Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lost 6.16: "What They Died For"

“You should get your friends. We’re very close to the end, Hugo.”

“What They Died For” was most definitely a set-up episode, moving all the remaining “Lost” pieces into place for the two-and-a-half hour finale extravaganza (which I will eventually write about…I promise!). Everything in the sideways-verse is starting to come together, and some big-time answers that we could have guessed at after “Across the Sea” were made explicit here. There was also some more character development for Ben in both universes. I didn’t really like what happened to Ben in the original universe when I first watched this episode, but on rewatch, I think I appreciate it more because of its complexity. It’s always been impossible to tell whether Ben was good or evil (and I usually came down firmly on the side of evil), and this episode continues that nicely.

The episode opens in the sideways-verse, where Jack looks at himself in the bathroom mirror and sees a nasty gash on his neck. It’s very much like the appendix scar Jack noticed in “LA X.” Jack doesn’t have much time to think about this, though, because it’s time for breakfast in the Shephard household. Claire joins Jack and David, and the whole thing is rather sweet and cozy until Jack gets a phone call from Oceanic saying they found Christian’s coffin. We quickly learn that it wasn’t actually Oceanic calling Jack, though. It was Desmond, being creepy as always. I really love this arc for sideways Desmond. It’s extremely entertaining, and Henry Ian Cusick seems to play the role with relish.

We then move from one of my favorite moments of the episode back to the Island and my least favorite moment of the episode. Jack stitches up Kate’s gunshot wound, and Kate talks about Sun, Jin, and Ji Yeon. Kate is determined to kill Locke for what he did. I can’t stand Jack/Kate interaction in any form, so, moving on, Jack has a new plan for the remaining survivors. They’re going to go find Desmond in his well. Time for more wandering around the Island! Miles, Richard, and Ben are also doing some wandering, although they’ve at least made it to the Barracks. There’s a bit of creepiness as Miles reacts to the group walking near Alex’s grave. This scene seemed kind of pointless at first, but it’s very important for establishing Ben’s mindset later in the episode. Seeing his “daughter’s” grave for the first time is obviously a big deal.

The trio is at the Barracks to pick up some C4 stored in Ben’s secret closet storage compartment. They’re still following Richard’s “blow up the plane” idea, after all. They make it to Ben’s old house, and Miles and Richard are pretty impressed by the secret room with the Hieroglyphs. Ben grabs all the C4, then they’re interrupted. It’s Zoe and Widmore, back to make more trouble, of course. To make things worse, Locke is closing in on them too. There’s a bunch of “who is going to go with whom” shuffling around at that point. Miles basically just wants to get as far away from Locke as possible, so when Zoe and Widmore want to run or hide, that’s fine by him. Zoey and Widmore end up hiding in Ben’s closet. Richard and Ben go outside to face Locke once and for all. Richard doesn’t last very long in the confrontation. Locke slams him up against a tree before Richard can even get a word in.

Ben figures heavily in both universes this time around. Desmond continues to be awesome, as he makes a second trip to Ben and Locke’s school on the day that Locke returns to work. Ben recognizes him instantly and threatens to call the police. Desmond claims that he didn’t want to hurt Locke. His purpose was to help Locke “let go.” Desmond then proceeds to help Ben “let go” as well by giving him a good beat down. Of all things, this is what triggers Ben’s memory of the original universe. Specifically, he remembers when Desmond beat him up at the Marina after Ben threatened to kill Penny. Needless to say, I quite enjoyed this scene. I enjoyed it even more when Desmond showed up at the police station to turn himself in. He finds Sawyer and Miles, and they’re pretty incredulous at how chipper he is about the whole thing. He’s equally cheery to fellow prisoners Sayid and Kate, which kind of pisses them off. Kate seems especially annoyed by Desmond’s upbeat attitude. There is also a wonderful Sawyer and Kate moment when Saywer says goodbye to the prisoners before they’re transported to County.

Sayid and Kate quickly begin to understand why Desmond is in a good mood. As they’re being transported to County, their vehicle stops. It turns out Desmond bribed the driver to let them go. The driver is none other than Ana Lucia, and the bribe is supplied by Hurley of course. Desmond tells Sayid to go with Hurley and Kate to come with him. Kate’s a little suspicious and wants to know what they’re doing. Desmond pulls out a little black dress for Kate and tells her they’re going to a concert. Daniel Faraday’s concert, no doubt. The final pieces of the sideways-verse are put into place when Locke shows up at Jack’s office. Locke is ready to “let go” and have Jack perform the surgery that could cure him of his paralysis.

Elsewhere in sideways-verse, Ben gets patched up by the school nurse and runs into Alex on his way out of the school building at the end of the day. Alex is horrified by what happened to Ben, and she insists that he get a ride home with her. Ben, with one arm in a sling, really isn’t in good condition to drive. Alex’s ride home is her mom, Danielle Rousseau. It was really great to see Mira Furlan back in the role, even if she didn’t have a whole lot to do. It’s “coq au vin” night chez Rousseau, which sounds horribly silly in the context of “Lost.” It feels silly to me because it seems like the writers just said, “Rousseau is French, so what’s the most French sounding meal we can think of?” Anyway, the plot gets better once they all get to the Rousseau house. Danelle tells Ben that he is like a father to Alex (whose biological father died when she was very young), and Ben has to fight back tears.

Back on the Island things aren’t so bright and shiny for Ben. He seemed to make progress back in “Dr. Linus” when Ilana forgave him, but he’s most definitely regressing. Locke doesn’t have to do much persuading to get Ben to give up the location of Widmore. Locke asks Ben if he’d be willing to kill a list of people, but Ben doesn’t answer just yet. Locke and Ben quickly find Widmore and Zoe hiding in Ben’s closet. Zoe annoys Locke, so he slits her throat. Ben is a bit peeved that Locke won’t kill Widmore, too. It turns out that Widmore could be useful to Locke. Locke wants to know why Widmore came back to the Island, and Locke threatens that he’ll kill Penny if Widmore doesn’t tell him what he wants to know. Widmore starts to whisper to Locke why exactly he came back and brought Desmond with him when Ben shoots him. Ben’s rationale is that Widmore “doesn’t get to save his daughter.” I still don’t quite understand why Ben blames Widmore for Alex’s death in the first place, but clearly, seeing Alex’s grave earlier that day affected him. Ben is also now willing to kill whomever else Locke tells him to. Locke and Ben head out to Desmond’s well, only to find that Desmond has escaped.

As Jack and company are heading for Desmond’s well, Hurley is distracted by mini-Jacob. Mini-Jacob steals real Jacob’s ashes from Hurley and runs of gleefully. Hurley follows as best he can and comes upon the grown-up version of Jacob sitting by a fire. Jacob has placed the ashes in the fire, and he wants Hurley to gather his friends so Jacob can speak to all of them. Jacob does tell the Losties some important information, although not as much as you might think considering his “I’m going to tell all” introduction. He explains that it was his job to protect the Island, and he created the Monster. Jacob says that the Island still needs protecting (specifically from the monster), but he’s going to do things differently from his Mother. He’s going to give the Losties a choice about whether or not to take up the mantle. Jack immediately accepts. He feels like this must be the answer to all those feelings about Destiny he has been having. Jacob goes through a somewhat simplified version of the ritual Mother performed with him, and now Jack is “like Jacob.”

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