A Case of the…. Lost

In my Heroes finale column all those weeks back, I noted that I believe that Lost was the best overall finale this season. After some time thinking about that comment, I fully stand by it. If I want to be generous, I might go as far as to say it was flawless. At the end of the episode, I never recall saying “I wish they had answered that!” or “I wish they had done that differently!” It really was a phenomenal episode: one that answered some questions (while, of course, asking new ones), fulfilled prophecies, and forced us to rethink the world the castaways live in.

At its core, Lost is about a group of people stranded on a deserted island, who are not only trying to survive, but also desperately want to go home. The twist at the end, which revealed that at least Jack and Kate got back home, and that Jack’s life has seemingly fallen apart because of it, makes us re-evaluate whether or not this struggle is worthwhile. Perhaps they should just submit and attempt to coincide with The Others, allowing them to live a peaceful existence, one that seems to provide them with any necessity they need to survive.

Of course, it’s not that easy, either (and it never is). Perhaps leaving the island is not what drove Jack over the edge. Maybe it was the events that transpired that got them off the island. The episode gave us just enough information to allow us to play the guessing game, while also leaving us plenty of gaps to ensure that we never stop guessing.

Now, onto the specifics of the episode. I’m going to start at the end, with the twist that the flashbacks we had been watching were actually flash forwards, giving us a glimpse of what Jack’s life is like after returning home from the island. Essentially, his life is in shambles, as he’s become an alcoholic who is also addicted to Oxycodone. He’s obsessed with returning to the island, flying over the Pacific every possible opportunity, hoping that the plane will crash (by the way, that whole “Gold Pass” thing? Brilliant!) It seems that every relationship in his life is volatile or shattered, whether it’s with his ex-wife, the chief of staff, or even Kate.

Let me just also note what a fantastic job Matthew Fox did in this episode. He played the part of the drunkard/drug addict VERY convincingly. I’m not at all trying to be sarcastic here. Take another look at his performance. Everything from the distant look in his eyes, to his speech, to his body language was really terrific. You could really buy his act. Wonderful job.

The fine people at thefuselage provided us with the actual transcription of the newspaper article Jack read, reporting somebody’s death:

“The body of John Lantham of New York was found shortly after 4 am in the 4300 block of Grand Avenue.

Ted Worden, a doorman at the Tower Lofts complex, heard loud noises coming from the victim’s loft.

Concerned for tenants’ safety, he entered the loft and found the body hanging from a beam in the living room.

According to Jaime Ortiz, a police spokesman, the incident was deemed a suicide after medical tests. Lantham is survived by one teenaged son.

Memorial services will be held at the Hoffs-Drawlar Funeral Home tomorrow evening.”

The question most people are asking is “who is John Lantham?” Is it a character we know and are familiar with, under an alias? Is it somebody we haven’t met yet? I don’t think we should read too much into the fact that nobody arrived at the funeral (or that Kate asked, “why would I?” in reference to going to the service). After all, a whole lot can happen between now and then (just take a look at what Jack and Kate’s relationship had deteriorated into).

I think perhaps the most telling part is that the person is survived by a teenaged son. If it’s somebody we know, this leads very closely to Michael. It wasn’t terribly clear how much time has passed between the island stuff and the “future,” giving a reasonable amount of time for Walt to become a teenager. If I remember correctly, he also lived in the city before going to Sydney to take custody of Walt.

On top of that, Michael also has a legitimate reason to take an alias, since he committed cold-blooded murder on the island (unlike most characters, who could argue self defense). If you want to be a real stickler, you could even note that the area Jack went to for the funeral was predominantly black. He also has a reason to be depressed (since his death was a supposed suicide), because of what he did on the island. Not to mention that he likely made plenty of enemies, if he was murdered.

Hey, maybe that judgmental Smoke Monster came to him from the island, and off’d him, al la Eko, when he didn’t show a sufficient amount of regret over what he had done. Anyway, I’m not saying Michael is my prediction, but it’s as good a guess as any.

I can’t explain why, but when Jack climbed onto the ledge of the bridge in one of the first flashbacks, I had this urge that he was going to jump, and it would be revealed that this was the future. As the episode wore on, I drifted from this belief, although there were some subtle hints (like Jack using a Razor phone). Not to mention the Hoffs-Drawlar anagram, which also spells out “Flash Forward.”

Nevertheless, the reveal at the end was fantastic (and man, does Kate look good). On top of whose funeral Jack went to, another big question is who Kate was referring to when she said “he’ll wonder where I am” when she met up with Jack at the airport. Her probation officer? Her cop almost-husband? Sawyer? Ben? Jacob?

As many have noted, Jack’s “I’m tired of lying” line may very well be the thing tying all of this together. While Jack has always been a reluctant hero, I found his reaction to being called a hero, in the future, particularly interesting. Yes, many people were referring to how he rescued that lady from her fiery car, but there was definitely an underlying implication that, according to the media anyway, Jack did something very heroic to get them rescued off of the island.

