Sunday, April 25, 2010

LOST -- Episode 6.13 -- "The Last Recruit"


There's not a lot to say about this most recent episode of LOST. It was a solid, excellent episode, and it did a lot to set up the final act of the series. Characters who have been dormant for a few episodes (Sawyer, Kate) were finally brought back into the action, and the stakes were upped in both on the Island and in the Sideways world.

I was glad to see that Widmore's plans with Sawer and company were not so altruistic. We can expect Sawyer and Kate to revisit the sex cages no doubt as season six continues to take us down memory lane. Why Widmore doesn't care to honor his agreement with Sawyer is interesting, though, and continues to make me wonder what his motivation is for returning to the Island.

I was also glad to see Jack and Locke finally reunited, both on Island and in the Sideways world. Their relationship has been a staple of the show since the beginning, and it's been awhile since we've been able to watch them face-off. In this episode we got two great scenes between them -- at Locke's camp on Island, and in the surgery room in the Sideways world.

Sun and Jin were also reunited. I'm not the first to say this, but it seemed anti-climatic, and I spent most of the time afraid that they were going to get their brains fried by the sonic fence. At least they're together again, though, which means one of them will have to die as we get closer to the finale. I know how awful that sounds, but the producers have been promising a lot of deaths down the stretch, and I think one of the Kwon's is destined for a place among the Island's whisper crew.

Here are some other thoughts:

The Last Recruit

So, who is the “last recruit?” Based on this week's episode, all eyes are on Jack Shephard, the former Man of Science who took his metaphorical/metaphysical leap of faith into the ocean. The “Mr. Fix-It” Jack Shephard, who took to the surgery room again in the Sideways World to operate on none other than John Locke.

The irony should not be lost on us that the episode ended with Jack being in a position to save Locke while Locke directly saved Jack from being killed in Widmore’s bombing attack. Jack has been recruited to be a miracle worker in the Sideways World while being recruited to be a soldier in the Island World.

And all Jack cares about now is what the Island wants from him. Nothing else matters anymore. Like in the obviously paralleled season 1 episode, “White Rabbit,” Jack is alone now to figure out for himself which path to take. He’s a free agent, tethered to no one, no matter what Evil Locke says to him.

In the end, the hero has to face his greatest trial alone. This episode goes to great lengths to let us know that Jack is indeed the hero of this story. After five and a half seasons of watching Jack transition from reluctant leader to control freak asshole to crazy bearded crybaby, we now finally see a man who is at peace with himself. He has been converted to the Island’s Will and his baptism is the final symbol of his complete rebirth. This leaves him to face off against the man bearing the image of Jack’s forbearer and mentor: Evil Locke.

Now that Jack is definitely in position as the hero of the story, he will be able to fulfill the plan Jacob eluded to back in "Lighthouse" as he and Hurley observed Jack staring off across the sea. I'm starting to get an idea of what this plan is, and it corresponds with what Jack said to Sawyer before jumping ship. "If Locke -- that...that thing -- wants us to leave, maybe it's afraid of what happens if we stay."

Jack's mission will be to destroy the Ajira airplane. He will play along with Evil Locke as far as it goes, but will find himself aligned with Richard, Ben, and Miles before its all done, leading them into battle against Evil Locke. Jack will become what John Locke was at the end of season three when he blew up both the Flame Station and the submarine. He is going to do whatever is in his power to make sure that everyone stays on the Island. He will finish what John Locke started.

Coincidence or Destiny?

This episode had a lot going on in the coincidence/fate department. Everyone just so happens to be showing up exactly when they need to in the Sideways World. We saw this especially when Claire goes to see the adoption agency -- Desmond, Jack, and Ilana show up. Desmond has never been creepier, as many recappers have noted, and Claire just seems too naive to understand the forces at play (which is a great contrast to the world-weary, untrusting version of herself on the Island).

Why is everyone being drawn together in this world? What force is doing it?

I'm going to speculate that the hand drawing everyone together is the Island. Even though it is underwater in the Sideways World, its influence can still be felt. It is the third party in this game. We haven't heard much from the Island in this season. Jacob has called it a "cork," but not much has been explained as to the Island's nature and abilities. Why can people be healed? Why are tormented souls allowed to float freely to whisper shit backwards? It can't just be due to electromagnetism. There has to be a greater force at play.

Redemption?

At the beginning of the episode, Hurley reminds Sawyer that Anakin Skywalker achieved redemption after crossing to the dark side. This funny line -- made funnier that culturally savvy Sawyer didn't get it -- had a lot of impact on a episode that promininently feature scenes with its two "dark side" players: Claire and Sayid. We are to believe that both have been infected with the "sickness" and are firmly in Evil Locke's camp. Yet, both betray him in this episode. Sayid does not kill Desmond, despite telling Evil Locke that he did. And Claire leaves the comfort of Locke's care to join Kate on the Elizabeth in order to leave the Island without her "friend."

Are these two going to be redeemed? Keep in mind that Anakin Skywalker was redeemed through death. You can't cross over to the Dark Side without major consequence. Anakin realized he had been fooled by the Emperor, and had to kill him to gain his redemption. Will Claire and Sayid pull something similar here?

I know I'd like to see Sayid earn redemption. Since the beginning, he has been a man haunted by his misdeeds and wickedness. To see him in a position where he can put an end to a specific evil would be very rewarding. I don't quite feel the same about Claire, but it seems she may just have to finally allow someone else to raise her son and pass the torch of motherhood to Kate.

Final Thoughts

There will not be a new episode of LOST this coming week, just a repeat of the classic, "Ab Aeterno." I don't plan on writing anything until the next episode, called, "The Candidate." Although, I have to say I am frustrated that we have to wait an extra week. ABC is no doubt looking to ensure that the series finale kicks off Sweeps Week by delaying the series an extra week, but I don't really care.

Oh, well...one more week won't kill me. Or any of us. It'll just postpone the inevitable depression that awaits starting May 24.

In the meantime, comment and theorize!

3 comments:

  1. I find myself (surprisingly) liking Jack now. This new "doesn't have to fix everything, accepts the kookiness of the island" mentality fits him well. He's now like a less zealous season 1 Locke.

    Which makes me think, for all the talk of Locke getting a bum deal (dying thinking he's a failure, and everything he believed in revealed to be the work of monster)perhaps his ultimate victory will come only by Jack picking up his mantel, and finishing the work Locke believed he was doing while getting conned by Smokey.

    It would be a fitting end to the Locke/Jack conflict, and the show gets to have its cake too, by still having a (likely) more visceral showdown between Jack and Smokey-as-Locke. So we'd get to see the conflict come to a head at the same time that Jack is working to vindicate Locke's faith. That'd be pretty cool.

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  2. I agree, Teebore. At the same time, I think we also need to account for the version of Locke still living over in the Sideways world. I don't know how the two realities fit together yet, but something tells me that the writers are not done with Locke.

    I guess showing Jack the light makes him less of a fool than the MiB makes him out to be. And after what we've known of Jack these last few seasons, that's no mean feat.

    Thanks for commenting!

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