written by carlton cuse and damon lindelof. they write all the game-changers

directed by: jack bender. he directs the big ones

cinematography by: stephen st. john. the trick of the shooting in this episode was that it managed to evoke every iconic desmond scene we've had on the show. we got a car diving off a pier, an underwater rescue, a crazy electromagnetic event, widmore's office, and the stadium scene, which was beautifully lit.

so: here's the second big game-changer of the season, beginning to explain the parallel timeline, and launching the show into the season's 3rd act. this does not top 'the constant,' but as an homage to desmond's character and function in the long great story of 'lost,' i can't imagine it being any better. it was like desmond's entire history in fast forward bizarro-world . this episode was a gradual unravelling of one surprise inversion after another.

  1. parallel desmond
  2. a violation
  3. desmond's plan
  4. widmore's plan
  5. preboomer
  6. next episode

1. parallel desmond
this episode was structured very similarly to 'flashes before your eyes,' with an initial setup on the island, and then a long, unbroken 'flash,' during which desmond has some consciousness crossing-over throughout. when desmond touches penny, he makes an instant, silent transition back to the island timeline, seemingly with full consciousness and memory of what he saw while 'away.' the episode then uses the newly-established 'parallel timeline whoosh' to take us back to the scene with penny at the stadium after desmond has apparently passed out in front of her. it's unclear how much knowledge parallel desmond now has of his original self - did touching penny restore complete memory of everything he'd been through originally?

but let's start at the beginning - without the island, desmond's life is completely altered. now he's successful, single, (despite the continuity error of putting a wedding ring on him in 'la x') and has everything except the 'spectacular, consciousness-altering love' of penny, who is a stranger to him in this world. he works for widmore, and in a fantastic, crazy reversal, widmore pours desmond a glass of macutcheon telling him 'nothing's too good for you.'

an interesting aspect of this new timeline is that it appears desmond has been manipulated by widmore in a way similar to how widmore originally 'used' him - only this time the manipulation is more underhanded, and doesn't appear malicious on the surface. originally, both widmore and eloise needed desmond to go to the island, push the button for three years, and then turn the failsafe key. apparently this action makes him a key player in the final battle between good and evil. in the original timeline, events must occur that propel desmond on course toward the island, and both widmore and eloise did their part in making sure it happened by keeping desmond away from penny. much is made of the futility of desmond's time spent pushing that button, and one of the themes of his larger story is that perhaps it was all worth it so that he could truly be with penny and have a child at the end.

in the new timeline desmond 'has it all,' but his life is still empty in a way he can't even realize. whatever his situation, desmond's theme is that life is meaningless without true love. yes, in the parallel he hasn't endured any of the suffering and pain of the original timeline, but he also hasn't experienced any of the joy of it either. when season 6 is at its smartest, it truly asks the question: what are the consequences of the choices we make?

analyzing this parallel timeline requires making a couple assumptions - so i'm going to assume a couple things:
  • jughead was in fact detonated in 1977 by juliet's rock smash
  • the detonation, in combination with the island's properties, did not result in a nuclear blast, but instead began to sink the island, forcing everyone there to leave.
  • eloise, still pregnant with daniel, left the island with charles widmore.
  • though they stayed married, widmore managed to find the exact same woman that he originally had an affair with during his abuse of the dharma sub in the original timeline, and still managed to father penelope - who in the parallel timeline is named 'penelope milton.'
so much was covered in this episode - and desmond met so many characters, it was almost like an inversion travelogue. hurley, claire, charlie, jack, widmore, daniel, eloise, penny, and minkowski!
in both timelines, minkowski served as a kind of 'guide' for desmond. in the original - he showed desmond his inevitable path towards death if he did not find his constant in time. and in the parallel, minkowski is literally cast as desmond's driver, taking desmond on the opposite path toward redemption.
desmond and charlie bond over a drink, as they did in 'flashes before your eyes.' the inversion here is that in 'flashes before your eyes,' it is desmond who has the unpleasant task of informing charlie that his death is inevitable. in the parallel, it's charlie who informs desmond that his life is meaningless.
goodbye at the stadium
desmond meets penny while she is running a tour de stade. this is of course the location where we first met desmond on the show, as he was preparing for his race around the world to win widmore's favor, and eventually penny. i loved this reversal, and the photography was beautifully matched to the original scene. we've been to this stadium twice before - once in the season 2 premiere, where we see jack meet desmond, then again in the season 2 finale - when we see the scene that took place just before desmond began his run, where penny tearfully promised him 'with enough money and determination, you can find anyone.' the original penny/desmond scene at the stadium was their heartbreaking final goodbye. in the parallel, it's the beginning of their new lives.
hello at the stadium
henry ian cusick and sonya walger are so amazing together - their chemistry is undeniable. it just floors me every time they have a scene, how well they play first meetings and reunifications. it makes it shocking to see walger on 'flashforward,' where the writing isn't as strong and she and her husband played by joseph feinnes both have american accents and no chemistry whatsoever.