Nevertheless, he seemed to completely shrug off every reference anybody made to him being a hero. He seemed downright uncomfortable, almost ashamed, as if he had actually done something categorically un-heroic. I find this perfectly believable, considering that he was willing to sacrifice Sayid, Jin, and Bernard in order to rescue the rest of the crew. That also coincides with my belief that the events that transpired may have been what drove Jack over the edge, instead of actually leaving the island. Perhaps Jack had to make a very difficult decision that allowed him and Kate to escape, but left the others there to face an unenviable fate (which would also explain why he’s so determined to return).

Jack went through a lot on the island, as well. I enjoyed his brief kiss with Juliet, and Kate’s look of jealousy because of it. Then, of course, Jack finally told Kate that he loves her, and you know what? I thought it was a nice, understated moment. It wasn’t this huge build up. He just .told her, and it was sorta nice. It also acted as a fantastic contrast to what their relationship turns into after they get off the island.

A lot of other stuff happened on the island, as well. First off, how crazy is it that Tom got killed off? That was crazy! He’s the only non-regular on the show that has been on every single season, in “real time” (as in, not flashbacks). Along with that, we still know nothing about him. Despite not having flashback episodes, we’ve found out a whole lot about Ethan and Alpert, but nothing about Tom. He’s clearly not a doctor, which seems like a minority within The Others. Who is he? How long has he been on the island? What role does he serve? That said, it was a great moment, with Sawyer staring him down and then shooting him, saying, “that’s for taking the kid off the raft.”

Another thing I found odd regarding Tom is that he has seemed distinctly less villainous since the series came back from hiatus. He and Jack had that moment in the viewing room when Juliet was talking to Ben, where he said, in quite a friendly tone, “I’m Tom, by the way.” He then helped Jack finish the surgery. Later on he played football with Jack, and then seemed to warn him that the room was bugged when he went to talk to Kate. In the finale, he was suddenly much more bloodthirsty, upset that they didn’t just kill off Sayid, Jin, and Bernard, and behaving to the point that Jack threatened to kill him himself. I’d really enjoy a flashback episode, revealing what happened when Jack was in the barracks.

Hurley’s rescue was also nice, a particularly great throwback to what many considered a filler episode. I also enjoyed his constant reminder to people that he saved everybody.

Rousseau’s reunion with her daughter was very sweet, and Ben’s “Alex this is your mother” line as he lied bloody on the ground was fantastically delivered. Another great moment was when Ben was tied to the tree, urging Locke to shoot Jack, only for Rousseau to elbow him in the face and knock him out.

Speaking of which, how odd was it to see Ben cheering Locke on, only episodes after shooting the guy? If I were Locke, who had no problem murdering a perfect stranger, I probably would have taken the opportunity to exact some revenge. The dude was tied up and everything!

I’m going to close things with arguably the most emotional part of the episode, namely Charlie’s death. Quite simply, everything about it was fantastic. The scripting, the acting, everything. Desmond remains one of my favorite characters, due in large part because of his on-screen chemistry with Charlie.

Charlie’s death scene was great. I loved how his last act was writing the message on his hand that Naomi isn’t with Penelope, making his last act a gesture to save everybody else. His stare down with Desmond, with them pressing their hands against the glass, was very touching. Quite simply, Desmond was the perfect person to share that scene with. He’s compassionate, but contained. The most beautiful moment, though, was Charlie doing the sign of the cross just before fading away to death. I don’t think anybody will argue that he had the best death yet on the show.

Some questions to ponder:

First, the one everyone seems to be asking: Is Jack’s father alive, or were the references to his father a combination of desperation to get drugs and general drunken ramblings?
Personally, I believe his father is dead, and that the references were a red herring, so to speak, to add to the shock when it was revealed that this is actually the future.

Also, was the vision that Locke saw actually Walt, or was it Jacob? Or the Smoke Monster?
That’s actually a much harder question to answer, as Walt does have some mystical ability (and remember, Miss Klugh asked Michael, in his own vague way, if Walt ever appears places he’s not supposed to be). And, thus far, it seems like the Smoke Monster/Jacob only appears as deceased characters. By that same token, this may very well be a clue as to the fate of Michael and Walt.

Exactly who was Naomi working for before she was killed?
Honestly, I haven’t the faintest clue. Ben seems to imply that these are people who want to take advantage of the island’s abilities (one would assume the ability to heal people). My follow up question is: Why is this an “evil” thing? If Ben is being truthful, and Juliet’s sister really is healthy now (which in turn means that the island’s abilities can be taken away from the island), why aren’t they sharing this wonderful gift, exactly?

What is it about the island that makes it so difficult to return to?
Jack is obsessed with trying to return to the island, constantly traveling over the Pacific with the hope that the plane will crash. Let me ask the obvious: Why can’t Jack simply take a boat there? What happened that makes it so impossible to find?

Anyway, I’m definitely very psyched for next season. And best of all? JACK WASN’T KILLED!