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I suppose, before I do anything else, I should issue a half-hearted apology to the writers and producers of LOST for the harsh review of ‘ACROSS THE SEA’ that I put out last week. I only say this in context to having seen this week’s episode ‘WHAT THEY DIED FOR’ since there are holes that would have been left unfilled had we not seen ‘ACROSS THE SEA’. I still stand by it being one of my least favorite episodes of the season for many reasons but I can not at least see the logic of what they were trying to accomplish as well as the reason why they placed it exactly where they placed it.

If you have been tracking the number of special LOST columns that I have written for this season than you will notice that I haven’t written one for every single episode. My reason for leaving out certain episodes is the same reason that I almost did not write one for this series penultimate episode. It is very hard to talk about the elements of what happened in ‘WHAT THEY DIED FOR’ because it feels like both a lot happened and a lot didn’t happen in the episode. If I were to sit down and list all of the things that did happen in this episode you would probably think I’m off my nut in saying a lot didn’t happen, but maybe my perception is in the fact that we didn’t see much progress happen in the story.

One of the three stories transpiring in this episode was the tale of MILES, RICHARD and BEN going to BEN’s former house to pick up some C4 from his special pantry of disaster in order to blow up the AJIRA plane on the smaller island. This seemingly small and uninteresting story had most of the action and progress in it because the following all happens:

  • Before getting to the cabin we find out RICHARD took the time to bury BEN’s daughter ALEX
  • Right after getting the C4 the trio find their party crashed by CHARLES WIDMORE and the EVIL TINA FEY (ZOE).
  • Right after THAT party crash the party gets crashed further by LOCKE MONSTER (why have I not been calling him this all along?) who tosses RICHARD ALPERT into the jungle (with MILES having ditched the party in favor of living via a jungle jog).
  • BEN seems to turn coat pretty quick after in handing over ZOE and WIDMORE over to LOCKE, both of whom wind up dead shortly after WIDMORE reveals that DESMOND was JACOB’s failsafe should all the candidates get made dead.
  • BEN accompanies LOCKE MONSTER to the well where DESMOND is supposed to be but find an empty well and a rope instead.

See, lots of action? In the story we’re reminded of BEN’s daughter being ALEX since that will come up in the flash-sideways story also in this episode. WIDMORE and ZOE have to be there in order to tell LOCKE MONSTER why they brought DESMOND to the ISLAND as well as allowing their game pieces to be cleared off of the board. This gets them added to the pile along with FRANK (pilot the AJIRA flight) and ILLANA (get the ashes from JACOB’s death pyre) as characters who enjoyed several episodes on the Island to only fulfill one purpose. WIDMORE is also crucial to either prove to us through his death that BEN is vengeful and evil or just that he’s vengeful and hopefully he’s working the long con on the LOCKE MONSTER in order to simply survive this whole ordeal. I really hope that this is the case because BEN first seems to switch sides again when the LOCKE MONSTER offers him control of the Island after he’s left. By the episodes end, however, he says he is going to find DESMOND and use him to do what he’s never been able to do which is to destroy the Island. This naturally leaves BEN with a LOSE/LOSE situation so if we see him hanging around with LOCKE MONSTER on the Sunday finale it means he’s working the long con or simply trying to survive.

I think the writers really want us to believe that RICHARD ALPERT is dead. I don’t really know if that is the case. RICHARD was trying to use dynamite to off himself a few episodes back because, I’m assuming, that living after you’ve been blown to bits is kind of hard to do. Being tossed into a jungle like a wild foul ball probably bangs you up really bad, probably to the point where you wish you were dead, but RICHARD was given immortal life by JACOB wasn’t he?

During LOCKE MONSTER and BEN’s trip to the well it was nice to have the writers also answer a very simple question that I’m sure many a geek like myself has wondered. He asked LOCKE MONSTER directly, “If you can become smoke whenever you want why do you bother walking?” Turns out LOCKE MONSTER is the granola eating tree hugging type who likes to feel the Earth under his feet. Good on you LOCKE MONSTER!