2. a violation

if the parallel timeline is an expression of the success of eloise and widmore's plan, then both of them are trying to ensure that nothing ever undoes what they worked so unbelievably hard to make happen, even if both of them are unaware of the full scope of the sacrifices they originally made.
creepy eloise with the giant poofy hair is the same woman who shot and killed an adult version of the child she was still carrying - a guy the same age as the one now prepping for his concert with drive shaft. everything about her life, and the existence of daniel as a person who looks exactly like the guy she once shot (right down to his fashion choices - minus the hat) confirms that detonating jughead was absolutely the correct course of action.

what's puzzling to me is why she would attempt to keep desmond away from penny in this timeline, and why she would call desmond's curiosity 'a violation.' what can this eloise possibly know about how desmond and penny originally interacted, and what kind of danger can their reunification pose to the timeline? clearly widmore is also in on the secret, or else desmond would have known instantly who 'not penny's boat' might be referring to.

it's unclear if daniel's journal jumped forward in time with jack, kate, sawyer, hurley, juliet, sayid and miles - but if it didn't, then it's possible eloise and widmore recovered it and used it to learn details of the entire original timeline, specifically desmond's connection to daniel, and also desmond's connection to penny as his constant.

it seems like eloise is now trying to do the exact thing she first told desmond was totally futile: undo course correction. eloise doesn't wan't the universe to course correct itself back, so she's doing what she can to make sure that certain connections never get made.

what's also strange is that if preventing course correction is so important, why did widmore put desmond on flight 815, where he would surely make some connection with the original timeline?

3. desmond's plan
the biggest question i have at the end of this episode is: what exactly is desmond fighting for in each universe? charlie tells desmond that 'none of this matters,' but will charlie's opinion of the futility of the parallel change if he's reunited with claire?

some analysts have taken this episode to mean that yes, the parallel is indeed a false existence for our heroes - it eschews 5 years of storytelling and audience investment in favor of sometimes too-easy resolutions. but i don't see that at all - we've been getting hints along the way that there is more going on here than just an alternate timeline - it's building up to something, and it's taking the time to give emotional resolutions to most of the featured characters. by the same token, those resolutions won't mean anything if the parallel is undone. the show has an incredibly difficult task ahead of it in putting these two timelines together without betraying the investment we've placed in either of them.

what exactly does desmond want to show to the people on oceanic 815, and what will happen when does? in each timeline, is desmond trying to prevent or protect the parallel? after having met penny, he seemed euphoric - it doesn't seem likely that he wants to show everyone that they're living futile, pointless lives. it seems more like he knows that they have all lived other lives, and that the lost connections from that existence can be regained. perhaps what desmond wants to show them is that for each person on the flight, there's some kind of similar connection to be made - and we've already been watching those connections unfold on their own for 10 episodes. now, with desmond actively seeking our heroes out, it finally feels like this whole parallel story device is building towards something important. will the series end with the parallel world fully replacing the original timeline, or will it end with those in the parallel somehow making eloise's worst nightmare manifest, and course-correct the whole thing?

will the 'sides' in the jacob vs. smokey war ultimately break down between who wants to trade for the parallel world and who wants to keep the original timeline? it's a tough argument to make - overall things are much better for almost everyone on the parallel, though not perfect. if sun dies in the parallel or perhaps loses her baby, i can't see that she'd be very interested in backing a plan to trade timelines. locke doesn't get to walk, but he does get to be alive.. so do boone, shannon, artz, all the tailies, and nikki and paolo. i would love to see some passing reference, maybe on a tv screen in the parallel showing nikki and paolo arrested for murder and theft, and sentenced to death.

the other strange thing about desmond's new perspective is that he doesn't even care who's 'side' he's on in all this - he calmly joins sayid. sure des doesn't know about smokey, jacob, the epic battle between good and evil, or that sayid is an animated zombie, but he does know sayid, and he does know that widmore is pretty much an ass. so for sayid to jump in, snap some necks and say 'come with me,' yeah, i'd probably just go with him too.

