‘Lost’: The season finale ... almost

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Chat about ‘Lost’ here at noon PST. on Friday, May 16th.

How cruel.

In order to bring us what was originally intended to be an unbroken season of 16 episodes, ABC delayed the start of ‘Lost’s’ fourth season by several months. It finally began in late January, but after eight weeks, we had to wait again for another month for the post-strike episodes to be filmed and edited.

Now, with just one more double-size episode to go this season, we’re forced to wait a whole extra week, until May 29, to find out at least some of the answers we’ve been craving. The wait will seem especially long because this episode -- titled ‘There’s No Place Like Home Part 1' -- served no other purpose than to get our heroes in position for whatever events will happen in the real season finale.

If the plot structure of most episodes of ‘Lost’ feel a bit like a jigsaw puzzle slowly falling into place, this one felt more like a deck of cards being reshuffled. Each of the character groupings we’ve been following for the last few weeks was rearranged just before whatever epic blowout will result in the Oceanic Six being taken off the island in a state of shock.


I’ve already written about the opening few moments of this episode here. After seeing the opening again in the full context of the episode, my feelings still stand, though I will add that the closing musical interlude served as an excellent bookend for the episode. While we opened with a moment of bittersweet joy, we ended with a feeling of real anxiety. Quite a lot to pack into 43 minutes plus commercials.

There’s not a lot to mull over in this episode. Everything we saw either tidied up loose ends or appeared as set-up for the next two hours. Jack finally learned of his relationship to Claire. Sayid was reunited with his childhood love, Nadia. Hurley attempted to divorce himself from his unlucky lottery winnings.

In all of this, the sole curve-ball came from Sun, who appears to have grown a bit of a spine on the island. She’s used her payout from Oceanic to buy a controlling interest in her father’s company, making him her employee, a situation that will no doubt be revisited very soon. What’s shocking about this isn’t Sun’s courage against her domineering father, but the implication of how successful Oceanic Airlines must be to have that much cash lying around. If all six survivors got enough to take over a major company, then Oceanic must be skimping on luxuries (like blankets) or they’re funded by someone with very deep pockets. Didn’t Matthew Abaddon, one of Widmore’s men, introduce himself to Hurley as being from Oceanic air?

And who gets Aaron’s cut? Did Kate get a double helping for herself? That, combined with Jack’s cut, must be quite a fortune. We’re probably talking ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ money. No wonder she can afford to do nothing but pad around Jack’s big house all day wearing next to nothing.

The cast re-groupings worked out as follows: Sawyer and Miles split up, with Sawyer joining up with Jack and Miles staying on the beach with the rest of the survivors.

Ben, Hurley and Locke stayed together as a unit, but at the very end, they met up with Keamy and the rest of the goon squad.

Sun and Jin went with Faraday to the freighter, where they replaced Sayid as Desmond’s boat friend. (One wonders if Faraday will ever get the chance to tell Desmond he’s Daniels’ constant).

Sayid went into the jungle with Kate to find Jack and Sawyer, but ended up finding the rest of the Others (remember those guys?) including Richard Alpert, still looking quite dashing despite being old as dirt. The Others are still heavily armed and took Sayid and Kate hostage.

Keamy appears to have taken Ben hostage. And Lapidus has been taken hostage by his own helicopter. Jack and Sawyer figure out how to un-handcuff the guy so he can fly them out of there.

So we’re still left with the major question of the Orchid Station’s true purpose. That looks like it will be answered in the season finale. Though now we know the station has an elevator hidden by a bunch of plants.

But perhaps most ominously, we wonder about this: Why did Ben have a package of 15-year-old saltines stashed away behind a rock?

I have a theory. In Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ the alien Ford Prefect urges Arthur Dent to eat packages of nuts just after their travel through the matter transference beam. The journey, he says, sapped them of essential salt and protein. Is it possible that whatever action is involved in moving the island, the side effects are dampened a bit by eating some salty crackers?

It’s possible. But then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. We’ll know for sure next week. I mean two weeks from now. See? It’s so cruel.

--Patrick Kevin Day