The second of the three stories that went on in the 42 minutes and 20 seconds of screen time was the story of the remaining candidates. They grieved over their sunk comrades, they started on their quest to find DESMOND and they ended up all finally meeting JACOB. It turns out that those ashes that ILLANA took from the base of the statue could be used to bring JACOB back one last time when burned in a fire (if I describe any more detail it comes off even crazier so let’s just leave it at that).

Even though HURLEY seemed to find JACOB in a matter of moments some how it takes him all afternoon and evening to finally get his friends back to JACOB’s fireside vigil where he finally let’s them know why their friends died and ‘WHAT THEY DIED FOR’. He cops to accidentally creating the SMOKE MONSTER almost 2000 years ago and how that LOCKE MONSTER wants to destroy the light of all creation at the heart of the Island, and that’s what needs protecting. One of them has to choose to become the new protector of the Island and hopefully dispatch the LOCKE MONSTER because the LOCKE MONSTER is going to be gunning for them. Faster than you can say, “JACK has been building up to this all season” JACK stands up and takes the job. JACOB says an incantation and gives him a mug of river water to chug down and then tells JACK, “Now you’re like me.” I suppose this means that JACK will now speak in vague statements and won’t be able to answer any question posed to him in a direct manner.

This is part of the story that had to happen but it contained the least amount of action and momentum. The torch was passed from one protector to another and that’s about it.

The third story that occured in under three quarters of an hour can really be labeled as the adventures of DESMOND the enlightened in the alternate reality. Flash-sideways DESMOND is still on his quest to open the eyes of his fellow Flight 815′ers. The first stop is to prank call JACK to let him know that his Dad’s coffin has been found. The second is to stop off at the school and beat the snot out of BEN. The third is to turn himself in to the cops so that he can be transferred to county with SAYID and KATE and helps bust them out with the help of HURLEY and ANNA LUCIA. His final reveal is that KATE is his date to a concert, which might be the concert that is being hosted by DANIEL FARADAY WIDMORE, even though I thought that was happening the same night that CHARLIE took DESMOND into the bay for a leisurely underwater drive.

The flash-sideways world, in many ways, comes off more like a love-letter to the long time fans of the show. After getting his beat down from DESMOND the very timid BENJAMIN LINUS accepts a ride home and dinner invitation by ALEX’s mom DANIELLE who insists he comes over, “even if we have to kidnap you.” His appearance during this invitation, after the beat down by DESMOND, is almost the same as… well… his appearance after the beat down by DESMOND in the previous season. There’s also a touching scene after dinner where BEN finds out that ALEX thinks of him as a father figure, where he subsequently gets all choked up and we as an audience all are supposed to go “AHHHHHHH.”

Another item that stemmed from BEN’s whoopin’ is the re-installation of faith into JOHN LOCKE. When BEN tells him that the guy that beat him up said he was trying to help LOCKE to “let go” LOCKE has coincidence overload and goes to see JACK to let him know he’s ready to get out of his chair if JACK really thinks that he can help him. This scene has a great call back to a line to one said by MR. EKO in the second season when JACK says to LOCKE that he is, “confusing coincidence for fate.”

I think the most important item of note is probably one of the most subtle. In the very beginning of the episode we see flash-sideways JACK in the bathroom noticing the same bloody neck wound that he had in the first episode of this season as well. Sideways JACK is the only person that we’ve seen a persistent wound on this season, he’s also the only one that seems to notice physical problems or issues with himself (remember the appendix question a while back?). I don’t think that this bodes very well for sideways JACK. I don’t know how and I don’t know why this isn’t a good thing for him but I think that in the series finale things aren’t going to end well for him.

That’s really all that I have to say about this episode. After seeing this episode I think that there is a lot of story to still be told so I’m glad that the broadcast slot for the episode was expanded to 2.5 hours, especially since this actually means roughly 110 minutes of actual show time. That’s just 10 minutes shy of two full hours to have three separate stories converge into one final tale. I still have no idea about what is going to happen and I’m glad I don’t. It means that ht writing isn’t predictable, the story is unique, and the experience will be a memorable one.

See you on the other side.


One Response to “TV Or Not TV: Finding Out ‘What They Died For’ (LOST)”

  1. Will Says:

    In regards to the concert, I assumed that it was Jack’s son’s concert, which I think was mentioned in the start of the episode. I’m probably wrong… Good article though!

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