4. widmore's plan
widmore's office once featured the painting of the black rock from the auction - it now features a model of a boat much like the one desmond used to sail in widmore's race, and a painting of a balanced scale with a white rock and black rock on it

it's very interesting to see the writers go to such lengths to make widmore's new operation look like a mismanaged joke. zoe captures jin too early, zoe gives desmond too much sedative, widmore orders the electromagnetic test a day ahead of schedule, resulting in the microwaving of one of his men. i think it's part of an attempt to now set widmore up as an underdog in the big battle - he knows how to use guns, but he's tremendously unprepared for the task ahead of him.

and was that big elaborate setup just to 'test' desmond? wouldn't it make more sense to test him on the mainland before going to all that trouble of bringing him to the island just to put him through a test that might kill him? it doesn't seem like widmore has any knowledge of desmond's ability to jump around in time - all he needs in order to get his job done is someone who can withstand a 'catastrophic electromagnetic event.' i was hoping this episode would finally explain what happened when desmond turned the failsafe.. is it still coming?? is desmond's job going to be to dismantle the frozen donkey wheel? or will the series end, once again with an incident at the hatch site?

5. preboomer

desmond: can you get me the manifest for my flight from sydney, oceanic 815, just the names of the passengers?
george: sure i can. do you mind if i ask what you need it for?
desmond: i just need to show them something.

wow, best preboomer of the season, and if you don't count the end of 'la x part one,' then this is also the only preboomer to take place in the parallel timeline. filled with mystery, suspense, and promise. the best.

6. next episode
hurley! in the jacob/smokey battle, hurley is a key player given that he's the only person who has direct contact with jacob. doesn't seem likely that he'll switch sides. hurley can also talk to a plethora of other ghosts, and it seems that any ghost, regardless of whether he knew the person, or if they died 100 years ago is fair game. i expect we'll see some faces from the past, alive and in the parallel, and dead as hurley ghosts.

quick hurley recap:
  • hurley won the lottery by playing 'the numbers' which he learned from leonard, while he was in the mental institution. leonard got the numbers from sam toomey, who heard them playing on a loop 16 years ago from a listening station in the pacific.
  • hurley was originally in australia to learn the source of the numbers from sam toomey's wife.
  • a laundry list of bad stuff happens to hurley and his family after winning the lottery, culminating in the crash of flight 815.
  • in the episode 'dave,' hurley forges a friendship with libby, who it turns out was also in the institution at the same time. hurley says she looks familiar, but doesn't make the connection. in that same episode, hurley's imaginary friend 'dave' appears both on and off the island. some have theorized that dave's appearance is actually the first manifestation of hurley's ability to see and talk to ghosts - and that dave is actually libby ex-husband, the one she hated, and whose boat she gave away to desmond so that he could run his race around the world.

written by: paul zbyszewski and graham roland. this pair also wrote this season's 'sundown,' which teased us via its title and season 1 centricity pattern into thinking that episode would be this season's sun/jin episode. the title was ominous - and apparently foreshadowed the dire events soon to befall sun in both the parallel and original timelines.

directed by: paul edwards. well, edwards has done some good episodes in the past (the variable), but he now has the distinction of directing the two episodes i'm most disappointed in this season - 'what kate does,' and this one. there are certainly aspects that i loved loved loved (most of the island story), but as an homage to the two most overlooked characters on the show, i feel it failed both on writing and directorial levels. it's hard to follow up the sweeping epic of 'ab aeterno,' but that episode really highlighted how flat the show had become, and it was unfortunate to see it return standard tv lighting and coverage.

cinematography by: john bartley. man, it felt kind of flat. a lot of standard interiors in the parallel, shot in standard tv ways. where is the cinematic inspiration? the island featured some nice shots - sun by her beachside campfire, and the shot of windmore's pylons stretching all the way across hydra island beach.

basically: this episode gave me a lot of what i wanted to see - in the island story. i even cried.. twice! once for sun and once for jin. the island side of the story also featured every single major character on the show for the first time since 'la x.' while it felt like old-school 'lost,' i'm puzzled and annoyed by the decision to take sun's english away from her. on top of that, the parallel story left me as cold as jin in that meat refrigerator. however, once i let go of my expectations and accepted the episode i got, there is still much to appreciate.

