If you asked me to describe this episode to you in one word I would say "How dare you make me limit my praise for that hour to just one word."
Simply put, that episode was brilliant. It was a giant middle finger to people like me who thought that maybe this season wasn't living up to its almost impossible to live up to expectations. You could tell the producers knew they had a classic on their hands based on the promo for next week's show. They were basically saying "We don't even have to tell you anything about next Tuesday because we've left you so awesomely impressed that you'd tune in next week if all we did was show penguins having sex for 60 minutes."
And I swear to God if Michael Emerson does not win another Emmy this year, then they should announce the people who didn't vote for him and make them start digging their own graves. In fact, just change the name of the damn award to "The Emersons." He is acting circles around everybody on the face of the planet right now. If you're not appreciating his work right now, then you're a moran.
This was such an awesomely awesome episode at being awesome that even the trademark lame CGI moment at the end of the episode was sort of charming. THAT is when you know you have a great episode.
I will not stop praising this episode throughout this blog entry, and I am as regretful for being cynical about this season as Ben was for killing Jacob. And if I ever start to sound like I'm turning sour on this show again, just flood the comments with "Hey, remember 'Dr. Linus?'"
But now some thoughts...and some theories.
We don't get to complain about the LAX timeline anymore. For once I felt like we actually got to see one of the LAX storylines play out the way they're intended to. You had great moments between Ben, Alex, and Roger Linus all boiling down to the ultimate decision that Ben had in the original storyline: Do you sacrifice Alex for your own ambitions? This time, despite showing all the trademark ruthlessness leading up to his decision, Ben showed compassion towards his fellow man. And isn't it amazing how Ben's moment of humanity coincides with his about-face on the island?
You see, the idea of redemption has been a major theme of Lost from the beginning. Well, what if redemption comes through the LAX timeline and then is translated onto the island? I'm going to back away from my theory that Jacob is evil. What if Jacob led these people to the island so that they could have redemption?
Here's my crackpot theory: The island represents penance. The islanders' time on the island is punishment for things they've done. When they've achieved redemption for their shortcomings, they're released from the island where they will assume their LAX identities. This is similar to many of the early (and admittedly debunked) theories about the island serving as purgatory. But instead of purgatory the island exists as a real life spiritual punishment while their souls redeem themselves. But someone's going to have to stay to serve as the new Jacob, the new head man on the island.
And it's Jack, who for the first time in the history of this show was right about something. In fact, I think it's the first time that anyone on this show has really understood what their own destiny is with that clarity. That long moment of reflection while staring out into the ocean did Jack A LOT of good.
My last thought is that this seemed like there was a lot of closure on Ben's story tonight, which is certainly bittersweet. But with just 9 episodes left before the finale it almost certainly is his final centric-episode. And what a way to go out.
- The Arrow