to leave the island. He wants to leave, yes, but not the island. He is the Devil in Paradise Lost, cast out of Heaven and seeking to return. He wants to move on to the next plain of existence, and that would result in the corruption and destruction of, well… everything.

    2)I don’t feel any of the deaths have any of their power diminished by the existence of the sideways. As soon as I saw Jin walking by in the sideways right after he died, it just acted as a painful reminder of what just happened. People complain that character deaths in Lost are not as powerful as they could be, because the dead come back to the show with relative frequency. But in fact, Lost’s deaths are MORE powerful because the sadness of watching a character die comes from the fact that you sympathize with them so much that it feels like you’re watching a friend die. Knowing that you’ll see them again in the next episode has nothing to do with it.

    3) Lost has aged like fine wine. Find me another show that’s more-or-less upheld this level of quality for six years. It’s just unreal. I have no doubt that in a few decades, Lost (and specifically Through the Looking Glass) will be the Citizen Kane of television; studied, analyzed, researched, hailed as the greatest ever.

    I love this show.

  2. It is a helluva show! Last night’s episode was really kick ass.

    I also subscribe to the position that Locke is the devil (or at least a version of the devil). It almost seems like Jack is his Job (biblically speaking). Jack constantly has to reaffirm that he is faithful to the island, even as his friends are hurt or killed.


  3. RichieRaw

    I agree 100% with besch64. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I have alot of friends that are into Lost, but a couple that I discuss the show with most frequently, have fallen into that trap. The one where they don’t care about the story anymore and just want answers, as if the past 5 seasons were only that. I kinda felt that sting too about 3 episodes in this season, then realized the story and connection to the characters always came first. Try to keep my hunger for answers from ruining the show for me.

    Sure, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and all that good stuff. I just find it frustrating that a good friend, whom I always loved discussing the show with, summed up the Kwon’s deaths as “plot devices that had to get out of the way because they were pointless for a long time now”. I was just like, wow, really? You didn’t care about the characters AT ALL?

    Anyways, just had to vent somewhere, good recap Josh. But, there was a quick shot in the preview that we haven’t seen. Jacob and MiB sitting at a bench playing their ‘game’. ABC’s sneak peek for next week also has me excited. Can’t wait.

    • Josh Zyber

      I largely agree with you. The character stuff is the heart of the show, and is still very important. I very much want to see those scenes.

      However, the mystery and mythology aspects are also critical components to the show. At this stage of the game, with so few new episodes left to resolve things, I think the writers owe us some answers. I don’t necessarily need EVERY dangling plot thread tied up in a nice little bow. But I would like to see some of the big ones addressed.

  4. El Bicho

    “It sure was nice to see him stay behind to die with Sun, though.”

    Really? Jin makes his daughter an orphan for no reason and that’s “nice”? Maybe it is considering how little the parents thought of the child. It came off like it was written by a high school student infatuated by “Romeo & Juliet”. And why should viewers care about these deaths? They were meaningless to the story. Sayid’s served a purpose, but was still a cop out.

    I have no doubt that in a few decades anyone who claims “Lost” as the greatest show ever will not be taken seriously by those who have study television.

  5. Tim H.

    Jin never met his daughter, so his emotional connection to her would be quite weak compared to the one he has with his wife whom he has fought and nearly died for throughout the years. Yes, it’s sad that a daughter is left parentless (though she’s well taken care of given that she’s a Kwon), but it makes sense that Jin would stay with Sun.

    How are their deaths meaningless to the story? As was stated by another, the story is more than just answers to mysteries. Just because their death didn’t answer some major mystery doesn’t mean it was meaningless. It’s given meaning by the writers, who believed that IN THEIR STORY, it would be prudent for the Kwons to die when they did. Perhaps you should be quicker to admit you just don’t like how the story is unfolding than accusing, implicitly, the writers of laziness or unoriginality.

    For the others, I believe next week’s episode is a complete flashback of Jacob and MiB, if my sources are accurate. So it seems we may have a good episode of mythology answerse before the finale.

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