  1. a sun/jin retrospective
  2. parallel sun/jin
  3. criticisms
  4. the button
  5. zoe and widmore
  6. aphasia
  7. jack vs. locke
  8. choices
  9. great lines
  10. preboomer
1. a sun/jin retrospective

i think it's really important to revisit sun and jin's backstory:
• in 'house of the rising sun,,' we learned that sun married for love, below her class, and that jin accepted a mysterious job with her father, one that resulted in him coming home late at night with blood on his hands.

• in '..in translation,' we see the story from jin's perspective - sun's father has shifted him from a factory job to being his personal hit man. jin goes to visit his fisherman father, who tells him to do one last job for sun's father: deliver the watches to sydney and los angeles, and then run away together.

• in '..and found,' we learn how jin and sun met by chance, their paths finally coming together after sun was set up with jae lee, who would teach her english, and who she would have an affair with later. jin worked as a doorman at jae lee's hotel, and quit when the job required him to turn away a poorer man and his son from using the hotel bathroom.

• in 'the whole truth,' we learn that sun and jin are incapable of having a child. the doctor says that sun is infertile, then privately tells her that it is in fact jin who is the problem. the episode ends with sun discovering that she is pregnant on the island. she tells jin - then she tells him the truth about the doctor. and then she tells him that she's never been with anyone else. jin says that the baby is obviously a miracle. obviously..

• it's not until season 3's 'the glass ballerina' that we learn of sun's true deviousness. as a child she told a lie that got a maid fired, and she expressed no remorse. we learn that she did in fact have an affair with jae lee, who was teaching her english, and that her father discovered the affair, and asked jin to personally kill jae lee without telling him why. jin doesn't kill jae, but scares the crap out of him, causing jae to take a suicidal dive off his hotel balcony. on the island, sun shoots colleen in the stomach, an injury she dies from, and escalates the conflict between the others and the survivors. sun is all kinds of destructive here.

• in 'd.o.c.' we discover that the details of sun's affair and jin's infertility were all crucial information, since sun's date of conception will determine if her on-island pregnancy will kill her. the other crazy thing we learn is that when jin and sun were newlyweds (when jin was still working in the factory for her father), jin's prostitute mother attempted to blackmail sun. sun asked her father for the money with no questions asked. her father made a deal with her: he would give her the money but if she took it, it meant that jin would have to truly start working for him. which means that sun took the envelope of cash from her father's desk knowing full well that this action would transform her husband into a killer. wowzers.

• when sun becomes one of the oceanic 6, sun blames both ben and her father for jin's death - if the writing was more consistent, her father would have reminded her that she made the choice that turned jin into a hateful goon.

• 'ji yeon' established that getting off the island did indeed save sun from death by pregnancy. a flashback story about buying a stuffed bear served only to trick us into thinking jin was also a member of the oceanic 6, and to build some foundation for what sun might be willing to do to avenge his death.
'woah, i just realized that three years ago, i peed on one of your sticks.'

• will sun's previous alliance with widmore assist her in getting off the island safely with jin?

the core of their original backstory was unraveling the circle of lies this couple built around each other. both actors play their scenes with such earnestness that each revelation was a genuine surprise - mostly because the actors played the lies as truth in each episode because at the time they had no reason to think they were lying. turns out they were being manipulated by the writers into becoming a pair of the best liars on television.

upon boarding flight 815, jin was planning for them both to escape sun's father once they reached los angeles, a plan that sun would be able to help facilitate since she'd learned english as part of her plan to escape jin. their backstory is so complicated, and we've spent so much time away from them as characters and as a couple, that i wish their parallel story wasn't so drastically different.

2. parallel sun/jin
rrrgrgh 'v' countdown clock..

it appears that in the parallel, for some reason, sun and jin have made very different choices about how to pursue their relationship. one of the problems i had with the parallel is that this path was so different from the original, that it bordered on confusing. it raised too many questions about the alternate timeline that i didn't want to be asking while watching our first real sun/jin story in, what, two years?

so, in this timeline, sun and jin kept their relationship a secret from her father. sooo many questions:
  • is jin still infertile?
  • is sideways sun's pregnancy jin's or jae lee's? someone else's?
  • how did jin get a job working for sun's father, when he's of such lower class? how would he ever get the job of being her 'bodyguard?'
  • was an assassination attempt also awaiting sun and jin should they have arrived in los angeles in the original timeline?
as i hoped, the parallel has reintroduced all of the key villains from the show's history: ethan, mikhail, keamy - even danny got a shoutout! (keamy describes mikhail as 'danny's friend'). while ethan ended up on a better path, it seems some people are still tipped toward the bad side even without the influence of the island.

the parallel works best when it contrasts the characters we know with who the characters could become - it also works best when it acts as an homage and emotional closure for each character. the juxtaposition for sun and jin is that in this universe, the couple that has been defined by their marriage for six seasons is now not married. it shows us a couple who attempted an alternate route to be together, and it's pretty much a toss-up as to whether the parallel is an improvement over the original timeline for them. while their relationship is happier (jin isn't controlling - in fact, she's totally in control), they must face equally difficult obstacles to remain together, and sun may perhaps even pay with her life, or lose the baby.

in any universe, sun and jin are about the tests a relationship must face - as keamy says, 'some people just weren't meant to be together.' i expected that sun and jin might get a happily ever after in the parallel, but face ultimate tragedy on the island. will we instead have the reverse? or will they face similar fates in the two worlds, regardless of the decisions they make?

3. criticisms
• neither character was really faced with any kind of choice in the parallel world - yes, they spent the entire time dealing with the consequences of choices they made in the past, but it felt like these are 'characters' who events happen to, but never make anything happen for themselves.

• i would love to have seen a much simpler parallel story that focused more directly on the dynamic between them as a couple. in the original timeline, it took their experiences on the island to eventually trust each other again. i wanted a story that more simply expressed their emotional shift. my ideal jin/sun parallel story would have shown how each of them harbors a lie, but then shows how each reaches a new level of maturity by truly, finally, choosing to come clean with each other - because ultimately their love is unconditional. that to me is beautiful, and that's what jin and sun should be about. they may still be about that - it's just not what we got in this episode.

so i hope parallel sun's baby is actually jae lee's. i hope parallel sun is still a liar. i hope parallel jin has secrets too. they need a place to go emotionally. they can be about so much more than just separation.
i think my favorite sun/jin episode is '..and found,' which has perhaps the simplest island story: sun loses her wedding ring, allowing each of the main characters to visit her and share a story about loss. it's simple, but the brief stories revealed to her, and us, what each character was about. meanwhile, in the flashback, we discovered how sun and jin eventually 'found' each other through an elaborate combination of luck and timing. the simplicity was gorgeous, and when sun finally found her wedding ring (by not looking for it, as locke had suggested), the relief and joy on her face is real and beautiful. i know the show is still capable of delivering that level of emotional punch.. i'm just disappointed that they chose to throw an excess of plot at sun and jin in lieu of character exploration.

4. the button
there was some fun mystery in the way the episode unfolded - and it answered many questions that were hinted at in 'la x,' like whether or not sun and jin are married, or if sun speaks english and was choosing to lie to the customs agent.

in the first scene we leared that jin still works for sun's father - then we quickly found out that they're not married, and jin seems insistent that they not be mistaken for married. are they divorced!????

my mind suddenly raced to wonderful places the episode could have gone. are sun and jin here on a business trip as co-workers? will they have a snappy irene dunne/cary grant divorce battle between them before finally realizing that they love each other, like in the awful truth? that could have been wonderful!! - give them the same scheming, somewhat unlikable character traits, but put them in a smaller scale setting, and then have the characters prove they love each other by making them fight. oh, i would have loved to have seen that.

but we learn that jin and sun are actually a secret couple - and sun seems to have ridiculously thought that booking a 'shopping trip' to the exact same place and on the exact same flight and in the seat next to an employee of her father's wouldn't raise any suspicions. parallel sun seems pretty naive. girl can't even hide a bank account.
sun teases jin by unbuttoning her top. it is simply amazing how much character and weight can be contained in a single button. the beauty of the writing in this scene was in how it recognized the symbolic implications of the initial 'button moment' and then completely subverted them. the original moment painted jin as a villainous husband, and revealed the controlling, borderline abusive nature of their relationship, not to mention sexual repression. the new button moment established sun as completely in control of the relationship, teasing him for having the audacity to give her an order while on the plane, and the unbuttoning became an expression of total sexual freedom.

it was fantastic setup. i was really excited to spend an entire episode with these people, finally! even the scene the next morning was great - sun is fast asleep, and jin is wide awake, worried - pretty much the girl in the relationship. inversion of traditional sexual roles - bravo parallel universe! but then that knock on the door and in comes the money plot and the hitman plot and a string of events that lead to sun being shot. will she die in the parallel? will juliet save her baby? will ethan come back into it? this time around, will juliet have to give sun 'bad news?' ugh, that would be heartbreaking. where are they going with this parallel world?

5. zoe and widmore
some interesting things here. widmore has tasked zoe with capturing jin - but is really pissed that she did it ahead of schedule - 4 days ahead of schedule. we've only got 8 more hours of story, so whatever's going to happen in 4 days is probably going to be whatever happens in the series finale. some questions:
  • at what point did widmore figure out that jin was alive?
  • did widmore know that jin was still alive when sun went to him to form a pact to kill ben as retribution for jin's death?
  • is widmore using desmond's foresight ability to form his plan of attack against smokey?
sun clearly doesn't know that widmore is coming - or else she would have no problem with richard's plan to blow up the ajira plane.

we learned that zoe is a geophysicist. which means that we are about to get a geophysical explanation for the island's properties - finally! is widmore's goal to sink the island? is zoe here to facilitate the sinking of the island? was this widmore's same goal in season 4?

in season 4, widmore sent the freighter specifically to capture ben linus, and purge the island of his followers. widmore's mission seems different now. as zoe sarcastically pointed out, he has not hired mercenaries this time, and his tactic for extraction is very different than it was three years prior. now he's using tranq darts and making non-lethal extraction. if he wanted to, he easily could have wiped out all of smokey's followers. why didn't he? what changed him? the deliberate shift in his motivations needs to be addressed.
i just love zoe's character. she feels like a lost fan inserted into the show: someone like the fans who waited in line at comiccon to ask damon and carlton who ordered the season 2 food drop. zoe seems like an analytical conspiracy theorist who has followed a mysterious trail that doesn't make total sense, but has an elusive deeper structure. she's a science geek, but she's also a little bit like marion from 'raiders' and a little bit chloe from '24.' she's been put in charge of the whole operation, but she's only actually good at one thing: science. it's quite interesting that widmore has put someone like her in charge.. big contrast from keamy.

6. aphasia
why the decision to suddenly afflict sun with a very specific form of aphasia? did she look in the mirror too long and have a piece of her alternate consciousness transferred through the stream of time? are the writers trying to poetically 'punish' her for the lies she told and secret advantage she held during the first season? the plot turn disappointed me, but i do have to give the show credit for dealing with it well - jack's scene with her by the beach where he gives her a notepad and pen was beautiful. it echoed '..and found' in that though sun isn't reunited with jin by the end of the episode, she still experiences both a loss and a recovery, giving her (and us) hope that she will also recover jin.

7. jack vs. locke

this episode so clearly laid out that the season is building toward the reunification/rivalry between jack and locke. like sun and jin, the show is very deliberate about keeping them separate, and slowly lays groundwork to bring them back together again. let's look at the history between jack and locke:
  • the two first butted heads after boone's death, and locke finally revealed that he had been secretly trying to get into the hatch for weeks.
  • their next confrontation occurred near the start of season 2, when they feuded over whether or not to continue pushing the button in desmond's absence.
  • tension between jack and locke really escalated in season 3, after locke blew up the submarine the day before jack was supposed to go home in it.
  • locke devoted all energy to preventing rescue, throwing a knife into naomi's back
  • at the cockpit, the survivors took sides over whether to join jack's group - who will meet the freighter rescue party, or whether to join locke's group - who would remain on the island, and begin living in the dharma barracks. jack puts a gun to locke's head and pulls the trigger. it doesn't work.
  • the two do not see each other again until a week later, the day that ben pushed the frozen donkey wheel. locke asked jack to stay on the island - telling him that he has a destiny there. jack tells locke 'it's an island. it doesn't need protecting.' jack walks away, gets on the helicopter.
  • jack watches the island vanish.
  • three years later, jack's life has fallen apart. he's seeing the ghost of his father. he's on drugs.
  • locke suddenly appears in jack's hospital. locke tells him, again, that jack needs to go back, that it's his destiny, then tells jack that his 'father says hi.' jack walks away, shaken. this is the last time jack saw locke alive.
  • jack realizes locke was correct, and begins flying across the ocean, hoping the planes will crash, hoping to go back to the island. on one of these flights, jack learns that locke has killed himself.
  • jack, believing his only way back to the island is gone, attempts suicide.
  • he spirals, yells at kate 'we have to go back!'
  • ben tells jack that he knows how to get them back to the island: jack must collect the oceanic 6.
  • jack is told by mrs. hawking that he must use locke's body as a 'proxy' for the body of his father on the original flight 815.
  • jack swallows all logic, chooses blind faith, and puts his father's shoes onto locke's dead feet. this is the last time jack saw locke.
the thing to remember about jack's relationship to locke is that jack was driven to suicide upon hearing that locke had died. everything jack has done since then has been because he finally put his science aside and allowed himself to believe that what locke had told him was true: his destiny and purpose in life is to return to the island.

once jack figures out that this same blind faith is the exact cause of locke's murder and avatar abuse - it must fall on jack to avenge the wrongs done to locke by jacob's nemesis. if jack can't defeat nemesis, then locke's entire tragic life was nothing more than an endless cycle of being used and taken advantage of because of his willingness to believe in something. if jack can't defeat nemesis, then both locke and jack's lives were meaningless.

this could be the genius of the endgame: locke will actually have saved the world by having converted jack into a man of faith; the same philosophy that subjected locke to so much abuse, and positioned him to become the vessel for evil. jack's purpose in returning to the island will be to ensure that locke did not die in vain.

jack will simultaneously be fighting against the false 'locke' in the name and spirit of the true 'locke,' in order to administer cosmic justice. post-island jack was willing to die for locke - i feel certain that he will show that same willingness again.

the reversal is fantastic: now it's nemesis (in locke's form) who says 'it's an island, it doesn't need protecting,' and it's jack who believes he's 'here for a reason.'

8. choices
thanks but no thanks!

while sun and jin weren't given many choices in the parallel, they did have choices to make in the island story - locke approaches sun in her old garden, and says to her the same thing he said in '..and found' when he saw her rip it up, tearfully searching for her lost wedding ring: 'bad day?' that original scene is so great, it's worth examining:
locke: bad day? [he hands her a handkerchief] it's clean.
sun: thank you.
locke: you mind if i sit? [she motions for him to sit.]
sun: did you see me?
locke: rip apart your garden? no. [she laughs.] sometimes i wish i had a garden to tear apart.
sun: i don't think i have ever seen you angry.
locke: oh, i used to get angry all the time. frustrated too.
sun: you are not frustrated anymore?
locke: i'm not lost anymore.
sun: how did you do that?
locke: same way anything lost gets found -- i stopped looking.
will sun find jin as unexpectedly as she found her wedding ring? when she's not looking?

this time around, locke comes to her offering the exact thing she's lost. he stretches out his hand for her to take. he is perhaps evil incarnate, but he also has jin.. that is one tough choice. fortunately, sun saw the carnage at the temple first-hand, and decides to run - everyone is asking 'why didn't locke just turn into smoke to catch up with her?' i think it's because locke makes a point of giving her a choice, the same way jacob does. he needs her to choose his side willfully, the same way sawyer chose it - she may or may not be a candidate, and her potential candidacy protects her from interference from him. unfortunately, her candidacy doesn't protect her from running straight into trees.
sun tells jack that her 'v(oice)' will be returning in three minutes, thirty-six seconds.

later, jack comes to sun with a curiosity about locke. jack doesn't know exactly what or who locke is yet (he didn't see the temple destruction), and it sounds like he's willing to give locke the benefit of the doubt. jack even seems surprised that sun didn't just up and run off with locke. jack has finally figured something out: other people can be right! after the failure of jughead, jack won't be playing leader again without some very clear direction of what needs to be done.
jack extends his sand-covered hand to sun, offering her the choice to join him. because sun chooses to put her faith in jack, his promise to reunite her with jin comes from a place that has nothing to do with his pride, or need to fix anything - it comes only from a desire to live up to the faith she's willing to place in him. jack's promise to her was a beautiful expression of a new jack who is finally finding peace.

9. great lines

'hey, don't talk about bacon'
'because that would be ridiculous'
'because you're speaking'
'asks the man who communes with the dead.'
'a wise man once said that war was coming to this island. i think it just got here.'

10. preboomer
desmond is revealed.
seamus: how much did you give him?
zoe: obviously i gave him too much but we needed him knocked out for the trip. i'm not a nurse. come on, get him up.
seamus: let's go mr. hume.
ok! not surprising that desmond was in the sub.. i love zoe's line about not being a nurse. she can't do anything right. this preboomer is really just a teaser for next week. most sun/jin episodes end on hopeful notes, either with silent preboomers, a single pluck of a bass harp string. the best one was '..in translation,' where after finally revealing that she speaks english, she allows the wind to blow her towel away, no longer imprisoned by jin's controlling behavior. i get the feeling that the show wants to do another preboomer like that, but needs to keep the momentum going as we head into the home stretch. i think they're saving the quiet, hopeful ending for the grande finale.

11. next episode
coming up is desmond's final episode, which is a whole hell of a lot to live up to, since desmond has been the force behind some of the greatest episodes in the show's history. is there any possible chance that 'happily ever after' could out-do 'the constant?' it will be extremely difficult, since 'the constant' provided an emotional payoff after two years of building up the struggle between penny and desmond. ever since the couple was reunited, their involvement has felt tangential.

but here's what i'm expecting: answers. desmond became 'special,' and an 'exception to the rules' after he turned the failsafe key. it's time for the show to tell us exactly what happened when the key was turned - why did the sky turn purple? what exactly happened in that moment? what was going on before the purple sky, and what exactly changed after the purple sky? it's also time to answer basic questions about the failsafe itself: if you can just turn a failsafe to make everything ok, why did dharma go to such extreme trouble to keep the hatch operating, and the electromagnetic energy at bay? did the island become unstable after the failsafe? is it about to sink into the ocean on its own accord?
desmond's episodes usually feature narrative rulebreaking - will we see more of this? was he actually on the plane in the parallel? what is his alternate story? was penny even born in the parallel? will his consciousness bounce between the parallel and the original timelines? will we get a clearer picture of the relationship between the two timelines? we betta!

i do want to remember desmond's amazing story. here are his episodes:
  • his introduction in the season 2 premiere, as button pusher, who also once met jack while training for a race around the world.
  • the season 2 finale, in which the failsafe key was turned, and his love for penny was revealed.
  • 'flashes before your eyes' which revealed his consciousness time-traveled after turning the failsafe. he met eloise hawking, who told him that he must not change his path - he must go to the island and push the button.
  • 'catch-22' in which he has a vision of penny arriving by parachute. instead, it is naomi.
  • 'the constant,' where desmond finally makes contact with penny again.
  • 'jughead,' in which desmond suddenly 'remembers' that faraday visited him years ago when he was manning the hatch. at faraday's request, he goes in search of eloise hawking. faraday didn't realize that eloise had already been working her whole life to prevent the terrible things that would happen.
  • in '316' eloise told desmond 'the island isn't through with you yet.' which apparently means 'my old boyfriend is going to kidnap you.'
we last left desmond in the marina del rey hospital, recovering from having been shot by ben. both eloise and widmore were at the hospital - is eloise also on the sub? how was the sub able to find the island when it took all kinds of crazy shoe-swapping and proxy-ing to get ajira 316 back to the island? answers! i am wanting them.


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